Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Broccoli and Gorgonzola Pie

What to do when you have leftover gorgonzola from pork-n-zolas? Aside from simply snacking on it as the Monkey is prone to do, I heartily recommend the broccoli and gorgonzola pie from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty.
Maybe it isn’t the prettiest picture in the world, though when you pull this glorious pie from the oven, you’ll undoubtedly feel very proud.
I won’t share the recipe as I think it’s cheesy when bloggers give away a person’s intellectual property. And, of course, we don’t even follow his recipes faithfully..
Next time, we won’t be waiting for leftover cheese.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Daring Cooks Flip for Patties


The Daring Cooks challenge this month was a nice open-ended one: to make patties, rissoles, rosti, croquettes or fritters – essentially ingredients mixed and bound and cooked. Since we are apparently incapable of following a challenge recipe, having this open ended approach at least makes us feel less guilty.

First, a little history. Irish chef Patrick "Patty" Seedhouse is said to have come up with the original concept and term as we know it today with his first production of burgers utilizing steamed meat pattys - the pattys were "packed and patted down" (and called pattys for short) in order to shape a flattened disc that would enflame with juices once steamed.

We’d just made our chard cakes the week before the challenge. So they don’t quite qualify, but they were so pretty and delicious that we’re adding them anyway.


Next up, we made “pork-n-zola” – pork and gorgonzola, that is, our name for a pork and stilton burger that I once had in London’s borough market. Heaven on a bun. It’s quite simple if you have a meat grinder: simply grind 12 oz of moderately fatty pork with about 3 oz of strong blue cheese. This time we actually did use gorgonzola, but any blue cheese will do.


form into patties and broil or pan fry. I think that they’re best served with a bit of thyme and salt, so this time we made buns crusted with za’atar to bring those flavors into the bread.




We then decided to make crab cakes to celebrate the rather late opening of the north coast crab season.


My recipe for crab cakes is:

1 dungeness crab, picked – about 9 oz of meat in the end
1 shallot
1/2 red bell pepper
1 tsp dry mustard
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
panko to roll the cakes in

Gently saute the sallot to soften it without browning. Let cool. Roast the red pepper, then peel and finely chop.

While these vegetables cool, pick the crabmeat out of the shells. Mix all the ingredients except for the panko in a bowl.

Wet your hands, then form about 1/4 cup of the crab mix into a patty. Roll it in panko to crust it, then set aside on a plate while you make the rest.


Heat 1-2 Tbsp oil in a skillet, then fry the crab cakes until browned on both sides. This usually takes a couple of batches, as you don’t want to crowd the cakes in the pan.

There are so many delicious variations on patties – there were hundreds of things we’d have liked to make, particularly when inspired by the other Daring Cooks.  Thanks Audax and Lis for another fun challenge.

The Daring Cooks’ February 2012 challenge was hosted by Audax & Lis and they chose to present Patties for their ease of construction, ingredients and deliciousness! We were given several recipes, and learned the different types of binders and cooking methods to produce our own tasty patties!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Home-cured Corned Beef

IMG_0377Years ago, when we first met, I’d announced to the Monkey that we were having corned beef for dinner. He’s pretty much an omnivore, but at the sound of that, he turned quite pale and sad. It turns out that where he grew up, corned beef is typically nasty stuff from a can. Little did he suspect that anything else, let alone a home-cured beef was possible.

Fortunately, it is. And it was a revelation to him. Even more fortunately, it’s completely easy to make. Given that, why on earth would someone choose meat from a can? And why reserve corned beef for St. Patrick’s day only? Life’s little mysteries..

Corned beef

1 beef brisket (about 4 lbs)
1 oz pickling spice – each brand has a different spice mix. I look for one with a few red chiles in it to give it a slight kick
2-3 Tbsp kosher salt
1 week

Coat the beef evenly with teh pickling spice, then salt thoroughly.


Place the beef in a large ziplock bag or in a glass baking dish and cover tightly. Refrigerate at least 5 days so that the flavors infuse.

To cook, rinse off most of the spice, so that it’s not too crunchy or salty. Pat dry with a paper towel. Cover and bake at 325 degrees F for about 2 hours or until fully cooked. You can optionally glaze the beef with mustard or with red currant jelly, baking uncovered a bit so that the glaze, well, glazes.


Home-cured beef is just a tad drier than the kind you buy at the grocery, as it isn’t pumped through with saline. You can see below that it is still plenty juicy. However, you might want to serve with some sort of sauce – my fave is horseradish and sour cream, but let your taste guide you on that.