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Second Annual Twin Cities RFC Picnic

Jack S

First off, let me concur with what's been posted so far: it was great to get to meet in person folks whose recipes I've enjoyed over the net. Nice to get away from the CRT for awhile, and see real, live human beings, too.

The recipes I brought were largely experiments, and to some degree I'll need to reconstruct them from memory here. Accordingly, if any of you net-folks are wond'ring about the measurements, take them as approximate.

I'll get in touch with Hsiao-chi to get her Taiwanese sushi recipe. It was similar to Japanese maki -- vinegared rice surrounding a filling, with the whole thing wrapped in nori -- but differed in the filling. She used some dried ground pork, egg, and pickled radish (which I'm guessing was daikon). Anyway, I'll get details and post them. Meantime, here're my recipes:

Seven Grain Salad*

2 stalks lemongrass, cut into 1.5" chunks
2 shallots, peeled/diced
1/2" knob ginger, sliced thinly
1/4" knob galangal, sliced thinly
5 sprigs cilantro
10 corriander seeds
5 black peppercorns
5 c. water

2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, diced
1/2 c. Wehani rice
1/2 c. wild rice
3/4 c. hulled barley
1/4 c. whole buckwheat
1/2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
1/2 c. millet
1/4 c. amaranth
1/4 c. quinoa
pinch saffron
pinch salt
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbs. sherry vinegar
3 sprigs peppermint, chopped
small bunch opal basil, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

To make the stock: combine all ingredients. Boil, then simmer for 1/2 hr. Strain. You'll wind up with roughly 4 cups.

  1. Heat 1 Tbs. of the olive oil in a saucepan, medium heat. Sweat one of the shallots. Meanwhile, toast the barley, buckwheat, and rices in a dry cast-iron skillet over medium low. Soak the porcini mushrooms in water.
  2. When the chopped shallot has turned translucent, toss in the barley, buckwheat, and the two rices. Stir to coat, as if making a pilaf. Add the stock; if you wound up with less than 4 cups, make up the difference in volume with water. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt. Bring up to a boil, then simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Check to see that the liquid has not all been absorbed or evaporated; if the liquid is nearly gone, add another 1/2 c. water. Stir in the porcini mushrooms, adding their soaking liquid if you like. Cover, and cook another 20 minutes. Spread on a baking sheet to cool, draining off excess liquid if necessary.
  3. Toast the millet, amaranth, and quinoa in a cast-iron skillet for 3-4 minutes. You can use the same skillet as before if you like. Transfer the grains to a bowl. In the same skillet (or a larger one if you used a fairly small skillet so far), add 1 Tbs. of the olive oil and turn the heat to medium. Sweat the remaining shallot. Soften the saffron threads in 1/2 c. of warm water.
  4. When the shallot has turned translucent, add the millet, amaranth, quinoa, and salt. Toss to coat. Add 2 c. water, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Check to see that the water has not all been absorbed or evaporated; if the water is low, add some more. Add in the saffron with its soaking liquid. Cover, and cook 10 more minutes. Cool on a baking sheet.
  5. Fluff the cooked grains with a fork, then transfer to a large bowl. Toss with remaining 1/4 c. olive oil, the sherry vinegar, and the herbs.

* Okay, three of my so-called "grains" aren't really grains (buckwheat, quinoa, and amaranth). But, like, they're used as grains. One of the picnic guests noted that millet is bird seed, and suggested an alternate name for this recipe: Bird Seed Salad.

Kvas Klyukvennyi (Cranberry Kvass)

1 12-oz. bag cranberries
5 1/4 c. boiling water
3/4 c. + 1 tsp (or 1 cube) sugar (I used turbinado)
3/8 tsp. cream of tartar
1 pkg active dry yeast

  1. Put the berries in a large corningware or similar vessel, and pop them with a potato masher. Cover with boiling water to extract the juice. Let stand for 12 hours.
  2. Strain out the berries, and set aside for another use (as in the next recipe). From the strained liquid, remove 1/4 c to a small bowl, and combine with 1 tsp. sugar. Heat the mixture in the microwave for 12 seconds to lukewarm, add the yeast, and let proof for 5 minutes.
  3. To the remaining strained cranberry juice, add the sugar, cream of tartar, and yeast mixture. Cover, and let stand in a warm place for 8 hours.
  4. Strain the fermented cranberry juice (which is now kvass), bottle, and leave at room temperature for another 8 hours. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

I've made the kvass again, with baker's yeast again (as my recipes specify), and have avoided the yeasty smell. When I made it two days ago, I bottled the kvass after giving the yeast 8 hours to ferment; the stuff at the picnic had fermented for more like 10 - 12 hours. The shorter fermentation time seemed to do the trick.

Chocolate Angel Food Cake with Frosted Cranberry Topping

12 egg whites, from large eggs (1 2/3 c.)
2 1/2 oz. (3/4 c.) pastry flour*
1 oz. (1/4 c.) Dutch-process cocoa
5 oz. (1 1/3 c.) confectioners' sugar
5 oz. (1 c.) granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
dash salt
grated rind from one medium grapefruit
1 Tbs. cognac
remains of 1 12-oz. bag of cranberries that were used in last recipe
1 egg white
5 oz. (1 c.) granulated sugar

  1. Beat the dozen egg whites on low until foamy. Add the cream of tartar, and increase speed to medium. Gradually add in the granulated sugar, and beat until thick and fluffy but not stiff. Preheat oven to 325, and move racks so that cake pan will rest on bottom third.
  2. Sift together the pastry flour, cocoa, confectioners' sugar, and salt. Sprinkle one-fourth of the mixture atop the beaten egg whites. Fold into the egg mixture, then repeat three times. Fold in the zest and 1 Tbs. cognac. Bake at 325 for 50 minutes, rotating halfway through cooking time. Cool on rack and unmold.
  3. Beat the remaining egg white until foamy. Pour in the cranberries, and toss to coat. PH oven to 150 (or whatever your lowest setting is).
  4. Put the sugar in a large bowl, and add the cranberries. Toss until the berries are completely coated with sugar. Spread on baking sheet, and cook in oven for 15 minutes, or until the sugar has melted.
  5. Transfer berries to a sheet of waxed paper, and separate into a single layer so that the frosting can harden. Let stand overnight at room temperature.
  6. Sprinkle the frosted cranberries over the cake.

* I use pastry rather than cake flour because I'm also using cocoa powder. Since cocoa powder lacks any protein, I compensate with the pastry flour, which has slightly higher protein content than cake flour.

NOTE: The cranberries prepared in this way are known as klyukva s sakharom, which seems to be Russian for "frosted cranberries" (though I don't know for sure, as I don't speak Russian).

Sukhariki (Russian Biscotti)

2 eggs
3/4 c. turbinado sugar (forget what this weighed)
1 c. (4 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 c. hazelnuts
cooking spray
1 8" loaf pan

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Toast the hazelnuts on a baking tray for 10 minutes. Remove, cover with a towel, and reduce oven temperature to 300. Using the towel, rub the skins off the toasted nuts. After you've taken the skin off your nuts, chop them with a large kitchen knife or cleaver.
  2. Mix together the flour and chopped nuts. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs and the sugar, and beat with an electric mixer until fluffy. Blend the flour/ nut mixture into the egg mixture.
  3. Spray the loaf pan with cooking spray, and transfer the batter to the loaf pan. Bake at 300 for 50 minutes, turning once.
  4. Unmold the loaf into a dampened towel, wrap, and let cool for 4 hours. Slice the cooled loaf 1/3" thick.
  5. Preheat oven to 250. Place the slices on a baking tray, and dry in the oven for 3 hours, or until nicely golden and crisp, flipping the sukhariki after each hour.

Rhubarb Granita

1 c. water
3/4 c. sugar
2 sprigs peppermint
2 lbs. rhubarb stalks, cut into 1.5" slices
pinch salt
juice of 1 lemon

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Roast the rhubarb with 1 sprig of peppermint, the salt, and the lemon juice, covered, for 40 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the sugar, water, and remaining sprig of peppermint. Bring to a boil, then let cool.
  3. Combine the roasted rhubarb with 1 c. of the syrup, discarding the peppermint from both. (Reserve the remaining syrup for another use.) Puree in blender, then freeze, scraping occasionally.

Pretty sure that's it. Comments/suggestions welcome.

--Jack S.

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