Kamis, 31 Desember 2015

Brazilian Feijoada – Happy (and hopefully very lucky) New Year!!

We’ve posted about this before, but there’s a great, southern tradition of eating beans and greens on New Year’s Day to ensure good fortune in the coming year. 

Apparently, by eating “poor” the first day of the year, you align certain cosmic forces in your favor, which results in prosperity and good luck the rest of the year. Sounds crazy, right? I know, you’re way too sophisticated to believe in such lame supernatural shenanigans. Hey wait a minute…don’t you watch all those ghost hunter shows on cable TV? Busted! Hey, did you hear that noise?

Anyway, whether you believe in this kind of culinary clairvoyance or not, this Brazilian feijoada is one of the world’s great stews. The traditional good luck bean is the black-eyed pea, but here we’re celebrating the delicious, and very nutritious, black bean.

I tried to be clear in the video that this is just my version, and not some attempt at true feijoada authenticity, whatever that is. As long as you have black beans, and LOTS of smoked, salted, dried, and/or cured meats, you are well on your way to some kind of feijoada-like awesomeness.

In case you’re wondering, all I did for the greens was boil some kale in salted water until tender, and then sauté briefly in olive oil and garlic. It pairs perfectly with the white rice and rich stew, and while I can’t guarantee a year’s worth of wealth and good luck, I can promise you a delicious bowl of food. Happy New Year to all of you, and as always, enjoy!



Ingredients for 6 portions:
1 pounds dry black beans, soaked overnight
2 quarts water, plus more as needed (add more whenever stew looks too dry)
1 bay leaf
2 smoked pork chops
12 oz linguica
8 oz Italian sausage
4 oz smoked bacon
3 oz dried beef
1 onion
6 cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
salt and pepper to taste
For the crumbs:
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp grated orange zest
2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley

Basic steps:
- Soak beans overnight, add to pot with bay leaf, beef jerky, and any bones
- Simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until beans are cooked, but very firm
- Add onion mixture and meats, and simmer for another hour, or until beans are very soft
- Add a splash of water at any point during the cooking if stew looks too dry
- Test and add salt near the end, depending on saltiness of meat

View the complete recipe

Have a Safe and Very Happy New Year!

I want to wish all of you a very Happy New Year! May 2010 bring you an embarrassment of culinary riches. 2009 was a great year for the blog, and with your help and support, this new year promises to be even more exciting. Thanks! And, enjoy!

Don't Drink and Drive!

What Are Your Foodie New Year’s Resolutions?

Photo (c) Flickr user nImAdestiny.
I gave up on New Year’s resolutions a long time ago. Let’s face it, if you haven’t learned French by now, it’s not happening. Sure, that new elliptical machine would be a great way to get in shape, but what's more likely is you becoming the proud owner of a $1,200 coat rack that can read your pulse rate. The only people that actually keep New Year’s resolutions are the ones that don’t need to make them.

However, I do like to set a few food related goals for the upcoming year. I’m not sure when, but I will do a quinoa recipe in 2012. I’m going to make Italian sausage. I’m planning on filming a “how to turn corned beef into pastrami” video, which I’ve done for About.com, but not on Food Wishes. I want to show you how to make perfect hash brown potatoes.

Anyway, those are a few of my New Year’s foodie resolutions – what about you? Do you have any culinary accomplishments you want to achieve in 2012? If so, please share, and we can all have a toast tonight to every one of them coming true. Enjoy!

Black Eyed Peas with Pork and Greens – Good Luck with This!

I love the New Year's day tradition of eating beans and greens to bring luck and prosperity. This video was posted a few years back, and features black-eyed peas, and not one, but three kinds of pork. How can that not bring good fortune?

This is a very old tradition, and I don't mean colonial America old
, I mean really, really old. There are records of black-eyed peas being eaten for good luck on New Year's Day all the way back to ancient Babylonia. It must have worked, because look at all the good fortune that has befallen the middle east since then. Okay, maybe that's not the best example.

This video recipe is my variation on something called "Hoppin' John," which is black-eyed peas, rice, and pork stewed together, usually served with some kind of greens and cornbread. Speaking of which, I highly suggest clicking on my cornbread recipe video and doing this thing right.

I want to wish you all a Happy New Year! May your 2011 be filled with much happiness, and lots of new adventures. Stay safe, party hard, and as always, enjoy!




Ingredients:
1 pound black-eyed peas, soaked overnight
3 strips bacon, sliced in 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound pork neck bones
6 oz smoked ham, diced
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrot
3 cloves chopped garlic
6 cups water
1 (10-oz can) diced tomato with green chilis
1 tsp salt
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper
cayenne to taste
1 tsp dried thyme
1 large bunch kale, leaves torn
cooked rice

Rabu, 30 Desember 2015

Celebrate the New Year with the Black-Eyed Peas - Let's Get it Started!

I know I just posted an Italian alternative to the New Years' beans and greens, eaten to bring prosperity in 2009, but I figured I'd better do a more traditional version. I am the American food expert on About.com after all, and it would have been bad form not to post a real black-eyed peas recipe today.

This is a very old tradition, and I don't mean like pre-civil war American south
old, I mean really, really old. There are records of black-eyed peas being eaten for good luck on New Year's Day all the way back to ancient Babylonia. For you kids out there, that's way before even cell phones were invented!

This video recipe you are about to visually consume is a variation on something called "Hoppin' John," which is black-eyed peas, rice, and pork stewed together, usually served with some kind of greens and cornbread. For your convenience, and my pageviews, I suggest also clicking on my cornbread recipe video and doing this thing right.

I want to wish you all a Happy New Year! May your 2009 be filled with happiness, new experiences, and exciting challenges. 2008 was a very hard year for everyone, but I have it on a pretty reliable source (a Chef's intuition is a powerful thing) that this coming year will be a lot better. Until then, I'll leave you with this thought - the tougher times are, the better food tastes. Enjoy!



Ingredients:
1 pound black-eyed peas, soaked overnight
3 strips bacon, sliced in 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound pork neck bones
6 oz smoked ham, diced
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrot
3 cloves chopped garlic
6 cups water
1 (10-oz can) diced tomato with green chilis
1 tsp salt
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper
cayenne to taste
1 tsp dried thyme
1 large bunch kale, leaves torn
cooked rice

Cream of Mushroom Soup – Pure Liquid Moon-Soaked Earth

I can't believe I haven't posted a video recipe for cream of mushroom soup! It's such a classic cool weather staple, and quite simple to make – as long as you have a few hours to spare.

The secret to this deep rich potage is a long slow caramelization, the key to unlocking the mushroom's magic. Oh, and by the way, I mean that literally. Mushrooms are by far the most mysterious and magical things we eat.

Scientists still don't really understand how and why they grow like they do. While every other food you eat gets its energy from the sun, Agaricus bisporus, the common button mushroom, does not. Some believe mushrooms are powered by the moon, which I find fascinating to contemplate.

This is a very minimalist formula, and meant to transform the browned bits of fungus into pure earthy essence of mushroom. You can use whatever exotic mushrooms you can get a hold of, but it works quite well with the ubiquitous white button mushroom. Enjoy!




Ingredients:
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 pounds white or brown button mushrooms, sliced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 rounded tbsp flour
6 sprigs fresh thyme, tied into a bundle with kitchen string, plus some picked leaves to garnish
2 cloves garlic, peeled, left whole
4 cups chicken broth or stock
1 cup water
1 cup heavy cream
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Doing the Limbo

For me, this time between Christmas and New Years is the laziest week of the year. Many are off work, and those that aren't are probably doing a half-assed job anyway. Generally people are tired, distracted, and really not into any heavy thinking. This is exactly how I feel. 

Anyway, to help make up for this just-phoned-it-in post, I will say that I have so many exciting things planned for the new year, including a video on how to do your own sous vide steaks at home (my first test pictured here), using absolutely no special equipment. Spoiler alert: it was awesome. Stay tuned!

Are Your New Year's Eve Eats, Completes?

Just in case you're looking for some extra special appetizers for your New Year's Eve party, I've put together a little collection of my favorites. These crowd-pleasers are so delicious, you may even get a kiss before midnight. Just click on the title, and away you go. Enjoy!



Coquilles St-Jacques

The kind of special occasion appetizer we used to enjoy before the dieticians and celebrity chefs ruined it for everybody.

All-American Shrimp Cocktail

There's something about dunking a jumbo shrimp in cocktail sauce that just feels like New Year's Eve

Fancy Mixed Nuts

Why the hell would anyone put out separate bowls of nuts, when you can go full mixed nuts? It's nuts. 

Potato & Chorizo Mini Quiches

Originally a Super Bowl snack idea, these mini-quiches will work just as well on that fancy hors d'oeuvres buffet. They can be fancied up in an infinite number of ways.

Oyster Rockefeller

Any appetizer with "Rockefeller" in the name has got to work here. By the way, if you're under 35, you should call it "Oysters Roc-A-Fella." Trust me.

Clams Casino

It's not gambling if you know you're going to win. By the way, the house (that serves these) always wins.

Selasa, 29 Desember 2015

Utica Greens and Beans – Finding Good Fortune in Upstate New York

As many of you hardcore foodies know, there’s a southern tradition of eating beans and greens on New Year’s Day to help bring good fortune in the coming year. 

By eating “poor” the first day of the year, you supposedly ensure prosperity and good luck the rest of the year. I think I speak for all superstitious, Italian-Americas when I say, that totally makes sense.

Whether you believe in such things or not, you should still try this year’s edible good luck charm, Utica Greens. This delicious Upstate New York vegetable casserole comes in many forms, but usually contains some combination of bitter greens, usually escarole, pancetta or prosciutto, hot fresh or pickled peppers, and bread crumbs.

I’m adding some cranberry beans, so you all get rich in 2014, but that’s totally fine since the locals often add chunks of potatoes, and once you start doing things like that, all bets are off. Whether side dish or main course, this is a perfect winter vegetable magnet, and I hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy, Happy New Year, and most of all, good fortune!


Ingredients for 6 side dish servings:
2 heads escarole
2 tbsp olive oil
4 ounces pancetta or prosciutto, diced (You can drain some of the rendered fat if it looks like it's going to be too much. You want about 2 tablespoons total rendered fat pancetta in the casserole)
handful of sliced fresh hot peppers, or jarred pickled peppers
3 cloves minced garlic
1 cup chicken broth
12 ounce can cooked cranberry beans, or Cannellini beans, butter beans, white beans, etc., optional
salt and black pepper to taste
red pepper flakes
1/2 cup fine plain bread crumbs, plus more for the top
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
drizzle top with more olive oil

Pork Barrel Spending and Beans

In honor of the presidential inauguration, the title of this recipe, "Pork and Beans and Greens - Good Luck Making This," has temporally changed to this more Washington-esqe one.

As many of you foodies already know (it's on the entrance exam), a very traditional southern New Years meal is black-eyed peas, or some other type of bean, and greens. Eating this meager meal on New Years day is supposed to bring you great prosperity for the rest of the year.

This video recipe is a lighter and easier Italian take on the classic, and is topped with some crusty, caramelized roast pork. Speaking of the south, you'll see me use a spice rub (a
wet rub, aka "wub") on the pork before roasting for a sort of Italian barbecue effect.

All in all, this is an odd recipe. The pork is not slow-roasted, but cooked at a higher heat for a crusty finish. The greens are not slowly braised, but just wilted. The black-eyed peas have been replaced with cannellini beans. And, I can't guarantee it will bring you the same prosperity as the traditional version. Having said all that, I thought it tasted excellent and I hope you give it a try.

By the way, I will also be doing a traditional version that - with any luck - you'll see before New Years Day. Enjoy!



Ingredients:
4 lb. boneless pork shoulder roast, cut in large pieces
for the wet rub:
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 cloves garlic
1 rounded tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp wine vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil

1 large bunch arugula
1 14-oz jar cannellini beans
1 lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves sliced garlic


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