Archive for May, 2010

Dharma Lickin’ Good

I had a clever plan to pay homage to LOST.  Éclairs.  Like I said, clever.  Well, lets just say you aren’t going to get the official run down until I do them right.  Based on attempt #1, I don’t know, that might be never.  Off the record, here’s the deal.  Taste=good.  Recognizable as a popular French pastry=No way, no how.  Stay tuned to see if I ever come close.

Luckily, my botched éclairs came after dinner—a meal I’m actually willing to talk about.  Tacos de lengua.  While we passed up Sheppard’s pie, Sun dried anything, and smoked-whatever for beef tongue (of all things), stick with me.  It matches LOST in brilliance.  Stop gagging.  It’s true.

Okay, beef tongue.  Where do you find beef tongue?  I would suggest a Hispanic market.  No Hispanic market in your hood?  Well, shit, I don’t know.  Try a farm.  Or google it.  We bought about one pound of tongue, which spanned roughly six inches from the tip of the tongue back and cost between $2-$3.  I’m just saying, if you’re a to-be-graduate-student trying to save money, tongue aint a bad deal.  And that’s not even to mention its deep beefy flavor and tenderness.  Seriously, go buy a tongue.

Tacos de Lengua

1 pound of beef tongue

1 onion

2-4 jalapeno peppers

1 avocado

Garlic

1 lime

Soft corn tortillas

Cilantro

Water

Start by filling a large pot about ¾ full with water.  Next cut an onion in fourths, and toss three of four sections into the water.  Save the fourth section for garnish.  Add peeled garlic (as much as you like—we used about 5 cloves).  Slice a few jalapeno peppers in half and add to the water (keep the seeds and membranes intact for more heat).  Finally, drop in your tongue and boil it all for 3 to 4 hours.  Your kitchen (and bedroom if it happens to be in the kitchen like us) will smell delicious.

Remove the tongue from the liquid and let it cool.  Nobody wants to eat the bristly taste buds, so remove the outer layer of the tongue.  After 3 hours in simmering water it is easy to slide right off.  The mystery leather layer/backside of the taste buds is soft.  I thought it was neat-o.  Once you’ve effectively peeled the tongue, cut it up into chunks or slices—whichever you prefer.

Chop and sauté the left over onion section, and slice the avocado.  Put the tongue, onion, and avocado in a tortilla and top with cilantro, and salsa (below is the tomatillo salsa we made).  Squeeze lime on the taco and nomnomnomnom.

Tomatillo Salsa

6-8 tomatillos

2-4 jalapeno peppers

½ onion

Garlic

Cilantro

First remove the tomatillo husks.  Roast the tomatillos, jalapenos, and garlic and onion until wrinkled and slightly charred.  Take your roasted stuff and mash it up (be sure to remove steams and coarse skin).  Add cilantro and lime.  Done.

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Take a Leek

So its been awhile.  A real long while.  An inexcusably long while.  But don’t worry, I have excuses–lots of excuses.  I’ll start from the beginning.  Three weeks ago the Stat man and I spent a good 3 days packing up our Ann Arbor life, toting it too and fro, and driving to our efficiency in DC.

Somewhere in there we ran a ten-mile race in Philadelphia.  A short digression:  Tips in running a 10-miler?  Well, sunscreen.  Yah, you’re not going to outrun the sun.  At least I couldn’t.  Oh, and sleeves are good.  At eighty degree mile eight a fire hydrant shower is extremely pleasant, except when sweat runs into your eyes.  It burns and a tank top is useless in reconciling the situation.  Other than that?  Run with someone who will keep you from over-eagerly passing everyone in your corral—you want to be able to finish the race.  The Stat Man was on leash duty.

But, running 10 miles isn’t excuse enough for my 3 week drought.  Let’s talk DC.  We are back in DC.  A new neighborhood, new “jobs”, but it’s the same old home.  Lets just say it feels good.  Our efficiency, while pint sized, has all we need—a bed in the kitchen isn’t a bad deal.  For reals.  And, now that our gas stove problem and garbage-to-shower umbilical cord (think eruptions of shredded dinner from the shower drain…) are on the mend, real cooking might be on its way.  But until then, here’s a taste from the reserves.


Leek Gratin
James Peterson Cooking

Leeks–however many you have, I used 3, Peterson suggests 6
Cream–Enough to cover the leeks
Salt
Pepper

Peterson–my cookbook crush–kicks off this recipe with a warning.  “Don’t tell your guests how you make this–it requires a horrifying amount of heavy cream.  It’s so good that they will no doubt ask for the recipe.”  Those two sentences compelled us to make this dish.  Ummm, no brainer.  If outrageous amounts of cream don’t flag your interest (weirdo), perhaps the amazingly easy prep will be.  My invisible hamster could make this dish.

Heat up the oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare the the leeks by cutting off the greens, leaving about 1 inch of green attached to the white.  Cut off the hairy end.  Whittle off the outer green from the end of the white leek.  Yes, whittle, like your grandpa does on his porch.  Whittle.  Cut the leek in half lengthwise, and rinse the leek.  Make sure to rinse between all of the membranes–dirt likes to hide up in there.

Arrange the leeks in a compact single layer of a dish and pour enough cream over them to come 3/4 of the way up the leeks.  When you press on the leeks they should be barely covered in cream.  Season with salt and pepper and cover loosely with foil.  Bake until the cream begins to thicken–about 30 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for 5 or 10 more minutes, until the cream is very thick and lightly browned.