04/17/17

Pork Schnitzel with Dill Sauce and Simple Spaetzle

Pork Schnitzel with Dill Sauce and Simple Spaetzle


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Pork Schnitzel
Yield: 4 servings

4 boneless pork loin chops (6oz each)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
4 cups plain dried bread crumbs
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs butter

Dill sauce:
1½ c. sour cream
1 Tbs dill
2 Tbs lemon juice
½ tsp. salt

For Dill Sauce

Whisk the sour cream, dill, lemon juice, and salt together in a medium bowl until smooth, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.

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Assemble the Pork Chops

Begin by placing each chop between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and gently pounding them out with the flat side of a meat tenderizer until they are an even 1/4-inch thick.

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Put the flour in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Whisk the eggs and milk in another shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Put the bread crumbs in a third dish and again season with salt and pepper.

Pork Schnitzel recipe

Lightly dredge each piece of pork in flour, then in the egg and finally into the bread crumbs, pressing the bread crumbs onto the pork gently so they have a nice even coating.

Pork Schnitzel recipe

Lay the breaded pork cutlets in a single layer on a plate lined with parchment and refrigerate, uncovered, for 10 to 12 minutes to allow the coating to dry out a little and adhere to the pork.

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Heat oil and butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the thyme sprig and let it fry for about 1 minute to infuse the oil. Remove the thyme sprig and reserve. Gently lay the cutlets into the pan and cook until golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to paper towels to drain.

Season with salt and transfer to a serving platter while still hot. Garnish with lemon wedges and the dill sauce before serving.

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making spatzel at home

Simple Spaetzle
4 servings

    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    3 eggs, lightly beaten
    1/4 cup 2% milk
    2 tsp. salt
    6 cups chicken broth
    2 tsp. butter

In a large bowl, stir the flour, eggs, milk and salt until smooth (dough will be sticky). In a large saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Pour dough into a colander, cheese grater (shown) or spaetzle maker coated with cooking spray; place over boiling broth.

Homemade spatzel recipe

With a wooden spoon, press dough until small pieces drop into boiling water. Cook for 2 minutes or until spaetzle are tender and float. Remove with a slotted spoon; toss with butter.  



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01/10/17

Perfect Chicken Piccata

Perfect Chicken Piccata recipe

At-risk kids cooking“Piccata” is a method of preparing food: meat is floured, sautéed and served in a sauce. The dish originated in Italy using veal (veal piccata). In the United States, the most well-known variant is chicken piccata.

This is one of my all-time favorite dishes, and often the “finals” recipe for our MY KITCHEN classes.

It’s quick, delicious, and easy to fix, and we always get the same response from our students… “I can’t believe I cooked that!”

Enjoy!

Chef Perry

Perfect Chicken Piccata
Serves 4

PREP 10 mins.
COOK 15 mins.
READY IN 25 mins.

2 boneless chicken breasts or 8 tenders
1 cup AP flour
salt and ground black pepper
cayenne pepper, to taste
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs capers
1 cup dry white wine (I like pinot gris)
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup homemade chicken stock
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley
1 lb fettuccine or spaghetti pasta

Mise en Place

Drain capers, squeeze lemon, cut butter into 1/4-inch slices, chop parsley

Prepare the Dish

Place chicken breasts into a gallon zip bag and pound to about 1/2-inch thick.

flattening chicken breasts in a Ziploc

Season both sides of chicken breasts with cayenne, salt, and black pepper; dredge lightly in flour and shake off any excess.

Pan Seared Chicken Breasts
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Heat olive oil in a SS skillet over medium-high heat. Place chicken in the pan, reduce heat to medium, and cook until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side; remove to a plate.

Meanwhile, cook your pasta.

Add capers to the pan in reserved oil, smashing them lightly to release brine, until warmed though, about 30 seconds.  Pour wine into skillet to deglaze (see my video on deglazing), scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spatula. Cook until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.

Deglazing a pan

Stir lemon juice, stock, and butter into the reduced wine mixture; cook and stir continuously to form a thick sauce, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add adente pasta (with a little pasta water) and parsley, stir.

Adding pasta to pan

Return chicken breasts to the pan cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve chicken over pasta, with additional sauce spooned over the top.

 

 

01/6/17

Chilean Lomito, Paleo Style

Lomito Paleo Style

Second only to a well made Bahn Mi, the traditional Chilean Lomito is my favorite sandwich. Pork and avocado is one of the great complimentary food pairings in the world, and nowhere is the better evidenced than in the Chilean’s favorite street food.

I have made many, many, lomitos in my time, but on my current experiment with Paleo eating, I decided that instead of giving up my favorites, I’d see if I can reinvent them in a way that won’t get “the look” from my wife.

This one turned out pretty darn good.

Enjoy!

Chef Perry

Chilean Lomito, Paleo Style

2 lg. pork steaks, boneless
2 Tbs. Ghee (clarified butter – recipe below)
2 Tbs. Grapeseed oil
4 cloves garlic
2 tbs oregano
kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
1 carrot, diced
1 yellow onion
2 celery stalks, diced
2 cups homemade chicken stock
2 ripe avocados
1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
3 firm Roma tomatoes, sliced
1 cup Paleo Mayo (recipe below)
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 tsp. Mexican chili powder

Mise en Place

Mise en Place
Thin slice tomatoes, cube avocados, peel and smash garlic. Dice onion, carrot, and celery.

Prepare/Warm chicken stock. Roll and squeeze lime. Whisk mayo and coconut milk with chili powder, pour into a small squeeze bottle, and set aside to chill.

Preparation
Bring pork steaks to room temperature.

Stir avocados into a thick, chunky paste, season with a pinch of salt & pepper, and a squirt of lime juice.

Pounded pork steak

Pound pork steaks to an even 3/4 inch thickness, and season both sides of pork with with salt, pepper and oregano.

In a large skillet, over high heat, brown pork steaks on both sides in 1tbs ghee and 1 Tbs. grapeseed oil.

Set aside and keep just warm.

Pan fried pork steak

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Add remaining ghee and oil to pan, along with the carrots, onion, garlic and celery. Saute until veggies start to soften.

Add the chicken stock. and cool until reduced to about 1/2 cup of liquid. Strain, discard veggies, and return liquid to the skillet over medium heat. Add pork steaks and cook one minute, flip, and remove the skillet from heat and let rest two minutes.

When pork is done Remove from braising liquid, and set aside.

Again, reduce the braising liquid, this time by half.

Lomito Paleo Style

Plate
After pork has rested 5 minutes, slice it very thinly. Fan pork onto a warmed plate and brush with reduced braising liquid. Top with tomato slices, and dress generously with coconut-chili-mayo. Top with a big dollop of of avocado.

Serve and enjoy!

Chef Perry

Paleo Mayo

2 egg yolks
3 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup coconut oil

Mix the yolks and 1 tsp lemon juice. in a food processor on low. Very (VERY) slowly begin drizzling in the oil, drop by drop to create an emulsion (too much oil, to fast, will cause the mixture to separate.

As the emulsion forms and everything starts to thicken, you can add the oil a little faster.

Once all of the oil has been added, and your mayo is thick, whisk in the rest of the lemon. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ghee

Ghee is a class of clarified butter that originated in ancient India and is commonly used in South Asian, Iranian and Arabic cuisines, traditional medicine, and religious rituals. Wikipedia

1lb Unsalted grass-fed butter (1 pint)

Cut the butter into one inch cubes, and melt over medium heat, gently stirring it frequently, until a thick, white foam begins forming on surface. Continue to stir until it starts to simmer, then reduce heat to medium low.

Cook the butter 5 minutes, stirring just once or twice, allowing more foam to form, until you see milk solids (curdles) beginning to form on the sides of the pot (this is a good thing). Scrape the sides of the pot to help the solids sink to the bottom.

Continue to scrape the sides and bottom of the pot gently so the solids don’t burn, as the butter becomes clearer. When a second foam begins to form on top, you’re ready to strain your ghee. Remove from heat and let the foam settles for a minute.

Line a metal sieve with cheesecloth and set directly over a quart-size bowl, and strain the mixture into the bowl. (Discard the milk solids.) Cover the jar loosely and allow to set for 4-6 hours at room temp.

Ghee will keep in the pantry for months, so no refrigeration is necessary.

09/29/16
Ground Lamb Gyro Gorditas

Gyros vs. Schawarma


My old pal Megan, freshly returned from a recent European jaunt, asks:

“Two things, on searching for shawarma here in Portland, I found a restaurant that sold shawarma but in parentheses labeled it gyros. Are they the same thing? And do you know where I can get some good shawarma?”

(BTW – your timing is perfect, Megan, as we’ve just posted not one, but TWO gyros recipes:

Ground Lamb Gyro Gorditas, and Easy Skillet Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce

Ground Lamb Gyro Gorditas

Meg,

Both were derived in the 18th or 19th century from the Turkish Doner Kebab. Doner (rotating) and Kebab (grilled meat.)

When it was introduced to Greece, they named it “gyros,” Greek for “turn.” When it arrived in the Middle East, it was translated into the Arabic word for turning, “shawarma.”

In Greece the meat is typically pork, lamb, or beef, while the Middle Eastern version, not surprisingly, is never pork, but can be lamb, beef or chicken. In America, the meat is often a combination of beef & lamb.

The three major differences:

1. The Flavors

Gyros will have a more “Mediterranean” selection of herbs (oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary), while shawarma, not surprisingly, leans towards the “middle eastern” spice wheel (cardamom, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, coriander seed, turmeric.)

Either may have cumin, or pepper, and they’ll both will certainly have garlic.

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 2. The Meat

Besides the spices, is the form of meat. The meat for a gyro is a ground blend, usually some combination of lamb and beef, formed into a loaf before roasted on a spit. The shawarma meat cone is made from packed-down slices of marinated meat—often chicken, sometimes lamb, and occasionally even goat.

3. Toppings

Lastly, gyros are typically topped with onion, tomato, and tzatziki—a cold sauce made of strained yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil. Schawarma, on the other hand, has a more diverse salad-bar,including tahini, tabbouleh, fattoush, cucumber, and hummus…but no tzatziki.

I love them both!

As for my favorite spot, that’s easy, my #1 for all Middle Eastern foods is Wilsonville’s Dar Essalam Moroccan Restaurant. (The apricot lamb-shank tagine is to die for, as well!)

Chef Perry
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09/27/16
Ground Lamb Gyro Gorditas

Ground Lamb Gyro Gorditas

Ground Lamb Gyro Gorditas

As a follow up to last week’s recipe, “Easy Skillet Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce“, I’ve continued my ground lamb experiments, and may have found a recipe that’s even easier, and that I like even better!

This one has a slightly lighter  bread-to-filling ratio, using Mexican style gorditas* as opposed to the thicker traditional flat bread.

The ground lamb is prepared more simply, more like the “American-style” ground beef taco filling, but with that amazing gyro flavor.

Here you go…

Chef Perry
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*A gordita (“chubby” in Spanish) is typically a thick tortilla, baked on a comal. Gorditas de migas, one of my top five favorite foods, is a version in which fried pork is mixed with the dough. BTW –  what Taco Bell offers as a “gordita” is more akin to a flatbread than any type of tortilla. Making it, ironically, more of a “Greek Taco”. 😉

Ground Lamb Gyro Gorditas ~ Serves 4

1/2 med sweet onion, finely chopped
1 lb ground lamb
Olive oil
1 Tbs finely minced garlic
1 Tbs dried marjoram
1 Tbs fresh rosemary, chopped
1 Tbs fine sea salt
2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
Tzatziki Sauce (recipe follows)

Toppings:
8 thick slices of a large tomato
1/2 red onion, sliced
1/2 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
4 large gorditas, warmed

Ground Lamb Gyro Gorditas

Prep your toppings and chill, covered.

Ground Lamb Gyro Gorditas

In a lightly oiled non-stick skillet, fry the gorditas over medium heat until golden spots appear (20-30 seconds per side). Set aside and keep warm.

Add a small amount of oil to the pan, and let heat up. Add sweet onion, garlic, herbs and spices and saute, stirring often, until onions start to soften.

Add the ground meat in chunks, stirring and chopping until cooked and well mixed with the seasoning. Allow to rest five minutes, then drain of any additional grease.


 

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Ground Lamb Gyro Gorditas

Assemble: Sprinkle gordita with feta cheese, then a couple of spoonfuls of ground lamb, top with tomato slices and red onion. Spoon tzatziki over all.

Chef’s note: I like to add a sprinkle of celery salt, just before serving.

Ground Lamb Gyro Gorditas

Tzatziki:
8 ounces plain yogurt
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoons red wine vinegar
6 mint leaves, finely minced

Place the chopped cucumber in a towel and squeeze to remove excess liquid; discard liquid.

Homemade Tzatziki Recipe

In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, cucumber, salt, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and mint.

Homemade Tzatziki Recipe

Tzatziki will stay good in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for up to a week.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

 

09/21/16
Easy Skillet Gyros

Easy Skillet Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce

Easy skillet gyros

A gyro (Greek: γύρος, gyros, literally ‘turn’) is made of meat cooked on a large vertical rotisserie, typically the meat is pork, chicken, beef, veal, lamb or mutton, and usually served wrapped in a flatbread such as pita, with cucumber, tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce.

Middle Eastern shawarma, Mexican tacos al pastor, and Greek gyros are all derived from the Turkish döner kebab, which was invented in Bursa in the 19th century by a cook named Hadji Iskender.

Now, I love gyros (and tacos al pastor, and schwarma, too, come to think of it), but here’s the thing…

vertical gyros rotisserieI don’t know about you, but I don’t happen to have a “large vertical rotisserie” laying around my kitchen (yet), the need to cook meat for 100 people each time I want a sandwich, nor am I ready to shell out seven hundred bucks, just to feed my occasional turning meat jones.

So what’s a cash-poor chef with a big hunk of ground lamb to do? He improvises, baby!

Now, I have grilled many, many thousands of burgers, thick and thin, over the fire, or in the pan, and while I’m the first to admit it’s not exactly the same, but for ease of preparation, flexibility in servings, and simplicity of gear needed…these are pretty freakin’ good.

I skillet-cooked this batch, but I’m very optimistic at the prospect of repeating this recipe over live fire.

Enjoy!

Chef Perry
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Easy skillet gyros
Easy Skillet Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce  
Serves 4
The Meat:
1/2 med sweet onion, finely chopped
1 lb ground lamb
1 Tbs finely minced garlic
1 Tbs dried marjoram
1 Tbs fresh rosemary, chopped
1 Tbs fine sea salt
2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
Tzatziki Sauce (recipe follows)

The Tzatziki:
8 ounces plain yogurt
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoons red wine vinegar
6 mint leaves, finely minced

The Toppings:
8 thick slices of a large tomato
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1/2 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
4 whole wheat flat breads, warmed
1 fresh lemon, quartered

Prep your toppings and chill, covered.

Easy skillet gyros
Finely chop your onion, then combine in a bowl with the lamb, garlic, marjoram, rosemary, salt, and pepper and mix by hand until evenly combined. process until it is a fine paste.

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Easy Skillet Gyros
Form into 4 even balls, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place meat in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

Bring a dry skillet to medium high heat. Press each meatball between two layers of butcher paper until 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.

Easy way to make gyros
Fry each lamb patty (I’ve found it’s easiest to leave the top layer of paper on until it’s in the pan, as the heat will make it easier to peel the meat off of it) quickly, 1-2 minutes per side. Again, this step can be done over the direct heat of a hot grill as well, and might taste even better!

Easy Skillet Gyros
Stack the patties as they finish cooking, and keep in a warm over (150F) until done.

Easy Skillet Gyros

Slice and serve on flat bread with tzatziki sauce, chopped onion, tomatoes, feta cheese, and a spritz of lemon juice.

Oh, and while not part of any traditional gyro recipe I could find, I like to sprinkle the tomatoes with a little more black pepper and a little celery salt, before wrappin’ it up.

Easy Skillet Gyros

Easy Tzatziki Sauce
Tzatziki Sauce:

Place the chopped cucumber in a towel and squeeze to remove excess liquid; discard liquid.

In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, cucumber, salt, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and mint. Serve on gyros.

Easy Tzatziki Sauce
Tzatziki will stay good in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for up to a week.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

08/10/16

Sweet Butter Rum Plantains

Butter Rum Plantains Recipe

Ever see those funny-looking bananas at the grocery store and wonder what the heck they were?

Those aren’t bananas at all…they’re plantains, and whether served savory or sweet, they’re crazy delicious! More starchy and less sweet than bananas, plantains are a staple food in the tropical regions of the world (West and Central Africa, Central America, the Caribbean islands and northern, coastal parts of South America), and are treated in much the same way as potatoes and with a similar neutral flavor and texture.

Though typically eaten as a savory snack, or mashed into a starchy filler, I can take my plantains either direction, and when going to the sweet side…this is my favorite.

Chef Perry’s Butter Rum Plantains

  • 1 C dark rum
  • 1 C dark brown sugar
  • Salt
  • 2 Tbs butter, diced
  • 1/4 cup peanut or coconut oil
  • 6 very ripe plantains
Unripe Green (for tostones), vs. Ripe Black Plantains

Unripe Green (for tostones), vs. Ripe Black Plantains

Peel and slice plantains on the bias, 1/2-inch thick. Plantains should be very ripe (almost black.) Green plantains are much more starchy, and not as sweet. Green plantains are best for one of my favorite savory snacks, tostones.

In a heavy skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add half of the plantains and fry them in a single layer for about 4 minutes on each side.

Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm in a bowl. Repeat.

Sautéed Butter-Rum PlantainsDrain and wipe oil from the same pan, combine the rum, brown sugar, butter, and salt. Stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved, then bring the mixture to a vigorous boil.

Cook for 2 minutes, until slightly thickened.

Return the plantains to the pan and stir to coat them evenly with the sauce.

Allow to cool slightly, and serve.

Plan on one plantain per serving

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07/18/16
The best Curry Salmon Recipe

Chef Perry’s Salmon Curry with Yellow Couscous

The best Curry Salmon Recipe

Chef Perry’s Salmon Curry with Yellow Couscous

1 tbsp whole cumin seeds
1 tbsp whole coriander seeds
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
2 tsp whole mustard seeds
2 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground turmeric

For the Curry:

1/4 cup Peanut oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
6 Roma tomatoes, fire roasted and diced fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 green chilies, minced (Opt)
2-inch piece of ginger, minced
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 pounds salmon cutlets

Directions:

Roast tomatoes (whole) on your grill or under the broiler at high heat, turning as each side starts to blacken. Cool, chop, and add a sprinkle of sea salt.

Prepare the spice mix: combine the whole cumin, coriander, peppercorns, mustard seeds, chili flakes, garam masala, and turmeric in a bowl and scatter into a pre-heated dry skillet. Stir or toss constantly until toasted (you’ll begin to smell the spices as they release their oils. Place still-warm spices into a spice grinder or mortar & pestle; grind the spices to a fine powder; set aside.

Do NOT use pre-ground spices for your curry…this little bit of extra effort is so totally worth it.

Heat the 1 Tbsp. of oil over medium-low heat in a large, heavy pan – add the onions, and fry until golden brown. Place the onions into a food processor and grind to a paste. Wipe the pan clean, and heat another tablespoon or two of oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, and ginger and fry for a few minutes.

Add the puréed onion, peppers (opt) and roasted tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook the sauce, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes.

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Add the spice mix and coconut milk, and stir until fully combined. Nestle the salmon pieces into the sauce – cover with a lid, and allow to cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Flip the salmon, cover again and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked-through and the sauce is nice and thick.

Serve on a thick bed of yellow rice, and spoon additional curry over the fish.

Yellow Couscous
This is the best rice I’ve ever had, everything else is dead to me. (Okay, slight exaggeration, but…’nuff said.)

2 cups dry couscous
3 cups chicken broth
1 tsp turmeric
½ Tbsp minced garlic
¼ tsp ground cumin
⅛ tsp cinnamon
1 whole bay leaf
2 Tbsp butter

Melt the butter with turmeric, garlic, cumin, and cinnamon in a pot over medium heat, stirring until the butter has melted.

Add the couscous to the pot. Stir and cook over medium heat to slightly toast the spices (about 1 minute).

Heat one burner on high, and a second on it’s lowest setting. Add 3 cups of chicken broth and one bay leaf to the pot. Place a lid on top, place over the hotter burner, and bring the pot to a simmer.

As soon as it reaches a full boil, move the pot to the lower set burner and let it simmer (lid on) for 20 minutes.

Turn the heat off and allow to rest (lid still on) for another 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve!

04/17/16
Moqueca Brazilian Fish Stew

Cook the World: Moqueca – Brazilian Fish Stew

Moqueca – Brazilian Fish Stew

Cook the World

Moqueca Brazilian Fish StewApproximately once a week, my daughter Grace pick a country from the map and we research the food of that nation and pick a traditional dish that we want to try. We shop and cook together, and maybe even work in a side trip to an ethnic market or food-truck, once in a while.

We post our processes, notes, and maybe a brief anecdote, but mostly it’s about the recipe.

Last time, we visited Australia and roasted an Australian Sunday Lamb roast…it was SO good!

This time, we’re going down under to take a look at Brazil, and a very popular local fish/coconut soup, Moqueca.

NOTE: While the coconut and sauteed veggie flavors really sang in this dish, I wasn’t too impressed with the flavor (or lack of) in the white fish. I’ve read that some versions use salmon instead, and I’ll be trying that soon. Likely give it a quick pan-sear to add some caramelization.

Brazilian cuisine has European, African and Amerindian influences. It varies greatly by region, reflecting the country’s mix of native and immigrant populations, and its continental size as well. This has created a national cuisine marked by the preservation of regional differences. Enslaved Africans also had a role in developing Brazilian cuisine, especially in the coastal states, which is where Moqueca originally developed.
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Brazilians have been making Moqueca for at least 300 years.The dish is usually seasoned with onion, tomatoes, coriander, chives, and olive oil.

Moqueca Brazilian Fish Stew
Moqueca – Brazilian Fish Stew
Yield: Serves 4

1 1/2 to 2 lbs of fillets of firm white fish such as halibut, swordfish, or cod, rinsed in cold water, pin bones removed, cut into large portions
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbsp lime or lemon juice
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
1 cup chopped spring onion, or 1 medium yellow onion, chopped or sliced
1/4 cup green onion greens, chopped
1/2 yellow and 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, de-stemmed, chopped (or sliced)
2 cups chopped (or sliced) tomatoes
1 Tbsp paprika (Hungarian sweet)
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 large bunch of cilantro, chopped with some set aside for garnish
1 14-ounce can coconut milk

Moqueca Brazilian Fish Stew
Place fish pieces in a bowl, add the minced garlic and lime juice so that the pieces are well coated. Sprinkle generously all over with salt and pepper. Keep chilled while preparing the rest of the soup.

Moqueca Brazilian Fish Stew
 In a large covered pan (such as a Dutch oven), coat the bottom with about 2 Tbsp of olive oil and heat on medium heat.

Moqueca Brazilian Fish Stew

Add the chopped onion and cook a few minutes until softened. Add the bell pepper, paprika, and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. (At least a teaspoon of salt.)

Moqueca Brazilian Fish Stew

Cook for a few minutes longer, until the bell pepper begins to soften.

Moqueca Brazilian Fish Stew

Stir in the chopped tomatoes and onion greens. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, uncovered. Stir in the chopped cilantro and green onion.

Moqueca Brazilian Fish Stew

Use a large spoon to remove about half of the vegetables (you’ll put them right back in). Spread the remaining vegetables over the bottom of the pan to create a bed for the fish. Arrange the fish pieces on the vegetables.

Moqueca Brazilian Fish Stew

Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then add back the previously removed vegetables, covering the fish.

Moqueca Brazilian Fish Stew

Pour coconut milk over the fish and vegetables.

Pour coconut milk over the fish and vegetables.
Bring soup to a simmer, reduce the heat, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. You may need to add more salt (likely), lime or lemon juice, paprika, pepper, or chili flakes to get the soup to the desired seasoning for your taste.

Garnish with cilantro. Serve with rice or with crusty bread.

Pour coconut milk over the fish and vegetables.

03/28/16

Braised Lamb Shank Tacos

Braised lamb shank tacos

In the United States, we tend to like chicken as our white meat of choice and beef as our red meat, but 63 percent of the world’s population eats goat. mutton, and lamb.

Lamb and mutton are the primary source of animal protein in regions in North Africa, the Middle East, India, and parts of Europe. There is a growing popularity for lamb in the U.S., especially among people of specific ethnic backgrounds. The USDA defines “lamb” as the meat of sheep less than 12 months old. Most of the American lamb comes from six to eight month old animals. 

Lamb shanks and stews have become particularly popular due to their superior and intriguing taste.

Given my ‘druthers, I would probably choose lamb over beef nine out of ten times!

Braised lamb shank tacos

Braised Lamb Shank Tacos
1 Tbsp. cumin powder
1 cup sherry vinegar
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
10 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. chile powder
1 16 -ounce can tomato sauce
2 lamb shanks
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (optional)
Corn tortillas*, warmed, for serving
Cilantro, chopped
White onions, chopped

*I found a corn/flour mix that I really liked. Corn flavor, with the softer flour tortilla mouth feel.

Combine cumin, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, brown sugar, chile powder and tomatoes; whisk to combine.

Braised lamb shank
Put the lamb in a large bowl and add 2/3 of the marinade; coating on all sides.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Season the lamb with salt and pepper, transfer to the oven and braise until very tender, about 2 hours. (Flip the lamb shanks at 1 hour).

Braised lamb shank tacos

Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Skim off any excess fat and spoon any reduced marinade from the pan into a small mixing bowl and mix with the reserved (uncooked) marinade.  

Remove the lamb and pull the meat off the bone, discarding the bones and fat.

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Braised lamb shank tacos

Shred the meat with your fingers (or forks) and transfer to a bowl. Pour the warmed braising liquid over the meat and toss to coat.

Braised lamb shank tacos

In a dry pan, brown tortillas on both sides.

Braised lamb tacos

Divide lamb among corn tortillas and top with cilantro and onions.

Braised lamb shank tacos