Dizzy Swallows

Veggie Scrap Stock

August 13th, 2010

If there is one thing (and in fact there are many) that my mother taught me it is “waste not want not” when it comes to food. This is in fact not a true recipe but a simple habit to get into if you are a like minded-individual.

In any busy kitchen, there is constant stream of bits and pieces being trimmed, cut, and peeled off of vegetables. The fact is that these seemingly useless scraps are in fact the makings of a simple, tasty broth. Gather the scraps in a sealed container in your refrigerator and let them collect for no more than a week. Some of my favorite stock makers are onion cast offs (though not the paper-like peel), celery leaves, parsley or other herb stems, and of course the all important parmesan rind. At the end of the week, or every few days, plop all of your … Continue reading

Pâte Brisée

June 30th, 2010

This simple flaky crust is essential to the répertoire of any chef, cook or homemaker. It comes together in a breeze and is absolutely divine. I use it for sweet or savory pies, stuffed pastries, tarts, galettes, etc.

For a single 9″-10” round crust
  • 1 heaping cup all-purpose flour (or about 5 oz)
  • 8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar (less if your filling is very sweet)
  • 3 Tbsp. chilled water

There are two ways to make this pâte brisée: with a food processor or by hand. If you have a food processor, I highly recommend using it as the dough will come together in under 2 minutes and the results will be a flakier, truer pâte brisée. The less you handle the dough the better, as the heat from your hands will melt all those delightful little pockets of butter that create the

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Simple Chile Paste

June 19th, 2010

I use both variations of this simple chile paste regularly. Refrigerated, they will keep for months. The first adds complexity and depth of flavor to chili, tacos, stews, marinades, etc. The second is prefect in Eastern style dishes, particularly stir fry, rice or noodles dishes, and as a dipping sauce. Pick evenly dried chiles that are uniform in color, with no cracks. They should be slightly thick but pliable.

Basic ingredients:
  • 3-4 dried chiles, mild or hot depending on your taste
  • Hot water
Variation II additions:
  • Salt to taste
  • 2-3 Tbsp. sugar or to taste
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • Generous splash of rice vinegar

Wash chiles thoroughly. Cut off stems and make a slice down the side to open up the chile and shake out the seeds (don’t worry if a few stay in). If you have a griddle use it to roast the chiles evenly on both sides for a … Continue reading

Preparing Dried Beans

June 19th, 2010

Beans are wonderful. The flexibility, the variety, the protein content, and the economy of these little gems make them a staple in our kitchen. I recommend purchasing dried beans in the bulk section of your favorite grocery, one that has a fairly quick turnover as fresh beans cook faster. Here is a brief method for preparing basic beans, ready to be used in whatever recipe your heart desires.

  1. Measure out beans into a large bowl or pot and fill with water. Swish the water around until you see the shriveled or broken beans float to the top. Spend a few moments sorting these out, as well as any wayward pebbles.
  2. Dump beans into a colander and rinse well.
  3. Transfer the beans to a large cooking pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, skimming off the foam if necessary.
  4. Turn the heat to low, salt to
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