Normandie Kitchen

Shared food in a share house

Tag: brad

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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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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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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Tabouli

Tabouli (or tabbouleh) is one of the quickest, most versatile salads you can make, and is based on a few simple ingredients. It’s a visceral pleasure to prepare, because your fingers and hands will end up covered in fragrant parsley, mint, lemon and olive oil before you’re done. The process of chopping, mixing, and smelling (and tasting) is almost more satisying the serving the final salad. It can be served as a bright summer salad on its own, or as an accompaniment to grilled meat and kebab, almost like chimichurri. It can be made with couscous or bulgur; grain free; or you can substitute in quinoa, or even white beans or lentils. Just make sure to use plenty of mint, lemon, and olive oil.

tabboulli

Brad
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Harissa

Harissa is  a dark red, hot, and highly spiced sauce common across North Africa, from Morocco to Tunisia. It can be made with a variety of spices, usually inlcuding caraway, cumin and coriander seed. It’s wonderful as a marinade for meat. It’s a great seasoning for olives, lupinos, and feta cheese (perhaps together with preserved lemons). It works well as a side for stews and vegetables; or a sauce for kebab. It’s also perfect for a making a quick, flavourful pasta sauce.

Because the spices are typical of many cuisines, from around the Mediterranean, into Iran and India, harissa is an ideal all-purpose condiment when you’re serving people who have variable spice tolerances. It saved my life in Japan, when spicy food was hard to come by, and my SO found even black pepper painfully hot.
bottled_harissa

Brad

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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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