Sweet Pickled Pepper Slices

This recipe is heavily adapted from The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich and is orginally for sweet peppers. I like to use cherry peppers.

Makes 4 pints.

4 garlic cloves
2 tsp. pickling salt
2 pounds cherry peppers sliced in half or generous rings
1 carrot thinly sliced (optional)
2 cups white vinegar or cider vinegar
2 cups water
3/4 cup sugar

Put 1 garlic clove and 1/2 tsp. pickling salt into each of 4 pint size mason jars. Pack the peppers and carrots snugly into the jars.

In a nonreactive saucepan, bring the vinegar, water and sugar to a boil. Stir to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

Pour the hot liquid over the peppers, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Close the jars with hot two-piece caps. Process jars for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath.

Store in a cool, dry place for at least 3 weeks before eating the peppers.

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Habanero Hot Sauce

Adapted from RickBayless.com

Ingredients
5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/2 cup roughly chopped carrot (about 1 medium)
1/2 cup roughly chopped onion (about 1/2 small onion)
12 medium habanero chilies, stemmed
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. sugar

Directions
Roast the unpeeled garlic cloves in a skillet over medium heat, turning regularly, until soft and blackened in spots, about 10-15 minutes. Cool & peel.

In a small saucepan, combine carrot, onion, habaneros, vinegar & water. Simmer over medium-low heat, partially covered, until carrots are soft.

Cool slightly. Add roasted garlic, salt and sugar. Blend in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth. Adjust seasonings.

Pour into jars and store in refridgerator. Thin with water if too thick.

Makes 2 cups.

This can be frozen but it will separate, shake to serve.

Salt Marinade for Baked Chicken

Puerto Rican Roast Chicken
I found this recipe on a website called Great Food 360.

I was hunting for something to go with some Pique hot sauce. This was perfect.

Measure the ingredients below per pound of chicken:

1 tsp. sea salt (I used Kosher salt)
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 garlic clove
1 tsp. olive oil
1 bay leaf

Stir together the salt, pepper & oregano and a sprinkle (~ 1/4 tsp) of adobo seasoning (optional). Add the garlic and oil to make a paste.

Spread the paste under the skin over the entire chicken. If there is any paste left, spread it over the skin.

Add the bay leaves to the cavity of the chicken.

Refrigerate, uncovered, at least 4 hours.

Place the chicken, breast side down, on a broiler pan. Roast on convection at 350F for 35 minutes. Flip the bird breast side up and continue roasting until a meat thermometer in the thigh registers 185F, approximately 35-45 minutes longer.

Banana Pie

Yelapa Style Banana Pie

Adapted from the Auguest 2018 issue of Food & Wine.

The recipe calls for a hot water pie crust because it is sturdy for eating on the beach. While it was good, I see no reason why a regular crust wouldn’t suffice if you are eating it at home. Also, The recipe calls for a 9 1/2″ deep dish pie pan. But the custard was a bit shallow for my pan so I increased it by 50%.

Crust
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 cup water

Filling
3 large bananas, cut diagonally into 1/3-inch thick slices
3 large eggs, at room temp.
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 vanilla bean pod, split and seeds scraped
1/4 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. granulated sugar, optional, for topping

Preheat oven to 375F. Whisk together flour & salt in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center. Set aside.

Combine butter, shortening and water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until butter & shortening are melted, stirring constantly. Bring to a simmer and cook 30-60 seconds.

Pour into well in flour. Working quickly, mix until a shaggy dough forms. Transfer to a clean surface and knead until smooth, about 1 minute.

Roll out between two pieces of parchment. Remove top parchment and carefully flip dough into 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie plate, patching if necessary. Line with parchment and fill with pie weights.

Bake in preheated oven until crust is set, about 18 minutes. Remove weights and parchment and bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.

Remove to wire rack and cool completely.

Reduce oven temp to 325F.

Line pie pan with banana slices.
In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until completely blended.
Add milk, condensed milk, salt and vanilla bean seeds. Whisk to combine. Carefully pour over bananas.

Bake 325F until edges are set and center is slightly jiggly, 45-50 minutes. Banana slices will rise to the top. Remove to wire rack & cool.

If desired, sprinkle with sugar and carmelize with a kitchen torch.

Serve warm or chilled.

Cauliflower Soup

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

1 head of cauliflower (about 2 lbs)
8 Tbsp. butter
1 leek (or just onion if you don’t have a leek)
1 small onion
Salt & Pepper
4 ½ – 5 cups water
½ tsp. sherry vinegar
3 Tbsp. minced fresh chives

Trim of outer leaves of cauliflower.
Cut heaping 1 cup of ½-inch florets, set aside.

Cut up remaining cauliflower into ½-inch thick slices

Melt 3 Tbsp. butter in large saucepan. Add leek, onion & salt. Cook, stirring until onion is softened but not brown, about 7 minutes.

Add 4/12 cups of water & half the sliced cauliflower and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add remaining cauliflower and simmer until cauliflower is tender and crumbles easily, about 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt remaining 5 Tbsp. butter in an 8-inch skillet over medium heat. Add reserved florets and cook, stirring often, until golden and the butter is browned, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and using a slotted spoon, transfer cauliflower to a small bowl. Toss with sherry vinegar and season with salt to taste. Pour butter into a separate bowl to be used as garnish.

Process soup until smooth, using a blender or immersion blender. Return to simmer, adjust consistency with remaining water if needed. Season with salt to taste “Soup should have a thick, velvety texture but should be thin enough to settle with flat surface after being stirred.”

Serve, garnish each bowl with some browned florets, a drizzle of butter, chives and pepper.

Doctored Gefilte Fish

In memory of Shelly Rosenblum.

I assisted in the cooking for Passover this year, 2018. I would like to note that, being a Catholic, I have only attended Passover a few times. But I loved Shelly. I would have loved to have had her recipe to work from but instead I had the website of Sadie Salome. Adjusted below to serve the 28 people attending the Rosenblum/Guagliardo passover.

4 jars of Manischewitz gefilte fish in water or gel or a mix in my case
8 cups of sliced onions (sliced in the food processor)
8 super large carrots
A small bunch of Dill (do yourself a favor and tie up the bunch or mince it finely)
1 sweet potato peeled and sliced
Keep the onion skins

For this quantity I used a canning pot.

Place the pot over medium-high heat. Add a couple tablespoons of acceptable vegetable oil. Add about half the onion, carrots and sweet potato. Pour on the gefilte fish and it’s liquid. Add the remaining carrots, onions & sweet potato, the dill and the onion skins. Add enough water to barely cover.

Raise the heat to bring to bring to a simmer and cook about 2 hours.

Remove the gefilte fish and place in a large container (or two). Strain the broth and pour over. At this point you are supposed to save the carrots. Are you kidding me?! What a mess. So I strained off the solids and used the broth to cook another 5 or 6 carrots to serve with the fish.

Chill and serve with generous amounts of horseradish. (The Polish side of me can get behind the horseradish).

Vietnamese Turmeric Fish & Mango Dipping Sauce

The dill and turmeic combo in this recipe had me skeptical but it turned out to be delicious. The marinated fish gets fried hot and fast in coconut oil. It is served drizzled with a scallion & dill infused oil and served with mango dipping sauce.

Fish 
1 Tbsp. Turmeric Powder
1 tsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. Chinese cooking wine
2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/4 lbs. cod fish, boneless & skinless, cut into 2-inch wide pieces

2 Tbsp. coconut oil for frying

Combine the marinade ingredients and stir in fish to coat. Marinate the fish for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

Infused Scallion & Dill oil
2 cups scallions, sliced into thin strips about 1-inch long
2 cups fresh dill, coarsely chopped
pinch of sea salt

Mago Dipping Sauce
1 medium, ripe mango
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 garlic clove
1 tsp. dry red chili pepper (add just before serving)
Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until desired consistency.

 Additional Toppings
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Lime juice
Cashews or pine nuts

To Pan-Fy the fish:

Heat 2 Tbsp. coconut oil in a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. When fully hot, add the marinated fish. The fish should sizzle loudly, you may lower the heat to medium-high. Use several batches if necessary to not overcrowd the pan.

Do not turn or move fish until you can see the sides turn a golden color, about 5 minutes. Season with a pinch of sea salt. Add more coconut oil if necessary.

Once golden, carefully turn the fish over. When cooked, transfer to a platter and keep warm.

Using the remaining oil in the pan make the scallion infused oil:
Heat the pan to medium-high. To the oil in the pan add 2 cups scallions and 2 cups of dill. Turn off the heat. Give them a gentle toss until just wilted, about 15 seconds. Season with sea salt.

Pour the infused oil over the fish and serve with mango dipping sauce and additional toppings on the side.

Maple-Pecan Swirls

This recipe is from Cook’s Illustrated with streamlined directions.

Bake 375F 12 minutes

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup superfine sugar (or regular sugar put through a food processor)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
16 Tbsp. (2 sticks) butter, room temp. cut into 16 pieces
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. (2 ounces) cream cheese, room temp.
—-
1 1/2 cups toasted pecans, cooled
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 large eggs, separated
—-
1/4 cup turbinado sugar

Dough
In mixer, mix flour, sugar & salt on low speed until combined (5 sec). On low speed, add butter 1 piece at a time, mix till crumbly. Add vanilla & cream cheese and mix until just forms large clumps.

Remove dough and knead by hand 2-3 turns to form cohesive mass. Pat into square (7 inches), wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 20-30 minutes.

Pecan filling
Pulse pecans in food processor until finely ground.
While pulsing, add maple syrup in a steady, slow stream; add egg yolks and process until combined.
Transfer to a small bowl and cover. Refrigerate until needed.

Shape Cookies
Roll dough between 2 large sheets of parchment paper to 11″ x 16″ rectangle.
Chill 30 minutes.

Using an offset spatula, spread pecan filling evenly, leave half inch border around all edges.

Starting at long end, roll tightly. Press to seal seam.

Spread turbinado sugar evenly on parchment. Roll log in sugar, pressing lightly. Wrap in parchment and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Can be wrapped in plastic and stored 2 days.

To bake:
Preheat oven to 375F, adjust oven rack to middle.

Use chef’s knife to slice log into 1/4-inch thick rounds (you may discard the ends if you don’t like odd shaped cookies but I think that’s crazy!)

Place about 1 inch apart on parchment lined baking sheets.

Lightly beat egg whites and brush tops of cookies. Bake one sheet at a time until lightly golden, about 12 minutes.

Cool on wire rack.

It seemed like the egg white wash was just a way to use up the whites, but it did give the cookies a nice glaze.

Tofu with Broccoli & Mushrooms in Princess Sauce

This worked so well I don’t want to forget it!
I combined a couple recipes from Chinese Cookery by Rose Cheng & Michele Morris and used tofu instead of chicken or pork.

1 box Tofu

Marinade:
1 Tbsp. rice wine
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. grated ginger root

Seasoning Sauce:
1 Tbsp. rice wine
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. sesame oil

6-10 dried red hot peppers
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 small head of broccoli sliced, stems sliced separately
2-3 scallions, sliced diagonally
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup chicken broth

Place tofu in marinade, let stand at least 30 minutes. (I set it up early in the day and put it in the fridge until dinner)

Mix seasoning sauce and set aside. Prepare all vegetables.

Heat 2-3 Tbsp. oil in wok with a couple peppers. Add tofu and stir fry until well browned. Using a slotted spoon, remove tofu, draining oil over wok; set aside.

Heat oil, adding more if necessary. Add garlic, ginger and broccoli stems. Stir fry 1-2 minutes. Add mushrooms and whites of scallions, stir fry an additional minute or two.

Add broccoli, toss. Add chicken broth and cover until water is absorbed and broccoli is cooked.

Add tofu, seasoning sauce and remaining scallions. Stir fry until sauce thickens and is heated through. Stir in cashews and serve.

Bearnaise Sauce

My cousin Tam gave me these directions. I believe they come from the Joy of Cooking. This is wonderfully easy and of course delicious, since it is nearly all butter.

1 stick of butter, melted. Keep hot

But in a blender:
3 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp. tarragon vinegar, or in my case 2 T sherry vinegar and about 1/2 teaspoon or more of dried tarragon
pinch of cayenne, optional

Blend.

With the blender on, add the butter in a very slow stream.

If the sauce is not thick enough for your liking, put it back in the pot and heat over low heat, whisking until thick. Be careful not to break the sauce or cook the yolks. Tam says that if you break the sauce add an additional yolk to bring it back together.

For hollandaise sauce, use 2 Tbsp. of lemon juice instead of the vinegar.