Sunday, September 28, 2008

Spicy Turkey Corn Soup

INGREDIENTS (can easily be halved, as this makes a *very* large batch, suitable for freezing part or serving to around 8-10 guests):

1 pound raw turkey breast meat, OR 1 pound leftover turkey meat--either way, diced bite-size
2 oz. (1 link) hard Spanish-style chorizo, diced small
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
2 medium tomatoes, diced
3 ears fresh corn, shucked and cleaned
2 large yellow (Yukon gold is nice) potatoes, cubed
6 cups good chicken stock
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 heaping tsp. turmeric
2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp smoked Hungarian sweet paprika (can substitute regular paprika, totaling 3 tbsp.)
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. red pepper flake
1 tsp. chipotle pepper power
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tbsp sugar or agave syrup or honey
1 tbsp rice or white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Oskar Blue's Breweries' Dale's Pale Ale

1) Cut the ends off the fresh ears to provide a flat surface and stand them upright, shaving the kernels off. I get about 5 total knife strokes per ear.
2) Heat the oil and cook the diced chorizo until crisp and its fats are released, about 3 minutes.
3) Add onion, celery, and carrot, stirring until sweated, 4 minutes.
4) Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more.
5) Add tomatoes and all the dry spices and herbs, toasting for 2 minutes.
6) Stir into thickened sofrito and spice mixture the potatoes, red bell pepper, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil; then cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
7) When potatoes are nearly done, add corn and either raw or leftover turkey. (If using diced raw turkey, I suggest adding it with the corn because it will poach in the boiling liquid only briefly, not getting tough. If using leftover turkey, feel free to add it at the outset to enrich the stock.)
8) When corn and turkey are cooked and tender (about 4 minutes), turn off heat. Add sweetener of choice and vinegar, adjusting to taste and adding salt and pepper as needed.
9) Open Dale's Pale Ale.
10) Enjoy together.

I think Dale's Pale Ale is about the best drinking canned beer around. It's super hoppy; they add Centennial hops after boiling, so the nose is very herbal, and it tastes as much like an IPA as it does an American Pale Ale. Nice rich copper malts and a killer finish. All in all a great beer, and how rocking is it that it comes in a can?

Soup rocks Lyndsay's world. Soup is delicious. There's hardly anything she likes quite as much as eating soup. There will be many more soup offerings to come in this blog, she suspects. Tremble at the forbidden delights of bisque and chowder! Feel the might and the glory of soup.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thai Basil Beef with Chili Rice

Serves four--by the way, the ground beef can easily be replaced with ground pork.


1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed and cut bite-size
3 tbsp. nam pla or Thai fish sauce
3-4 tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1-2 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. to 1 tsp. (to taste) ground white pepper
1 bunch fresh Thai basil OR regular basil OR (despite the title of the recipe) mint works well, chopped rough

1 cup white rice
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tomato, diced
1 onion, diced
1 tbsp. naam prik pow or Thai chili paste
1 3/8 cups chicken stock
1/8 cup fish sauce (you should have 1 1/2 half cups liquid total, combined in a measuring cup)
1 small bunch fresh chives, minced
Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale

For Beef:
1) Mix the fish sauce, lime juice, and soy sauce in a bowl with the brown sugar. If you desire more sugar, add to taste. Set aside.
2) Heat oil and cook the onion until sweated, 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
3) Place ground beef in pan and saute over gentle heat 10-15 minutes, stirring and breaking constantly, until all the beef has cooked.
4) Drain any excess liquid.
5) Raise heat to med-high. Add the beans and the liquid and stir frequently, allowing the beans to cook until tender and bright green as the liquid absorbs into the beef.
6) When beans are done and liquid absorbed (more or less), turn off heat. Add the chopped fresh Thai basil and sprinkled white pepper, stirring both into the beef.

For Rice:
1) Heat oil and sweat onion, 2-3 minutes.
2) Add tomato. Cook until most of the liquid has been lost, about 5 minutes.
3) Add white rice and Thai chili paste to pot and stir (adding a little oil if necessary) until rice is opaque and coated with the other ingredients, 3-4 minutes.
4) Pour liquid into rice and stir, bringing to a boil.
5) Cover and cook for 15 minutes with the heat on very low.
6) Fluff before serving, incorporating the fresh chives.
7) Open Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale.
8) Enjoy together.

So Stone is doing ten years of beer, all to be tried in a vertical tasting on 12.12.12. They are all different and created to age. Sadly I've only been collecting since 06.06.06; so, I'll be missing the first four. This years was a delicious hoppy Belgian-style beer. The aromatics had some notes of strawberry with a light pine scent. On the palate you really get the floral and berries from the belgian yeast, but the citrusy hop flavors really cut through the banana. The florals and hop bite really balance out well against the strong Thai spices and the richness of the beef. The licoricy notes of the Thai basil accented the hops nicely.

I (Lynds here) want to point out a potentially deadly activity when cooking both the beef and the rice dishes, to be avoided with all your power as you would avoid a Tijuana street dog who seems to have just brushed his teeth and finds water disturbing.

--Generally salt your onions while they're sweating? Don't.
--Like to put a bit of salt in the beef as it cooks? Not this time.
--Feel tempted to salt the green beans as you add them? Eat a Lay's.
--Often salt your rice before popping the lid on? DROP IT. Put the little girl with the umbrella down. Nice and slow-like. That's it.

See, we're dealing with fish sauce here. We're actually dealing with quite a bit of fish sauce, and whenever that happens, oversalting is as easy as breathing. So just don't touch the salt until the end, when you taste both. If they need salt, knock yourself out. Or amp the soy sauce a notch, which is also nice. Thai cooking is very heavily influenced by the Chinese.

Jerry and Gail were here when we made this dish! Huzzah! We had a great time wandering through NYC steadily eating and drinking things, which is what generally happens when we have guests in town. Gail has two new dresses, a closet of shoes, and Jerry found an Italian suit for $45. I tell you, it's worth the price of a plane ticket for the shopping out here. Look at them. They dressed up all pretty for the 50th Street subway station. (It was for a Broadway play with my friend Mackenzie in it, actually, A Tale of Two Cities, but they look much more industrial-couture urban-decay chic in the subway. All formal wear looks better in the subway.) Anyway, we had a great time. I don't know when Gabe missed his parents more profoundly: when they left, or when he went to take a picture of the twice-baked potatoes without Jerry's new camera and SLR lens.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Broccoli-Cheddar Twice Baked Potatoes

(The parenthetical amounts are completely guessed at. The written amounts are how we actually cook, throwing in whatever's in the fridge and the cupboards. But Lyndsay thought people wouldn't make this without measurements. So I put some in there just for you anal careful folk. Remember, have fun with cooking.)

Two medium sized russets
A handful of sharp white cheddar, grated (1 cup)
A similar amount of diced broccoli (1 cup)
A decent splash of milk (2 tbsp.)
Mustard powder to taste (1/2 -1 tbsp.)
Some chopped chives (2 tbsp.)
Two pinches of cayenne
A tiny splash of apple cider vinegar (1/2 tsp.)
A little extra-virgin olive oil (1 tsp.)
A sprinkling of paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Red Hook ESB

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2) Wash, poke several holes, then oil potatoes. Put in oven on foil lined baking sheet until cooked, about 45 minutes-1 hour. A fork will pierce them easily when done.
3) While potatoes are cooking, steam broccoli 1-2 minutes, remove, rinse in cold water, and squeeze out extra liquid. Finely dice.
4) Remove potatoes from oven, let cool enough to handle, then cut off the top 1/4. Scoop out the insides except for a 1/4 inch shell all around.
5) Put shells back in oven to crisp while mixing the stuffing. (No more than 15 minutes.)
6) Mash potatoes (dice the skin if you'd like to include it), then combine with the remaining ingredients. Remove shells from oven and stuff. Return to oven for 20 minutes, turning oven up to 450 during the last five to brown if necessary.
7) Top with more chives and paprika if desired.
8) Open Red Hook ESB.
9) Enjoy together.

Red Hook ESB is not amazing, but it is a nice, solid session beer. It has good caramel malts and finishes with just a hint of the hops near the back of the palate. We thought the subtle sweetness would match well with the simplicity of a baked potato. Also, Red Hook ESB and Long Hammer IPA are only $6.99 a sixer at the grocery right below our apartment, that never hurts.
That's one of the few good things about our grocery store. They must be compensating for the inedible meat products.

This post is dedicated to our good friend Lish, who requested more veg options. Nice one, Lish. We enjoyed it. Requests rock, and we're not sad there isn't any meat in this latest invention. (It would taste even better with BACON. Shhhh.) But nice one, Lish. Good on ya.

This recipe would be great for a lunch, or a nice light dinner with a side salad. Feeds two.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Simple Paella


2 tbsp. olive oil
3-4 oz. (2 links) Spanish-style hard chorizo, halved and sliced
8 oz. cleaned raw shrimp, thawed or fresh
2 onions, chopped
8 cloves garlic, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 red bell peppers: one chopped, one minced
1 14.5 oz diced tomatoes (Muir Glen is best), minced, liquid reserved separately
1 cup chicken stock
8 oz. frozen (or fresh!) green peas
1 cup long-grain white or basmati rice
8-10 strands of saffron
3 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
Legacy Midnight Wit

1) You should have about 3/4 cup tomato liquid from the can; place this in a large liquid measuring cup. Add chicken stock (about 1 cup) until your total liquid comes to 1 3/4 cups. Set aside.
2) In a wide skillet, heat oil and saute chorizo until the edges crisp and the oil is colored with chorizo spices.
3) Add garlic, and saute 1 minute.
4) Add celery, onion, and minced red pepper, stirring until softened, about 4 minutes.
5) Add diced tomatoes, saffron, cayenne, paprika, thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
6) Add rice to skillet and stir constantly 3-4 minutes, to season rice and brown it in oil before the liquid is added.
7) Add the combined tomato juice and chicken stock. Add chopped bell pepper and bring the mixture to a boil, scraping any bits off the bottom.
8) Cover and reduce heat to low, cooking for 15 minutes.
9) Uncover and add peas and shrimp to the cooked rice. Stir to incorporate, re-cover, and leave at low heat for 2-3 minutes, just until the shrimp have turned pink and the peas are tender.
10) Open Midnight Wit.
11) Enjoy together.

Drinking one now, just to remember right....
Lyndsay says foamy. And also, soap (a common [but not {necessarily} bad] ailment of the wit bier style)... lemon... bready... dried coriander... unripe apple. The citric notes cut very effectively through the richness of the chorizo, and the floral yeastiness complements the saffron, garlic and shrimp. Mmmmm.

P.S. Lyndsay
(with serious reservations and spelling adendums) wants to make it clear that Gabe wrote this section.

I love America. I love America so much that I will stand flat-footed in front of you and say that Portland, Oregon is the Vice Beer Chancellor to Brussels, Belgium's Commander-in-Brew (and yes, we have been to both Belgium and Germany, and Germany gets Secretary of Heady and Pleasant Frosted Steins as Lofted by the Barrel-Shaped.) So when Gabe and I went to Barcelona, Spain, I expected to enjoy myself. I did not quite expect it would ruin me on everywhere else. Here's an example of a typical day in Barcelona:

11:00 am: Waken. Wonder whether to have Spanish or Catalan food for lunch.
1:00 pm: Have Spanish or Catalan food for lunch.
2:00 pm: Remove the champagne flutes Gabe purchased on the second day from his bag, and taste a new variety of cava (methode champagnoise Spanish sparkling). Drink outdoors. Laugh that no one can stop you. Laugh along with the locals who are laughing at you for drinking out of a glass champagne flute outdoors because no one can stop you.
3:00pm-7:00 pm: Stare at Gaudi exhibits and Modernista art.
9:00pm: Decide whether to eat Spanish or Calatan food for dinner.
& etc., etc., etc.

So the point has been made, and Spanish food is just bloody excellent, and making it (especially in this way simplified yet very tasty fashion) makes me want to go back to Spain. Except...then where would I find delicious beer?

Spanish beer: NOT OK. Some palatable lagers, but how good can it be when half the time you're mixing it with lemon tonic water?

Suffice it to say that the pairing of non-Spanish beer with Spanish food shouldn't daunt us. And if you get a chance, go to Barcelona. And then stay there.

Baked Shells Stuffed with Spinach and Goat Cheese


6 oz. (about 1/2 a box or 20 shells) jumbo pasta shells, cooked al dente

2 tbsp. olive oil
14 oz. goat cheese
1/2 cup toasted dry breadcrumbs
2 eggs
3 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz. fresh spinach, stems removed and finely chopped
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 walnuts, toasted and minced
Salt and pepper

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Heat the olive oil and cook garlic until it releases its aroma, about 1 minute.
3) Add spinach and saute, removing from heat when spinach is wilted and bright green, approx. 2 minutes more.
4) Stir hot spinach and garlic into goat cheese in a medium bowl--the spinach should melt the cheese enough to soften.
5) Incorporate remaining ingredients, season to taste, and set aside.

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 16 oz. can tomato sauce (for both of these, I prefer Muir Glen brand)
8 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp. red pepper flake (more if desired)
1/4 cup vodka
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup whole milk
Handful fresh basil, torn
Salt and pepper
Boulder Beer Company Cold Hop

1) Saute garlic in the heated oil until slightly browned, about 2 minutes.
2) Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, pepper flake, sugar, and vodka.
3) Simmer the sauce while stuffing the cooked shells with the pasta filling, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
4) Add milk to sauce. With a hand or standing blender, puree about half the sauce and return it to the pot.
5) Season to taste (the salt will balance the sugar), and add basil off heat.
6) Line a casserole, jelly roll pan, or baking dish with the stuffed shells. They should nestle closely. Cover with the vodka sauce.
7) Tent with tinfoil and bake for 20 minutes.
8) Open Cold Hop.
9) Enjoy together.

Beers coming out of Colorado, long a bastion of the microbrew community, can tend toward the daring or the mainstream at will. This one happens to lean in the latter direction, but it's still a good beer--the combination of English-style malts and cold hops isn't nearly as daring as it might sound, but it does taste very mellow and refreshing on the palate. Not a lot of bitter hops, but the floral quality melds very nicely with the golden, full flavor profile of British malts. It's clean, it's high gravity, it's not something you necessarily want to serve with a pasta this rich, but in the end we liked the simplicity of the well-balanced brew (even though it finished rather swiftly) with the acidity and savory cream of the pasta.

Moments of great alarm abounded for me during this seemingly calm Italian comfort food recipe, which I--Lyndsay--really did write myself. I was super proud that I came up with it, and then the shadows fell over the darkening world. Moments of quiet, stationary (we only have a one-bedroom apartment) panic ensued. Terrifying, soul-searching, agonizing moments like:

What if the cooked pasta sticks together?
Answer: toss it in a little olive oil, or EVOO as that Food Network gnome puts it.

What if there isn't enough stuffing for the shells??
Answer: throw some shells away. And calm DOWN. Really, what do individual shells cost? 10 cents?

What if I die from salmonella after tasting the stuffing to see if it's well seasoned???!?
Answer: how many times have you tasted raw cookie dough, you smacktarded dumbass? Also, if one were more intelligent than I am, one could taste the pre-egg confab and get a pretty damn close guess.

I hope this little Q&A settled any fears or doubts you may have about this recipe, which is really very satisfying and could serve four with a side salad, as written.