Saturday, December 23, 2006

Killer Dashi Concentrate

An amazing Japanese dashi-style concentrate, with umami up the proverbial wazoo. Use in any recipe that calls for dashi, diluted with four times or more as much water (for broths or soups) or at or near full strength as a dipping sauce for noodles or whatever. When using as a substitute for dashi, keep in mind that this is already highly seasoned, so you might want cut back on any additional soy or salt called for in the recipe.

Recipe cribbed from Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Duguid's Seductions of Rice.

Makes approximately 4.5 cups.

2 6x4" pieces of Kombu, lightly rinsed
12 Dried Shiitakes
1-1/2c small dried whole sardines or anchovies (ask your Korean or Japanese grocer)
3 c soy sauce
1 c mirin
1 c sake

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, cover, and let stand overnight at room temperature.

2. Transfer to a heavy pot and bring to a boil over high heat.

3. Let boil for 1 min, then turn to low and let simmer for 3 min.

4. Strain, setting the solids aside for another use (see below) if desired.

5. Rinse a quart glass jar with very hot water. Cool the concentrate and then refrigerate. It will keep for up to 5 months.

To use: dilute up to 4:1 with water. Bring to a boil, boil briefly, then lower heat and simmer for a few minutes before serving.

Second Pressing:

The leftover solids may be used to make a quick broth for immediate use:

1. Soak kombu for 30m in 2 c water.

2. Add solids, bring to a boil.

3. Remove kombu, boil 10 min, strain.

Use within 24h, at full strength.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Hoeffel Pizza Dough

4 1/2 cups Flour
1 tsp Salt
2 packages Dry Yeast
1/4 cup Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Light Brown Sugar

1) In 1/2 cup of warm (110 degree) water, stir in sugar, and dissolve yeast. Let stand 5 minutes
2) Sift flour and salt, pour onto work surface forming a well in the center to pour the wet ingredients
3) Pour 1 cup water, and 3 Tbsp olive oil into the well in the flour, then add yeast yeast mixture.
4) Mix with hands, drawing flour into wet ingredients until blended.
5) Knead for 8 to 10 minutes (use a timer or you'll cheat) adding flour as necessary.
6) Oil a bowl, and let dough rise 1 1/2 Hours

This dough is the dough that makes "Hoeffel Pizza" the most extraordinary pizza on the planet! Brought to us by Thomas Hoeffel, who tought us how to make real pizza. See comments for a funny story about this dough, and how I rediscovered dough and pizza/bread-making.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

No-Knead Bread

Don't believe it? Watch the Video
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.
From original New York Times posting
Brought to us by our good friend Andrew Janjigian
Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Gobi Ki Sabzi - Spicy Roasted Cauliflower

5 tb Vegetable oil
1 ts Mustard seeds
1 Piece of fresh root ginger, 1-inch; peeled & sliced thi
1 Onion; sliced
1 ts Turmeric
1 Green chilli; chopped
1 lg Cauliflower; trimmed, cut into florets
1 ts Salt
1/2 Lemon juice (juice of 1/2 lemon, th

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over moderately high heat. Add the mustard seeds, reduce the heeat to moderate and cover the pan. When the seeds stop spattering, remove the lid and add the ginger, onion, turmeric and green chilli. Fry stirring occasionally for 3 minutes.

Add the cauliflower and salt and stir well. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the top, cover pan, reduce heat to low and cook cauliflower for 20 minutes, or until florets are tender, but not mushy. Turn contents of pan into serving dish. Sprinkle over the coriander (cilantro?) and serve.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

St. Lucian Kale Soup

We call this no-chicken chicken soup and it is one of our all-time favorites.

1 large Onion, diced
1 Parsnip, diced
1/2 Pound Green Beans, cut in half
4 Stalks Celery, diced
2 Carrots, diced
1 Bunch Kale, cut into strips
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Head Broccoli, cut up
1 Head Cauliflower, cut up
1/2 Bunch Dill, chopped

In a large stockpot over high heat, bring 8 cups water to a boil. Add onion, parsnip, green beans, celery, carrots, kale, and garlic. Cook until vegetables are soft (about 30 minutes) and add salt and pepper to taste. Add broccoli and cauliflower and cook another 30 minutes, adding dill after 15 minutes.

The soup is ready when all vegetables are soft, and the soup takes on a green hue.

Serves 4 to 6 (Or two dinners, 2 lunches + another dinner, freezes great)