Sorry for being absent for several days. I've been working on our forum and we now have a new blog! What was www.kitchencando.blogspot.com is now www.hummingbirdhilljams.blogspot.com. I've asked my niece, Abi to help me spruce it up and enable more features. She's so smart!
The change is primarily to reflect the direction of our mission. Over the course of the next few weeks you will see a new banner, more features, new recipes, as well as more posts regarding Hummingbird Hill Jams. I don't want to spoil the surprise so I'll stop here. Check back often, and as always I welcome your comments.
Remember, food bridges people!
Please click here to be redirected to www.hummingbirdhilljams.blogspot.com
Friday, September 6, 2013
|Chopped parsley, oregano and garlic|
|Salt, white wine vinegar, olive oil and pepper flakes|
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
|Ingredients for Hong You|
Chile de arbol
|Crushed ginger, garlic and cinammon|
|Combining soy sauce and sugar mixture with pepper mixture|
|Spices cooking in the oil.|
|Oil and spices poured into bowl with peppers.|
|Letting Hong You cool in bowl.|
|Hong You ready for storage.|
I love spicy food and I constantly look for new sources of heat. So when my March issue of Saveur came I was elated to find that one of the feature articles was about Sichuan food. I have long heard of this spicy cuisine of China, and have eaten Mapo Tofu many, many times. I also make Spicy Eggplant often. But this article by Matt Gross gave so much information, and better yet, mouth-watering recipes. An important ingredient in most Sichuan dishes is Hong You which I was very eager to make.
Hong You (Sichuan Red Chile Oil)
2 cups canola oil
4 star anise
3 cloves garlic, smashed
3 cao guo or black cardamom pods
3 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
1 stick cinnamon, broken in half
1 3" piece ginger, smashed
1 cup (about 32) chiles de árbol, stemmed and chopped
3 tbsp. Sichuan peppercorns
1 tbsp. light soy sauce
½ tsp. kosher salt
Heat oil, star anise, garlic, cardamom, cloves, bay, cinnamon, and ginger in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is golden, 15–20 minutes. Transfer to a 1-qt. glass jar with chiles, peppercorns, soy, and salt; let cool to room temperature. Using a slotted spoon, remove and discard garlic and ginger; seal jar and let sit at least 24 hours. To use, strain oil, discarding solids. Store refrigerated up to 3 months.
Let’s talk about the ingredients. Garlic, cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, ginger, chile de arbol and soy sauce are pretty easy to find; most grocery stores carry them. That leaves only the black cardamom pods and Sichuan peppercorns.
I’ll be honest with you – I couldn’t find the black cardamom pods. I live in the Los Angeles area and have easy access to vast numbers of Asian grocery stores but I didn’t find it. The store employees didn’t know what “black cardamom” was, and I was probably mispronouncing “cao guo”. Not wanting to delay trying the recipe any longer, I used green cardamom. I later learned that “cao guo” is one of two kinds of black cardamom. The smaller variety is used in Indian and Pakistani dishes, mainly in sweets. The larger of the two, cao guo, is used in Chinese and Vietnamese dishes. This one has a smoky aroma and flavor because it is dried over an open flame.
The Sichuan peppercorn is not even remotely related to peppers. In fact, it is the dried rinds of tiny fruits from a small thorny tree in the citrus family known as prickly ash, according to Karen Shimizu (Saveur, March 2013). Shimizu adds that Sichuan peppercorns are responsible for the buzzing, tingling sensation that is one of Sichuan cuisine’s most distinguished characteristics. So you get the tingling from the Sichuan peppercorns, and the spiciness from the chile. Because they affect different systems of our nerves, we get dual sensations when eating Sichuanese food. It’s kind of like getting a punch and a kick!
So after having made it and letting it steep overnight, I couldn’t wait to pour it over my fried fish and steamed rice. I used only the oil like the recipe said. I did get the punch and the kick – but it was not as strong as I had imagined. I guess I was expecting it to be a condiment like my regular Hot Chile Oil (Heat 1 cup of peanut oil to 225° - 240°F, remove from heat, dump 1 cup of crushed peppers.), but it wasn’t. As the recipes in Saveur indicate, Hong You is used to cook food.
While I am still a little disappointed with the not-so-spicy Hong You as a condiment, I do have it to cook with. I am looking forward to using it in Stir-fried Pork Belly with Chinese Chives or Triple-Cooked Spareribs with Chiles!
Have you ever tried a recipe and it was not what you were expecting? What did you do with it?
Monday, September 2, 2013
|Pounded chicken tenderloin ready to be dredged in flour, salt and pepper.|
|Sauteing chicken tenderloins.|
Lemon slices and capers sautéing in butter.
|Lemon Chicken with Linguini|
Several years ago my friend Cynthia and I went to an Italian restaurant for dinner. I can’t remember the name of the restaurant or what she ordered. What I do remember is the simple but delicious dish I ordered.
As soon as I tasted my food that night I fell in love with the simplicity and taste of this dish. I had to have it again! Armed with just a memory of how it tasted I set about to recreate it. This has since become one of my daughter’s favorite.
Lemon Chicken with Linguini
2 ½ lbs chicken tenderloins
2 C flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
¼ - ½ C olive oil
5 tablespoons butter, divided
3 lemons, sliced cross-wise into ¼” discs, divided
2 tablespoons capers
½ teaspoon minced garlic
1 lb linguini cooked according to package directions, reserving 1 cup of cooking water
¼ C minced Italian parsley (optional)
1. Wash chicken tenderloins then pat dry. Place 3 inside a plastic bag. Place plastic bag on top of chopping board. Gently pound tenderloins with a rolling pin or small frying pan until they are ¼” thick. Be careful to keep them intact. Continue with the rest of the tenderloins.
2. Heat oil in skillet on medium heat.
3. Combine flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge tenderloins in the flour and shake off excess. Saute tenderloins until they are pale to golden brown. Continue to saute in batches and set aside.
4. In same skillet, add 2 tablespoons butter and sauté half of the lemon slices and half of the capers, about 3 minutes. Using wooden spoon gently mash lemon pulp from the slices to express juice. Add cooked tenderloins and stir gently to coat, about 3 minutes. Transfer to platter and keep them warm.
5. Wipe skillet with a paper towel then add garlic, remaining butter, lemon slices and capers. Saute about 3 minutes, gently mashing lemon pulp to express juice. Add cooked pasta and gently toss to coat. Add ¾ cup pasta cooking water to create a thin sauce. Add more if pasta seems dry or if you want more sauce. Toss to coat again.
6. Serve pasta and chicken tenderloins together. Garnish with minced Italian parsley.
I use chicken tenderloins because it is more delicate and easier to pound. That said, care is needed from pounding too hard. We are trying to make a chicken cutlet, not chicken tenders! Remember, the meat must remain intact.
“Cooking water” refers to the water the pasta is cooking in. When the pasta has finished cooking, reserve a cup of the water and set aside. And then drain the pasta into a colander. Why? The cooking water contains starch and salt (provided you added salt in the first place, and which is highly recommended). This cooking water will help to emulsify and bind your sauce, or help to thin your sauce. In our Lemon Chicken dish, the cooking water will emulsify our sauce by binding with the oil and butter to create a silky coating for the pasta. It is better than plain water because it contains starch which acts as a thickener. You may use any kind of pasta you want.
Notice that I did not say to add salt to the dish. This is because there is salt in the flour mixture, salt in the butter, lots of salt in the capers, and salt in the cooking water. Of course you may add salt if you wish.
Speaking of capers, what are capers? According to Huffington Post, tiny capers are picked from a shrub-like bush (Capparis spinosa), long before the buds ever flower. The capers are then dried in the sun and later brined or packed in salt. Sometimes capers are allowed to mature to a fruit about the size of an olive. These are sold as caper berries and are brined to be eaten like pickles or olives. It's quite common to see them included in an antipasti platter. Capers aren't new to the culinary scene -- they've actually been around since ancient times. They're grown in parts of Asia, the Middle East and the Mediterranean region, including north Africa, southern Europe and Turkey. Capers are also grown in California.
Why add butter to oil? Simply because it adds luxuriousness to the dish.
What restaurant dish have you recreated at home?
Saturday, August 31, 2013
|Tomatoes, onions, garlic, oil, salt and pepper|
|Roasted tomatoes with bay leaves and stock|
|Using an immersion blender|
|Roasted Tomato Soup with cream and garnished with roasted grape tomato|
My plants bearing medium-large tomatoes are in full bloom. So with an abundance of tomatoes but not enough to can, Roasted Tomato Soup sounded good. When I Googled “roasted tomato soup”, this one sounded best to me. This is adapted from Tyler Florence’s recipe on www.foodnetwork.com.
Roasted Tomato Soup
2 ½ lbs fresh tomatoes (mix of plum, heirloom grape)
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 small onions, sliced
½ C vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
4 tablespoons butter
½ C chopped fresh basil leaves (optional)
¾ C heavy cream (optional)
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Wash, core and cut the tomatoes into halves. Spread the tomatoes, garlic cloves and onions onto a baking tray. If using vine cherry tomatoes for garnish, add them as well, leaving them whole and on the vine. Drizzle with 1/2 cup of oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, or until caramelized.
Remove roasted tomatoes, garlic and onion from the oven and transfer to a large stock pot (set aside the roasted vine tomatoes for later). Add 3/4 of the stock, bay leaves, and butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid has reduced by about a third.
Wash and dry basil leaves, if using, and add to the pot. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Return soup to low heat, adjust consistency with remaining stock, if necessary. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish in bowl with a splash of heavy cream and 3 or 4 roasted vine cherry tomatoes.
OMG! This was quite a revelation because up until a few years ago I was not fond of tomatoes, raw or cooked. Tomato soup sounded and looked like water-downed catsup, or tomato juice at best. But this soup! This soup was so rich and delicious!! My family and I couldn’t get enough of it. Roasting not only concentrates the flavor of the tomato but adds to it by way of caramelization.
As I said above, this recipe is adapted from Tyler Florence’s recipe. For instance, I used vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. This did not make a difference in the flavor because the outcome was rich and robust. I also substituted sage for basil simply because I did not have basil. Therefore you can add practically any other herb you have on hand such as oregano, thyme, tarragon, etc. Just be sure to adjust the amount to your taste. And finally, I only added the cream as a garnish to maintain the soup’s tomato-ey color and flavor.
If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can transfer the soup to a regular blender or food processor to puree it. Then transfer it back to the pot to finish cooking.
Since I harvested more tomatoes the other day, and can’t possibly use them all, I roasted enough for 3 more batches of this soup. After cooling the roasted tomatoes I transferred them to a freezer-safe container. This way whenever I want Roasted Tomato Soup in the fall or winter, all I have to do is defrost a packet, add broth and finish off the recipe. This is a quick way to preserve my tomatoes without having to can them or take up a lot of freezer space.
So when are you going to make this soup?
Thursday, August 29, 2013
It was cool and foggy where we live last week and I suddenly got a craving for roasted vegetables. So I added potatoes and carrots to my roasted chicken. I also made Roasted Cauliflower for my vegetarian husband.
Roasted Cauliflower with Plum Sage Jam
1 ½ teaspoons roasted garlic
1 ½ tablespoons Plum Sage jam
2 teaspoons lime juice
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
1 teaspoon minced fresh mint
1 large head cauliflower
Preheat oven to 400°F. Rack should be at the lowest level. Grease bottom of baking pan.
In a small bowl whisk together roasted garlic, jam, and lime juice. Slowly pour olive oil into mixture until an emulsion is formed. Add sage, mint and salt. Set dressing aside.
Trim cauliflower of leaves. Slice into “steaks” about ¾- inches thick. Place slices in baking pan in a single layer. Bake until edges of cauliflower turn a little brown, about 25 minutes.
Drizzle jam dressing over cauliflower slices. With rack still at the lowest level, change oven setting to broil. Broil until cauliflower has browned some more and jam has caramelized, 5-10 minutes.
Roasted garlic is made by taking an entire head of garlic, cutting it half crosswise and pouring about 1 tablespoon olive oil on it. Roast in 350°F until garlic is tender about 45 minutes. When cool, squeeze softened garlic into a bowl. Add oil from roasting pan and store refrigerated.
Roasting any vegetable concentrates its flavor. Doing so to cauliflower which is kind of bland, gives it a rich, smoky flavor. By roasting the jam dressing with the cauliflower, you will experience an explosion of flavor! Lime juice tempers the sweetness of the jam, fresh sage heightens the earthiness of the herb in the jam, and fresh mint adds a refreshing finish.
This dressing may also be used in salads or as a marinade for roasted pork loin. What would you use it with?
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
|Chinese rice wine|
|Chinese rice wine label|
|Sesame seed oil|