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Friday, February 17, 2017

Korean Potato Salad With or Without a Pressure Cooker


You can keep your
because I have been craving my brand of KFC - Spicy Korean "Fried" Chicken- all week. They are like the sexiest little chicken nuggets on earth - all spicy, sweet and crispy. YUM

Traditional Korean Fried Chicken calls for double deep fried chicken served with or without and addictive, spicy/sweet gochujang sauce and, personally, I can't get enough of it.

Because I don't really like to deep fry at home all that much I usually "oven fry" my chicken and when I really want to make it even more comforting, I just make some boneless, chicken nuggets so that I don't have to wrestle with bones and all that comes with an intact chicken leg. Sometimes a girl just doesn't want to deal with tendons and skin.

My Spicy Korean "Fried" Chicken Recipe
Regardless of what style of KFC you like, you are going to need some potato salad, right? Since this is Korean Fried Chicken, it stands to reason that I am going to make Korean Potato Salad (Gamja Salad) to go on the side.  If you eat Korean food at all, you have probably had this salad as part of the banchan served before your main dishes and the only bad thing I can say about it is that they serve you a tiny little scoop that you are expected to share with the table. AS IF.

The main differences between North American potato salad and this gamja salad is that the potato is mashed and smooth and the dressing is sweeter. Use Kewpie mayonnaise if you can find it because it's a bit thinner and has more flavour than Hellman's but son't let the lack of Kewpie stop you as it's still going to be delicious either way.

 I LOVE the grated yolk on the top and, although it might not be the way the salad is served in Korea, I do love to hit it with a dash of Korean red pepper powder, Gochugaru. I also add sweet potato because I feel that it highlights the sweetness and it also gives it a lovely colour.


Regarding the use of a pressure cooker: you don't really need a pressure cooker to make this salad but any appliance that allows me to cook the potatoes right in there with the eggs, hands free, is A Okay with me. So, a pressure cooker makes this easy dish even easier but you can certainly go without.

Oh, and a note about adding cucumber - the flavour of the cucumber is essential, for me, but if you don't salt and drain it,  you will find yourself stuck with a big bowl of watery, soupy potatoes after it sits in the fridge for a couple of hours. If you don't want to salt and drain the cucumber you are better to leave it out but trust me, salt and squeeze out the excess water and be done with it because the cukes make it soooo much better.





Korean Potato Salad - Gamja Salad


1.5 lbs (680g) russet potato or half potato/half sweet potato, peeled and cubed in 1" chunks
3 eggs
*1/2 english cucumber, fine dice, salted and drained
2 scallions, finely sliced
3 radishes, quartered and sliced thinly
1/2 cup mayonnaise (Kewpie if you can find it)
2 tbls brown rice syrup or honey
salt and pepper

Cook the potato/sweet potato until soft like you would for mashed potatoes and you can make the hard boiled eggs in whatever manner you prefer - there are endless ways to make hard boiled eggs

OR

You can put the potatoes and the uncooked eggs in a steamer basket, set on a trivet, in your pressure cooker with 1 cup of water in the bottom of the pot. Cook for 4 minutes at HP with a quick release at the end of the cook time. Remove the eggs to an ice bath to cool down immediately and either run the potatoes through a ricer or roughly mash them and let them cool down.

* put the diced cucumber in a strainer and sprinkle with a tsp of salt, toss and let sit for about 10 minutes to draw out moisture and then squeeze out any excess. If you don't do this, your salad will get too watery.

Peel the hard boiled eggs and reserve two of the yolks and set them aside.
Finely chop the two remaining egg whites and one whole egg and add that to the potatoes, along with the cucumber, scallions, radishes, mayonnaise and the rice syrup or honey and a few grinds of pepper. Mix really well with a spatula, taste and adjust salt as needed. Put it in the fridge to cool and before serving, ice cold from the fridge topped with the yolks that you either grate  or press them through a fine mesh sieve.



Okay, I am going to make an admission here in the spirit of keeping it real:

Sometimes I don't feel like making the homemade  chicken nuggets so, on the recommendation of a chef friend, I tried using these Harvest Creek Chicken nuggets from Costco with my own sauce and they are delicious. I am not saying that you shouldn't make them from scratch, I am just saying that I am realistic and sometimes you have to do what you have to do and these are probably the tastiest pre-made chicken bites that I have tried.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Caldo Verde With and Without a Pressure Cooker


You might have noticed that I am not publishing new recipes quite as often as I used to lately, but, trust me, I have a good excuse. A few months ago, I was hired on to design the menu for a new spot in Toronto's east end, The Kingston Social House. They wanted to launch a wine/cocktail spot with a small but tasty menu that only opens from Thursday to Saturday nights. There are lots of other exciting things happening on the other days - Brunch on the weekends by Thick Cut brunch, regular community based workshops, an upcoming Tuesday night Tapa thing by a group of chefs.... it's bringing the little neighbourhood of Birchcliffe Village back to life!

Kingston Social Nights belongs to the women


Now that I am the executive cooker lady at The Kingston Social, aside from the regular menu, I have to come up a weekly special as well as a soup and this eats up a ton of my cooking energy. If you live in Toronto, I invite you to come to the Social for a drink and something yummy to eat, say hi and buy me a drink! Hopefully, as I get used to the new demands of this job, I will be actually get back to cooking in my own kitchen again and stop taking my family out to the pub to eat wings and drink beer and will get back on track as far as sharing more great recipes with you.

Since this weekend is right before Valentine's Day, we decided to do a prix fix meal that could be shared because it's more romantic to share and if you are one of those weirdos that don't like to let your loved ones eat from the same bowl as you, I don't trust you. No Valentine's Day for you.


These clams are my favourite Portuguese dish 
We have been planning a family trip for March break for a number of reasons. We were supposed to go away for Christmas but that fell through but it's more than that.

 The Kid, who was a wee man of 11 when I started this blog in 2010, is graduating from high school this spring and will start University in the fall. For most of his young life, he was obsessed with Japan and we had promised him a trip to Japan if he did well, made honour roll every year and didn't do anything to make us want to sell him but over the last few years, his love of Japan has wained and he was no longer as interested in going there. Instead, we had decided that we would return to Portugal, a country that all three of us fell in love with. After spending the last month planning that trip, all I could think of were these amazing buttery clams with Vihno Verde and Cilantro so I didn't have to think twice about what the sharing special would be for our Valentine's Day prix fix special.

Once I decided on the clams, the soup could be no other than Caldo Verde, a soup that is to Portugal what Chicken Noodle Soup is to North America. 

This is not a complicated soup and it doesn't really take all that long to make it on the stove but I had so many other things to prepare that I was afraid that I would get distracted and forget it on the stove so I decided to use the Instant Pot to make it and although it's not really a time saver, it was really nice to be able to just turn on the pot and walk away. 

This soup is filling enough that you can make a meal out of it if you serve it with some crusty bread and a big salad and a glass or two of Vihno Verde.

Oh, and as it happens, we are NOT going to Portugal after all. Now we are going to Paris with a three day side trip to Rome because the opportunity presented itself at the last minute and although I once lived in Paris and have been to Rome a bunch of times, it was was so long ago that it no longer even counts. As much as I am dying to return to Portugal, it will be so much fun to go to two new cities that the boys have never been to and since I have not been there for over 30 years (AAACCCCKKKK), it will all be new to me again too.

If you don't follow me on facebook or twitter or instagram, you might want to rectify that now because I will be sharing photos all the damned time on our trip and you KNOW we will be eating our faces off.



Caldo Verde

serves 6-8


5 or 6 tbls olive olive oil
approx 300 grams  chouriço, linguiça sausage or Spanish Chorizo will work too, sliced into thin coins
2 leeks, washed and sliced
4 or 5 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
   6 potatoes, peeled and diced
   2 litres of chicken stock (if making stove top, add an extra cup (250ml) of stock)
   2 bunches of kale ( approx 445g), remove the stalks and julienned very finely
   kosher salt and black pepper



Pressure cooker:
   Hit sauté and when it says "HOT", add the oil and throw in the sausage, cooking it until it starts to look a bit browned, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

   Add the leeks into the pot, sauté for about 3 or 4 minutes, add in the garlic and saute for another minute before adding in the chicken stock and potatoes. Check to see if it needs salt and if so, add it now.

   Lock the lid, make sure the valve is set to seal and program 5 minutes, High Pressure.

   When the time is up, do a quick release, use an immersion blender to blend the soup completely. Add in the kale, program it back to sauté and bring the mixture back to a simmer and cook another fiver or ten minutes until the kale is tender. Return the sausage to the pot and serve.

Stove top:
   Heat a large soup pot on the stove over med heat and sauté the sausage until it starts to brown. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside.

    Add the leeks into the pot, sauté for about 3 or 4 minutes, add in the garlic and sauté for another minute before adding in the chicken stock and potatoes. Check to see if it needs salt and if so, add it now.

    Bring it back to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are very tender and then use an immersion blender to blend the soup completely. Add in the kale, and bring the mixture back to a simmer and cook another five or ten minutes until the kale is tender. Return the sausage to the pot and serve.

   

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Turmeric Lamb Stew Under Pressure


Sometimes my favourite recipes are the result of a mistake (or what I like to call, a happy accident), an empty pantry or when Shack, mistakenly, turns our small freezer off overnight and when I check it in the morning, a bunch of stuff has thawed out.

Since this is what happened this time, it meant that I was left with a whack of lamb, one pork chop, a hunk of peameal bacon and a bag of chicken stock that had to be cooked in order to put them back in the freezer. I threw the pork and a little lamb rack in the sous vide and was about to bag up the little lamb roasts when I decided to turn that into a nice stew to freeze in individual servings for The Kid's lunches. Yes, I know. My kid takes lamb stew in his lunch, so sue me.

This stew is a mish mash of different Middle Eastern flavour profiles that I like. Persians love turmeric, the current wonder spice,  the red pepper paste is Turkish and preserved lemon is most commonly used in Moroccan cuisine so this is not any sort of authentic dish that I can peg in that way except to say that it's Middle Easternish and because its cooked in a pressure cooker, it's also delicious, easy and fast.

Normally, this type of dish would require at least a couple of hours of simmering, stovetop. With a pressure cooker, it only takes about 10 minutes to come to pressure after all the browning and sauteeing and then with the 35 minutes of cook time, it's going to go from the first chop of onion to your dinner table in just under an hour.

I used my Breville Go Pro Slow to make this but it would work in any other cooker like an Instant Pot


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Pressure Cooked Turmeric Lamb Stew

makes about 4-6 servings

2 lbs lamb, cut into 1.5" cubes (boneless shoulder works well)
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbls turmeric
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp chili flake
2 tbls olive oil
2 small onions, diced
5 or 6 whole garlic cloves, peeled
2 small preserved lemon or 1 if they are very large, rind only, chopped
1.5 cups of chicken stock
3 tbls tomato paste
2 tbls Turkish red pepper paste (mild or spicy is up to you)
3 tbls tomato paste
2 or 3 potatoes, peeled and diced in 1" chunks

Fresh cilantro

Preheat your pressure cooker using the saute function until it says that it is hot. Now, add in 1 tbls of olive oil , salt the lamb with 2 tsp of kosher salt and start browning the meat in batches. Don't crowd the pot or it will steam and as each batch is browned nicely, remove to a bowl, continue to brown until it's all done and set aside.

Into the pot, add the other tbls of olive oil and throw in the onions and garlic and saute until they are soft and start to brown. Now add the meat back in, along with any juices that have accumulated, sprinkle the turmeric, black pepper, salt and chili flake over the top and mix it in. Now add in the preserved lemon and the chicken stock, lock the lid on and program your machine for 30 minutes, either using the manual setting on high pressure or the stew setting.

When the time is up, release the pressure using a quick release, open the pot up, stir in the tomato paste and the red pepper paste as well as the potatoes, lock the lid back on, close the pressure valve and program it for 5 more minutes on high pressure and when the time is up, quick release, open the lid and serve with lots of fresh, chopped cilantro, either on it's own or over basmati rice.






Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Pressure Cooker Posole Verde



I have been taking my time, slowly converting many of my favourite recipes to work in my pressure cookers. Although I am a hard core Instant Pot fan ( I own four of them), I was given a Breville Fast Slow Pro at the end of the year to try out it. In order to get a good feeling for it, I have made it my personal kitchen pressure cooker, with the Instant Pots taking a well deserved break.

 Like the Instant Pot, the Breville does double duty as a slow cooker, it cooks rice, it has the sauté feature as well as a reduce feature and you can also steam things in it. It doesn't have the yogurt function, but for me, this is not a deal breaker at all as you can make yogurt without a pressure cooker and if you don't plan to make yogurt at home, you won't miss it at all.

I could write up a long, drawn out review but, to be honest, I agree with pretty much everything that Laura, over at Hip Pressure Cooking, has to say in her review so you might as well just go read hers. You should check her site out anyway because she is an amazing resource for pressure cooking, so get hopping. Oddly enough, I have the same love/hate relationship with the lid. I kind of love that it is attached but I was constantly bumping it while I was stirring, sautéing and serving although I am getting used to working around it and it's not nearly as irritating as it was when I first started using it.

I do love that when you use the pre programmed settings for stew, risotto, meat etc that it automatically performs the corresponding pressure release as well. Many people seem to be terrified of the pressure release valve so those people will love the fact that you never have to touch it on this unit - there is a button to press when you want to release manually, so there is no need for wooden spoons, tea towels, shields and crazy gymnastics in order to avoid getting in the way of the jet of steam. Oh, and it has an altitude adjustment setting for those of you who live in Machu Picchu so you won't have to do your own math.

The bottom line is that it is almost twice the price of most of the competitors but it is certainly more sophisticated and it is really sturdy and well made so if you have the money and you care about being able to pick the exact PSI to cook at and want to be able to monitor the progress when the machine is building pressure, it is certainly a lovely machine.


Back to the posole, or pozole, depending on who you are talking to.  Posole is a Mexican soupy stew, full of meat and hominy, large hulled corn kernels that is traditionally a food served during celebrations. Always containing hominy, it is usually made from either pork or chicken and comes in  "white", "green" or "red" versions, depending on the ingredients you use for the sauce. My favourite is green, or posole verde which is full of tomatillos, poblano chilis, cilantro and pumpkin seeds (hence, green posole). Rumour has it that the Aztecs made their pozole with human meat but, thankfully, we have come a long way and now pork is the most common meat used in this dish.

Usually, this posole takes over four hours to make because I stew the pork first for 3 1/2 hours before we even get to the final part. This means that I don't make it all that often because it requires planning ahead, which we all know is not my strength.

Doing it in the pressure cooker cuts the time down to just over an hour and a half total, from start to finish and I can't really tell the difference by the time it makes it to the dinner table, so I consider this another pressure cooking success.

I was given a Fast Slow Pro for free in order to try it out and, if I liked it, to share my thoughts with you. As always, my opinions are my own. All links to Amazon are affiliate links.


My old school posole recipe




Pozole Verde

serves 6-8


2 lbs pork shoulder butt, cut into 1.5" chunks
kosher salt

1/2 cups pumpkin seeds
28 oz or approx 800g tomatillos, drained
1/2 cup chopped, canned poblano peppers OR 3 fresh poblano peppers
small sprig cilantro
2 or 3 cloves garlic
1 onion, chopped
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
*you might need 1/2 cup of chicken stock to puree
a couple of tbls of vegetable oil

1 tbls mexican oregano
1 tsp cumin


2 or 3 red potatoes, 1/2" dice
36.5 oz or 1 kg can hominy, drained
2 cups chicken stock


garnish:
thinly sliced radish, deep fried corn tortilla strips, fresh lime wedges, raw red onion sliced really thinly, chopped avocado



Preheat your pressure cooker on sauté. When it's hot, add a drizzle of oil and then start browning the pork without crowding the pot, one batch at a time. Add a pinch of salt to each batch of meat and brown, removing it to a bowl, until all the pork has been browned.

Meanwhile, toast the pumpkin seeds over medium heat in a dry skillet until they swell up and start to pop and then remove and set aside. Drain the tomatillos and the peppers.

If using fresh peppers, char them on a hot, dry pan until they are blistered all over and starting to blacken, remove to a bowl and cover tightly. Let them steam for at least five minutes before you rub off most of the skin and remove the seeds. Chop coarsely and set aside

When the pumpkin seeds cool down, put them in a blender or food processor and grind to a fine powder. Then add the tomatillos, peppers, salt and pepper, onion, garlic and cilantro and process until completely smooth (you might have to add up to 1/2 cup of chicken stock if it's too thick to process)

Heat a couple of tbls of veg oil in the pressure cooker that is still on sauté but turn it down to low, pour in the green pumpkin seed/tomatillo puree and cook it until the colour deepens at a nice simmer, about 15 to 25 minutes. It will thicken and the colour will become darker and richer.

Add the pork, the oregano, the cumin and the chicken stock and cover, lock the lid on and you can either just hit the stew button OR manual for 20 minutes on High Pressure.

When the time is up, release the pressure, open it up, add in the potatoes and the drained, rinsed hominy, lock the lid back on and cook at High Pressure for 3 minutes.

When the time is up, do a quick release of the pressure.

To serve, add some posole to each bowl and top with the radish, tortilla strips, raw red onion and some chopped avocado with a bit of fresh cilantro and a lime wedge. If you prefer, you can serve the garnishes separately and let everyone chose their own.








Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Join My Learn To Pressure Cook Series Happening in Toronto This February!

It's a brand new year and that means it's time to get that electric pressure cooker out of the box, dust it off, put on your big girl panties and start pressure cooking.