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Friday, June 16, 2017

*PC Artichauts Vinaigrettes

*Pressure Cooker



Menu Notes:

  • The smaller the artichoke, the shorter the time in the pressure cooker. I don't like to use artichokes much smaller than 10 to 12 oz because trimming them takes so long that I'd rather do just one big one per person.
  • Large artichokes can be carefully cut in half vertically after they have cooled, and the chokes scraped out with a table knife or spoon. That way, 4 artichokes can serve 8 people.


The Ingredients (for 4 servings):

  • 1 lemon
  • 4 jumbo artichokes, each weighing approximately 350 g (or 12 oz)
  • 2 g (or 1 teaspoon) of powdered garlic
  • 8 g (or 1 teaspoon) of salt
  • 35 ml (or 2½ tablespoons) of balsamic vinegar
  • 120 ml (or ½ cup) of cooking grade olive oil
  • (or ½ teaspoon) of freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 cloves of garlic, weighing approximately 20 g (or ¾ oz)
  • 5 bay leaves

    The Method:
    1. Wash the lemon, halve it, and put it aside.
    2. Remove the stems from each artichoke immediately below the outermost leaves, making a flat surface for each one to stand on.
    3. Pull or cut off all of the outer leaves that are less than three-quarters the height of the artichoke, and trim the base of their stubs.
    4. Rub the cut surfaces with one piece of the cut lemon.
    5. Turn each artichoke on its side and cut off the top one-quarter of the artichoke. Using kitchen shears, cut off the thorny tops of any leaves that escaped the cut.
    6. Rub the cut surfaces with the same piece of lemon.
    7. With your thumbs, pull all of the leaves outward from the center of the artichoke so that there is space between the layers. Inspect for and remove any insects or dirt that may be there.
    8. Stand the artichokes in the bottom of the pressure cooker.
    9. Squeeze the juice out of both pieces of lemon, and cut the skin into 4 pieces.
    10. Drizzle the lemon juice evenly into the artichokes, and place the lemon peels around the bottom of the pressure cooker.
    11. Sprinkle one-quarter of the powdered garlic over each artichoke.
    12. Sprinkle one-quarter of the salt over each artichoke.
    13. Drizzle 7 ml (or ½ tablespoon) of balsamic vinegar into each artichoke and pour the remainder into the center of the pressure cooker.
    14. Drizzle 20 ml (or 1½ tablespoon) of olive oil into each artichoke and pour the remainder into the center of the pressure cooker.
    15. Peel the garlic cloves and distribute them around the bottom of the pressure cooker.
    16. Place a few bay leaves in the bottom of the pressure cooker.
    17. Pour 240 ml (or 1 cup) of water into and around the artichokes in the pressure cooker.
    18. Place the lid on the pressure cooker and, following the manufacturer's instructions, cook the artichokes at high pressure (100 kPa, or 15 psi) for 13 minutes, then use the recommended method to reduce the pressure as quickly as possible.
    19. Remove the artichokes to a serving platter and, if necessary, boil down the liquid in the bottom of the pressure cooker.
    20. Cool the liquid, strain it, and either pour it over the cooked artichokes or serve it on the side.
    21. Provide empty bowls on the table for the inedible undersides of the leaves and the aptly named chokes.
    The Story:

    I ate my first steamed artichoke in my mid-twenties, at a friend's house in San Francisco. I was fascinated by the ritual of tearing off one leaf at a time, dipping in mayonnaise, raking the soft meat off with my teeth, working it down to the choke, shelling out the choke with a knife, and finally reaching the toothsome heart. I liked everything, even the mayonnaise. When I started cooking them myself, I wanted to add condiments during the steaming process, and for years half-boiled, half-steamed them in lemony water with some oil added. This transferred wonderfully to a pressure cooker method, because minimal water is necessary for the cooking, and flavors—of course I added more—are more easily absorbed by the vegetable.

    Artichaut Vinaigrette with my Turkey Gobbler, also on this blog

    Monday, June 5, 2017

    Grill It


    The Ingredients (for 4 servings):
    • 6 pieces of dried tomato, weighing approximately 15 g (or ½ oz)
    • 120 ml (or ½ cup) of mayonnaise, preferably an olive oil-based product
    • 15 ml (or 1 tablespoon) of soy sauce (or equivalent seasoning)
    • 15 ml (or 1 tablespoon) of lemon juice
    • stevia equivalent of 5 g (or 1 teaspoon) of sugar
    • 2 heads of Romaine lettuce
    • 20 to 24 cherry tomatoes
    • 8 anchovies
    • 15 g (or 2 tablespoons) of capers
    • cooking grade olive oil
    • salt
    • pepper

      The Method:

      1. At least 1 hour before assembling the salad, place the dried tomato into a measuring cup and fill it to the 1-cup mark with boiling water.
      2. When it has cooled, place the tomatoes and their soaking water into a blender or food processor and purée it.
      3.                         
      4. In a 2-cup measuring cup or similar receptacle, place the mayonnaise, soy sauce, lemon juice, stevia, and 60 ml (or 4 tablespoons) of the tomato purée.
      5. Whisk the mayonnaise mixture with a fork until it is completely homogeneous.
      6. Trim the stem ends of the Romaine lettuces then cut them in half lengthwise.
      7. Rinse them gently, then shake each half to remove as much water as possible.
      8. Lightly salt and pepper the cut surfaces of the lettuce.
      9. Brush or spray a light coating of olive oil onto a griddle or a large skillet, and place it on high heat.
      10. When the oil is smoking, place the lettuce halves, cut side down, onto the griddle and leave them there for 2 minutes. If you are using a cast-iron griddle you can turn the heat off after 1 minute.
      11.                     
      12. Remove the lettuce halves and place them, cut side up, into a serving platter. 
      13. Place 2 anchovies on each lettuce half, sprinkle the anchovies over them, and arrange the tomatoes on and around the lettuce halves.
      14. Drizzle the salad dressing over the lettuce halves.




      Sunday, June 4, 2017

      Riced and Spiced Cauliflower

      Riced and Spiced Cauliflower with lamb and vegetable kebab
      The Ingredients (for 6 servings):

      • 5 sprigs of basil
      • 1 bunch of cilantro
      • 110 g (or 4 oz) of onion
      • 0.7 kg (or 1½ lb) of cauliflower florets
      • 30 ml (or 2 tablespoons) of sesame oil
      • 30 g (or ¼ cup) of raw sesame seeds
      • 15 ml (or 1 tablespoon) of rice wine vinegar
      • 15 ml (or 1 tablespoon) of Asian fish sauce
      • 2 small cans of coconut cream, approximately 320 ml (or 11 oz)
      • 8 g (or 1 tablespoon) of no-salt lemon pepper such as Lawry's
      • 3 g (or ½ tablespoon) of powdered cardamom
      • 3 eggs
      • 15 ml (or 1 tablespoon) of Tabasco
      • 80 g (or 2½ oz) of frozen peas
      The Method:
      1. Remove the basil leaves from the stems and put them aside. Chop the tender part of the basil stems finely.
      2. Chop the cilantro finely and put it aside.
      3. Dice the onion finely.
      4. Roughly slice the cauliflower florets and tender stalks then place them in a food processor or similar machine, using more than one batch if necessary.
      5. Pulse the food processor so as to chop the cauliflower into rice-like pieces.
      6. Heat the sesame oil in a skillet over high heat and stir-fry the riced cauliflower with the basil stems and onion for approximately 6 minutes, until the cauliflower releases most of its moisture and starts to turn slightly brown.
      7. Reduce the heat to medium and add the sesame seeds, stir-frying for another 3 minutes.
      8. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in first the rice wine vinegar and then the fish sauce so that both are thoroughly mixed with the cauliflower.
      9. Stir in the coconut cream, cilantro, lemon pepper, and cardamom, stir-frying until almost all of the liquid is absorbed and/or evaporated.
      10. Whisk the eggs together with the Tabasco sauce in a bowl.
      11. Return the skillet to high heat, and add the egg mixture, reserved basil leaves, and frozen peas, stirring constantly and swiftly until the egg is incorporated and cooked thoroughly.

        The Story:

        This recipe was inspired by Jackie Alper's recipe for Thai Cauliflower 'Fried Rice' with Coconut on her website. Many ingredients and amounts have been changed in my version but I did retain the coconut.


        Friday, December 23, 2016

        Lick Your Chops


        Lick Your Chops served with Pesto-No-Pasta, also on this blog, and fresh arugula

        The Ingredients (for 2 hearty servings):

        • 1 small green papaya, weighing approximately 600 g (or 1¼ lb)
        • 25 g (or 3 tablespoons) of coarse sea salt
        • 4 boneless pork loin chops, 2½ cm (or 1 inch) thick and weighing approximately 900 g (or 2 lb)
        • 350 g (or 12 oz) of mushrooms (I used a mix of portobello and king oyster mushrooms)
        • 115 g (or 4 oz) of onion
        • 60 ml (or ¼ cup) of sherry
        • table salt
        • freshly ground black pepper
        • cooking grade olive oil

          The Method:
          1. About 6 hours before you intend to eat the chops, place a large cast iron skillet in the oven and set the heat to 75°C (or 165°F).
          2. Remove the papaya skin, cut it in two, and scrape out the seeds.
          3. Roughly chop the papaya and grind it to a thick paste in a food processor or blender, adding a small amount of water if necessary.
          4. In a medium size bowl or a large measuring cup, dissolve the sea salt in 240 ml (or 1 cup) of boiling water. 
          5. Add 710 ml (or 3 cups) of cold water to the salt solution.
          6. Add 240 to 475 ml (or 1 to 2 cups) of the papaya paste to the brine and stir to combine it thoroughly.
          7. Rinse and pat dry the pork chops, then use a slender carving fork to poke several holes into both sides of the chops.
          8. Using protective mitts, remove the skillet from the oven and place the pork chops into it.
          9. Pour the brine mixture over the chops so that they are submerged, adding more water if necessary. 
          10. Place the skillet back into the oven for 3 to 4 hours, monitoring the temperature of the brine, which should be 60 to 70°C (or 140 to 160°F) for best activation of the papain.
          11. Meanwhile, dice the mushrooms and onions.
          12. About 45 minutes before eating, put on the mitts, remove the skillet from the oven, and empty it over a colander to discard the brine mixture.
          13. Rinse the skillet, and return it to the oven, and increase the temperature setting to 205°C (or 400°F).
          14. Rinse the chops briefly in cold water and pat them dry.
          15. Sprinkle the chops sparingly on both sides with table salt and black pepper, and spray or brush them lightly with olive oil.
          16. When the oven reaches the target temperature, turn on a stove-top burner to medium-high.
          17. Using protective mitts, remove the skillet from the oven and place it on the burner.
          18. Pour in enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the skillet, and immediately add the onions and mushrooms. Stir constantly until the oil is absorbed completely.
          19. Immediately pour the sherry into the skillet and stir again until it is almost completely evaporated.
          20. Scoop the mushroom-onion mixture into a bowl and set it aside.
          21. Immediately place the pork chops into the skillet and brown them lightly on one side for 3 to 4 minutes.
          22. Turn the chops over, then add the mushrooms and onions back into the pan.
          23. Replace the skillet in the oven.
          24. After 5 minutes, begin checking the internal temperature of the thickest chop. When it reaches 60°C (or 140°F), remove the chops from the oven and serve.

            The Story:

            It's amazing how long you can live without really feeling confident about cooking a pork chop. So when I came across an article in the kitchn that promised tender and juicy pork chops I had to try it. Tasty and juicy they were, but not really tender. Knowing that papaya is a natural tenderizer, I searched for and found a recipe for papaya paste, posted on The Curry Guy's blog. Green papayas are rich in papain, which breaks down protein, thus tenderizing meat. Adding this to the original recipe and including my own touch with the onions and mushrooms, I ended up with some of the best pork chops I've had anywhere.

            Wednesday, November 16, 2016

            *PC Lamb Shank Soup

            *PC Lamb Shank Soup garnished with a sauce made from garlic, salt, chèvre, and goat milk

            *Pressure Cooker. (You can prepare this dish without pressure by simmering at boiling point for about three times as long as the pressure cooker in step 14.)


            The Ingredients (for 4 servings)

            • 70 g (or ½ cup) of bulgur
            • 2 medium onions, weighing approximately 450 g (or 1 lb)
            • 4 cloves of garlic, weighing approximately 15 g (or ½ oz)
            • 2 or 3 carrots, weighing approximately 225 g (or 8 oz)
            • 2 sticks of celery, weighing approximately 170 g (or 6 oz)
            • 6 sprigs of fresh oregano (or the equivalent dried)
            • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary (or the equivalent dried)
            • 1 small bunch of fresh parsley, preferably the flat-leaf variety
            • 4 lamb shanks weighing approximately 1.4 kg (or 3 lb)
            • 20 g (or ½ tablespoon) of cinnamon powder
            • 700 ml (or 3 cups) of beef stock or consommé
            • 25 ml (or 1½ tablespoons) of tomato paste
            • Cooking grade olive oil
            • Salt
            • Freshly ground black pepper

            The Method:
            1. At least 3 hours before serving the soup, soak the bulgur in 350 ml (or 1½ cups) of hot water and let it stand for at least 1 hour.
            2. About 1½ hours before serving the soup, prep the vegetables by first dicing the onion.
            3. Finely dice, crush, or grind the garlic cloves.
            4. Peel the carrots and cut them into bite-size pieces.
            5. Cut the celery into fine slivers.
            6. Wash and finely chop the oregano, rosemary, and parsley.
            7. Wash, trim if necessary, and pat dry the lamb shanks.
            8. Lightly season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper.
            9. Heat the pan of a pressure cooker over medium-high heat and pour in enough olive oil to coat the bottom.
            10. Place the seasoned lamb shanks into the pan and brown them on all sides.
            11. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions, garlic, carrots, celery, and cinnamon powder.
            12. Stir until the onions are starting to wilt.
            13. Immediately add the beef broth, tomato paste, oregano, rosemary, and parsley, and 10 cups of water.
            14. Place the lid on the pressure cooker and, following the manufacturer's instructions, cook the lamb shanks and vegetables at high pressure (100 kPa, or 15 psi) for 40 minutes.
            15. Allow the pressure to recede gradually.
            16. Remove the lid, and add the bulgur to the soup.
            17. Simmer the soup for 10 minutes without the lid on to cook the bulgur.

            Saturday, October 8, 2016

            *PC Coq au Vin

            *PC Coq au Vin served with Smashing Cauliflower, also on this blog,
            and steamed asparagus
            *Pressure Cooker. (You can prepare this dish without pressure by simmering at boiling point for about three times as long as the pressure cooker in steps 24 and 37.)

            The Ingredients (for 6 servings):

            • 600 ml (or 20 oz) of a dry red wine
            • 1 small onion
            • 2 stalks of celery
            • 2 large carrots
            • 3 to 5 cloves of garlic
            • 6 g (or 2 teaspoons) of whole black peppercorns
            • 1 chicken, weighing approximately 2.3 kg (or 5 lb)
            • 170 g (or 6 oz) of thick-cut bacon
            • 170 g (or 6 oz) of shallots
            • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, weighing approximately 14 g (or ½ oz)
            • 4 to 8 sprigs of thyme
            • 4 to 8 sprigs of parsley, preferably flat-leaf Italian parsley
            • 4 bay leaves
            • 120 ml (or ½ cup) of chicken broth
            • 25 g (or 3 tablespoons) of garbanzo bean (chick pea) flour
            • 450 g (or 1 lb) of mushrooms
            • 12 to 15 small boiling onions, weighing approximately 450 g (or 1 lb)
            • 28 g (or 2 tablespoons) of butter
            • cooking grade olive oil

              The Method:
              1. The day before you intend to cook the coq, make a marinade by first pouring the red wine into a medium size saucepan.
              2. Peel the onion, carrots, and the 3 to 5 cloves of garlic.
              3. Roughly chop the onion, celery, carrots and garlic, and add them to the wine in the pan.
              4. Add the peppercorns to the pan.
              5. Bring the marinade mixture to a boil and simmer it for 5 minutes.
              6. Allow the marinade to cool, then add 30 ml (or 2 tablespoons) of olive oil.
              7. Meanwhile, cut the chicken into sections: wings, drumsticks, thighs, and breast pieces. The breast pieces can be boneless or with ribs still attached.
              8. Wash and pat dry the chicken pieces.
              9. Add together the chicken pieces and the cooled marinade. (I like to marinate in a ziploc plastic bag, pressing out the air before sealing it.)

              10. Place the marinating chicken into the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.
              11. About 2 hours before you plan to eat, take the chicken out of the refrigerator and, using a colander or large sieve, strain off the liquid part of the marinade into a bowl. 
              12. Pick out the chicken pieces and place them on a rack or paper towels to drain and dry and reserve the marinade vegetables.
              13. Cut the bacon into thin slices across the grain.
              14. Finely slice the shallots and the 2 to 3 cloves of garlic.
              15. Pour enough oil into the bottom part of the pressure cooker to lightly coat it, and turn the heat to medium-high.
              16. Add the bacon bits and stir them almost constantly until they render most of their fat and turn golden brown.
              17. Remove the bacon bits from the pressure cooker and set them aside.
              18. Pour off most of the rendered fat.
              19. Replace the pressure cooker on the burner over medium-high heat, and place the chicken pieces, skin-side down in the pan.
              20. Brown the chicken pieces on both sides.
              21. Add the marinade vegetables into the pan and stir to brown them slightly. 
              22. Add the marinade liquid into the pan and stir to deglaze the bottom of the pressure cooker.
              23. Add the shallots, garlic, thyme, parsley, bay leaves, and chicken broth and give a quick stir to distribute them evenly throughout.
              24. Following manufacturer's instructions, cover the pressure cooker and cook the chicken at high pressure (100 kPa, or 15 psi) for 5 minutes.
              25. Allow the pressure to recede gradually.
              26. Meanwhile, place the garbanzo bean flour into a small bowl and add enough water to make a thin slurry. Allow it to sit while continuing with the following steps.
              27. Plunge the boiling onions into a pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds, then drain them.
              28. When they are cool enough to handle, cut off the tops and bottoms, and remove their outer skins.
              29. Wash the mushrooms and, if they are large, cut them into bite-size pieces.
              30. In a large skillet, melt the butter in an equal amount of olive oil over medium-high heat.
              31. Add the mushrooms and turn them constantly until they absorb the oil. 
              32. When the mushrooms begin to render back the oil, add the onions and brown them with the mushrooms, then turn off the heat.
              33. Open the pressure cooker and remove the chicken pieces into a serving dish.
              34. Using a slotted spoon, remove and discard all of the vegetables and herbs from the cooking liquid.
              35. Add the reserved garbanzo bean paste to the cooking liquid, place the mixture back on the burner on high heat, and stir until it thickens slightly.
              36. Add the reserved bacon bits, mushrooms, and boiling onions to the cooking mixture.
              37. Following manufacturer's instructions, cover the pressure cooker and cook them at high pressure (100 kPa, or 15 psi) for 5 minutes.
              38. Following the manufacturer's instructions, bring the pressure back to normal rapidly.
              39. Pour the contents of the pressure cooker over the chicken pieces.

                The Story:

                The basis for this method is a recipe for "Classic Coq Au Vin" on the epicurious.com web site. The pressure cooker saves braising time (but not, alas, prep time), while maintaining the deep, rich, goodness of this classic dish.

                Sunday, October 2, 2016

                *PC Veri Teri Short Ribs


                *Pressure Cooker. (You can prepare this dish without pressure by simmering at boiling point for about three times as long as the pressure cooker in step 8.)


                The Ingredients (for 4 servings):

                • 1 kg (or 2.2 lb) of beef short ribs, Korean cut
                • 45 g (or 1½ oz) of ginger
                • 60 ml (or 4 tablespoons) of dark soy sauce
                • 60 ml (or 4 tablespoons) of white wine or sake
                • 30 ml (or 2 tablespoons) of rice vinegar
                • 30 ml (or 2 tablespoons) of sesame oil
                • stevia equivalent of 20 g (or 1½ tablespoons) of sugar
                • 4 g (or ½ tablespoon) of freshly ground black pepper
                • 120 ml (or ½ cup) of beef broth
                • cooking grade olive oil


                The Method:

                1. Rinse and pat dry the ribs, then cut them into pieces between the cross-cut rib bones.
                2. Peel the ginger and grate or grind it into very small pieces.
                3. Mix together the ginger, soy, wine, vinegar, sesame oil, stevia, and pepper. (I do steps 2 and 3 at the same time by using a small food processor.)
                4. Coat the bottom of the pressure cooker with olive oil and heat it to medium-high.
                5. Brown the pieces of short rib in the oil, turning often so they do not burn or stick to the pan.
                6. Add the ginger-soy mixture to the pressure cooker and turn the ribs in the mixture to coat them evenly.
                7. Add the beef broth and mix again.
                8. Following the manufacturer's instructions, bring the pressure cooker to high (100 kPa, or 15 psi) and cook the ribs at this setting for 25 minutes.
                9. Remove the pressure cooker from the burner and allow the pressure to recede.
                10. Pour off any fat from the ribs and turn them over a few times in the veri teri sauce before serving.