I made that!

Jambalaya!

Posted in All Things Pork, I Like Salt Too, Southernness by brandi on February 4, 2010

This isn’t really a post. It’s more like a mention, because this was the tastiest jambalaya I’ve ever made. I didn’t really take photos, mostly because the beauty of cooking jambalaya is that everything just gets thrown into one pot (preferably an extremely large one). So it’s not the most interesting process, but it is a fantastic dinner.

This is basically John Besh’s recipe, from his new cookbook (which makes me want to hit up the state of Louisiana something fierce). I only changed a few things, mostly not using converted rice (uncle Ben’s) and omitting the celery salt. Because celery salt makes me uncomfortable. Not sure why.

Shrimp, Chicken and Andouille Jambalaya Recipe:

Serves 6-8

12oz andouille sausage, diced

8oz fresh pork sausage, removed from casings

8oz bacon, diced

1 oz butter

2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Salt, to taste

Black pepper, to taste

2 celery stalks, diced

1 large onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1 dried bay leaf

2 1/4 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

2 1/4 cups white rice

1 15oz can crushed tomatoes

2 1/2 cups rich chicken broth

1 1/4 lb shrimp (preferably Louisiana white), peeled and deveined

– Preheat a large cast-iron pot over high heat. Lower the heat to medium and add the sausages, bacon and butter. Cook the meat as evenly as possible, stirring slowly, until the fat is released.

– Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add it to the pot. Once the chicken has browned, about 5 minutes, add the onions and cook for 15 minutes. Add the bell pepper, celery and garlic. Continue to stir, allowing the ingredients to brown without burning, about 5 minutes.

– Add the thyme, bay leaf, paprika, cayenne, and rice. Keep stirring for 5 to 7 minutes over medium heat.

– Add the tomatoes and broth, raise the heat back to high until the liquid boils, and then cover and reduce to a low simmer until rice is almost cooked through, about 25 minutes.

– Season the shrimp with salt and pepper, and add them to the pot. Keep the pot covered for an additional 10 minutes before removing from the heat. Season to taste.

Crabby Crabby

Posted in I Like Salt Too by brandi on December 6, 2009

Hello from Seattle! It’s officially been 5 days and I still love it. The city and my new Ballard neighborhood continues to surprise me with awesomeness, and after 2 days at Delancey I feel like I’ve finally found my people. Homemade fabulousness like vinegars, ricotta salata, sausage (I get to break down giant pig parts!), pickles and ginger beer are everywhere. And then there’s dessert! So many ideas! It’s all so damn perfect and fun that I kid you not when I say I’ve been looking both ways extra hard when crossing the street, because it seems like the luck has to run out eventually.

I’m still setting up my new house, so I haven’t had much time to explore Seattle. But there was one thing that needed to happen as soon as the kitchen was put together: Purchase a crab. I know technically we had crab in San Francisco, but it just feels like once I’ve bought, cooked and eaten a crab here, then I’m home. Lucky for me crab season has just begun!

I bought one at the Pike Place Market, which is probably not that best option available here, but it was so perfect and Seattle-esque. I was busy (working!) at night, so I was thinking breakfast. And by breakfast I mean crab cake eggs benedict. We had the fish(monger?)guy scoop out the yucky bits, but we cracked into it ourselves. Which would have been easier with some proper gear, but we had some time to kill so we went at it with our hands. Actually my friend Scott, who traveled up with us from San Francisco to help up get settled in, did the cracking. He now tells me that a crab cracker is highly recommended.

I wanted a light crab cake, without a lot of bread filler so the crab flavor comes through. I tossed the meat with garlic, lemon, jalapeno, dijon, mayonnaise, egg yolks, salt, pepper and cayenne.

I formed little patties and set them in the fridge for a bit.

While they were chilling, me and Scott made a lemony hollandaise sauce. I have to say, hollandaise sauce is one of those things that just REALLY tastes better when made yourself. Maybe it’s watching all that clarified butter go in. It just makes it taste so much more decadent.

Once my sauce was finished, I tossed the cakes in panko crumbs and fried them until they were crispy and browned.

We toasted some muffins and poached some eggs while the crab cakes stayed warm in the oven. Then we stacked them all up and poured on the sauce.  And wow. WHAT a breakfast! A fantastic breakfast for a fantastic new beginning. NOW it feels like I live here.

CRAB CAKES RECIPE:

8oz crab meat

1 garlic clove

1/ 2 lemon juiced

1 lemon zested

1 small jalapeno

1 tsp dijon mustard

2 TBSP mayonnaise

2 egg yolks

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 black pepper

pinch cayenne

panko crumbs

oil for frying

– Mix everything but the oil and panko together in a bowl.

– Form patties and let them sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.

– Coat cakes with panko crumbs.

– Fry in oil for 2 minutes on each side, until browned.

– Place in 300 degree oven for 5-10 minutes to finish cooking.

Hello Seattle! And Thomas Keller’s Leek Bread Pudding.

Posted in I Like Salt Too by brandi on December 3, 2009

I love it. All of it. I know it won’t last long, but the sun has been shining (in that low to the ground winter up north sort of way, but still) since we arrived and there’s talk of snow (!) next week. We’re finally emerging from a mountain of boxes, IKEA furniture, keeping the kitty from having a nervous breakdown and all the random details of moving and I am just beaming. Our new house is adorable, we ate dinner at Delancey last night, and I start my new job there tomorrow.

SO! EXCITED!

But for now, another post about Thanksgiving. Yes…I’m aware that that happened a week ago, but I have been a little busy. And without a kitchen and/or pots and pans. So, anyways, Thanksgiving. I have no love for turkey roasting. I’ll eat it once it’s there, and I enjoy the gravy making part, but I’m just not that into turkey. This year I hosted a dinner and my close friends Jennifer and Tom volunteered to roast the turkey. This made me extremely happy, because it allowed me to focus on the parts I DO love, like veggies and pie. To switch it up a bit, I decided to forgo a stuffing and replace it with a savory bread pudding. It was a risky move, since there were some stuffing lovers in the mix, but it worked out very well. I poked around in my cookbooks and found a recipe for leek bread pudding in Thomas Keller’s new book “ad hoc at home” (which is now officially my favorite of his). It looked absolutely perfect. And I just love leeks.

First I sauteed the leeks in butter for a while, until they were nice and squishy.

Then I layered a baking pan with the cheese, toasted brioche cubes, fresh thyme and the cooked leeks.

I poured a custard into the pan, and pressed all the bread in, making sure everything was wet. I let it soak for about an hour.

Then I baked it until it was bubbly and set in the middle. And it was fabulous. There was so much cream in the custard that it was super rich, which is not so perfect for every day, but just right for a Thanksgiving tummy blowout. Next time though, I’m kinda thinking bacon.

LEEK BREAD PUDDING RECIPE (Thomas Keller):

2 cups 1/2-inch-thick slices leeks (white and light green parts only)

Kosher salt

4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter

Freshly ground black pepper

12 cups 1-inch cubes crustless Brioche or Pullman sandwich loaf

1 tablespoon finely chopped chives

1 teaspoon thyme leaves

3 large eggs

3 cups whole milk

3 cups heavy cream

Freshly grated nutmeg

1 cup shredded Comté or Emmentaler

– Preheat the oven to 350°F.

– Put the leek rounds in a large bowl of tepid water and swish so that any dirt falls to the bottom of the bowl. Set a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, lift the leeks from the water, drain, and add them to the pan. Season with salt and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. As the leeks begin to soften, lower the heat to medium-low. The leeks will release liquid. Stir in the butter to emulsify, and season with pepper to taste. Cover the pan with a parchment lid, and cook, stirring every 10 minutes, until the leeks are very soft, 30 to 35 minutes. If at any point the butter breaks or looks oily, stir in about a tablespoon of water to re-emulsify the sauce. Remove and discard the parchment lid.

– Meanwhile, spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan about halfway through, until dry and pale gold. Transfer to a large bowl. Leave the oven on.

– Add the leeks to the bread and toss well, then add the chives and thyme.

– Lightly whisk the eggs in another large bowl. Whisk in the milk, cream, a generous pinch of salt, pepper to taste, and a pinch of nutmeg.

– Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the cheese in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Spread half the leeks and croutons in the pan and sprinkle with another 1/4 cup cheese. Scatter the remaining leeks and croutons over and top with another 1/4 cup cheese. Pour in enough of the custard mixture to cover the bread and press gently on the bread so it soaks in the milk. Let soak for about 15 minutes.

– Add the remaining custard, allowing some of the soaked cubes of bread to protrude. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup cheese on top and sprinkle with salt.

– Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until the pudding feels set and the top is brown and bubbling.

What Hamburger Helper Wanted To Be When It Grew Up

Posted in All Things Pork, Don't BUY it, MAKE it!, I Like Salt Too by brandi on November 24, 2009

I know, this post is really pushing it. Some of you will forever think I am just plain gross. It’s thanksgiving week and I’m posting a recreation of a classic Hamburger Helper dish. What can I say? I’m at home sick (it’s been a week, I’m dying here!), I’m moving to Seattle in 5 days, I want comfort food and I can’t help it, sometimes I just like to reverse engineer recipes. A year ago the chef at the restaurant I worked at cooked a family meal that smacked of Hamburger Helper, and since then I’ve been obsessed with recreating Cheeseburger Macaroni. But of course I needed to up the game, so I made it Bacon Cheeseburger Macaroni. Well…duh…I think that was an obvious move. Definitely not a date night dish, but great for those nostalgic moments (I can admit it, I grew up in Alabama eating some pretty trashy food). Don’t judge me too harshly.

I started by slowly cooking the bacon, to render its fat. I probably cooked it for about 15 minutes on medium low.

Then I added a diced onion, a carrot, a green bell pepper and a jalapeno. I know technically there weren’t vegetables in the Hamburger Helper version, but come on people, we’re adults now. Kind of. I cooked those on medium until the onions started to turn translucent. Then I threw in 2 minced garlic cloves and cooked it all for a minute more.

Then I added some ground beef and chili powder. I cooked it all until the beef was nicely browned.

Then I added in tomato sauce, tomato paste and worcestershire sauce. I cooked that for about 10 minutes.

Then I added the sour cream and cooked it a few minutes longer. This is the part where it looks seriously unappetizing. But if you can hang in there, it’s worth it.

I turned off the heat and stirred in the cooked macaroni and the shredded cheddar cheese. I stirred it for a good while, to melt the cheese into the sauce. Then I added salt and pepper to my liking. And then I ate it. I’m not gonna lie, this recipe makes quite a lot of pasta. Probably enough to feed 6-8 people. But this one time, when I was testing out the recipe, 4 of us ate the entire thing. And then ate an apple pie. Shameful.

Bacon Cheeseburger Macaroni Recipe:

3 slices bacon, diced

3/4 cup chopped onion

3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped carrot (optional)

1 jalepeno, chopped

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1 lb ground beef

1 TBSP chili powder

1 TBSP worcestershire sauce

2 TBSP tomato paste

3/4 cup tomato sauce

1 cup sour cream

12 oz macaroni, cooked and drained.

8 oz shredded cheddar cheese

salt and pepper

– Cook bacon on medium low heat until it is halfway cooked and releases it’s fat.

– Add onions, bell pepper, carrots and jalepeno and cook until onions are translucent.

– Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.

– Add ground beef and chili powder and cook until browned.

– Add worcestershire, tomato paste, and tomato sauce and cook for 10 minutes.

– Add sour cream and cook for 5 minutes.

– Add noodles and stir well.

– Add cheese and stir well.

– Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Just Another Dirty Southern Brunch

Posted in I Like Salt Too, Playing With Yeast, Southernness by brandi on November 15, 2009

Sometimes I just have these cravings…Southern cravings. They come on fast and hard and suddenly I just NEED to recreate something from my younger days. Yesterday I was entertaining friends for brunch. The night before, I was flipping through cookbooks, trying to find something complex and interesting to make. I was feeling particularly uninspired until I passed over a recipe for angel biscuits, which are basically biscuits leavened with yeast along with the more traditional baking powder. My mouth instantaneously started drooling as I recounted the feathery light biscuits the South is known for. And then there was nothing else I could possibly cook. There was no complicated quiche, no perfectly stacked benedict and certainly no fancy-pants pastry that could substitute for that biscuit. Thus, it was on.

And of course, where there’s biscuits, there’s bacon gravy.

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But the biscuits. Did I mention they have yeast in them?

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And of course, lard. Yes, I keep a block of lard in my freezer.

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I rubbed the lard with some butter into my flour mixture.

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And then poured in the yeast and some buttermilk.

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I mixed (but just barely) that into a dough, pressed it out and stamped out my biscuits.

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Then I let them rise by the fireplace until they were nice and puffed.

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And then baked them until they had a nice crispy crust. And oh boy, they were yummy. Pretty much the perfect biscuit. So good that it almost seemed like a waste to pour gravy all over them. Not that that stopped me.

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But could I stop with the biscuits and gravy? No. I wanted more. I wanted dirty. I wanted pimento cheese. Chances are that if you live on the wrong (or right) side of the mason-dixon line, you’ve never heard of such a thing. Let me tell you, it is kinda gross. And delicious. Think cheddar. Mixed with roasted peppers (In the South they have these jarred pimentos, I have no idea what makes those so special or why you can only get them there). And mayonnaise. Oh yes, I went there.

But since I DO have my limits, I at least made my own mayonnaise. Because that jarred stuff gives me the willies.

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In a big bowl I threw in shredded cheddar, finely diced roasted red peppers, paprika, cayenne and some black pepper.

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And stirred in my mayonnaise. Like I said, Dirty. It was not a brunch for the delicate eater, and I suspect I actually scarred Tessa (even though I totally caught her dipping a finger in the pimento cheese when she thought no one was looking), but it was worth the heartburn.

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ANGEL BISCUITS RECIPE (adapted from Edna Lewis):

1 package (1/4 oz) active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water

2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature

5 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 TBSP baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 TBSP salt

4 oz lard, cold

4 oz butter, cold

melted butter for brushing the biscuits

– Dissolve the yeast in the warm water, let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the room temperature buttermilk.

– Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt i a large bowl. Mix thoroughly. Using your fingers, rub in the lard and butter, being careful to keep large flat pieces.

– Stir in the yeast and buttermilk and mix until just blended.

– Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times, to make smooth. Roll to a thickness of 1/2″ and stamp out biscuits.

– Place biscuits on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.

– Brush tops with melted but and bake in a preheated 450 oven for about 12 minutes, until golden brown.

Seattle, Here We Come!

Posted in All Sugar All The Time, I Like Salt Too by brandi on November 5, 2009

So if we’re friends in real life (or facebook life) you’ve probably already heard the news. For those who haven’t – We’re moving to Seattle! It’s all very sudden and at this point we’re scrambling to keep up with our plans. 2 weeks ago I took a girls’ trip to Seattle with some close friends and met the fabulous super-couple Brandon Pettit and Molly Wizenberg. They just opened a tiny little pizzeria called Delancey, in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. So far so good: the locals are loving the pizza and there’s a wait for a table most every night. Brandon has been working the pizza oven while Molly has been handling the dessert station, where she’s been slinging her infamous salted chocolate chip cookie. Since Molly has been itching to get back to her writing, they hired me to take over the desserts! So December 1st me and John (and Bean) will call Seattle our home!

seattle squash

I included this pic of the coolest butternut squash EVER to exemplify one of the things I will miss most (besides all of our amazing friends who had better be flying up regularly visit us!) about the Bay Area: our food. I’ve received a CSA box for the past 2 years and have loved every second of it, even when we have a line of uneaten watermelons down the hallway. I know the seasons are different up there, and it’s gonna be a challenge learning a new food system, but I am so excited.  I’ll probably pass on the geoduck, but in the Spring I’ll be awash in rhubarb! And the cherries! And all those heritage apples! It’s gonna be so awesome, I promise.

Salt and Pepper Soup Crackers!

Posted in Don't BUY it, MAKE it!, I Like Salt Too by brandi on October 22, 2009

Seriously, get ready for the cutest little soup crackers ever. So simple, so fast, but totally worthwhile.

You start with a basic biscuit dough, but one with very little butter. You can spice them up however you like. On this batch I made salt and pepper crackers, since I didn’t know what kind of soup they were gonna land in.

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After the dough relaxes for a bit, roll it out to be very thin. Then stamp or cut into whatever your desired shape. I went with the smallest fluted cutter I had, because it’s cute.

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Use a skewer or a fork (I ripped one of the teeth off of a plastic fork) to poke little holes in the crackers. You want to try to go all the way through, this helps them bake evenly and keeps them from totally ballooning up in the oven.

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The you brush them with melted butter and sprinkle on some salt.

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Then you bake them until they’re nice and crispy!

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And aren’t they frickin’ adorable?! These ended up in a delicious delicata squash soup. I think next I’m gonna play with a spicy version to go in a chili….yummmmm.

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OYSTER CRACKERS RECIPE:

2 cups AP flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 TBSP butter, cold

2/3 cup milk

– Mix dries.

– Mix in butter by squishing into the flour with your fingers.

– Mix in milk.

– Let rest for 1 hour.

– Roll very thin.

– Stamp out shapes.

– Poke holes.

– Brush with melted butter sprinkle with salt.

– Bake at 375 until browned and crispy (9 – 12 minutes, depending on size).

Pretzels!

Posted in I Like Salt Too, Playing With Yeast by brandi on October 17, 2009

Today I learned something important: Pretzels can be really awesome. Homemade pretzels have been on my list for a while now, and I just kept putting them off. To be honest,  I’ve never been a huge fan. And, well, my jaw doesn’t work so good sometimes and pretzels can be a real workout  for the ole temporomandibular joint. But yesterday I made them. And they changed everything I’ve ever thought about pretzels. Seriously, I thought that I would take a nibble and then let John work his way through the pile. But after one bite I was ready to fight to the death for my second pretzel. Needless to say, these pretzels didn’t last 8 hours before being claimed by loving tummies. So I now know: T\there is not much better than a hot-out-of-the-oven pretzel, and I thank Sherry Yard a thousand times for sharing this recipe in her cookbook.

And did I mention they’re pretty simple to make? You start out with a dough. P1080234

After the dough proofed I flattened it into a rectangle and chopped it into 8 pieces.

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Then came the fun part: shaping. I think I got a tad carried away with the kneading, thinking gluten development was essential for the classic chewy pretzel. It made shaping them into ropes a bit trying, but eventually they got there. It’s important to get the dough fairly thin, because it’s going to be a lot thicker when you’ve finished.

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I let the shaped pretzels proof a bit more on some oiled parchment.

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Then I boiled (actually simmered) them. I think what made this recipe awesome was the amber beer in the simmering liquid, you could really taste it in the final pretzel!

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I put them back on the parchment, brushed them with oil and sprinkled them with coarse sea salt.

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Then into the oven they went until they were nice and toasty. And let me tell you, absolute perfection. I highly recommend this recipe to the pretzel fans and skeptics out there.

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RECIPE (adapted from Sherry Yard):

Makes 8 pretzels

Dough:

1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

1/2 cups warm water

1/4 cup buttermilk

2 TBSP light brown sugar

3/4 tsp sugar

1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil, plus more as needed (I used olive oil)

2 cups bread flour

1 1/2 tsp salt

Simmering Liquid:

2 quarts water

1/4 cup amber beer

1/4 cup baking soda

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

vegetable oil

2 TBSP coarse sea salt

Make the dough:

– In a measuring cup, dissolve the yeast in the water and let sit for 5 minutes, or until cloudy. Add the buttermilk, brown sugar, sugar, and vegetable oil and mix well.

– Place the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the liquid mixture and knead until smooth.

– Brush a large bowl with vegetable oil. Scrape out the dough and place in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

– Line 2 half sheet pans with parchment paper and brush with oil. Lightly oil your work surface and your hands. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and press into a 6-inch square. Cut into 1 1/2 by 3 inch rectangles. One at a time, shape each piece into a pretzel. (Cover the pieces you aren’t working on with plastic.) Roll each piece out into a 24-inch long rope. Shape into a U, then crisscross the ends halfway up, twist them together like a twist-tie, and pull the legs down over the bottom of the U. Place the shaped pretzels onto the lined baking sheets. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap and allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until not quite doubled.

– While the pretzels are rising, place racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Cut the parchment the pretzels are on into squares to facilitate lifting and transferring the pretzels into the water bath.

– In a 10-inch-wide stainless-steel pot, combine the water, beer, baking soda, and brown sugar and bring to a simmer. Two at a time, lift the parchment square with pretzel and carefully reverse the pretzel off the parchment into the simmering water. Cook for 10 seconds and flip, using a skimmer or slotted spoon. Cook for another 10 seconds, and with the skimmer, lift above the pan to drain. Then transfer back to the baking sheets, rounded sides up. Brush with vegetable oil. Dust with coarse salt.

– Bake, switching the sheets from top to bottom and rotating from front to back halfway through, for 15 minutes, or until the pretzels are chestnut brown. Remove from the oven and serve warm. Be sure and check the bottoms, mine got a little toasty!

My Favorite Spicy Lemony Tuna Salad Recipe

Posted in I Like Salt Too by brandi on October 16, 2009

I know, this seems like a boring post. While tuna salad is pretty low on most people’s list of awesome food, I’m stoked to share this one. And my friend Pantea asked for my recipe and I fgured “What better way to pass it along?” For years I was a tuna salad hater (a part of my general condiment phobia). It just seemed like all the tuna salads I had encountered were blobs of mayonnaise. But then I learned how to make mayonnaise from scratch, and that opened up a whole new world for me. So this is my version of tuna salad, with some of my favorite things in it. My salad includes asian pear, lemon zest and juice, jalapeno pepper, another mild pepper, arugula and pecans. All of which make right now the perfect time of year for a tuna salad sandwich! Rule #1 in my salad though: good canned tuna packed in oil, not that cheap stuff in water. Since I go light on the mayo, that oil is needed for moisture. If I was feeling like a badass we would be talking about poaching fresh tuna instead of using canned, but that kinda requires making a much larger batch of salad.

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Since the jalapenos pack a punch, you want to get them diced very fine.

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Once you’ve got everything chopped, you basically just mix it all together. But first toss the tuna in a bowl and break up the large chunks. I usually drain the oil out of half and use the other half in the salad.

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Then add everything else.

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Mix and enjoy!

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SPICY LEMONY TUNA SALAD RECIPE:

10 oz of tuna packed in olive oil

1/2 cup diced mild pepper (bell, gypsy, banana)

1/2 cup (2 oz) chopped pecans

1/2 jalapeno (or more if you’re into it)

1 (3.5 oz) diced asian pear or apple

3 TBSP mayonaise

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

large handful of arugula, chopped

2 TBSP finely diced red onion (not shown here, I forgot to buy one)

black pepper to taste

Rainy Day Chicken Pho

Posted in I Like Salt Too by brandi on October 14, 2009

For once the weather was aligning with my culinary schedule. This week I decided to complete my 2nd Daring Cooks Challenge and the recipe was for Chicken Pho (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup). I had a pile of friends over to help me eat it, (and er…to have an excuse to play board games). Of course there was way too much, because you see, I’m a recipe doubler. So I was staring down a long week of soup that nobody eats. But then it happened. The first big storm to kickstart San Francisco’s rainy season. And what’s better for rain (and warding off rumors of swine flu) than chicken noodle soup?

The key to a successful Chicken Pho is the broth. You want to get as much flavor as possible into it, while maintaining a clear, uncloudy broth. You achieve this by par-boiling the chicken to get the weird stuff to cook out. Then you throw out the water, rinse the half cooked chicken and start over with fresh water. Supposedly you should be skimming the impurities from the top every 20 minutes, but I swear I couldn’t find any. After the gingery chicken soup boiled for 2 hours I removed the meat and strained the liquid to remove all the spices and other odd bits floating around. Then I shredded the chicken into bite sized pieces.

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I started preparing my condiments. Pho is all about the condiments. I thought I could get by with just the fresh stuff: bean sprouts, cilantro, jalepenos, lime. But my friend Huong set me straight and went right out to the store to get some sriracha hot sauce and hoisin sauce. And I was thankful because they definitely made a difference.

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To plate a bowl of pho you first lay in some freshly boiled rice noodles.

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Then fill the bowl up with the fresh toppings.

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And then ladle in some hot broth. From this point it gets personal, everybody seems to have their own style for saucing it up.

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This month’s Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Jaden of Steamy Kitchen. You can find her recipe for chicken pho here. Happy souping!