Friday, September 22, 2017

How to Make Spätzle (aka Spaetzle) – Little Sparrows for Big Meat

Apparently “Spätzle” translates to “little sparrows” in German, which makes a lot of sense when you consider their shape. What doesn’t make sense is why these micro-dumplings are also called “spaetzle.” Is it an alternate spelling? A different recipe? I’m hoping maybe some of our German foodwishers can clear this up.

Since my favorite German restaurant calls this stuff spätzle, that’s what I went with, and they are as easy to make, as they are hard to correctly pronounce. You only need a few ingredients, all of which you generally have on hand at all times, and they take just minutes to cook.

Once boiled, you can toss in butter like I did, or sauce them any way you’d sauce similarly shaped pasta. While wonderful served as-is, they make the perfect side dish to any large hunk of slowly braised meat. I paired mine with a pork shoulder stewed in hard cider, and it was amazing.

I thought I’d posted a video for that, but it was actually a cider-braised pork cheeks recipe I was thinking of, which would work perfectly here. So, I may have to do a braised pork shoulder after all. In the meantime, I’m sure you’ll have little trouble figuring out what to serve yours with, and I really do hope you give this Spätzle recipe a try soon. Enjoy!


Makes 2 portions:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus more to adjust
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch of cayenne
1 tablespoon cream fraiche, sour cream, or yogurt
3 tablespoons milk

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Almond Biscotti – Because Winter is Coming

This biscotti video is another installment in our long-running series, “Recipes I Can’t Believe I Haven’t Posted Yet.” But, while I took my sweet time recording this classic Italian dipping cookie, at least I picked a good time to finally feature it, since winter is coming, and with it, plenty of cookie-appropriate occasions.

I decided to go with a very straightforward version, since that’s my personal favorite, but that doesn’t mean you can’t jazz these up in any number of ways.  Different nuts, like hazelnut and/or pistachio work beautifully in these, as does any type of dried fruit. And of course, dipping these in dark chocolate is never a bad idea.

By the way, don’t let that cup of sugar fool you. These are not particularly sweet cookies, and there’s a good reason for that. Traditionally, these are served to dip into sweet dessert wines, like Vin Santo, which is why we don’t want them too sugary to begin with. That’s also the reason why we really do want these crunchy all the way through.

I was pretty noncommittal with the cooking time once these are sliced and put back in the oven, since depending on the size and shape, your baking times will vary greatly. The best plan is to keep peaking at them once they get close, and wait for that perfect golden brown. So, with my apologies for bringing up the holidays so early, I’ll finish by saying I really do hope you give these almond biscotti a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 28-30 cookies:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt (1/2 teaspoon kosher)
3 tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup roasted whole almonds
1/2 cup roasted chopped almonds
- Bake loaves at 350 F., let cool 15 minutes before slicing, and then finish at 325 F. until golden brown, and crunchy

Friday, September 15, 2017

Crispy Basket Burritos – For Once, Oven-Baked is Better Than Fried

I worked at a Mexican restaurant while in college, and one of my least favorite tasks was frying the flour tortilla bowls. You had to hold the two parts of the basket that formed them together while they fried, all the while getting splattered by hot fat, and breathing grease vapors. It wasn’t fun, but they did come out nice and crispy, so to everyone else involved, it was totally worth it.

Here, we’re using the oven to achieve what I consider a superior product. They’re just as beautiful, and crispy as the ones from the deep fryer, but seem to be much less greasy. Not to mention, the mess is significantly less. I’ll trade those things for a few extra minutes production time any day.

Just be careful not to burn them trying to get the inside bottom crispy. Since that area is protected from the sides, it’s not going to get as browned, but it doesn’t have to. As soon as this is filled, no one will know the difference. Speaking of filling, deciding that is probably the hardest part of this whole operation, but I’m confident you’ll come up with something worthy. I really hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 Crispy Basket Burrito Shells (aka Tortilla Bowls, or Tostada Shells):
2 flour tortillas (about 8 inches in diameter)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
oven safe ramekin, about 4 inches in diameter

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Chicken Tinga – Torn Between Two Lovers

Whenever I’m ordering something with chicken at a taqueria, I’m always presented with the same three choices. The grilled chicken, the green chicken, which is cooked in a tomatillo sauce, and the red chicken, also know as chicken tinga.

I usually forgo the grilled option, since whatever I’m ordering almost always benefits from sauce; which leaves me with the nearly impossible decision of choosing between the red and the green. I love both, so I’m always torn. By the way, in Mexican culinary lingo, tinga means, “torn.”

Anyway, now that the title makes sense, I can finish this post up by reiterating how great this came out. There are faster methods to make this, but taking the extra time to reduce the cooking liquid, as well as possibly the sauce, really pays off in the end.

The real challenge here is deciding how to use it. You can’t go wrong with tacos, but my favorite delivery system is tostados. Fry up a corn or flour tortilla nice and crisp; top with tinga, and garnish with the usual suspects. It doesn’t get any better than that…unless the tortilla is shaped into a bowl, which I’ll show you how to do quickly, and mess-free, in the next video. Until then, I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 6 large portions:
3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
3 cloves peeled whole garlic cloves
1 large yellow onion, halved
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 can (7-oz) chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 can (28-oz) peeled plum tomatoes (I recommend using San Marzano) or 3 1/2 cups of any fresh or canned tomato product
2 tablespoons olive oil or reserved chicken fat
1 large onion, diced
Cotija cheese and cilantro to garnish