recipe

Lamb Larb

by Anne Maxfield on April 9, 2018

Accidental Locavore Lamb LarbAs part of our lamb CSA share this year we got a lot of ground lamb, so I’ve been trying to think of interesting new ways to use it. This recipe from bon apétite seemed similar to a pork recipe we’ve loved.

It was quick and easy and served 2 greedy people with a smidge leftover.

  • ½ cup peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 pound ground lamb (or pork, or beef)
  • Salt
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced into rings
  • 5 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3 red or green Thai chiles, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, bottom third only, tough outer layers removed, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoons fish sauce (more or less to taste)
  • 1 cup torn mint leaves
  • Cooked jasmine rice and lime wedges (for serving)

Preheat oven to 350°. Toast peanuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing halfway through, until nuts are golden brown, 6–8 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop or crush into small pieces.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high until shimmering. Add garlic and cook, smashing down on cloves to break into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon, until some parts are golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Push garlic to one side of pan, then add ground meat and a pinch of salt to the other side. Cook, smashing and stirring meat and garlic together, until no clumps remain and meat is no longer pink, about 4 minutes.

Be careful not to overcook; as soon as you can’t see any pink, remove from heat.

Mix in shallot, scallions, chiles, lemongrass, lime juice, fish sauce, and half of peanuts. Let larb cool slightly, then stir in mint. Taste and season with more salt and fish sauce if needed.

Serve over rice, garnish with remaining peanuts and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Lamb LarbMy verdict: Now I know where the rest of the ground lamb is going! This was really good and easier than the pork recipe we’ve loved. I started a pot of rice and by the time the larb was finished the rice was done.

The original recipe called for serving it with cabbage leaves, which we might have switched out for some bibb or Boston lettuce cups, but no one wanted to go to the store, so we just did it over rice and were perfectly happy.

I roasted the peanuts on a plate in the microwave, for about 3 minutes in 30 second bursts. The oven, or even a dry frying pan would probably work just as well.

I have some ground lemongrass that I keep in the freezer and used about a heaping tablespoon of it for the larb and probably a scant tablespoon of fish sauce. Both worked out perfectly. We were low on limes and I thought the larb could have used a little more lime juice, and possibly another Thai chili or a squirt of Sriracha for a little more kick.

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Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

by Anne Maxfield on March 19, 2018

Accidental Locavore Salted Caramel Chocolate TartThis salted caramel chocolate tart recipe from bon appétit looks complicated but if you’ve made tarts before, it’s not hard. You’ll need to devote some time to the process but a lot of it can be done ahead of time, chilled and assembled later. It’s all worth it! Check out “my verdict” for some tips before you start. 

Crust

  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • 1⅔ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) chilled, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons chilled milk or water

Filling

  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt

Ganache

  • 4 oz. semisweet chocolate (do not go above 70% cacao), finely chopped
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • Flaky sea salt, like Maldon

Accidental Locavore Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart FillingCrust

Whisk cocoa, sugar, salt, and 1⅔ cups flour in a medium bowl. Add butter and toss to coat. Using your fingers, smash butter into dry ingredients until it nearly disappears (you shouldn’t see any large bits) and mixture holds together when squeezed—you’re working it more than you would pie dough. Make a well in the center and add yolk and milk. Using a fork, gradually incorporate flour mixture until you’ve got a shaggy dough. Knead a couple of times in bowl until no dry spots remain, and dough is smooth.

Flatten into a ¾”-thick disk, wrap tightly in plastic, and chill until firm, about 2 hours (if you’re making the caramel, you can make it while the dough is chilling).

Preheat oven to 350°. Let dough sit 5 minutes to soften slightly. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to a 14″ round about ⅛” thick, dusting with more flour as needed to prevent sticking. Lift dough on one edge and throw a pinch of flour on surface.

Slide the removable bottom of tart pan under dough, positioning it roughly in the center.

Fold the edges of the rolled dough inward toward the center, working all the way around so it rests on top of the tart pan bottom. Then lower it into the tart pan. Unfold the edges so they gently slump against the sides of the tart pan and the excess dough is hanging over the edges. Press dough firmly into bottom of pan with floured hands, then firmly press sides of dough into grooves and up sides of pan. Use a rolling pin over top edge of pan to shear off excess dough.

Reserve dough scraps for patching any potential cracks later. Prick bottom of dough all over with a fork and chill in freezer until very firm, 10–15 minutes.

Place tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet and line with a sheet of parchment paper or foil. Fill with pie weights or dried beans and bake until edges of crust are set and starting to look dry, 12–15 minutes. Carefully lift parchment with weights. Patch any visible cracks with reserved dough. Return crust to oven and bake until firm and dry all over, 18–22 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

Salted Caramel Filling

Bring sugar, cream of tartar, and ⅓ cup water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-low, stirring with a heatproof spatula until dissolved. Cook, swirling pot often but not stirring, until mixture turns deep amber and wisps of smoke rise from the surface, 8–10 minutes. Remove caramel from heat and immediately stir in butter a piece at a time until smooth (be careful; mixture will sputter). Gradually stir in cream, then add salt. Transfer caramel to a heatproof measuring glass (you should have about 1½ cups). Let cool until warm.

Pour caramel into cooled tart shell. Chill until caramel is set, at least 1 hour. 

Ganache

Place chocolate, cream, and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (bowl should not touch water). Stir with a heatproof spatula until ganache is smooth, about 5 minutes. Let cool until thickened enough to hold an indentation from a spoon—if it’s too warm, it won’t hold its swirls.

Remove tart from refrigerator and scrape ganache over caramel. Using a spoon, gently work ganache over surface, creating decorative swooshes and swirls. Sprinkle with sea salt; let sit until ganache has lost its sheen, 10–15 minutes. 

Accidental Locavore Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart SliceMy verdict: This was totally worth it! Amazing salted caramel chocolate tart! As I said in the beginning, it needs lots of time (mostly cooling and resting), which I didn’t plan for when I was making it.

First, I made the dough in the food processor. It was fine, but I did end up putting it in a bowl and kneading it by hand until everything was incorporated. Not sure that the food processor saved any time.

There was a lot of dough leftover, so I rerolled it and made three mini tart shells for future use (not sure how that’s going to work). I mixed some cocoa powder in with the flour when I was rolling out the dough, so there wouldn’t be a lot of white flour marks on my dough.

My big hack on this was using a 6-ounce jar of my friend Kristin’s Cara-Sel amazing salted caramel sauce for the filling. I’m lucky enough to have easy access to it, you should just order some and thank me later.

The ganache took forever (i.e. more than 10 minutes) to cool until it was workable. If I had to guess, it’s about an hour. I was in a hurry, so I tossed the (metal) bowl in the freezer and it chilled to the right temperature in about 10 minutes.

 

 

 

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Accidental Locavore Sheet Pan ChickenThis sheet pan chicken dinner came about because I was stuck in the house on a snowy day, and come across a recipe (this from the NY Times Cooking) for something that sounds perfect for dinner and…

I had all the ingredients!!

Bonus points because it all got prepped in the time it took to thaw out the chicken thighs and clean off a car.

Sheet Pan Chicken with Potatoes, Arugula and Garlic Yogurt Sauce

  • 1 ½ pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks
  • 1 ¼ pounds small Yukon Gold potatoes, halved and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons harissa (or to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 ½ tablespoons olive oil, more as needed
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest (from 1/2 lemon)
  • ⅓ cup plain yogurt (do not use Greek yogurt)
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 2 ounces baby arugula
  • Chopped fresh dill, as needed
  • Lemon juice, as needed

Accidental Locavore Chicken Sheet Pan MakingsCombine chicken and potatoes in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together harissa, cumin and 3 tablespoons oil. Pour over chicken and potatoes and toss to combine. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine leeks, lemon zest, a pinch of salt and the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil.

Heat oven to 425°. Arrange chicken and potatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Roast 15 minutes. Toss potatoes lightly. Scatter leeks over pan. Roast until chicken and potatoes are cooked through and everything is golden and slightly crisped, 25 to 30 minutes longer.

While chicken cooks, place yogurt in a small bowl. Grate garlic over yogurt and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, spoon yogurt over chicken and vegetables in the pan. Scatter arugula and dill over mixture. Drizzle with oil and lemon juice, serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Sheet Pan ChickenMy verdict: Like I said in the intro, miraculously all the ingredients were in the house! I did all the prep and made the yogurt sauce (adding about ½ teaspoon of lemon juice) while the thighs were thawing. Then, all I needed to do was pop it on a sheet pan (which I’ve taken to lining with parchment to make cleaning up easier) and bake it.

It was delicious! The potatoes were amazing, and the chicken was great! We’ll definitely be having this again.

A few comments from readers who had made it, taught me to keep the potatoes on the outside perimeter to help them crisp and try to put the leeks under the chicken and potatoes so they wouldn’t singe. Both worked well. The next time, I might slice the leeks a little thicker, it wouldn’t hurt the cooking time, and there would be less chance of singeing them.

The third helpful comment was to put the arugula on the plates and then plate the chicken and potatoes on top, so the arugula doesn’t get too warm and wilted. Also, a good idea.

If you’re not a fan of spicy food, you might want to go easy on the harissa. My favorite brand is spicy and flavorful, but not killer.

The dill is probably optional, if you have it great, if not cilantro might even be better. I added lemon juice to the yogurt, so went a little easy with it on the chicken.

You’ve got lots of options here and any of them will make an easy, tasty dinner.

 

 

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Thai Duck Curry with Pineapple

by Anne Maxfield on January 8, 2018

Accidental Locavore Thai Duck CurryDuck curry is one of the things we always order in a Thai restaurant, so it seemed like the perfect use for our leftover slow-roast duck. This feeds about 4-6 and comes together in the time it takes to make a pot of jasmine rice (hint, hint).

Thai Duck Curry with Pineapple:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons Thai red or massaman curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (more or less to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, torn in half, or zest of 1 lime (optional)
  • 8 ounces roast duck in bite-sized pieces
  • 1 Asian eggplant, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced crosswise into wedges
  • ¼ cup bamboo shoots (optional)
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups diced fresh pineapple
  • 8 small cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 4 tablespoons fresh Thai or Italian basil leaves
  • 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
  • 4 tablespoons fresh mint leaves

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, and chili and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium and add the curry paste, stirring to break it up, about 1 minute. Stir in the fish sauce, brown sugar, and kaffir lime leaves, if using, and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the duck, eggplant, coconut milk, and chicken stock and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the pineapple and cherry tomatoes, simmer for 2 more minutes.

Finish with the basil, fresh coriander leaves, and mint leaves; cook for 30 seconds or until basil is wilted. Serve with jasmine rice and enjoy! 

My verdict: Really good! I used a combination of red and massaman curries because I ran out of the massaman curry paste. Surprisingly, we couldn’t find any Japanese eggplants in the stores, so threw in the bamboo shoots (yes, I know, it’s hardly the same). Mushrooms are also a nice addition.

The great thing about curries like this is that they’re easy and forgiving. You can substitute any meat or fish for the duck and add whatever vegetables you have on hand. And with the leftover pineapple, you can make pineapple upside-down cake.

What’s your favorite curry combo?

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