Thursday, December 28 –
This dinner was super, extra easy. It was, however, in need of a little bit of editing to make a dinner for people after work. Wonderful Boyfriend, Roommate Extraordinaire, WingWoman, and LightsOn were all over for this dinner, so I couldn’t let it sit and stew for 2.5 hours. So I started with putting the potatoes into the oven to roast, pierced with a fork and wrapped in foil. I chose golden potatoes because I thought their flavor would be a good addition to this recipe. Then I got the veggies chopped up and the meat cubed. I started like the recipe says with oil in the pan, adding the meat to sear it, but I let the meat brown and added the spices in earlier than it said. I just layered the spices on top and tossed when I added the onion and green onion slices. After the onions had softened and started to take on the reddish color of the spices, I added just one cup of hot water and covered it to simmer for the time it took the potatoes to cook. I will also add that the recipe called for 1/2 cup of cayenne (!!!) and I knocked it down to 2 teaspoons. I don’t know if they put that much in because it was supposed to simmer in 8 cups of water, or if they were really trying to cleanse the intestinal tracts of everyone that even came close to the dish. So, knowing that the people eating this dinner likes to sniffle from the heat, maybe even sweat a little, but not puke from the heat, I turned it down a little (no really, a whole lot. eek!).
While everything was simmering I put the white corn (that I got in cans) covered with plastic wrap into the microwave to heat up for dinner. Once the potatoes were easy to pierce with a fork, I took them out and got everyone ready to serve up. The corn was sweet and a great combo with the spicy of the meat, the potatoes were a smooth flavor and a good size (some people had one, some had two), and the meat. Oh, the flavor. Just thinking about it makes me wish that we had any left for leftovers. But it was gone so quickly that no one even had a chance to have seconds! On a gluten free note, I didn’t add any bread crumbs to this, and I think that it didn’t need them at all. I also didn’t simmer down from 8 cups of water, so maybe if you followed the boiling meat directions (!!!) you would need them. We didn’t, and the flavor and texture was excellent.
The dessert that WingWoman made was so good, I don’t think the picture does it justice (which seems to be a trend, now that I think of it). It was like the best part of fire-toasted marshmallows with just a hint of lemon to make it interesting. We literally crowded the pan and peeled them off, burning hot and sticky onto our fingers. There was no waiting for cool down time for us! The part that we changed for this recipe was the temperature. She made the first batch just like it said, at 350 then down to 250 – but it just wouldn’t finish cooking! So we turned the heat back up to 350 and they turned out perfect. Then the second batch we cooked at 350 the entire time, and they were even more amazing!
LightsOn, WingWoman, and I supplied the wine this time, and we had some wins and some losses. We had a syrah that was way, way too strong/dark/heavy. It literally coated the tongue/throat/teeth. We had a shiraz that was pretty sweet, and didn’t really fit the dinner. And then we had an Italian red (I don’t remember what kind! Sorry!) that matched the dishes, was easy to drink, and made everyone at the table happy. Hooray for wine!
Things I have learned: It’s ok to use less spice. I never, ever thought I’d say that because I’m usually the one tripling or quadrupling any flavor that I’m cooking with. But this time, I actually met my match!
Fricasé (spicy pork meat stew)
- 2 spoonfuls oil
- 2.2 pounds pork meat, preferable ribs, cut into 16 pieces
- 1 cup white onion, cut into thin strips
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon crumbled oregano
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup ground cayenne pepper (1/2 kilo in cases)
- 1 spoonful salt
- 1/2 cup green onion, cut into thin strips
- 8 cups boiling water
- 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs, to thicken
- 4 cups cooked white corn
- 8 peeled potatoes (cooked separately)
In a large pot heat the two spoonfuls of oil over medium heat. Add the pork and fry until golden. Add onion, cumin, pepper, oregano, garlic, cayenne pepper, salt and green onion. Stir and add the eight cups of boiling water. Let cook until the meat comes off a little of the bones, at least two hours. Try to maintain the initial amount of broth, adding a little of water if necessary. Shortly before serving, add bread crumbs to thicken. Serve in a deep plate with sufficient broth. Garnish with one cooked potato and cooked white corn.
Suspiros (Baked Meringues)
- 8 egg whites
- 1/2 lemon
- 3 and 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
- Baking paper
Instructions: Beat the eggs until they form soft peaks. Continue to beat them as you gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and juice from 1/2 a lemon. Beat continually until firm peaks form. Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Place a piece of baking paper on a cookie sheet and drop the meringue by large spoonfuls onto the paper. Lower the oven temperature to about 250 and bake until slightly toasted. Remove and cool. Your meringues will be crunchy but fragile and will break easily. They’ll also melt in your mouth.