Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Molly Stevens’ Sausages and Plums Braised in Red Wine

To celebrate my girlfriend’s long-awaited move to New York, I found this recipe from Molly Stevens’ All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking. I braised sausages and plums in red wine, and like every other recipe I have tried from the cookbook, it did not let me down. It was a very simple braise that filled my apartment with aromas of sweet italian sausage, sage, and red wine. The recipe can be found here.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Pork Tonkatsu

I’m still alive! After spending last week on vacation in Florida, I have been busy catching up on work and my workouts, and have had little time to cook or post. My cupboard and refrigerator are pretty empty, so I have been living mostly off of leftovers this week. I did, however, find some Berkshire pork cutlets in my freezer, so I prepared pork tonkatsu, a simple japanese dish of panko-breaded pork with a sweet and sour sauce.

I prepared the pork using the tonkatsu recipe from Mark Bittman’s The Best Recipes in the World. It’s very easy: season the pork, dredge in flour, dip it in beaten eggs, and coat it with panko. Shallow fry for 3 minutes per side. Serve with a sauce consisting of equal parts dijon mustard, mirin, and soy sauce, and slightly less rice vinegar. I served the pork with roasted potatoes and stir fried kale. Sorry, no picture due to poor lighting.

Now that this hectic week is almost over, I’ll I can make my return to the kitchen (and the blog).

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

New Amsterdam Market and Marcella Hazan’s Roast Chicken

Last Sunday, I schlepped over to the New Amsterdam Market at New York’s South Street Seaport. This is the third installation of the market, which runs a few days a year and and features some of the region’s top proponents of local and sustainable food. The goal is for the market to become a permanent fixture of the South Street Seaport, but for now, we Manhattan foodlovers must settle for having some of the region’s top purveyors and producers of fruits, vegetables, meats, cheese, bread, and more in the same place only a few times a year. It’s like a Greenmarket on steroids.

After stuffing my face with bread and cheese samples; an excellent ham, pickle, and butter sandwich from Marlowe and Sons; and a slice of delicious caramelized leak and ricotta tart from a baker I don’t remember, I began to think about dinner. I did not have much cash on me, so I passed by two of my favorite Greenmarket meat producers, 3 Corner FIeld Farm and Flying Pigs Farm, and set my sight on the $5 chickens at Bo Bo Chicken. I was unfamiliar with Bo Bo chicken, but the friendly lady at the stall informed me that they sell super fresh (i.e. less than a day from the slaughterhouse) poultry. She told me they sell mostly to Asian markets, but also deliver fresh poultry to some of New York’s finest restaurants. I bought a medium-sized chicken for $5 dollars, and they also gave me a free tote bag with an ice pack so I could safely get the chicken home to the Upper East Side in this 90 degree weather. A great deal for a what sounded like a great chicken. Here’s what it looked like when I put it on my cutting board to prepare dinner:

This chicken was so fresh that it had seen little in the way of a butcher’s table. I had only dealt with headless and feetless chicken before, but I was able to quickly get the chicken into it’s more familiar form with a few chops of my knife. I threw the head and feet into the freezer for a stock I will be making later down the road.

To prepare the chicken, I used a recipe for roasted chicken with lemon’s from Marcella Hazan’s The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. Roasting a chicken does not get much easier than this. Just take two lemons, roll them and squish them, poke a bunch of holes into each, and stuff them into the cavity of the chicken. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, truss it, and into the oven it goes. Here’s what it all looked like after cooking at 350 degrees for an hour, then 20 minutes at 400 degrees:

Unfortunately, I failed to dry the chicken well enough after I washed it, so the skin did not get as brown or as crispy as I would have liked. Thankfully, the meat was deliciously moist and flavorful with the lemon juice that it absorbed while in the oven. Marcella even convinced me to retract my statement that the best roast chickens are cooked with generous amounts of butter. This chicken had no butter, and was as delicious as any roast chicken I have made. It did, however, have a good amount of salt, so I stand by my belief that salt is a roast chicken’s best friend.


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