Lomi Lomi Redux

I left State College on Thursday so that I could begin preparing the menu for a friends Bachelor Dinner Party.  Adam is a big fan of Asian cuisine, but he also comes from an Italian family, and in the New York area, that means, a steakhouse oriented menu will do just fine too. I decided to mix it up a bit and offer a some new twists on old favorites.

We started out with a Lomi Lomi Salmon- normally a salted salmon, green onion, tomato mixture that looks like a salsa but is kind of like fresh lox. This is a traditional Hawaiian dish. I don’t know it’s origins, since we don’t have salmon in Hawaii. My guess would be that salmon was salted for transport to the islands from Washington or Alaska and then the locals tore it up and mixed it with onion. I’m sure tomato came later.

My take was to add Blood Orange and put a ring of reduced Pomegranate around the dish for a sweet tart flavor. It was delicious. This dish takes 2 days to make, but only about an hour or so of actual work.

Recipe:

1.5 lbs Salmon Filet
1/2 cup of kosher salt
1 bunch of Green Onions
1 small Ugli or Beefsteak tomato
1-2 Blood Oranges
1-2 tsp sesame oil
1 bottle of POM pomegranate juice

Start out with 1.5 lbs of salmon filet- as low fat as possible (smaller white lines) and try to avoid the thinner belly portion which tends to be more fatty and therefore more fishy- also have your fish monger skin it for you since he’s got the bigger knives and plays with fish all day, it’ll take him 2 seconds to do. Cut the salmon filet in half down the center and then cut each narrow strip in half lengthwise so you have 4 “logs” of salmon. Liberally salt (it should be covered with salt) both sides of the salmon and place it in a covered dish and refrigerate overnight. The next day, you’ll have a lot of liquid in the dish which you can drain off- this is the liquid the salt has removed from the fish. You’ll notice that it’s gotten quite firm as well. Now soak the fish in a bowl of fresh cold water for an hour or so and then remove a piece and cut a few thin slices off of it and taste one of the inside slices to check for saltyness- too salty, change the water and repeat.

Now prep your other ingredients- you can dice everything if you like.

I like to slice some of the onions  down the middle, and leave some whole- removing the top greens and the root tip, slice the onions into 1/8 thick pieces. You’ll have a mixture of nice round slices and smaller stringy slices, set aside.

Cut the tomato into quarters and remove the seeds (the more watery parts) as much as you can and cut it into 1/2 inch dice

With the blood orange, you want to cut the peel off so the flesh is exposed and then slice it into 1/4 inch dice.

Once your fish is ready, you want to trim off any of the dark meat areas and make sure you have no skin or fat on the skin side. then slice the fish into fairly thin slices in batches, followed by cross cutting it so that you have small pieces similar to the size of your orange pieces, I usually just cut across the slices so I have tiny strips of fish. The traditional hawaiian way is to tear the fish into small pieces and you can do it that way too if you want, but I think it’s more work- try it any way. Combine all of these ingredients and the sesame oil. Refrigerate for a few hours.

While you’re waiting for your lomi lomi to settle in- take your bottle of pomegranate juice and simmer it over medium to low heat until you have about 2 ounces left- it should be pretty thick, like maple syrup. If you want- you can serve this with crackers and therefore omit the sauce, though it is a nice touch.

Enjoy!

Recent Sourdough Development

So a month ago I made a Sourdough Starter using similar method to the one found in The New Basics Cookbook, which should be in your cookbook library if it isn’t. Lukins and Rosso offer up a quick way to make an amazing tangy sourdough with reliable results. The basis of their recipe is the use of buttermilk which will impart an instant tangy familiar sourdough flavour without having to harvest wild yeasts, allowing you to develop a starter more quickly and without the possibility of having it mold, or go bad. I’ve altered their starter (actually, I’ve made it before and just went off memory when I did it this time). Instead of using regular buttermilk, I (have used hard cider) made a hot water (110º) and mashed unsulfered thompson red raisins (making like a raisin juice kind of substance, trashing most of the pulp and keeping some for nuance) and added powdered buttermilk, some raw honey.

So I have one cup of horrible smelling raisin buttermilk juice and to it, I add one cup of bread flour. Set that aside in a glass container with plastic wrap loosely covering it and leave it for a day. If you want, you can add some yeast to it to ensure you successfully achieve the act of creating “life” in a jar, or take your chances and see what kind of yeast you’re living with!

(If you choose cider, try to get an organic or natural- stay away from Potassium Sorbate or other preservatives, as it can kill your yeast enterprise. Harpoon is all natural, Sammy Smiths and maybe you’ve got a local cider? I think Harpoon is the cheapest best tasting Cider on the market.)
 

So after 24 hours of sitting out on your kitchen counter, you should notice some activity- a little or a lot of bubbling is evidence of your success. No bubbles, means, dump it and start over, and if you didn’t add yeast, try doing it on your second batch (1/4 tsp will do). Toss the “bitch” (Bourdains affectionate name for bread starters) in the fridge with a loose cover so it can breath- I use loose plastic wrap on a 1 quart jar (like a ball or old spaghetti sauce jar) and just place the jar lid on top. Now, you can let that funk sit in your fridge for a week and then add an extra cup of flour and of water to it to “feed the bitch” (Bourdain, again). If you want to use starter right after you make it and skip that last step, initially- just use 2 cups of funk water and 2 cups of flour to start your bitch. Now, here’s the irony in Bourdain’s name calling- you, the owner of said starter are now responsible for feeding this baby once a week, empty half of the starter from the jar (stir in the hooch first- that’s a low alcohol liquid produced by your yeast, and another sign that things are working, it also adds to the sourness, and is harmless) and use that approx. 1 cup of starter for making bread, adding a cup of warm water and flour back to the jar and stirring it in. Now you don’t have to make bread with this every week, but you do have to maintain it. So you can empty half the jar into the trash or use it, but don’t dump it down your drain or disposal because it WILL muck up your plumbing. By feeding it, now you’re the bitch (ha!), you’re providing the yeast with fresh flour to consume along with a drink of water. *a note on water- what you put in is what you get out, so use bottled or filtered, that’s the secret to your local pizzeria, italian, or french restaurants amazing breads.

Now all you have to do is add a cup of warm water to your cup or so of starter, 2-3 tsp of salt (very important, don’t forget it) and 3-1/2 to 4 cups of flour. This last part is a judgement call- you want your mixture to come back to form somewhat and that’s how you know you’ve added enough flour. The dryer or wetter your starter is will affect the amount of flour you’ll need. Wet dough is OK, but too wet and it may not rise enough and it will be hell to deal with once it rises, like dealing with a bowl of old elmers glue (it just happened to me). So just make sure you add enough to ensure your dough holds it’s shape and then put it somewhere kind of warm for 24 hours (maybe less, but not likely). It should, in this time, double in volume and have some bubbles on the top. From there you scoop it out onto a floured surface, sprinkle some flour on top as well and fold it a few times gently and shape it into a ball (it will probably be quite loose- and that’s ok). Place it on a floured cloth (I add oat bran or wheat bran to the cloth as well to absorb some moisture and keep it from sticking) and cover it with a cloth. Let it rise again- 4-8 hours or so and then gently flop it into a preheated (450º) Creuset or stoneware covered casserole and bake it for 30 minutes covered, remove the lid and let it bake another 15 minutes until it’s brown. Remove it from the pot and set it on a folded kitchen towel or better yet, a cooling rack for at least a half hour. If you listen carefully, you can hear it crackle as it cools…

Parmesan Garlic

Adaptation of the Lahey Mother recipe,(see my post on No Knead) I started with the basic recipe and then upon turning it out onto the floured kitchen table I dotted half the surface with 1/2x1x1/8 slices of parmesan and whole cloves of garlic, then folded it to cover the inclusions, did the same for the other half (now a half circle- so covering 1/4 circle) folded it again and quickly shaped it into a ball and placed it in a bowl lined with an oat bran dusted cotton napkin.

Here’s what I did…

+/- 3C Bread Flour (Must be Bread Flour)
1-1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dry yeast
1-1/3 C cool water (55º-65ºf) Winter tap is prob. 45º (I used cider that was semi-hardened in the fridge- don’t use anything that has potassium sorbate or you’ll kill the yeast.) I also nuked it for 45 seconds to warm it a bit.

Whole wheat bran, flour or something else for dusting.

1/4 lb or less of small slices of parmesan Cheese
1 head of roasted garlic- this I cheated on and bought from Wegmans olive bar- if you need to rast it yourself- peel all the cloves from a head of garlic and roast them in the oven at around 300º after tossing them in a bit of olive oil, enough to coat them. DO NOT LET THEM GET DARK!

Mix water with yeast, stir, add salt, add flour, it should be fairly wet so i mixes well, but not so it puddles or smears in the bowl…(mix it quickly with a wooden spoon in a ceramic, glass or plastic bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and forget it for a day and a half or more- (start it at night, say 10pm- then the next evening, you’re ready for stage 2)

Turn out onto a floured surface and quickly fold 1-2 times- adding the cheese and garlic on one side, then fold and add more on the remaining half and fold and immediately shape into a ball. Place it on a liberally dusted kitchen towel (NOT TERRY) with the seam side down, like linen or smooth cotton. COver ball with more bran dust or whatever you choose and cover with another towel. Let sit to rise again for 2-4 hrs.
1/2 hr before the bread is ready to bake- preheat oven and a cast iron covered dutch oven or ceramic casserole with lid to 475º. Carefully and quickly flop the dough into the cast iron pot, shake it a bit to settle it and cover, bake for 1/2 hr. uncover and go another 5-15 mins based on color. Let cool for 1/2 hr. (This is a must). Enjoy!

No Knead

An amazingly chewy Irish Wholemeal with Homemade Cider

No Knead Bread?

Yes. And you may never make bread any other way again. I may not buy bread ever again. This was the easiest thing I have ever cooked in my life by far. The secret? Don’t mess with it. This is the NYTimes reviewed bread found at the well known Sullivan Street Bakery in New York City. I followed the mother recipe in My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method, it was simple and the only thing you need to know is, it should be wetter than any other bread you’ve tried to make. Never Baked bread before? If you have a covered Ceramic casserole, a Creuset and emile henry covereed baking dish or any other glazed cast iron or ceramic dish- you’re ready to go. The one thing this recipe calls for that’s different than most conventional breads (minus sourdoughs) is about 18 hours of initial rise time and 2-4 hours of secondary rise time. I just started my second loaf at around 6 pm, which should make it workable by noon- but I can wait til 5 if I need to. Follow the instructions in the NYTimes article or buy the book. I know you’re thinking, well so what if Garrison thinks it’s easy, he can cook. Trust me, try it.

Here’s what I did…

+/- 3C Bread Flour (Must be Bread Flour)
1-1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dry yeast
1-1/3 C cool water (55º-65ºf) Winter tap is prob. 45º (I used cider that was semi-hardened in the fridge- don’t use anything that has potassium sorbate or you’ll kill the yeast.)

Whole wheat bran, flour or something else for dusting.

Mix water with yeast, stir, add salt, add flour, it should be fairly wet so i mixes well, but not so it puddles or smears in the bowl…(mix it quickly with a wooden spoon in a ceramic, glass or plastic bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and forget it for a day and a half or more- (start it at night, say 10pm- then the next evening, you’re ready for stage 2)

Turn out onto a floured surface and quickly fold 1-2 times and immediately shape into a ball (it’s gonna be soft). Place it on a liberally dusted kitchen towel (NOT TERRY), like linen or smooth cotton. COver ball with more bran dust or whatever you choose and cover with another towel. Let sit to rise again for 2-4 hrs.
1/2 hr before the bread is ready to bake- preheat oven and a cast iron covered dutch oven or ceramic casserole with lid to 475º. Carefully and quickly flop the dough into the cast iron pot, shake it a bit to settle it and cover, bake for 1/2 hr. uncover and go another 5-15 mins based on color. Let cool for 1/2 hr. (This is a must). Enjoy!

Seafood Stew

Best Accidental Recipe of the Week.
What happens to leftovers in my house, may not be what happens to them in your house, but I assure you, that will change.

Mediterranean Influenced Seafood Stew
My Cousin Hope and I came up with this dish last week and it’s a delicious one! The battle between ginger and tomatoes was won by the tomato.

Ready? Read on for more juicy details

You’ll need a large saute pan for this dish, or a wok.

1 lb of pasta, either Gigli, Campanelle, Cappelletti, or Cavatelli.
1 lb of scallops (I prefer the larger dry scallops- they are not pumped with water when frozen, ask your fish monger.)
1 lb of king salmon or steelhead trout (if you’ve never had steelhead and your local fish monger has some on hand, take it)
1 ugly tomato cubed (less seeds and water in these beauties, more meat for the buck)
Sugar Snap Peas (our grocer packs them onto small trays- a little more than a fat handful)
1 shallot, sliced (larger one, otherwise use 2)
1 clove of garlic, mashed (with the side of your chef’s knife, don’t have one? Check out the great selection of Chef’s Knives at Amazon)
a pinch of Saffron (1/4 gram is probably fine)
1 cup of white wine (Sauvignon Blanc, or a Spanish or Portuguese white)
1/4 cup of Peanut oil with 1-2 TB of butter added
Pan Searing Flour (this is easily made with salt and white pepper which is only used to keep the color consistant- feel free to use black)
A few slivers of Preserved Lemon diced (use only the peel and rinse before use)

Blanch for 1 minute or steam the sugar snap peas and set aside (they should have some crunch to them)

Prepare water for pasta. Begin the pasta once you have started browning the seafood.

Nuke the white wine with the saffron in it for 1-2 minutes

Slice the fish into stew sized cubes and set aside.
Pat the scallops dry with paper towels and dredge them in a bowl of pan searing flour (if you don’t have any of this pre-made flour, simply season the scallops with salt and pepper and then dredge in flour)
Dredge the fish in the same dish, adding more flour if needed.

prepare a large pan by preheating over medium-high (every stove is different) for a few minutes and add  the oil and butter. The oil should be almost smoking- if it’s smoking, your too hot, turn it down.

Add the shallots to the oil and saute for 1-3 minutes, (adding the garlic after the first minute) or until they begin to turn color (do not let them brown much)
Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Now add the scallops, sauteing them for 3-4 minutes on both side or until brown- (do not crowd the scallops or they will not brown, so do them in batches if you need to, I did mine in 2 batches) Scrape any excess flour crunchies out of the pan (if using steel or cast iron) to keep them from burning (these taste great).

Follow by sauteing the fish in the same oil, which by now will be disappearing- add a little extra oil if needed. Remove from oil when browned on two sides. Turn heat down a bit.

Now add the  white wine and saffron to the pan and simmer the pieces of cured lemon peel for 1 minute, followed by the tomato cubes.
Cook the tomato cubes until the skin begins to curl, then add back the onions, garlic, seafood, and sugar snap peas. Turn the heat up to medium-high and cooked covered for 1 minute to warm ingredients)

Serve immediately over pasta!