Monday, April 26, 2010

Belated food post

I haven't talked much about food lately, but that doesn't mean I haven't been cooking! Here are some recent creations from my kitchen:

These cookies are from a couple of Saturdays ago. They are chocolate and butterscotch chip cookies with cinnamon. The recipe was loosely based on this one, but eliminating the toffee and going with all chips, and with a teaspoon of cinnamon added to the flour. There was something of a happy accident in that I added too many chips, so the cookies stayed big and chunky instead of flattening out. And I am really liking the addition of cinnamon to a lot of my cookie recipes. Yum!

Chocolate and butterscotch chip cookies with cinnamon

Made a tasty pizza last Thursday - black and green olives, fresh Mozzarella, Trugole cheese, and Grana Padano cheese, and home-cured Canadian bacon (still had a little bit left in the freezer!).!

Another cookie recipe - this is from the "sounds really strange, but is actually really good" files. I found this recipe in Bon Appetit for soft chocolate cookies with grapefruit and star anise and wanted to give it a try. Soft in texture with a rich chocolate flavor, the star anise adds a licorice note, and the grapefruit zest lends a pleasant citrus burst. Probably not a cookie for everyone, but I found them interesting, unique, and quite flavorful.

Exotic tasting cookies

Saturday night's dinner was shrimp in yellow curry. This is a Thai-style coconut curry dish I found in Mark Bittman's cookbook, The Minimalist Cooks at Home. (You might remember Bittman as one of the lucky guys who got to eat and drink his way around Spain with Gwyneth Paltrow and Claudia Bassols) His recipe is here - but I changed a few things. I added lemongrass and roasted chile paste to the aromatics, reduced the amount of shrimp to a pound and included some veggies (red bell pepper, water chestnuts), and used all of a 14 1/2 oz. can of coconut milk (the recipe called for a cup, but I figured why waste the rest?). Even had some of my homemade curry powder on hand. You create an extremely flavorful sauce and basically poach the shrimp until just cooked through. This dish was outstanding.

Shrimp in yellow curry

Sunday was a crummy day weather wise, so I stayed in for most of the day and made pork and black bean enchiladas. It started with a homemade guajillo chile salsa, which would serve as my enchilada sauce. I also made a tangy and smoky tomatillo-chipotle salsa. A small hunk of pork butt was seasoned with a variety of spices and braised in beer, chicken stock, and some of the tomatillo-chipotle salsa until tender. I shredded the pork and mixed it with a can of black beans. The braising liquid was defatted and reduced to about a half cup worth of intensely flavored and spicy glaze, and this was mixed into the pork and beans. The pork and beans were rolled up in tortillas, topped with guajillo chile salsa, Monterrey Jack, and sharp cheddar cheeses and baked until golden brown and bubbly on top.

Hot out of the oven

Labor intensive? Yes. But absolutely worth the effort? You bet! The enchiladas came out of the oven smelling amazing, and tasting even better. Topped off with a little bit of both of my salsas and some sour cream, and I had a delightful south-of-the-border feast.

Plated up, with extra guajillo chile and tomatillo-chipotle salsas!

There, I am caught up!

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