Normandie Kitchen

Shared food in a share house

Category: Mains

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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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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Okra with tomatoes and vinegar

This is one of the best ways to eat okra. The okra binds the oil and tomato together into a luscious, slippery stew. You can use fresh, or frozen okra. You can cut the okra into rings, or just slice them into halves down the middle. Typical of Portuguese influenced cooking, this Angolan recipe has a little vinegar in it. It’s wonderful as-is, for a veggie main, or side dish. You can also add a whole, cut up chicken and turn it into a hearty meal (like a bare-bones muambha de gallina).okra_tomato

Matilde

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Kerala pepper chicken

An intensely aromatic, spicy chicken from the state of Kerala, in the southwest of India. Like a lot of food from Kerala, mustard seed and curry leaf are prominent. With the sweetness of the onion, the richness of the chicken, and the fresh spiciness—it’s crave worthy. We were literally stealing the last few pieces off each-others’ plates. We made this at the Normandie house, as part of a big Indian-food-and-Bollywood night, with our good friend Mythili (check out her great blog!) who’s a regular collaborative cooker in our kitchen. It was perfect with a coconutty egg roast, and some chapati, rice, and beer.kerala chicken

–Mythili Menon

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Cauliflower kuku (frittata)

This is a very good, simple-to-prepare, dish. It’s a great main, or side-dish, or tapas. It’s got a rich flavour from the browned onions and cauliflower, and a great texture — somewhere between a torta and a quiche. It’s also a pretty effortless dish, so it’s a great addition to any big meal, Persian or otherwise.
cauliflower_kukuEliseo
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Ground lamb kebab (kubideh)

This kebab has a perfect oniony-meaty flavour, and a fantastic texture — a completely satisfying, kebab experience. Because of a dispiriting lack of decent Mediterranean street food in LA, we turn to this recipe to beat the doner kebab cravings. Kubideh is perfect served with rice, or in a wrap. It’s (of course) best done over charcoal, but it’s easy to make under a broiler, too.
kebab
Brad, Eliseo

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Chile con carne (Texas red)

Few foods are as iconic, and deeply embedded in the American Southwest, and northern Mexico as chili rojo con carne. The origins of this recipe are with the vaqueros and rancheros of northern Mexico; and it’s traditionally been made with little more than chunks of steak, chili, and cumin; onion, garlic and oregano.

The definition of “classic chili” can be contentious, and ground for heated, almost violent, debate. If you grew up in the north, midwest, or especially the northeast, you’re probably thinking of a tomatoey stew, with red beans, and optional ground beef. Maybe with corn. That “chili” has nothing to do with the dark, earthy, moderate-to spicy classic version. There are no beans. There is no corn. There’s very little tomato. This version is within that tradition — similar to Texas red, or Eliseo’s mother’s chili.

finished_chili

Brad, Eliseo

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Pork and mustard greens (aka Wendy soup)

Wendy soup (or canh cải chua) is one of the simplest, most delicious soups you can make in winter. It’s pretty much nothing more than cải chua (fermented mustard greens), and soup-cut pork ribs. The bones make a flavourful stock, the pickles balance the richness, and the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender. As you can tell from the name, Wendy grew up eating it, and introduced it to the Normandie house. It’s in pretty heavy rotation, when the days get short. In this version, we take advantage of something that’s usually a negative — unripe, green tomatoes are common in winter, and are perfect in this soup.  Otherwise, daikon is more traditional.

Canh Cải Chua

Wendy
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Red-braised pork belly

We’re only allowed to make braised pork belly twice a year. After all, you can only fly so close to the sun, before you fall to earth. It’s glorious. Chunks of unctuous meat layered with tender fat, simmering in a sweet-and-savoury-sauce, until they come to sticky, slippery, soft perfection; bathed in a “sauce” of glistening oil. pork_belly

Ulli and Thomas
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Sesame sauce noodles

This versatile recipe might sound like an absurd, five-year-old’s invention — spaghetti with peanut butter. But you can make this remixed Sichuan dish with little more than those two ingredients. In Chinese, the original is called cold noodles with chicken slivers (雞絲涼麵), and, accordingly, it’s usually made with chicken. But if you’re happy to bastardise it, this recipe works with whatever happens to be in the fridge (I love cucumber, eggs, and tomato; but leftover chicken, celery, bean sprouts, tofu or mushrooms would work). Infinitely flexible, infinitely delicous, this is a staple meal, for Brad, Wendy, and Joyce. Thomas suspects it might be the perfect, post-zombie apocalypse dinner. Master it now, before the walking dead appear.

chicken sliver noodles

Brad, Wendy, Joyce

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