Monday, March 17, 2014

Shaved Asparagus Salad with Fried Pastrami and Mustard Dressing – Keeping it Raw

This shaved asparagus salad actually started out as an asparagus wrapped with pastrami recipe, but when that didn’t work out, my wife Michele saved the day, and convinced me to go raw – and I do mean convince.

I really dislike under-cooked asparagus, and in virtually every video I’ve used it, I’ve pleaded with the audience to make sure the spears get to the sweet and tender stage. I’ve always felt that the main reason most people who don’t like asparagus, is that they grew up eating it crunchy, barely warm, and bitter.

However, when you shave it thin with a peeler, and give it a quick curing/pickling in the dressing, those harsh attributes mellow out substantially, and the sweet, grassy flavor comes through. In fact, it was so delicious that I contemplated serving it without the fried meat.  Happily, that passed.

Thanks to the pastrami’s aromatic spices, subtle smokiness, and peppery finish, it was a perfect match. Of course, you can substitute with bacon or ham; but the cured beef brisket was a nice change of pace to those much more common, pork-based choices.

Just be sure to not dress your raw asparagus until you’re ready to eat. The couple minutes it takes to fry the meat is all the marination time you’ll need. Anyway, peak asparagus season is almost upon us, and if you’re looking for a new way to enjoy it, I hope you give this shaved asparagus salad a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions:
24 large asparagus spears (save bottoms for soup)
salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste
4 oz pastrami, sliced thin
For the dressing:
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar (or regular rice vinegar with a pinch of salt and sugar)
3-4 tbsp olive oil, or to taste

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Next Up: Asparagus Salad


Friday, March 14, 2014

Happy National Potato Chip Day!

In honor of National Potato Chip Day, I'm posting the closest thing I have. This "see-through” herb and potato crisp recipe was done almost seven years ago, and it looks/sounds like it. By the way, have I really been doing this for seven years? 

Anyway, if you have some time to kill, and want to make something not exactly like potato chips, but close enough for the Internet, then I hope you give these a try. Click here to see the original post. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Syracuse Salt Potatoes – Lot's Wife Would Have Loved These

Not only is this Syracuse salt potatoes recipe one of the most delicious ways to cook baby spuds, it’s also one of the most interesting. I generally don’t like when people watch me cook their food, you know, in case anything gets dropped (#5secondrule), but these are kind of fun to do in front of guests; just to see that look of shock in their eyes, as you dump in all that salt. Amazingly, only a small amount of salt gets inside the potatoes, and by “small amount,” I mean “perfect amount.” 

This recipe really takes the guesswork out of seasoning. Of course, I could go into all the science behind why these don’t absorb too much salt, but that would mean having to learn it first, and then figure out how to explain it, which sounds like an awful lot of work. Instead, I’ll let my intrepid readers take wild guesses.

I mention in the video that these were invented by Irish salt miners, which is true, except I don’t think they used actual mines, but salt pools instead. Apparently digging is a lot harder than waiting for water to evaporate. Regardless, they used this abundant supply of salt to boil less-than-perfect quality new potatoes, and the rest is culinary history.

Regarding the amount of salt, I used a ratio of 1 cup of kosher salt to 5 cups of water. Believe it or not, this is actually less than traditionally used. Hey, we all don’t have salt factories in our backyards. A cup of the brand I use weighs about 6 ounces, which means if you’re using regular, fine table salt, you’ll need just over a half-cup to get the same amount of salt.

Anyway, other than having to sponge-up some salt speckles from the stovetop, this recipe is fast, easy, and truly unique. So, if you want to serve something this St. Paddy’s Day that truly celebrates Irish-American heritage, then I hope you give these salt potatoes a try. Enjoy!



Ingredients for 6 servings:
2 pounds of small new potatoes, scrubbed
5 cups of water
1 cup Kosher salt
melted butter

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Next Up: Syracuse Salt Potatoes


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Irish Pork Stew with Baby Cabbage – What We Should Be Eating on St. Patrick’s Day

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that corned beef and cabbage is not authentic St. Patrick’s Day food. It wasn’t until Irish immigrants, fleeing the great potato famine, arrived in New York, and started hanging out in delicatessens that brisket became the cabbage-adjacent meat of choice.

I assume it was the potato knishes’ siren song that initially drew them in, but eventually they got hooked on the corned beef, and the rest is history. So, I decided to do a little mash-up (and mash-under), and this Irish pork stew with baby cabbage was the result. By the way, “baby cabbage” can be a little hard to find, but you can use Brussels sprouts, and no one will know the difference…mostly because there isn’t one.

You can cook them in the stew if you want, but the timing can be tricky, and trust me, you don’t want to eat “baby cabbage” that’s been cooked too long; no one does, So, I highly recommend blanching them first, and warming through at the end.

Since we are using Guinness, I will admit this isn’t a beginner’s stew. The stout gives a ton of flavor, but also a slightly bitter note, which some people do not enjoy. I balanced it with the balsamic vinegar and caraway seed, and it was absolutely wonderful, but I think it’s worth mentioning.

You can leave it out, use a lighter beer, or just splash in some extra stock. Anyway, if you’re looking for beautiful alternative to that traditional “authentic” St. Patrick’s Day meal, then I hope you give this a try. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 6 portions Irish Pork Stew:
2 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic clove, minced
2 generous tbsp flour
1 bay leaf
3/4 teaspoon caraway seed
1 (12-ounce) bottle Guinness Draft or other dark beer
3 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 ribs celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups chicken broth, more as needed
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
12 Brussels sprouts, halved, blanched
mashed potatoes to serve over

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Thai One on This Saint Patrick's Day

Sorry to partially ruin the surprise, but I’ll be posting a St. Paddy’s Day recipe soon, and it’s not a new corned beef and cabbage recipe. Of course, chances are you’ve been successfully boiling corned beef for years without my help, but if you’re in the mood for a spicy chance of pace, I’m re-posting this delicious coconut milk version for your consideration. You can read the original post here. Enjoy!