Posts tagged ‘Vinegar’

June 26, 2012


Though pickles have long been a favorite of mine, it wasn’t until I gave up all foods with High Fructose Corn Syrup in them that I started pickling on my own. Pickling has not only made me  popular with my friends, I do take pickle requests, it is quick and simple. This is all you need for pickling.

All you need

You need vinegar, kosher salt or pickling salt as it is sometimes called, jars, pickling spices, you can make your own or buy them, I buy them from my local spice shop, water, and kirby cucumbers.

The ratio is very simple. For every 2 quarts of water you need 1 cup of vinegar and 1/2 cup kosher salt. Put those ingredients into a pan and bring to a boil. After you have sterilized the jars by soaking them in boiling water, put one tablespoon of your pickling spices into the bottom of each jar. I add a teaspoon of red hot pepper flakes for a little kick , but you don’t have to. I also add two sprigs of dill to each jar if I have it on hand.

While the water is coming to a boil cut the Kirby cucumbers into either spears or slices. I find that 6 pounds of Kirby’s makes 5 1 quart jars of pickles. This batch I did both.

Once the water comes to boil top off the cucumbers with the brine, seal the jars, done and done. They will keep in the fridge for months. You can also pickle nearly any vegetable using this brine. Cauliflower, asparagus, carrots, green beans (yellow ones work best.)


6 pounds Kirby’s
4 quarts water
2 cups vinegar
1 cup Kosher Salt (or pickling)
5 tablespoons pickling spice
5 teaspoons red pepper flakes
10 sprigs dill

Now that the secret is out, my phone is sure to stop ringing.

September 1, 2010

Farmer’s Market Wednesday! Oven Fried Catfish with Scallion Tartar Sauce


Perfect Ninja Belly Slithering Ground

I do practice what I preach, and it isn’t easy.  I still struggle not to dress in ninja black and belly slither down the frozen food aisle where my beloved but HFCS befouled Froze Fruits live. I imagine sliding the frosty cool to the touch door open silently and clutching as many lime Froze Fruits as I can to my chest as I run from the grocery store dashing home to hide from the HFCS police. Then I snap out of it and have a talk with myself about what I can eat instead. Sometimes it helps the cravings sometimes not. This week’s trip to the farmers market where incidentally, ninja belly slithering is not cool yet, was dominated by a search for aqua or hydroponically grown vegetables and sustainable fish from the thumbs up list. Imagine my delight to find perfectly tender lettuce leaves with their roots attached, and how even more delighted to find farmed catfish.

This recipe is so simple and so much more flavorful than I expected it is definitely going into my permanent rotation. The fish really took on the mustard flavor as well as a little heat from the chilies. The crust was nice and crisp all the way around except for a couple of spots on the bottom of fillets where they were touching the broiling pan. The texture of the fish was delightful as well, perfectly moist and flaky at the same time.

Oven Fried Catfish with a Scallion Tartar Sauce

For 1 pound of Catfish, 2-3 servings


¾ cup mild Dijon mustard

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1 heaping tablespoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon salt


¾ cup corn meal

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon cayenne

1 tablespoon hot paprika

Tartar Sauce

½ cup mayonnaise

1 scallion finely chopped

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

juice from ½ lemon

1 teaspoon sea salt

Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Place the catfish fillets in the marinade making sure the fish is completely covered, or you can use the plastic bag method of marinating. Make sure to marinate the fish for at least an hour, longer if you can. Mine marinated for 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 475 F. Coat a broiler pan with either a non stick spray or rub with olive oil. Mix all the crust ingredients on a large plate. When the oven is preheated take the catfish out of the marinade and dredge in the spiced corn meal flour. When the fish is thoroughly covered, place on the oiled broiler pan and bake for 15-20 minutes.

While the fish is baking mix all the tartar sauce ingredients together.

Check the fish after 15 minutes you might need a few minutes more depending on the oven and the fish. When the crust is a nice golden brown and your kitchen smells like spicy toast dinner is ready.

August 10, 2010

Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder in Banh Mi with Aioli

The issue of keeping food costs down when trying to eat a local, sustainable and ethical diet is a real one. It is interesting however to note that Americans spend only around 10% of their income on food, and we spend 40% of those dollars eating out, while other nations spend at least double if not more. What these statistics point out is the importance of the actual food ingredients to each country and the cultural value of the meal itself. I believe we Americans need to commit more of our income to whole fresh foods and more of our time making them.

Taking eating less meat as a given in controlling costs, another easy way to keep food costs down is to buy larger portions of not as popular meat cuts like the pork shoulder. Most butchers use the pork shoulder to make sausages. But at my local butcher a fresh pig shoulder was running 1.59 a pound, which is pretty incredible for New York, and would be even cheaper in other places. My butcher doesn’t sell the shoulder in portions, it’s the entire thing or not at all, which depending on the pig is anywhere from 8-10 pounds. I had already planned several recipes to make with the meat and wanted to do a slow roast because having never done one before, and by slow I mean sloooooow, the 8-12 hour range. I knew I wanted to make banh mi, pork stuffed buns and a Vietnamese soup. The rest I was going to freeze in portions allowing me quick access for those, “Oh, crap what am I going to cook for dinner moments.”

Other than the time involved this is super easy, like roasting a chicken. After reading several recipes and relying on my cooking instincts this is how I roasted the pork shoulder. I will say I kept the flavors very basic because I wanted the meat versatile for a variety of dishes.

7 hour Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder

1 8-10 pound pork shoulder bone in and skin on

3 medium yellow onions quartered

4 carrots cut in large chunks

4 celery stalks

1 bulb of garlic in cloves, then smash with your knife to break them open no need for anything fancy

10 bay leaves

small handful of thyme washed but not picked

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

1 ½ cups homemade chicken stock

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Place the rinsed and patted dry pork shoulder on a dry cutting board. Take a small sharp knife and use the tip to score the skin about every ½ inch. I just did vertical cuts. You want to cut through the skin and into the fat but not all the way to the flesh. I cut too deep in a couple of places but it was fine. Take salt and rub it into the cuts you just made. Turn the shoulder over and season the bottom (non-skin side) with salt and fresh ground pepper. Turn back over so the scored skin side is up place on a rack in a roasting pan and put into the oven. Roast for 45 minutes. The skin will start to puff up. Take the pan out of the oven. Turn the heat down to 300 F. Cover the roast with aluminum foil and put back into the oven for 4 hours.

Take the roast out of the oven and remove the foil, take the roast out of the pan and put on a cutting board. Drain most of the fat and juices out of the pan into a bowl leaving about a 1/2 cup in the pan, add the carrots, onion, celery, bay leaves and thyme and toss in the juices. Put the roast back on the rack in the pan, baste with another ½ cup of the juices and put back into the oven for another 1 ½ hours to 2 hours. When the top is a nice dark rich brown and you can take two forks and pull the meat apart the roast is done. Put the roast on a cutting board and let it cool off. Now, if you want cracklings you may need to cut the skin into bite sized pieces and put back into the oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the roasting pan with the juices, and vegetables on a burner, the juices should add up to 2 ½ cups. Add the homemade chicken stock to get to that amount and bring the juices and veggies to a boil, allow to simmer for 7 minutes stirring and scraping up any brown bits from the pan. Strain the juice through a colander into a bowl. And voilà gravy.  Of course you can serve it like this, for a large group of people. I however had other plans.

One summer when I was working at Rockefeller Center I had a friend Mof, who would bring me banh mi from a piece of heaven disguised as a sandwich shop somewhere in Brooklyn when I was really, really good. They came to me wrapped in foil, somehow the veggies were sharp, crisp and fresh while the meat and bread was warm and comforting. I’ve wanted to learn to make my own ever since. This was my first shot, and they were everything I remembered.

Banh Mi

Serves 2

1/2 cup julienned carrots

½ cup julienned cucumbers

1 red ahaheim pepper sliced very thin

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon cane sugar

small handful picked cilantro leaves, around 4 teaspoons

6 ounces warm shredded pork meat

1 fresh baguette warm, but not toasted

mayonnaise or fresh aioli (recipe below)

Take the carrot, cucumber and pepper and place in bowl. Mix the vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar in a bowl and once the sugar has dissolved, pour over the veggies. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes, just long enough for the veggies to pick up a nice pickled flavor. While the veggies are doing their thing make your aioli. To finish your sandwich, spread the aioli or mayonnaise on the fresh baguette. Sprinkle one side of the bread with the cilantro sprinkle the other side with shredded pork. Take the cucumbers, peppers, carrots out of the marinade and layer between cilantro and pork. Add a touch more aioli and try to eat just one.


1 egg yolk

¾ cup olive oil

1 garlic clove (you can add as many as 3)

1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Take the garlic and put it in a food processor and whiz to a paste add the, egg yolk, mustard and lemon juice and blend well. Take out of processor and put in a bowl. In a slow stream add the olive oil while continuously whisking. Once the oil fully blended add salt and pepper.

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July 12, 2010

Savory Turkey Slaw Sauté

Busting Out of My Genes: cooking for autoimmune health

Jesse Utt

This recipe is quickly becoming one of my standbys.  Its tasty, easy to make and fairly inexpensive.  I have enjoyed it at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

1/2 head of cabbage, coarsely shredded

1 lb ground turkey

1 tsp salt (you can salt more, but the feta adds quite a bit of saltiness)

3-4 green onions, chopped

2 tbsp sunflower oil

1/4 cup crumbled Bulgarian Feta (my favorite, made with sheep’s milk)

3 tbsp chopped fresh mint


1 tbsp spicy mustard

1 tsp honey

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp melted coconut oil

Mix together mustard, honey and vinegar.  Slowly add the coconut oil.  Set aside.

Add sunflower oil to heated pan.  Add green onions.  Salt the meat and then add to pan. Stir and break up the meat so that it cooks all the way through.  Just before the meat is fully cooked, add the cabbage. Stir constantly to ensure the cabbage is evenly cooked.  When the cabbage has wilted slightly, add the dressing and remove pan from heat.  Crumble in the feta and mint.  Let sit for a few minutes and enjoy!

Savory Turkey Slaw Saute

Cook’s notes: I try to use all organic and/or local ingredients as it has proved to help those with autoimmune diseases.  I use the Standard green cabbage as I have found that the Savoy and Napa both lose their crunch quickly.  I prefer the dark ground turkey to the breast meat as it holds more moisture and flavor.  Lastly, if you aren’t as fond of the feta-mint combo as I am, try just using fresh chopped oregano.

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July 7, 2010

Thai Inspired Crispy Duck Salad

Butchers People, Butchers!

“The term venison once meant all hunted animals, but now refers mainly to deer and antelope.” Harold McGee

I am a Whole Foods lazy shopper. I hate to admit that, I hate that it’s true, so I am in the process of changing that. I have already changed my shopping to try to get as many ingredients as possible from farmer’s markets. Obviously, that means that I am pretty well covered on local veggies, fruits, goat products and eggs, but meat remained a bit of a mystery. I got online and looked up all the local butchers in a radius that I could bike to easily, in other words no more than 5 miles away, and the first butcher I went to was Jeffery Ruhalter, of Jeffery’s Meat Market in the Essex Street Market on the lower east side. He is pretty famous, there was a blurb about him in the June/July issue of Saveur and if you type his name into several video clips of him come up from T.V interviews, to clips of him butchering a whole pig, to teaching people how to save money on meat. I am going to try to not repeat what everyone else already is saying but let me say this: the gentleman is a small miracle, a gem of delightfulness, and a shining beacon of meat knowledge. He is a fourth generation butcher and takes his product very seriously. He essentially carries anything that walks, flies, crawls or can otherwise be cooked and eaten. Venison? He has it. Elk? You betcha.  I found him extremely helpful as well as personable, his pride and love for what he does is extremely evident.  I nearly shed tears when he ground a leg of lamb up in front of me for a recipe that is coming soon. I was able to buy an organic hormone free local chicken for $2.99 a pound and a local Long Island duck for the same price.  Honestly, it was a surprise how much less money I spent at Jeffery’s (as in several dollars a pound) than I usually do at the grocery store. And the palpable taste difference was stunning. My advice: hug a butcher. Hug as many as you can find.

Thai Inspired Crispy Duck Salad

Serves 4

2 large duck breasts

2 tablespoons 5 spice powder

I got the cooking method of the duck from Jamie Oliver’s website:

½ head (about 4 cups) chopped Romaine lettuce

4 scallions, chopped on the diagonal

¾ cup cilantro/coriander leaves roughly chopped

2 medium carrots, julienned

1 large ripe mango

2 limes

1/3 cup sesame oil

2 tablespoons Rice vinegar

½ cup roasted cashews roughly chopped

1 red jalapeño

Put the roughly chopped romaine lettuce, cilantro, scallions and julienned carrots in a bowl. Peel and cube the mango and add to the veggies. Add roasted cashews.  Clean (remove all seeds and pith) and thinly slice the jalapeño pepper and place in separate bowl. Juice your limes over the jalapeño peppers. Add your rice vinegar, whisk ingredients together, while continuing to whisk, slowly add your oil, so it blends well.

Rub the duck breasts with the 5-spice powder. Place skin side down in a medium/hot frying pan and cook for 4 minutes as the fat begins to render and the skin turns a nice shade of golden brown, turn the breasts over for another 3 minutes. Remove from pan. Slice the breasts; they will be rare to raw in the middle. Now, discard most of the fat from the pan, leaving yourself a tablespoon or so. Place the pan back on the heat and add back in your sliced duck. Cook until a beautiful dark brown, turning the slices like bacon. Be careful not to burn them. Remove duck from pan and add to your salad. Whisk your dressing if it has started to separate, and pour over salad. Simply delicious.

Thai Inspired Duck Salad

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