Archives for posts with tag: spicy

my dad was a great cook. i have a lot of memories of him in the kitchen whistling while listening to music (emmylou harris, bob dylan, lucinda williams, et al.) while concocting whatever dish was to be placed in front of us. even though hot tomato jam wasn’t a meal, it is a component of one of my favorite food memories to date. this is definitely the family recipe i would like to see passed down, and along to as many other families as possible.

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at one point he created a recipe book of favorites, and of course in danny dries fashion gifted us them for christmas one year. the first recipe listed under ‘appetizers & oddments’ was danny’s hot tomato jam. he was a writer, as well as an artist, but he did not mince words while creating a recipe, so the instructions were left up to your own interpretation. thankfully my sister kate did some R+D on this one with some edits prior to my attempt at making my first jam. i must say her choices were pretty spot on and (gasp!) might have even improved upon pops version.

let’s hope mine fairs well…

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yield: 6 cups

ingredients:

  • 6 lbs tomatoes
  • 12 cups of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of white vinegar
  • 1-2 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 lemons, juiced, rind slivered thinly
  • 2 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 stick of cinnamon

directions:

bring a large pot of water to a boil, tall and wide enough for the amount of jars you will need. have an ice bath ready in a large bowl to cool the tomatoes in once blanched. cut Xs in the bottom of the tomatoes, and a circle around the stem hole.

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put tomatoes into the boiling water for 30-60 seconds. remove and place into the ice bath to stop them from cooking. peel the tomato skins off, and remove the stem tops. crush them with your hands into a large pot. cover with the sugar, add the pepper flakes, cinnamon, lemon, vinegar, and grated ginger. mix well.

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let stand in the fridge for 8-10 hrs, or overnight.

stir well and separate the juice from the pulp through at strainer.

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bring the juice to a boil, reduce to a decent simmer until it thickens and cooks down by about half, for about an hour. (NOTE: kate let hers reduce by half, but i only reduced by maybe 1/4, so i might have been at too slow of a simmer? she ended up only yielding 6 cups, and i ended up with 12 cups, and after opening a jar, mine was so thick it was almost un-spreadable…like an adhesive you could bond metal objects for years.)

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add the pulp, and simmer until the jam begins to pearl and thicken. continue to stir frequently to make sure it doesn’t burn. this can take 2-3 hours, but don’t overcook. (NOTE: i think this is where i went wrong. since i didn’t initially reduce down the juice, it may have taken longer to reduce the pulp and whatever happens when sugar cooks too long happened and became cement.)

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while cooking prepare the jars and lids. (kate used the technique in the serious eats jam recipe and slightly edited here):

place jars (on a rack, if you have one. if not, mine were fine without) in a large pot. cover the jars with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. let boil for 10 minutes, and then turn off the heat. let the jars rest in the hot water. meanwhile, put the bands and tops in a saucepan and cover with water. bring to a simmer, and remove the pan from the heat until ready to use.

once the jam is ready, ladle the hot jam into the sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch space at the top. warning: this can be messy, and hot, so use caution. wipe the rims and jars clean with clean paper towels or dishrags. cover with lids and screw on bands until just barely tight. (you will fully tighten them later.)

place jars back in the pot covered in water. cover pot, and bring to a boil over high heat for 15 minutes. turn off heat, uncover pot, and allow jars to rest undisturbed on cooling racks for at least 6 hrs or overnight. when they have cooled completely, seal them tight.

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my dad died in 2010. shortly there after, i came to his loft in nyc after a cross country flight, little sleep, and very hungry. my sister kate was there. she made me a grilled cheese sandwich in his toaster oven, and spread his hot tomato jam on it. it was the best tasting thing i could imagine…still is.

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let’s be honest, i am a card carrying omnivore, and with the exception of maybe eggplant and okra, i love most food and will eat just about anything. that being said, i am also health and environmentally conscious, so i am always looking to find different ways to limit my meat intake, but also not lose the all important protein factor.

eat food. not too much. mostly plants. -michael pollan, in defense of food

i have always loved curries, whether it is indian or southeast asian, and often think of them as being, at the very least, a vegetarian option, so it was easily enough to make one vegan, plus i am always looking to incorporate more turmeric into my diet. also, i think because of the spices and coconut milk this recipe has a lot of flavor, and with the lentils and peas you get the protein. i don’t miss the meat.

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ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 small cauliflower (with leaves, if possible), chopped in the small florets and pieces
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped into bite-sized disks
  • 2 cups baby potatoes, cut in half or bite-sized
  • salt + pepper
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 tbsp fresh turmeric, finely grated
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp madras curry
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste, i like it spicy)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock, more if needed
  • 1/2 cup mixed lentils (any kind will work just adjust cooking time accordingly)
  • 1 can (400ml) coconut milk
  • 1/2 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 cup peas
  • 3 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

instructions:

heat a generous amount of olive oil over medium high heat. it should be enough to cover the bottom of a large pot or dutch oven. i use my 7.25 qt le crueset. add the garlic and onions and cook until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. stir in the cauliflower, carrots, and potatoes with a few generous sprinkles of salt, and several grinds of fresh ground pepper.

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let cook about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the veggies start to brown a bit, and a fond starts to form on the bottom of the pan. add the ginger, turmeric, and tomato paste. mix to combine.

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add the dried spices and mix in well until all of the veggies are covered.

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add the vegetable stock, and use a wooden spoon to scrap the fond off the bottom of the pan. add the lentils, bring to a boil, and then add the coconut milk. bring to a slow simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are done, about 20-40 minutes depending. it should be the consistency of a thick stew, but you can add a little more vegetable stock if it thickens too much, or would prefer it a little more soup like. add salt to taste.

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add the lemon zest, juice and peas at the end, allowing enough time for them to warm, about 5 minutes. stir in the cilantro off heat.

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serve with basmati rice.

makes about 8 cups.

hat tip to my friend arik for this recipe. he is one of my best friends, and among many other amazing things, a great culinary wizard. he made this dish for me years ago, and it is still a favorite to this day. i often make it to top a salad of little gems with spicy glazed pecans, gorgonzola + honey mustard dressing, but it also pairs well with a side of cole slaw and mexican grilled corn. although, this recipe uses boneless skinless breasts, cooked on a grill pan indoors, i have marinated whole chicken parts and put them on the grill outside, and has turned out delicious as well.

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ingredients:

  • boneless and skinless chicken breasts (sliced into cutlets if too thick)
  • garlic, at least one clove per breast, sliced thin
  • fresh ginger, at least one tbsp per pair of breasts, minced
  • limes, the juice of one per pair of breasts
  • serrano chile, one per pair of breasts, sliced thin
  • cilantro (optional. i had some on hand, so added it.)
  • olive oil, enough to coat
  • salt + pepper, to taste

sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the breasts. put all of the ingredients in a gallon ziplock bag, making sure to distribute the marinade evenly. place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

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heat up a grill pan if you have one, but i’m sure a regular skillet would do the trick too. i like to add the bits of garlic, ginger and serrano to the pan as well. depending on the thickness of the breasts, cook each side 5-10 minutes. once out of the pan, let them rest for 5 minutes to keep in the juices.

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note: i’ve made this with kumquats instead of the lime and serrano, for a less spicy but still citrusy version.

 

 

the first corn of the season started showing up at the farmers market a couple weeks ago, which means any cookout, BBQ, or gathering that has a grill, i will be asked to make mexican grilled corn. happily i will abide, because it is so damn good. i first came across this recipe in the october 2009 issue of cook’s illustrated, and without a doubt it is the number one dish my friends ask me to make during the summer months.

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ingredients:

  • 6 ears of corn, husks + silks removed
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp sour cream
  • 3 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves, minced
  • 1-2 medium garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic press
  • 3/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 oz pecorino romano cheese, about 1/2 cup
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • vegetable oil for cooking grate

 

mix together the mayo, sour cream, cilantro, garlic, 1/4 tsp chili powder, black pepper, cayenne, lime juice and cheese in a bowl.

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add the remaining 1/2 tsp of chili powder and salt to the vegetable oil and whisk together. brush this oil mixture all over the corn.

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once you have heated your grill to hot, wipe the grate with a paper towel wad and tongs dipped in vegetable oil. put the corn directly on the grill and shut the lid. check after about 5 minutes, or if you start hearing it pop, and rotate so all sides get brown, about 10-15 minutes.

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transfer to a platter or dish, and slather on the sauce.

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this is a perfect side to bring to, or make for any BBQ or grilling event you might be having for this memorial day. please take note that this monday is not our national day to have a cookout, but to honor and remember the men and women who have died while serving in our armed services. peace + love.

 

 

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