Honor the Source; Venison and Potato Salad

Venison Potato SaladThe second left-over meal descending from Kenn’s gift of a venison loin (Honor the Source was the original and Thai Venison Salad the first left-over) is adapted from the Silver Palette cookbook. The original was made with beef tenderloin or rib-eye and an aggressively garlicky dressing.  Although I haven’t tried it with anything other than beef, I think this simple, hearty salad would work with almost any left-over, lean, grilled meat or poultry.

Ingredients, minus the peppers, mustard, vinegar and olive oil I forgot to put in the set up

Venison Potato Salad with garlicky vinaigrette dressing

6 oz (more or less to taste) grilled venison
4 medium potatoes, cooked and sliced
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup red, yellow or green bell pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
2-3 cloves garlic, mashed
1 tsp. dry mustard (or 1 tsp. Dijon style mustard) – optional
1 Tbs. sherry vinegar (or substitute malt vinegar)
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce (I use Col. Pabst All Malt Amber-Lager Worcestershire)
2 Tbs. top quality Extra-virgin Olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

In a large mixing bowl, combine the meat, potatoes, peppers and onion.  Toss gently to mix.

Gently mix meat, potatoes and onions

In a small bowl, mix the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, garlic, mustard (if using), salt and pepper.  Dress the meat and potatoes and toss gently to coat

Dress the salad and gently mix

A hearty simple salad for two.

Venison Potato Salad with garlicky vinaigrette dressing

 

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Honor the Source; Thai Venison Salad

Thai Venison SaladIn the original Honor the Source I pan grilled some medallions of venison loin I was gifted from my friend Kenn. And there were leftovers – on purpose. Today I’ll revisit the leftovers as Thai Venison Salad.

Thai Beef Salad is a staple of most Thai restaurants I have been in.  This is my version adapted from a cookbook called Thai Cooking Class, where it is called Yam Nua.  When  making this with beef I usually use a small piece of tenderloin but any good cut of beef would work.  I have also had versions of this in restaurants made with duck breast.  Today, due to my good planning I have two medallions of venison loin already cooked and ready to go.  If you were making this from scratch with beef or some other meat, pan grill the meat to medium rare then set aside to cool before proceeding with the salad.

Ingredients for Thai Venison Salad

Thai (style) Venison Salad

6 oz. (2 medallions)Venison loin, cooked medium rare
2 Tb. water
1 Tbs. fresh lime or lemon juice
1 Tbs. Fish Sauce (I use Red Boat 40˚N but Three Crabs is good too)
1 medium cucumber (or 2 of the small hot-house type), thinly sliced
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 medium tomato, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 fresh chili, seeds and veins removed, finely diced (or substitute 1/2 tsp. dried chili flakes)
2 Tbs. fresh cilantro leaf
2 Tbs. fresh basil leaf, torn into rough pieces
2 Tbs. (or more) fresh mint leaves (spearmint preferred)

Slice the venison across the grain into bit-sized pieces

Thinly slice the venison.

Mix the water, lime or lemon juice and fish sauce in a small bowl.

Toss, toss, toss, gently

In a large bowl mix the venison and all the remaining ingredients until everything is well distributed.  Add the dressing and toss until well coated.

Thai Venison Salad with rice, on the side, and a couple of pot stickers

Serve over lettuce leaves or rice.  Makes a light but satisfying summer salad.  Serves 2.

March 3rd – 3.14 – Pi Day

Yesterday was Pi Day. If you have no knowledge of math this may make no sense. But Pi or π is a mathematical constant. Originally defined as the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, it appears in many formulas in all areas of mathematics and physics. Pi is 3.14159265359 or briefly 3.14. Get it?

But how to celebrate Pi Day, well of course, with Pie!

At the beginning of the week I informed my Sweetie ( the head chef in our house) that I wanted to make dinner on Wednesday.

“Okay,” he said. “What are you making?” “Never you mind,” I said.
“Do you need anything from the store?” He said. “No.” I said. “It’s a surprise and that would just give it away.”
“Does it have something to do with St. Patrick’s Day? Or, with the Ides of March? Sure, that’s it, something Roman, Italian.”  “No, no, and NO,” I said. “Just relax.”

Luckily he hadn’t thought of Pi Day. But geez, what a third degree. He really gets weirded out when I want to take over the (his) kitchen. Anyway I was making PIE. Chicken Pot Pie to be exact. And fruit pie for dessert. My pot pie was pretty basic except instead of pie crust I was using puff pastry which I think turned out way better. Here’s the recipe. I found it on the internet but did a few change-ups so this now my recipe.

Chicken Pot Pie with Puff Pastry
serves 4

1 sheet of puff pastry ( I used Pepperidge Farm)
1 Tbls olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, cut into bite sized chunks.
1 cup diced celery
1 large potato, diced or just largish chunks
1 tsp fresh Thyme
2 cups chicken broth
4 Tbls butter
4 Tbls flour
3/4 lb cooked chicken, cut into 1 inch pieces
salt and freshly grd pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Butter your casserole dishes. I used two 5×7 pyrex dishes. Make sure your puff pastry is thawed enough to unfold. It should still be cold.
3. Heat olive oil in medium saucepan and add the onion, cook and stir 2-3 minutes until softened. Add carrots, celery, potato (if raw), and 1 cup broth. Add thyme. Bring to boil and then reduce heat and simmer till vegetables are nearly tender. ( I think green beans, mushrooms, or peas would work well too).

My potato was cooked so I added it later.

4. Meanwhile heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter and once melted, add the flour all at once. Whisk until combined. Then add in the other cup of broth and whisk till smooth. Cook and stir till the mixture thickens.
5. By now your vegetables should be tender so pour the sauce in with the vegetables and stir. Season with salt and pepper. If sauce doesn’t seem thick enough cook for a while longer, continuing to stir. At this point I added in my pre-boiled potato and my pre-cooked chicken. Stir to combine.
6. Pour the mixture into your prepared baking dishes ( four 1 1/2 C dishes or in my case, two 3 C dishes).

7. Cut your puff pastry sheet to fit. A pizza cutter works really well. And you can piece your pastry if it won’t fit your pans exactly.  At this point folks, my Sweetie certainly knew what was happening and of course, couldn’t help but insert himself into the kitchen. The ruler and the pizza cutter were his ideas so I didn’t complain…too much.

8. Top each dish with puff pastry. Note the extra piece on the right dish. It is just lying on top, no wetting the pastry underneath to make it stick.

9. Put the dishes on a cookie sheet to catch spills. Transfer to oven and bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until pastry is puffy and golden brown. Once done. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

It turned out really good and we had one whole dish leftover for the next day. Also if you have any scraps of pastry left once you cover your dishes, bake them too. My Sweetie tied one strip in a knot and the other piece he sprinkled with coconut sugar. They baked for the same time.

pastry scraps

And for dessert…store bought fruit half pies. Choice of blackberry or strawberry rhubarb. I went with the strawberry rhubarb, had the blackberry for breakfast.

Happy Pi(e) Day!

Plan in Place, Dinner Party in Action

Dessert cakes were done the day before. Morning of dinner, butterscotch sauce was made. Corn soup with Indian spices finished before noon. Brioche pudding in oven.

By 1:00 PM we had a strong start on what would be five courses. Guests were due in five hours.

I am sorry to say actual pictures will be few since we got so caught up in cooking and greeting and serving that the camera was forgotten. So I will use some pictures from the cookbooks. Our food looked exactly the same (smile).

The appetizers are pretty self-explanatory. Suffice to say once we decided on the Chicken Livers with Sherry Glaze we found a ton of recipes on the web. It was more common than we thought. So just Google it. Once guests arrived we quick grilled them and the Pears and Prosciutto.

Dinner began with Corn Soup w/ Indian Spices from David Tanis Market Cooking. The spices included garlic, ginger, turmeric, cumin, black mustard seed and cayenne. It had a wonderful tang over the creamy corn flavor. It may be the first time we’ve done a soup puree but it turned out quite nice. A tablespoon of whole milk yogurt and some chives topped it off. The yogurt in the photo seems to have cayenne in it.

photo from David Tanis Market Cooking

The Fennel, Radish and Mushroom Salad was from the same book. The lemon/olive oil dressing had been made ahead and the vegetables were all cut so it was any easy job to combine, plate and serve. We used watermelon radishes which looked so nice with the pale fennel and mushrooms.The main course was from Yotam Ottolenghi’s book Nopi. The original recipe was Chicken Supremes with Roasted Garlic and Tarragon Brioche Pudding. We substituted duck breast. Because the brioche pudding is so different from anything we have made before I am including the recipe here. If our guests read this I think the ingredients may surprise them. It is very rich.

Tarragon Brioche Pudding

2 heads garlic
1/4 C olive oil
4 eggs
1 1/4 C heavy cream
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp grd cinnamon
1/2 oz. finely chopped fresh tarragon
2 tsp unsalted butter, melted
14 oz. crustless brioche loaf, trimmed and cut into slices
Sea salt and Black pepper

Cut off the tops of the garlic cloves, place on a square of foil. Drizzle w/ 2 Tbls olive oil, sprinkle w/ salt, wrap up the bundle and roast for 35 minutes. Once done and cool to the touch, squeeze out the insides of the garlic and crush to a fine paste.

Place the eggs in a bowl and whisk. Add cream, nutmeg, cinnamon and tarragon with 1 tsp salt and a grind of pepper. Put aside.

Lightly grease a 9″ x 4″ loaf plan with butter and line with parchment paper. Brush a bit more butter on the paper then layer the bottom with brioche bread. Spread half of the garlic puree on top and pour over a third of the cream mixture. Another layer of bread, pushed down so it gets soaked in the cream. Then spread the rest of the garlic, pour another third of the cream and top with the last layer of bread. Finish with the remainder of the cream. Lightly press down and set aside for 30 minutes.

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes at 425 degrees. Should be brown on top and a knife inserted should come out clean. Once it is cooled and removed from pan it looks like this.Cut off the end edges and slice into six pieces. Just before serving, fry the slices in a bit of olive oil over a medium heat. Here is what it looks like when served with the duck and the peas & tarragon au jus.

Brioche Pudding: photo from Nopi by Yotam Ottolenghi

It was yummy but alas the recipe serves six so there were no leftovers.

After some time of talk and laughter and wine we served dessert which was described as Sticky Toffee Puddings but in reality looked like little cupcakes with butterscotch sauce and whipped cream on top. They didn’t look great but tasted good.

So with thoughts of an early Spring I had daffodils and green napkins and a floral runner on the table. (My hopes were high but as I write this, two days later, rain turning to sleet and ice is carrying on outside.) It doesn’t matter the dinner was a success.

Afterward: It only took us till noon the next day to clean up. But being exhausted we did sleep in a bit. However it is always a high doing it and we hope your next gathering is as fun. Bon Appétit!

Still Got the Sourdough Starter?…Revisited

In the post where I gave you the recipe for the Apple Cinnamon Flatbread I mentioned that this flatbread would also make a great savory dish. Well instead of just saying that I thought I’d try it. I followed the recipe for the bread exactly. But when it got to the part where the toppings go on I used raw chopped onion, cubed pancetta ( you can cut your own or buy it like I did; Volpi makes a great product) and chunks of fresh mozzarella. I just tore off pieces and placed them evenly on top. Then a sprinkle of dry oregano and basil and a light drizzle of olive oil.

Onion, pancetta and mozzarella topping, ready to go into the oven

I baked it at the same temperature (425) and time (25 minutes) and it came out great. I was a little nervous, thinking that a high heat and a long time (a normal pizza is about 15 minutes) the cheese would burn but not so. But depending on your oven, watch it.

Hot, out of the oven.

We served it with a side of marinara sauce for dipping. So yes! This bread is great savory or sweet. Now I want to try mushrooms and olives and red onions and garbonzos and…..

Sourdough: No longer a Mystery

I’ve never made bread, and I definitely have never made sourdough starter but that is exactly what I accomplished this past week. My husband is the bread maker in this house and he makes wonderful bread. He has even taught some friends how to make bread. So I really never had an incentive. Why take on such a task when I can just eat his beautiful creations? But then while browsing in a local bookstore I found a gorgeous magazine called Sift. The photographs were beautiful and it promised 65+ Fall Recipes, Prize-winning Breads and Baking with Cider. I was hooked and paid the $12.95 and happily took it home. However once I really started looking through it I found most of the recipes I was interested in called for sourdough starter.  Oh yeah, I should have noticed that other line on the cover, 10 Sourdough Recipes to Try Now. Sourdough starter? Where do I get that? Well the short answer is you can buy it but you still have to feed it and keep it going and you are out $9.00 plus postage so I researched making my own. Basically your biggest investment is time, and a bag of flour, so I thought ,”What can I lose?”  After consulting the internet for some recipes, I settled on the one from King Arthur Flour and dove in. And even though we live in a fairly cool house (one of the many warnings) I had success.

left: Day 1 right: Day 4

After numerous feedings of flour and water it was doing really well by Day 4. And since when you feed it you discard half of the mixture I decide to save a cup and try one of the recipes from the magazine. (A side note, by Day 6 my starter was all it could be and I refrigerated it for later recipes.) The bread I decided to try first was Nutty-Fruity Sourdough because it was a one day bread, that is, no overnight rising.

One cup sourdough starter, a real sticky blob

In a large bowl combine 1 cup sourdough starter, 1 cup lukewarm water, 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (or pumpernickel), 2.5 cups all-purpose flour, 1.5 tsp salt and 1 tsp active dry yeast. Mix until the dough comes together, adding more water or flour depending on if your mixture is too dry or too wet.

Knead by hand for 10 minutes. Halfway through the kneading add in the 1.5 cups of dry mixed fruit and 1 cup chopped nuts. I used currants, cherries, raisins, apricots and walnuts. This was pretty difficult since the dough is really firm. Next time I will mix them in during the first step. As it was I resorted to flattening out the dough, adding some of the fruit mixture and then rolling and kneading it in.

Flatten, add some fruit, knead, repeat.

I did this about 4 times till it was all incorporated. Put the dough in a greased bowl, cover and let rise about 1.5 hours. It gets puffy but doesn’t double in size.Once the first rise is complete shape the dough into a boule or a log and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. You can also divide it into two loaves. Cover with greased plastic and let rise another hour. After second rise, slash the top (dust with flour or brush with an egg wash) and bake for 45 minutes until the bread is golden brown. Note: recipe said 30-34 min. but 45 worked for me. (internal temp should be about 190° F.)

And then it came out. I was really excited and could hardly wait till it cooled so I could cut it. I am happy to say it was a success. It is a pale bread but that is what the recipe said. No sugar but the fruit lends a subtle sweetness. I think it is good just plain but Curt says toasted with butter is the way to go. So if you happen to have sourdough starter around or get ambitious to make some, this is a good first bread to try, especially if you are a beginner like me.

Getting Ready for Dog Days

August is almost upon us and the forecast for next week is hot, humid, hot and more humid. Last year we bought an ice cream maker, not the old-fashioned crank type but a spiffy electric Cuisinart machine. We made some ice cream when we first got it but then we put it away and you know, out of sight, out of mind. A friend of ours also has one and served us ice cream one evening. Well, that reminded me of our machine. Now the danger of having rich wonderful ice cream around is fat and calories and how good they taste and how I don’t want to stop eating. That’s when I started searching out frozen yogurt recipes. Here’s one I’ve adapted from a site called, Once Upon a Chef. This original recipe called for strawberries which I tried first. And Curt has used guava, which was just okay. But the other day I tried raspberries. I also had two really ripe plums which I added to the mix.

This recipe is super easy. The only tricky part is you have to remember to put the freezer bowl and the paddle in the freezer about 24 hours before you plan on making the ice cream. Or just leave the bowl in the freezer all the time, then you can be a little more spontaneous.

Fruit of your Choice Frozen Yogurt (4 servings)

1 pound strawberries or raspberries or blueberries or peaches or anything or mix and match
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 cups whole milk Greek Yogurt
(For the strawberry I used whole milk regular yogurt and it came out fine. For the raspberry one I used part regular/part Greek.)

Combine the fruit, sugar, and lemon juice in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for about an hour until it is nice and syrupy.berryTake the raspberry mixture and puree until smooth. Since I am not fond of raspberry seeds I then strained this puree through a sieve. For fruit without seeds you can skip this step.

Push the mixture through a sieve using circular motions

Push the mixture through a sieve using circular motions

Combine the fruit puree and the yogurt in a blender and blend until smooth. Put this mixture in a covered container and chill in the refrigerator until very cold.yogurtOnce everything is cold, put the bowl on the maker, add the paddle and the cover and turn it on. Immediately pour the yogurt/fruit mixture into the bowl. Then just let it work. It takes less than 20 minutes. You’ll be able to tell when it is getting thicker. I stick a spoon in and try it along the way. For this one I also threw some blueberries in at this point.

Turn it on, pour in the mixture.

Turn it on, pour in the mixture.

Getting thicker, almost ready to take out.

Getting thicker, almost ready to take out.

Once it has reached the desired consistency, take it out and put it in a container and pop it in the freezer for a couple more hours. When you are ready to beat the heat, take out and eat. Yum! Boy, those raspberries have a rich color.bowlSo if you have been thinking about an ice cream maker, I say, go for it!!

Ever Eat a Daylily, Bud?

Once again my husband tries something new from the garden. This time it is from the flower garden. We have some beautiful daylilies blooming right now. The perfect ingredient for a tasty appetizer?lily3

But for the ingredient in this recipe you have to look past the lily.lily2

You’re getting close but you have to go a little further past the flower.

budsAh there they are, right next to the flowers. The buds.budThe new buds are what you want to pick to make

Pickled Daylily Buds

2 1/2 cups water
4 Tbls salt
35 daylily buds ( the tastiest are those just about to open)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, halved

1. Place 2 cups of water and the salt in a bowl, stirring until the salt dissolves. Add the daylily buds and let stand overnight, covered.

2. In a small saucepan, heat the vinegar and garlic.

3. Put the drained daylily buds in a clean pint jar. Add the hot cider to almost the top, cover, and allow to cool on the counter. When cool, place in the refrigerator and leave for 2 weeks to pickle. We ate them in 24 hours and they were fine.

They taste like pickled beans and are a nice accompaniment to a sandwich or as an appetizer with a piece of cheese and a glass of wine. Fun Summer food!jar

Sometimes…3: It’s more than a cookbook

As I’ve noted before, we volunteer at our local library sorting books for the semi-annual Friends of the Library book sale. These are books that have been withdrawn from the library collection for various reasons or donated books that citizens have given to our Friends group for our book sale. As we sort the books into one of 46 different categories we occasionally come across something of note; something amusing, maybe shocking or possibly just puzzling.

This is the third in a series of occasional posts about those finds.

recipe.coverSometimes things are more than what they seem.

On its face, this is a composition book popularly used in schools around the country during the first half of the twentieth century.  We found this one interesting because it’s not a school child’s work book but a housewife’s recipe book that also served as a scrapbook and address book.

recipe.INcover

Inside front cover

It first caught my eye because one of the addresses inside bears a surname that we know from my wife’s side of the the family (but no apparent connection to her actual family).  It also held things that spoke to the times.  Meat and potatoes must have ruled the dinner table but sweets ruled the recipe book.  Of 87 hand-written recipes, 67 are for some sort of sweet thing.  Times must have been tough – one recipe is for milk-less, egg-less, butter-less cake.

milklesscake

Milk-less, egg-less and butter-less. Mmmmm-good.

Other recipes of note are one for a poultice made of onions and rye flour to be used for a chest cold, and one for Bug killer which starts with carbolic acid (crude) (black).

BugKiller

Cold remedy, bug killer and birthday notes.

Occasionally there are recipes or newspaper clippings pinned onto the pages with straight pins.

GrayHair

Other items include a remedy for high blood pressure, garden advice and a note of Minie’s birthday.

You might also like Sometimes… Demonic Control or Sometimes …2: South Beach Diet

Tater Salad Season

It’s Memorial Day weekend here in the US and the unofficial beginning of the Potato Salad Season. I love potato salad and I have eaten a lot of different kinds and summer just makes it taste better. My Aunt Kate made a great German potato salad, my mother-in-law Jane made a fabulous eggy potato salad. But I even think deli potato salad, though not always the greatest, has its place in the potato salad pantheon. I experimented with a lot of salads over the years hoping to create my own style. Sometimes I tried to copy Jane. Mine was not bad but never like hers. I eventually discovered James Beard’s Old-fashioned Oregon Potato Salad and made that for a while but now I think my salad has evolved into combination of Jane and Jim.

So what to make for this weekend? Mine, Jane’s, Jim’s or something new. Curt follows the New York Times food column and he handed me a printout of Melissa Clark’s Lemon Potato Salad with Mint. Looked interesting, looked easy. I tried it and it is good enough to share. Here goes.

I halved the recipe for the two of us but I am posting the full recipe in case you are having company.

Lemon Potato Salad with Mint

2 lbs potatoes
Juice of one lemon, more for serving
1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 C extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions, more for serving
1/4 C torn mint leaves, more for serving
1/4 tsp Turkish pepper ( I used Aleppo)

All this plus potatoes

All this plus potatoes

Step 1: Boil potatoes in salted water until just tender. Drain and cut potatoes into 1 1/2 inch chunks as soon as you can handle them. Important note: Dressing is going on hot potatoes.

tatersStep 2: In a bowl whisk together lemon juice, salt and olive oil.

Step 3: Transfer hot potatoes to a large bowl and toss with dressing, scallions, mint and pepper. Let cool to room temperature or refrigerate. Just before serving, top with additional lemon juice, scallions, mint and pepper.

Ready to eat

Ready to eat

It was quick and tasted great. We paired it with burgers, done on the grill, and accompanied it with a nice Petit Syrah. burgerI think we have a new favorite but for tomorrow I think I’ll try Jane’s salad with our ribs.