Thursday, May 31, 2007


Clipped this from the Aqua Newsletter.

A traditional dish that can include nearly any fruit or vegetable, clafoutis originated in the Limousin region of southern central France. Delicious, satisfying, and easy-to-make, this venerable French classic is a great addition for a brunch buffet.


2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup crème fraiche or sour cream
1 tablespoon flour
6 cups red fruit, such as cherries, raspberries, or strawberries, pitted and halved
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Fruit sorbet, vanilla or pistachio ice cream (optional)

For the clafoutis:

Preheat the oven to 350 ° F. Butter and flour a 10" square or round ceramic or glass baking dish.

Whisk eggs and ¼ cup of sugar together, gradually adding salt, flour, and crème fraiche. Blend until smooth. Pour into dish and add 4 cups of the red fruit on top of mixture. Bake for 20 minutes.

For the compote:

In a medium pan bring 2 cups of red fruit, 1/3 cup of the sugar, water, and lemon juice to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally.

To assemble dish:

Spoon clafoutis into bowls, pour compote over top. Garnish with sorbet or ice cream, if desired.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Zuni Cafe Cookbook: House-Cured Pork Chop

I went to the Ferry building and bought some beautiful frenched pork chops from Sonoma. The counterperson said that the bones are like an attached baby back rib on each chop.

For 4 pork chops (10 to 11z each and 1-1/4" thick), or 2 tenderloins (about 1 pound each)

A few crumbled bay leaves, dried chiles, and crushed juniper berries (optional)

5 cups room temp. water

6 Tbl sugar

3 Tbl salt (a little more if using kosher salt)

We have a juniper bush in the front yard that I picked some berries out of.

If using aromatics, place them in a small pot with about 1 cup of the water. Bring to a simmer, stirring and crushing with a wooden spoon, to encourage them to release their flavors. Remove from heat and leave to infuse for about 10 minutes. Combine the remainder of the water, the aromatic mixture, if using, sugar and salt in a deep bowl or 3 quart plastic storage container. Rinse meat and pat dry. Place in the brine and use a plate to keep the meat submerged. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 4 days.

A couple of hours before cooking, remove the pork from the brine. Rub and massage the meat as you rinse it thoroughly under cold running water. Press between dry paper towels. Refrigerate until about 15 minutes before cooking.

Brush pork with olive oil and grill over medium coals, or cook in a heavy skillet with a film or olive oil over medium heat. Move the chops or adjust the heat if the sugar threatens to burn, and turn at least three times as they cook. Cold chops should take about 18 minutes to cook. They will hold well for another 10 minutes in a warm, protected spot.

I added a cup of apple cider vinegar and smashed a couple of garlic cloves to the brine, and then before cooking I rubbed the chops with olive oil and then with a spice rub for ribs from Williams-Sonoma.

Then we grilled them for 6 minutes on medium heat, then 5 minutes, then 3 minutes and let them sit for 5 minutes.

They were cooked just about right.

I served them with Sugar Snap Peas with Sesame from the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.
The recipe is so easy, I blanched the peas for 2 minutes, drained them and then tossed with 1 tblsp of sesame oil and 1/2 tsp salt, then sprinkled in some black sesame seeds.

We also had Caesar Salad from the same Zuni Cafe Cookbook, which is light and lemony and threw in some Semifreddi's Garlic croutons.

As usual, by the time we got to eating, I forgot to take a picture of the plate... It was very good too. I made mashed potatoes using chicken stock and yogurt butter, which is light and fluffy and yummy too.

Lynne's Classic Vinaigrette Dressing

Yet another recipe from I love the simplicity of this and it is so much better to have fresh home made dressing over bottled. The flavor of the oil in bottled dressing always tastes drab to me. Mr. K has the amazing ability to whip up a batch of zesty vinaigrette in a few minutes, but sometimes it's hard to corral him into doing it... This is a very nice substitute.

Copyright 2002, Lynne Rossetto Kasper

Makes about 2 cups and keeps for a week in the refrigerator.

This is the true Italian or French dressing. It's so basic, it's scary. But trust me, when made with good-tasting vinegar and oil this is a star.

Get a pint jar (2 cups) with a screw top. You're making this by taste, not by exact measurement so the quantities are approximations.

1/2 cup good tasting vinegar (ie a blend of rice vinegar and balsamic, or cider, wine or sherry vinegar)
1/2 cup good tasting extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine in the jar, shake, taste and then add more oil or vinegar to balance. Store in the refrigerator up to 1 week. Use at room temperature, shaking to blend. Remember a little goes a long way, so always start with a couple of tablespoons.

Variations. The key to each of these is tasting as you blend.

Herbs and Garlic: Each time you use the dressing, you could add herbs to the salad, or rub the bowl with garlic before adding the greens.

Dijon Dressing: Put about 1/2 cup of the dressing in bottom of salad bowl, add generous tablespoon Dijon mustard, some fresh tarragon and 1 shallot, minced. Blend, add greens and toss

Honey Mustard Dressing: Add to Dijon Dressing, brown sugar or honey to taste. Also a tablespoon of mayonnaise makes it creamy.

French Bleu Cheese Dressing: Take a little basic vinaigrette, blend in bleu cheese and garlic to taste.

Creamy Bleu Cheese: Add sour cream, mayonnaise and minced onion to bleu cheese dressing.

Ranch Dressing: Mix in salad bowl blend into some basic dressing minced garlic, chopped parsley, chopped scallions, and chopped basil with equal amounts of mayonnaise and buttermilk.

This recipe was featured on MPR's Tuesday Night Kitchen, a weekday online-only food program from The Splendid Table.

Chilled Zaru Soba with Dipping Sauce

Serves 4

Cook's Notes: When buying dried soba at Asian or health food stores, you may or may not be able to figure out the percentage of buckwheat to wheat flour from the package label.

Sometimes the labels are only in Japanese, sometimes they just don't say. Unless you know a good Japanese grocery store, the best bet for high-quality 80 percent buckwheat soba (hachiwari soba) is to mail order it (see Resources below).The loveliest and the most authentic way to present soba is on a zaru, the Japanese bamboo tray sold at Japanese markets and craft stores. The trays are inexpensive and elegant to have around. If you like, add flavors like grated ginger or orange zest to the dipping sauce.

12 ounces dry soba noodles, preferably 80 percent buckwheat
1 cup instant dashi (kelp and bonito broth), prepared according to package instructions
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons shoyu soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/4 cup mirin (sweet Japanese wine)
3 tablespoons katsuobushi bonito flakes, if available
1 sheet nori seaweed, toasted lightly over a gas flame and julienned
1/4 cup finely sliced scallions, for garnish
1/4 cup finely grated daikon, for garnish

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the soba and reduce the heat to medium. When the water comes back to a boil, stir the noodles with chopsticks and add about 3/4 cup cold water. When the water returns to a boil, add more cold water and repeat this process one more time. Cook the noodles until slightly al dente, 6 to 8 minutes. (If using soba with a high percentage of wheat flour, cook it in boiling water without adding cold water for about 6 minutes.) Drain the soba and rinse under cold running water, running your fingers through the noodles to untangle.

Transfer the soba to a tray lined with paper towels and drain until dry. Place in a bowl and refrigerate, covered, until cool. If the noodles clump together, rinse and dry again.

In a small saucepan, combine the dashi, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and mirin and bring to a simmer. Add the bonito flakes and remove from the heat. After 5 minutes, strain the sauce into a serving bowl, cool, and chill.

To serve, divide the soba among Japanese bamboo baskets or rustic ceramic bowls, and sprinkle each portion with toasted nori. Serve the garnishes and individual small bowls of the dipping sauce on the side.

To eat, either grab a tangle of soba with chopsticks and dunk it in the dipping sauce bowl, or spoon some dipping sauce over your portion.

Resources: Katagiri is a great source of high-quality soba and other Japanese ingredients (tel: 212-755-3566 or

Adapted from The Greatest Dishes: Around the World in 80 Recipes. © 2004 by Anya Von Bremzen. Published by HarperCollins, 2004.

from the

Green Papaya Salad with Shrimp

Excerpted from Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table: Recipes and Reminiscences from Vietnam's Best Market Kitchens, Street Cafes, and Home Cooks by Mai Pham (Morrow Cookbooks, 2001). © 2001 by Mai Pham. Used with permission.

Serves 4

This salad epitomizes the Vietnamese love of contrasting flavors and textures. The tartness of the dressing brings out the smoky, salty flavors of the shrimp and the peanuts add crunch and nuttiness. If you can't find green papaya, substitute with white cabbage.


1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 Thai bird or 1/2 Serrano chili, chopped
5 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons water

1 1/2 tablespoons minced lemongrass
1 teaspoon minced shallots
1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2/3 pound medium raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 medium green papaya, peeled and shredded into thin long strands (about 4 cups), rinsed and spun dry
1/3 thinly shredded carrots, soaked in cold water and drained
1/3 cup Asian basil leaves, cut in thirds
2 tablespoons fried shallots
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped roasted peanuts

1. For the dressing, combine the garlic, chilies, 4 teaspoons sugar, fish sauce, lime juice and water in a small bowl and set aside.

2. Place the remaining sugar, lemongrass, shallots, chili flakes, salt and oil in a mixing bowl and stir well. Add the shrimp; toss gently and allow to marinate for 20 minutes. Grill or pan-sear the shrimp in an oiled skillet over high heat until just done, about 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.

3. Put the cooked shrimp, shredded papaya, carrots, basil and fried shallots in a mixing bowl. Add the dressing and toss gently to evenly coat all ingredients. Sprinkle the peanuts into the bowl, then toss and transfer to a serving dish.

Classic Andalusian Gazpacho

From the website.

Adapted from The Greatest Dishes: Around the World in 80 Recipes © 2004 by Anya Von Bremzen. Published by HarperCollins.

Serves 6

A fruity Spanish olive oil, preferably from Andalusia, is important, as is a good sherry vinegar, preferably aged. Both can be found at specialty groceries or mail-ordered (see Resources). If you can spare the time, garnish the gazpacho with tiny bread croutons fried in olive oil.

Four 1-inch-thick slices day-old coarse country bread from a round loaf, crusts removed, torn into small pieces
3 pounds ripest, most flavorful tomatoes possible, washed and quartered (do not use Beefsteak tomatoes)
4 tablespoons good-quality sherry vinegar, preferably aged
3 medium garlic cloves
Small pinch of cumin seeds or ground cumin
Coarse sea salt
2 firm medium-sized Kirby (pickling) cucumbers, peeled
1 medium green bell pepper, cored and seeded
1 medium red bell pepper, cored and seeded
One quarter of a medium red onion, peeled
1/2 cup fragrant, fruity extra-virgin Spanish olive oil, preferably from Andalusia
1/2 cup bottled spring water, or more to taste

2 to 3 tablespoons each finely diced cucumbers, peeled green apples, slightlyunderripe tomatoes, and green bell peppers
Slivered young basil leaves

1. Place the bread in a large bowl, and squeeze out the seeds and some of the juice from the tomatoes over it. Crumble and massage the bread with your fingers. Add 1 tablespoon of the vinegar and let it soak for 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic to a paste with the cumin and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

3. Transfer the bread mixture to a food processor along with the garlic paste, and process until completely smooth. Leave this mixture in the food processor while preparing the next step.

4. Chop the tomatoes, cucumbers, red and green peppers, and onion into medium dice. Place the vegetables in a bowl, stir in three large pinches of salt, and let stand for 15 minutes so that the tomatoes throw off some liquid.

5. Working in three batches, process the vegetable mixture in a food processor until as smooth as possible, adding a third of the olive oil to each batch. (The first batch will be processed with the bread mixture.) Transfer each finished batch to a sieve set over a large bowl.

6. Pass the gazpacho through a sieve, pressing on it with the back of a wooden spoon. Whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons vinegar and the water. Adjust salt to taste. Chill the gazpacho for at least 3 hours before serving. (If making the gazpacho a day ahead, add the garlic 2 to 3 hours before serving, lest it overwhelm the other flavors.) Serve in glass bowls or wine glasses, with the suggested garnishes.

Resources: Tienda carries excellent Spanish olive oils and vinegars (telephone 888-472-1022 or

Goan Vindaloo Fish Curry

Another recipe taken from the website.

Excerpted from Nirmala's Kitchen: Everyday World Cuisine by Nirmala Narine (Lake Isle Press, 2006). Copyright 2006 by Nirmala Narine.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1 pound white, firm-fleshed fish, such as kingfish or cod, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon whole black mustard seeds
1 tablespoon peeled, minced fresh ginge
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 small Thai red chiles, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
3/4 teaspoon cayenne
8 fresh curry leaves, or 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 cup canned, unsweetened coconut milk
1 small tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons grated unsweetened coconut (optional)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

In a medium bowl, combine the vinegar and salt. Add the fish and turn to coat. Cover and let marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat the ghee or oil over medium-high heat and add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, and mustard seeds. Cook for just about 20 seconds, stirring so that the oil evenly coats the spices. Add the ginger, garlic, chiles, onion, cayenne, and curry leaves or lime juice. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes.

Remove fish from the marinade, letting the excess drip off, and transfer to the skillet along with the spices. Gently stir until the fish is coated on all sides. Add the coconut milk, 1/2 cup water, tomato, and grated coconut, if using. Gently stir; cover. Cook over medium heat until the fish is opaque and firm, about 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Transfer the fish to a heated-serving platter and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

Variation: You can substitute 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast for the fish, but increase the cooking time from 5 minutes to 8 to 10 minutes.

EZ-Style Adobo Pork Ribs with Molasses-Chile Barbecue Sauce

I copied this from the website. I am a big fan of the podcast.

Excerpted from How to Cook Meat by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby (Morrow Cookbooks; Reprint Edition, 2002). Copyright 2002 by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby.

Serves 5

The "3 and down" spareribs used in this recipe are my (Chris's) absolute favorite type of ribs. These beauties are small enough to be manageable, but they have plenty of fat and incredible pork flavor. It just doesn't get any better than this in the rib department.

Here I'm taking a kind of nontraditional approach to these ribs. First I coat them with my dry adaptation of the Latin American adobo sauce, flavored with cumin, chili, oregano, and sour orange. Next I go the "cheater's route," putting the ribs in a low oven for 3 hours to cook them through, then laying them on the grill over a very low charcoal fire to give them a nice crust and some good smoke flavor. To finish it all off, there's a sweet-sour-hot barbecue sauce for drizzling or dunking.

For the Flavoring Paste:
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons chile powder
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh oregano
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
6 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
4 dashes Tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
Two 3-pound racks pork spareribs

For the Flavoring Paste:

For the Sauce:
1/3 cup molasses
1/2 cup catsup
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
1 to3 tablespoons minced fresh chile peppers of your choice

Preheat the oven to 200°F.

In a food processor or blender, combine the paste ingredients and blend until smooth. Dry the ribs with paper towels, then rub them thoroughly with the paste. Place the ribs on two baking sheets and slow-roast for 3 hours, or until no red juice comes out when you poke the meat with a fork and the meat is tender and pulls easily from the bone. Remove the ribs from the oven. They can go right onto the grill, stand out for a while, or be refrigerated, covered, for 2 days.
While the ribs are roasting, combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix well; set aside.

Light a fire in your grill. You want a very low charcoal fire with the rack set as high as possible.
Put the ribs on the grill and let them stay there as long as your patience allows. A light crust on the outside is the goal, and, depending on your fire, it can be achieved in 5 minutes per side or take up to 30 minutes per side, if you're into prolonging your guests' agony. Of course, the longer the ribs cook, the better. Brush them with the sauce during the last minute on the grill.
Cut the ribs apart between the bones and serve with the remaining barbecue sauce on the side.


The Cut: In the trade, these are called "3 and down" pork spareribs. The "3 and down" means that each rack weight 3 pounds or less, and the "spareribs" means that they come from the belly of the hog, right below the bacon. If you can get them, these are my #1 choice for ribs.

Other Cuts You Can Use: You can definitely use St. Louis-style spareribs here, and, in a pinch, you could cut your cooking times in half and go with the pork loin back ribs, even though they're really a different animal.

Cook Once, Eat Twice: If you are fortunate enough to have any of these ribs left over, reheat them in a low (250°F) oven and eat them with coleslaw. Or you can even just eat them room temperature—we certainly have.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Miang Kam

A Recipe of Kasma Loha-unchit Recipe Copyright © 1998 Kasma Loha-unchit.

Miang kam is a very tasty snack often sold as street food. It involves wrapping little tidbits of several items in a leaf, along with a sweet-and-salty sauce. Chewing all the myriad ingredients together gives taste receptacles on the tongue and mouth a thrilling experience – from the rich, roasted flavors of coconut and peanut, to the tanginess of lime with zest and the pungent bursts of diced ginger and chillies. It makes a great party food!

Ingredients for Miang Kam

Large leaves from 1-2 bunches of spinach; or 1 head of leafy lettuce, tear leaves into 3- to 4-inch round or square pieces

Miang Kam Filling Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
1/4 cup small dried shrimp
1/2 cup roasted unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup diced ginger (about the size of a pea)
1/3 cup diced shallots or onion the same size as the ginger
1 lime, cut into small peanut-size wedges, each with both peel and juice sacs
4 heads pickled garlic, stem removed and bulb cut into peanut-size pieces
6 serrano peppers, cut into thin half circles; or use Thai chillies ( prik kee noo), cut into thin rounds
1/3 cup cilantro leaves

Miang Kam Sauce Ingredients:

1/4 cup finely ground dried shrimp
1/2 cup roasted shredded coconut
1/4 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
1/4 cup palm or coconut sugar
2 Tbs. fish sauce ( nahm bplah), or to taste
1/2 cup water

To roast coconut, place unsweetened fresh or dried shredded coconut in a dry cast iron pan over medium heat. Stir frequently until the coconut shreds are evenly a golden brown and very fragrant. Pickled garlic is available in jars from Southeast Asian markets.

Arrange the spinach or lettuce leaves and filling ingredients on a large serving platter, piling each separately and aesthetically for a pleasing presentation.

To make the sauce, grind the dried shrimp, roasted coconut and peanuts separately and as finely as possible in a clean coffee grinder. (For the dried shrimp, measure out 1/4 cup after the shrimp is ground.) Place in a small saucepan together with the palm sugar, fish sauce and water. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, stirring frequently to make sure all the ingredients are well blended and the sauce as smooth as possible. Cook about 10-15 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened to the consistency of light batter. Transfer to a sauce bowl and allow to cool to room temperature before using. The sauce will thicken more as it cools.

To eat, take a spinach or lettuce leaf, fill it with a little bit of everything, top with a dab of sauce, roll or wrap up, stuff the entire leaf packet into your mouth and chew everything all at once. Enjoy the explosion of flavors!

Kasma's Notes and Pointer for Miang Kam

Miang Kam is often sold as a street food in Thailand in an interesting form. The leaf used for making miang Kam in Thailand, wild pepper leaves (bai chapoo), is much tougher than spinach. The vendor places four or five ingredients in the leaf, a dollop of sauce, and then wraps up the bundle and skewers it onto a stick – Miang Kam on a Stick!

Recipe Copyright © 1998 Kasma Loha-unchit.

A version of this article was originally printed in the San Jose Mercury News.

Spinach Dal

This recipe comes from Anne Martin Rolke, author of Hands-Off Cooking: Low-Supervision, High-Flavor Meals for Busy People.

3 cups water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup red or pink lentils, rinsed
4 cups fresh spinach or chard or 3 cups frozen chopped spinach or chard (not creamed)
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes or one 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup diced onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh crushed ginger or from a jar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt

1. In a large pot, combine the water, butter, lentils, spinach, tomatoes, onion, garlic, ginger, cumin, and salt and stir well to mix the ingredients.

2. Set the pot over medium-low heat and simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Serve immediately, or cover and keep warm for up to 30 minutes.

Serves 4 to 6

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Everyday Okra & Shrimp Curry

Serves 4

Oakland author and cooking teacher Ruta Kahate says if you don't like your curry soupy, which this is, boil it down before adding the shrimp. Increase the amount of okra if you wish. Serve with steamed rice.

1 teaspoon finely grated garlic (2 large cloves)
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon cumin seed, finely ground
1/2 teaspoon coriander seed, finely ground
2 1/2 cups plus 1 teaspoon water
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 14.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk (well shaken)
1/2 pound tender okra, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup fresh tomato puree (about 1 medium tomato, skinned, seeded)
1 serrano chile, cut lengthwise into 4, seeds included
1 pound medium-size raw shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar


Instructions: Stir together garlic, turmeric, cayenne, cumin, coriander and 1 teaspoon water to make a thick paste. Using a fork, mix together onion and canola oil, crushing onion slightly. Mix spice paste into onion.

Over medium heat, bring coconut milk and 2 1/2 cups water to a boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer. Stir onion mixture into coconut milk, making sure that the spice paste is well distributed. Add okra and salt, stir and simmer, uncovered, until okra is tender, about 30 minutes.

Add pureed tomato and serrano. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and simmer only until shrimp are cooked, another 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar and simmer for a few minutes more. Taste and adjust the salt, if needed.

Per serving: 375 calories, 19 g protein, 11 g carbohydrate, 30 g fat (20 g saturated), 135 mg cholesterol, 979 mg sodium, 4 g fiber.
Karola Saekel is a Chronicle staff writer. E-mail her at