Friday, July 9, 2010

Celebrating Independence through food!

One of the unexpected results that we have created through this great experiment of ours is the reevaluation of human connections. We have created a catalyst for communication to happen in person and through the virtual world in which we all live in and where you are reading this right now.

After reading our close friend and last weeks guest’s comments about her experience at Worth Street ( I realized that we are officially trying to bridge the gap of interactivity and personal interconnectivity that the internet has created. Then today my mom sends me a text message with the following message (translated from Spanish to English) “People are in great need of support from others. With great need to connect and further understand ourselves.” This reverberated through my head… are we really that simple creatures that all we need in order to satisfy some of our basic humans needs is to connect with other and find support in them? Well, if our Latina blogger friend is right, then I am very happy to offer a “real” connection to all of you out there. We are all about the connection, the joy that it brings to enjoy a great dinner amongst friends.

Enough ranting and self-promotion… and now for the recipes of our patriotic night:

Corn on the Cob with Chili Butter

6 Sweet corn on the cobs
3 tb spoons of Butter (room temperature)
2 tb spoons of chili powder (I used chile de arbol for additional spiciness)

Boil (or steam) the corn for about 5 – 7 minutes, until nice and tender. Drain them from the pot and quickly pass them through ice cold water. This will stop the corn from continuing to cook. Place a wooden skewer through the bottom and serve.

While the corn is cooking, prepare the butter. Place the soft butter in a bowl and sprinkle the chili powder on top. With a spoon, begin to mix the chili into the butter by pressing into it. After about a minute of mixing and pressing you should end up with a red colored mix.

When serving, the corn, add a piece of butter to the top.

“Pulled Pork” Chicken with arepas

2 chicken breast with bone

For the arepas: (not traditional recipe)
1 ¼ cups of chicken broth
1 cup of water
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 ½
cups masa harina (special flour for arepas purchased at Whole Foods)
½ cup of fresh parmesan cheese
1 t spoon cumin

For the BBQ style sauce:
1 tb spoon of butter
2 tb spoons of chipotle
1 cup of white wine
1 yellow onion
½ cup of whipping cream
½ cup of goat cheese
1 tb spoon of liquid hickory smoke

Boil the chicken in salted water. About 10 minutes. While chicken cooks prepare the sauce and the arepas. Both should take about 10-15 minutes to prepare. Once chicken in ready, drain and keep the broth to use it in the arepa mixture. Pass chicken through cold water and begin pulling the chicken meat from the bones. The result will be like shredded chicken. Keep in a bowl.

For sauce, chop up the onion and place into sauce pan with melting butter. Cook until sof. Add the cup of white wine and let sit for 5-7 minutes as it reduces. Add remainder of ingredients, and mix well. Once prepared, place through food processor or blender until liquid. Return the sauce into the saucepan and mix chicken into it.

For the arepas, bring the broth, water, salt and 1 tb spoon of salt to a boil in a saucepan. Pour the broth mix into a separate bowl and let it cool a bit. Mix in the masa harina and the cheese ands tir until you get the consistency of a batter. Let mix set and cool for some minutes.
Once cooled, begin to form small balls and flatten. My trick was to place ball inside a zip lock bag and flatten with a cutting board. Then cook in hot pan with remaining olive oil. About 1 minute per side.

To serve, place one arepa on plate, serve chicken and add another arepa on top.

Fried Zucchini

2 zucchinis
1 cup of panko bread crumbs
2 eggs
2 cups of cooking oil for frying (canola)

Cut zucchinis julienne style, thickness as preferred but about ½ inch thick. Heat the oil in a frying pan. In two different bowls add the eggs and the bread crumbs. Beat the eggs thoroughly and pass the zucchinis into the eggs and let them soak. Then place on top of the bread crumbs until covered. Place into the hot oil and let fry for about 1 minute. Remove zucchini and let them sit on a paper towel while you cook them all in order to collect and residual oil.

3 Cheese Mac and cheese

2 tb spoons butter
1 leek chopped (only white and pale green portion)
2 shallots, chopped
1 ½ cups dry white wine
½ cup whipping cream
1 cup Taleggio cheese cut into small cubes
1 cup of mascarpone cheese
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon sliced whole black truffles
1 pound small elbow macaroni
¾ cup of sliced prosciutto, chopped

Crumb topping
1 cup fresh panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons butter

This recipe is full of very delicate flavor, and you need to be careful not to overpower one or the other. Begin by cooking the pasta in salted water until ‘al dente’. While pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a saucepan, add chopped shallots, leeks and a pinch of salt. Once soft, add the white wine and let it reduce for 10 minutes. Then add the cheeses into the mix along with the cream. Pasta should be done by now, so drain and sauce to pasta. Remove from heat.
I like to have my prosciutto a bit crunchy, so I toasted it a little on a separate pan then added it to the mac & cheese. For the truffles, slice them thinly and mix into the warm pasta, this allows for the full flavor of the truffle to be released without overpowering anything.
For the breadcrumbs, on the same pan that you toasted the prosciutto, melt the butter then add the breadcrumbs. The crumbs absorb all the butter and then begin to toast until brown.
When serving the mac & cheese, add the bread crumbs to the top.

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