Saturday, August 5, 2017

Bangers and Mash (British-Style Sausage Patties with Mashed Potatoes and Onion Gravy)

After our recent trip to the UK, I was inspired to make my own version of Bangers and Mash or sausage and mashed potatoes with onion gravy - traditional pub grub which I first tried at the Marquess of Anglesey in Covent Garden (also served every morning at the breakfast bar in our hotel in London, the Novotel Paddington). Since I didn't have a sausage maker or casings on hand, I decided to make sausage patties instead. The herbs and spices I've used were culled from a number of recipes I found online. I've also learned that what distinguishes English bangers from other sausages is the use of a filler (e.g., bread crumbs). Gil loves the onion gravy so much that I think he'll never eat sausage or mashed potatoes again without it! A great dish for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

2 lbs. ground pork (fattier is better - do not use the lean or extra lean variety)
3/4 tsp. ground mace
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground sage
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves (or 2 tsp. fresh)
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
1-2 slices white bread, broken up into small pieces (or lightly pulsed in food processor)
1 tbsp. chopped fresh chives for garnish

1. Combine all the ingredients (except for the chives) together in a bowl and, using your hands (wear disposable gloves if you have them), mix together very well.

2. Divide the mixture into two and shape each into a log, then wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use. If the pork is fresh, it should keep for 3-4 days in the frig. Otherwise, place in a Ziploc bag and freeze. 

3. In the meantime, make the mashed potatoes* and onion gravy**

4. To cook: slice the sausage log into 1/2" thick patties. Place in a hot saute pan in a single layer and add a little water. Reduce heat and simmer until the patties are almost cooked through, about 6-8 minutes. Turn the heat up to high and sear each side 1-2 minutes or until browned. 

5. Place a scoop of mashed potatoes on a plate and arrange 2-3 sausage patties over. Garnish with some chopped chives and serve with the onion gravy on the side. 

Spice blend: mace, nutmeg, ground ginger, ground sage, thyme leaves, oregano leaves, 
onion powder, black pepper, kosher salt.

 Add the spice blend to the ground pork.

 Add the fresh bread crumbs. Use your hands to mix everything together very well.

Divide the pork mixture in half. 

Shape each portion into a log and wrap with plastic wrap, twisting the ends to tighten. 

Tie the ends of the plastic wrap into a knot and cut off excess. 
Refrigerate or freeze until ready to use. 


*Mashed Potatoes:
4 Yukon Gold potatoes (1 for each serving), peeled
Heavy cream
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
Salt & pepper

1. Bring to a boil a medium, salted pot of water.

2. Add the potatoes and cook for about 20 minutes or until they are soft when pierced with a fork.

3. Drain the potatoes and return to the pan. Add the butter and heavy cream, according to your preference. Season with salt and pepper. Mash the potatoes with a fork or potato masher until smooth. Cover and set aside. 

**Onion Gravy:
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 tbsp. flour
2 cups unsalted beef stock
1 bay leaf
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Add the sliced onions, season with a little salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned. 

2. Add the flour and stir well to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute to cook out the raw taste of the flour.

3. Add the beef stock and bay leaf. Stir well and bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, 5-6 minutes or until the gravy has thickened. Taste and season with extra salt and pepper as needed. 

 Sliced onion and unsalted beef stock.

 Saute the onions over medium high heat; season with salt and pepper.

When the onions are lightly browned, stir in the flour.  

 Add the beef stock and simmer until thickened. 
Season with additional salt and pepper as needed.

Place a dollop of mashed potatoes on the plate and top with sausage patties. 
Garnish with chopped chives and serve with the onion gravy on the side.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Pasta with Chicken & Bacon in a Tomato, White Wine, and Basil Cream Sauce

After binge-reading my latest batch of vintage (aka used) cookbooks that I recently bought from Amazon, I came across this little gem from 2001 Dear SOS: Favorite Restaurant Recipes from the Los Angeles Times by Rose Dosti. This was the third in a series of Dear SOS cookbooks published since 1994 - a compendium of their most popular reader-requested restaurant recipes that appeared in the LA Times food section. Here's my adaptation of the Fusilli with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream from Misto Caffe in Torrance which, unlike some of the featured restaurants in the cookbook (Hamburger Hamlet, Velvet Turtle, Ritz-Carlton Huntington Pasadena, Chasen's, Little Joe's LA, The Broadway Department Store LA, etc.) is still open as of today. My main changes were adding 3 fresh tomatoes in addition to the sun-dried, using fresh rather than roasted garlic, and cavatappi (corkscrew) pasta rather than fusilli, even though you can substitute whatever other pasta floats your boat. The quote for this recipe in the cookbook is "unforgettably rich and creamy," which it really is!

1 lb. pasta (fusilli, cavatappi, or farfalle all work well, but feel free to use your fav)
3-4 slices thick-cut bacon, thinly sliced/chopped
1 lb. chicken tenders, cut into large dice
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 medium red or yellow onion, finely chopped
3 medium, ripe tomatoes, chopped
6-8 oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup basil leaves, julienned
1/4 cup white wine
2 cups heavy cream
2 tbsp. grated or shredded parmesan
Salt & pepper
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, optional

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package instructions.

2. In the meantime, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat and cute the onion, garlic and bacon until the onion in translucent and the bacon just starting to brown. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned and cooked through. Season with salt and pepper. 

3. Add the chopped fresh tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, wine, and most of the basil (reserve 1-2 tbsp. for garnish). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for 8-10 minutes. 

4. Add the heavy cream and 2 tbsp. parmesan and bring sauce up to a boil. Cook until the sauce starts to thicken. Toss in the drained pasta and stir well, cooking another 1-2 minutes. Turn off heat and adjust for seasonings (salt & pepper). If desired, stir in red pepper flakes. If the sauce is too thick, add a few spoonfuls of the pasta cooking water to thin out. 

5. Plate the pasta and garnish with the reserved julienned basil and extra parmesan. 

 Basil, chopped fresh tomato, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, white wine, heavy cream, chopped onion, chopped garlic, sliced bacon.

 Chicken tenders cut into large dice.

 Cavatappi (corkscrew) pasta. Feel free to substitute with farfalle, fusilli, or any other pasta 
that floats your boat.

 Saute the onion, garlic and bacon until the onion is translucent.

 Add the fresh and sun dried tomatoes. Stir in the chicken and cook until lightly browned.

 Add most of the julienned fresh basil (reserve 1-2 tbsp. for garnish) and white wine, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to simmer.

 Simmer 8-10 minutes.

 Add cream and 2 tbsp. parmesan.

 Cook until the sauce starts to thicken.

 Stir in the cooked pasta, toss well, and simmer another 1-2 minutes. If the sauce is too thick, add a few spoons of the pasta cooking water. Season with red pepper flakes and additional salt and pepper as needed.

 Plate and garnish with the reserved basil and additional shredded parmesan, if desired.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Vanilla Sponge Cake

I developed this sponge cake recipe after first making it for the coconut cake that I made for my dad's 90th birthday. It is more of a white sponge cake than a yellow, but it's most definitely vanilla in flavor. The texture is just right - soft, moist and fluffy, so I now use it as my go-to recipe for any dessert that requires a sponge cake. 

1 tbsp. butter, room temperature (for the pans)
1 cup whole milk, room temperature

5 large egg whites, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out and reserved plus 1 tsp. vanilla extract (or use 2 tsp. vanilla bean paste)

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. iodized salt
12 tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pcs. (slightly cold)

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Butter and flour two 9 x 2" round cake pans; line the bottoms with rounds of parchment (you can buy parchment rounds in some specialty food stores, or just use scissors and cut them out.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, egg whites, whole egg, vanillas seeds and vanilla extract (or 2 tsp. vanilla bean paste)

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer (use the paddle attachment), add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. 

5. With mixer on low speed, add the butter, one piece at a time.

 6. Continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs. 

7. Add all but 1/2 cup of the milk mixture and beat on medium until pale and fluffy, about 1 1/2 minutes. 

8. With mixer on low, add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture. Increase speed to medium and beat 30 seconds more. Scrape down sides of bowl and mix for another 20 seconds. 

9. Divide batter evenly between the 2 cake pans and smooth tops over with a rubber spatula. 

10. Bake 22-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in pans on baking rack for 10 minutes. Run a small knife around the sides of the pan and invert the cakes onto a baking rack. Let cool completely, about 45 minutes.

Use in whatever cake recipe you'd like. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Basque-Style Seafood Stew (Sopa de Pescados y Mariscos a la Vasca)



1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 green bell pepper, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 tbsp. finely chopped garlic
2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp. tomato paste
Two 8-oz. bottles of clam juice
1 cup water
1 lb. bass, cod, monkfish or red snapper filets, cubed
1/2 lb. medium shrimp, shelled and deveined (reserve the shells)
2 lbs. mussels or manila clams
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme
1/4 tsp. Espilette or cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
Pinch of saffron
1/4 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley

Aioli and toasted baguette