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Showing posts with label appetizer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label appetizer. Show all posts

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Best Ever Chicken Wings for the Best Ever Oscar Night Party



Watching the Oscars culminates a year of film releases and award shows. This year the Best Picture nominees group together films of extreme differences. Imagine a double-feature of La La Land and Hacksaw Ridge. Ok, don't imagine that.

My favorite films were Lion and Manchester By the Sea. Both were emotionally engaging and structured like thrillers.

For Sunday night I want to make a special plate of nibble-food, something that has some art and cultural diversity in its design. With that in mind, I hope you will try my use of a Vietnamese sauce to flavor the classic American bar dish, chicken wings.

Fusion how I love thee

The best aspect of fusion cuisine is when you discover a combination of seemingly unrelated flavors or components that, once you’ve paired them, make you think they have always naturally belonged together.
For me, the surprising match was an American bar food staple and an Asian comfort-food classic.
The popular Vietnamese dish pho, a giant soup bowl filled to the brim with meat and noodles, is traditionally served with a basket of fresh green vegetables and bean sprouts.. For seasoning, a dipping sauce is also provided.
As a matter of personal taste, I prefer the lighter pho ga, made with chicken, to its deeper flavored, beefy cousins. After years of eating pho ga I realized that part of my craving for the soup was because I loved the dipping sauce called nuoc cham gung.
Vietnamese pho
In the sauce, finely minced ginger and garlic mingle with flecks of dried Sichuan peppers in a vinegary-salty-sweet sauce, accentuated with lime-citrus notes.
With one of those wonderful epiphanies that happen to people who think about food a bit too much, I realized that nuoc cham gung would make a good marinade and glaze for my favorite appetizer, Buffalo wings.
Chicken on the bone, cooked on the grill or in the oven, has a moist-sweetness that is accentuated perfectly by my modified version of nuoc cham gung.
Because of its deeply flavored saltiness, fish sauce, variously called nuoc mam in Vietnam or nam pla in Thailand, is an essential ingredient in the recipe. Easily found in Asian markets, the sauce is inexpensive and lasts for years in the refrigerator.

Vietnamese Buffalo Wings

Serves 4 as an entrée or 8 as an appetizer
Ingredients
2 pounds chicken wings, washed, disjointed, wing tips discarded or reserved and used to make stock
½ cup white sugar
½ cup warm water
¼ cup fish sauce, preferably a light caramel colored brand
¼ cup white vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
4 cloves garlic minced
1 dried Chinese Szechuan pepper, stem removed, seeds and skin minced
3 tablespoons or 3-inch piece ginger, peeled, minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar, to taste
Directions
  1. In a large non-reactive bowl, dissolve the white sugar in warm water. Add the other ingredients, stir to mix well and add the chicken wings. Transfer to a sealable plastic bag and refrigerate one hour or, preferably, overnight.
  2. Remove the wings and transfer the marinade to a small saucepan, adding the brown sugar. Stir to dissolve and reduce by a half or, if you want a thicker glaze, by two-thirds over a medium flame to create a glaze that should have a good balance of sweetness and heat. Taste and adjust for more sweetness if desired by adding another tablespoon of brown sugar.
  3. The wings can either be grilled on a barbecue or baked in a 350 F oven on a rack on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil for easy clean up. Turn every 10 minutes. Cook until tender, about 30 minutes.
  4. Place the wings on a large plate of Asian noodles, steamed rice, or shredded lettuce. Just before serving, pour the hot glaze over the top.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Shrimp and Citrus Celebrate Summer Together

Last week we were in New York. We lucked out, weather-wise. The week before had been stormy, with rain almost every day. When we were planning the trip, the forecast said it would continue raining the entire week. Long story short, it didn't rain.

A little bit of rain last Monday evening. Otherwise, the skies were blue most of the time and the temperatures during the day were in the high 50's and low 60s. Perfect New York-walking around weather. Now I hear cold and even snow has returned. Spring is always a moveable feast in New York.
So, I'm happy to be back home. I started a new video project, interviewing chefs whose recipes appear in the Beverly Hills Centennial Cookbook. Chef David Padilla who works at Luxe Rodeo Drive Hotel demonstrated how to make a delicious sautéed shrimp dish.
He calls it Drunken Shrimp, which is a classic Chinese dish, but his is decidedly Latin in his use of citrus and chiles. I wrote the profile for Zester Daily. The full interview and video are there. Please take a look: Drunken Shrimp from Chef David Padilla of Luxe.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tuna Tartar Swims into Summer at MoMA's The Modern in NYC

Earlier in the year I had a great meal. Change that. A really great meal. Working on an article for Bespoke Magazine about multi-course upscale dining, I interviewed Chef Gabriel Kreuther at MoMA's The Modern.

We talked on the phone for half an hour during which time he told me about his culinary background ("Alsatian"), his opinion about double-digit multi-course dining like Thomas Keller's 24 course-meals ("afterwards, aren't there maybe 2 or 3 dishes that were memorable? why not just have those next time.") and why he loved cooking in a museum ("the art inspires me in the kitchen").

At the end of the conversation he offered, "Next time you're in New York, I want you to come to the restaurant and taste my food." Happily I was flying into the city the next day so I could accept the invitation.
His multi-course meal took ten dishes, four deserts and 6 wine pairings before we folded up our napkins. I had a combination of dishes with meat, seafood and vegetables. My wife was served pescetarian dishes. All the dishes were beautifully plated. The flavors exquisitely structured. The wines, many from Alsace, were crisp, light and delicious.
Sitting at a table along the window, we had a good view of the sculpture garden where a cocktail party was in progress. Waiters passed around appetizers and wine. The sun set. The garden was reduced to shapes with over head lights picking out a detail here and there. Inside the feeling was muted elegance. A very different feeling from the large and boisterous Cafe on the other side of the thick paneled wall.

Chef Kreuther was kind enough to let me write about one of his recipes, One, which can be made in a home kitchen without the roomful of sous chefs who help him create the dishes for the restaurant. The tartar recipe is simple although it has half a dozen components, half of which go to creating the exquisite design on the plate.

For a dinner party or special occasion, a dish like the tartar is a lot of fun and it will be one of the dishes everyone remembers.

For Zester DailyNext to MoMA's Sculpture Garden, Tuna Is A Work Of Art






Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I Left My Heart in Spain But Brought Home the Anchovies

Raise your hands. Who loves anchovies? If you do, you should definitely visit Spain. 
Taking a press tour across the top of Spain, visiting San Sebastian, Bilbao and Santiago de Compostella, anchovies were the culinary through line. I loved them on tapas. I loved them on pintxos (Basque open faced sandwiches). I brought jars of anchovies in the local supermarkets to bring home and when I got home, I enjoyed making versions of what I enjoyed in Spain. 
Anyone who raised their hand and loves salty anchovies, I posted a recipe for a yummy tapas on Zester Daily:http://tinyurl.com/pxxlp6j

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Throwing a (Birthday) Party on Super Bowl Sunday: Bacon Wrapped Shrimp, Carrot Salad, Caesar Salad, Ribs, Wings, and Chocolate Banana Cake

My birthday isn't on Super Bowl Sunday, but it's close enough that every year I double-down and celebrate my birthday and football on the same day.

I didn't much care about the sport until our youngest son, Michael, taught me to love all things football. From the time he was 3 years old, he watched Sports Center and would grill me about which QB was the best--I didn't have a clue. He's off at UC Davis now and all that's different now. These days, my favorite TV show--with the exception of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report--is Showtime's Inside the NFL.

We've invited a dozen friends to come by the house and watch the game. I don't want to get stuck in the kitchen, so everything we're serving will be made the day ahead.

Only the Bacon Wrapped Shrimp appetizer has to be grilled on the day so the bacon is crisp and the shrimps are juicy. Just before kick-off, we'll reheat the wings and ribs and we'll be ready to watch what promises to be a great match up.

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

You know the expression, "Bet you can't eat just one," well it applies to this appetizer. My son Franklin mastered this recipe when he was putting on feasts to entertain his college roommates. He taught me and I'm happy to pass it along to you.

Yield: 4 servings

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 pound shrimps (25-35 count/pound), washed, shelled, deveined
10-12 bacon strips
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, peeled, finely chopped
1 shallot, peeled, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, washed, finely chopped
Toothpicks


Method

Heat the olive oil in a pan and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sauté the finely chopped parsley, garlic, and shallot in the olive oil until lightly browned. Let cool. Spoon the seasoned olive oil over the shrimp. Toss well and let marinate for 30 minutes.

Organize an area on the counter so you can work assembly-line style.

Cut the strips of bacon into 3 equal pieces. Toss the shrimp again, then take one shrimp and lay it on the piece of bacon, rolling the bacon around the shrimp. Take a toothpick and push it through the bacon-shrimp-bacon to hold it together. Set aside and do the rest.

Using tongs, put the shrimp on a hot grill and close the hood. If you're using an oven, set it at 450 degrees and put the shrimp on a wire rack over a cookie sheet. Turn every 2-3 minutes so they cook evenly and don't burn, about 10 minutes.

Serve on a platter with napkins.

Carrot Salad with Lemon-Soaked Raisins

A great accompaniment for the ribs and wings, the salad also goes well with deli meats like turkey breast or ham or grilled steaks, chicken, or sausage. The lemon-pepper soaked raisins and the roasted nuts bring some surprises to a familiar side dish.

Yield 6-8 servings

Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

8 large carrots, preferably farmers' market fresh, washed, peeled, ends trimmed off
1 scallion, optional, finely chopped
1 small bunch Italian parsley, washed, dried, stems trimmed, finely chopped
2 tablespoons golden raisins
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Pinch of cayenne
Sea salt and pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Method

Soak the raisins in lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper at least 30 minutes, preferably overnight Grate the carrots in a large mixing bowl. Roughly chop the raisins, reserving the lemon juice not absorbed into the raisins.

Mix together the carrots, raisins, parsley, and scallions. Season with the cumin, cayenne, sea salt, and black pepper and toss. Add the lemon juice and mayonnaise. Mix well.

Variations

Use cilantro instead of Italian parsley

Add 2 tablespoons capers

Top with 2 tablespoons roasted chopped almonds

Caesar Salad

The dressing can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 2 days, then all you have to do before serving is tear up the lettuce, shake on some cheese, add the croutons and pour on the dressing. Perfect for a half-time snack.

Yield 4 servings

Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 garlic clove, skin off
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
4 anchovies
1 large egg, farmers' market fresh
1/4 teaspoon Worcester sauce
2 hearts of romaine or 1 large frisee, leaves washed
2-3 tablespoons olive oil, to taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2-3 drops Tabasco, optional
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, optional
1/4 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese, freshly grated
1/2 cup croutons, homemade
Black pepper

Method

Use a wooden bowl if you have one. Sprinkle the sea salt on a wooden cutting board. Mash the garlic back and forth on the salt with the flat side of a chef's knife, then sweep the garlic-salt mash into the salad bowl.

Boil water in a small saucepan. Add the egg and cook for 4 minutes. Remove the egg, let cool, open, scoop out the yolk and white with a small spoon, and add to the salad bowl along with the Worcester sauce, optional Tabasco & Dijon, olive oil, and lemon juice.

Using a fork, mash the anchovies against the side of the salad bowl so they dissolve in the dressing. Mix well.

Tear the romaine leaves into pieces or chop up the frisee, add to the salad bowl, top with grated cheese, croutons, and season with pepper. Toss to coat the leaves.

Taste and adjust the flavors by adding more lemon juice or sea salt.

Variations

Add 1/2 pound grilled, shelled, deveined shrimp, whole or roughly chopped

Add 2 chicken breasts, skinless, grilled, thin sliced

Add 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, roughly chopped

Brown Sugar Pork Ribs

The cooked ribs can be kept in the refrigerator covered 2-3 days or frozen in an air-tight freezer bag.

Yield 4 servings

Time Prep (20 minutes) Marinate (overnight) Cook (2 hours)

Ingredients

1 rack pork ribs
2-3 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
Olive oil
Black pepper
6 ounces Italian tomato paste
1 small yellow onion, peeled, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped

Method

Trim excess fat, the membrane, and flap from the ribs. Caprial Pence the owner-chef of Caprial's Bistro in Portland, Oregon and a fellow contributor to Eat Drink or Die shows how to prep the ribs with easy-to-follow photographs. Reserve the flap, trimmed of its membrane, to grill for tacos.

Spread a piece of plastic wrap on the counter 5” longer than the rack. Dust the meat side of the ribs with the cayenne.

Mix together the brown sugar and kosher salt. Spread half the dry mix on the plastic wrap. Lay the ribs on top, then cover with the rest of the dry mix. Cover with a second piece of plastic wrap, seal, fold in half and place into a Ziploc or plastic bag. Refrigerate in a pan overnight.

In the morning remove the ribs. The dry mix will have transformed into a slurry. Very alchemical! In a sauce pan sauté the onions and garlic with olive oil until lightly browned, season with pepper. Remove the ribs from the plastic bag. Use a rubber spatula to remove most of the liquid from the ribs and plastic bag and transfer to the sauce pan. Add the tomato paste and simmer the sauce on a low flame for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust the flavor if necessary.

Line a large baking tray with tin foil. Place a wire rack on top of the baking tray, then lay the ribs on the rack. The ribs can either be cooked in a 350 degree oven or on the “cold” side of a covered grill with the heat on high.

Whether on the grill or in the oven, cook the ribs 30 minutes on each side, then baste the ribs with the sauce and cook another 30 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from the oven, cut apart the individual ribs, and serve.

Kimchi Chicken Wings

The natural partnership of kimchi and brown sugar brings a sweet-heat to these finger lickin' good wings.

Yield 4 servings

Time Marinate overnight. Cook approximately 60 minutes

Ingredients

2 1/2 pounds chicken wings, washed, pat dried
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup kimchi, finely chopped
1 tablespoon kimchi water from the bottle
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, washed, peeled, sliced thin
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Method

Dissolve the brown sugar in the kimchi water, olive oil, and soy sauce. Add the kimchi, onion slices, and chicken wings. Mix well, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking tray with tin foil for easy clean up. Place a wire rack on the tray and arrange the wings on the rack. Drizzle the wings with olive oil. Put into the oven and bake 30 minutes. Turn over with tongs. Bake another 30 minutes.

The wings should be tender and golden brown. If not, turn the wings over and continue baking another 10 minutes.

Check again and continue baking at 10 minute intervals, turning the wings each time, until they are done.

In a small saucepan on a low flame, reduce the marinade by a third. Reserve.

The wings should be eaten hot. Pour the heated, reduced marinade over the wings just before serving.

Serve with plenty of napkins and ice cold drinks.

Variations

Add 1 tablespoon julienned garlic and 1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley to the marinade
Just before serving, top with 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds and 1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallion

Banana Cake with Chocolate Chips and Walnuts

Now it's time for something sweet. The cake is best served warm, topped with powdered sugar and grated dark chocolate. Ice cream and whipped cream are good too.

Yield 8-10 servings

Time 90 minutes

Ingredients

4 ripe bananas
1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sweet butter, room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup half and half or 1 cup heavy cream
2 1/2 cups white flour
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of cayenne
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Method

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and paint the inside of a 9 x 3 round cake pan, then put the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes. The frozen butter prevents the batter from sticking to the pan.

Bake the walnuts on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes. Let cool, roughly chop, and set aside.

In a bowl mash the bananas with a fork, add the baking soda and vanilla. stir well and set aside. In a mixer use the whisk to cream together the softened butter and both sugars. Add the eggs, mashed bananas, half and half (or cream) and whisk until blended. Mix in the flour half a cup at a time, being careful not to over-beat.

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Use a rubber spatula to blend in the walnuts and chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the buttered cake pan. It will only fill the pan half-way, which is good because the cake will rise.

Bake the cake in a 350 degree oven for 60-70 minutes, turning the pan every 20 minutes so the cake cooks evenly. Test to see if the cake is done by inserting a wooden skewer. If the top is browning too quickly, lightly lay a sheet of aluminum foil over the top. When the skewer comes out clean, take the cake out of the oven and place on a wire rack for 30 minutes.

Remove the cake from the pan, putting it back on the wire rack to finish cooling.

Just before serving, dust the top with powdered sugar and shaved chocolate. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Shrimps on Fire

I started teaching my sons how to cook when they were barely tall enough to reach the kitchen counter. The first thing anyone needs to learn is good knife skills. I still remember his mom looking in horror when she walked into the kitchen to find me showing 5 year old Frank how to use a 10" chef's knife to chop Italian parsley. No blood was spilled that day, but the quality of my parenting was a topic of discussion for many months afterwards.

When Frank went away to UC, Santa Cruz, I put together a cookbook with recipes I thought would be quick, easy, and economical. Periodically I'd get calls from him for cooking tips, like the time he was in Costco and he wanted to know what he could do with frozen red snapper, since it was on sale for $1.35/lb.

What's really fun is when the student becomes the teacher.

On one of his trips home, Frank taught us how to make shrimps wrapped in bacon, an appetizer he used to make for parties. Hors d'oeuvres are my favorite part of the meal. Nothing is better than little bite sized taste treats. For a vision of heaven, check out Mark Bittman's episode of his Best Recipes in the World about tapas in Barcelona.

Frank's bacon wrapped shrimp is on my 10 Best Appetizers list. Since I can't resist tweaking any recipe, I added a bit more flavor by coating the shrimps in a seasoned olive oil marinade, otherwise, the recipe is his.

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

Yield: 4 servings

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 pound shrimps (25-35 count/lb.), washed, shelled, deveined
10-12 strips of bacon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, peeled, finely chopped
1 shallot, peeled, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, washed, finely chopped
Toothpicks

Method
Heat the olive oil in a pan and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sauté the finely chopped parsley, garlic, and shallot in the olive oil until lightly browned. Let cool.
Spoon the seasoned olive oil over the shrimp. Toss well and let sit for 30 minutes.

Get organized so you can work assembly-line.

Cut the strips of bacon into 3 equal pieces. Toss the shrimp again, then take one shrimp and lay it on the piece of bacon, rolling the bacon around the shrimp. Take a toothpick and push it through the bacon-shrimp-bacon to hold it together. Set aside and do the rest.

Using tongs, put the shrimp on a hot grill and close the hood. If you're using an oven, set it at 450 degrees and put the shrimp on a wire rack over a cookie sheet.

Turn every 2-3 minutes so they cook evenly and don't burn, about 10 minutes. Serve on a platter with napkins.