Saturday, July 13, 2019

Peaches and Cream – Literally

This new and “improved” peaches and cream recipe might not have tasted any better than the classic, but at least it was more complicated. Turns out that a splash of cold, fresh cream is all that sweet, ripe peaches need, which is probably why no one ever cooks it first when making this.

It wasn’t like the first version was horrible to eat. It wasn’t, but the cooked, sweetened cream, sort of fought with the peaches, both texturally, and with the natural sweetness of the fruit. The lemon didn’t help things either, but at least I was able to appreciate the real one I made after coming to my senses.

As usual, I’ve listed the amounts I used below, but you should adjust the sugar syrup depending on the sweetness of your peaches. If they’re amazingly sweet and juicy, just slice them, and cream them up. Otherwise, modify as needed, but either way, I really do hope you give peaches and cream, the classic version, a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 portions:
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 cups sliced fresh peaches
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Summer Sausage – Winter Isn’t Coming

Traditionally, summer sausage is made, and cured in the winter, so that it’s ready to enjoy during the summer, but unless you have some sort of time machine, we’re going to have to settle on this easy, and much faster, shortcut method. Despite only taking a few days, this really is very close in taste and texture to everybody’s favorite gift-basket sausage.

The method is very simple, but just be sure to test for doneness with a thermometer, ideally a probe thermometer, which will alert you when the center of your sausage has reached your target temperature of 150 F. This will ensure we achieve a smooth, salami-like texture.

As far as the taste goes, feel free to spice this anyway you want. With just a little bit of research you could use this simple technique to make many similarly styled sausages, like your own personalized pepperoni, or signature salami. No matter how you flavor this, it will help if you do include a pinch of pink curing salt (aka Insta Cure #1), which you hopefully have leftover from our homemade ham recipe.  

If not, it’s easy to find online, but for the record, the recipe will work without it, just not maybe quite as spectacularly. By the way, if you’re not sure about using nitrites, check out this great article by Michael Ruhlman. Curing salts aside, I really do hope you give this great summer sausage recipe a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for One 2-pound Summer Sausage:
1/4 cup diced celery, minced or smashed into juicy bits
2 pounds freshly ground beef (85/15 lean to fat ratio)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 rounded tablespoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons whole mustard seeds
20 grams kosher salt (2 tablespoons if you use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. This is best done by weight.)
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
pinch of cayenne
1/4 teaspoon pink curing salt (Insta Cure #1)
1 tablespoon white sugar

For the “smoking” wash:
1 tablespoon liquid smoke mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water

- Cook at 275 F. for 1 hour and 30 minutes, or to an internal temp of 150 F.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Ba’corn Cheese Corn –Korean Bar Food at its Finest

I would not have guessed this bacon-studded “cheese corn” is a popular bar snack in Korea, although it does make sense, since this really would be amazing with a cold beer. I’m guessing that American soldiers might have had something to do with the creation of this amazing amalgamation, but nevertheless, this stuff is pure bacon-y, creamy, cheesy, corny decadence…and this is the light version.

The original recipe uses a combination of mayonnaise and sweetened condensed milk (which I still can’t fully wrap my head around), but we’re going with heavy cream here, for a less sweet, less oily approach. This may be the first time in my career that I’ve “lightened up” a recipe by adding a cup of heavy cream.

I used frozen corn with great success, but if you did want to use fresh corn, be sure to blanch it, or panfry it first, to take off the raw edge. The broiling step really doesn’t cook the casserole, but rather just browns the cheese on top, and so we want everything nicely cooked by that point. Either way, I really do hope you give this delicious, and apparently Korean twist on creamed corn a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for one 10-inch skillet:
8 ounces bacon
2 pounds sweet corn, very well drained
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch green onion, sliced
2 or 3 jalapeno peppers, diced
salt, freshly ground black pepper, and cayenne to taste
1 cup heavy cream
2 ounces mozzarella cheese
4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, or cheddar

Friday, June 28, 2019

Ping Gai Chicken - Laotian "Grilled Chicken Chicken"

I believe this ping gai chicken is the first Laotian recipe we’ve ever posted on the blog, but based on how incredibly delicious this was, it won’t be the last! Having said that, based on my several minutes of exhaustive research, this particular recipe seems to have originated from the Queen Mother Cafe in Toronto, so I’m not sure how much North Americanization has occurred, but it’s only a matter of time before someone lets me know.

Besides all the freshly ground black pepper, the other key element here is the equally generous amount of chopped cilantro, which unfortunately not everyone is able to enjoy. For roughly 10% of the population, the herb tastes like soap, so below I’m going to provide you with a substitute herb blend that will get you pretty close.

You can use this same marinade with chicken breasts, but I really think the darker, richer meat makes for a much better match with the herbaceous, black pepper flavor profile. By the way, some recipes call for garlic in the marinade, and some don’t, but since my dipping sauce was going to be very garlicky, I didn’t add any to mine. As usual, suit yourself, but either way I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 Large Portions Ping Gai Chicken:
2 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 10)
For the marinade:
1 to 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns, freshly and coarsely ground
1 very large bunch fresh cilantro, stems and leaves (about 1 cup packed)
note: instead of cilantro, you can use equal parts basil, parsley, and mint
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the dipping sauce:
2/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
juice from 1 lime
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Asian chili paste or sauce
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
2 to 3 tablespoons honey, or to taste