Pork Vindaloo

by Anne Maxfield on March 26, 2015

Accidental Locavore Pork VindalooOften what’s for dinner depends on what looks amusing at the market. This week, pork was on sale so the Accidental Locavore brought some home and figured it would turn into a meal. This was a recipe I found on Saveur. It may look like a lot of ingredients, but it’s mostly spices you probably already have. Serves 4.

  • 2 lb. boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2″ pieces
  • ⅓ cup white wine vinegar
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • 6 chiles de árbol, stemmed and seeded
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
  • ½ tsp. ground turmeric
  • 8 cloves garlic, 4 peeled, 4 roughly chopped
  • 2 small red Thai chiles or 2 red jalapeños, stemmed
  • A 2”piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 stick cinnamon, halved
  • 2 small green Thai chiles or 1 serrano, halved and seeded
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar

 

Accidental Locavore Vindaloo MarinatingIn a medium bowl, toss pork, vinegar, and salt. Cook cumin and poppy seeds, peppercorns, chiles de árbol, and cloves in a small skillet over medium heat until seeds pop, 1–2 minutes. Let cool and transfer to a spice grinder; grind into a powder and add to pork. Put tamarind paste, turmeric, peeled garlic, red chiles, and ginger in a food processor or blender and purée into a paste and add to pork. Toss to coat; cover and chill 4 hours.
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat; cook mustard seeds and cinnamon until seeds pop, 1–2 minutes. Add chopped garlic, green chiles, and onion; cook until slightly caramelized, 8–10 minutes. Stir in pork and its marinade; cook until paste begins to brown, 5–7 minutes. Add salt and 1¼ cups water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until pork is tender, about 1 hour. Stir in brown sugar and cook until thickened, 8–10 minutes. Serve over basmati rice and enjoy!

My verdict: Spicy (but manageable) and delicious! I used a Boston butt and the meat was really tender. Still burning from the way-too-hot chile, I seeded the chiles de árbol and used really small ones and seeded the serrano and this was spicy but under control. Having some mango chutney on the side also helped. Not having any poppy seeds, I tossed in black sesame seeds, mostly because they were small, round and black and I didn’t think a teaspoon full was going to make a huge difference. Frank liked it too and told me I could make it again (hehehe).

 

 

Print, Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Bookmarks
  • del.icio.us
  • Digg
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • FriendFeed

{ 0 comments }

An Afternoon at the Chili Festival

by Anne Maxfield on March 23, 2015

Accidental Locavore Inflatable ColonChef friends of the Accidental Locavore were asked to be judges at the 4th annual “Challenge Your Colon” Chili Festival, so we thought it was a perfect excuse to pig out on chili and possibly discover some good local restaurants. Other than the fact that beans are good for you, I’m not quite sure what chili has to do with colon health, but hey…

Accidental Locavore Chili VotingThere were about 45 vendors competing for best chili, vegetarian chili and cornbread to be determined by the judges, and also voted on by the people. Possibly the judges got better, hotter or different chili than the crowd did, or maybe our taste in chili is really off the mark because only one that we liked even made the list!

Chili practically ran the alphabet of proteins, from alligator to wildebeest, and covered ground from traditional to Thai. Rabbit and venison made appearances, alongside more traditional beef in many cuts and all sorts of beans.

Accidental Locavore Billy Joe's ChiliIt was great to get a chance to talk to some of the restaurateurs and made us promise to expand our dining parameters. Somewhat like going from west to east in the city, crossing the Hudson isn’t an everyday occurrence, but since our favorite chili came from across the river, it looks like we’ll be taking a drive soon!

And that chili was? A brisket chili from Billy Joe’s Ribworks. Smoky and delicious, sadly it will have to be an elusive memory until next year. It’s not made as a regular dish at the restaurant because it would mean giving up a secret recipe, but if the ribs are as good as the chili, it’s worth a stop!

Accidental Locavore Wildebeest ChiliThe aforementioned wildebeest chili was really from a wildebeest that the owner of Toma’s, shot in South Africa and transported back. While I’m no judge of wildebeest, the chili was really tasty and, like Billy Joe’s, not on the regular menu. What is on the regular menu, is an interesting looking array of tapas not generally found in these parts.

The most interesting vegetarian chili was a Thai Curry Chili from Mother Earth’s Storehouse, a local natural food store. A healthy vegan chili, the coconut milk and curry made it a winner for us (bonus points for handing out the recipe too)!

Accidental Locavore Farm to Table ChiliAs is probably the raison d’etre for most of the restaurants at the event, we have now definitely put two local favorites on the must-try list. Farm to Table Bistro had the only straight-up meat (no bean) chili, individually garnished with cheese, sour cream and tiny strips of fried tortillas. Even though Frank usually shies away from any restaurant with “live” music, because Chris used to run Fat Tuesdays in the city, he might be coaxed into going on a Friday night for the jazz.

The other place, Schatzi’s, we’ve actually tried to get into, but turned away when it looked packed recently. They had another great vegetarian chili, this time with tomatillos and cilantro. We’re going to give it another shot on a Wednesday night when pirogues are the special.

So until next year…

 

 

 

 

Print, Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Bookmarks
  • del.icio.us
  • Digg
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • FriendFeed

{ 0 comments }

Asian Style Pork Tenderloin With Brussels Sprouts

by Anne Maxfield on March 19, 2015

Accidental Locavore Brussels Sprout PrepSince the Accidental Locavore’s trip to France last year, we always have a pork tenderloin (or two) hanging around. And adding Brussels sprouts to any dish is almost a no-brainer in my house. This is from epicurious and serves 4:

  • 5 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely grated, divided
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Sriracha
  • Salt
  • Two 1-pound pork tenderloins
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 to 1 red Thai chile pepper, seeded and very thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth or water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped mint

Accidental Locavore Asian Brussels SproutsPreheat oven to 400°F. In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons oil, vinegar, soy sauce, 2 of the grated garlic cloves, ginger, Sriracha and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place pork in a large Ziploc bag and pour marinade over, tossing to coat. Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature.

In a small bowl, whisk together remaining 1 grated garlic clove, fish sauce, lime, honey, chile pepper, peanuts and 1 tablespoon water. Set aside.

On a rimmed baking sheet, toss Brussels sprouts with 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Roast 15 minutes, then toss. Continue to roast until browned and cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes more. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with the vinaigrette

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet with 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Remove pork from marinade (saving the marinade) and sear on all sides until lightly browned, about 3 minutes per side. Turn tenderloins onto their fourth side and add broth to pan. Transfer skillet to oven and roast pork, basting occasionally, until internal temperature reaches 140°- 145° about 10 to 13 minutes. Transfer pork to cutting board and let rest 5 minutes, and reserve skillet.

Accidental Locavore Pork With Brussels SproutsAdd reserved marinade to the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring and scraping up the browned bits, until thickened to a pan sauce that coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in butter. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve the sliced pork with the pan sauce and the Brussels sprouts, sprinkle with mint, and enjoy!

My verdict: I’ve made this twice for two people, using the whole recipe for the sauce and vinaigrette, but with only one pork tenderloin and fewer Brussels sprouts. It’s a really good dish, but I’m not totally convinced that the two components need each other. Brussels sprouts with fish sauce (and cilantro) are a surprisingly great combo and the peanuts add a nice crunch. The pork with the marinade/sauce is really good and would be fine with any number of vegetables like bok choy or spinach (especially if you’re not a sprouts fan). If you have time (or remember), you can marinate the pork ahead of time—just refrigerate it.

Print, Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Bookmarks
  • del.icio.us
  • Digg
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • FriendFeed

{ 0 comments }

Pangea, Popping Up at the CIA

by Anne Maxfield on March 16, 2015

Accidental Locavore Pangea FlatbreadA strong case could be made for letting the inmates run the asylum. Especially if said asylum is the new pop-up restaurant, Pangea, at the Culinary Institute. It’s been a long time since the Accidental Locavore has eaten well there, but a recent lunch more than made up for past disappointments.

“Pangea explores the world’s interconnected foodways while uniting and transforming them.” Yeah, whatever. What that translates to is a series of interconnected dishes that highlight the proteins with fruit, vegetables and grains. Each course has one dish served family style and one plated. If you’re there with a big group that difference might be more apparent, but as we were only two and one was a vegetarian, for us everything was essentially plated.

Accidental Locavore Pangea VeggiesIt’s a fixed menu, which the lazy Locavore prefers… so nice to have someone else figuring out “what’s for dinner” (or in this case lunch). It started out with a couple of bowls brought to the table, each topped with a plate adorned with a stripe of sauce and an array of the tiniest vegetables you’ve ever seen! Pity the poor commis who has to prep carrots and beets measured in millimeters! These were quickly swept into the bowl of vegetable broth (trendy broth moment noted). It was delicious and, miraculously, the also-minuscule croutons managed to stay crunchy throughout the bowl. That’s a technique I’d like to learn!

With the soup, flatbread with a trio of colorful dips. Beet hummus, garlic dal and an edamame salsa looked great and tasted as good as they looked! The edamame salsa was particularly good, a wonderful use for what can be a healthy but generally dull snack. This was mixed with garlic, jalapeño and cilantro—must try duplicating it at home!

Accidental Locavore Pangea Seafood BrothNext up, broth number two, this one also hitting another trend – adding pine needles to flavor things. My second broth had a mix of seafood—mussels, lobster and fish along with fregola in a retsina broth. Jack’s vegetarian version swapped the fish for an earthy mix of mushrooms. Accidental Locavore Pangea FriesVery skinny (and excellent) fries in a miniature fry basket showed no real sign of the pine needle flavoring except for the bough garnish.

Accidental Locavore Pangea Tomato SushiAlong with this were three pieces of sushi in a roll. While mine with fluke was first-rate, the vegetarian version was simply amazing! It looked like beautiful tuna-rich and red, but turned out to be tomato. I’m not sure how they did it (especially this time of year) but it tasted as good as it looked!

Accidental Locavore Pangea TagineThe third course was a tagine of house-smoked duck along with a roasted celery root. What made this interesting was that it was the winning dish that the student chefs had proposed. It was tasty and the pickled papaya with it was a nice contrast to the richness of the tagine. I liked the idea of “smoking” it with the charcoal, cinnamon stick and star anise. Accidental Locavore Pangea Roasted Celery RootOur server presented the celery root in its entirety, before it was removed to be carved. Roasted with thyme and honey, it was another dish that will definitely get tried at home.

Accidental Locavore Pangea Cheese PlateThere was a nice cheese plate with a pair of local cheeses, honey and a fruit paste and a mango-carrot sorbet and meringue that might actually have changed my mind about root vegetables not being dessert worthy. It was sitting on a bed of brown sugar crumble which added a nice crunch to everything.

Accidental Locavore Pangea DessertPangea will be open for lunch through May 5th and dinner through June 11th. It’s only open Monday through Friday (don’t get me started on why the CIA thinks it’s too tough for the students to work weekends) and because the student chefs could be overwhelmed at dinner, I think lunch is the better option.

Print, Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Bookmarks
  • del.icio.us
  • Digg
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • FriendFeed

{ 2 comments }