Thursday, July 3, 2008


This stuff, when made properly, is really good. I don't know why but the three simple (really five if you include corn meal and oil) ingredients go perfectly together. Whenever okra was in season and we had some in the garden mom would make this hash as a side for dinner. If I remember correctly we use to call goulash but it's not's just hash. There's no recipe that I know of and when I've tried to make it on my own it's never turned out quite right...until now.

This time. I cut up 1/2 onion (less), cubed three small new potatoes and cut 5-6 okra and tossed with corn meal (you could probably toss with egg or add a bit of water but the stickyness of the okra will help the corn meal to attach nicely).

The key is not to cook everything at once. Potatoes, okra, then onion. Since the potatoes take a lot longer start them in a large pan on medium heat with a little oil (I used olive oil) for 10 minutes or so until they start to brown and soften. Move them to the side of the pan, add a bit more olive oil and then cook the okra (try not to mix with the potatoes right away) until slightly fried and the breading adheres then add the onion similarly.

I was pretty happy with the turn out and the leftovers tasted just as good the next day. Allen didn't seem as enthusiastic about the whole thing so I'm guessing my nostalgia for the dish factors in a bit. I still think it's worth trying and it's a great use of okra!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Lamb Rib Chops with Quick Cherry Pan Sauce

Wow. I never realized how expensive lamb rib chops are...and also how delicious. (On a side note: some people that work for my parents put a couple of sheep out at my parent's ranch and it's funny to hear my mom baa and meh over the phone when she's trying to tell me how they were keeping her up at night.) I've never made them before and subsequently never bought them at the store. I also never realized how small they are...this is beginning to sound like the game "I've never"...
This is an easy recipe even if you pit the cherries yourself. I like cherries and all but I also think the lamb would be tasty on it's own or with another topping.

3 tablespoons all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 3/4- to 1-inch-thick lamb rib chops
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, halved, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
1 cup unsweetened black cherry juice
1 cup halved pitted fresh Bing cherries or other dark sweet cherries (about 7 ounces whole unpitted cherries)
1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil, divided

Preheat oven to 250°F. Mix flour, 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt, and 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper on large plate. Lightly coat lamb chops with flour mixture; shake off excess. Melt butter with oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add lamb chops and cook to desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer chops to baking sheet and keep warm in oven while preparing sauce (do not clean skillet).

Add onion to same skillet and sauté 2 minutes. Add cherry juice and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Boil until liquid is slightly reduced and onion is slightly softened, stirring frequently, about 4 minutes. Stir in cherries and half of basil and cook 1 minute. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Place 2 lamb chops on each of 4 plates. Spoon sauce over. Sprinkle remaining basil over and serve.

I made this with the mesculun and cherry salad with warm goat cheese and found both recipes in the June 2008 issue of bon appetit!

Brioche dough

I took a Brioche baking class at Whole Foods Culinary Institute awhile back and it was a wonderful experience. The instructor, Amy Osborn, was a great teacher and within just a few hours we had made Brioche à tête, Nanterre, and cinnamon rolls. Through the class we received the recipe below for Brioche though I realize now there weren't written instructions for the different breads but hopefully my notes will suffice for when I try and make this at home. I'll also post more information that I received on rich doughs and the fermenting process.

4 oz milk
1 oz yeast, fresh
4 oz bread flour

7 oz egg
1 lb bread flour
1 oz sugar
1/4 oz. salt
7 oz butter, softened

Sponge Method:
Warm milk to about 100 degrees F. Dissolve yeas in the milk. Add flour and mix by hand until it comes together to make a sponge. Let it rise until doubles in size.

Once the sponge has doubled in size, gradually mix in eggs and then dry ingredients to make a soft dough.

Beat in butter, a little at a time, until completely absorbed and dough is smooth. Dough will be very soft and tacky to the touch.

Fermentation: Place in a slightly sprayed bag or in covered bowl and place in retarder over night.

Proof (2nd stage of fermentation, allowing the dough to rise in a humid environment) loosely covered with a lightly moist thin town or saran wrap in a warm spot for 20 minutes to an hour depending on heat.
To make Brioche à tête (means "with a head" and they are rolls panned in fluted tins with a small spherical piece of dough placed on top) measure off dough in 1 1/4 oz sizes and shape. Brush with a light egg wash and bake 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

To make Brioche Nanterre (A loaf of brioche panned in a standard loaf pan. Instead of shaping one piece of dough and baking it, two rows of small pieces of dough are placed in the pan. Loaves are then proofed in the pan, fusing the pieces together.) roll the dough (18 0z) in long log. Cut into six even piece and place them going the width of a loaf pan. Take scissors and cut the top of bread in a pattern and bake at 375 degrees.

To make Brioche cinnamon rolls take 8 oz of dough, roll out to a thin dough in a wide rectangle (6" long) and cover with cinnamon, nuts, raisins (whatever you like), then roll up into a log. Cut the log into 5 - 6 even pieces. Place the rolls in a baking pan and proof 20 - 40 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees. To make icing combine powdered sugar and milk or cream to the correct constancy -- ad liquid to powdered sugar -- and any extra flavor such as orange zest, lemon juice or almond extract. Heat and drizzle over the top of cooked rolls.