Thursday, April 30, 2009

Chicken Adobo, Part I

Recently, I realized that I haven't made adobo in months. In an attempt to earn back my Pinoy card (and use up the chicken thighs in the freezer), I decided to remedy that. Alas, it's been long enough that I've forgotten the proportions of my "baseline" recipe; on the brighter side, this gives me an excuse to experiment with different ones. So, herewith - and just barely beating out Bittman's version, because the idea of a new vinegar picqued my curiosity, is my take on the venerable Burnt Lumpia's chicken adobo.

In retrospect? I would have marinaded, added a bit more garlic and browned the chicken after, not before, for maximum skin crispage. But hey - it was a weekday, and I wanted something fairly low-maintenance.
  • 2 lbs. chicken thighs, skin on
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 7 cloves garlic (about 1-1/2 heaping tbsp.), minced
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 heaping tsp. black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
Put oil in a skillet large enough to hold the chicken pieces in one layer; turn heat to medium and wait till oil shimmers. Add the chicken pieces, skin side down, and brown (about 5-7 minutes); turn, then brown the other side (another 5-7 minutes).

Remove chicken and place in a bowl. Pour off all but a tablespoon or two of the drippings. Turn the heat to low and saute the garlic till it's light brown and fragrant (about 1-3 minutes). Deglaze the pan with the liquids, making sure to scrape with a wooden spoon.

Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Return the chicken to the pan, skin side up; add any accumulated juices, too. Bring to a gentle simmer, cover the pan, and play Xbo mess around onl- be productive for 25-45 minutes, or till chicken is tender.

Remove chicken and reserve. Turn heat to medium-high and reduce sauce to desired consistency, stirring often and correcting seasoning if necessary.

Return chicken to pan, remove from heat, and serve with white rice, drizzling sauce over both.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Black Beans

I keep forgetting how cheap, convenient (and fast, when canned!), nutritious and nummy beans can be. As usual, very roughly based on a recipe in Bittman v2.
  • 1 15.oz can black beans (reserve the liquid)
  • 1 cup tomatoes, chopped or crushed (used some aging grape maters this time)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp. cumin (I'll probably use more next time, though)
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper (didn't do this during the current iteration - thank FSM, cos even 1/4 tsp. may be too hot for some)
  • salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 heaping tbsp. garlic, minced (or more to taste)
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 cup red wine (used chicken stock)
  • 2 scallions, chopped (for garnish)
Put beans, tomatoes and the bean liquid in a small pot. Season with bay leaf, cumin, cayenne powder, salt and pepper. Simmer for about 10 minutes, while you prepare the next step.

Put the oil in a skillet; turn the heat to medium. Cook the onions about 10 minutes or till they're tender. Then, add the garlic and cook for one minute more. Add to the bean mixture.

At this point, Bittman advocates putting the wine in the skillet and cooking it down for 5 or so minutes. I messed up and added the liquid to the bean-tomato and onion-garlic mixture instead. Fortunately, 5 or so minutes of boiling evaporated most of it and did not leave a bland mush.

Serve over white rice.

Monday, April 20, 2009

French 75

The weekend was warm and sunny, and so - though the ground was still damp - my thoughts turned immediately to summery cocktails. This one (via CHOW) sounded good, though expediency led me to use the recipe in the comments (reproduced below) instead of the main one. They turned out well, if rather undistinguished; I suspect they'll become more of a favorite as the weather warms and the garden patch needs additional tending. Next time, I'll probably try the bitters-and-sugar cube version, too - that might add a bit more character to it.
  • 4 oz. champagne or sparkling wine
  • 1/4 oz. gin (Tanqueray was fine)
  • 1/4 0z. Cointreau
  • 1/4 oz. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Combine everything in a glass. Stir, and serve (orange rind garnish optional).

Bolognese-Style Meat Sauce

Way too many of my recent recipes have been inspired partially by the need to use up a gigantic bunch of celery. This one (actually cooked last week, but I got lazy and didn't bother typing it up till now) is based on the one in the first edition of Bittman; my changes are in italics (note too that my stove seems to heat up more slowly than his - cooking times have been amended accordingly).
  • 1 carrot, peeled and minced
  • 1 large onion, peeled and minced
  • 1 celery stalk, minced
  • 3 oz. pancetta (alt. 1/4 cup), minced
  • 1 lb. ground beef (alt. 1/2 lb. beef, 1/2 lb. veal)
  • 1 28-oz. can tomatoes, juice reserved
  • 3/4 cup juice from tomatoes (alt. white wine)
  • 1 cup beef or chicken stock
  • salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup milk
  • grated Parmesan
Put olive oil in large pot. Turn heat to medium-low. After a minute, add the onion, carrot, celery and pancetta. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender (about 10-15 minutes).

Add the ground meat. Cook, stirring and breaking up any clumps, till all traces of red are gone (about 5-10 minutes).

Raise the heat a little. Add the tomato juice and cook, stirring occasionally, till most of the liquid's evaporated (about 5-10 minutes).

Crush the tomatoes and add them to the pot; stir, then add the stock. Turn the heat to low and cook at a slow simmer, stirring occasionally and breaking up clumps. After an hour or so, season with salt and pepper.

Cook for at least another hour (more like 1-1/2 or 2 hours more in my case), till much of the liquid has evaporated. At this point, you can take the sauce off the heat and freeze or refrigerate for a while. If you're doing this, reheat it before going to the next step.

Add the milk and cook for another 15-30 minutes (didn't actually do this, as the sauce was rich and milky enough without - and well, more to the point, as I wanted to maximize storage time), stirring occasionally. Correct seasoning. Serve with pasta (or rice!) and grated Parmesan to taste.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Chicken Soup - Or Is It Braised Veg?

Another one of those "let's clean out as much of the fridge as possible" meals. First step is making a stock based on Bittman's "Quickest Chicken Stock." Once that's done, I get to continue.
  • about 6-1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 6 large leeks, washed and chopped into 1" lengths (quarter the large ones, halve the smaller ones)
  • half a cabbage, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • meat from 4 chicken thighs, removed from bone and shredded
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
Normally, I'd saute the vegetables in 2 tbsp. butter for a few minutes or till soft, but I'm too lazy right now.

Put broth in a large pot. Add vegetables. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes, till vegetables are tender but not mushy.

Add chicken meat. Correct seasoning.

11:03 pm: Barely enough broth for the leeks, let alone everything else. Added a cup of prefab stock, stuffed the poor Dutch oven to the brim with the cabbage, set it to a boil, turned the heat to med-low, and am curious to see how it will all turn out. Could this be a fail?

Apr. 15, 4:46 pm: Ended up turning off the heat after 20 minutes, covering the pot (a heavy Dutch oven) and letting it sit for half an hour more before cooling and storing. Turned out pretty well - if too light on the broth - but I'll probably put it on the stove for another 10 minutes or so tonight to get the cabbage and carrot just a bit more tender. And next time, I'll start working on some semblance of a solid-liquid ratio for my soups (something that, alas, Ruhlman does not cover in his new book Ratio).

Quick Chicken Stock

This recipe's based on Bittman and, in this particular case, modified to include some ginger that was getting soggy and to disinclude some parsley that I didn't have. We'll see how it turns out.
  • 2 lbs. chicken thighs
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 small onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2 small stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 3-4 in. knob of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 7 cups water
Throw everything in a large pot and bring just about to a boil.

Partially cover the pot, and reduce heat so the liquid's very gently bubbling. Cook for 30-40 minutes, till chicken is done.

Remove thighs; debone and reserve meat. (Actually, at 40 mins., the stock was still kind of meh, so I took the meat off the bones and reserved it, then threw the bones back in the pot for another 20 mins. Let's see how it goes.)

Strain the stock, pressing down hard with a wooden spoon or something similar to extract the maximum amount of juice from the veggie solids.

Freeze or use stock and chicken (will be doing the latter with both, presently).

Sunday, April 5, 2009

You Say Puchero, I Say Pochero (Filipino Beef Stew)

This took quite a bit longer than I had anticipated, and was a bit more complicated than I wanted dinner to be, but turned out wonderfully. And, as it's a stew (albeit a very soupy one, as I used all the delicious broth), I expect it will taste even better tomorrow. It's based on two recipes - one from Filipino Cooking Here and Abroad, and the other from this website - and the usual impulse to use up the greatest number of perishables. Would have rather gotten shanks instead of supermarket-style stew beef cubes, but EM was closed, alas.
  • 1.75 lbs. stew beef, cut into inch-square cubes
  • 1 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1-1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 medium onions - 1 sliced,1 chopped
  • 7 cloves garlic - 4 crushed, 3 minced
  • 3 celery stems - 2 cut into 4 in. lengths, one chopped (will probably leave out the chopped portion next time)
  • 2 chorizos or 4 oz. spicy pepperoni (used the latter since I didn't have any chorizo handy)
  • 1 14-oz. can of tomatoes
  • 1 14-oz. can of chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp. peanut oil
  • 1/2 head medium cabbage, quartered
  • 1 medium potato, cut into 1-2 in. chunks
  • 6 scallions, cut into 2-in. lengths
Place the beef, peppercorns, salt, sliced onion, crushed garlic and 2 celery stems in a large pot or Dutch oven and cover with water (about 4 cups in this case). Bring to a boil then simmer till the beef is tender - anywhere from 1-1/2 to 2 hours. (The recipe to this point makes a nice, tasty beef broth that I'll be using as a base in the future, especially for nilagang baka [beef soup].) Add the chorizo or pepperoni 30 min. before you finish cooking this part.

Place the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute the chopped onion and garlic for a few minutes, till the onion turns translucent. Add the tomatoes - crushing or chopping them, as is your preference - and cook till the mixture turns saucy for about 5 minutes (if you're more patient than I was at this point, you can cook them for another 5-10 minutes or so, till they break down and turn saucy). Add the chickpeas and cook for another 5 minutes.

Once the beef is tender and the chorizo/pepperoni has cooked, add the potatoes, chopped carrots and chopped celery. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add the cabbage. Cook for about 10 minutes more or till the vegetables are tender but still have bite to them.

Add the tomato mixture to the large pot. Stir to combine and cook for another minute or two. Correct seasoning.

Remove from heat, add the scallions and cover. Wait 5 minutes, then serve over white rice.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Riff on Bittman's "Anti-Ramen" Soy Broth

Being home sick today meant scarfing up all of yesterday's soup well before dinnertime. So, I decided to try a variation on Bittman's "anti-ramen": "Egg Noodles in Soy Broth." Despite a misstep and a few varations (reproduced in the recipe below for posterity and further experimentation), the broth's incredibly rich and flavorful, especially for something meatless. It's also the inspiration for the new "comfort food" tag.
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/6 cup ketchup (I use a HFCS-free organic store brand)
  • 1/6 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. mirin (whoops - picked up the wrong bottle)
  • 2 tsp. white vinegar (to make up for the mirin)
  • 1 hefty squeeze of sriracha
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 potato, diced (had to use up leftovers)
  • 3 baby bok choy, chopped, stems and leaves separated
  • 2 scallions, chopped (for garnish)
Put water, ketchup, soy sauce, mirin, white vinegar and garlic cloves in a pot. Add potato and baby bok choy stems. Bring to a boil, then simmer till potato is nearly cooked, about 10-15 minutes.

Add baby bok choy leaves. Cover and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes, correct seasoning, then serve with noodles or (in this particular case) over day-old rice, garnishing with scallions.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Potato and Leek Soup

My tag cloud is making me want to vary my cooking habits somewhat, so I acquired a big bag of potatoes from Peapod this weekend and came home early tonight in order to get some cooking in. After taking an ingredient inventory, I figured the best way to use up the largest number of perishables would be to cook some chicken stock from scratch (4 cups water, 4 chicken wings, 1 large celery stalk, 1 medium carrot, 2 small onions, about 1 tsp of peppercorns plus salt and pepper to taste, brought to a boil then simmered for 30-40 minutes), then strain it into the recipe below to make a standard potato and leek soup.
  • 3 medium-to-large leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 large potatoes, chopped into small cubes
  • 2 tsbp. butter
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste
Put the butter in a Dutch oven or large pot on medium heat. When it's melted, add the leeks and potatoes. Stir for a few minutes; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add stock. Bring to a boil, then lower heat. Simmer till vegetables are tender, about 20-30 minutes. Puree if you like. Correct seasoning and serve.

NOTE: I overcooked the potatoes a bit - they're still solid, but soft and without the slight bite I like - and so will probably puree some of the soup instead of leaving it be.

Poached Catfish with Ginger and Soy Sauce

This is one of my go-to recipes for catfish (which, as the tag cloud informs me, I eat more of than I thought): simple, quick and delicious. I can't recall if it's in the revised Bittman, but it's certainly in the first. Original recipe below, with my changes in italics:
  • 2 tbsp. peanut oil
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced (original: 1)
  • 5 tbsp. minced or grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup water (broth works, too)
  • 1/4 cup slightly diluted dry vermouth (didn't have any white wine, as per the original)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste
  • 1 to 1-1/2 lbs. catfish fillets
  • 2 scallions, chopped, for garnish
In a large skillet, heat the oil on medium. Add the garlic and ginger and saute till the garlic begins to color. (NOTE: Bittman reserves 1 tbsp. of ginger for garnish at the end. I didn't.)

Add the liquid and turn the heat to high. Boil till the liquid's been reduced by about half - this should only take a couple of minutes. Season to taste.

Turn the heat back to medium and add the catfish. Cover and cook till fillets are no longer translucent - about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat. Garnish with scallions and serve.