Tuesday, June 30, 2009

CampingPacking List

This post has been moved to my new blog.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

French Potato Salad

If you are like my sister and hate potato (and pasta) salads with mayo, this could be the potato salad for you. It still may not be for you because tarragon has a strong flavor that's not for everyone. After a several year absence, I am growing tarragon again. In about a month, when it gets a little bigger, I'm looking forward to the "Why are you letting that weed grow?" question. Tarragon isn't a pretty plant. This recipe also calls for chervil. Chervil grows easily from seed. In the past, I never knew what to do with it, so I stopped growing it. If you grow chervil, go ahead and use the first herb mix. If you don't grow it, it's hard to find in supermarkets. Then use the second herb mixture. I never have shallots on hand. Shallots would be a better choice in this salad, but I used finely chopped yellow onion instead. I added the onion to the vinaigrette, thinking the hot potato water would soften its bite. It worked just fine. I sliced my potatoes with my mandolin (v-slicer). So for me, this is a pretty quick recipe. This is yet another recipe from Cook's Illustrated The Best Recipe.

French Potato Salad

2 lbs red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 T salt
1 med garlic clove, peeled and threaded on a skewer
1 1/2 T champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar (I actually used cider vinegar)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 T or onion. See intro)

1 T chervil
1 T parsley
1 T chives
1 T tarragon


1 1/2 T parsley
1 T chives
1 1/2 T tarragon

1. place the potatoes, 6 cups cold water, and the 2 T salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium. Lower the skewered garlic into the simmering water and partially blanch, about 45 seconds. Immediately run the garlic under cold tap water to stop the cooking; remove the garlic from the skewer and set aside. Simmer the potatoes, uncovered, until tender but still firm (a thin-bladed paring knife can be slipped into and out of the center of a potato slice with no resistance), about 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes, reserving 1/4 c cooking water. Arrange the hot potatoes close together in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.
2. Press the garlic through a garlic press or mince by hand. Whisk the garlic, reserved potato cooking water, vinegar, mustard, oil, and pepper together in a small bowl until combined. Drizzle the dressing evenly over the warm potato slices; let stand 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, toss the shallot and herbs gently together in a small bowl. transfer the potatoes to a large serving bowl. Add the shallot-herb mixture and mix lightly with a rubber spatula to combine. Serve immediately if serving hot or chilled for a few hours and brought to room temperature.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Grilled Citrus and Cilantro Spiced Chicken

It seems like I only cook recipes from America's Test Kitchen. I tend to get obsessed with cookbooks (and SciFi) and stick with it for a while.

Early 80's Betty Crocker Cook Book for Kids and Star Wars
Late 80' Frugal Gourmet (I own three of his cookbooks) and Star Trek the Next Generation (I was way too interested in Klingon Politics).
Early 90's Gourmet and Food and Wine Magazines and Twin Peaks (Not SciFi exactly)
Late 90's Laurel's Kitchen and the Moosewood Cookbook and the X Files
Early Millennium Food Network Website, especially Alton Brown and Harry Potter (Technically Fantasy) and Firefly.
Recently Food Blogs and America's Test Kitchen and Lost, Battlestar Galactia, and Heroes

Anyway, here's yet another recipe from America's Test Kitchen. This one comes from The New Best Recipe. Brining chicken or pork keeps it moist (especially important with pork) and flavorful. All about brining. If you have the time, you should brine chicken (and pork) for every recipe (use a salt free rub so it's not too salty). If you don't have the time to brine the chicken for this recipe, simply salt your chicken before you add the spice paste.

Chicken Thighs on a Gas Grill

8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
6 T table salt
1 quart water
1 recipe spice paste

1. Trim any overhanging fat and skin from chicken thighs. Dissolve the salt in 1 quart of cold water in a gallon zip to bag. Add the chicken; press out as much air as possible and seal. Refrigerate 1 1/2 hours.
2. Turn all your grill burners to high and close lid to heat for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, clean grill with grill brush and rub grates with oil using tongs and a paper towel. Leave one burner on high and turn the others to medium-low. Meanwhile, rinse chicken and dry with paper towels. Rub with spice paste. Rub the paste under the skin, especially if you plan to discard the skin after cooking. Cook the chicken over burner on high until seared, 1-2 minutes on each side. Then cook chicken, skin side up on cooler part of the grill for 16-20 minutes until temperature reaches 170 degrees.

Makes enough 1/2 c, enough for 8 thighs or 4 breasts
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp coriander
2 T orange juice
1 T lime juice
1 T olive oil
1 garlic clove, pressed
2 T fresh cilantro, minced

Combine all ingredients. You can also skip the pressing and mincing and puree ingredients in a food processor. Rub paste over brined and dried chicken pieces before grilling. If you skip the brine, salt chicken before adding the paste.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Rhubarb Compote with Yogurt, Oatmeal, or Lemon Curd.

Looking for something a little different to do with your rhubarb? Well I cooked a pot full. You can call it stewed rhubarb or rhubarb compote depending on how fancy you prefer your food names. I added some to my homemade yogurt. If I had some homemade granola around (without the dried fruit), I would have added some.
I also made overnight steel cut oatmeal (without the dried fruit). I added some of the rhubarb compote and had the perfect spring breakfast for the recent rainy weather. And finally, I love the combination of lemon and rhubarb. So I made some lemon tart filling and topped it with some stewed rhubarb. A crumbled gram cracker in between the layers would have completed the dish perfectly. But sadly, there is not a gram cracker crumb in my house.
See also, my Grandma's Rhubarb Pie recipe.

Stewed Rhubarb (Rhubarb Compote)

1 lb 5 oz chopped rhubarb (the amount my Aunt gave me from her garden)
3/8 c sugar
3/8 c water
pinch salt

Bring to a boil in a large saucepan. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. I've seen recipes that add vanilla or cinnamon. Feel free to add either if you like.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Coke Challange, Fargo Food, and Links

I went to Fargo this weekend to visit my friend and my sister. If you were on I94 this Sunday you probably noticed the Umpa-Lumpa's rolling me down the road on my way home. My brother-in-law got a new grill recently. He's been busy breaking it in. First he made me a fabulous chicken roulade on Friday. Chicken breast rolled with pancetta, provolone, and basil and then grilled. We both thought it was the basil that made it. Yum. Plus there was asparagus and garlic bread. The next day he asked if I wanted a burger for lunch. Sure. But, I wasn't expecting one quite that size. The burger was really good, but it was huge. My sister jokingly asked if I got a T-shirt if I finished it. I couldn't quite do it. Not T-shirt for me. I Shouldn't have eaten for a few days. But, I had already agreed to go to my friends house for supper. First my friends brought out these fabulous stuffed mushrooms. Stuffed with Swiss cheese, Parmesan, bacon, and bread crumbs, these were amazing. We all secretly wanted to dive into the platter face first and inhale them like the hose of a vacuum. We some how managed to be grown ups and share. They also made a great lavash pizza(top right). They had the cracker like Armenian lavash bread as the base, no sauce, and mozzarella and veggies. (There was also a meat version, but no picture). I'm gradually deflating.
While I was there, my brother-in-law decided we should do a coke challenge. A blind taste test between Mexican coke and American coke. They sell Mexican coke in the grocery store in Fargo. Mexican Coke is made with sugar, American Coke with corn syrup. He lined up the unmarked glasses. There was a clear difference. It was obvious which was which. I was delighted. Mexican Coke is the Coke of my childhood. Much less sweet. It's the coke that I keep expecting when I occasionally buy one, and am then disappointed. We found it to have less bite and less carbonation the the American version. I did miss the extra carbonation. My sister found the Mexican coke to taste a bit watered down, like fountain pop with ice melted into it. She really likes the bite and extra sweetness of the American version. My brother-in-law, my friend, and I all prefer the nostalgic taste of the Mexican Coke. My sister preferred the American version. It was 3-1, but I think Julie's opinion would be the prevailing one the the general population. If you always wish your coke was less sweet, try the Mexican version.

Two Links.
One mom's funny story about a cake baking contest.
Why you hate bitter foods. This lists almost all of the short list of foods I don't like.