11 January 2018: Myers + Chang and Pinot Noir

2018-Jan-11_FourNightsAWeek_2018_1638_edited-1I’ve been doing a lot of cooking from Myers+Chang At Home lately and enjoying their Asian inspired cooking quite a bit.  This is the latest attempt from this book: Pan-Roasted Soy-Glazed Salmon with Cool Cucumber Salad.  (see page 130 of the Myers+Chang At Home cookbook for recipe details).

While I didn’t go for the Crispy Shallot garnish (too much frying for me), I did follow the rest of the recipe’s instructions. Worth the time and prep, which was not too intense for home cooks.  Cooking salmon is something we do about once a week here. I’ve found a decent frozen product through Whole Foods Market which we keep on hand as a quick protein addition to dinner salads.

As far as this recipe goes, definitely do not skimp on the Sriracha sauce and think ahead as to the type of pan you choose – it should be safe for both stovetop and oven.

Our friend Wendi Wilkins, owner of Tutto Bene Wine and Cheese Shop, made an

excellent pairing suggestion of a Northwest Oregon Pinot Noir from Brandborg. As the notes say, the wine is beautifully transparent ruby red and paired really well with the salmon. This wine is in stock at Tutto Bene and definitely enhanced the dish.

Brandborg 2014 Bench Lands Pinot Noir

[From the Winemakers]: The 2014 vintage was characterized by a warm and dry spring, that did not really let up throughout the whole season.  The seasonal temperatures ended up being slightly higher than average, with an early bud break, few heat spikes and a long dry fall, giving us a very long frost free period, perfect for late ripening fruit.  Our Bench Lands is a composition incorporating many sites.  Within these vineyards we have selected blocks and clonal types that work well together in this harmonious blend.  The soils are very diverse mixes of alluviums deposited along the Umpqua, originating in the three mountain ranges that encircle this river valley, the Klamath -Siskiyous, the Cascades and the Coast Range.  These well drained soils create a wine with structure and balanced tannins.

The wine is a lovely transparent ruby color.  The aromas are dominated by ripe red cherries, blueberries, hints of cranberry with overtones of wild mountain meadow herbs and wild flowers.  The flavors add raspberries to the cherries, with some orange pith, coffee and mocha.  The wine’s mouthfeel is filling and supple.  The acidity gives it a nice zing, to compliment a moderately long finish and make this very food friendly.

This supple pinot would pair well with fatty fish like salmon or tuna, and has enough acid to go with curries, roasted and herbed mushrooms or even grilled meats, especially pork, with barbeque sauce.

Production:3914 cases

Alcohol:13.6%ABV

Total Acidity:5.8g/L

 

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10 January 2018: Red Curry Cauliflower with Tofu

2018-Jan-04_FourNightsAWeek2018_1597_edited-1The recipe for this is purposely MIA today. Meyers + Chang At Home is not only a cookbook it is a primer on Asian cooking that should not be missed. Want to know how to shape dumplings? Shop for Asian food products? This is the book. Seriously. Go get it.

The first dish I tried was this one, Red Curry Cauliflower with Tofu (found on pages 182-183). Yes I did make my own Vegetarian Curry Sauce (p 183). Bring on the heat! And, if you don’t have other plans for the leftover coconut milk, try Coconut Rice Pudding, also posted on the FourNightsAWeek blog.

Paired with a very dry hard cider it was delicious. And, should you find yourself in Boston, be sure to treat yourself to a visit to Meyers + Chang on Washington Street.

For blog regulars, be sure to check out our upcoming recipe sharings. We’re delighted to be offering some suggestions for wine pairings courtesy of Tutto Bene Wine and Cheese Shop owner Wendi Wilkins. 


04 Jan 2018: Coconut Milk Rice Pudding

2018-Jan-04_FourNightsAWeek2018_1608Whenever I use coconut milk in a curry, I usually end up with 3/4 of can left over.  “Now what?” is the usual thought. So the can gets stored in the fridge until I figure out that I don’t have any other use for it and have to throw it out. I know. Pathetic. This week, however, when I made Joanne Chang’s Red Curry Cauliflower with Tofu (coming soon), I was determine to utilize that last bit of coconut milk.

Because we are in the midst of Snowstorm Grayson here in New England, it just felt right to make something warming (and sweet). So after some Google-ing, I decided upon Rice Pudding.  The recipe I ended up making is an adaptation of one found on Epicurious, the main change being I swapped around the proportion of coconut milk and whole milk. After all, the point here was to get rid of the coconut milk.  If you do try something like this, be sure to stay near the stove. Boiled over milk is a nasty clean up.

(Mostly) Coconut Milk Rice Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups UNSALTED COOKED rice
  • 2 cups coconut milk + 1 cup regular milk (I used 1%) for a total of 3 CUPS milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar (I used brown)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp (more to taste) cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla (I used vanilla bean paste because I like the intensity)

Method

  1. Simmer rice, milks, sugar and salt, uncovered in a 2 1/2 to 3 quart heavy sauce pan over moderate heat STIRRING FREQUENTLY until thickened (this takes about 40-45 minutes).
  2. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  3. Serve warm.

8 Nov 2017: Purple Cabbage Salad

2017-Nov-08_FourNightsAWeek_1498Not sure how it happened, but I recently began receiving a food mag “All Recipes.com”. In the September/October 2017 print issue was a recipe for Purple Cabbage Salad, so in an effort to “eat the rainbow”, I put it on this week’s menu. 

It comes together very quickly with a food processor for shredding and the ingredients were mostly items I would have in my pantry any way – just needed a purple cabbage. At 165 calories per 2/3 cup serving, it’ll make a break from lettuce salads and a nice side for tonight’s dinner.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1 11-oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (I used olive)
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Method

  1. Toast pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly until fragrant and lightly browned (about 2 minutes). Transfer immediately to a bowl and let cool.
  2. Lightly toss together cabbage, oranges, green onions and cranberries in a bowl. Whisk together vinegar, oil, sugar, and salt in a bowl until sugar and salt dissolve.
  3. Stir toasted pine nuts into salad and top with dressing. Toss again to coat before serving. (This salad can be made up to 1 day ahead and chilled, tightly covered.)

 


05 Nov 2017: Cinnamon Brown Sugar Bars

2017-Nov-05_fournightsaweek_1461A recent impulse buy from King Arthur Flour was cinnamon – two different kinds actually. As I was growing up, I only knew that cinnamon came from a McCormack’s tin. The two types of cinnamon I purchased for baking – and yes, I can taste a difference – were Vietnamese and Madagascar.  Now to use them before they become stale.

Today’s weather was dank and dark and a fitting day for some comfort food and smells. This recipe for Cinnamon Brown Sugar Bars seems to fit the need and will, I hope taste as wonderful as the aroma that now fills my kitchen. 

This recipe was collected from My Kitchen Craze and can be found here.  But don’t stop with this bar recipe; lots of delicious looking and sounding possibilities to explore.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 2/3 c all-purpose flour

Cinnamon Sugar Topping

  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer), cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, making sure to incorporate each one.
  3. Add vanilla and beat until smooth.
  4. Add baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour to a medium bowl, whisk to combine. Add the flour mixture to the mixer and stir until just combined.
  5. Pour bater into baking dish and spread evenly with a spatula.
  6. In a small bowl mix cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle evenly over the batter.
  7. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until bars are set in the middle and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely until cutting into bars.
  8. Eat by themselves (my choice) or with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy.

26 August 2017: Romesco Sauce

2017-Aug-26_FourNightsAWeek_1419Deborah Madison’s newest cookbook, In my kitchen is full of terrific vegetarian (and vegan) recipes. I’ve been a Deborah Madison cooking fan since Vegetarian cooking for everyone, and this book is, in my opinion, a great follow-up.

Sadly, I had never heard of Romesco sauce until this cookbook and a roasted cauliflower recipe calling for it.  As Deborah Madison explains in her notes, this sauce is versatile and can be used for everything from roasted potatoes and leeks to garlic rubbed toast.  In the years since Deborah first created this recipe, her preparations have changed from using fresh tomatoes and a mix of hazelnuts and almonds.  

 

Ingredients

  • 1 slice country-style white bread
  • Olive oil to fry the bread
  • Sea salt
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skins rubbed off as much as easily possible
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 tsp group red chile OR red pepper flakes
  • 1 TBSP tomato paste (or a bit more for tasting adjustment)
  • 1 TBSP chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp regular or smoked paprika
  • 2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded (could use jarred)*
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup best olive oil

Method

  1. Fry the bread in olive oil until golden and crisp. When cool, grind it with the hazelnuts and garlic in a food processor until fairly fine.
  2. Add the ground chile (red pepper flakes), tomato paste, parsley, paprika, and bell peppers, and process until smooth.
  3. With the machine running, gradually pour in the vinegar and then the olive oil.
  4. Taste and make sure the sauce has plenty of piquancy and enough salt. If you feel it needs a little more tomato paste, add it no more than a teaspoon at a time.
  • * Here’s where Amy is telling you not wuss out on the roasted red peppers because roasting them in an oven is a snap.  Here’s how:  Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment. Now clean and cut the peppers away from the stem and seeds (here’s a video from Serious Eats to show you how).  I usually wipe the insides and the skin side with olive oil. Cook skin sides down for 25 minutes. The outsides should have a nice char to it. Cool them and use. Way better than that vinegar-y bottled stuff that passes for roasted red peppers.

15 August 2017: Roasted Carrot and Cumin Dressing

2017-Aug-15_FourNightsAWeek_1387While I can make a decent vinaigrette and a passable tahini dressing, I haven’t strayed far from the standards as far as gussy-ing up salads.  This, it turns out, has been an error of omission.  We eat some form of salad nearly every night, so branching out to new tastes was long overdue.

This dressing comes from one of my new favorite cookbooks, Thug Kitchen.  And, as usual with the Thugs, it is simple, plant-based and is entertaining. It also is really quite tasty – who knew roasted carrots made such a great dressing?!

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium carrots
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar (also suggested: rice wine vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 TBSP orange juice
  • 2 TBSP olive oil

Method2017-Aug-15_FourNightsAWeek_1389

  1. Heat up your oven to 357 degrees F. Chop up your carrots into chunks no bigger than 1/2 inch. Toss them together with the oil, cumin, and salt. Roast them in a small pan, covered until the carrots are tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
  2. Let the carrots cool for a minute then add them to a food processor with the rest of your $***. Blend it until it’s smooth. This could take as long as 3 minutes.

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