Almost anything can be made into a wrap. When I came across a recipe titled “Tangore Chicken” in my grandmother’s cookbook, “The Art of Good Cooking,” the spices and ambiguity of the titled seemed to lend itself well to a simple wrap. I’m familiar with Tandoori chicken and I’ve even seen a few recipes for Tanjore chicken but I’m not sure where Tangore chicken came from. My guess is that this is a hybrid word my grandmother used for this Indian inspired poultry. This is similar to other ethnic recipes from her book that were so new and different in the 1960’s no one was quite sure of the correct terminology or what to call these dishes. So I decided to re-name this chicken and turn it into a tasty little wrap. When in doubt, wrap it.
This dish combines two of my favorite things: seafood and tacos. I’m not sure when I became such a huge fan of seafood. Maybe the lack of availability in Minnesota, where I grew up, made me appreciate it more once I moved to the East Coast. I now cook with seafood any chance I get, especially if the seafood is caught locally or by someone I know. And this is exactly how I came up with these scallop tacos with avocado salsa verde and cumin scented slaw recipe.
The north fork of Long Island is full of wonderful fish and seafood from the surrounding Peconic bay and Long Island Sound. I often look forward to long days of clamming in the summertime or slurping fresh oysters in late fall. This year there was an abundance of bay scallops in wintertime. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to cook with these at my father’s place out on the North Fork. These fresh little bites of the sea are so tender and sweet. They are perfect in salads, soups, stews, or just by themselves but paired with creamy avocado and tangy tomatillos, they really come alive.
Before you discard this post because you don’t celebrate Hanukkah or understand why potato pancakes/latkes are so tasty, let me assure you that you don’t have to be religious to enjoy this simple (and vegetarian) side dish. I have an affinity for the sweet and savory combination of shredded potato and onion with cinnamon apple sauce. This may have started when I was was a child, with our attempts to celebrate Hanukkah by re-creating this traditional dish. It’s beyond that now. These pancakes actually follow the basic no-fail culinary combination of sweet, salt, fat, and acid – practically guaranteeing its tastiness.
This basic recipe was adapted from “The James Beard Cookbook,” by James Beard. It’s strange that James Beard published a potato pancake recipe but my grandmother did not. With her Jewish background, it seems only natural that she would have a recipe for such a common dish. But it appears she made Spinach Pancakes more frequently than potato pancakes (based on “The Art of Good Cooking”). Nonetheless, this is a great base recipe, and paired with my homemade Honeycrisp apple sauce, it’s even better. Simply grate potato and onion into a strainer and squeeze out some of the liquid. This is then mixed with egg, a small amount of bread crumbs (feel free to use gluten free!), and salt. Saute in butter (or blended butter and oil) and you have a crispy pancake that includes the salt and fat required for the dish.
The apple sauce makes up the acid and sweet components of the culinary combo. Just boil honey crisp apples (I like the juiciness and sweet honey flavor of honey crisps) in a little water with a tablespoon of honey, a tablespoon of sugar, and a touch cinnamon. Finish with lemon juice (for the acid and to help keep the color). You will have a delicious apple sauce and as you can see here, I almost prefer equal parts apple sauce and pancake. Each bite should have a good amount of both. Sour cream can also be added but I’ve never found it necessary. Whether you celebrate Hanukkah or not, these Potato Pancakes with Honey Crisp Apple Sauce make a satisfying lunch or snack.
4 medium potatoes
1 1/2 medium onions
2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs (or gluten-free bread crumbs)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
Honey Crisp Apple Sauce
6 honey crisp apples
1 cup water
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Wash and peel the potatoes. Grate with a grater and drain off all the liquid that collects in the bowl. Grate the onion into the potato and mix in the egg, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper. Heat two tablespoons of butter in a large skillet. Put in four large spoonfuls of the mixture. Pat down slightly to create pancakes, about 2 inches wide. Cook gently until brown on the bottom, turn, and brown on the other side. Add more fat and continue cooking until all of the mixture is used.
To make the Honey Crisp Apple Sauce:
Peel and core the apples. Halve lemon and rub on apple halves to prevent browning. Dice apples. Place apples in a large pot with 1 cup water. Bring to a boil. Stir in honey and sugar. Simmer for 30 minutes or until apples are soft and create a sauce. Stir in cinnamon and lemon juice.
Serve pancakes with large spoonfuls of apple sauce.
I have to admit this was a difficult dish to make look as good as it tastes. This is basically classic Latin American comfort food, Paula Peck style. I refuse to credit a specific country in Latin America for Pork Black Beans and Rice because so many of them have their own version. I would hate to offend one country if this is not their authentic preparation, or leave another out that makes a similar version. One thing’s for sure, it’s hard to go wrong with black beans and rice on a chilly fall day. In this case, the addition of pork sausage and chunks of pork tenderloin give this dish a salty meaty flavor and also makes a protein packed meal that keeps you full longer when you’re out raking leaves or picking apples.
My favorite part of this dish is the orange. That orange slice you see in the photo is not just for decoration and color, there is actual orange juice in this dish. It’s mixed with red wine to deglaze the pan (release all of those flavorful brown bits) after browning the pork. This is the acid and sweetness the salty fat of this dish needs to provide that balanced flavor our taste buds look for. So ignore the deceiving sloppy look of these pork and beans – serve with orange slices and these are far from the blah rice and beans you may be used to.
2 cups dried black beans
1/3 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
2 small green peppers, seeded and diced
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1 1/2 lbs pork shoulder or tenderloin, cut into 1″ cubes
3/4 lb fresh pork sausage
2/3 cups orange juice
1/2 cup red wine
1 1/2 cups peeled fresh orange slices
Wash, pick over beans and soak overnight or cover beans in water and bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes, remove from heat and cover for 1 hour. Drain.
Heat olive oil in a deep pot. Add garlic, onion, and green pepper. Saute until tender and season with salt and pepper. Add beans and enough additional water to cover them. Cover pot and simmer 45 minutes or until beans are tender, adding more water if necessary. Drain liquid from pot and reserve.
Remove two cups of cooked beans from pot. Cover remaining beans to keep warm. Puree the two cups of cooked beans with as much liquid as necessary in blender. Stir bean puree into cooked beans and keep warm.
Brown pork cubes and sausage in their own fat in a skillet. Pour off fat when meats are golden all over and cut sausage into 1-inch pieces. Add both meats to beans. Season with additional salt and pepper, if required.
Pour orange juice and wine into skillet that meats were browned in and cook on high heat until liquid is reduced by half, scraping up any brown bits. Pour into bean mixture and stir to combine all flavors.
Serve over fluffy, steamed rice.
Adapted from “The Art of Good Cooking,” by Paula Peck.
After what seemed like a never-ending cold snowy winter in the Northeast, grilling season is finally here. Lucky for us, “The Art of Good Cooking” by my grandmother, Paula Peck, has many barbecue recipes I have yet to share. Similar to this Grilled Swordfish recipe, most are in the form of skewers – one of my favorite ways to grill. There is nothing revolutionary about this grilled skewer recipe but it’s simple and delicious. The marinade, which consists of garlic, olive oil, soy sauce, lemon, salt, and pepper, is just light enough to bring out the fresh clean taste of not only swordfish, but any seafood (check out the shrimp shown in this photo). With its meaty firm texture, swordfish is one of the few fish that can actually hold up to being cut into chunks, skewered, and grilled. Like all fish, it’s important not to overcook it – no one enjoys chunks of rubber.
Grilling can be challenge here in NYC. For the authentic grilling experience, the only options are the park or the roof deck or backyard of a wealthy friend. I usually end up doing most of my grilling out of town on vacation. However, the limited grilling options in NYC never stopped my grandmother. Although all of her grilling recipes can be converted to the oven or broiler, she grilled right in her Harlem kitchen. She would set up the grill plate on the stove and fan the smoke out the window, as best she could. The neighbors definitely didn’t appreciate this and I doubt she could get away it now. An actual grill (particularly charcoal) will produce a more flavorful result. But by marinating the fish for 2-3 hours and following the proper cooking times, juicy garlicky swordfish will become a favorite whether broiled, baked, or grilled. Don’t forget the grilled vegetables and fruit– my favorites are bell peppers, grape tomatoes, eggplant, and pineapple!
2 lbs swordfish steak
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
salt and pepper
Lemon Parsley Sauce (for serving)
6 tablespoons lemon juice
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Dry fish well on paper towels. Cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks.
Combine garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and soy sauce. Place swordfish in a bowl and pour mixture over the chunks. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, turning occasionally.
Thread chunks on skewers. Broil, preferably over charcoal, turning occasionally, until swordfish is lightly brown all over. Season with salt in pepper.
Mix together sauce ingredients and spoon over skewered swordfish.
Adapted from “The Art of Good Cooking,” by Paula Peck.