Dish of the Week: Klobasneks

Categories: How To, Recipes

klobasnek.jpg
Photo by me and the sysop
Now you can customize your klobasnek as you please.
From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. See the complete list of recipes at the end of this post.

This week, after our Underrated Kolache post last week, we decided to delve deeper into the kolach's savory cousin, the klobasnek.

A klobasnek (or klobasnik), like a kolach, is pastry of Czech origin that is popular in central Texas. The distinction, however, is that kolach are sweet pastries filled with non-meat fillings (fruit, cream cheese, poppy seed) in the center, while klobasneks are savory pastries more similar to pigs in a blanket, or sausage rolls, where the dough is wrapped entirely around the sausage filling. According to word etymologist Barry Popick, the word klobasnek is derived from the Czech word klobase, a traditional sausage similar to the Polish kielbasa.

So all those jalapeño sausage kolache you've been ordering? They're technically klobasnkeks (also, the jalapeño is totally a Texas addition).

Either way, the same yeast dough is used to make both delectable pastries. Here's how to make it:

More »

Dish of the Week: Manhattan Clam Chowder

Categories: How To, Recipes

manhattan_clam.jpg
Photo by Mr.TinDC
Tomatoes make this Manhattan-style version a bit different from its cousins to the north.
From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. See the complete list of recipes at the end of this post.

This week, we're diving into Manhattan Clam Chowder.

Not to be confused with New England or Boston clam chowder, the Manhattan take on the traditional clam soup is made is (gasp) tomatoes -- a big no-no to its neighbors in the North. Maine event went so far as to introduce a bill making it illegal to add tomatoes to pots of clam chowder in 1939, according to The New York Times piece "Fare of the Country; New England Clams: A Fruitful Harvest."

Thankfully, not everyone subscribes to that train of thought. Tomato-based chowders were born from Portuguese fishing communities in Rhode Island in the mid-1800s, as tomato-based stews were already popular in their native cuisine. According to Alton Brown's "Good Eats", the story goes that New Englanders dubbed this tomato version of their beloved chowder "Manhattan-style" because calling someone a New Yorker was considered an insult.

Insult or not, tomatoes bring a slight tartness and a bit of sweetness to the rich, briny stew.


More »

Dish of the Week: Soufflé au Fromage

Categories: How To, Recipes

cheesesouffle.jpg
Photo by Katrin Morenz
There's nothing like a good soufflé, whether it's savory or sweet.
From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. See the complete list of recipes at the end of this post.

This week, we're mastering the all-mighty soufflé.

A soufflé is a classic French dish consisting of beaten egg whites and a sweet or savory custard base which is then baked. A derivative of the French word souffler, meaning "to blow up" or to "puff up", a soufflé literally puffs up as in the oven. That's thanks to the whipped egg whites, which add air bubbles that swell as the temperature rises. By the time the soufflé comes out of the oven, it's bubbling over the top of the ramekin that it was baked in; though it will deflate a bit once the air bubbles begin to cool and contact.

The technique of adding egg whites, which dates back to Medieval times and eventually evolved into the development of meringues and soufflés, can be used to make anything from rich and velvety chocolate and light and airy lemon dessert soufflés to the recipe we're sharing today: A savory and creamy soufflé au fromage (or cheese soufflé). It's comfort food at its best.

More »

Dish of the Week: Chicken-Fried Steak

Categories: How To, Recipes

Triple A 001.jpg
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
Triple A's version of CFS is a true Houston classic.
From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. See the complete list of recipes at the end of this post.

This week, we're covering a Texas-bred Southern essential, Chicken-Fried Steak.

Though it really needs no explanation, chicken-fried steak -- or CFS as it is affectionately known -- is a popular Southern dish consisting of thin cuts of tenderized beef that gets coated in flour (and sometimes egg), fried 'til crisp, and smothered with a white pan gravy.

The origin of the dish is a highly debated topic, though the Texas legislature made the 1976 version reported in the Austin American-Statesman official back in 2011 (even though the piece was meant to be a work of fiction -- God bless Texas). According to the story, a short-order cook at Ethel's Home Cooking in Lamesa misunderstood a ticket, reading "chicken, fried steak" as one order instead of two. So he dipped steak into a fried chicken batter and CFS was born. More likely, however, its origins can be attributed to German and Austrian immigrants who introduced Americans to weiner schnitzel in the 19th century.

While the basic methods are the same, there are several different versions of the dish around the state. In East Texas, the steak is often dipped in eggs/milk before being coated in flour. In Central Texas, they make a version similar to schnitzel, using bread crumbs instead of flour. And in the West, a cowboy version of the pan-fried steak is made without egg. Then there those who make a brown pan gravy, but don't even get us started with that.

More »

How To: Make Your Own Chicken Liver Pâté

Categories: How To, Recipes

Pate4.jpg
Photo by Joanna O'Leary
Looks like dirt but tastes divine.
There are few foods that offer as much heme iron per serving as liver and if you suffer from anemia and like this author aspire to do endurance sports, a liverwurst sandwich, crackers and pâté, or liver 'n' onions (once a week or more) can really give you a boost in energy.

Those familiar with luxury offal spreads are aware that pâté is rather pricey and not widely available at mass-market grocery stores. But if you have a food processor and are not averse to handling raw organ meat, you can make large quantities of pâté for shockingly little money.

Pate1.jpg
Photo by Joanna O'Leary
So much iron for so little moolah.

Step One: Visit your local butcher (if she or he exists) or most supermarkets to buy raw chicken livers. At HEB, a 1 pound plastic container of chicken livers costs about $1. (Yes, they're really that cheap.)
This story continues on the next page.

More »

Dish of the Week: The Chicago-Style Hot Dog

Categories: How To, Recipes

chicagodog.jpg
Photo by Jeremy Keith
Warning: no ketchup allowed.
From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. See the complete list of recipes at the end of this post.

This week, we're sharing one of the best ways to pump up your last days of summer hot dogs: The Chicago-Style Dog.

In Chicago, this iconic all-beef frankfurter gets steamed then dressed-to-the-nines. Served on a poppy seed bun, the dog is topped with yellow mustard, chopped white onions, sweet pickle relish, "sports peppers" (pickled peppers), tomato slices/wedges, and pickle spears. Of course, we can't forget the celery salt. Though we can forget the ketchup -- it's pretty much an unacceptable hot dog topping in Chicago.

But before Chicago started "dragging" its dogs "through the garden," the city revolutionized hot dog processing by perfecting dis-assembly lines in the mid-19th century. Soon after, these cheap meats were popularized among the Chicago working class, which eventually paved the way to the all-mighty Chicago dog.

Some believe it was Jewish immigrants who influenced the all-beef wiener and poppy seed bun, while Italians and Greeks may have contributed the tomato, onions, pickled peppers, and relish. And because many early immigrants worked their own celery farms, celery salt was added to the mix.

The Chicago-style dog became an icon during the Great Depression, where Fluky's hot dog stand on the historic Maxwell Street began offering the "Depression Sandwich" for a nickel. The fully loaded number was a hit and soon the idea spread with hot dog stands popping up all over the city. Today, there are over 1,800 hot dog vendors in Chicago, many of which will NOT serve you ketchup.

More »

Dish of the Week: Summer Risotto

Categories: How To, Recipes

risotto_dishofweek.jpg
Photo by Luca Nebuloni
There's nothing like a plate of creamy, velvety risotto.
From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. See the complete list of recipes at the end of this post.

This week, it's all about risotto.

Risotto is a classic Italian rice dish that is slow-cooked in broth until creamy and decadent. It is typically made using Arborio, Carnaroli, Vialone Nano or other short grain varieties of rice that are high in starch and conducive to absorption, ensuring a velvetty consistency throughout.

Though the slow-cooking method may seem intimidating, with a few simple steps, is easy to perfect. And once you have it down, the flavor possibilities are endless.

First, soffrito -- the flavor base typically consisting of minced onion and other aromatics and spices -- is sauteed in a healthy amount of fat (butter and/or olive oil) until softened and fragrant. Next, the rice is mixed in so that each grain is coated in tostatura (fat). Just when the rice is lightly toasted, the pan is deglazed with a splash of wine to scrape up any caramelized bits.

More »

Dish of the Week: Fish en Papillote

Categories: How To, Recipes

fish_en_papillote.jpg
Photo by stu_spivack
Sealing the package traps in the moisture to steam the food inside.
From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. See the complete list of recipes at the end of this post.

This week, we're sharing a recipe for fish en papillote .

French for "in parchment," en papillote is a method of cooking food inside a folded pouch or parcel, typically made of parchment paper, but sometimes with aluminum foil or paper bags. The food is placed inside, often with a bit of wine, water, or stock, and the parchment is overlapped and folded until it is sealed tightly. As the parcel bakes, the trapped moisture heats and forms steam inside the packet, evenly cooking the food without losing any flavor.

While en papillote is a French term that dates back to the 17th century, the method of steaming food inside pouches has been used around the world for much longer. Banana and cassava leaves are used in Malaysia and Indonesia, cornhusks and plantains in Latin America, and water lotus leaves in China. In Italy, parchment is also used, but it is referred to as al cartoccio.

The method is typically used to cook fish, vegetables, and thin cuts of poultry. Herbs and spices are added so that when the pouch is opened at the table, the experience is fully aromatic.


More »

Dish of the Week: Mofongo

Categories: How To, Recipes

Mofongo.jpg
Photo by Salina Canizales
Smash down the mofongo to create a bowl shape for chicken, beef, pork, or seafood stew.
From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. See the complete list of recipes at the end of this post.

This week, we're covering a Puerto Rican classic: Mofongo.

Mofongo is a popular Caribbean dish made of unripened, fried (or boiled), and mashed plantains that are often mixed with broth, garlic, and chicharrones (deep-fried pork belly cracklins) and formed into balls. The dish can also be stuffed or smothered with chicken, steak, shrimp, lobster, and crab in a tomato gravy, at which point it's known as mofongo relleno.

The dish is actually an ancestor of fufu, a West African dish made with starchy root vegetables that was brought over to the island along with slaves during the Spanish conquest in the 1500s. Soon, fufu morphed with native cooking techniques -- including the use of plantains, sofrito (sautéed onions, peppers, herbs and garlic), and the mortar and pestle -- andmofongo was born. Chicharrones are a (much welcome) more modern day addition.


More »

Dish of the Week: Scallion Pancakes

Categories: How To, Recipes

scallion_pancake.jpg
Photo by manda_wong
Serve these savory pancakes with ginger dipping sauce.
From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. See the complete list of recipes at the end of this post.

This week, we're sharing a recipe for scallion pancakes.

Scallion pancakes are a popular Chinese dish also known as cong you bing. Unlike actual pancakes made from batter, these savory pancakes are made with unleavened, laminated dough.

The term laminated means that the dough is folded over itself and separated by thin layers of fat (typically butter) so that as it cooks, a flaky, tender pastry is formed. Similar to the process of making croissants or puff pastries that are brushed with butter and layered, this flatbread gets rolled into a flat disk, then brushed with sesame oil and scallions. But instead of layering the dough, the disk is rolled up tightly like a jelly roll, then spiraled into a cinnamon-bun-like shape. Finally, the bun is flattened out so that the fat and scallions are evenly spread throughout the dough.

One other important element is that, like dumpling wrappers, this dough is made using boiling water, creating an almost paste-like dough that has a tender tug to it when cooked. It also happens to be easier to roll out than your typical, springy pizza dough.

When fried, the hot water and lamination treatments result is a crisp, flaky, and slightly chewy pancakes.

More »
Loading...