Monthly Archives: November 2008

Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo

Cooked chicken, andouille sausage, onions, jalapeno, parsley, Cajun spices, scallions, celery, garlic, bell pepper, oil, flour, chicken stock, S&P, cayenne and bay.

Begin by browning sausage in a tablespoon of oil.  Remove sausage to drain, reserving rendered fat.

Brown chicken in reserved fat with dry herbs and spices.  Remove chicken to drain, reserving fat.

Add enough butter to approximately double the amount of fat in the ban and allow to brown slightly. Add flour in batches, cooking and stirring continuously until thickened, about 10 minutes.  Continue stirring and cooking until the roux has the color of chocolate, about 20 mintes.

Add the vegetables (except scallions and parsley) to the roux and cook 5 minutes.

Add chicken stock and the reserved chicken and sausage.  Simmer uncovered over medium-low heat for 1 1/2 hours.  Adjust seasoning.

Put a mound of cooked rice in a soup bowl and top with scallions and parsley.  Ladle hot gumbo over the top and serve with lots of hot sauce.

Rating  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ +

Tuna Salad

Chopped egg, cucumber, scallions, pickled ginger, shaved fennel, black and white sesame seeds, spinach, lemon wasabi, sashimi-grade ahi, sesame oil and shoyu.

Toss the salad ingredients together and moisten with a little brown rice vinegar.  Season lightly with salt and pepper. Briefly marinate the tuna in shoyu with a little sesame oil while the skillet heats.

Sear the tuna over medium-high heat for two minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to cutting board and allow to rest 5 minutes.

Plate the salad and top with sliced tuna. Dress with wasabi and a scant amount of the marinade.

Rating  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Thanksgiving, part two

For the bird: fresh sage, dry rub, garlic, butter, honey, stock, bourbon. remove the bird from the brine and rinse it thoroughly inside and out. Pat dry. Cream together softened butter, snipped sage and minced garlic.  Use your fingers to carefully seperate the skin from the flesh, creating a pocket on either side of the breast.  Put the butter mixture into these pockets, pressing with your fingers to distribute as far as possible.  See how the whole breast area looks yellow now?  Thats the herb butter.  Dress the outside of the bird with melted butter, honey, bourbon and dry rub mixture.  Put into a preheated 500 degree oven and immediately reduce the heat to 350 degrees.

For the garlic mashed potatoes: diced red potatoes with some skin left on, garlic, onion chives, milk, truffle butter and S&P.

For the dressing: dried herbs, celery, onion, parsley, baguette, stock, butter and S&P.

After 30 minutes, baste the bird with honey and bourbon and return to the oven.

For the bean dish: haricot vert, half & half, mustard seed, mushrooms, onion, buckwheat flour (I made this by grinding hulled buckwheat in a spice grinder), olive oil, nutritional yeast and S&P.

Toast the bread for the dressing. Saute the celery, onion, herbs and spices.  Moisten with stock, then put the pan in the oven with the bird.

Remove the bird when the internal temperature reaches 155-160 degrees – it will continue to cook a little while on the counter.

Boil the potatoes.  Drop the bundle of beans in the same pot for 3 minutes, then remove to a bowl of ice water.

Dredge thinly sliced onions in seasoned buckwheat flour and fry in olive oil until golden brown.  Set aside to drain.

Saute the beans and mushrooms.  Add half & half and cracked mustard seed and reduce over medium-low heat until thickened.  Season with S&P.

Mash the potatoes with milk, onion chives, garlic and truffle butter. Season with S&P.

Assemble the plate: thick slices of honey bourbon roasted fowl, bread dressing, green beans with mushrooms and fried onions, garlic mashed potatoes with pan gravy and cranberry rhubarb chutney with sliced persimmon.  Serve with a glass of chilled hibiscus mead.

Rating  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Thanksgiving, part one

Brining solution: kosher salt with peppercorns, herbs and garlic, honey, bourbon and fresh sage. Bring a small pot of water to the boil and add the salt and bourbon, stirring until the salt is dissolved.  Turn off the heat and add snipped sage and honey.  Allow to cool to room temperature before pouring over the bird with sufficient additional water to submerge the bird.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Mead: Add simmered hibiscus calyses to traditional mead.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Cranberry rhubarb chutney: cloves, ginger, coarse mustard, onion, rhubarb, cranberries, salt, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, non-refined sugar, raisins and apple cider vinegar.  Cook rhubarb, cranberries, onions and sugar together until the cranberries pop and the juices that are released dissolve the sugar, about 15-20 minutes.  Add raisins, mustard, ginger, vinegar and spices and cook over low heat until thickened, about 10-15 minutes.  Allow to cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

Turkey stock: celery, carrot, thyme, bay, peppercorns, parsley, onion and turkey necks.  Brown the necks in a little until well colored, about 15 minutes. Add vegetables and cook until glazed, about 5 minutes.  Cover necks and vegetables with cold water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and skim away any foam.  Add herbs and simmer 4 hours.  Strain into a clean container and allow to cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

Brussels Sprouts Gratinoise

Mustard seeds, shallot, garlic, lemon juice, Brussels sprouts, S&P, pancetta, multi-grain bread.

Grind the mustard seeds and set aside.

Dice the pancetta, garlic and shallot.  Cook the pancetta in a heavy pan over medium heat until golden brown. Add the garlic and shallot and sautee until garlic begins to melt, about 1-2 minutes.

Add the blanched, trimmed and split Brussels sprouts, and cook until browned.  Add the mustard seed, salt & pepper and croutons.  Sprinkle with a few drops of lemon juice just before serving.

A bit of pot roast and some hibiscus tea go nicely..

Rating  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Agua de Jamaica

Also known as hibiscus tea, agua de Jamaica (unlike the country, it is pronounced ha-MIKE-uh in Spanish) is an infusion of the calyces of the hibiscus sabdariffa flower, native to Latin America and popular throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean.

Agua de Jamaica is high in vitamin C and is considered to have anti-hypertensive properties.  It is thought that the antioxidant flavonoids, polyphenolics and anthocyanins contained in the flower play a role in preventing the oxidation of low density lipoproteins, the so-called “bad cholesterol”.

Oh, and it tastes great!

Traditionally made using only the hibiscus calyces, water and sugar, I’m using hibiscus calyces (flor de Jamaica in Mexico), water, ginger root and agave nectar.

Rinse the calyces in cold water to remove any debris, then place in a pot of boiling water (approximately 1 cup calyces to 2 cups water) with a length of bruised ginger. Cover, remove from heat and steep for at least 10 minutes.

Add a tray of ice cubes and allow to cool. Strain through fine-mesh strainer, gently pressing the leaves to release their juice.  Sweeten to taste.