Coconut-Lemongrass-Braised Pork

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I don't know what to tell you other than your mouth will sing when you eat this dish. The braising liquid is made up of coconut, lemongrass, cardamom and curry, hits all the right notes, no? 
The recipe calls for the vegetables to be cooked separately which worked just fine because I pressure cooked the meat in the broth. Cooking the vegetables separately allows me to cook them to my preference, I like them a bit on the firm side. 

I didn't have the celery root, nor the fresh lemongrass but I did have lemongrass powder, so after a bit of research, I found that I can use one teaspoon of the lemongrass powder for one stalk of lemongrass, so happy I had it on hand. 

The recipe is from Dorie Greenspan's cookbook Around My French Table she states that sometimes when she doesn't have time to cook the vegetables, she adds some frozen peas to the pot at the end, or leaves it as is. 

Coconut-Lemongrass-Braised Pork

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or olive oil
  • 3 pounds boneless pork (pork butt is good here), cut into 1-to 2-inch cubes and patted dry, at room temperature
  • Coarse salt, such as sel gris or kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons curry powder (Mild is suggested)
  • Seeds from 6 cardamom pods
  • 6 white peppercorns
  • 6 coriander seeds
  • 2 strips lemon zest, white pith removed
  • 1/2 lemongrass stalk, tender center part only, pounded to crush it a bit
  • 1 15 1/2-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk, well stirred, plus more if needed
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 small potatoes, scrubbed or peeled and halved (optional)
  • 3 small carrots, trimmed, peeled, and halved (optional)
  • 3 small onions, halved (optional)
  • 1/2 small celery root, trimmed, peeled, and cubed (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon honey (optional)

Directions

  • Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

    Put a large skillet, preferably nonstick, over high heat and add the oil. When it’s hot, toss in some of the pork—don’t crowd the pan—and cook, stirring, until the pieces are golden on all sides. As the pieces are done, lift them out of the pot and place in a Dutch oven or other oven-going stew pot; season lightly with salt and pepper. Continue to brown the remainder of the pork.

    Put the Dutch oven over medium heat and add the spices, lemon zest, lemongrass, and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir everything around until the spices are toasty—you’ll smell them—and then stir in the coconut milk and water. Bring to a boil, cover the pot well, and slide it into the oven.

    Allow the stew to braise undisturbed for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the pork is tender and cooked through, (if you plan to make the dish ahead, cook the pork for 15 to 20 minutes.)

    While the stew is in the oven, cook the vegetables, if you’re using them: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the potatoes, carrots, onions, and celery root. Keep an eye on the pot, and remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon as they’re tender. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and set aside until the pork is cooked.

    When the pork is done, put the Dutch oven over medium heat, add the vegetables, if you’ve got them, and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and simmer just until the vegetables are heated through. If you think the sauce needs it, you can add a little more stirred coconut milk to the pot—it will heighten the braise’s coconut flavor and thin the sauce (which is not particularly thick). Taste for salt and pepper, add a teaspoon of honey, if you’d like, and serve.

    MAKES 6 SERVINGS

    SERVING Because the sauce is so good and so plentiful, you’ll want something to capture it—bread is an option, of course, but boiled rice or egg noodles are naturals as well.

    STORING Like all stews, this one is very good the next day. If you want to make it ahead, cook the pork for a slightly shorter time, so that you don’t overcook it when you reheat it. If you’ve got leftovers, remove the pork, reheat the sauce, and when it’s hot, add the pork and simmer just long enough to warm it through.
    Around My French Table Cookbook: Dorie Greenspan

And that's that!


Crustless Veggie Quiche

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This crustless quiche is full of zucchini and carrots with a bit of cheese. You might want to make two if you want some leftovers, this went fast. 

 

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Of course, I had to mix in a bit of cheese about one fourth a cup, to counterbalance the healthy veggies. 

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Before I took the quiche out of the oven I sprinkled a little more shredded cheese on top, turned the oven off and left it in the oven just until the cheese was melted. 

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So light and fluffy and browned just enough on the edges and bottom.


This is a quick and easy go-to recipe, you can use any vegetables you have on hand or add a bit of meat if you want. If you add some spice blends to taste, you can have a different quiche every time you make it. It freezes well and can be reheated in a toaster oven. 

Veggie Quiche

Ingredients

  • 2 medium zucchini, shredded and strained
    2 medium carrots, shredded
    1/2 cup shredded cheese of choice, divided use
    1 teaspoon salt 
    12 eggs, beaten
    1 tablespoon butter, or fat of choice for baking dish

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 ° F.
    Put the zucchini in a cheesecloth or a kitchen towel and squeeze out the excess moisture. 
    Mix together with the carrots, half of the cheese, salt, and eggs.

    Grease a 9x 3-inch baking dish, pour the egg mixture into the pan. Bake 30 minutes or so, until the edges are starting to brown.
    Turn off the oven, top the quiche with the remaining cheese and leave in the oven just long enough to melt the cheese. 

And That's That!


Spicy Pork Zucchini Stir-Fry

Jump To Recipe Print Spicy Pork zucchini stir fry

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Dang, does this look wonderful or what. It has a really nice level of spice and the ratio of the soy sauce and sesame oil is perfect, one doesn't overtake the other. 
Don't overcook the zucchini, keep it a bit on the al-dente side because the recipe doesn't have a crunchy element.  If you want to add one I think bamboo shoots or celery would be a great crunchy addition. 

First I want to tell you about one of my kitchen staples. It resides on the top shelf of the refrigerator door, within easy reach. This one happens to be the Ginger Garlic Paste, I also have a smaller jar of just garlic paste. I prefer to use fresh garlic in most cases but the paste is my go-to for stir-frys and curries. 

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 I think it's one of the best spicy sauces I've used in a long time. Of course, you can kick it up a notch or tame it down according to your spice tolerance. 
The recipe calls one tablespoon of grated ginger, I substituted an equal amount of the ginger-garlic paste. 

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After you stir-fry the pork, then the zucchini separately throw them back together and douse with the sauce. 
I like more sauce than the recipes call for, so I normally double the recipe. In this case, you definitely should, even doubling it there was "just enough".

The sauce would be perfect over any Asian noodle you could think of. I'm using it to make a cold spicy noodle salad to go with dinner tonight, Mmmmm

Spicy Pork Zucchini Stir-Fry

Ingredients

  • For the sauce:
    3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
    1 tablespoon grated or minced fresh ginger
    1 tablespoon sambal oelek or Asian chili-garlic sauce
    2 teaspoons toasted (Asian) sesame oil

    For the stir-fry and serving:
    1 pound zucchini (about 3 medium)
    2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, divided
    1 pound ground pork or ground meat of choice
    Salt
    Freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
    Cooked white or brown rice, for serving

Directions

  1. Make the sauce: Stir all the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

    Make the stir-fry: Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise, then slice each half crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons.
    Heat a flat-bottomed wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat until a drop of water vaporizes immediately on contact.
    Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the oil around the pan, add the pork, and season with salt and pepper. Let cook undisturbed for 30 seconds, then break the pork into small, bite-sized pieces and continue stir-frying until it's cooked through and golden-brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the pork to a paper towel-lined plated and drain the pan of excess fat. Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan, add the zucchini, and spread out into one even layer. Let cook undisturbed for 30 seconds. Stir-fry the zucchini until browned and just tender, about 5 minutes more.

    Return the pork to the skillet, add the sauce, and stir-fry until the sauce is well-incorporated and the zucchini begins to look glossy, about 30 seconds more. Garnish with the scallions and serve over rice.

    Make ahead: The sauce can be made 1 day in advance and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator. Let the sauce sit at room temperature while preparing the stir-fry, and stir before adding to the pan.

    Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

     

And that's that!


Murgh Makhani (Buttery Chicken Curry)

 
Jump To Recipe Print Murgh Makhani

When one of the diners goes for a third helping you know you have a winner on your hands. I used the substitutions I noted in the ingredients list but I did go out and buy "the real thing"

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I served this with long grain basmati rice that I cooked in chicken broth. It's exactly like the description in the cookbook except it wasn't as spicy as I expected it to be. But yes, it's "spicy, sweet and tangy with the fragrance of butter and herbs". One I'll make again, many times again. 

One of the ingredients in the recipe is Kashmiri red chili powder. After some research, I found that the Kashmiri is a mild heat chili bred more for color than heat, it runs 1,000 to 2,000 Scoville heat unit, comparable to a poblano chili. While I was looking for the Kashmiri I ran across a bag of Degi Mirch chili powder which is a blend of red bell peppers and Kashmiri chilis and is supposed to have a higher heat level then Kashmiri chili powder so of course, I had to get that also.
O.K. chili school is our for now, on to the recipe. 

Note from Cookbook;
This is a very popular north Indian restaurant dish. The original recipe was created by the Moti Mahal restaurant in New Delhi and it is still a top-seller. Marinated chicken is usually cooked in the tandoor, then folded into a buttery or ‘makhani’ sauce.
Use a mixture of oil and butter so that the butter does not burn when heated. You can use paneer instead of chicken for a vegetarian version. The sauce should be spicy, sweet and tangy, with the fragrance of butter and herbs.

Murgh Makhani (Buttery Chicken Curry)

Ingredients

  • Serves 4 PREPARATION → 20 minutes, plus 1 hour marinating time or overnight if possible
    COOKING 30 minutes

    800g skinless chicken breast, cut into 2.5cm cubes
    boiled rice or Laccha Paratha, to serve
    For the marinade
    50g natural yogurt
    1 teaspoon red Kashmiri chili powder
    or mix 3 parts paprika with 1 part cayenne pepper and use equal amount of the mix
    1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1/2 teaspoon garam masala salt

    For the makhani sauce
    2 tablespoons salted butter
    1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    1/2 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi), plus extra to serve;
    or substitute with equal amount of honey Dijon mustard
    1 fresh green chilli, finely chopped
    1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
    150g tomato purée
    1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder;
    or mix 3 parts paprika with 1 part cayenne pepper and use equal amount of the mix
    The rest of the mixture is great on potatoes.
    1/2 teaspoon garam masala
    2 tablespoons honey
    100ml single cream, plus extra to serve

Directions

  1. 1 *Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl and add the cubed chicken. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least for 1 hour or overnight if possible.
    2 Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Transfer the chicken and marinade to an ovenproof dish and bake for 10–15 minutes until tender and cooked through.
    3 For the makhani sauce, heat the butter and oil in a saucepan over a high heat and add the kasoori methi and green chilli. Stir in the ginger-garlic paste, cook for a minute or so, then add the tomato purée and stir to blend for a couple of minutes.
    4 Mix in the chilli powder, garam masala and honey, and season with salt. Finish with the cream, then add enough water to give the sauce a pouring consistency.
    5 Add the cooked chicken to the sauce. Serve with rice or laccha paratha, with a swirl of single cream and a sprinkling of kasoori methi.

    *Or skip this step and use pre-cooked chicken and re-heat in the finished sauce. 

    Bharadwaj, Monisha. Indian Cookery Course

And that's that!


Pan-seared Thyme Butter-Basted Tenderloin Steak

I was home alone for dinner the other night, what a treat!!!! A good time to indulge myself in a thick pan-seared, thyme, butter-basted steak. I followed the directions on Serious Eats. I had a small tenderloin that turned out absolutely perfect.

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First salt and pepper both sides of the steak and set aside.

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Thinly slice some shallots and brown in the fat of your choice, I usually use a pat of butter with a little olive oil. 

Wipe out the pan you cooked the shallots in, add a little oil and get it screaming hot over a medium-high flame. 

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Add the steak and keep flipping it until a golden-brown crust starts to develop. Add a couple of tablespoons of butter and a few sprigs of thyme, or rosemary. I added thyme, I think even a few leaves of fresh sage would be wonderful. Fried sage leaves are great. 
Very carefully tip the pan so the butter collects toward the side of the pan. Keep basting and flipping the steak until your desired doneness is achieved.
Using an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the steak, the temperature should read 120-125*F for medium-rare and 130* for medium
Add the cooked shallots back to the pan right before serving. Drizzle the perfect steak with the butter, thyme, and shallots. Enjoy

Now, I'm not_that_selfish that I wait for everyone else to have other plans so I can have a perfectly prepared steak, I have prepared steak for everyone in the past, but only twice. The first time some asked for their steaks well-done. O.K. even though well-done steak goes against the grain, (no pun intended) I understand that's just how they like their meat served, after a mild protest from me I accommodated them. The next time I prepared, actually grilled, steaks for everyone a couple more wanted well-done, o.k. I was getting used to that by now, but when one of the well-done diners asked for ketchup, I could hardly keep my composure (and you know who you are). Ergo, no more steak for you.
K my little tangent is over, for now.  
I hope you try cooking your next steak this way, I think you'll love it. 

And that's that!