Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Reviews and Red Beans

I was at the airport, anticipating my visit to Texas and my cooking class at Revival Market and biding my time at the newsstand when I saw it.

I’d already seen it online, but there it was in the Fine Cooking August/September print edition, on “The Reading List” between reviews of Fire & Smoke and The Essential New York Times Grilling Cookbook. And you know that person you see alone in a public place smiling a bit too broadly for seemingly no reason at all? I became that person. A grin from ear to ear on my face, I had to fight the overwhelming urge to show all the strangers in my immediate vicinity. I quickly paid for just one copy (I did consider buying the whole stack) and ran out of the store to call family and friends to spread the good news. I didn’t feel bad for a second boasting that Fine Cooking describes Marinades as “the kind of utilitarian cookbook I will turn to again and again on a busy weeknight when I want to switch up the flavor of my usual grilled chicken (or pork, or steak, or fish).”

So how about a taste of some of the recipes in the book? BookPage offers up the Grilled Lamb Rib Chops with Curry Marinade. The Detroit News includes that one as well as the Grilled Baby Back Ribs with Asian Plum Marinade, Grilled Chicken Breasts with All-Purpose Tex-Mex Marinade, Shashlik with Shashlik Marinade, and Grilled Fruit with Caramel-Vanilla Syrup along with this interview with yours truly. Kate Lawson says, “Vaserfirer basically has never met a food she hasn’t tried to drown, and I mean that in a good way.” I love that! I also love that they ran my Shashlik photo BIG in their print edition!

For more Marinades, tune into AM Northwest between 9:20AM and 9:40AM on Tuesday, August 12. I’ll be demoing another delicious recipe from the book.

Speaking of the visit to Texas, we decided to make fajitas with Pico de Gallo, Guacamole, and homemade flour tortillas for dinner one night when I was there. This menu was decided on just as we stood before the vast meat case at Central Market. As I began to inquire about skirt steak, my mother guided me over to the pre-marinated meats. She insisted we get their pre-marinated meat for fajitas because it was her favorite. Can you believe it? Could my own mother betray me like that?! “I didn’t just write an entire cookbook with 200 marinades to buy that pre-marinated stuff.” She later claimed my rebuke was accompanied by “that scornful look”. Whatever. We bought the fresh meat, soaked it in my Carne Asada Marinade overnight, and I showed her what’s what. She wrote on her Facebook page, and I quote, “I will never buy pre-marinated meat again. Lucy’s recipe made the best fajitas we ever had.” Vindication is mine!

You can find the Carne Asada Marinade recipe in the book, so here’s another dish that’s often requested of me when I visit the fam in Texas.

New Orleans Red Beans & Rice
Printable Recipe

1 ½ pounds red kidney beans, picked over and rinsed
¼ cup canola oil
3 yellow onions, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
5 stalks celery, diced
8 to 10 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ pounds andouille, sliced
1 2-pound smoked ham hock
2 tablespoons Tabasco sauce
Kosher salt
Cooked long grain white rice, for serving
Sliced green onions, for serving
Minced Italian parsley, for serving

Place the beans into a large bowl and add enough water to cover by several inches. Cover with plastic wrap and let soak overnight at room temperature.

Drain the beans. Heat a large, heavy pot over medium-low heat until very hot but not smoking. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pot. Add the onions and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, or until soft. Add the bell peppers and celery and sauté for another 10 to 12 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic and sauté 1 to 2 minutes more, or until fragrant. Add 2 ½ quarts water and the beans, bay leaves, thyme, pepper, white pepper, cayenne, Worcestershire, andouille, and ham hock. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 2 ½ hours, or until the beans are very tender. Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaves. Remove the ham hock to a cutting board and let rest for about 15 minutes, or until just cool enough to handle. Remove 3 ladlesful of the beans to a bowl and mash with a potato masher. When the ham hock is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bone and chop. Return the pork and beans to the pot. Return to the heat, bring to a boil, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the desired consistency. Stir in the Tabasco and season to taste with salt. To serve, spoon some of the rice into the center of each bowl, ladle the beans over the rice, and sprinkle with the green onions and parsley.

Serves 12 to 14. Mashing a portion of the beans ensures that the results are creamy and thick.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Marinades in the Media

Marinades has been getting some good buzz in the press lately. Verbatim says it’s “a book that will solve all of your ‘what do I make for dinner’ worries for the next year or so”. Pen & Fork calls it one of their “Books of Summer”. Fine Cooking says, “When I say that I can make most of Lucy Vaserfirer's 200 marinades with ingredients I always have on hand at home, I mean it as a high compliment. This is the kind of utilitarian cookbook I will turn to again and again on a busy weeknight when I want to switch up the flavor of my usual grilled chicken (or pork, or steak, or fish).” BookPage calls it a “remarkable, remarkably doable compilation, a virtual ode to the liquid concoctions that make the ordinary extraordinary”. I can’t help but feel like a proud momma right now!

Speaking of media mentions, Flavored Butters gets a shout-out in this Chicago Tribune article about radishes.

By the way, do you know what’s on the menu for this holiday weekend? Marinades has all of the inspiration you need. Happy 4th of July, everybody!
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