As I mentioned in a previous post, I was lucky enough to be gifted some different kinds of meats, including donkey shank. I decided to braise it and make tacos. It was my first donkey, and I am definitely a fan.
Heat some oil in a large pot and brown the shank on all sides. Add in a couple of carrots, celery and an onion chopped rough, a head of garlic sliced in half, a few bay leaves, and a half teaspoon each of coriander seeds, fennel seeds, oregano, and chili flakes. Cover the shank with water and add 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar.
Bring to a simmer, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. Add 2 tablespoons salt. Cover the pot and place in a 275 F oven for 4-5 hours until the meat is falling off of the bone and the tendons are tender. Roughly chop the meat and finely chop the tendons.
Strain the aromatics out of the broth and reduce the broth to a thick gravy. Mix the chopped meat back in and adjust the seasoning as needed. This would be great with some gnocchi or mashed potatoes – and it was amazing in the tacos!
One of my favorite Szechuan dishes is a spicy stew of fermented mustard greens and fish. I have tried to recreate it at home using homemade sauerkraut and chilis, and it was good – but not the same.
Fresh local mustard greens inspired me to ferment my own, and I can’t wait to eventually try making the stew again (in maybe a month? I like my greens real sour).
- 3 quarts water
- 3/4 cup kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 3-4 star anise pods
- 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled, sliced thin
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- 4 bird chilis or other hot chili to taste
- 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
- 1.5 lbs fresh mustard greens, well washed (lots of grit!)
Boil all ingredients except mustard greens and cool brine back to room temperature. Pack glass canning jars with greens and fill with brine to cover greens. Evenly distribute the aromatics among the jars. Make sure all greens are below the brine level and set in a dark place to ferment for at least a week. Loosen the jar lid periodically to let gas escape. You can place in the fridge and let slow ferment for months- just be sure to keep releasing the pressure.
What a foodie week I’ve had! I was lucky enough to be gifted some hunted and farmed meats from a friend of a friend and now I’m cooking with venison, game hens and … donkey! (that’s for another post though) Today, I made lunch for my mom, including roasted game hens glazed in a pineapple-gochujang bbq sauce.
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can pineapple chunks (yes I used canned)
- 2 tablespoons gochujang (often contains wheat, so if you are gluten-free, look for specific brands that don’t contain wheat)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
Saute the onion and garlic in a couple tablespoons of oil until starting to brown. Add the pineapple with its juices, and the remaining ingredients, simmering until thick and glossy. Adjust seasoning adding more sugar, vinegar, or salt as needed. Puree until slightly chunky in a blender or using an immersion blender.
For the hens, I spatchcocked them and seasoned with salt and sugar, letting the skins dry out overnight in the fridge.
I rubbed skins with butter and roasted at 450 F for 20 minutes, lowered the temp to 350 F for 20 minutes more and then glazed with bbq sauce, placing them under the broiler for a final 5 minutes. I added green beans to the pan for the last 15 minutes of cooking to make use of all the yummy juices.
I didn’t take the time to figure out how to make this meal look appealing, but I promise that, in person, the smell and taste more than made up for it. That said, I figured I should just call it like it is and name the dish ugly-delicious.
Szechuan-inspired cod with sauerkraut
- 3 tablespoons peanut oil (or other light-tasting oil)
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 ribs celery, thinly sliced
- 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 cup sauerkraut
- 2 tablespoons fermented black beans
- 1-3 tablespoons chili paste or fresh chopped jalapenos or serranos
- 1 tablespoon ground Szechuan peppercorns
- 1 lb cod, cut into large chunks
Sautee the onion, celery and garlic in the oil over medium-high until they begin to brown. Add the sauerkraut, beans, chili and peppercorns and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning by adding more salt, heat or sour (by adding sauerkraut juice or vinegar). Add the fish and cook until just opaque, turning very gently so as to not break up the filet.
I served the fish with basmati rice cooked with amaranth and some shredded greens.
I have been craving sour things lately – the aforementioned kombucha, fish with sauerkraut and fermented black beans, and this bright and crunchy tabouli. I make it gluten free using amaranth (a seed) in place of the bulgur (which is cracked wheat and thus has gluten). I happen to love the texture of amaranth anyways, but it also packs a serious nutrition punch. You can use the bulgur if you are not wheat sensitive, or try another grain or seed like quinoa, brown rice, or millet.
Tabouli with amaranth
- 1 clove garlic, minced fine
- 1 cup cooked and cooled amaranth (cook according to package directions – be sure to add salt to the cooking liquid)
- 1 bunch curly parsley, de-stemmed and chopped fine
- 3-4 green onions, sliced thin
- 1/2 cup mint leaves, chopped fine
- 3 tomatoes, diced
- 1 large cucumber, diced
- juice of 2-3 lemons
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Mix everything up to the cucumbers in a large bowl to combine and then begin adding your seasonings to taste. I like it pretty sour, so I use all of the lemon juice, but start with half and add more to taste. Same with the olive oil, salt and pepper. You may need to re-season with salt once the veggies have lost some of their water. Garnish with chive blossoms if you are lucky enough to have some around!
This dish confirmed to me that I will put toasted nuts on everything I am allowed to put toasted nuts on. These peanuts were for another dish, but I put them on this one anyways. I didn’t regret it.
This dish is a riff on the put rice/grains in a bowl and top it with whatever you have on hand, plus a yummy sauce = dinner. This one starts with white rice and is topped with fresh spinach, carrots, green onions, roasted chicken thighs and a cilantro-lime dressing. And of course the peanuts. I would also accept toasted cashews or sesame seeds as an answer.
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1 bunch green onions
- juice of 3 limes
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 1/2 cup greek yogurt
- pinch of oregano
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
Blend everything until it is smooth. Adjust the seasoning as desired. Put on EVERYTHING.
I have joined team kombucha. After drinking switchels for years, kombucha was easy to love – lightly fizzy, sweet and sour, interesting flavors, refreshing. As someone who doesn’t drink much alcohol, it has also been a welcome option for happy hours and potlucks. My main problem has been the price of it. At $3-$5 per 12-ounce bottle, it is often more expensive than beer.
Problem solved. My friend O gave me a “scoby” (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) and some simple instructions (use black tea, plain sugar, keep it out of the light) and off I went. This is my third gallon batch, cherry-ginger flavor this time. I won’t go into instructions here, because there are so many blogs that dedicate themselves just to home-brew kombucha, but I will encourage you to give it a try. It isn’t hard at all (mostly waiting) and the flavor combinations are endless!
I love kimchi pancakes in all their forms: mung flour based, rice flour based, regular wheat flour based (although I just found out that my body has decided not to be friends with gluten anymore). These were made with regular flour, eggs, chopped kimchi, chopped green onions and kimchi “juice.”
For this post, I’d like to focus on the salad – a kimchi style romaine with shaved radishes. The dressing is the exciting part, and I love the tang, spice and salt.
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon grated peeled ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse Korean hot red-pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 2 tablespoons black vinegar or rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
Combine these ingredients and toss with the chopped romaine and shaved radishes. This salad actually tastes even better as it marinates and wilts a bit.
This stew is inspired by some of my favorite breakfasts while in Goa. I didn’t follow a recipe, but I’ll try to capture how I ended up with the step. The crepes are an easy recipe that I’ll include below. I think they’d also be delicious with some butter and honey drizzled for breakfast or dessert!
Saute a chopped onion, 3 carrots, a tablespoon each of grated ginger and turmeric and 5 cloves of garlic until golden brown. Add a teaspoon each of black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and your favorite curry powder or masala. Add one bunch of chopped kale, 1/2 lb of split red lentils and enough veggie broth to cover everything. Let this simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt to taste. Once the lentils are soft, use an immersion blender to puree about half the soup and stir together until you get a consistency that you like. I prefer leaving in some of the chunks, but you might prefer a smoother soup. Adjust the spice levels to taste and add lemon juice for some brightness.
Coconut Rice Crepes
- 1 cup rice
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Soak one cup of white rice (I used a mixture of basmati and sushi rice) in water overnight. Drain and place in a blender with 1/2 cup of fresh water and 1/2 cup coconut milk. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and blend until completely smooth. The batter will be very runny, maybe the thickness of cream? That is how it should be, don’t worry!
Heat a nonstick pan on high with some oil until just smoking. Add about 1/2 cup of batter to the pan and tilt to coat the pan thinly. Cook until light brown and then flip and cook until light brown on the other side.
Serve the stew with a garnish of chopped cilantro and a few rice crepes for dipping.
Easy dinner –
Step 1: Put a shallow pan of water on to simmer (for the eggs). Add a dash of vinegar and salt.
Step 2: Wash, stem and roughly chop one bunch of kale. Massage in a bowl with the juice of a lemon, salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
Step 3: Melt lots of butter in a big pan. Toast bread in the melted butter until golden on both sides.
Step 5: Crack eggs into a heatproof saucer and slip into the simmering water, one at a time. Poach for about 5 minutes for a medium-soft yolk.
Step 6: Stack the salad in a large bowl with toast on the bottom, topped with kale salad, crumbled feta and a poached egg. Season with salt and pepper.