Saturday, November 23, 2013

Eat My Blog 5.0 Happening Today!

Today's the Eat My Blog bake sale (with proceeds benefiting the Philippine Red Cross for Typhoon Haiyan relief), so come on down to Coolhaus Pasadena from 10a to 1p today buy some delicious baked goods from bloggers & pros.

As for my contribution? Freshly baked chocoholic cookies (and I do mean fresh, they're being baked in batches right now!)
Chocoholic Cookies for #EatMyBlog bake sale
The recipe is available here (my only modification for the #EatMyBlog edition is I did 50/50 white chocolate & dark chocolate chips.)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Recipe: Crispy Mustard-Herb Roasted Potatoes with Pancetta & Cider-Mustard Sauce

Mustard-Herb Roasted Potatoes w Pancetta & Cider-Mustard Sauce 
The recipe for this dish came about rather serendipitously . . . I had just read J. Kenji Lopez-Alt's (a.k.a. SeriousEats' Food Lab) tips & tricks for ultra-crispy oven-roasted potatoes and was waiting for an occasion to give it a try (as well as my own flavor twist to his recipe.) Around the same time, I got picked to participate in a Mystery Ingredient Blogger Showcase to craft a recipe using their secret ingredient, which turned out to be Colman's Mustard. So I basically blended the techniques of the former and the flavors of the latter for my Crispy Mustard-Herb Roasted Potatoes with Pancetta & Cider-Mustard Sauce.

The result from that marriage was nothing short of awesome. Thanks to the par-boil & high temperature roasting with generous—but not frightening—amounts of oil, the potatoes were amazingly crispy on the outside with a wonderfully creamy and fluffy interior. And the aromatic bite of the mustard (used in both powdered & paste forms) was an elegant balance to those baked taters, the cider cream sauce's rich, fruity sweetness and the smoky-salty bits of pancetta.

And like most of my other recipes, this one is a cinch to make. And because the potatoes stay crispy for a while (and is even delicious cold) you can make this show-stopper side ahead of time, just save the sauce for drizzling right before serving for that dramatic & flavorful finish.

Crispy Roasted Mustard-Herb Potatoes with Pancetta & Cider-Mustard Sauce

  • 3 pounds baby potatoes, washed and cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 10 thyme sprigs
  • 7 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons Colman's mustard powder
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 ounces diced pancetta
  • 4 ounces hard cider
  • 1 tablespoon Colman's prepared mustard
  • 2.5 ounces heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  1. Preheat oven to 500 F; line a 8 x 12 sheet pan with aluminum foil and put it in the oven while it's preheating
  2. In a large enough saucepot, put potatoes in with enough water to cover it along with the table salt and rice vinegar. Bring it to boil over high heat, then turn the heat down to a simmer and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes (it should just start to yield when poked with a knife.
  3. While potatoes are simmering, combine the leaves from 5 thyme sprigs, kosher salt, mustard powder, and 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large bowl and whisk with a fork until well blended.
  4. Drain the simmered potatoes, then toss them in the oil mixture until they are well coated; remove the heated sheet pan from the oven and generously coat with the remaining oil. Carefully lay the potatoes cut side down on the pan, and place in oven's middle rack to heat for 25 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and turn the potatoes cut side up - carefully adding garlic cloves in the gaps between the potatoes. Put back in oven to heat for another 20-25 minutes (when the skin starts to char and the cut-side flesh is a deep golden brown.)
  6. While the potatoes are heating the 2nd time around, heat up the pancetta in a skillet on the stove at high heat. When it browns and crisps, remove them and set aside, leaving the rendered grease in the skillet.
  7. Turn heat to medium and pour in hard cider to deglaze, using a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape any pancetta bits stuck to the skillet.
  8. After the initial bubbles dissipate, add cream, English mustard, and cornstarch. Whisk vigorously, breaking up any lumps that may form.
  9. Let the sauce simmer for 1-2 minutes until it starts to thicken, then turn heat off and set aside.
  10. When the potatoes are ready, scoop onto a plate and sprinkle on the crisped pancetta; garnish with remaining thyme sprigs and drizzle on sauce just before serving.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Recipe: California Ragù

I know, corn is not a traditional meat ragù component (and I was already picturing throngs of Italian grandmothers screaming obscenities at me as I added it into the sauce,) but I personally love the color and flavor these golden nuggets of sweetness contribute, balancing the tomato's acidity, crushed chili flakes' heat and the earthy-savory combination of beef, onions and mushrooms. And to give it a good measure of sophistication, a healthy dose of Port to add some complexity to the whole affair without having to wait for it to reduce like one would with red wine.

I figured if I added California as an adjective to this dish, anything goes right? (Sorry if you came here thinking I'd add avocados to the recipe; I haven't... yet.)

Corniness aside (and you're free to omit them if you want to, but don't knock it till you've tried it), this is a supremely easy but deeply satisfying one-pan wonder, and perfect for those times when you want something comforting without wanting to put in a lot of effort. It takes under 45 minutes from start to finish, and most of that is just stirring & adding of ingredients. And I'd wager someone better at multi-tasking than I am can get this done in half an hour.
My personal preference for eating this ragù is with rice, which soaks up the flavors beautifully while still retaining their fluffy texture. But feel free go traditional and use it to top some pasta, or even on its own with some shredded cheese on top and crusty bread on the side.