True confession: Barbeque chicken bores me to tears. Maybe, as someone who doesn’t eat beef (except for the beef sushi incident), I’ve had too many mediocre chicken sandwiches in bars and restaurants across the greater Boston area. So when no egrets suggested that we have BBQ chicken for the Fourth, I was underwhelmed. After some soul-searching, we came up with spicy peanut chicken. (more…)
Strawberries make life worth living July 3, 2009
Up here on the North Shore, we haven’t seen the sun in….a long time. It’s achieved record-setting proportions.
Strawberries are the last sweet shred of life I am clinging to. We picked up some Marini’s strawberries from the Marblehead Farmer’s Market on Saturday. On Sunday, no egrets made strawberry shortcake.
Slice up the strawberries, add a tiny bit of sugar (maybe a teaspoon) if the strawberries are not very sweet. You can add lemon juice if they are excessively sweet (if you believe in excess in that department).
Pound Cake (from Joy of Cooking, ca. 1964)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Mix 4 c flour
1 ts salt
4 ts baking powder
Mix 1 cup milk
2 ts vanilla
2 Tb yer favorite likker (that would taste good in a pound cake. No sour pucker. Ew.)
Cream 1 1/2 cups of butter, and then add
3 cups of sugar (gradually).
Add 8 eggs, one at a time; beat thoroughly after each one.
Keep mixing and alternate adding flour mixture and wet mixture. Stir until thoroughly blended.
Baked in a greased loaf pan for 15 or 20 min, or until a toothpick comes out reasonably clean.
Take a pint of heavy cream. Whip it up in your mixer, and add (slowly) up to 5 Tb of sugar and 2-3 ounces of your favorite dessert-embellishing liquor (we prefer bourbon or Grand Marnier in these parts). Once it looks like whipped cream, you are done.
Combine and pretend it is summer.
Pork and Apple Pies May 22, 2009
Yes please! No Egrets won my eternal devotion for making pork and apple pies, also known also as pork pasties, but if I put that on the blog title, lord knows who would have shown up. This is not a summer dish, but it is very very yummy.
(see more below)
Beef Sushi April 27, 2009
Before you run away screaming, let me explain. Always on the lookout for something with which to culinarily impress his friends, No Egrets began to think about ways to modify the sushi formula. What he came up with was beef nigiri, a perfect dish to take to our friend’s surprise birthday party.
The evening before the surprise celebration, we cooked a vat of sushi rice (which is nice and sticky) with a little rice vinegar and put it in the fridge. No Egrets also marianated the filet mignon (it’s true) in soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic.
The next morning we got up and sprung into action. No Egrets seared the beef and cooked it until it was (to my non-beef-eating eyes) quite red. He shaped the cold rice into little oblong shapes, and put a thin slice of beef on top. Next time he will add a dab of wasabi between the rice and beef.
The rare steak resembled rare tuna, which was a nice effect, and almost broke my non-beef-eating ways. (OK, I confess, it looked so good I tried a piece.) It was an overall success, and may be a great way to introduce sushi to your midwestern friends and family when fresh seafood is merely a fantasy.
PS Our friend was taken completely unaware. Ha!
Binder Clips and Paneer March 5, 2009
Paneer is the Indian cheese found in such eponymous dishes as palak paneer (spinach and paneer) and matar paneer (peas and paneer). Making paneer cheese is actually quite easy. All you need is milk (local of course), lemons, vinegar, and cheesecloth. Paneer needs time to sit, though, so make it the day before you want to serve it.
When I first learned to make paneer, I quickly found out that whole milk makes cottage cheese, not firm cubes. Skim milk makes the firmest cubes, but doesn’t have much taste. I like 1% milk for this. Also, paneer is a great use for milk of suspect freshness.
You will need at least 6 or 7 lemons and 4 Tb of rice wine vinegar. (Don’t skimp on the lemons, and vinegar is the insurance.)
I boil water in a short 2-gallon stockpot and make a double boiler with a big stainless steel mixing bowl. (I much prefer this to boiling milk directly on the heat, as I always, always scorch it. Ed. note: scorched milk is a bitch to clean.) (more…)
Vanilla Whiskey Frappe January 23, 2009
Ice cream makers
must have been all the rage this year. Last week, No egrets made vanilla whiskey chocolate chip ice cream with his. This week he is making chocolate ice cream. I am lactose intolerant, so I’m sticking to just vanilla whiskey.
Vanilla Whiskey Frappe
Combine 2 pts heavy cream, 2/3 c. sugar, 1/4 vanilla whiskey*, 9 oz, Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips. Mix together in your ice cream maker of choice. Let sit in freezer until it’s the proper consistency.
Serve to your northern friends and reap the compliments. (Your southern friends will look on in horror. ICE CREAM in WINTER????)
*To make vanilla whiskey place a vanilla bean in a bottle and fill with Canadian whiskey. [Bourbon also works, and will make it sweeter. Sour mash is too bitter for No Egret’s taste.] Let sit in the cabinet for months. Refill with bourbon or whiskey as necessary.
Down-home Warming Dishes: Chicken and Biscuits January 14, 2009
No Egrets and I just came back from Nashville, among other places. Culinary highlights include Dee’s Barbque (where we met Dee in the bargain), the Loveless Cafe, and Swett’s famous meat and three. We ate biscuits, biscuits, and the best fried chicken ever. I find myself back in the North Shore in a southern frame of mind: So here is my version of Foster’s Market’s chicken and biscuits.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. It’s cold outside, your roommates won’t mind if you turn on the oven a couple hours early.
Boil your local chicken in a pot with onions, garlic, bay leaf, and olive oil.
While the chicken is boiling, start making the biscuits. Combine 3 1/2 cups of flour, 2 ts. of baking powder (make sure the baking powder is recent, or your biscuits will be like hockey pucks, not that I’ve learned that from experience or anything), 1 ts. baking soda, 1 ts. salt. Cut in 2 sticks of cold unsalted butter. (This is best done with a pastry cutter or even a food processor. However it can be done with two knives, it just takes a while. The goal of this step is to make sure each particle of flour is bonded to a particle of butter. Cut the butter in until a) you’re exhausted or b) until it has the consistency of coarse cornmeal.) Add 1 1/4 cup of milk (buttermilk is better) and mix until the dough just barely sticks together. DO NOT OVERHANDLE BISCUIT DOUGH. If the dough seems dry, add more milk, 1 Tb. at a time. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead it extremely gently about four times, or until the dough resembles a ball. Again, err on the side of underhandling. Pat out the dough until it is 3/4-inch thick. Cut out with biscuit cutters or a glass. Put it aside and get back to the chicken.
Remove the cooked chicken from the bone and keep some of the broth from its cooking.
Melt butter and/or olive oil in a skillet and fry up some pot-pie vegetables. I like onions, pepper, and corn. No egrets prefers peas. You can also add mushrooms, carrots, celery, turnips, etc.
When the vegetables have reached the appropriate level of mushiness, add 1/4 cup of flour or arrowroot starch. Whisk in the broth and bring to a low boil. Don’t stop whisking until it starts to thicken or you get homicidal, whichever comes first.
Add sage and/or parsley and pepper, along with any of the veggies you’d like to be crisper. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the chicken and put mixture into a casserole dish.
Top with the uncooked biscuits. Brush the biscuits with an egg wash (1 egg + 2 Tb. milk). This will make the biscuits turn a pretty brown color. Cook for 25 to 30 min. and then dig in and enjoy.