Garlic


For this particular workshop cookery, you will learn how to make your own mayonnaise. It is very simple, tasty, and you can alter it as you like!  We will be making “Grown-Up Grilled Cheese” to steal a line from RR. (Yesterday it was the rerun where she makes “grown up chicken fingers.”

Anyway. So instead of just mayo (’cause that’s boring and you can get it in the store!) we’ll make Roasted Garlic Mayo. However, mayo is simply the emulsion of egg yolk with oil. That kind of explains so much doesn’t it? You’re emulsifying a fatty protein thing with a fat, no more.  I promise, the results are more appetizing than that!

(Also, if you’re super duper anal about the whole egg-yolk thing, you can get pasteurized egg yolk. But don’t be!)

So, first, roast two heads of garlic. We’ve done this before. Just lop their ickle ‘eads off and stick them in the oven at 350-400 degrees until the house smells insanely good/they are quite brown. Then, squeeze out every last bit of garlicky goodness into your blender.

Now, I personally like to add the egg white to my mayonnaise as well. This means that it becomes paler, and it also is considerably more airy, and feels a bit less heavy in your mouth. In short: You don’t have to, lots of people prefer that you don’t, but I like it that way. Also it’s whiter in color, so you might be more capable of convincing picky friends that homemade mayo won’t kill you.

So I added 2 eggs. Hoorah! I also added at this juncture my other flavors, namely some salt, some pepper, and 1.5-2 tablespoons of lemon juice, for tang.

Blend this until smooth. Now, get out your vegetable oil or olive oil, whichever you prefer (I would use the most flavorless oil I have in the house, so it depends on what grade olive oil you’re talking about) and sloooowly start drizzling. Stop when it looks like mayonnaise. It will likely take a cup.

Now, slice off two slices of a nice, crusty bread. Spread each piece with butter on one side, delicious mayo on the other. Put a thick layer of medium-cheddar slices (a nice compromise between flavor and melty-ness) on one of the mayo sides. Sandwich, and fry until the cheese has melted.

Enjoy. Save the rest of the mayo in an airtight container. It’ll last a week. (A week’s worth of amazing sandwiches…)

Advertisements

It seems I missed last night the Feasting on Asphalt I was so looking forward to. I know it will be on again, but it isn’t tonight (though the Batali vs. Liu battle is on tonight, for ye Mario Batali fans out there. Exciting, at least – I love Batali battles, and also I love it when Mario goes up against his friends. He’s such a good sport about these things, you can tell he’s actually in it for the food.

Speaking of the food, we went out to lunch this afternoon, and while the conversation was lively, the food sure wasn’t. Loads of starches and no flavor. Yuck! There were delicious cinnamon rolls though. And a pretty decent croissant. But the hash browns were bland and the bacon too thick, and underspiced.

Anyway, so tonight’s Peanut Chicken Satay – I’ll make the peanut sauce I made for the burgers, and then marinate chicken chunks in 2 tablespoons of garlic, a heaping tablespoon of coriander, 1 and a half tablespoons of brown sugar, pepper, salt, 1/2 c. soy sauce, lime juice, and 1/2 c of oil.

Marinate for a few hours, stick on skewers, grill or broil the sticks until chicken is completely done and dip in the peanut sauce.

Problematically, I work tonight, therefore I wouldn’t get to enjoy this with them. Therefore, I might withhold this particular meal until a later date when I can partake as well. But either way, that’s the menu at some point this week.

Last night I made Thai burgers – and while the first time didn’t turn out so hot, these were spectacular! I used crunchy peanut butter this time, because Josh was so weirded out by the flavor of peanut butter last time. The crunch definitely helped, but you didn’t want to look at the burgers, as they looked sort of vile.

But! Close your eyes and eat up, because they were so good!

I mixed up 1 lb of hamburger and 3 slices of bread with, oh, about a 1/4 cup of crunchy peanut butter. (2-3 scoops with a normal spoon, until everything looked pretty sticky). Peanut butter is sticky! This will not be pleasant, sorry. Anyway, so I mushed and smushed and added 2 teaspoons of ground ginger and a teaspoon of hot chili powder. Mush and smoosh some more, and then make a little bowl in the meat, to which you add 1/2 cup of coconut milk. Yum! Mush, smoosh, and work into 8 patties. Put these in the refrigerator to think about what they’ve done. 

Anyway, so now you work on the peanut sauce. Saute 2 tablespoons of garlic in 4 tsp of oil. No, that’s not a typo. It’s a lot of garlic. Put every last bit in, or you will regret it! Also add to the oil 1/2 a teaspoon of that chili powder. Now, before you put that on the heat, measure out 1/3 a cup of peanut butter. Kay, now put the oil on the heat. Saute until everything smells good – 45 seconds on high. (Sounds like microwave directions, doesn’t it?) Then quickly add the peanut butter and stir, before the garlic burns. Add 2 tablespoons each vinegar and sugar, and stir the nasty out of it. After a good 2 minutes of stirring and heating, your nasal passages should return to the vicinity (mine always exit whenever I heat vinegar), and then add 2/3 c of water and 1/3 c of coconut milk. If you like coconut more than me, add less water and more milk. Just no more than 1 cup of liquid here, please. Stir this in, and then just leave it to simmer for 10 minutes. Done!

The burgers you gave your griller should be grilled now. Toss them on buns, cover with the peanut sauce (which is also good to dip chicken in, or as salad dressing), and enjoy!

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

Roasted spaghetti, oh, roasted spaghetti. How utterly delicious though art. How sophisticated, and yet so comforting…

Oh. Ahem. Yes. How, and why, to roast garlic (and tomatoes and chicken).

Garlic is probably the most widespread spice besides salt and pepper. Bad restaurants try to use it to mask their poor food, bad TV chefs use it to mask their lack of personality, and normal, decent, good people — well, they just like the stuff. Self included. I love it, and while I’d say it’s not the singular most common spice in my home (cumin? Hot chili powder? ITALIAN SEASONING BLEND?!) it is definitely up there. It’s an iconic flavor, really. That almost spicy, perfectly garlic flavor that can be described as nothing other than garlicky. When did our love affair with this beautiful bulb begin? I don’t know.

But roasted? Roasted is an entirely different love affair. There still remains in the bulb the barest hints of garlicky flavor, but this stuff you can eat straight. It makes a great vegetarian dip for crackers, to just roast a bulb and smash with olive oil. It’s round on the palatte, sweet without being overbearing, and tastes like heaven.

So now that you’re salivating (or maybe that’s just me), to roast it. Take a whole bulb, LARGE. The largest you can find in the store around this time of year. Later in the fall, when the garlic is delightfully in full season, it’ll be closer to average size that you’re wanting. You’ll want at least 2 for the recipe, and if you like this like I like this, add another for snacking on later.

Now, chop ‘is ickle head off! From the top end (Point side, not fuzzy side), hack off at least a quarter of an inch. enough to bare the tops of all the little cloves of garlic. And no, you didn’t hear me say peel, or smash, or any of those barbaric things. How are your little garlics supposed to become delicious naked and beaten??? You can only lop their heads off. Uncover the tops of as many cloves as you can, as the uncovered cloves will taste best, and will also be easier to work with. This might mean going back and slicing some cloves in half separately from the bulb, this is fine. Put these in a large pan (we’ll be putting other stuff in here later).

Now take some nice extra-virgin olive oil and drizzle it all over the tops, getting its preciousness down into all the little cracks and crevices. Mmm. Now stick in the oven you set to 400 a minute ago. You didn’t? Well, stick it in the cold oven, and set oven to 400. An hour from now (1/2 hour to 45 minutes otherwise) it will be quite delicious.

Okay. So now to prepare thine chickens! Plain old boring BSCB (Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, in Liz-Grocery-List speak), should be thawed and whole. If you can find Boneless, skin on, you are a lucky human being, dance for joy, and use those for maximum benefit. Normally I’d use plain chicken and debone myself, but if you’ve ever smelled roasting garlic, you know you’ll be too hungry to think of boning chicken when that comes out of the oven.

Drizzle some more of that olive oil on top of these chicken breasts, and smother with salt and cracked pepper. Do NOT bother if it’s not cracked pepper, it will get too hot and taste bitter. You can add pepper later to the sauce. When there is a half-hour left on your timer, and the garlic is starting to smell of something, put the chicken in the pan to roast. (I don’t cover the pan, so it’s actually braising, but it’s still quite delicious.)

Now onto the tomatoes! Cut these in half, a paring knife or kitchen shears will do the job nicely, and place them, skins down, in a small pan (or, if you work fast and hate dishes, you can put them in the pan with the chicken and garlic 10 minutes before countdown). Once they are all laid out, pull out some fresh romano cheese and your favorite cheese grater, and shred some romano cheese on the top. If this is too extravagant, plain parmesan will do.

Roast for 10 minutes.

Pull everything out of the oven, smelling like heaven. To get the roasted garlic out of the bulb, grab it by it’s root end and squish down the plant. Do this directly into your favorite blender. Get as much heavenly brown goo out as you can.

Here, the recipe departs into comfort food (dump all or most of the tomatoes in with the garlic, holding out a few for those that LOVE ROASTED TOMATOES LIKE ME) or Lady Sophisticate food (hold back all of the tomatoes).

Blend, adding olive oil in as you go. If you used the tomatoes, you’re looking for spaghetti sauce consistency. If you didn’t, you’re looking for something very, very thin.

Chop up your chicken and boil some penne (yeah, I know, misadvertised. You could use spaghetti, if you wanted). Mix everything together, top with some more cheese, and toss the reserved tomatoes on top.

Heaven.

Wonton wrappers are a staple of this particular household. We love rangoons: crab, garlic, chocolate raspberry…..!!!

To begin, you’ll need at bare minimum the following:
Wrappers: Egg roll wrappers cut in quarters work as well as Wonton Wrappers, so get whichever gives you more for less. 🙂
Cream Cheese (1/2 a pack will make enough for Josh and I, but we eat a lot. 1 pack for a party of 4-6 people, depending on how heavily you feature them. These would make a great “tapas” type party! Make like 5 different kinds, but it’d be like making one appetizer.)
White Sugar (2 tablespoons per pack cream cheese)
Frying oil
Pot for frying in (or deep fryer, if you’re lucky like that. I don’t have that kind of space)
Microwave safe bowl for cream cheese
Small dish of water for your fingers

The kind that I made this time were garlic, so I also needed:
1 small TEFLON COATED (very, very important!) pan (this precludes the bowl for the cream cheese, as well)
5 cloves garlic (We like garlic a LOT. If you are not a garlic fiend, 2 is plenty.)

First, you’ll make the filling. This is relatively easy — if you are making the garlic kind, you saute the garlic in the pan until done. Then cut the heat, but before the pan cools down, put in cream cheese.(Cleaning this up is where the teflon comes in serious handy)  Stir it until it melts and mixes with the garlic. Taste – if you underestimated your desire for garlic, garlic powder can be added now. If you overestimated, add more cream cheese!

If you instead want a crab rangoon, get to this point, and then add about 1/2 a pack of Krab. Yes, Krab. This is not the time for that super-expensive real stuff, make crab cakes or something else more deserving with that. Other great add-ins to the garlicky stuff: scallions, chicken bits (BITS! TINY!), cheddar, bacon (!)….etc. I think I’ll make bacon/cheddar/scallion this evening, actually, that sounds good.

If you want chocolate raspberry, whip out that microwave safe bowl. 1/2 cup of chocolate chips (again, rangoons are a great place to crimp on cash, and you won’t notice cheap chocolate here.) to every pack of cream cheese – and don’t forget your two tablespoons sugar. A little less chocolate or a little more won’t hurt you. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir, and add 2 tablespoons jam of your choice — we’re fond of both strawberry and raspberry here.

Rangoons are a great place to play, too! Just start with a package of cream cheese and 2 tablespoons sugar, and then add whatever you think will go well in a very creamy base.
starters-021.jpg
Now that you have your filling, you’ll need your wontons. If you haven’t already, cut the egg-roll wraps into quarters, so you have little squares. Put a teaspoon or so filling on the wonton:
starters-022.jpg
Then  dip your finger into water and draw it around all four edges of the square:
starters-023.jpg
Then fold it in half diagonally and press down, hard, on the edges – hard enough to leave a pretty crimp.
starters-025.jpg
Fold up your corners and if there are any holes, feel free to fold over any extra bits so there are no gaps.
starters-026.jpg
Then, deep fry in oil that’s been heated to medium-medium high. You want it hot enough to cook to crunchy quickly – everything here is already safely edible, and the less time the wonton is in the oil, the less chance there is for an explosion. Simultaneously, however, if it’s too hot, it’ll explode on principle. If you toss in a little peice of wonton and it takes about 15-20 seconds to turn white and crisp, you’re good.

After you’re done, dust with salt or sugar, depending on your filling. You could, if you were feeling fancy, even drizzle with something indicative – like chocolate, or orange glaze, or drizzle with cream cheese and sprinkle with bacon, or the like.

Delicious!

(My apologies for the really bad pictures, but my camera is cantankerous at best. Sometimes I think it’d honestly be better to just take them with a camera phone. Not that I have a camera phone. But that’s why I don’t normally post photos.)

Add some cumin to your favorite macaroni salad recipe for a surprising earthiness. Or to your favorite mac’n’cheese casserole.
Add a 1/2 c of parmasan and a 1/2 package of cream cheese to your mashed potatoes for a creamy, delicious flavor blast!
Make chili butter by adding 2 tsp of chili powder to a stick of butter while creaming it. Brush it on your corn-on-the-cob while grilling. (if you boil yours, leave it out on the butter plate after freezing the butter again so it’s firm.)
Mix 2 parts your standard, basic ketchup with 1 part hoisin sauce for an asian blast on your hotdog.
Take your hotdog buns and brush them with garlic butter and grill along with hotdog. (You might want to NOT mix this with the above. It could be good, but I’ve never tried it!)

Oh, also, don’t get any sparklers in your hair, and do get in at least one snapper fight (but never aim at the person!)

Have a happy and safe Independence Day!

Liz and Josh

Workshop Cookery will be a series of methods and basics in a workshop format posted every week on Monday. It’s definitely aimed at the beginning cook and the recipe is walked-through as opposed to a written out recipe. Should I post the recipe as a supplement? The recipes are pretty basic (alfredo to make a roux, chicken noodle on making stock, chicken pot pie in making pie crust, etc.) Thoughts in the comments!

So you’ve never made a “Roux” No big deal, but you really don’t know what you’re missing. This is a no-miss start to a million meals! I use it all the time as a super-cheap, oh-no-what-do-I-make!!! backup in my emergency food toolkit. (Actually, you want to be totally honest? This recipe was *totally* a “Oh-no-what-do-I-make!” food emergency)So, a roux is fried flour with milk. Yep. Stupid french saying fancy things like “roux” when they mean FRIED FLOUR. So to start this recipe, and any roux:

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
Lots of milk (2-3 cups, depending on your roux)
(garlic, in the case of this recipe, 2 cloves. Not in all roux, though. Just this one. Also, 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning.)

Melt your butter in a non-stick pan over medium/medium high heat. High if you’re REALLY IMPATIENT and you happen to have a gas stove so you can turn the heat up and down however you feel. Lucky duck.

Anyway, so you have 3 tablespoons of melted butter over medium heat. Add your flour slowly. (In this case, also add your garlic and seasonings now.) Stir and stir and you’ll get a funny, pasty, weird looking substance that is COMPLETELY INEDIBLE AND NASTY. ew….

So! Now you’re going to cook it. Not long, though, you only want it to be a little dark yellow. (Here is where a camera would be SO helpful, but we’ll just say the color of alfredo sauce) So really, in the case of a “bechamel”, only make it all warm and let any seasonings get to smelling nice.

Now, add your milk slowly! Maybe a half a cup, stir that in, maybe a cup more, stir that in, and so on. You’re looking for something that’s relatively thin and creamy looking. If it’s very thick in the pan, when it’s really hot, it will taste like flour and everyone beg for water. This is generally considered a horrible thing. Look for just thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and drip, but not stream, off the bottom.

Congratulations. you just made a roux, and then you turned it into a “bechamel” sauce. Also, you finished dinner. Okay, okay, so only the first two-thirds of that is true. Two out of three ain’t bad! Plus, you’re REALLY close to being done with dinner.

1/2 c parmesan
salt
pepper

Add cheese (mozz is good here too, but don’t bother wasting your good, expensive fresh stuff. The cheap bag is fine) and salt and pepper to taste. Taste again. And again. Yummy, innit? Well, once you add the salt and pepper. There might be a bit much seasoning for you (my hubby is a seasoning nut) or too little (you’re more of a nut than he is. ^.^) but you’ll know that for next time. There might be too much cheese for you (okay you’re REALLY weird) or you may add more than a 1/2 c parmesan, and add as much mozzerella as you want! Roux, and bechamel (and veloute and espagnole, which I’ll cover someday) is a canvas. Add what you feel you want. It’s just a great creamy base for you to work with.

Serve over fetticine, and then EAT!

PS: If you want real mac and cheese, start with a roux+garlic, add 2 c cheddar cheese, and pour over macaroni. If you want EVEN MORE bonus points, put it in a cake pan and put breadcrumbs on top. Welcome to cheddary heaven.