July 4th

Bulgogi

This is not your grandmother’s flanken. But it is flanken, aka shortribs. And this meat can be tough and chewy, which is why grandma poached it in soup or in a slow-cooker with some good brown gravy or sweet and sour sauce.  I loved grandma’s flanken.  But, maybe because I don’t eat meat that often and yet think of myself as a devoted carnivore, I decided to put flanken and summer together using a grill.  So I made Bulgogi, a Korean dish in which the shortribs marinate in a soy-sesame oil based sauce before being grilled.  Yes, the meat is not as tender as other cuts, like rib. But much cheaper and, for meat lovers, gives quite a satisfying resilience. I served the Bulgogi with sauteed bok choy and steamed rice.  YUM.    Bulgogi    1/4 cup soy sauce 3 tablespoons sugar 2 tablespoons sake (or rice wine or sherry) 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 tablespoon sesame oil 3 scallions, minced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, finely crushed  1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper  3 pounds flanken or boneless short rib toasted sesame seeds for garnish, optional  Place the soy sauce, sugar, sake, vegetable oil, sesame oil, scallion, garlic, sesame seeds and crushed red pepper in a bowl and stir, making sure to dissolve the sugar. Place the beef in a non-reactive dish and turn the pieces to coat all sides. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Preheat the oven broiler or outdoor grill (or use a grill pan), skewer the meat and grill for 3-4 minutes per side or until crispy and done to your liking. Garnish with a small amount of toasted sesame seeds if desired.    Makes 4-6 servings

This is not your grandmother’s flanken. But it is flanken, aka shortribs. And this meat can be tough and chewy, which is why grandma poached it in soup or in a slow-cooker with some good brown gravy or sweet and sour sauce.

I loved grandma’s flanken.

But, maybe because I don’t eat meat that often and yet think of myself as a devoted carnivore, I decided to put flanken and summer together using a grill.

So I made Bulgogi, a Korean dish in which the shortribs marinate in a soy-sesame oil based sauce before being grilled.

Yes, the meat is not as tender as other cuts, like rib. But much cheaper and, for meat lovers, gives quite a satisfying resilience. I served the Bulgogi with sauteed bok choy and steamed rice.

YUM.


Bulgogi


1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons sake (or rice wine or sherry)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 scallions, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, finely crushed
1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 pounds flanken or boneless short rib
toasted sesame seeds for garnish, optional

Place the soy sauce, sugar, sake, vegetable oil, sesame oil, scallion, garlic, sesame seeds and crushed red pepper in a bowl and stir, making sure to dissolve the sugar. Place the beef in a non-reactive dish and turn the pieces to coat all sides. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Preheat the oven broiler or outdoor grill (or use a grill pan), skewer the meat and grill for 3-4 minutes per side or until crispy and done to your liking. Garnish with a small amount of toasted sesame seeds if desired.

Makes 4-6 servings

Strawberry-Rhubarb-Blackberry Pie

Is there any food more “American” than pie?  Okay, maybe. Hot dogs, hamburgers and stuff. Cole Slaw. Potato salad. And lots of others.  Actually, none of the ones I mentioned were “American” at the start. Hot dogs, burgers and potato salad are German foods, Cole Slaw is Dutch and Pie began as British.  No matter. They’re American now, all terrific summer foods also. And all perfect for any Fourth of July celebration.  So, when our local Hadassah decided that our biweekly Tea (for cancer patients and their caregivers at Stamford Hospital) should have a Fourth of July theme, I decided to bake a pie to give.   This one is red (sort of), white (beige crust/white sugar) and blue: a riff on Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie. It includes blackberries because I had some in the house and figured why not. You can leave out the blackberries and add more rhubarb and/or strawberries.  Also, I used orange peel as flavor, but you can switch to lemon peel. And I used orange juice for the crust. First because orange goes really well with berries and rhubarb and also, my mother, a consummate pie baker, always told me that the liquid you use to make pie dough can be just about anything. She frequently used juice for fruit pie (the juice depended on the pie). Juice not only gives the crust more flavor, it helps the dough bake into a lovely brown color crust too.   Strawberry-Rhubarb-Blackberry Pie   dough:  2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour  3/4 teaspoon salt  1 teaspoon grated orange peel  1/2 cup unsalted butter  1/3 cup chilled vegetable shortening  4-5 tablespoons orange juice  filling:  3 cups sliced (1/2-inch pieces) rhubarb, about one pound  2 cups strawberries cut in half  1 cup blackberries  2/3 cup sugar (or to taste)  1/4 teaspoon salt  5 tablespoons flour  1 teaspoon grated orange peel  1/4 teaspoon cinnamon  1 tablespoon butter     Combine the flour, salt and orange peel in a food processor. Add the butter and shortening in chunks and process on pulse about 24 times, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually add as much of the juice as is needed to make a soft, but not sticky dough. Cut the dough in half, flatten into disks and let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll the dough into circles to fit a 9” pie pan. Place one circle inside the pie pan.  To make the filling, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, blackberries, sugar, salt, flour, orange peel and cinnamon. Add the filling to the pie pan. Cut the butter into chunks and place on top of the filling. Cut strips from the second dough circle and place them in a lattice design on top of the fruit. Seal the edges where the strips meet the bottom crust. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown.  Makes one 9-inch pie

Is there any food more “American” than pie?

Okay, maybe. Hot dogs, hamburgers and stuff. Cole Slaw. Potato salad. And lots of others.

Actually, none of the ones I mentioned were “American” at the start. Hot dogs, burgers and potato salad are German foods, Cole Slaw is Dutch and Pie began as British.

No matter. They’re American now, all terrific summer foods also. And all perfect for any Fourth of July celebration.

So, when our local Hadassah decided that our biweekly Tea (for cancer patients and their caregivers at Stamford Hospital) should have a Fourth of July theme, I decided to bake a pie to give. 

This one is red (sort of), white (beige crust/white sugar) and blue: a riff on Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie. It includes blackberries because I had some in the house and figured why not. You can leave out the blackberries and add more rhubarb and/or strawberries.

Also, I used orange peel as flavor, but you can switch to lemon peel. And I used orange juice for the crust. First because orange goes really well with berries and rhubarb and also, my mother, a consummate pie baker, always told me that the liquid you use to make pie dough can be just about anything. She frequently used juice for fruit pie (the juice depended on the pie). Juice not only gives the crust more flavor, it helps the dough bake into a lovely brown color crust too.

Strawberry-Rhubarb-Blackberry Pie

dough:

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon grated orange peel

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/3 cup chilled vegetable shortening

4-5 tablespoons orange juice

filling:

3 cups sliced (1/2-inch pieces) rhubarb, about one pound

2 cups strawberries cut in half

1 cup blackberries

2/3 cup sugar (or to taste)

1/4 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon grated orange peel

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon butter

 

Combine the flour, salt and orange peel in a food processor. Add the butter and shortening in chunks and process on pulse about 24 times, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually add as much of the juice as is needed to make a soft, but not sticky dough. Cut the dough in half, flatten into disks and let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll the dough into circles to fit a 9” pie pan. Place one circle inside the pie pan.

To make the filling, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, blackberries, sugar, salt, flour, orange peel and cinnamon. Add the filling to the pie pan. Cut the butter into chunks and place on top of the filling. Cut strips from the second dough circle and place them in a lattice design on top of the fruit. Seal the edges where the strips meet the bottom crust. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes one 9-inch pie

Lily Vail's Apple Pie; Sibling Rivalry, part 1

fullsizeoutput_97f0.jpeg

Sibling Rivalry, Part I

I timed last year’s apple pies perfectly. Every September I call Blue Jay Orchards in Bethel, Connecticut and order a bushel of Rhode Island Greening apples. They are one of the only orchards that I know who still grows this stupendously wonderful apple variety that is the absolutely best apple for pie no matter what anyone else, even the most expert of experts in the food business, says.

I make 12 apple pies every year and then, as the months go by, eat them down when company comes or my grandson Zev who eats almost nothing but likes my apple pie so of course there’s some for him when he visits.

So now I have one pie left, which we will have this week because I just called Blue Jay and put in my order for this year.

When I called them last week they weren’t sure they would have the apples this year because of all the rain and hurricanes, especially Hurricane Irene. Ohmyohmyohmy, that sounded like terrible news at the time and I actually began to think about other apples I could bake into a pie.

But they told me to call back in a day or so and sure enough, when I did they told me that they have some! So I am in luck.

I never did decide on what apples I would have used.

Anyway, my Mom made apple pie every year too. Her sister, my Aunt Beck, made apple cake. And, you know, sisters will be sisters. They loved each other lots but they had this kind of apple-baking rivalry come September, when the new apples came out. They each not-so-secretly let everyone in the family know that the pie or cake was much better than the cake or pie.

And so it went. I liked both, but, being daughter to the pie baker, I learned to bake the pie.

My mother was the one who clued me into the Rhode Island Greening apples. And she showed me how to make the dough and how to cut the butter and shortening into the flour so the crust would be crumbly and how not to add too much liquid because that makes the dough rubbery. She also taught me how to roll the dough gently, so it would be tender. “Don’t murder the dough!,” she used to caution.

Her apple pies were the best of the best and I use her recipe, so, well, I don’t want to brag but —- everyone says mine are the best of the best.

Here’s the recipe., You might not be able to find Rhode Island Greening apples. So you’re on your own here. If you use a sweeter apple, cut back on the sugar.

Apple Pie

crust:

  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon peel, optional

  • 1/2 cup cold butter

  • 1/3 cup cold vegetable shortening

  • 4-6 tablespoons cold milk, juice, water or melted ice cream

  • apple filling

  • 1 tablespoon butter

To make the crust: Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and lemon peel, if used, in a large bowl. Cut the butter and shortening into chunks and add the chunks to the flour mixture. Work the fat into the flour mixture until the ingredients resemble crumbs (use your hands, a pastry blender or the pulse feature of a food processor). Add the liquid, using only enough to gather pastry into a soft ball of dough (start with 4 tablespoons). Cut the dough in half and flatten each half to make a disk shape. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it stand at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly flour a pastry board or clean work surface. With a rolling pin, roll one half of the dough on the floured surface into a circle about 1/8-inch thick, making sure the circle is larger than the pie pan by about 1 inch. Place the dough in a 9” or 10” pie pan. Pour the apple filling into the pastry-lined pan. Cut the butter into small pieces and place on top of the filling. Roll out the remaining dough and place it over the filling. Gently press the bottom and top crusts together along the flared edge of the pie pan. For a fluted rim, press your thumb and index finger against the outside of the rim, or crimp it with the tines of a fork or the blunt side of a knife. Cut steam vents in the top crust with the tip of a sharp knife or the tines of a fork. Bake the pie for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown.

Apple Filling:

  • 3 pounds pie apples (Rhode Island Greenings, Granny Smith, Gravenstein, Northern Spy, Golden Delicious, Idared, Stayman, Winesap, Baldwin, Jonagold, Braeburn

  • 1/2 cup sugar, approximately

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Peel and core the apples then cut them into slices. Place the slices in a bowl. Add the sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and flour and toss the ingredients to coat the apple slices evenly.

Buttermilk Herb Slaw

I am constantly amazed at how creative people can be with food.

Take cole slaw. As a kid I remember cole slaw as that deli stuff with shredded cabbage and carrots in a thin white liquid that you bought when you were going to eat hot dogs or hamburgers or some sort of deli sandwich, like corned beef on rye.

My grandmother made her own cole slaw, which she referred to as “cull sloy.”

But now, in specialized food stores, supermarkets and bodegas everywhere, you can find a variety of “slaws,” which after all, just means “salad.” My local store offers “Asian Slaw” and “Health Slaw” in addition to plain old Cole Slaw.

But I like to make my own because that way I can get creative too. Like with this recipe — I like the tangy taste of buttermilk and it lets you cut down on the fatty mayonnaise of a standard recipe. The shredded snow peas add a rich, green color and a crispiness. Adding lots of fresh herbs gives it the refreshing taste of summer.

Btw, if you think it’s silly to buy buttermilk because you’re never going to use it for anything else, read this.

Buttermilk Herb Slaw

  • 6 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded snow peas
  • 1-1/3 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives or scallion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (or use a mixture of herbs)
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • pinch or two of cayenne pepper

Place the cabbage and snow peas in a large bowl an toss to distribute them evenly. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, chives, parsley and herb, whisk the ingredients and pour over the vegetables. Toss the ingredients and let rest for at least 15 minutes. Before serving, taste for seasoning and add salt and cayenne pepper to taste.

Makes 8 servings