Saturday, August 17, 2019

Farmer's Market Gado Gado Salad, Indonesian Style

Indonesian Meets Farmer's Market Gado-Gado Salad
This is SUMMER SALAD time and Gado Gado is a great meal salad.  With protein like hard boiled eggs or tofu and peanuts in the dressing it makes a prefect lunch or light dinner. For a vegan variation see the notes below. 

   Gado Gado in Javanese means "Mixed Vegetables with the peanut sauce". lends itself to many variations. Use what you find at the summer markets. The basic calls for a bed of shredded Napa cabbage, raw or steamed green or long beans, peanuts, sprouts, and peanut dressing 
    Be creative. Tomatoes, kohlrabi, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, onions.. Humble vegetables are delish in summer and watery veggies are best for staying hydrated!. 

  In a large bowl bed your shredded cabbage and then arrange the vegetables and tofu or  eggs decoratively or messy. Whatever turns you on.

  Blanched and chilled green beans
  Cooked and cooled potatoes, diced
  Mung bean sprouts
  Cut Radishes
  Grated carrots
  Cut scallions
  Cut cucumbers
  Cubes of firm salted tofu* or hard boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
  And whatever else turns you on
  Garnish with chopped peanuts and if you you want to be hardcore authentic, store bought shrimp crackers. They aren't vital, but they will thrill any of your friends who happen to be Indonesian! 

Balinese Comfort junk food


   A good blender makes this dressing smooth as silk. 
   1 1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts 
   2 tsp Indonesian shrimp paste or a vegan alternative ( see the notes)
        1/4 cup palm or dark brown sugar
   2 cloves garlic, peeled
   1 small hot chile, chopped
          8 oz coconut milk
   1/4 cup palm or rice vinegar
   the juice of one juicy lime
    salt, to taste
    Puree in food processor until smooth.

    Drizzle on each salad or pass the dressing on the side. 

    To make salted tofu, simply cut the tofu into 1 inch by 1 inch squares, about 1/4 to 1/2 in thick.
    Sprinkle kosher salt on a cookie sheet and lay the squares of tofu evenly on it. Then sprinkle the top with a little more salt. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for about and hour.          Carefully rinse well and they are ready to use. 

To make this vegan just substitute something fermented for the shrimp paste. 
Shrimp paste is the REAL DEAL flavor, but a little kimchi juice or fermented tofu 
will give you the essential funk you need as well. 
This fermented tofu stuff is FUNKY! Like vegan bleu cheese --  I love it!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Quinoa Pudding by Ric Orlando

Peruvian Quinoa Pudding

This dessert is absolutely delish. The texture of the quinoa in the creamy pudding is like sweet caviar. It can be eaten warm, but I like it cold better. The evaporated milk is traditional to places that didn't always have reliable refrigeration in the past, and now it is an essential part of the flavor. Use it.

·       Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 allspice berries
  • The peel of one lemon
  • 3 cups water
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 12 oz cans evaporated milk
  • 3 tbls cornstarch
  • 1 cup raw sugar or white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
·       Instructions

  • In a heavy sauce pot put the quinoa, cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice and lemon peel. Add water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring every now and then. The quinoa is cooked with it "pops" or opens up. If there is any water left, drain it and return it to the pot
  • You can try to remove the lemon peel spices as best you can but it is not a deal breaker. Let it cool.
  • Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and the evaporated milk together until smooth.
  • Add to the quinoa
  • Return the pot to medium heat and cook gently, stirring until the pudding is creamy, 20 more minutes. Watch your heat, Don't let the eggs curdle.Turn off the heat.
  • Add vanilla essence and cool.
  • Discard the spices and pour the pudding in ramekins or a nice container.
  • Dust with ground cinnamon and serve chilled (I like it cold).
  • Garnish with creme fraiche or whipped cream and fruit

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Ric Orlando;s Peruvian Green Sauce for EVERYTHING!

Peruvian "green sauce" is sort of like Chimichurri mayo. It is great to dip the chicken in but it is also amazing with the following:
Any time of grilled, fried or roasted bird or meat, even wings and burgers and veggie burgers (you can use vegan mayo).
It's amazing with grilled shrimp or fish.
I love it as a dip for raw or grilled veggoes.
It is perfect on turkey, roast beef or cheese sandwiches.
Use it as a dip for potato chips.
It even makes tofu tasty.

For the green sauce:
·   1 cup (packed) cilantro leaves with tender stems
·   ½ cup parsley coarsely chopped
·   1–2 medium jalapeƱos, coarsely chopped
·   1 garlic clove, finely chopped
·   1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
·   2 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
·   1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
·   1/3 cup mayonnaise (or vegan mayo)
·   Make the green sauce:
Puree all ingredients except mayonnaise in a food processor. Fold in the mayo until smooth. Store in a sealable container refrigerated for up to a month. In time it may lose some of its bright green color, but thats ok, It'll still taste great.

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Peruvian Chicken with green sauce and papas Huancaina

Ric Orlando's Peruvian Chicken Recipe

The Legendary Peruvian Chicken with “Green Sauce”
·   I’ve eaten “Peruvian” Rotisserie chicken in Lima, Buenos Aires, Montreal, Boston and New York
and I attest that the places are packed full of Peruvians eating chicken. That seals the deal!
This is a play on your classic Latin Adobo chicken, garlicky, citrusy and delish. The green sauce
adds even more to savor. This rub is great on shrimp, pork, salmon and even tofu too.
·   Since most of us do not have a rotisserie on hand, we are going to spatchcock the chicken and
roast em good in an oven, or on a grill with a lid.
·       Serves 6
·       Ingredients
·   For the chicken Rub:
·   6 garlic cloves
·   2 tablespoon ground cumin
·   1/4 cup neutral oil like safflower or sunflower
·   2 tablespoon paprika
·   1 tbls smoked paprika
·   1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
·   2 teaspoon dried oregano
·   2 tablespoons kosher salt
·   Juice of 2 limes and two lemons
·   Two 3 ½ lb whole chickens, butterflied or spatchcocked*
Peruvian chicken with green sauce and papas Huancaina
·   Do the bird: Put all rub ingredients in a blender and make a paste. Reserve.
·   To Spatchcock the chicken, use a heavy knife or poultry sheers to remove the back of each bird.
·   Open it up like a butterfly and with the palm of your hand press it down to flatten it.
>>>Or you can just split the breast and leave in the backbone, open it up and press it down,
I for one like the back. It's delish! Score the leg and the thigh all the way to the bone. Rub the paste
all over the bird on both sides. Wrap in plastic wrap or in a ziplock bag and allow to marinate for one
hour or up to 24 hours refrigerated.
·   When ready to cook, fire up your grill to high or preheat convection oven to 450.
·   Put chicken on a roasting pan, skin side up. Sprinkle with kosher or coarse salt.
Place on grill (close the lid after putting the chicken in there or in oven.
Roast at high heat for 20-30 minutes at high heat.
Check on the chicken. When the skin is sizzling and getting nicely colored (the birds will still be raw
on the bone) turn down the heat to low on a grill or 300 in an oven and allow the chicken to finish
slowly for another 20-30 minutes or until a probe thermometer reads 165 at the deepest part of the
·   When done, remove from oven, let rest 5 minutes then carve and enjoy with green sauce on the side.

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Saturday, May 25, 2019

Sicilian Margarita, the perfect drink to celebrate memorial day!

Celebrate the American Experience with Sicilian and Mexican deliciousness!

It is memorial day weekend in the US. 
I'm sure you will be at a BBQ or picnic or party this weekend as most American are. 

Memorial day is an entire weekend that we honor and celebrate our soldiers who fought to preserve and protect our American democracy. 

While you are celebrating, don't forget these soldiers who fought and died to protect our flag were indeed Immigrants! 

In my father's family alone, 5 brothers, all second generation Sicilians served in the military and three served and fought in World War II. 

Think about your own family's history. Unless you are Native American, your family came here from another country, seeking either asylum from religious or political oppression, poverty, or just a better opportunity.

Either way, we are a nation of immigrants, 
So what better cocktail to enjoy but a Sicilian Margarita. 

Sicilians and Mexicans are two immigrant groups who were and are victims of bigotry, unfairness and even discrimination, yet still work their asses off to achieve the American dream and still fill the ranks of the U.S.Military with honor. 
Americans of all races, genders, colors and creeds defend American Ideals

God Bless America!  Now have a drink!

Sicilian Margarita.
I just returned from a Magical trip to Sicily and in late spring, among the spring onions and fava beans and wild asparagus and wild fennel, the markets are brimming with the blood oranges and lemons and they are AMAZING! 

In the US it is also blood orange season so get yours now. If the are not available, try Cara Cara oranges, clementines or regular Valencia oranges, but please be sure to squeeze the fresh juice. As for the lemon juice, fresh is best, but there is bottled Sicilian lemon juice at many local grocers. It's great, and supports Sicilian farmers so I have no problem using that, especially if I am making a lot.
Please note that since the blood orange juice is so sweet, you needn't add triple sec or any sweeteners! 
Here is single drink recipe and a recipe ratio by parts so you can make drinks or pitchers!
Also--to last a little longer on a hot day, try a Sicilian Margarita Frizzante!. 
Simply fill a tall glass with ice, pour over a single Sicilian margarita and then top with sparkling water --Frizzante!

And PULEEEZE...don't get al stupid with your choice of tequila here. It's a fruit drink. Buy a decent Silver that makes you feel good... but remember there is no need for $75 stuff here. I find Espolon to be a perfect mixing tequila that is clean and doesn't give me a hangover either. But do your thing. 

For one drink
2 oz blood orange juice
1.5 oz silver tequila
.25 oz Mescal ( optional...but...)
.5 oz fresh lemon juice
Stir, pour over ice, Garnish with a lemon or blood orange wedge. Enjoy

Bulk recipe
4 part blood orange juice
3 parts Silver tequila
1 part lemon juice
mescal to taste 

Sicilian Margarita, American Immigrant experience in a glass. Enjoy your day!

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Ric Orlando
Chef/Consultant/Speaker/ and...I do Parties
FOOD: New World Bistro Bar, Albany NY
PODCASTS: One Million Stringbeans  and  Clam Bellies and Apizza

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Thursday, May 02, 2019

Texas Caviar, scoop and eat! By Ric Orlando

Texas Caviar.This is a simple yet addictive dish.You can eat it scooped onto chips at your desk at work as an alternative to hummus, but you can also...Present it on a party table...Make a sexy hors d'oeuvre with it...Top grilled fish or pork chops with it...Toss with with hot or cold pasta, rice, cous cous or quinoa for a healthy meal or side dish.
Simple, delish, healthy, lasts forever...sounds like a partner for life!

You can use canned beans or cook them from dry. I am not adverse to using good quality canned beans because they are always perfect. Too often beens cooked from dry are either too broken down, or worse, too hard. Hard beans suck and have no place in a good kitchen. They are indigestible and are not nutritious. 
So here is my quick and easy version of this classic dish. You can cut back on the heat if you like, just keep it a secret from me.

2 (15-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and neatly diced
1/2 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and neatly diced
1 small red onion, neatly diced
stalks celery, neatly diced
1 medium fresh tomato, neatly diced
1 small bunch scallions, chopped
1/3 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup mild hot sauce like Texas Pete, Frank's or Crystal
1 tbls Cajun Seasoning 
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup EVOO 

Mix vegetables together in a bowl.
Pour over dressing ingredients.
Now add the blackeyed peas and allow to sit at room temp for 20 -30 minutes before refrigerating,
Store covered in the fridge.
Lasts for a week

How to cook blackeyed peas from dry.

I'm going to give you my quick soak method, where you can make dried beans perfectly without overnight soaking.
 Makes about 1 quart.

1 1/2 cups blackeyed peas, dry, pickled over for stones and broken pieces.
6 cups plus as needed water
2 bay leaves 
2 tsp salt (Pay attention! This is for use later, never cook beans in salted water!!!)

Put the peas in a colander and rinse well. 
Put in a heavy pot and cover with water by two inches.
Bring to a rolling boil. Allow to boil for 45 minutes then turn off heat.  Let the beans soak for 15 minutes then drain. 
Put the beans back in the pot with the 6 cups of water and bay leaves.
Bring to a boil then turn down the heat to low so that your water is just perking a gentle boil. 
Cook for 15-20 minute slowly and then taste a pea.
Is it still chalky? Keep cooking and come back in 10 minutes.
They will soon be pefect, not chalky, not mushy.
Now here is the secret. When they are done DO NOT STRAIN.
Add the salt to the cooking liquid and store the beans in that liquid.
Beans need to be packed in liquid or they will dry out all over again.
Strain them when you are ready to make bean salad but store them in their cooking liquid.