Apr 26, 2011

Orange Fish Sauce Chicken - in your face, Pok Pok!

The fish sauce wings at Pok Pok in Portland were the original inspiration for this dish.  In this version, the flavor balance is shifted a bit towards the sweetness of fresh oranges and brown sugar.  I love you Pok Pok, but this recipe is tastier and requires no frying!

I’m using two whole butchered chickens today, but this recipe is really intended for about five pounds of chicken wings. 

For the marinade:
1 cup fish sauce
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup brown sugar, dissolved in 1 cup of water
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced ginger
zest from 1 orange
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
optional heat: 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce

Marinate chicken overnight in the refrigerator, turning once.   

Drain chicken, reserving the marinade.

Bake chicken uncovered at 425 for 1 hour.

Remove chicken from the oven, set aside. 

Cook down the sauce: in the largest skillet you have, bring the reserved marinade to a boil, stirring constantly.  It will begin to thicken in a few minutes.  When this happens, turn the heat down to medium to avoid burning.  When it has reduced to a thick, dark sauce, turn the heat down to low and toss the chicken in the sauce to coat. 

I like to serve this intensely flavored chicken simply – with steamed rice and fresh cucumber slices. 

To see the full instructional photo album, go to:  frankie makes orange fish sauce chicken on facebook.

Apr 23, 2011

Rustic Ramp n' Potato Pie

I rendered leaf lard for the first time a couple days ago.  I wanted to use the lard, its crispy by-product known as “cracklins”, and the Hudson Valley’s seasonal ramp crop in a single dish.  So here it is - a potato ramp pork cracklin pie with a leaf lard pastry.  Oh yeah!  You can make something very similar using butter instead of lard, and bacon instead of cracklins.  And if you don't want to use bacon at all, I suggest boiling the potatoes in chicken or vegetable stock.  That will make for a flavorful dish without the meat. 

To see the the full instructional photo album, go to: Frankie makes a rustic ramp and potato pie on facebook.

For pastry crust:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup frozen leaf lard (or two sticks of unsalted butter)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 - 1/2 cup ice cold water

For Filling:
1 1/2 lbs potatoes
12 – 20 ramps, depending on size
6 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional, but see note at end)
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 c milk
4 eggs
1/2 cup grated cheese
salt and pepper

Make the pie crust: 
Pulse salt, flower, and frozen lard in a food processor while streaming in cold water.  Stop as soon as the ingredients are wet enough to press together – this may take as little as 1/3 a cup of water to 1/2 a cup of water.  Form dough into a disc and refrigerate while preparing filling. 

Make the filling:
Slice potatoes and boil in salted water until soft – 5 to 7 minutes.  Drain potatoes and set aside.   In a large skillet, sauté butter, white parts of ramps, and bacon.  Cook until ramps are soft.  Add greens of ramps to skillet and cook briefly.  Add potatoes back to pan.  Remove from heat.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside. 

In a medium bowl, beat the milk and eggs together.  Add cheese.  

Put it all together:
Preheat the oven to 425.

Roll out the pastry crust and transfer to a large pie pan or cast iron skillet. 

Pour potato mixture into crust.  Pour egg mixture over potatoes.  Fold edges of crust over filling. 

Brush the edges of the crust with some of the egg mixture left in bowl.

Bake at 425 for 20 minutes, then turn heat down to 375 and bake another 30 minutes until the crust is golden brown. 

Apr 19, 2011

Pickled Ramps

I’ve never met a pickle I didn’t like. It’s ramp season in the Hudson Valley, and the lovely wild leeks are abundant in the woods around our cabin. I harvested a bunch yesterday so I could show you how easy it is to preserve them as pickles. 

For a one-quart jar, you will need:
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups vinegar
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/3 cup sugar
as many ramps as you can stuff in the jar
any herbs or spices you have on hand

Throw your herbs and/or spices into a clean, empty jar.

Cut your ramps to fit into the jar, then stuff ‘em in there. Trim any excess foliage with scissors. 

On the stovetop, bring the water, vinegar, salt and sugar to a boil. 

Pour hot brine into the jar, covering the ramps. Use a utensil to remove any air bubbles.

Put a lid on it and try to wait until tomorrow to eat the pickles.

To see the full instructional photo album, go to:  Frankie pickles ramps on Facebook.

Apr 18, 2011

Ramping up for Spring!

People are wild about “ramps” here in the Hudson Valley. Their appearance signifies the onset of the growing season and the bounty it will soon bring. Plus, they’re delicious. I’ll be foraging for - and experimenting with – these wonderful wild leeks for the next couple of weeks.

To see the entire album of me foraging for ramps, go to:  frankie forages for ramps on facebook.

Apr 12, 2011

Teriyaki Chicken Hearts

It wasn’t always fun to be a poor, half Asian kid growing up in rural Oregon.  I vividly recall facing myself in the bathroom mirror, using my index fingers to pull the skin away from my eyes to see how “white” I could look.  I’m thankful for my mixed heritage now - not just for my fabulous looks and humble demeanor, but for the broad experience of food it has given me.  I love chicken hearts, gizzards, livers, feet…so if you’re lucky enough live close to a farm where you can get these goodies super fresh and super cheap, well, you might want to give ‘em a try.  My dad used to make hearts in this teriyaki style when I was a kid.  They’re so tender and delicious; I might even be able to trick my (English) husband into eating them!

To see how I made these chicken hearts, go to the full photo album on Facebook:  frankie makes teriyaki chicken hearts on facebook

Apr 4, 2011

Schmidt's Apple Strudel: not the best Thing I've ever eaten, but definitly the best Strudel!

When I want to be fully present and enjoy the moment, I leave my camera at home.  Which is why I only have a few photos from last week’s trip along the breathtaking coast of California.  There was a single item on my list of things to photograph – the apple strudel at Schmidt’s in San Francisco.  After drooling over it while watching the Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” I became obsessed with making it at home.  I scanned the net for photos and recipes…and found naught!  I decided I’d have to fill the gap myself, and made a trip into the city (the last thing I want to do while on vacation) to gather the necessary data. 

I wouldn’t call the apple strudel the best thing I’ve ever eaten, but it was pretty damn good.  Made with fresh apples, sour cream, and a host of golden raisins - all piled between layers of buttery puff pastry, the strudel had a lemony zest, a crispy top, and just the right amount of sugar (I think most desserts are grossly over sweetened).  Served with a dollop of freshly whipped cream, I was almost able to convince myself that the strudel was a “light” dessert.  Naught!