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<a href=”The Science of a Great Steak

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Now That’s Intense:Barrows Intense Ginger

Here I am shamelessly hawking my friend’s Ginger Liquor. It’s called Barrows Intense and is quite amazing. As a rule I generally don’t drink distilled spirits beer is my beverage of choice but the one exception is Barrows intense. I mixes with everything. When it available commercially get some you won’t be disappointed.

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Chorizo Stuffing

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 I admit that stuffing is my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner. Well, dressing, if it’s cooked outside the turkey.  I’ve always preferred basic bread dressing, but my blogging teammate, Bill, gave me the great idea of adding chorizo. The result is still those familiar homey bread dressing flavors yet nicely kicked up a bit.

I prefer to bake the dressing separately, so I add a half cup of drippings from the roast turkey to add that “roasted in the turkey” flavor.  What you’re looking for here is a moist, not too compact, interior and a crisp top. Enjoy!

Ingredients

5 T butter, plus 1 for greasing dish

2 medium yellow onions, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 lb. chorizo, diced

1 tart apple, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored and diced

10 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped

3 springs fresh thyme pulled from stems and finely chopped

Salt (preferably sea salt) and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 loaf of quality bread, such as a Pullman loaf, cut into 3/4 –inch cubes and toasted in oven for 25 minutes

2 eggs beaten

1 cup dried cranberries

½ cup chopped parsley

1 to 2 cups turkey or chicken stock or low sodium store-bought broth

½ cup drippings from turkey roasting pan

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt 5 T butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onions, celery, chorizo, apple, sage, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook,  stirring often for 5 minutes.

2. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and cool. Add bread, eggs, cranberries and parsley. Carefully blend in enough stock (1 to 2 cups) plus 1/2 cup drippings from the turkey roasting pan until the dressing is well moistened. Check for seasoning.

3. Add to a well buttered baking dish.  Bake without a cover for 35 minutes until top is beginning to brown and the interior is moist and cooked through.

Recipe by Phyllis Kirigin http://sweetpaprika.wordpress.com

Photographer Bill Brady

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Chicken Katsu

This Japanese version of fried chicken is served with piquant tonkatsu dipping sauce. You won’t miss the skin with the crispy panko crust. Steamy hot rice is served on the side. You’ll need a frying pan with high sides and tongs.

Tonkatsu sauce

Ingredients

2 T tamari (soy sauce)

2 T Worcestershire sauce

½ cup ketchup

2 tbsp sugar

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

2 t peeled, finely minced ginger

1/8 t ground red pepper

1 scallion, white part only, finely minced

Directions

Whisk ingredients together and set aside.

Chicken

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 t salt

½ t freshly ground black pepper

2 eggs

2 T milk

1 cup panko bread crumbs

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves or boneless, skinless thighs

Enough peanut oil to fry cutlets in about 1 inch of oil

Directions

1. Mix together flour, salt and pepper in a wide plate.

2. In a wide bowl whisk together the eggs and milk.

3. Place panko on a wide plate.

4. Pound each piece of chicken to ¼- 1/2 inch thickness (approximately). I place the chicken between a folded piece of freezer paper and pound with glancing blows with a meat mallet.

5. Heat oil to 350 degrees.

6. Coat cutlets with seasoned flour shaking off excess.

7. Dip into egg mixture suspending with tongs until dripping subsides.

8. Place in panko crumbs pressing gently on both sides.

9. Carefully lower filets into hot oil. Do this in batches. Fry until golden brown on both sides. Remove to paper towels blotting on both sides. (You can place on a baking sheet in a warm oven until last batch is done.)

Cut into 1 ½ inch slices, fan out on a serving plate and serve with dipping sauce and hot rice. Enjoy!

Recipe by Phyllis Kirigin http://sweetpaprika.wordpress.com

Photographer Bill Brady

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Hawaiian Shrimp Kabobs

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Grilled charred shrimp and pineapple.  Is your mouth watering yet?  Add tropical fruit, thread onto skewers and baste with a tangy sweet and sour sauce.  Serve on a bed of hot rice and transport yourself to beautiful Hawaii.

Ingredients

1 T soy sauce

1 T rice vinegar

1 6-oz. can pineapple juice

¼ t ground ginger

1 t finely minced garlic

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1 T cornstarch

1 medium red onion

1 red bell pepper

1 green bell pepper

1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 lb. extra large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 cup fresh mango peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

Preparation

Combine soy sauce, vinegar, juice, ginger garlic, sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Stir frequently and set aside.

Cut onion and peppers into 1-inch squares. Alternate pineapple, shrimp, mango, onions and peppers onto metal skewers.  Place in a glass baking dish. Brush with sauce.

Preheat broiler.  Lightly brush peanut (or vegetable) oil on rack of broiler pan.  Set kabobs on rack.  Broil, about 3 inches from heat, for 3 minutes.  Turn over and brush with sauce.  (Discard remainder of sauce.) Continue broiling until shrimp turn opaque, about 3 minutes.  Serve on a bed of rice.

Recipe by Phyllis Kirigin http://sweetpaprika.wordpress.com

Photographer Bill Brady

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Focaccia with Figs and Prosciutto

Focaccia with Figs and Prosciutto

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If your acquaintance with figs so far has been the familiar Newtons, you’re in for a delicious surprise—fresh figs.  Soon to appear in northeast markets, fresh figs, with their honey sweet flavor and soft texture, are worth seeking out.  Luscious, yet fragile, they should be eaten no more than a couple days after purchase.  They should feel soft to the touch, yet not mushy. Store carefully in refrigerator, but bring to room temperature before eating.

Probably the most popular are the purplish Black Mission figs with light pink flesh.  Calimyrna figs have a yellowish skin with a pale amber flesh.  Kadota figs have green skins with a rosy-colored flesh and are less sweet than other varieties.

This lovely appetizer makes a perfect introduction. (Serves 4)

Ingredients

A 3 1/2 by 7-inch section of focaccia

Large handful of fresh pea shoots

3 T extra virgin olive oil

1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice

Salt and pepper

8 fresh figs, rinsed and stems removed

8 oz. prosciutto di Parma, thinly sliced

Directions

1. Cut the section of focaccia into two 3 1/2-inch squares.  Cut each in half horizontally. Toast in a 400 degree oven for 2 minutes.

2. Toss pea shoots with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Set aside.

3. Slice figs vertically into quarters.

4. Place each focaccia square on a small plate.

5. Top each with a small bunch of pea shoots.

6. Arrange 8 fig quarters around pea shoots in a pyramid shape (see photo).

7. Divide prosciutto and arrange around focaccia squares.

Recipe by Phyllis Kirigin, http://sweetpaprika.wordpress.com

Photographer Bill Brady

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Lamb Roti

Lamb Roti

Roti is a wonderful unleavened bread served hot from the griddle.  Along with its variations, such as phulka and chapatti, it is a staple in many parts of the world, especially the Caribbean, India and the Middle East.  There are myriad fillings.  One of my favorites, a popular Indian dish of lamb with onions and mushrooms, inspired by a Madhur Jaffrey recipe, makes a perfect filling although not originally intended as such.

The roti are simple to make, but should be prepared just before serving. I serve a hot stack of roti alongside a bowl of the filling. A couple of spoonfuls of filling is placed on the roti which is folded over and eaten by hand.

Filling ingredients (serves 4 – 6)

2 lbs. boned shoulder of lamb, trimmed and cut into 1-cubes

5 medium onions

Vegetable oil (enough to coat skillet by 1/8 inch)

¼ t whole black onion seeds (kalonji), if available

½ t whole fennel seeds

¼ t whole cumin seeds

15 fenugreek seeds

½ cup plain yogurt

1 t salt

1/8 t freshly ground black pepper

¼ t cayenne pepper

½ lb. fresh mushrooms

Directions

1. Peel and halve the onions lengthwise.  Slice into 1/8-inch half-rings.

2. Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet.  Fry onions in high heat until they begin to turn dark brown in spots and soften, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir as you do this.

3. Remove onions with a slotted spoon and set aside.

4. In the same skillet place the black onion seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds.

5. As soon as the fennel seeds begin to darken, put the meat in the skillet and fry on all sides until well browned, 5 to 10 minutes.

6.  While meat browns, place yogurt in a small bowl and slowly beat in ½ cup water with a fork. Pour into the skillet.

7. Add salt, pepper and cayenne and bring to a boil.  Lower heat to medium low, cover and cook for 25 minutes.

8. Clean mushrooms.  Cut off ends of stems.  If small, leave whole; if larger, cut into smaller pieces.

9. Add to skillet, stir, cover and cook another 25 minutes until meat is tender.

10 Uncover and add onions. Raise heat to medium to reduce liquid.  The only sauce should be what clings to the meat. Check for salt and serve.

Roti

Ingredients (makes 16 roti)  You’ll need a flat cast iron griddle.

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 t salt

1 t baking powder

2 T vegetable oil

1 ½ cups warm water

Directions

1. Combine flour, salt, baking powder and oil in a mixing bowl.

2. Add water and pull together with your hand until a soft dough forms.  Add a little more water as needed.  Dough should clean bowl.  It might still be slightly sticky but not “wet”.

3.  Place on a floured surface and knead into a smooth ball.  Cover with a damp cloth and let rest 15 minutes.

4.  Roll out into a log shape with your hands and pinch off sections to form balls the size of golf balls.

5.  Heat a flat cast iron griddle to hot but not smoking.

6.  Roll out a ball of dough with a small rolling pin to a 5-inch circle the thickness of a nickel.  Roll on one side only.  Don’t turn over.  Use enough flour to prevent sticking.

7. Place roti on the dry hot griddle, rolled side down.  Cook until bubbles begin to form on surface.  Check underside to look for brown spots. Flip over.

8. Cook until both sides have brown bubbly spots.  Brush one side with clarified butter or melted ghee.  You will need to adjust heat from time to time.  It should take about 45 seconds to one minute per side to cook.

9. Place on a plate in a warm (180 degree) oven.  Continue with remainder of roti placing in a stack in the oven.  Serve immediately with hot lamb filling.

Recipe by Phyllis Kirigin http://sweetpaprika.wordpress.com

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Crunchy Calamari

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If you crave the crunchiest calamari, put the wheat flour aside and think tempura. We’re not talking about anything heavily coated here, but a light golden brown crispy coating using rice flour. Many recipes for fried calamari call for a light dusting of flour.  However, if you want calamari to take on color and crispiness, go for this delicate batter.

Ingredients

4 cups peanut oil

1 lb. cleaned squid, including tentacles

1 cup rice flour, separated

2 T cornstarch

2 ½ t baking powder

1 ½ t peanut oil

½ salt

1 t sugar

Directions

1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven to 375 degrees.

2. Slice squid bodies into 1/2–inch lengths

3. Make sure tentacles have no hard parts and slice in half lengthwise

4. Shake squid with ½ cup rice flour in a bag to coat.

5. Mix ½ cup rice flour, cornstarch, baking powder, peanut oil, salt and sugar  in a bowl.

6.  Stir in enough water, approximately 1/3 cup, to make a batter slightly thicker than heavy cream.

7. Coat squid with batter, a few pieces at a time, allowing excess to fall off, and lower into hot oil.

8. As squid browns on one side, gently flip over and brown the other side.  This will take only few minutes. Lift out with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

9. Serve immediately with lemon wedges and perhaps a dipping sauce.

Sweet Soy Dipping Sauce

¼ cup sweet soy sauce

¼ t grated fresh ginger

½ t rice wine vinegar

¼ t toasted sesame oil

Dash of Sambal Oolek (optional)

Mix ingredients in a small bowl.  Thin slightly with water.

Tartar Sauce

2 large shallots, finely chopped

2 medium gherkins or cornichons, finely diced

2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 T parsley, finely chopped

1 cup mayonnaise

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.

Recipes by Phyllis Kirigin, aka sweetpaprika

Crunchy Calamari

If you crave the crunchiest calamari, put the wheat flour aside and think tempura. We’re not talking about anything heavily coated here, but a light golden brown crispy coating using rice flour. Many recipes for fried calamari call for a light dusting of flour.  However, if you want calamari to take on color and crispiness, go for this delicate batter.

Ingredients

4 cups peanut oil

1 lb. cleaned squid, including tentacles

1 cup rice flour, separated

2 T cornstarch

2 ½ t baking powder

1 ½ t peanut oil

½ salt

1 t sugar

Directions

1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven to 375 degrees.

2. Slice squid bodies into 1/2–inch lengths

3. Make sure tentacles have no hard parts and slice in half lengthwise

4. Shake squid with ½ cup rice flour in a bag to coat.

5. Mix ½ cup rice flour, cornstarch, baking powder, peanut oil, salt and sugar  in a bowl.

6.  Stir in enough water, approximately 1/3 cup, to make a batter slightly thicker than heavy cream.

7. Coat squid with batter, a few pieces at a time, allowing excess to fall off, and lower into hot oil.

8. As squid browns on one side, gently flip over and brown the other side.  This will take only few minutes. Lift out with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

9. Serve immediately with lemon wedges and perhaps a dipping sauce.

Sweet Soy Dipping Sauce

¼ cup sweet soy sauce

¼ t grated fresh ginger

½ t rice wine vinegar

¼ t toasted sesame oil

Dash of Sambal Oelek (optional)

Mix ingredients in a small bowl.  Thin slightly with water.

Tartar Sauce

2 large shallots, finely chopped

2 medium gherkins or cornichons, finely diced

2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 T parsley, finely chopped

1 cup mayonnaise

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.

Recipes by href=”http://sweetpaprika.wordpress.com/archives/”>Phyllis Kirigin, aka sweetpaprika

Photographer Bill Brady
Look for my book More Digital Food photography coming out May 9th.

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Handmade Cheese Ravioli

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Aside from being utterly delicious, ravioli are fun to make. Here is a

pillowy three-cheese version.  They freeze perfectly, so make enough for

another meal.

Basic Egg Pasta (yield: 1 ½ lbs. dough) 

3 ½ cups sifted all-purpose flour

4 large eggs

1 T water

½ t salt

Place flour, eggs, water and salt in bowl of food processor with metal

blade.  Pulse until dough comes together.  Remove dough from bowl and hand

knead until dough is smooth, about 2 minutes.  Divide into 4 balls, cover

with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes. .  

Filling

12 oz. fresh ricotta cheese

4 oz. fresh smoked mozzarella, cut into a small dice

2 oz. Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated

2 large egg yolks

1/8 t ground nutmeg

2 T pignoli nuts, lightly toasted and chopped

2 T parsley, finely chopped

¼ t freshly ground black pepper

1 T heavy cream (Add if mixture seems dry.)

2 T salt (for water)

Mix together and chill until ready to use.

Using a hand cranked pasta machine or the pasta attachment for a stand

mixer, roll out one ball of dough.  Continue to fold and roll out on wide

rollers and then thin out the dough until setting # 6.  Cut one section of

pasta the width of your workspace.  Along the length of the sheet place

heaping teaspoons of filling about ¾ inch from edge and 1 1/2 inches apart.

Have a small bowl of water nearby to moisten one long edge and between each

mound of filling.  (Don’t moisten both long edges.)  Fold over dough and

press dough together with the side of your hand.  Make sure dough is sealed

around each mound of filling.  With a zigzagged pastry cutter, cut along the

long straight edge and between each mound of filling.  Place each ravioli on

a baking sheet lightly covered with flour.  Chill.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add 2 T salt.  Gently add 9 or 10

ravioli and simmer for 4 minutes. Test one for doneness. Pull out ravioli

with a large slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.  Then add 9 or 10

more.  Serve with your favorite sauce.

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Bolognese Sauce [ragu] (makes 2 ½ cups*)

2 T olive oil

2 T butter

¼ cup diced onion

3 T carrots in a small dice

3 T celery in a small dice

1 lb. ground chuck

2 t salt

¼ t freshly ground black pepper

1 cup dry white wine

½ cup milk

1/8 t freshly grated nutmeg

2 ½ cups canned Italian peeled tomatoes, preferably San Marzano.

In a 5 ½ -quart Dutch enameled cast iron Dutch oven or stainless steel pot,

place olive oil, butter and onions,  Sauté just until onions are

translucent.  Add carrots and celery and continue to cook gently for a few

minutes.  Break up the ground beef and add it to the pot.  Sprinkle with

salt and pepper and cook until meat has lost its red color.  Do not brown.

Add wine and increase heat to medium high and cook stirring from time to

time until wine evaporates.

Lower heat and add milk and nutmeg until milk evaporates.  The milk keeps

the meat sweet and creamy.  Stir in the tomatoes and break up with wooden

spoon.  When the sauce comes to a simmer, lower the heat to maintain the

barest simmer and continue cooking with the cover ajar for 3 ½ hours.  Stir

occasionally and taste for seasoning.

*It wouldn’t be a bad idea to double this recipe and reserve half for future

use.  It freezes perfectly.

 

Brown Butter and Sage Sauce

 

8 oz. unsalted butter, cut into 1 T chunks 

8 medium fresh sage leaves, chopped

I medium clove of garlic, minced

1 medium shallot, finely chopped 

Pinch of salt

Pinch of black pepper

2 T freshly grated Parmegiano Reggiano cheese

 

Melt butter in a medium hot skillet.  When it starts to brown, add sage

leaves.  Turn heat to low.  Add garlic, shallots, salt and pepper.  When the

mixture turns to a golden brown, add cheese .  Fold in well drained ravioli,

turn to coat and serve.

Simple Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

3 whole red bell peppers

2 T pine nuts (optional)

2 T olive oil

1/2 whole medium onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ t salt

1/2 cup heavy cream

Flat leaf parsley, finely minced

Fresh Parmesan, shaved or grated

1/2 pound (to 1 pound) pasta.

Roast red peppers, and then place in a Ziploc bag to allow to sweat. Peel

the charred skins from the peppers, then removed seeds. Set aside.

Lightly toast pine nuts in a skillet. Set aside. 

Puree peppers with pine nuts. Set aside.

In a skillet or pot over medium heat, drizzle in olive oil. Add diced onions

and garlic and cook until soft. Pour in pepper puree and stir together. Add

plenty of salt. 

Pour in cream and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt, if necessary.

Fold in  cooked pasta.  Top with chopped parsley.

Photographer Bill Brady

Recipe Provided by Phyllis Kirigin, aka sweetpaprika

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