Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pear and Raspberry Crumble

Pear and Raspberry Crumble

As I mentioned previously, The Gastronomer tends to acquire cookbooks at a faster rate than she can try out the recipes. Last year, I decided to help her out by attempting at least one dish from each of the neglected books. At the time, this task appeared quite feasible, but since then our collection has swelled by a factor or two or three, and it seems that our cooking progress may never catch up. In any case, one of the cookbooks we received was entitled "Ready, Steady, Spaghetti: Cooking for Kids and with Kids." As we are not kids and rarely cook with them, this book was an excellent candidate to gather dust on the bottom bookshelf, but I resolved to find a recipe suitable for adults and give it a whirl.

This crumble caught my eye, as desserts containing raspberries often do. Being from a children's cookbook, the recipe was quite simple and straightforward; fortunately, this is just how a crumble recipe should be. I served it as a fruity, sweet conclusion to the meal that started with smoked mackerel pate and Filipino pork adobo, and it turned out fantastically. The only downside I could foresee from the perspective of cooking with kids is that the most labor-intensive part of the preparation was peeling and cutting the pears: not the most child-friendly kitchen task. Still, it's hard to find a recipe for which kids can really do all the steps independently, and this one is easy and yields a delicious end product.

Recipe from Ready, Steady, Spaghetti: Cooking for Kids and With Kids.
  • 6 large pears
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 star anise (optional)
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • ice cream, to serve
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Peel, quarter, and core the pears, then cut each piece in half lengthwise. Put into a large saucepan and sprinkle with the sugar. Add 1 tablespoon of water and the star anise. Cover and bring to a boil.

Cook, covered, over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is tender but still holds its shape. Drain the pears and discard the star anise. Transfer to a large ovenproof baking dish or six 1-cup ramekins. Sprinkle the raspberries over the pears.

Combine the flour, sugar, and butter in a bowl. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour, until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Sprinkle over the fruit, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Leave for 5 minutes, then serve with ice cream.

Yield: 6 servings
Estimated Start-to-Finish Time: Not given
Actual Start-to-Finish Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Filipino Pork Adobo

Pork Adobo

When I was drawing up the menus for The Gastronomer's 28th birthday meals back in February 2010, this recipe seemed like an ideal introduction to the "complete world of pork." It seemed straightforward and not too intimidating, and it was hard to imagine how it could fail to be delicious. Then last summer I was introduced to the wonderful pork adobo from Los Angeles's first Filipino food truck, The Manila Machine, and I became even more excited to try making Filipino-style adobo myself.

I managed to buy the Boston butt already chopped up as "stew meat", which made the prep a breeze. The adobo was a hit with the birthday girl, and I enjoyed feasting on it for lunch for the remainder of the week.

Recipe from Bruce Aidells's Complete Book of Pork.
  • 2 lbs boneless Boston butt, cut into 3-inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup rice or white vinegar, or more to taste
  • 3/4 cup light soy sauce
  • 1/4 Asian fish sauce (I used Squid brand, The Gastronomer's family's favorite)
  • 2 cups homemade chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth or water
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar, or more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 5 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon Asian hot chili oil, or less/more to taste (I used Sriracha)
Put the pork and all of the remaining ingredients in a casserole or large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, uncovered, until the pork is tender, about 1 1/4 hours. Skim and discard the fat from the surface. Taste the broth and add more vinegar, sugar, or chili oil to balance the flavors to your liking. Serve the adobo over jasmine rice.

Yield: 4-6 servings
Estimated Start-to-Finish Time: Not given
Actual Start-to-Finish Time: 1 hour 45 minutes (30 minutes of active time)
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