Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Happy Australia Day!

Okay, is there a better reason than Australia Day for a gratuitous picture of Curtis Stone? In all fairness, his recipe for Grilled Prawns (or as we say, shrimp) with garlic and snap peas is a welcome harbinger of spring. And I have it on good authority that if you call this "shrimp on the barbie," a dingo will eat your baby.

Grilled Garlic Prawns with Stir-Fried Sugar-Snap Peas

500 g raw prawns, peeled and deveined
1 T. olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 T. olive oil
500 g sugar snap peas, stringed
1 T. fresh ginger, peeled, chopped fine
3 T. rice wine

1 T. rice wine vinegar
1 T. soy sauce
1 shallot, chopped fine
1 t. sesame oil
2 T. olive oil

Pre-heat a grill to medium high heat. In a large mixing bowl combine the prawns/shrimp, 1 T. olive oil, lemon zest and one clove of garlic. Season prawns with pepper and grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until lightly charred and just cooked through.

Meanwhile place a wok over high heat until hot. Add 1 T. olive oil and heat until very hot. Add the sugar snap peas, remaining garlic and ginger and toss lightly for 30 seconds. Add the rice wine and salt, and stir fry for 2 minutes or until the sugar snap peas are bright green and crisp-tender. Mound the sugar snap peas on the centre of 4 serving plates.

To make the vinaigrette: In a large mixing bowl whisk the vinegar, soy sauce and shallot. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the oils. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place the prawns on top of the sugar snap peas and drizzle the vinaigrette over and around the prawns and serve immediately.

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Obama's Chili and Boehner's Garlic Milkshake

Tonight's State of the Union address is promising a symbolic show of bipartisanship. President Obama is famous for his love of chili and says he's been making the recipe below since college. House Majority leader John Boehner incurred the wrath of garlic lovers when he said the public health option was as unpopular as a garlic milkshake. A recipe for garlic ice cream is given below. Who says we all can't get along?

President Obama's Chili

1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeds removed and chopped
Several cloves of garlic, chopped (4-6 depending on preference)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground turkey or beef
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground basil
1 tablespoon chili powder
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
15-ounce can of diced tomatoes with juice
15-ounce can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

In a pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, green pepper, and garlic. Sauté until the vegetables are soft.

Add the ground meat and sauté until it browns.

In a small bowl, mix together the cumin, oregano, turmeric, basil and chili powder. Add to the ground meat, the red wine vinegar and the tomatoes. Simmer until the tomatoes break down. Add the beans and cook for a few more minutes.

Serve over white or brown rice. Garnish with grated cheddar cheese, onions and sour cream.

Garlic Ice Cream

2 cups whole milk
1 clove garlic, minced
1 vanilla bean, split in half, and the seeds scraped out and reserved
1 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
8 egg yolks

Put milk, garlic, vanilla pod and seeds in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and remove immediately.

In mixing bowl, whisk the cream, sugar and egg yolks until combined. Whisking constantly, slowly strain the hot milk mixture into the egg and sugar mixture.

Return the mixture to the pan and stir continuously over low heat until it thickens slightly, and coats the back of a spoon, about 10-12 minutes. Do not boil!

Pour in a bowl and chill over an ice bath. Pour into ice cream machine and churn until done. Freeze until ready to serve.

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Hello/Goodbye Telly Savalas!

The irrepressible Telly Savalas (TV’s Kojak for those of you born in the 80s or God forbid, later) was born on January 21, 1922 and died on January 22, 1994. Born Arostotelis to Greek-American parents, Savalas’s character was famous for his love of lollipops and trademark quip, “Who loves ya baby?” His best friend was John Aniston (Jennifer's father) and Savalas was Jennifer Aniston's godfather.

Honor his memory with these chicken “lollypops” accompanied by tzatziki (a traditional Greek sauce of garlic, yogurt, and cucumbers that I like to augment with salty feta cheese).

Greek Chicken Lollipops with Tzatziki

4 pounds of chicken wings
1/2 c. olive oil
juice of two lemons
3 minced garlic cloves
1 T. fresh oregano, thyme, and/or rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste

To make lollipops, use a paring knife to cut around the thin tip of each chicken wing to loosen the meat around the joint. While holding the base, push the meat down gently to expose the bone and form a "chicken lollipop." Remove any flesh left on the thin end with a clean towel.

Combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, herbs and seasonings in a bowl. Add chicken lollipops and marinate at least one hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place lollipops on baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes or until done. Serve with Tzatziki (Greek Yogurt and Cucumber Sauce)

Tzatziki (Greek Yogurt and Cucumber Sauce)

3 c. Greek yogurt
1 T. lemon juice
2 garlic clove, chopped
2 medium cucumbers, seeded and diced
1 T salt for salting cucumbers
Salt and pepper to taste
1 c. Feta cheese (optional)

Peel cucumbers, then cut in half lengthwise and take a small spoon and scrape out seeds. Discard seeds. Slice cucumbers, then put in a colander, sprinkle on 1 T salt, and let stand for 30 minutes to draw out water. Drain well and wipe dry with paper towel. (This step is key; seeds and unsalted cucumbers will make for watery, inedible tzatziki mush.)

Blend cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice, dill, black pepper (and feta cheese if you’re using it) in a food processor using the steel blade until smooth. Stir the blended mixture into the yogurt.

Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving so flavors can meld.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Oven-Roasted Root Vegetables and Garlic

Ahmir Khalib Thompson, professionally known as Questlove, is the drummer for The Roots, Jimmy Fallon’s in-house band. Today is his 40th birthday. Celebrate with oven-roasted ROOTS vegetables and garlic -- perfect for a cold winter night.

Oven Roasted ROOTS Vegetables and Garlic

4-6 cups peeled, chopped root vegetables (potatoes, carrots, beets, Brussels sprouts, turnips, celery root and squash)
1 medium red onion
2 -3 tablespoons olive oil
1 head of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut root vegetables into 1 1/2 inch chunks and slice onion into sixths or eighths.

Toss vegetables and garlic cloves in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet or in a shallow baking pan.

Roast in oven until lightly browned and tender (40 minutes to one hour); turning occasionally. Scoop into a bowl and serve.

Gordon Ramsey suggests drizzling vegetables with honey toward the end of their cooking time to caramelize further. Also, consider tossing in fresh rosemary, thyme, or sage if it complements your main course.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Birthday Girls (and a Birthday Suit)

Today, Paula Deen and Dolly Parton are celebrating birthdays. Celebrate two good old(er) Southern gals with Paula’s recipe for Garlic Cheese Grits. The recipe called for Cheddar, but Paula uses Velveeta on her television show. As the old commercial says, “when the cookbook calls for cheddar ... make it with Velveeta ... it cooks better." The picture above was done by Pop Art and pin-up artist Mel Ramos in 1965. Her name? Val Veeta. Best dishes, y'all.

Baked Garlic Cheese Grits

6 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 cloves roasted garlic
2 cups regular grits
16 ounces Cheddar or Velveeta, cubed
1/2 cup milk
4 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
8 ounces grated sharp white Cheddar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 4-quart casserole dish.

Bring the broth, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan. Stir in the grits and whisk until completely combined. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the grits are thick, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the cubed cheese and milk and stir. Gradually stir in the eggs and butter, stirring until all are combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle with the white Cheddar and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until set.

NOTE: I replaced the 1/4 t. of garlic powder in Paula’s original recipe with roasted garlic because I wanted a fresher garlic taste.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Swiss Bankers Go Wild, Eat Garlic

Switzerland’s largest bank UBS has revised its employee code of conduct and employees are now allowed to eat garlic. The banking giant’s 43-page dress code was obtained by MSNBC last year. In addition to the prohibition on garlic, women were required to wear makeup but not allowed to sport black nail polish. Men were forbidden to wear socks with cartoon motifs, three-day stubble, or the same tie two days in a row. And (creep-out alert) bankers of both sexes were expected to wear underwear that matched their skin tone.

In honor of the relaxation of the regulations, here’s Klutzy Chef’s recipe for Swiss wild garlic soup (bärlauch). It’s a bit early for wild garlic (also known as ramps); you can use regular garlic but it's much stronger and I'd probably use one clove, two if you want to go wild.

Wild Garlic Soup

3.5 oz. wild garlic, finely chopped
5.5 oz. scallions, finely chopped
1/2 c. plus 1/3 c. white wine
1 c. heavy cream
4.5 oz. creme fraiche or sour cream
2 c. vegetable broth
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
one potato, finely chopped

In a dutch oven or heavy pot with tightly fitted lid, heat butter and olive oil on medium-high heat.

Add chopped wild garlic and scallions to pot and allow to heat up until softened (about 4-5 minutes).

Add white wine, cream, creme fraiche and vegetable broth. Bring mixture to a slow simmer and cover. Cook for 25-30 minutes (or until the potato is soft).

Remove from heat and add to blender mixture to blender. Blend on low until consistency is smooth.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve garnished with a dollop of creme fraiche.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Light, Fluffy, Garlicky Souffle

My friend Carolyn found this recipe for Roasted Garlic Souffle on Epicurious. It's Paul Grimes' recipe from the late, great Gourmet. One reviewer said her autistic son said it was like eating “garlicky biscuit vapor.” With freezing rain on the horizon, this looks perfect for tonight’s dinner.

Roasted Garlic Souffle

3 large heads garlic, left whole, plus 3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 medium onion, sliced
3 large thyme sprigs plus 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 California bay leaf or 2 Turkish
1 whole clove
1/8 teaspoon black peppercorns
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, separated, plus 4 additional egg whites
1 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (3 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3/4 cup grated Gruyère (2 ounces)

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle.

Trim 1/4 inch from tops of whole heads of garlic, then put heads on a large sheet of foil and drizzle each with 1 teaspoon oil. Wrap heads together in foil and roast until very tender, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Cool to warm, then squeeze garlic from skins.

Meanwhile, bring milk, smashed garlic cloves, onion, thyme sprigs, bay leaf, clove, and peppercorns just to a boil in a medium saucepan, then remove from heat and cover. Let steep 30 minutes.

Butter a 12-inch oval (2-quart) gratin dish with 1 tablespoon butter, then sprinkle bottom and side with bread crumbs and chill until ready to use.

Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a heavy medium saucepan and whisk in flour.

Cook roux over low heat, whisking constantly, 5 minutes.

Strain milk mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, then add to roux, whisking until smooth.

Bring to a boil, whisking, then simmer béchamel, whisking, 3 minutes. Remove from heat and vigorously whisk in yolks 1 at a time. Whisk in roasted garlic, parmesan, nutmeg, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and transfer to a bowl.

Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt using an electric mixer until they just hold stiff peaks, then stir one third of egg whites into yolk mixture. Fold in Gruyère, then remaining whites. Transfer mixture to gratin dish, smoothing top, and sprinkle with thyme leaves.

Bake soufflé until set and browned on top, 20 to 25 minutes.

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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Romania to Tax Witches

The government of Romania has decided to levy a 16% income tax on witches and the local witches are none too pleased. They’ve thrown poisonous mandrake plants into the Danube to put a curse on the officials, and threatened other spells that use unseemly animal bits.

As garlic, rosemary, and thyme are said to repel witches, I’ve posted this recipe for Chicken Ghiveci (Romanian braised chicken) for any Romanian ministers who might be trolling food blogs for salvation.

Even if you’re not a governmental official in Bucharest (and what are the odds?), this roasted chicken is hearty, flavorful, and perfect for a snowy night.

Chicken Ghiveci (Romanian Braised Chicken)

3 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 bell peppers, seeds removed and sliced
2 pounds chicken breasts
1/2 c. tomato paste
1 t. fresh thyme
1 t. fresh rosemary
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
1/2 c. dry white wine
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic saute until soft and translucent. Add bell pepper and stir fry for one minute more.

Add chicken breasts, browning both sides (about ten minutes). When browned, add the remaining ingredients and saute for one min then cover and cook for 40-45 minutes until liquid runs clear when chicken is pierced with a fork.

Garnish with finely chopped thyme and rosemary and serve over rice.

Notes: Ghiveci is traditionally made with seasonal vegetables. This version adds chicken to give it some weight. Customarily, it’s also prepared with potatoes but they seem a bit much with the rice so I omitted them. If you’re training for the Iditarod, feel free to add in two cups of diced potatoes.

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