Made pastitsio for Sunday dins at my next contract, followed Ina Garten’s recipe. I have been making bechamel for years, it has always turned out fine. But hers….made with whole milk and heavy cream along with the butter, with Greek yoghurt (4% milk fat) folded in after a slight cooling..…not for the cholesterol conscious, but I could have eaten that all by itself. The whole dish was an all day affair, but completely make ahead and freezable. Now on to harissa chicken for my second Sunday of the contract.
Smoked salmon, tinned tuna, and umeboshi (sour plum) Onigiri
NikoNiko (cal rose) rice = 3 cups rice : 4 cups water
(Optional) I “cheat” and season like sushi rice with seasoned rice vinegar more often than not. It’s not only not necessary, it’s neither common nor traditional. I still do it.
Tinned tuna, drained
Japanese Mayo, or western Mayo + pinch of sugar
Dash of shoyu
Dash of Mirin
Minced/chopped cold smoked salmon (hot smoked is okay, mix like tuna w/mayo)
Wasabi paste, or wasabi mayo
Umeboshi (sour pickled plum)
Whole umeboshi, seeded/seedless (just squish out the seeds with your fingers by pinching), or umeboshi paste
I use nori for salmon, black sesame & salt for tuna, and bit’o’pink plum for umeboshi on the tip.
I mix up my filings first, as the rice is cooking… then place my rice in a white wood thingmy ((it has a name, I just never remember what it is (ohitsu), and it’s totally unnecessary. Straight from the pot/rice cooker is fine)).
Fill both halves of the onigiri mold with warm rice, depress a dot with my thumb, add filling, press mold, and add nori/ wakame/ or any other finishing touch so I can tell the suckers apart. If you don’t have a mold? Putting a smallish ball of rice in your damp hands, depressing the center, filling, and adding more rice on top… and then squeeeeeezing your hands together? Also works. It’s just a bit messier. But, very clearly, where the triangle shape first came from! That’s the shape your hands make squeezing the heck outta these things.
If you ignore the modern interpretation and follow the ancient recipe? Which isn’t f*cking around with subtle 1/8th teaspoon spice nonsense but uses phrases like “a great quantity’, & then make almond cream by boiling and “sieving” (what we did before VitaMix to make perfectly smooth nut milks/creams/sauces… and what kitchens like FrenchLaundry still do with their ‘top hat’ sieves) or -sanity saver, use your electric blender!- instead of using gritty gross preground almonds? Following the directions so that instead of a thin, grainy, subtle soupy-soup… “it should be thick and strong”. It’s. f*cking. Chicken. Curry. Creamy Korma style. Using grains of paradise instead of saffron.
If you don’t have grains of paradise? (I only JUST got them from a Chicago spice shop for the first time in my life; had never even heard of them until TheKiddo went on a medieval cooking binge) Sub Lavender & Jalapeño. Seriously. That’s what these suckers (grains of paradise) taste like; wicked spicy lavender. Fresh, floral, hot as hell. It’s like getting the saffron and chili steps for curry done in one go. With a crazy sorta French vibe. It’s amaaaazing.
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 Onion, Minced
3 Garlic Cloves. Minced
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Teaspoon Cumin
1 teaspoon Coriander
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound 90% lean ground beef
1/2 cup smooth canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth (you can use regular broth, just adjust how much salt you are adding later)
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
Prep tip: Ingredients are added in stages so there's oil and onion, garlic and spices, ground beef, tomato sauce and broth with vinegar and sugar.
Heat a skillet over medium heat, add oil and heat until shimmering. Add the onion, cook until softened. Stir in garlic, spices, and 1 teaspoon salt (adjust if using regular broth) and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. **Make sure you have enough heat as you are toasting the spices slightly in this step.
Add the ground beef and cook breaking up lumps until its no longer pink. Stir in the broth, tomato sauce, vinegar and brown sugar.
Simmer to desired thickness. **Watch your heat at this point and be prepared to stir for the last few minutes, scorching the tomato sauce at the end is not good.
IE They’re country style ribs (thick strip slices of pork shoulder or butt), but of the half a dozen things I was THINKING about doing with them, when I pulled them from the freezer? Nope. No brainz t’day. It’s either let them go bad, (B-b-b-bad! Bad to the bone! 🎙 And feed em to the crows)… or heat ‘em up, and figure out WTF to do with ‘em later, gator.
So it’s super simple easy time @ CasaFriday. Both because that’s all I’m really capable of, today, and because Chinese, Creole, Caribbean, & Cuban things I’ll magic the pork into later? All require vastly different seasoning bases. Pork is crazy forgiving, though, and will take those seasonings/sauces/marinades later just FINE. Whether I twice cook it in a stirfry, plunk it in soup; or just slice it up and slather sauce on a sammie, or chop up for burritos. Easy easy. As long as I cook it off now. Hear that, self? Ass in gear, yo.
Not-Country-Ribs // Basic Baked Pork For Laterish
Boneless Pork butt/shoulder chunks baked, unseasoned, @225F until internal temp is 150F, then oven up @425F until burnished red & beautiful (5 or 10 minutes). Salt whilst hot & salt will stick to it. Cool. Freeze or fridge for later cooking.
Pork is so underrated, in my opinion. Who wouldn’t love a roast pork with crackling? Cuban pork stew? I have some Mennonite smoked pork chops with me…..my favourite way of roasting a pork loin, or any pork roast….dijon mustard, a good one, enough to slather on as a thick layer, and then some. Coarse salt, a good amount, freshly cracked pepper, as much as you like, a teaspoon or two of caraway seeds, and crushed garlic, three or four lovely big cloves. Mix it all together, coat your roast with it. If it is rolled or you see an opening or a pocket, mash some of that in there as well. You can sear the roast for a bit in a hot oven, especially if you have a nice layer of fat underneath the mustard mix, then down the heat. I use a rack placed over a bed of sliced onions. If the mustard crust starts browning too much, a nifty little foil tent will do. I can smell it now….with home made apple sauce, or a pot of Motts will do.
This is my go to for bread now. It is not like conventional bread so you cannot toast, it will not rise into a loaf style, more flat like. It goes well with a lot of meals and is super filling, low carb and nutritious. I make this every weekend (takes 40 mins including bake time) If you want you can make it into a pizza with meat, mushy's etc on top & it becomes the meal. Cut it into crouton sizes for a salad. Great for a quick snack (keep it in an air-tight container in the fridge - if you want it to be warm again, nuke it for a few seconds) Great to kill sweet or carby cravings too. If necessary you can double this recipe and you can mess around with it forever so this is just the basic idea.
2 large eggs
370 grams melty cheese (buy the ready made three cheese pkts - saves time/money)
2 grams onion powder (or to taste)
2 grams Garlic Powder (or to taste)
Pinch Italian herbs or oregano or anything you like flavour . (to taste)
Pre-heat oven for 15 minutes.
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and set aside for five minutes
Grease and line a 8 inch x 8 inch baking tray
Dump the mixture in & gently spread it out to the corners and even it up
Bake for 20 mins at 350 c or until golden brown on top.
55 g erythritol (I use monk fruit/erythritol mix) 45 grams – but add to your taste
¼ tsp salt
I add zest of one lemon to crust ( but optional)
900 g cream cheese (absolutely must be soft/room temp)
240 ml heavy whipping cream
120 ml (110 g) erythritol/monk fruit sweetener
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 lemon, juice and zest ( But I always use juice of 2 lemons and zest of one) Add to your taste depends how lemony you like
Grease and line a 23 cm springform pan/ or a pie tin of about the same size.
Add all the ingredients for the crust into a bowl and mix until a sandy consistency. Use a food processor if you have one.
Put the mixture in pan. Using the bottom of a cup/spoon or your fingers, press the crust into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Put it in the fridge.
Add all the filling ingredients into a stand mixer bowl. Beat the mixture for about 5 minutes or until fluffy consistency.
Pour the filling over the crust and smooth into an even layer.
Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge for at least three hours or overnight.
Remove the springform pan just before serving by running a thin-bladed knife around the edge to loosen the crust from the sides of the pan. Open the clamp and expand the sides of the pan and release the bottom.
Top the cheesecake with toppings of your choice or serve it as it is.
This makes about 18 slices which is way too much. So I make it, cut it into slices and wrap each slice in foil and put them all in the freezer. When I want low carb cheesecake I take one out, leave it on the bench for an hour or so and it's ready to eat for dessert.
This is very rich and yummy and also low carb too. But be aware that calories do count so don't guts on it every night lol.