Chermoula Pork Confit Hash

chermoula hash

My hash history is painted with comforting meals of corned beef, romesco pulled pork, homemade merguez… and now pork confit and chermoula. A bit of satisfaction comes with a successful leftover transformation and hash is one of the easiest way to do that. In this transformation bits of pork confit were sauteed with yukon gold potatoes, white beech mushrooms, chermoula and parsley. The coriander, cumin and paprika from the chermoula gave a nice warmth to the dish. The only thing left to do was add a poached egg whose deep yellow, warm, runny yolk would runneth over all that deliciousness.

Osso Bucco, Saffron Risotto, Asparagus & English Pea

osso bucco saffron

I love that osso bucco mean “bone with a hole”.  This dish of braised veal shank will make you melt just like the marrow is in the middle of bone. My osso bucco had a tiny small hole though that would be not let up the warm marrow. It was so deep in flavor and unctuous that the marrow thwart quickly became a thought of the past.

I used Marcella Hazan’s recipe for the veal shanks and paired it with the saffron risotto, channeling Suzanne Goin. A gentle saute of asparagus and English pea garnished the dish for a seasonal uplift. I get a certain level of pure pleasure shelling, sorting and blanching the green little babies. There is calm in the repetition. The osso bucco, like many stews and braises, was exponentially better after it rested in its juice a day. It made the best “brown bag” work lunch.

Vadouvan Chicken Pot Pie

P1020999

I never liked chicken pot pie growing up. It’s never been the go-to comfort dish for me. Even to this day friends rave about Marie Callender’s chicken pot pie. Really? In the dish’s defense my first taste of it was probably a frozen version. Perhaps Marie Callender’s.

Unfortunately many food preference hang on that initial encounter. Oh how many edibles have been passed over after a sub par bite. When I was seven I tried mustard for the first time at Disneyland, the kind that comes in a little plastic pouch. The kind that is almost practically glowing yellow. I didn’t eat mustard for a very long time after that. Of course now I am bonkers about mustard. I digress though.

Chicken Pot Pie.

Recently after gobbling down Good Girl Dinette’s delicious curried chicken pot pie I felt motivated to try out my own version at home. I had the last bit of Le Sanctuaire’s vadouvan hangin out lonely style in the freezer. It was calling me.

The vegetables needed a tune up though. Frozen peas? Sure they are great, packed at the greenest and freshest. But with the abundance of seasonal vegetables available I took a more autumnal route. Parsnips, butternut squash, carrots and pearl onions (I cheated and used frozen ones). The pie was missing the pretty green but it wasn’t missed much with the golden warmth of the squash and curry.

The pastry was a basic pie crust with crushed chicken chicharron. Why not? It’s the holidays after all.

Pork Confit Sandwich

P1020737

What better way to celebrate Fourth of July than with great food and friends? I was lucky enough to be invited to Jeni and Dylan’s bbq for some serious eating. If you don’t already know they are a pair of serious cooks and eaters so I had to really think about what dish I was going to contribute to the festivities. I settled on Grilled Pork Confit and turned it into a sandwich using homemade brioche buns, mustard relish, cress and everyone’s favorite, Zuni Cafe pickled red onions.

Continue reading

Holiday Dinner

The rampant holiday eating and cooking continued the day after Christmas. My brother and I hosted a dinner for a few of our friends.

The menu:

no knead bread, preserved lemon butter
roasted walnuts in the shell
chestnuts in warm sage oil, prosciutto
sweetbread nuggets, honey mustard
roasted cauliflower, coriander, paprika, anchovies
merguez corndogs
warm peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, whipped cream

P1020509

Continue reading

Mad Men Party

It was my friend Terence’s birthday recently and a fabulous Mad Men party was thrown in his honor by his lady who in turn hired me to cater it. I was excited to do a retro menu and what a hit it was.

P1020399
orange elderflower jello shots

Jello used to be a hit back in the days. I made a updated version which is just a fancied up jello shot with orange juice, vodka, elderflower liquer and bitters. I served them up in candy cups and strewn with edible flowers for decoration.

Continue reading

A Summer Dinner

I made dinner for a few friends the past weekend at my friend Ellen’s place which she has renovated with an awesome kitchen. It houses an island over 16 feet long with its own sink, wine fridge, shelves for cookbooks and a microwave, and tons of very organized storage area for all the kitchen tools and tableware. And the best of all a six burner Viking stove and french door Viking fridge. As you can imagine I was super excited to be cooking in this kitchen. Could I possibly have more surface area to work on? I think not.

Here was my summer menu:
P1020166
Vadouvan Gougeres

These look like typical gougeres but I added a spoonful of vadouvan to the batter. They came out golden, puffed up and with a hint of earthy curry.

Continue reading

Braised Lamb Shoulder, Vadouvan, English Peas, Cilantro Orange Gremolata

P1010996

At the end of May I figured I still had a small window to sneak in a hearty braise before the warmth of summer took over. I got a whole lamb shoulder from the butcher and had him cut it up into six chunks with the bones in. The meat was browned in olive oil and then chopped onion, garlic and vadouvan in the meat drippings. After the pot was deglazed with red wine and chicken stock the lamb chunks were added back in the pot and the whole lot simmered for about two hours. When the braise had cooled down a lil bit I separated the meat from the bones in large chunks and added a healthy squeeze of lemon juice.

Continue reading

Skirt Steak a la Bordelaise

P1010836

One day I decided to make veal stock. I purchased a 24 quart stock pot, 10 lbs of veal bones, a large chinois and got to work. I went with the French Laundry recipe involved no roasting of the bones, but an important blanching step, veal stock #1, veal stock #2, and remouillage. Oh, and lots and lots of skimming. The ever funny and entertaining Carol can tell you better than I can what the process was like.

The simmering veal stock made my apartment smell so good. Savory, meaty, comforting. I hated washing that big ass pot but the rewards were well worth it. The reward being a meal of delicious steak bordelaise. I used Bouchon’s recipe which actually did not call for bone marrow, a traditional ingredient. But sadly I could not get my hands on any so it didn’t really matter. When I bit into the juicy skirt steak with sauteed mushroom and bordelaise sauce spooned over it I was one happy girl. The sauce was deep, flavorful and so delicious. How could it not be? After all, delicious homemade veal stock reduced with red wine and paired with steak is a stellar thing. I reduced the remaining veal stock into demi-glace and froze it in one tablespoon measures. My pantry feels a bit more proper having homemade demi-glace ready to go.