You Gonna Eat All That?

A fork in one hand, a pen in the other.

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Location: Virginia, United States

(Biscuit Girl)

Sunday, September 30, 2007


Busy, busy two weeks at work which explains my lack of posting here. But I did manage to make a few good dishes and remembered to photograph them. Here’s one I did last weekend. I was perusing some recipes for stew cut pork and found one for Vindaloo. I’ve never had it with pork before but it looked interesting so I printed it out then realized I needed several spices. I planned to pick them up while we went out for groceries later that day.

A quick lunch at Rabeing was followed by a trip to a middle eastern market two stores down. They had some of the spices I needed but only sold them in large quantities. That’s when Jim mentioned that there was a new Penzey’s in Falls Church. Huh?.....really…….a Penzey’s!

We were already close to the area but didn’t have a street address for it. Rats. But wait! I whipped out my cell phone and called my brother. He’s a computer geek so odds were good that he would be at his computer when I called. Turns out, no, but he was close by and hopped online and looked up the address for me. Cha-Ching! We were on our way to Penzey’s! I had that look in my eye that makes Jim and his wallet nervous.

I showed a ton of restraint and bought only a few things and made a mental list of what to shop for next time……and there will be a next time. While the store wasn’t as big as I had thought it would be, it did have a nice variety of spices and they were available in various sizes.

So shopping list for Vindaloo complete, we headed home and I got my ass in the kitchen and cooked up a scrumptious dinner. The only thing I would do different next time is to grind the spices up a little finer. It was a lot milder than vindaloo’s we’ve had in restaurants but the flavor was right and the lack of heat can easily be fixed by adding more chilies.

Goan Style Pork Vindaloo – serves 4

You can add more heat to this dish as you like.

2 tsp whole cumin seed
2 -3 dried red chilies
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp cardamon seed*
1 (3”) stick of cinnamon
1½ tsp whole black mustard seed
1 teaspoon fenugreek seed
5 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or coarse salt
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 med. onions, peeled and finely sliced
1 cup water
1 lb pork, trimmed & cut into 1” cubes
1 (1-inch) cube ginger, peeled, finely minced
1 small head of garlic, peeled, separated
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
Cooked Basmati or long grain white rice

1. Grind cumin seeds, red chilies, peppercorns, cardamon seeds, cinnamon, black mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds in a coffee mill or spice mill. Put the ground spices in a small bowl. Add the vinegar, salt and brown sugar. Set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a wide pot over medium heat. Put the onions in and fry, stirring frequently, until the onions turn brown and crisp. (Be careful not to over-brown or it will have a burned taste.) Remove onions with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

3. Place cooked onions into an electric blender or food processor. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of water and puree the onions. Add this puree to the ground spice mixture in the bowl. (This is the Vindaloo paste.)

4. Rinse blender or processor and add the ginger, garlic and 2 to 3 tablespoons water and blend until you have a smooth paste.

5. Preheat the oil remaining in the pot that you cooked the onions in, over medium-high heat. Cook the pork cubes a few at a time, browning lightly on all sides. Remove each batch with a slotted spoon and keep in a bowl. Repeat until all the pork as been browned.

6. Now add the ginger-garlic paste into the same pot. Reduce to medium heat. Stir the paste for a few seconds. Add the coriander and turmeric. Stir for another few seconds. Add the pork cubes and any juice that has accumulated in the bowl, the vindaloo paste and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer gently for 1 hour or until pork is tender. Stir occasionally.

7. Serve over cooked Basmati or long grain white rice.

*Take the seeds out of pods if you cannot buy them loose.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Peach Upsidedown Cake - revisited

Way back in the early days of my blog, I made a wonderful peach upsidedown cake. Two years later I find myself lusting over another batch of farm fresh peaches. Several recipes looked interesting but it was the same cake from July 2005 that spoke to me. This time I halved the peaches whereas last time I sliced them. Both ways work well and are equally delicious.

Peach Upside Down Cake
¼ cup butter

½ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
5 fresh peaches - peeled, pitted and halved
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup white sugar
1 egg
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk

Melt ¼ cup butter or margarine in an 8 inch square pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar and nutmeg. Arrange peach halves, cut side down, in pan.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Spread batter over peaches.

Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 35 to 40 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Remove cake from oven, and let stand in pan for 5 minutes; invert onto serving platter. Serve with whipped cream.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Nice Buns!

Anytime I need to relax, I bake. And last weekend after another stressful week at work I found myself looking through my recipes for something to bake. My choice: Hamburger Buns. I took this recipe from fellow blogger Joe from Culinary in the Country.

They are super easy to make and took less than three hours from start to finish. Tonight we're having them with some veal florentine burgers. Last night Jim had one with some left over pork stew he made (which was delish but we forgot to get pictures).

These are the plain buns:

These are the seeded ones:And lastly, here is the recipe:
Hamburger Buns

1 cup milk
1 cup water
2 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
5 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
Egg wash( 1 large egg yolk + 1 tablespoon water)

In a small saucepan, add milk, 1 cup water, sugar, butter and salt. Heat over low just until the butter melts - cool to lukewarm.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 3 cups flour with the yeast.

Pour the milk mixture into a large mixing bowl. Mix in the flour/yeast mixture, 1 cup at a time, until all 3 cups are in, and beating until smooth. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to make stiff dough.

Scoop the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8-10 minutes), adding enough of the remaining flour to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands. Move dough into a large bowl lightly coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 60 minutes.

Uncover and punch down the dough. Evenly divide into 12-16 pieces, depending on how large you want the buns to be. Form each piece into a tight ball and place about 2" apart on a parchment lined baking sheet - you may need to use 2 sheets depending on the size. Slightly flatten each ball. Cover and let rise until doubled - another 30 to 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400. In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolk and water. Gently brush egg wash over each bun.

Bake about 20-25 minutes, until golden and they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

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Monday, September 03, 2007

Salmon in Tennessee

By Biscuit Boy, edited by Biscuit Brother:

(Red Bank, TN)

First of all, happy Labor Day to all workers who are members of unions, workers who have protections bought by union labor (40 hour work week, overtime, etc.), and those who will hopefully have those protections one day.

I have been vacationing at the Biscuit Pere's compound in Red Bank, TN (Motto: "The best suburb entirely enclosed by Chattanooga city limits."). After days of beer, hospitality, and wonderful food from restaurants we don't get in Alexandria, I felt the need to: 1. Sleep In (Bass fishing yesterday was hard, and I only caught one.)...

and 2. Fix fish for dinner. First, we went over to Fresh Market for the piece de resistance. I found some wild King Salmon from Alaska that would be the main course. That and some Swiss chard (and some cocoa nib chocolate for me to bring back to Biscuit Girl) came home with us.

I debated how to prepare the salmon. I originally thought about sesame-crusted since my mother loves sesame seeds, and doesn't use the large jars we've brought back. But then I thought about the rosemary bush. I don't get fresh home-grown herbs often in Alexandria; so, I decided to search it out to make skewers for chunks of salmon. I first went over by the service stairs, only to find that the servants had planted tarragon over by the stairs.

Where was the rosemary? I went to the other side of the manor, finding tomatoes (TOMATOES!) apparently planted by the servants as well.

I finally found the rosemary bush, approximately the size of a grocery cart, at the corner of the house.

I cut off about 10 sturdy skewers of rosemary, and brought them back up to the kitchen. We removed the skin from the salmon, chunked it up into one inch cubes or folded pieces, and stuck it onto the rosemary. For the marinade, I used the zest of one lemon, one lemon's juice, about a half cup of oil, a half cup of Cuervo Tradicional tequila, a generous teaspoon of minced garlic, and a pinch of salt. The salmon sat in that around an hour.

In the meantime, I sauteed 5 sliced garlic cloves and the stems of swiss chard, then removed the garlic. I also put some quartered little white potatoes in the oven to roast. After they had roasted for 30 minutes or so, I put the skewers of salmon onto a hot grill, and turned them every 2 or 3 minutes. After about 7 or 8 minutes, I took them up and they were perfectly done, not overcooked, just a little pink in the middle.

We reheated the pan with the chard stems, and threw in the leaves and wilted them with the sliced garlic thrown back in. The potatoes were ready as well.

We paired this with a Spanish Verdeho wine. Dinner met with silence. Nobody was talking because they were busy eating. My younger brother finally thanked me. You know hard hard that is to get.*

Now my mother has gone out to see if there are any runners off of the rosemary bush to send home with me. I hope that rosemary runners in dirt are not a contraband substance according to the TSA, at least not in checked baggage. I know both my dog Sophie and my parent's dog Java don't like the smell of it. I hope the drug dogs don't either.

*(Editor's Note: Balls to you, Biscuit Brother.)