Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Shiso Tofu

From Eric Gowers Breakaway Japanese Kitchen

This would go very well on fish or meat too. It was a little bit too bright tasting, so I drizzled some sesame oil and soy sauce over it to balance it out.

Serves 2 or 3

20 fresh shiso leaves
1 heaping tablespoon baby ginger, minced (normal ginger will work too)
zest of 1 orange (or other orange citrus), a tblsp reserved
3 to 4 tablespoons juice of any orange citrus
1 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tblsp brown rice vinegar (or other vinegar)
sea salt
fresh coarsely ground black pepper
1 tub oborodofu, about 1/2 lb. I used fresh tofu from San Jose Tofu

Blend everything except the tofu in the blender. Divide the tofu into two or three of your prettiest bowls, and spoon over the sauce. Taste for salt, and garnish with the reserved zest.

Citrus zest addes a tremendous boost of flavor and complexity to whatever it touches, has virtually no calories, and costs almost nothing. I can't get enough of it. A ten-dollar investment in a microplane zester will reward you for years, but you certainly don't need one. Just slice off the peel of any citrus with a vegetable peeler or sharp knife, scrape away any bitter white pith clinging to it, and mince it up.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Fried Black Beans

Using the last of the Marin Sun Farm eggs, Mr. K made me a delicious breakfast of fried eggs, leftover refried beans and chorizo from Snake River Farms. The quality of the chorizo is very good and it crisps beautifully and doesn't dry out at all. Anyways, he is a big fan of Rick Bayless's cooking and used this recipe from his Mexican Everyday cookbook. The beans freeze beautifully.

Makes 2.5 cups, serving 4-5

2 to 3 tablespoons rich tasting fresh pork lard, vegetable oil or bacon drippings (use 3 tbl for creamier beans)
2 to 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped or crushed through a garlic press
3.5 cups home-cooked beans or two 15-oz cans

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant but not brown, about 1 minute. Add the beans. As the beans come to a simmer, corasely mash them with a bean masher, old-fashioned potato masher or the back of a large cooking spoon. How smoothly you mash them is entirely a matter of personal preference - in most cases, I like them rather chunky. Cook, stirring nearly constantly, until the consistency of very soft mashed potatoes - expect about 10 minutes total cooking time. Taste and season with salt if you think necessary.

Beans for dinner: A super-easy dinner starts with frying a packed cup (8 oz) fresh Mexican chorizo sausage (casing removed), tipping off the excess fat, then adding the garlic and the beans. Cook until thickened, and serve with warm tortillas, a little salsa and a salad.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Chopped Stetson Salad

From Cowboy Ciao, Scottsdale, AZ

Makes 2 servings.

Israeli or pearl cous cous (cooked) 2 oz
Arugula 2 oz. chopped
Roma tomatoes 2 oz. diced
Smoked salmon 1.5 oz
Asiago cheese .5 oz
Pepitas .5 oz
Black currants .5 oz
Super sweet dried corn 1 oz

Pesto Buttermilk Dressing
Pesto .5 cup
shallot 1, rough chop
aioli 1 cup
buttermilk 1 cup
coarse black peper .5 teaspoon
1/2 lemon, juice only
salt and pepper to taste

Add first three ingredients for dressing to food processor and blend thoroughly. With motor running, pour in buttermilk. Add remaining ingredients to combine. Store in refrigerator.

Here's a slideshow of the waitress mixing it up for us at our table. They serve it with either smoked salmon or roast chicken breast. It was delicious either way!