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Thomas The Accidental Gourmet

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pork Stew "Ethiopian"

We really like Ethiopian food. In case you're not familiar with it, Ethiopian has a lot of stews and is eaten with a bread called injera (think of a sourdough pancake). It's spicy and quite flavorful

Once upon a long time ago, we got an Ethiopian cookbook and made actual Ethiopian food. It turned out really good. The problem is that it took a fair amount of time because you clarify butter and make berbere sauce before you get started on anything else. (This sauce keeps in the fridge, and you use it for all your dishes).

So unless it's a special occasion, we don't make Ethiopian food.

However, on a whim this weekend, I bought some injera. We had some pork in the fridge, and were wondering what to make. I figured I could make a reasonable facsimile of an Ethiopian stew.

And I did. :)

Pork Stew "Ethiopian"

What you need

(This recipe assumes you're cooking for two people.)

Two pork chops, cut in 1" cubes (or so)
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and diced
1/4 cup diced onion
1 clove minced garlic
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 cup fresh spinach leaves, torn
1 tbsp cardamon
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 jalapeno (or 1 serrano)
1 tsp salt
A few grinds of red pepper and black pepper
2 tbsp sour cream
1 tsp butter

What to do with it

Sear the pork in a pot. Once it gets brown, throw in about 1 cup water and all the rest of the ingredients except the sour cream.

Cook on high until it boils, then reduce to medium. You want to cook away a lot of the liquid.

Put the sour cream in a small bowl and add an equal amount of water. Stir this until you have a liquid with no lumps. Then add to your pot.

If you get tired of waiting for the liquid to reduce and the stew to thicken, you can use about a tablespoon of flour, mixed with water until it makes a thin paste, then add that. (You don't want to add just flour, or you'll get dumplings).

Serve with injera if you can get it (probably have to go to an Ethiopian grocery) or you can use sourdough bread. The latter isn't as fun, because you don't get to eat with your fingers.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Scallops with White Wine Court Bouillon and Linguini

I've mentioned before that I like scallops. I could eat pan-seared scallops all day long.

My problem is finding ways to cook them that are (i) different and (ii) healthy (yes, we're still on that *&@%^ diet chez moi).

Well, tonight we forgot to plan anything for dinner, so Jenn & I stopped by our crack dealer on the way home to see what we might find. What we found were the colossal sea scallops for $6.00 off per pound. Of course, we bought some. But what to do with them? Big thunderstorms coming through, so definitely no bacon-wrapped scallops on the grill.

A while back I heard a recipe on NPR for clam sauce to put over linguini that I thought would work quite well for scallops. In fact, I was correct.

Oh, and I learned a new term: court bouillon. It's a fancy way of saying "a liquid with herbs and wine in which you poach food."

Scallops with White Wine Court Bouillon and Linguini

What you need:

(I cook for two)

About 1/2 to 2/3 pound of scallops (depends on how hungry you are). And these are the big sea scallops, not bay scallops. Smaller scallops will reduce your cooking time a lot.
1/2 cup oaky chardonnay (something with a nice, buttery finish)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 scallion , thinly sliced (just until you get to the green part)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/8 tsp tarragon, finely chopped
1/2 lemon
1 tsp white wine vinegar
about 2 tsp butter
salt & pepper to taste

What to do with it:

While your water comes to a boil, prep your ingredients & give your scallops a good washing (once if you like them a little strong, more if you don't).

Drop in about 1 tbsp of your parsley, the garlic, tarragon, lemon, vinegar, white wine, a couple pinches of salt and some pepper and cook over medium-high heat in a large, flat pan for about 5 minutes to get the flavors mixed throughout. Check it to make certain that you've got enough salt. If your water isn't boiling, reduce to simmer. (Don't forget to crank the heat back up to medium-high just before you put your scallops in)

Otherwise, once the water boils, throw in your linguini & your scallops (pasta in the water, scallops in the court bouillon, obviously). You're going to cook the both about seven minutes. Turn the scallops over once.

At the seven-minute mark, drain your linguini and remove your scallops and place in the oven on warm.

Add the butter to your court bouillon and reduce on medium-high until the sauce thickens a bit.

Dish up some pasta, quarter (or half) the scallops and place on top. Ladle on some of your sauce, and sprinkle the rest of the parsley on top. You can also add a LITTLE bit of fresh parmesean cheese or anoter grated hard cheese.

Serve with a chardonnay, preferably the one you used to cook the sauce.