Ninth night

Here at Tortfeeder HQ, we like to celebrate the ninth night of Hanukkah. It’s how we roll. And with latkes like these, we may celebrate 365 nights.

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Adam and Maxine’s Famous Latkes (Bon Appétit)

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds large russet potatoes (4-6)
  • 1 medium Vidalia, yellow, or brown onions (about 2)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup fine plain dried breadcrumbs
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) schmaltz (chicken fat; optional)
  • 2-4 tablespoons (or more) vegetable oil
  • Applesauce
  • Sour cream

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 325°. Peel potatoes. Using the large holes of a box grater or the grater disk on a food processor, grate potatoes and onions. Transfer to a large kitchen towel. Gather ends of towel; twist over sink and squeeze firmly to wring out as much liquid as possible. Open towel; toss mixture to loosen. Gather towel; wring out once more.
  • Whisk eggs, breadcrumbs, salt, baking powder, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend. Add potato mixture. Using your fingers, mix until well coated. (Latke mixture should be wet and thick, not soupy.)
  • Line a large rimmed baking sheet with several layers of paper towels. Set a wire rack inside another large rimmed baking sheet; set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons schmaltz, if using, and 2 tablespoons oil (or 4 tablespoons oil if not using schmaltz; fat should measure about 1/8 inches) in a 12 inches nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Drop a small amount of latke mixture into pan. If the fat sizzles around the edges, it’s ready. (Do not let fat smoke.)
  • Working in batches and adding more schmaltz and oil to skillet as needed to maintain 1/8 inches fat, drop large spoonfuls of mixture into pan, pressing gently with the back of a spoon or spatula to flatten slightly. (If mixture becomes watery between batches, mix to incorporate; do not drain.)
  • Cook latkes, occasionally rotating pan for even browning, until golden brown and cooked through, 2 1/2-3 minutes per side. (If small pieces of potato floating in the oil start to burn, carefully strain out.)
  • Transfer latkes to paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain, then transfer to prepared wire rack. Place sheet with latkes in oven to keep warm and crisp while cooking remaining latkes.
  • Serve warm latkes with applesauce and sour cream.

Myanmar

We’ve really enjoyed the Burmese food we’ve eaten in the past year or so. One of our faves is Susan Feniger’s Burmese Melon Salad from Street. I’m not sure I’m ready to own a Burmese cookbook but I’ve read good things about Naomi Duguid’s “Burma: Rivers of Flavor.” Then I saw it on Eater’s list of 21 Essential Cookbooks for 2012.* And then I realized that I had the Food & Wine issue with the recipe pictured in the Eater article. Um, fate. This dish was relatively easy and quick delish. Is Burma (also known as Myanmar) the new black?!

*Also psyched to see our Vietnamese cookbook on the Eater list.

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Fried Rice with Shallots (Naomi Duguid’s “Burma: Rivers of Flavor,” via Food & Wine)

  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil, plus more for frying
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced (3/4 cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 4 1/2 cups cold cooked jasmine rice (see Note)
  • Salt
  • 1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  1. In a small skillet, heat 1/4 inch of peanut oil until shimmering. Add 1/4 cup of the sliced shallots and fry over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried shallots to paper towels to drain.
  2. In a wok or large skillet, heat the 3 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the turmeric and the remaining 1/2 cup of shallots and stir-fry over moderately high heat until the shallots are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and 1 teaspoon of salt and stir-fry over high heat for 1 minute. Add the peas and stir-fry until the rice and peas are hot, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the fried shallots and season with salt. Transfer the rice to a bowl and serve with lime wedges.
Notes If you don’t have leftover rice on hand, you’ll need to cook 1 1/2 cups of rice.

Roma Sparita

When we were in Rome this summer, we traipsed around with a crumpled piece of paper bearing the recommendations of culinary warrior Anthony Bourdain. We were not led astray. Perhaps the most memorable of these food adventures was our trip to Trastevere’s Roma Sparita, where we became appropriately obsessed with the cacio e pepe (in a BOWL MADE OF CHEESE). When in Rome…for real, people, you’ve got to go to this place and try this dish.

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The inspiration. Sublime.

Had to deal with an emergency cacio e pepe craving yesterday and, fortunately, this recipe satisfied it. Man, that is a good freaking dish! I know many of the recipes on this site tend toward the long and complicated. This one is pretty quick and easy. I recommend watching the video, too.

If you want to compare cacio e pepes, I’ve also made the Barefoot Contessa version, Pasta with Pecorino and Pepper. A blind taste test might be in order. (Funny to look back and see my reference to Roma Sparita in that post. We sure are different people now that we’ve eaten the real thing.)

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The reality. Super tasty.

Cacio e Pepe (Bon Appétit)

Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 6 oz. pasta (such as egg tagliolini, bucatini, or spaghetti)
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed, divided
  • 1 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Grana Padano or Parmesan
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino

Preparation

  • Video: Click here to watch Del Posto’s Mark Ladner make cacio e pepe

     

  • Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a 5-qt. pot. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup pasta cooking water.
  • Meanwhile, melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add pepper and cook, swirling pan, until toasted, about 1 minute.
  • Add 1/2 cup reserved pasta water to skillet and bring to a simmer. Add pasta and remaining butter. Reduce heat to low and add Grana Padano, stirring and tossing with tongs until melted. Remove pan from heat; add Pecorino, stirring and tossing until cheese melts, sauce coats the pasta, and pasta is al dente. (Add more pasta water if sauce seems dry.) Transfer pasta to warm bowls and serve.

Thai Brussels

Hey look, it’s my 200th post! It’s fitting that this post contains brussels sprouts, which we eat a lot these days. I was looking for a new Asian way to make them (since we do the Momofukus A LOT). I had been wanting to try a bunch of things from this Thai article in Bon Appétit, both because they look awesome and because they’re from Portland’s big Thai guy, Andy Ricker of Pok Pok. I also had just bought this great new Thai sticky purple rice. (Pictured in the top left corner.) I think colored rice is gonna be our new thang. It’s how we’ll roll.

This recipe was awesome and not too difficult. I only had dried chiles, so I used those (but dumped out the seeds). Still nice and hot. I wound up with a lot of sauce but it tasted damn good. A new regular!

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Stir-Fried Brussels Sprouts with Garlic and Chile (Bon Appétit)

Ingredients

  • 4 cups halved brussels sprouts
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced garlic
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 4 teaspoons Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce, preferably Thai thin soy sauce (such as Healthy Boy)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon (or more) 1/8″-thick slices of red Thai chiles
  • Pinch of ground white pepper
  • 1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
  • ingredient info

    Many Thai ingredients and tools can be found at your local Asian market or from thaigrocer.com.

Preparation

  • Blanch brussels sprouts in a large pot of boiling salted water until bright green, about 15 seconds. Drain and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and stir until light golden brown, about 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a small bowl.
  • Increase heat to high; add brussels sprouts. Stir-fry until they begin to soften, 2–3 minutes. Add oyster sauce and next 5 ingredients. Stir-fry for 30 seconds; add chicken broth. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced slightly, about 2 minutes; add more chiles, if desired. Stir in garlic.

New grain alert

Somebody has a new favorite grain… wheat berries! This was super good and not too time/labor-intensive. Recommend!

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Wheat Berries with Charred Onions and Kale (Bon Appétit)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups wheat berries
  • 2 medium onions, halved, divided
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt plus more
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed, leaves torn into 2-inch pieces (about 8 packed cups)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ingredient info:

    Wheat berries, also called hard wheat, are available at most natural foods stores.

Preparation

  • Combine wheat berries, 1 onion half, thyme sprigs, and 1 Tbsp. salt in a large saucepan; add water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer until wheat berries are just tender but still firm to the bite, about 35 minutes. Drain; discard onion and thyme. Place wheat berries in a large bowl; let cool.
  • Cut remaining 3 onion halves crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat; add onions. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are charred in spots, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl with wheat berries. Add 1 Tbsp. oil to same skillet. Working in 3 batches, add kale and cook, tossing occasionally, sprinkling with salt and pepper, and adding oil as needed between batches, until charred in spots, about 1 minute per batch. Add to bowl. Drizzle with lemon juice and any remaining oil; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Tapas

Tapas party! All muy yummy. The José Andres recipes are shockingly easy and very quick. Excited to try more.

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Some tried and true…

Manchego-Stuffed Dates Wrapped in Bacon (Epicurious)

Espinacas con Garbanzos [Spinach and Chickpeas] (Smitten Kitchen)

Potato Tortilla (Tortilla de Patatas) (Smitten Kitchen)

…and some new.

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Sautéed green beans with garlic and Spanish ham (José Andres)

Spanish cured ham, such as jamón serrano and the prized, luxurious jamón ibérico, impart a wonderful flavor to all kinds of vegetables. This dish works well with snap peas, broccoli and leafy greens.

Yield: Serves 4

6 ounces fresh green beans
2 ounces Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
4 thin slices jamon serrano (Spanish cured ham)

Cut the green beans in half, slicing them on a diagonal.
Put the olive oil and garlic in a sauté pan, then heat over medium heat until the garlic begins to turn light golden. Increase the heat to medium and add the green beans. Do not stir the green beans, you want them to sear on one side. Allow the beans to cook until just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to let the garlic burn. Season to taste with salt.

Remove the pan from the heat. Shred the pieces of jamon into large slices with your hands. Toss them with the green beans and serve.

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Traditional garlic shrimp (José Andres)

This is the ultimate tapa – there is no other dish with greater simplicity, speed of cooking, or reward for your taste buds. Be sure to include a lot of bread to soak up the delicious sauce.

Serves 4
4 tablespoons of Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
20 large shrimps (about 1 pound)
1 guindilla chili pepper (or your favorite dried chili pepper)
1 teaspoon brandy
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
Salt to taste

In a medium sauté pan, heat the olive oil over a medium-to-high flame. Sauté the garlic cloves until browned, about 2 minutes.

Add the shrimp along with the chili pepper. Cook for 2 minutes. Turn over the shrimp and sauté for another 2 minutes. Pour in the brandy and cook for another minute. Sprinkle with the parsley, add salt to taste, and serve.

José’s tips
This tapa depends on great shrimp. You can use previously frozen shrimp, if that’s all that is available. But if you’re able to find fresh shrimp from North Carolina or the Gulf of Mexico, or even the small red Maine shrimp that are available for a short time around January, you’ll make a dish you’ll never forget.

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And one more just for me, devoured with leftovers. (The attractive nuisance doesn’t even know about this one. Until now.) If you don’t make this, you’re crazy.

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Tomato toast with Manchego (José Andres)

This classic Catalan pan con tomate can be topped with Spanish ham, anchovies, and a variety of cheeses, just be sure to use a great Spanish olive oil for drizzling

Yield: Serves 2 – 4

4 slices rustic sourdough bread
2 ripe tomatoes
Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
3 ounces Manchego cheese, sliced

Toast the bread. Cut the tomatoes in half and rub the open face of the tomatoes into the bread slices until the flesh is gone. Discard the skins.

Drizzle the tomato toasts liberally with olive oil and season to taste with salt.

Lay slices of the cheese on top of the toasts and drizzle with more olive oil.

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Finally, one last dish from a few nights later (that’s right… the future!). I didn’t have sweet dessert wine, so I used regular ol’ red wine. I imagine it would be better to follow the recipe to the letter, but this was still tasty. Trust José, not me.

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Cauliflower with olives and dates (José Andres)

This is a quick and simple tapa that mixes sweet and savory. But the key ingredient here is the pimentón, Spain’s sweet smoked paprika. This amazing seasoning should always be in your pantry.

Yields: 4 servings

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces (1/2 pound) cauliflower, broken into pieces
3 sprigs fresh thyme
8 dates, cut into quarters
8 cured black olives
8 green olives
¼ cup sweet dessert white wine, such as Pedro Ximenez
2 teaspoons pimentón

Heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the cauliflower and thyme and cook until the cauliflower is brown and caramelized, about 8 minutes. Add the dates and olives and cook for about 1 more minute, until they are heated through. Pour in the wine and deglaze the pan, allowing the alcohol to burn off. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl and sprinkle with pimentón.

Vietnamese

We absolutely love Vietnamese food, so it’s no surprise that we are loving our Vietnamese Home Cooking book by Charles Phan. Lots of stuff looks pretty complicated but so far the effort has been well worth it. This was a tasty new way to eat sweet potatoes. Many steps, and it certainly would have been easier (and tastier) with a real grill instead of a grill pan, but the end result was delicious. (And the sizzling scallion oil was super cool.) Not that I have any business saying this, but perhaps an easier variation could be roasting the sweet potatoes and then tossing with the scallion oil, cilantro, and lime?

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Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Cilantro, Scallions, and Lime (Charles Phan)

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and sliced on the bias into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup scallion oil (see below)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • Zest from 3 limes

Preparation

1. Fill a large wok or stockpot with water. Place a three-layer bamboo steamer in the wok or over the top of the pot, taking care that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the steamer. Bring the water to a boil.

2. Arrange the sweet potatoes in a single layer on each layer of the bamboo steamer. Cover and steam 5 to 6 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are just tender. Transfer to a sheet pan, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. Prepare a medium-hot fire for direct-heat grilling in a charcoal grill (you should be able to hold your hand 1 inch above the grate only 3 to 4 seconds). Put the sweet potatoes on the grate and grill, turning once, about 4 to 5 minutes per side, until they are a deep golden brown.

4. Transfer the sweet potatoes to a large mixing bowl. Add the scallion oil, cilantro, and lime zest. Toss well to coat and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

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Scallion Oil

Ingredients

  • 1 cup thinly sliced scallions, green part only
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil

Preparation

In a heatproof bowl, combine the scallions, sugar, and salt. In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Pour the oil over the scallions; it will sizzle vigorously. Stir gently, then let cool. If not using right away, cover and refrigerate. The oil will keep for up to 1 day.