Jack is Cooking Persian Rice

Well Hello Internet!
I recently discovered the deliciousness of persian cuisine.  One of the things i liked the best was the way this particular method of cooking rice creates a delicious crust of rice on the top.  Hidden inside can be all sports of delicious meats, fruits, and vegetables.  I investigated some recipes, and before long i had figured out my own delicious version of it.  There are quite a few steps to it, but each of the steps is relatively straight forward.  The rice is cooked very differently from my Perfect Rice recipe, which was an interesting thing to discover.  All together this takes about 3 hours.

Heres what you will need:
For the Filling:
1 lb Merguez Sausage with no casing (look for Jack’s Merguez Sausage at Herondale farm)
1.5 Onions (sliced)
1 cup prunes (chopped up0
1 small bunch of kale (finely chopped)
3 cloves of Garlic (finely chopped)
salt
pepper
a few strands of saffron
1 teaspoon turmeric

For the Marinade/Crust
2 cups Yogurt (Especially good with Greek yogurt, but any yogurt will do fine.)
9 or 10 strands of saffron – soaked in 1/4 cup boiling water
zest of half an orange
salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
2-3 cardamom pods (cracked open and ground)
1 tablespoon honey

For the Rice
3 cups basmati rice (cleaned and rinsed until the water is clear)
2-3 tablespoons ghee
1/2 onion
3 egg yolks
salt and pepper.

To Prepare the Filling

1.  Mix all the ingredients from the marinade together

2.  Take the sausage and place in a pan with 1 onion, 2 cloves of garlic, saffron and turmeric,  cook over medium heat until the sausage is cooked, and the onions are tender.  Leaving the juice in the pan, mix the cooked sausage and onions into the marinade.

3. Heat back up the juice in the pan, and add the other half an onion plus 1 clove of garlic.  Cook until its starting to get soft, then add the kale.  Toss for a few seconds, then add the salt and pepper, plus the prunes.  cover and cook for about 5 minutes.   Set aside.

To Make the Rice
1.  Preheat oven to 375°

2.  Fill a large pot of water and bring to a boil.  Add 3 cups of rice stir making sure all the grains are separate from each other (kind of like cooking pasta).  Cook for maybe 4 minutes, then strain the rice out through a sieve.  You want the rice to be soft on the outside, but still crunchy on the inside.  Its going to be cooked some more in a little bit.  Run it under cold water to stop the rice from cooking.

3.  Remove the meat from the marinade, and set aside.  Add 3 egg yolks into the marinade and whisk together.  Mix in about 1/3 of the rice.

4.  Take a Pyrex dish (it could be round or square), and add 2 tablespoons of ghee.  place in the oven for to heat up the pan and melt the ghee.   ( about 5 minutes)  Remove from the oven

5.  Spread the rice mixture into the bottom of the hot pan.  Try to make a nice even layer that goes a little up the sides.  Keeping mostly to the middle of the pan, spread out a layer of about half of the spinach and prune mixture.  Then a layer of all the meat followed by another layer of spinach.  Finally cover everything with the rest of the rice, fully encasing all the meat and spinach.  sprinkle with any leftover marinade and juice, salt and pepper.

6. Cover with a layer of greased wax paper, followed by 2 or 3 tight layers of tinfoil.  Press down on the rice mixture to make sure everything is good and compacted.  Place in the oven for about 1.5 hours.

7. After about an hour and a half, take a look at the underside of the rice, through the pyrex.  it should be turning a nice brown color.  At this point i like to turn the oven up to about 450° for the last 20 minutes or so.  This will make the crust nice and dark golden brown – and nice and crispy..

8. Remove from the oven and let it sit for 15-20 minutes still covered.  Remove the wax paper, and tinfoil.  carefully run a knife around the edges to separate the rice on the sides.  Place a serving plate over it, and flip the rice out onto the plate so the brown side is up.  Garnish with some fresh parsley, and serve.

Jack is Cooking Sausages with Pepper and Onions

Well Hello Internet!
Today i have a simple recipe for Sausage with Peppers and Onions.  It’s very easy and fast to throw together for a good lunch, or dinner.  Also it is good to eat with beer, as a good beer is one of the ingredients.
Here’s what you will need:
1 lb Sausages (Herondale Farm Sweet or Hot Italian!)
1 Onion
1 Red Pepper
Salt 
Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
1 pinch Fresh Rosemary
Good Beer. (maybe a cup)  I used a Weihenstephaner.  
A Baguette
Instructions:
1. Slice the onion and peppers so they are the same size.  Open the Beer.
2.  First Brown the sausages in a skillet, until they are nicely brown on all sides.
3.  Using the same pan as for the sausages, heat the oil back up and add the onions and the peppers, and cook until they are a little brown.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and a little herbs de provence (maybe 1/2 teaspoon), as well as the rosemary.

4.  Add the sausages back to the pan, and just enough beer, so that the sausages are halfway covered.  let simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until reduced 3/4 of the way down.  

5.  Serve on piece of baguette, with the rest of the beer.

Jack is Cooking Tofu with Cashew Nuts

Well Hello Internet!

Today i have a Thai recipe to share.  You may recall seeing this at your local Thai establishment as Chicken with Cashew Nuts.  Its pretty good with chicken, but i find it much easier to keep Tofu in my fridge, as it has quite a longer shelf life.  It’s a pretty good substitute if you fry it up first.  Feel free to use chicken if you want for the original version.
Here’s what you’ll need to make it the tofu way:

Half a Block of Tofu (cubed, and fried until golden and crispy)
2 tbspns of Cashew nuts (lightly fried)
1/2 an onion (sliced in moon slivers)
2-3 dried red chillies
2 cloves garlic
cherry tomatoes  (optional)

spring onion (optional garnish)

for the sauce:
1 tbspn oyster sauce
1/2 tbspn soy sauce
1/2 tbspn fish sauce
1/2 tbspn ketchup
1/2 tbspn chilli sauce
a couple of drops black soy sauce
1/2 tspn sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1.  heat some oil in a pan, and add the garlic and red chillies.  When the garlic begins to brown a little add in the tofu.  (if you are going to use chicken, this is when to add the raw chicken,  cook it until it is cooked  90% through)

2.  add the onions, cherry tomatoes, and cashews

Onions, Tofu and Cashew Nuts
3. while the onions are cooking, mix all the sauce ingredients together:

Sauce

4.  Add the sauce to the pan, with a little water.  Stir and fry to mix together.

Veggies, Sauced

5. Serve with Rice, and garnish with green onions if you have them!

Tofu and Cashew Nuts with Rice

And That’s it!  a super easy thai dish to make, with very little ingredients.

mmmm mmmm delicious

Jack is Cooking Some Kind of Beef Noodles (take II)

Well Hello Internet!

its been a long time.  almost a year since my last post!  don’t worry i’ve still been eating cooking a lot!  but i’ve mainly been playing with old recipes and so didn’t think i should post the same thing twice.  but since i’ve got this here website i figured i should probably start posting on it again!

So One dish that was really awesome that i made a while ago, (and took a picture of!) was this awesome beef noodle soup dish that i found in a magazine (Saveur).  I didn’t exactly make what the recipe in the magazine said, i made my own thing out of it.

So here’s what you’ll need:

1 lb of beef – doesn’t matter what cut, but its nice if it has bones in it.  i used a T-Bone steak, (which i am sorry to say had been in my freezer for too long, and had gotten a bit of Freezer burn on it.  it wouldn’t have been good as a plain steak, but was perfect for this soup)

GROUP A
1/4 cup sake
2 teaspoons mixed pepper corns
2 cloves of garlic (smashed)
1/2 can crushed tomatoes
1 pod star anise
1/2 onion
2 dried red chillies
a bunch of ginger (like 2 inches)

GROUP B
1 teaspoon vinegar,
1  teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil

GROUP C
fresh spinach
fresh egg noodles – the really thin kind!
a green onion
sesame seeds

So First, cut up the steak into random sized chunks, and throw all the meat and the bones into a pot of water.  bring this to a boil, and then drain the water.  take the beef and the bones and put it back in the pot with everything from the list in Group A.  cover this with water, and bring it back to a boil.  let it simmer for about an hour.

Then! after one hour, remove the beef from this stock and set it aside on a cutting board.  strain the liquid  so that you have a nice broth, and discard all the onions and ginger pieces, and whatever else may have been in the stock.  Cut the Beef into nice bite sized pieces.  you can now get rid of the bones, as their delicious goodness has been transferred into the stock.

Add everything from GROUP B (the soy sauce etc.) into the broth, and add the newly bite sized beef back into the broth.

In a separate pot, cook the noodles for their specified cooking time.  if they are fresh that will only be 2 minutes or so.  remove the noodles, and place them in the serving bowls.  SAVE THE WATER!
then cook (BLANCHE!) the spinach in the water.  remove the spinach from the water and put it into the bowls with the noodles.

Then take a Ladle, and ladle the nice broth over the noodles and spinach, making sure to get the good beef stuff into the bowls too.  garnish it with some Green Onions, and Sesame Seeds, and you have a Delicious Beef Noodle Soup Dish!

Heres what it looked like, PLUS the original picture from the magazine.

mmm mmm delicious!

P.S.   the original recipe which i adapted this from can be found here:
http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Hong-Shao-Niu-Rou-Mian-Taiwanese-Beef-Noodle-Soup

Jack is Cooking Tacos

Well Hello Internet!
Tonight for Dinner i made Tacos.  and i don’t mean i went out and bought some taco kit and mixed in some ground beef.  i made REAL tacos.  Taco’s like how you would get them in mexico.  or how i would imagine you would get them there, i’ve never actually been!
anyways, these tacos were delicious, cheap, and really easy to make.
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 tomato
6 tomatillos
1 green pepper
1 hot pepper (you can really use whatever type you want, and put more if you want it more spicy)
1 can of corn
1 onion
the breast of 1 chicken
cilantro
paprika
corn tortillas
sour cream
guacamole
cheese
so first, i roasted all of my vegetables (except the onion) in my broiler.  even the canned corn.  i just strained it and dumped it out on the pan with the other vegetables.  i roasted them until they started getting a nice browning on them. then i turned them until i got the same on the other side
Next, i took the tomato, the tomatillos, and some cilantro, and i pureed them in a blender.
in a large pot i took my chicken breast and i browned it quickly on both sides.  then i poured in the tomatillo sauce to begin to simmer the chicken.
after the chicken had simmered for about 10 minutes i cut it up a little bit.  i let it simmer a little while longer, until i could pull it apart with a fork.  at this point i added the rest of the roasted vegetables,  an onion i had cut up, and some paprika
i let all this good stuff simmer together for a while.  finally in the end i through in some more cilantro, and a little lime juice for good measure.  (lime juice is pretty awesome on everything)
now!  for the tacos!  i took my tortillas which i heated up in the microwave, and in each one i put a little bit of this delicious chicken mixture, some guacamole, some sour cream, and some grated cheese.
oh man was it good.
(btw this mixture made enough sauce to make like 12 tacos)
mmm mmmm delicious