Pickled Red Onions with Habañero Chili


Pickled Red Onions with Habañero Chili | Culinary Compost Recipes
This is a classic recipe from Texas. The habañero adds a substantial kick but may be omitted if desired. Serve as a garnish on tacos, or pork carnitas. Will keep for two weeks in your fridge. If you like, you can also throw a couple of sliced radishes in for some extra color. Please note that you must refrigerate after pickling or it will spoil. This recipe will fill one Mason pint jar. You can double or triple the ingredients and place in a quart jar instead.

Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

1 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup water
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/2 tsp. white granulated sugar
3/4 red onion, sliced
1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 fresh habañero pepper, stemmed

Directions:

In a non-reactive saucepan, heat the vinegar, water, salt and sugar until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer for two minutes. Loosely pack the rest of the ingredients in a pint mason jar. Pour the brine mixture over the onions until they are just covered. Seal with a canning lid and ring. Allow to cool on your counter for thirty minutes. Refrigerate and serve the next day.

Makes one pint.

Rustic Country Artisan Bread


Rustic Made-From-Scratch Country Artisan Bread | Culinary Compost Recipes

This is a recipe adapted from the Tartine Bread Cookbook. Unlike the no-knead recipe featured here, you must knead and then proof the dough. The result is a bread with more rise and a fantastic soft and airy crumb texture. Try both recipes and see which one works best for you.

A five-quart cast-iron dutch oven with a tight-fitting cover is ideal for this recipe. Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

1.5 cups warm water (110-115°F)
1 tbs. white granulated sugar
1.5 tsp. active dry yeast
3 cups bread flour, leveled
1 cup, whole wheat pastry flour, leveled
1.5 tsp. table salt
bread flour, for dusting the dough work surface
Cornmeal for dusting the pot
XV olive oil

Directions:

Measure the warm water and place in a quart Pyrex dish. Add the sugar and use a wooden spoon to stir and dissolve. Add the active dry yeast and stir gently. Let stand ten minutes until the surface starts to bubble.

While you are waiting, measure the flour and salt and add to a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spatula, mix the dry ingredients. Slowly add the water, sugar and yeast mixture. Fold in with the spoon until the mixture starts to pull away from the bowl. Using your hands, carefully pull out the dough and continue kneading by hand for eight to ten minutes on a floured work surface. Add a bit more flour or water if necessary. The consistency of the dough should be tacky.

Gently form the dough into a ball and place in a separate bowl greased with a bit of olive oil, that is about three times the size of the dough ball. Cover with a dampened, warm towel. Place the dish in your oven and turn on the oven light. Allow to proof (rise) for two hours. The warm environment in your unheated oven with just the oven light on will allow the dough to rise perfectly.

After two hours, remove the dough ball and place back on your floured counter. Punch down the dough and gently fold it back in, forming a ball. Place back in the covered bowl and let stand for ten minutes so the gas caused by the yeast has a chance to reincorporate. After ten minutes place the ball on the floured counter and gently pull and fold over the dough in thirds. Pinch the seams together and place back in the bowl and let sit to rise again for 30-45 minutes. This stage is called the second proof.

During the last twenty minutes, remove the bowl from the oven and place on the cooktop. Preheat your oven to 450° F. Place an ungreased five-quart cast-iron dutch oven inside with the cover on. Preheat the pot.

After the second proof is done, carefully remove the pot from the oven and remove the lid. Sprinkle a bit of cornmeal on the bottom of the pot. Sprinkle the dough ball lightly with more flour and add to the preheated pot. Working quickly, carefully score two shallow slits in the top of the dough with a serrated paring knife. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, uncover the pot. Reduce the heat to 375° F. Bake uncovered for an additional 9-10 minutes, until the internal temperature of the bread reads 200-204° F. Monitor closely during this time so it doesn’t overcook.

Carefully remove the bread and allow to cool for one hour on a wire baking rack. Using a serrated bread knife, cut and serve.

Makes one loaf. Serves 6-8

Note: An accurate instant-read digital probe thermometer is a must for this recipe.

Oven-Roasted Chicken with Carrots and Crimini Mushrooms


Roast Chicken with Carrots and Crimini Mushrooms | Culinary Compost Recipes

Tie the drumsticks together with some butcher twine so the chicken retains moisture. You can also fold the wings under the bird so they don’t dry out. Roast breast side up on an elevated wire rack, uncovered.

This is a savory recipe that takes little time to prepare — the result may very well be the most super-juicy and aromatic chicken you’ve ever enjoyed.  My wife is not fond of rosemary, so I had to cut back on the amount of fresh aromatics used to stuff the bird.  Ensure you have an accurate poultry thermometer. I use an instant-read Weber® digital probe. It’s quick and easy.  For consistent results, I always check the internal temp of the breast because it has more mass than the thighs and will take longer to cook.  Allow the bird to rest before serving so it stays juicy.  Enjoy—

 

Ingredients:

1 whole fryer chicken (about 5.5 to 6 pounds)
5 tbs. Trader Joe’s lemon-infused XV olive oil
Mike’s Backwoods Holler spice rub

1/2 lemon, sliced
2 tbs. salted butter
4 large cloves garlic, peeled and finely-chopped
1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
1 small bunch of fresh poultry spice (includes stems of sage, rosemary, thyme)

3 large carrots, peeled, quartered and cut into 1/2″ planks
6 medium Crimini mushrooms, washed, stemmed and halved
1 cup chicken stock

butcher twine for tying the drumsticks

 

Directions:

About 3.5 hours before serving, rinse the chicken and inner cavity in cold water. Discard the giblets from the cavity. Pat dry and place on a serving plate.
Brush down the entire chicken with 5 tbs. olive oil. Next, generously sprinkle the spice rub over the bird, ensuring all surfaces are evenly covered, including the inner fold of the wings and drumsticks. Leave on counter for one hour so the bird has a chance to warm up.  I don’t need to remind you to religiously clean all prep surfaces with disinfectant to avoid spreading salmonella bacteria. WASH YOUR HANDS with hot soapy water.

Preheat oven to 425° F.  About 2.5 hours before serving, stuff the cavity of the bird with the lemon slices, chopped onion, garlic, butter and poultry spice. The poultry spice is quite aromatic so watch how much you use. Carefully tie the drumsticks together using butcher twine. Place the bird in a medium roaster pan with a wire rack on the bottom. Layer the carrots and mushrooms around the bird and add 1 cup chicken stock to the pan.

Bake uncovered at 425° for 15 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 375° and bake for an additional 110 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the breast reads 165° F.

Remove and set aside covered for ten minutes before serving, which will allow the juices to reincorporate.

Serves 4.

 

Notes:
General cooking time for roast chicken is 20 minutes per pound. Shown is a 5.5 pound bird. Therefore, total cook time for a bird of this weight is 110 minutes. You will need to ADD 15 minutes, on average, if the bird is stuffed. The initial increased temp of 425° makes little difference in the end time result.  My calculation was pretty accurate: 125 total minutes / 60 = 2.08 hours + a 10 minute rest before serving. Your results will vary so experiment and have fun.

Adding the carrots and Crimini mushrooms is optional. There are two drawbacks if going this route.
1. The vegetables will be saturated in the chicken fat drippings. To retain the flavor and eliminate the fat, strain the vegetables from the pan and allow to blot dry on a paper towel. Then keep warm in a covered serving dish.
2. The mushrooms will tend to shrink a lot, so either half them or leave them whole.

One disadvantage of tying the legs together is that you can’t do the twist test to check for doneness. Go by the internal temperature of the breast — as a cross-check, pierce the inner thigh with a paring knife. The juices will run clear when the bird is done.

 

Save the leftover chicken for homemade soup. Click here for my recipe.
Save the drippings (skim off the fat) and use for stock or gravy.

Save

Mike’s Backwoods Holler Rub


Mike's Backwoods Holler Rub | Culinary Compost RecipesThis is an excellent rub for fresh-caught lake fish or beer-can chicken. Use on tilapia, catfish, bass, bluegills, salmon, walleye and Northern pike. When applied to chicken, brush with XV olive oil first, and then let the bird sit overnight in the fridge so the flavors can adhere to the skin. I highly recommend making a double batch — you’ll be using that much anyway so you’ll save time by preparing it up front.

 

Ingredients:

1 tbs. Kosher salt
4 tbs. Hungarian paprika
1 tbs. ground ancho chili
1 tsp. fresh-ground black pepper (medium-grind)
1 tbs. thyme (crushed in mortar)
1 tbs. dry rosemary (crushed in mortar)
2 tsp. garlic granules
1 tsp. chipotle powder (hot Meco preferred)
1 tsp. ground coriander

 

Directions:

Measure ingredients exactly and funnel into a pint mason jar. Cover and mix well. Will keep up to a year in a cool, dry storage cabinet before the flavors start to fade.

If you double the amount it makes just over 1 cup.

Mike's Backwoods Holler Rub | Culinary Compost Recipes

Experimenting with the ratio of spices. Needed more punch on the aromatics…

Culinary Compost Boycotts Penzeys Spices


Hello fellow foodies. After reading recent commentary from Bill Penzey, the author of Culinary Compost is officially withdrawing all references to Penzeys Spices on this food blog. While I’ve always known that Bill overtly inserts his political opinion in monthly mailings to his customer base, (which, in its own right is wrong on so many levels,) I can no longer stand by and let this man spew his rhetoric of hate to conservatives, and to people who support and voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential election, by labeling them “racist.”

I am not a racist. I never have been. And I resent being called one.

This is extreme-left socialism, and this kind of bigotry has no place in America.  Make no mistake — my observation is not one of Conservatives vs. Liberals. It is simply a stance of the author not supporting an individual who wants to further divide this country through hate by means of his product.

Shown below are a few articles and a link to Penzey’s official Facebook page:

http://truthfeed.com/owner-of-penzeys-spice-co-trashes-trump-supporters-calling-them-racist-and-saying-they-must-be-punished/39315/

http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2016/11/21/penzeys-ceo-comments-ignite-backlash-praise-and.html

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/nov/23/bill-penzey-ceo-trump-voters-just-committed-the-bi/

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/bill-penzey-spices-trump/

http://modernfarmer.com/2016/11/penzeys-spices-condemns-trump-attracts-rage/

https://www.facebook.com/Penzeys/?fref=ts

 

You be the judge.  Last time I checked, America was still a free country. And my readers, of course, are still allowed to shop where they want and exercise their right to free speech, which I will always respect. However, pitting people against each other in the guise of “Love” is a ruse by Bill Penzey, who’s only concern is making as much money as he can over a very contentious election.  Funny thing is, he’s pissed off a lot of his customers, and I, for one, will not be coming back.

Invariably, comments by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke say it best:
https://twitter.com/SheriffClarke/status/800088603422380033
“This typical hate-filled white elitist lefty doesn’t live around black people or have stores in black neighborhoods.”

Bill Penzey can be reached at bill@penzeys.com

#boycottpenzeys

 

In the interest of an open discussion, leave your thoughts below – none will be censured.
—Mike from Culinary Compost

Bill Penzey's Socialist Sea Salt

Penzey’s Spices announces new product.

Thai Lemongrass Curry Chicken


Thai Lemongrass Curry Chicken | Culinary Compost Recipes
This is a recipe inspired by one of my all-time favorites dishes featured at a local Thai restaurant. Sadly, the place closed and I was forced to reinvent it for posterity.  The flavor is intense and very complex. You will need a very sharp knife in preparing this recipe — lemongrass is a woody, fiberous stalk that is very hard to cut. The aromatic flavor of the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves are essential to this dish. Most Asian markets will carry both of these items, so you should have no trouble finding them.

If you don’t have a good wok, I highly recommend the Lodge cast-iron version. It is built like a tank and can be used indoors over a gas or ceramic electric stovetop, or outside on a charcoal grill. I love mine and it has never let me down. Order it from Amazon and save yourself about twenty bucks.

Enjoy — this is one of my favorite recipes.

 

Ingredients:

For the Marinade~
2 large skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4″ pieces
1 two-inch shallot, peeled and minced
1″ chunk grated ginger root
3 lemongrass stalks – trimmed to about 8″ in length (discard the narrow green tops)
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tbs. fish sauce
Juice from 1/4 lime

—————-

2 tbs. peanut oil
20 snow peas
1 fresh garden red bell pepper, sliced
5 leaves fresh basil
1 tbs. brown sugar
1 tbs. dry Balti spice
2 tbs. Thai green curry paste (or more to taste)
3 scallion, finely sliced with greens
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
4 kaffir lime leaves – very thinly sliced
2 cups chicken stock
1 tbs. fish sauce
1 can Thai coconut milk

2 cups Thai jasmine rice, cooked according to package directions

 

Directions:

Marinade the chicken at least one hour prior to preparing the meal. Cut the chicken into 3/4″ pieces and place in a bowl. In a separate mixing bowl, add the soy sauce, lime juice and fish sauce. Add the minced shallot and ginger. Trim the lemongrass to 8″ and discard the root and green tops. Hit aggressively with a meat mallet and discard the tough outer sheath, keeping the inner core. Cut into 2″ sections and then finely julienne. Combine with the sauce and pour over the chicken pieces. Stir to ensure they are evenly coated and place covered in your fridge.

Cut, measure and prepare everything else so you are ready to go – Thai recipes are known for their short cooking times.

Preheat a wok over medium heat. Add the peanut oil and swirl to coat. When shimmering, add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds, stirring constantly so it doesn’t scorch. Quickly add the chicken and discard the marinade/lemongrass. Sear until no longer pink, stirring constantly.

Add the chicken stock and fish sauce and bring to a slow boil. Add the coconut milk and kaffir lime leaves. Stir to incorporate. Add the Balti spice, green curry and brown sugar. Stir until slightly reduced, about 3-5 minutes. Add the snow peas, bell pepper, and basil and cook for three additional minutes.

Remove the wok from the stove and place on a heavy serving trivet. Serve the lemongrass chicken over hot jasmine rice with cilantro and scallion as a garnish.

 

Serves 4

 

End-of-Summer Acorn Squash Soup with Fresh Basil


End-of-Summer Acorn Squash Soup with Fresh Basil | Culinary Compost Recipes

 

This is a savory, velvety-smooth soup that’s perfect for cold fall afternoons. You can substitute thinly-sliced scallion greens for the basil. Sour cream adds a richer base of flavor, but you can also use one cup of heavy cream instead. Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

3 garden acorn squash, halved and seeded
4 tbs. XV olive oil
3 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup sour cream
3 tbs. salted butter (room temperature)
1 dry bay leaf
1 tsp. Spanish smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. dry tarragon
4 large cloves roasted garlic
1/2 cup fresh-grated quality hard Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
Thinly-sliced fresh garden basil as a garnish

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°-F. Using a very sharp 12” chef knife, carefully halve the acorn squash and core out the seeds and pulp with a spoon. Lop off the ends on each piece so they will sit level on a cookie sheet.

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, place the squash halves on the sheet and brush with olive oil. Bake for 50 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Remove and set aside for ten minutes to cool.

While the squash is baking, heat a small, heavy cast-iron skillet over medium heat and add the garlic cloves. Leave the husks on. Turn occasionally and roast for about ten minutes until slightly charred. Remove, let cool and then peel.

Spoon out the squash and transfer to a blender. Add the chicken stock, roasted garlic, sour cream, salted butter, smoked paprika, tarragon, salt and pepper. Pulse until smooth.

Transfer to a heavy soup pot. Add the grated Parmesan cheese. Stir well and add the bay leaf. Cook over medium-low heat for about one hour, stirring often, so the flavors have time to incorporate. Serve with chopped fresh basil as a garnish.

Serves 6.