Normandie Kitchen

Shared food in a share house

Braised pork belly, with optional figs

An unctuous, and savory delight. We only let ourselves make braised pork belly once every six months or so. It’s wonderful served over rice, or as a component of the Normandie Wedding Banh Mi. Braised pork belly is a special treat, made with fresh figs in the summer. It ends up sticky, and slightly sweet — kind of like a pork jam. At another time of year, you can substitute coconut juice or guava nectar for the figs, and add a little bit of caramel for flavour.

Wendy, Brad

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Zesty tomato rotini salad

At the height of summer, the glut of spectacular tomatoes can be almost overwhelming. Even after tomatoes with olive oil and salt, pan con tomate, goose-bump inducing BLTs, panzanella, and gazpacho, there are still tomatoes demanding to be be used, and getting old and mushy. This pasta salad takes advantage of both fully ripe tomatoes, in pieces, and somewhat overripe tomatoes, as a bright salsa-style vinaigrette. It would be good with fresh mozarella or capers, or just as it is. We make it a little bit spicy, but suit yourself.

rotini and basil
pasta salad

Brad

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Watermelon, mint and feta salad

It’s a truth generally acknowledged, that any fruit is improved with chili, salt and lime juice. Whether you’re eating green mango and cucumber in Thailand, or papaya and pineapple in Los Angeles, that trinity of seasonings brings out sweetness and flavour from the fruit. This salad is a hybrid of that ubiquitous summer street vendor fruit, with Egyptian watermelon and feta salad, and made a bit heartier with a few North African favours. It’s pretty much a recipe without a recipe, so tweak it as you see fit, on a hot summer day when you don’t feel like cooking.

watermelon feta and cumin salad

Brad
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Mazin Elhadry

Everyone is number one in their own category. But that never stopped Mazin from trying to become the number one salsa maker, the number one dumpling ninja, the number one hummusizer, or the number one chimichurrist. From his first forays in making gyouza and coconut milk-agar jelly, sitting on a pre-furniture Normandie kitchen floor; to his enthusiastic participation in the very literal blood-bath of the first Normandie sausage fest, Mazin helped us perfect our techniques, and several dishes still bear his indelible stamp. Chimichurri is now, and forever will be, Mazin Sauce.

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Chimichurri

This is a bright, herbal, pungent sauce that works well with any kind of grilled meat. Or bread, or cheese. Or potatoes. Or on cold pasta, or on warm pasta. It would probably be great with fish, too. It’s originally an Argentian sauce, and we always make it when we prepare grilled skirt steak; but we inevitably end up dumping it on everything, and even simply eating it with a spoon.

chimichirri and hangar steak

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Coriander shiro pickles

These pickles were a regular feature in a French restaurant in Yonago (Japan). The restaurant served sophisticated Japanese-inflected French cuisine, and it was a revelation to me — coming fresh from rural Nova Scotia. These marinated vegetables in particular stuck with me. They are a combination of typically Japanese vegetables — primarily lotus root and gobo. But the marinade is a European-style combination of white wine vinegar, and olive oil, with floral and citrus flavours from the abundant coriander seed.

shiro_zuke

Brad
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Beef cheeks (carrillada) with port, apple, and honey

This is a simple to prepare Andalusian tapas. It also makes a perfect main, or a component of a big Andalusian feast (we’ve done it — it’s spectacular). This recipe takes the more common soffrito-and-wine preparation for cheek meat, and gives it a light, sweet, early autumn afternoon flavour with the addition of honey and apple.

carrillada

Brad, Eliseo

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Chili oil (hong you)

Chinese red oil (红油, or the equivalent, Japanese raiyu らい油) is a critical ingredient in any number of Sichuanese dishes, including sesame noodles, or husband-wife boiled beef slices. It’s great with black vinegar, as a dumpling sauce. And it’s versatile enough to use with other kinds of cuisine as a spicy condiment. It’s a beautiful ruby red color, and has a fantastic toasty aroma. You can buy it, if you like, but it’s ridiculously simple to make. It might look intimidatingly fiery, but the flavour is a mellow, slow heat (even if you use spicy chili flakes).
chili_oil
Brad, Ulli
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Mythili Menon

mythiliMythili is a frequent visitor in our kitchen, and usurper of the stove. She isa linguistics student at USC (soon tenure track professor in Kansas!), from Kochi, Kerala, and is passionate about southern Indian food.

She’s also passionate (maybe a little inappropriately passionate?) about Kochi, as her following verse attests:

Every time you visit Kochi, you are rekindled with memories and melancholia, for Kochi is a good book on a rainy day, a warm drink on a sad day, a cool breeze on a hot and humid summer day, but most of all Kochi is a lover, holding you close day after day.

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