Archive for April, 2007

25th April
written by scott

cuban chicken This is a meal befitting a communist dictator – or you! Now that the weather is warming up, I can’t help but crave the tangy, refreshing flavors of lime, mint and cilantro. This is an easy, rewarding meal that makes you want to forfeit your civil rights and float on a door to paradise.

Serves: 2 baseball loving Yanks
Total Kitchen Time: 40 mins

Shopping List:

  • 1 whole organic, free-range, hormone-free, sustainably-farmed, middle-class, democratic chicken
  • *Special equipment: cast iron skillet or oven-proof skillet


  • 1 small onion
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp cilantro
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp fresh black pepper
  1. Combine all the marinade ingredients in your food processor or blender. If you don’t have either, I hope you have a sharp knife and patience.
  2. Butterfly the chicken by removing the spine with kitchen shears and cracking the sternum with your hands. For more information, get Jacques Pepin’s book. I know you won’t.
  3. Marinate the chicken from 0-8 hours (really, you can just brush this stuff on) making sure both sides of the bird are nicely coated.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 and set the rack to the middle-top position. Get your skillet nice and hot and give it a minute to retain the heat.
  5. Place the bird, breast side down, in the skillet and cook about 3 minutes. Transfer the whole skillet to the oven and cook until the thickest part of the meat reads 145 on your thermometer (about 20 minutes).
  6. Flip the bird over and crank your oven up to broil. Broil 5-7 minutes, or until the skin is crispy and brown. Let stand 5-10 minutes before carving.

Candied Jalapeno

  • 5 jalapeno peppers, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  1. Pour the sugar and water into a small sauce pan over high heat.
  2. When the water starts to boil, add the sliced jalapeno. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook about 15 minutes. Don’t let the sugar reach the soft boil stage – it should stay slightly watery even at the end.
  3. Transfer jalapeno slaw to a plate with a slotted spoon.

Fried Plantains:

  • 4 plantains, cut into 1/2 in sections (you can substitute bananas if you want)
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the sliced plantains, brown sugar and cinnamon. Saute, flipping to coat with butter, about 15 minutes.
25th April
written by scott

big burger These are really really big burgers. Why post a recipe so carelessly anti-cardiac? Because I’m trying to get banner ads from the American beef lobby. Anyhow, consult your doctor before starting this recipe. Or move to Texas.

Serves: 4 giant fire breathing robots
Total Kitchen Time: 40 mins

Shopping List:

  • 2 lbs ground chuck (go visit your butcher. Anything labeled “ground beef” contains parts you don’t want to know about)
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh ground pepper
  • Monterey Jack cheese (to top)
  • 1/2 lb Crimini mushrooms
  • 1 tsp butter
  • *Special equipment: cast iron skillet or oven-proof skillet
  1. Preheat your oven to 425F.
  2. Preheat your skillet (preferably a well-seasoned cast iron skillet full of grandma’s bacon’s memories) over medium high heat.
  3. Combine the ground chuck, oats, Worcestershire, salt and pepper. Use your hands here and don’t overwork the meat – just enough to get the oats evenly combined.
  4. Form 4 1/2 lb patties, about 4 inches in diameter. They’ll be thick (see the picture). Thick is good.
  5. Slice the mushrooms into 1/4 in slices and saute with the butter in a small skillet, about 10 mins. Reduce the heat to really really low.
  6. Add the patties to the hot skillet and cook about 2 minutes, until the outside is brown and crisp. Don’t flatten them with your spatula; it’s not cool. Flip once and cook another 2 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the hot oven and bake until the meat reaches 135 (if you trust your butcher).
  7. Move the burgers to a plate and let stand for at least 5 minutes. Top with cheese and mushrooms, then attempt to fit a bun around it.
  8. Make sure your will is up-to-date and your health insurance card is in your wallet. Enjoy burgers with your favorite condiments (I love mayonnaise and BBQ sauce).
25th April
written by scott

pulled pork This is a great recipe for large groups (especially if you want to make friends). It requires a little planning, but it might be a good excuse for you to meet your neighborhood butcher.

Makes: 12 people appreciate the other white meat
Total kitchen time: 10 hours (1 hour active time)

Shopping list:

  • 6-8 lb pork shoulder
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  1. Trim the pork to remove excess fat. You’ll want to leave a small layer of fat for flavor (and the coveted pan drippings), but trim off any giant chunks of fat.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix.
  3. Place the pork in a roasting pan and pat with the dry rub. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  4. (The next morning) Preheat your oven to 220 F. Add about 1/4 inch of hot water to the bottom of the roasting pan. Cover the pork shoulder and roasting pan in aluminum foil and bake for 6-8 hours or until it reaches an internal temperature of 150F. If you have a probe thermometer, this would be a great time to use it. Make sure your roast isn’t cooking too quickly (or slowly). Adjust the oven temperature accordingly.
  5. When the pork reaches an internal temp of 150F, remove the foil and crank the heat up to 425. Cook until the pork forms a golden brown crust, about 10 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, transfer the pan drippings to a small saucepan and add the vinegar. Boil until reduced, about 20 minutes.
  7. To pull the pork, use two large forks, back to back, and pull the meat until it flakes apart. This might take up to 40 minutes for a large pork shoulder, so put on some of your favorite music before you start.
  8. When ready to serve, pour the pan sauce over the pulled pork.
22nd April
written by scott

cream soda This recipe is to creme soda what the “oatmeal cookie” shot is to it’s namesake: a striking resemblance that arouses both nostalgic excitement and alcoholic predispositions.

Makes: you drunk
Total bar time: 1 min

  • 1/2 cup root beer
  • 1 fl oz (single shot) Brandy
  1. Combine ingredients and drink

This drink goes down smooth so it’s not recommended for weddings, corporate functions or anywhere else that requires pants and modesty.

21st April
written by scott

guava coconut sorbet This recipe is embarrassingly easy, but nobody needs to know that. This sorbet makes an excellent summer dessert and can be served with fresh tropical fruit. I like to serve sorbets in martini glasses with a small, colorful garnish. If you want to be less subtle, a coconut shell works, too.

Makes: about 1 qt
Total kitchen time: 30 mins

Shopping List:

  • 2 cans of Kerns Guava Nectar (in the juice section of your grocery store)
  • 1/2 can of cream of coconut
  1. Combine all ingredients (yes, all 2) in a blender or food processor until smooth and airy.
  2. Freeze. If you’re using an ice cream maker, ensure that the mixture is cold beforehand. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, pour the mixture in a wide, shallow baking dish and still-freeze. After 4 hours (or when ice crystals start to form throughout) scrape with a fork to break them up. You’ll end up with more of a granita than a sorbet, but it will still be delicious.
17th April
written by scott

brussel sprouts People tend to have a knee-jerk reaction to the mention of brussels sprouts. However, they have gotten a bad rap from bland preparation and inelegant presentation. In this recipe, I proudly cheat my way to delicious brussels sprouts through the cunning use of dairy.Serves: 4 as a side dish
Total kitchen time: 35 minutes

Shopping List:

  • 1 lb brussels sprouts
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1/4 heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan
  • (kosher/sea) salt and (freshly gound black) pepper to taste
  1. Preheat your oven to 425F and set your top rack about 6 inches from the broiler.
  2. Clean the brussels sprouts under cold water to remove any dirt. Cut the brussels sprouts in half.
  3. Next, we want to par-steam the brussels sprouts to get them soft, but not cooked all the way through. You can steam them in a vegetable steamer if you like. I’ve found that microwaving them in a baking dish with 1/2 inch of water for 7 or 8 minutes works just as well.
  4. Place the brussels sprouts cut-side-up in an oven-proof baking dish, just large enough so they stack 1-2 sprouts high. Add salt and pepper.
  5. Heat the half and half and cream until it just barely starts to boil. Pour over the brussels sprouts. Top with the shredded and grated parmesan.
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly.
  7. Serve to a cautiously optimistic audience, who will soon have a whole new appreciation for this wonderful vegetable.
16th April
written by scott

best sandwich This is my favorite sandwich. It is a perfectly balanced mix of salty, sweet, crunchy and soft. The use of prosciutto and goat brie make it sophisticated enough to serve to guests. Accompany the sandwich with some fresh melon and an Orangina for a great summer lunch. Thanks to Rachel for developing this recipe with me.

Serves: 2 as lunch or 6 as finger sandwiches
Total kitchen time: 20 minutes

Shopping List:

  • 1 loaf ciabatta bread
  • 4 oz goat brie*
  • 8 slices prosciutto
  • 2 tbsp apricot spread
  • 1 dz fresh whole basil leaves
  • 1 tsp olive oil

*regular brie will work if you can’t find goat brie

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Add the prosciutto, a few slices at a time. Keep the prosciutto as flat as possible and make sure the slices don’t overlap. Cook until crispy, about 3 minutes per side. Place on a paper towel to cool. Don’t clean the pan just yet.
  2. Cut the ciabatta loaf in half (longways like a hamburger bun) and toast the cut sides in the fat left behind from the prosciutto, about 4 minutes.
  3. Assemble the sandwich in the following order (it makes a difference :-)) apricot spread, basil leaves, prosciutto, brie. Once you have your sandwich assembled, squash it down with both hands.
  4. Slice in half and serve!