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Cambodian Pineapple Salad

by Anne Maxfield on April 13, 2017

Accidental Locavore Pineapple Salad IngredientsWho knew I’d fall in love with a pineapple salad?

Last week I conned my bestie into taking a Cambodian cooking class with me at Brooklyn Kitchen.

The Accidental Locavore did it mostly because I had no clue what Cambodian cooking was all about.

Had never eaten it.

Or cooked it.

It’s like its neighbors Vietnam, Thai, Laos, and uses the five tastes that are essential to that part of the world – sweet, bitter, sour, salty and umami.

One of our favorite dishes was this pineapple salad. It makes a big bowl of salad, depending on the size of your pineapple.

Cambodian Pineapple Salad

Salad:

  • 1 medium pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1” chunks
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and julienned
  • ¼ cup mint leaves, sliced thin
  • ½ bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped (include stems)
  • ¼ cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 scallions, sliced thin

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime and 1 lemon
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 Thai or serrano chile, thinly sliced
  • 1/2” piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon sambal sauce (or Sriracha)

Place all the salad ingredients in a large bowl.

To make the dressing, put all the ingredients in a small container with a (tight) lid. Shake to combine. Taste and adjust the lemon, fish sauce and chile to taste.

Pour over the salad, toss, serve and enjoy!

My verdict:

I guess it’s time to change (or open my mind) about sweet ingredients with savory ones. This pineapple salad is a perfect example. It’s not something I would normally make, but it was my favorite dish of the class! The dressing would be good on all kinds of things, like chicken, fish or shrimp.

As a matter of fact, everyone at my table thought the whole thing would make a wonderful ceviche!

You can add or remove almost any ingredient. I’d add basil, especially Thai Holy Basil if I came across some. The salad we had in class had red and green peppers, I’m not a huge fan, so left them out of my version. Mango could easily replace the pineapple–you get the idea. Have fun!

I made it and brought it to a Slow Food Hudson Valley meeting and everyone loved it, guess this is a keeper.

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New Commercial Kitchen: POK at the Underwear Factory

by Anne Maxfield on April 10, 2017

Accidental Locavore Commercial Kitchen at POKPOK is the commercial kitchen at the heart of a new multi-use development in the heart of downtown Poughkeepsie.

What was an abandoned underwear factory has been given a new life as a mixed-use building, housing artists’ studios, a loft space for the arts, residential apartments, the kitchen and a café.

It’s a spectacular renovation, thoughtfully done, bright and airy, contemporary without ignoring the building’s history.

Accidental Locavore Working at Commercial KitchenPOK, or Poughkeepsie Open Kitchen is on the ground floor and is called that because unlike most commercial kitchens, it’s an open kitchen.

You’ll be able to watch aspiring food entrepreneurs testing and perfecting their recipes. Who knows maybe you’ll even get to taste?

At the end of the kitchen, you’ll find North River Roasters tucked into the corner. They’re local, small-batch coffee roasters who have been offering a coffee CSA with weekly offerings of fresh roasted coffee. Now they’ll be running the café and roasting onsite so you can get a really fresh cup of coffee!

Accidental Locavore Roasters at Commercial KitchenSome snacks will be available along with tea and other coffeehouse options when they open on May 15th.

There are comfortable chairs so you can hang out and watch whoever might be working in the kitchen, or just hang out and slog through your email in a pleasant, non-Starbucks space.

For local food entrepreneurs looking for a commercial kitchen space, POK might be just what you need. There are flexible hours (and rates) and they’re happy to help you navigate the paperwork.

If you’d like an application, you can download it from the site, where you’ll also find their email if you have questions. They’ve been pretty busy, so be patient and be sure to follow up!

Future plans include using the space for events, lectures and workshops. Who knows, you may even see the Accidental Locavore giving a workshop there soon – or at least lounging and doing email within sight of the kitchen!Accidental Locavore Janet at Commercial Kitchen

 

 

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Zuni Café Roast Chicken Recipe

by Anne Maxfield on April 6, 2017

Accidental Locavore Zuni Roast Chicken The roast chicken from Zuni Café in San Francisco is legendary.

The Accidental Locavore has never had it, and funnily enough, my friend in SF who has eaten there many times hasn’t either.

It’s on her list now.

I’ve been making this recipe for a while and it just keeps getting better and better! The skin is amazingly crispy and the white meat stays juicy.

You need time – at least overnight, a couple of days is better – and space in your fridge.  It’s worth it.

Zuni Roast Chicken

  • 1 chicken (small and a really good chicken is best here)
  • 4 sprigs of thyme, rosemary, or sage about 1/2” long
  • Salt and pepper

Seasoning the chicken:

1-3 days before roasting, rinse the chicken and pat it really dry, inside and out. Be thorough, you need the chicken really dry to get the crispiest skin.

Gently slide your finger under the skin on each breast, loosen and make a little pocket on each side. Using your finger, push an herb sprig into each pocket.

Turn the chicken over and do the same on the outside skin on each thigh.

Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Put on a paper towel-lined plate, cover loosely and refrigerate.

Accidental Locavore Zuni Roast Chicken PrepRoasting the chicken:

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 450-475° (see below).

Choose a shallow flameproof roasting pan or a 10” skillet with a metal handle (I use my cast iron pan). Preheat the pan over medium heat.

Wipe the chicken dry and set it breast side up in the pan. It will start to sizzle.

Place it in the center of the oven. It should start to brown and sizzle within 20 minutes. If it doesn’t, gradually raise the temperature until it does.

The skin should start to blister, but if it begins to char or there’s a lot of smoke, drop the temperature by 25°.

After 30 minutes (total time), turn the chicken over and roast for 10-20 minutes, depending on the size. It should be golden brown and the skin should look crispy.

Turn the bird over again and recrisp the skin—about another 5-10 minutes. Total cooking time 45 minutes to an hour.

Remove from the pan and let rest. Carve, serve and enjoy!

My verdict: The instructions sound a little difficult and intimidating at first, but if you make it more than once (and you will), it’s actually pretty easy. It makes such a great roast chicken, it’s really worth it!

Accidentally, I left the chicken drying last week, a day longer than anticipated, and the skin was the crispiest it’s ever been, so if you can give it 3 days, do.

The size and quality of the bird really matter here. It’s so good, you’ll be tempted to do a bigger bird, but if you can keep it to about 3 pounds, that’s ideal.

When you’re seasoning it, use more salt and pepper than you think, it just enhances the flavor!

Be very careful pulling the chicken out of the oven to turn it–I’ve melted more oven mitts with this dish! There are very few oven mitts or pot holders that are safe after 400°. Even using two together, while I didn’t get burnt, there was the smell of neoprene starting to melt. So far, the best one is a monster mitt my brother sent me.

When I flip it over the first time, I often add some partially cooked chunks of potato and/or some Brussels sprouts (also partially cooked) to roast under the chicken. While you don’t always get enough “stuff” to deglaze the pan after, the potatoes roasted in the chicken fat, really make up for that!

Oven temp: Depending on your oven and the size of your bird, you may need to adjust the oven temp as high as 500 or as low as 450 to get it to brown properly. I’ve been doing it at 450° convection roast and have been getting great results. With a bigger chicken, you might have to kick it up a bit and/or give it a little more time.

 

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Steak au Poivre Recipe

by Anne Maxfield on March 30, 2017

Accidental Locavore Peppercorns for Steak au PoivreUntil fairly recently, steak au poivre was one of those dishes I never understood.

Too many peppercorns, disguising one of my favorite flavors – steak.

Then in Nice, I had an attitude-changing steak au poivre.

A perfect amount of peppercorns, cognac and cream.

Enhancing, rather than masking the essential steak flavor.

Accidental Locavore French Steak au PoivreIn the mood to recreate it I tried to find a simple recipe. Since Alton Brown is usually unbelievably obsessive, his recipe looked like what I was longing for. Serves 4:

Steak au Poivre Recipe

  • 4 tenderloin steaks, 6 to 8 ounces each and no more than 1 1/2 inches thick
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Cognac plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Accidental Locavore Peppercorns on Steak au PoivreRemove the steaks from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature.

Sprinkle all sides with salt.

Coarsely crush the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle, or the bottom of a cast iron skillet.

Spread the peppercorns evenly onto a plate. Press the steaks into the pepper until it coats all the surfaces. Set aside.

In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil. As soon as the butter and oil begin to turn golden and smoke, place the steaks in the pan. For medium-rare, cook for 4 minutes on each side. Once done, remove the steaks to a plate, tent with foil and set aside. Pour off the excess fat but do not wipe or scrape the pan clean.

Remove the pan from the heat, add 1/3 cup Cognac to the pan and very carefully ignite the alcohol with a long match or firestick. Gently shake pan until the flames die.

Return the pan to medium heat and add the cream. Bring the mixture to a boil and whisk until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, approximately 5 to 6 minutes. Add the tablespoon of Cognac, taste and adjust the seasonings. Add the steaks back to the pan, spoon the sauce over, serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore My Steak au PoivreMy verdict: First of all, be very careful when you’re setting any alcohol on fire (and always hold the pan away from yourself)!! Even though I was really paying attention, the height of the flames was a little scary.

We had a mystery steak in the freezer that I used for this. Something local and not Skittle-fed. I’m not terribly fond of tenderloin and the French generally use entrecôte which is sort of similar to a strip steak. In other word, while it wasn’t the best steak, it wasn’t the steak’s fault.

Because I wasn’t sure what it was, I coated it with the crushed peppercorns—some good ones I had brought back from France and cooked it sous-vide (125° for 90 minutes if you’re interested). Perfectly cooked.

The sauce was another story. I’m not sure what the problem was. I used good ingredients (and followed the recipe) but it was pretty ho-hum. Certainly nowhere near life-changing!

Do you have a good recipe for steak au poivre, or any suggestions?

 

 

 

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