Batter Licker

June 27, 2012

plantain and coconut fritters with sriracha yogurt sauce

About that Sriracha Yogurt Sauce in the title: it’s super easy and fast to make, and the perfect balance of spicy, tangy and creamy. But I have no evidence that it exists.

A smarter, more patient person would have snapped a photo of Sriracha Yogurt Dipping Sauce. But I dipped and noshed first, littering the spicy and tangy yet creamy sauce with unsightly crumbs. Soooo not photogenic.

But I didn’t really think about that until now, as I’m trying to invent excuses. Forgive me. I must have been famished. I plowed through the whole bowl of sauce.

On top of that brilliant mishap, I’m told it’s barbecue season. Summer; heat; sunny outdoors. Clearly a great time to grill.

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So, instead, I thought I’d send something golden and fried your way. You know, in case you want to surmise an alternative to the traditional burger accompaniment: The Almighty French Fry. Because plantains will still satisfy that starch craving, but combined with some coconut flakes, they’re so much tastier, and sound much more sophisticated. Possibly healthier too, but I didn’t verify that. (more…)

May 2, 2012

marinated asparagus and lime-coconut milk hollandaise

Every few months or so, my friends Bill and Rebecca host a “Top Chef” dinner competition that’s actually more in line with “Iron Chef.” A secret ingredient is unveiled, and two teams of friends brainstorm to devise a menu featuring that ingredient in each dish before venturing out to the local grocery store.

Upon return, kitchen chaos ensues. Each team scrambles to grab the kitchen tools they require or, as often is the case, improvising when those tools – or stove burners or even counter space – are already in use.

Most recently, the teams tackled coconut. Although plantain and coconut crusted fish wowed its way to the top of the judges’ list, I walked away obsessed with marinated grilled asparagus (Bill’s genius) dipped in a lime-coconut hollandaise (I made it, but have no idea who on my team came up with the idea). (more…)

April 24, 2012

five spice marinated pork

I should probably re-title this post: “Pork Jay Will Happily Eat For 4+ Days in a Row Without Complaint, And Then Ask For More Next Week.”

That doesn’t sound impressive if you know that I will happily tuck into leftovers, eating the same thing over and over again for lunch and dinner for almost an entire week straight.

But Jay’s more of a one-and-done eater: not particularly keen on leftovers or repeats. So his desire to have this pork be a repeat player in multiple meals every single week says a lot, to me …

… as does the fact that, allegedly, my friend Joe’s first words the morning after a recent pork-featuring barbecue were, “That pork was delicious; I need the recipe.”

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Besides being addictively delicious and abundantly flavorful, this pork is super easy to make. (more…)

March 8, 2012

chinese barbecue (char siu) pork cowboy steak

The night before Valentine’s Day, Jay and I got more intimate than usual – with a pig.

That might sound gruesome and not in the least bit romantic, but I still feel like I’m under some sort of meaty love spell weeks after we eagerly watched Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats skillfully butcher the whole pig and explain the perks of each cut and his use-the-whole-animal philosophy during San Francisco Beer Week’s Butchers and Beers event.

Clearly, I’m my Great Depression era grandmother’s granddaughter; I’m a sucker for reducing, if not eliminating, waste. I get an intense thrill out of embracing resourcefulness and the creativity that inevitably plays a role in finding uses for less popular animal parts, apple peels, and vegetable scraps.

Perhaps it’s needless to say in this context, but once the Butchers and Beers silent auction benefiting The Food Pantry came to a close, we walked home with the bones and offal – and a large hunk of pork known as a cowboy steak.

Hilarious-and-ironic-to-me story from the auction: while waiting patiently to increase our bids, I overheard two guys in front of me whine “ewwwwwwww” when they came across the offal bid card; they were much more enamored with the super popular and trendy pork belly. (more…)

December 29, 2011

bacon fat-roasted fingerling potatoes stuffed with beet horseradish ricotta

I realize stuffing fingerling potatoes sounds a little … crazy. And it totally is. I admit it. But don’t freak out and leave yet! I have a solution. Just because I’m nuts doesn’t mean you can’t maintain your sanity while still enjoying the delicious benefits of this recipe.

In other words, this would work equally well for stuffing a potato the size of your closed fist. Or even those mini potatoes that are bigger than fingerlings but not quite as big as your fist – you know, the ones that would still be appetizer friendly but also wouldn’t drive you mad trying to stuff them.

The only other fussy component is the beet horseradish, but there’s a way around that too if necessary. I’ve never seen the beet version in a store in real life, although I probably wasn’t looking because I didn’t even know it existed. But it was among the several gallons of pickled items my friend May shipped me from The Pickle Guys in New York as a wedding present. Aside from being slightly sweeter than regular horseradish, the beet horseradish had an incredibly bright pink fuchsia color, which I thought would be fun to punch up this otherwise brown and white dish. If you can’t find some, substitute regular horseradish, or make your own beet concoction.

Whatever you decide, procure some bacon fat. It makes a difference. (more…)

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