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Kane’s Cuisine: Alison Roman’s baked ziti

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

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Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent serves up another of his delicious weekly recipes

WASHINGTON – File this one away for when the weather cools enough that the prospect of turning on your oven doesn’t make you homicidal. Yes, I realize baked ziti is not a summertime dish. No, I don’t care. 

If you hadn’t heard, Alison Roman started a new season of Home Movies, out on YouTube. Her latest video was for cheesy baked shells, which reminded me that I’ve had her baked ziti recipe saved in my New York Times Cooking app for years – but had never made it. 

Well, folks. The dish surpassed my (very high) expectations. 

I have said it once and I’ll say it again: If you want recipes for healthy food, look elsewhere. I am usually cooking with a lot of salt, fat, and carbs. Sometimes you’ll get a salad, but if I am eating a salad, chances are it’s an accompaniment to a main dish. 

Speaking of, the celery salad I wrote about in September 2023 (with cilantro, scallion, sesame, lime, and fish sauce) would be amazing with this baked ziti. 

Photo by Dan Balinovic

Recipe adapted from Alison Roman, New York Times Cooking

  1. In a Dutch oven or other large, heavy bottomed pot with high sides, heat ¼ cup good olive oil over medium. Cook 1 onion, diced, for 8-10 minutes. Add 4 cloves garlic, smashed or diced, and cook for 1-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons tomato paste and cook until it turns a deep brick-red color, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  2. Add 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, crushing them with your hands, along with another 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and fish sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, 20-30 minutes 
  3. In a medium bowl, combine 1 pound whole milk ricotta, ½ cup heavy cream, and ½ cup parmesan or pecorino. Season with salt and pepper and set aside
  4. As the sauce cooks, heat oven to 425° F. Place a large pot of heavily salted water on the stove and heat on high 
  5. Cook pasta until 2 minutes short of al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, drain and rinse the noodles in cold water
  6. Mix pasta water with the sauce once it’s done cooking/reducing. Transfer 2 cups of the sauce into a large bowl with your pasta, tossing and stirring to distribute evenly. Spoon more sauce onto the bottom of a 3-quart baking dish (a 9×13” Pyrex works well). Add a third of your pasta, followed by a third of your remaining sauce, half the ricotta mixture, and a third pound of mozzarella. Repeat, beginning with the pasta, one more time. For the final layer, add the last third of your pasta and the last of your sauce before dotting with your remaining mozzarella and shaving more parmesan on top

Bake for 30-40 minutes. Serve, garnished with basil

Photo by Dan Balinovic

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Kane’s Cuisine: Indonesian chicken salad (without mayonnaise!)

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

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Indonesian chicken salad- without mayonnaise! (Photo by Christopher Kane/LA Blade)

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent serves up another of his delicious weekly recipes

FIRE ISLAND PINES, N.Y. – Last Monday, before heading home to Washington, I made lunch for my friends who were working from their home in the Pines. After our pasta night, they wanted a light meal, and I knew just what to do: my all-time favorite, go-to chicken salad by Martha Rose Shulman for New York Times Cooking

Let’s be honest, most chicken salads are mediocre, and many are terrible (why do people add RAISINS?! Disgusting.) An unremarkable lunch that simply gets the job done when you need to scarf something down during a busy workday is fine, but I want more for you; for all of us. 

You will never suffer through another middling, insipid chicken salad after making this recipe just once. Here you’re getting the brightness, the bite, and the complex savoriness of ingredients commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine such as fresh mint and cilantro, lime juice, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, and buttermilk. Divine. 

And because it does not rely on mayonnaise to moisten the poached and shredded chicken breasts, Schulman’s recipe is also low-fat, which you should be sure to tell everyone who showers you with compliments when you bring a bowl to your next barbecue, cookout, potluck, pool party, Fourth of July party, or picnic this summer.  

  1. Bring a large pot of well salted water to a rolling boil. Add 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts and once the water is brought back to a boil, cover and remove your pot from the heat and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes 
  2. As you’re waiting, thinly slice 6-10 scallions (both white and green parts), sliver ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, chop ¼ cup cilantro, julienne 1 red bell pepper, and mince 1 serrano or jalapeño pepper. Add everything to a large bowl and toss together with 2 cups mung bean sprouts
  3. After chicken is rested (at which point it will be fully cooked through), remove the lid, drain the water, shred the meat, season with salt, and combine with the ingredients in your large bowl
  4. In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice, 2 teaspoons minced ginger, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 tablespoon fish sauce (preferably Southeast Asian), and a pinch of cayenne. Stir to combine and mix in 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter (creamy or smooth) along with ⅓ cup buttermilk

Taste and adjust seasonings and then serve over romaine lettuce leaves and/or bread, for sandwiches

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Kane’s Cuisine: Fire Island Pasta

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

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Colu Henry’s orecchiette with corn, jalapeño, feta, and basil. (Photo by Christopher Kane/LA Blade)

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent serves up another of his delicious weekly recipes

FIRE ISLAND PINES, N.Y. – This weekend, dear friends of mine were kind enough to invite me to their new home in Fire Island Pines, a beautiful Horace Gifford property steps from the beach. 

They and their friends have been doing housework and yardwork in preparation to rent the house out during the high season, but everyone knew better than to ask me to trim trees or power wash the balconies. Instead, I happily volunteered to cook. 

I know where my strengths lie. 

LA Blade White House correspondent Chris Kane (far left) & friends at Fire Island Pines off the Eastern Shore of Long Island, New York.

On Friday, I made Alison Roman’s chicken thighs braised with tomatillos, which I served with an assortment of toppings: cilantro, sliced radishes, and diced jalapeno and raw onion (quick-pickled with lime juice to lessen the bite). 

On Saturday, I managed to convince five other gay men to eat pasta. Can you imagine? Colu Henry’s orecchiette with corn, jalapeño, feta, and basil was good enough to make everyone forget about the calories and carbs.

Recipe lightly adapted from New York Times Cooking: 

  1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil and cook 1 pound orecchiette until 2-minutes short of al-dente (as indicated in the cooking instructions on the box). Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water 
  2. While the pasta cooks, make the sauce: In a 12-inch skillet, melt 4 tablespoons unsalted butter and cook 1 jalapeno, diced, along with 4-8 scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced, for 2 minutes
  3. Add corn kernels from 5-6 ears, cooking until it starts to brown, 4-6 minutes. Season with salt. Add ¼ cup pasta water and simmer until reduced by half, about 1-2 minutes
  4. Add pasta to the skillet, tossing to coat with the sauce. Add 8-10 ounces crumbled feta cheese and another ¼ cup pasta water, stirring until the sauce becomes smooth and creamy and glossy
  5. Stop and admire her glow-up

Stir in ½ cup basil and top with more basil

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Food

Kane’s Cuisine: Vanilla crème brûlée

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

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Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent serves up another of his delicious weekly recipes

WASHINGTON – Please pardon my delay. I was at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday and started working on this dish on Sunday night when I realized, because I’d failed to read the whole recipe in advance, that it must chill for 4+ hours in the fridge. 

Crème brûlée is a classic. As achievable as it is impressive, you can do 95 percent of the work ahead of time and then pop it under the broiler for a few minutes and voilà! Dessert is served. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to gild the lily. 

I used 6-ounce ramekins. You can use any oven-safe dishes for individual portions; just adjust the bake time accordingly. 

Photo by Dan Balinovic

Recipe adapted from Mark Bittman, New York Times Cooking

  1. Heat oven to 325° F
  2. Arrange four 6-ounce ramekins or other individually portioned baking vessels in a high-sided baking dish 
  3. In a saucepan, combine 2 cups heavy cream, 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, and ¼ teaspoon salt; cook over low-medium heat until hot (but not bubbling). Remove from heat and remove vanilla bean after a few minutes. (Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract now if you don’t have/didn’t use the bean) 
  4. In a large bowl, beat 5 egg yolks with ½ cup granulated white sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in ¼ of the hot cream and then transfer back to your saucepan, using a spatula if necessary to get all the sugar/egg mixture. Stir until combined and then pour into your ramekins
  5. Boil enough water to fill your baking dish such that the water goes halfway up the ramekins. Transfer to your oven and bake for 35 minutes 
  6. Allow to cool completely. Transfer to refrigerator and chill for 4+ hours or overnight
  7. When ready to serve, sprinkle about a teaspoon of sugar over each ramekin in an even layer, place them under a broiler (2-3 inches from the heat source), and cook until sugar is melted and browned, about 5 minutes. Alternatively, use a blowtorch

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Kane’s Cuisine: Challah bread

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

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Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent serves up another of his delicious weekly recipes

WASHINGTON – My friend Jonathan Lovitz made a beautiful loaf of challah on Friday*** and was kind enough to share the recipe, which comes from food writer Jake Cohen’s bestselling “Jew-ish: A cookbook.” 

Last night, I was slicing the challah in preparation to make Melissa Clark’s crème brulée French toast and accidentally took off the tip of my thumb with a very sharp serrated knife. Which is why the introduction to this week’s column is more brief than usual. 

Photo by Dan Balinovic
  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix one cup water, heated to 115° F, with 1 packet active dry yeast and 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar. Allow to rest for 10 minutes as the yeast begins to foam
  2. Add 6 more tablespoons granulated white sugar, 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, ¼ cup honey, and 3 eggs, mixing on medium speed until uniform
  3. Swap whisk attachment for dough hook. Add 5½ cups all-purpose flour and 2 teaspoons salt and mix, gradually increasing the speed from slow to medium as the flour incorporates, until a smooth and elastic dough forms (3-4 minutes)
  4. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface to continue kneading by hand for about 5 minutes
  5. Grease a medium bowl and your hands with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and add the dough ball, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and rest in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 1.5-2 hours
  6. Transfer dough to a clean work surface and divide into 4 or 6 equal pieces. Roll each of them into a long rope about 18” in length. Follow Cohen’s instructions on how to braid your challah or watch a tutorial on Youtube 
  7. Transfer challah to parchment-lined baking sheet pointing diagonally toward the back left or right corner of your oven. Brush your dough with 1 egg, beaten, and allow it to rise for another hour
  8. Preheat oven to 350° F
  9. Brush your challah again with another egg. Sprinkle with poppyseeds, sesame seeds, fennel seeds, etc. along with flaky salt
  10. Bake for 40 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through 

***Jonathan recommends using brown sugar in the dough, along with a pinch of baking powder and an extra egg

Photo by Dan Balinovic

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Kane’s Cuisine: Pork chops with feta, snap peas, & mint

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

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Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent serves up another of his delicious weekly recipes

WASHINGTON – It’s mid-April here in Washington, which might as well mean we’re in the dog days of summer. Highs are in the upper 70s, I’ve had nary an opportunity to don a light jacket, and I am already in search of a new summer sandal. Spring has sprung, my friends. 

My friends at Canales Quality Meats were as happy to see me as I was to see them on Friday, as I had made far fewer trips to Eastern Market during the preceding three months. (It’s been cold. I’ve been ordering a lot of Uber Eats.) 

Anyway, I picked up a few beautiful center-cut bone-in pork chops, with the perfect recipe in mind to ring in the summer. And I also took home a full pound of guanciale because one should never pass up such an opportunity. 

This treatment by Melissa Clark is a one-pan wonder. The dish has no business being so delicious with so few ingredients and such minimal effort required to prepare it. 

Photo by Dan Balinovic

Recipe is lightly adapted from Clark’s One-Pan Pork Chops With Feta, Snap Peas and Mint, via New York Times Cooking. 

  1. Season 2 bone-in pork chops with salt and pepper. Bring the meat to room temperature if it’s been refrigerated and pat it dry with paper towels 
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat until smoking. Sear pork chops on both sides, for about 4 minutes per side. You’re cooking until the internal temperature on a meat thermometer reaches 145° F (my preference, medium-rare) to 160° F (medium). If it’s not done by the time you have a good sear on both sides, cover and reduce heat to cook for another 3-5 minutes. Transfer the pork chops to a plate when they’re finished cooking
  3. Return the skillet to medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon unsalted butter and, once melted, 4 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add 2 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season with more salt. Stir to combine
  4. Return pork chops to the pan, making room to ensure they’re in direct contact with the pan, and then crumble ½ cup feta cheese over top. Cover and cook until cheese begins to melt, about 3 minutes 

Sprinkle ½ cup chopped fresh mint over top along with more scallions and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Serve

Photo by Dan Balinovic

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Kane’s Cuisine: Melissa Clark’s potato salad & chicken thighs

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

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Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent serves up another of his delicious weekly recipes

WASHINGTON – There’s a story behind today’s column, and it is seriously serendipitous. Fortuitous AF. Lucky as a ladybug. It begins with the mint plants that sprung up overnight in my garden, which has been neglected for so long that it’s difficult to imagine anything ever did or would grow there. 

So, obviously, I wanted to make a mint-forward dish tonight. I turned to my favorite resource, the New York Times Cooking app, and decided to make this recipe for lemon potato salad with mint because (1) it has a five-star rating, and, more importantly, (2) it comes courtesy of one Melissa Clark. 

Photo by Dan Balinovic

Every single recipe of hers that I have made has been top-notch. I highly recommend her book, “Dinner in French: My Recipes by Way of France.” (She has published more than three dozen cookbooks and I’m sure all of them are just as fabulous, but sadly my bookshelf is only so capacious.)

Anyway, my husband, as I may have mentioned in the past, fervently believes that a meal without meat is like sex without an orgasm. So, I grabbed some boneless skinless chicken thighs from my freezer and continued browsing NYT Cooking in search of something to do with them…

…and discovered this garlicky chicken with lemon-anchovy sauce by (guess who?) Melissa Clark! A perfect pairing. Both dishes are deeply savory but brightened up thanks to lemon and fresh herbs. Plus, I happened to have an abundance of lemons. Thanks, Costco. 

Photo by Dan Balinovic

I hope that story didn’t put you to sleep. One minute you’re young and fun, but then sometime in your 30s instead of shot-gunning Four Lokos and dancing at the club you’re getting excited about buying a new medicine cabinet. I don’t know what to say. Life comes at you fast. 

Recipes were slightly adapted below: 

  1. Boil two pounds unpeeled waxy potatoes (I used Yukon Golds) in a pot of generously salted water for, depending on their size, 15-25 minutes. Drain and cut the potatoes into 1.5-inch pieces
  2. Whisk together the juice of one lemon, ½ cup good extra-virgin olive oil, 1.5 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt, and ¼ teaspoon Turkish pepper (or ground cayenne)
  3. Transfer hot potatoes to a large bowl and toss with your dressing. When potatoes have cooled to room temperature, toss them again with ½ cup thinly sliced scallions and ¼ cup mint leaves (torn if they’re really large)
  4. Serve at room temperature 
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Season 4-6 chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Mince 1 garlic clove and set aside
  2. In a large, ovenproof skillet, heat ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil on medium/medium-high. Add 5 smashed garlic cloves, 5 anchovy fillets, 2 tablespoons of capers, patted dry, and a large pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, until the garlic browns and the anchovies dissolve, about 3-5 minutes
  3. Add chicken thighs and cook until well browned, about 5-7 minutes. Flip them and transfer skillet to the oven to cook for another 5-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through
  4. Transfer chicken to a plate and put your skillet back on the heat. Add your minced garlic and the juice of half a lemon, cooking until fragrant – about 30 seconds – while scraping the fond from the bottom of the skillet. Return chicken to the pan and cook for another 15-30 seconds
Photo by Dan Balinovic

Transfer everything to a serving platter. Squeeze the remaining lemon half over the chicken, garnish with chopped parsley, and serve.

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Food

Kane’s Cuisine: Steak salad, two ways

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

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Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent serves up another of his delicious weekly recipes

WASHINGTON – I have already played “16 Carriages” about two dozen times. Are y’all listening to Cowboy Carter? What an album! Beyoncé really said, “I ain’t playin’ wit you, Jolene!” 

Pin on What Do You Meme (Expansion Options)

Anyway, today’s column is a love letter to cold steak – which I was craving, thanks to Carla Lalli Music’s recipe in “That Sounds So Good” and accompanying YouTube video, in which the meat is sliced thin against the grain and served on a bed of arugula with shaved parm and a homemade Caesar-ish dressing. 

My husband, however, prefers romaine lettuce and blue cheese dressing, so I figured why not make everyone happy and do the dish both ways? 

It can be tricky to re-heat steak without cooking the center beyond a desirable point of doneness, so this is really a perfect way to eat leftovers if you made (or ordered) too much! Just remember to add salt if you’re using steak that’s been sitting in the fridge because the cold dulls flavor. (In my opinion, however, the texture is better.

Photo by Dan Balinovic
  1. Season 2 boneless New York strip or Ribeye steaks generously with salt and pepper. Allow to rest for about an hour at room temperature
  2. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high for about five minutes. Add a tablespoon of neutral oil and wait until it begins to smoke. Add the steaks and cook for about 2 minutes, and then turn and repeat on each side – being sure to render the fat cap – until the internal temperature is about 112° to 115° F. Transfer steaks to a cutting board and allow to rest/cool
Caesar-ish dressingBlue cheese dressing
With a mortar and pestle, grind three anchovy fillets together with salt and pepper until a paste forms. Transfer to a bowl and add 1 garlic clove, grated, the zest of ½ a lemon and juice of the entire lemon, and ½ cup of mayonnaise. Stir to combine and add more salt if neededIn a large bowl, combine ½ cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon minced onion, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, ¼ cup minced parsley, ¼ cup sour cream, ½ tablespoon lemon juice, ½ tablespoon white wine vinegar, and ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese. Stir and add more salt if needed
  1. Slice steak thinly against the grain. Use a vegetable peeler to shave some Parmesan cheese curls. 
Photo by Dan Balinovic

Serve steak and Parmesan over a bed of arugula, chopped romainelettuce, or other greens along with whichever dressing you made. Season steak with flaky sea salt.

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Kane’s Cuisine: 갈비탕 Korean beef short rib soup (Galbitang)

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

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Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent serves up another of his delicious weekly recipes

WASHINGTON – I apologize for not publishing a column last week. It was my birthday. Truthfully, I was planning on making something, but I had too much celebration while at brunch. Peter Chang’s Chinese restaurant south of Dupont Circle, Chang Chang, is delightful

So, I am back on my game this week with a delicious Korean dish, galbitang (갈비탕). 

Photo by Dan Balinovic
  1. Soak 2.5-3.5 pounds bone-in beef short rib in cold water for 30 minutes. Drain.
  2. Fill a large pot with about 8 cups water. Bring to a boil and drop in the ribs, cooking for about 3 minutes
  3. Drain the ribs again. Wash the meat under cold running water and clean the pot
  4. Return the ribs to your pot. Add 13-14 cups of water, along with 1 pound Korean radish, one onion, quartered, the white and light green parts of 2-4 scallions, 8-12 cloves whole garlic, and a 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into three equally sized pieces. Add 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, and a dash of fish sauce
  5. Bring to a boil and leave at a boil for 30 minutes over high heat, uncovered
  6. Reduce the heat to medium. Remove radish and set aside. Discard the other vegetables. Add 2 cups water and continue to boil, covered, for about an hour. 

Photo by Dan Balinovic

Serve with rice and/or rice noodles. Garnish with scallion and/or fresh herbs.

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Kane’s Cuisine: Shortcut chicken and dumpling soup

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

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Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent serves up another of his delicious weekly recipes

WASHINGTON – Alexa Weibel’s quick chicken and dumplings, via New York Times Cooking, is such a good recipe that it will have me walking back proclamations I’ve made in previous columns. For example, when I insisted on using freshly cooked chicken for my chicken pot pie. Or when I’ve poo-pooed the use of shortcuts in cooking elsewhere.  

I thought about doing an Oscars-themed dish this week, but honestly here in Washington we’re experiencing gale-force winds and it’s freezing. The night, in other words, called for chicken and dumplings. 

Store-bought gnocchi and rotisserie chicken seriously cuts down on the cooking time. But homemade chicken stock and fresh herbs are doing the heavy lifting, here. 

You might even say this dish is perfect for a mom who works two jobs. Who loves her kids and never stops: 

Even Republicans Panned Sen. Katie Britt's Kitchen-Table SOTU Response

In a large pot, melt 3 tablespoons unsalted butter on medium heat. Add 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into ½ inch pieces, 1 medium-large leek (or two if they’re on the smaller side), white and light green portions, thinly sliced, 2 medium celery stalks, sliced into ½ inch pieces, 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed, 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary, 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, and 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

Photo by Dan Balinovic
  1. Season with salt and black pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes
  2. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes
  3. Gradually add 5 cups homemade chicken stock (yes, you can use store-bought. I guess.) and 1 cup heavy cream. Bring to a boil over high heat 
  4. Stir in a 16-ounce package of fresh store-bought gnocchi. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in 2 cups picked store-bought rotisserie chicken, shredded

Garnish with fresh dill and serve

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Kane’s Cuisine: Molly Baz’s citrus-braised beef

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

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Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent serves up another of his delicious weekly recipe

WASHINGTON – Last week, you may recall we made pork shoulder, slow-cooked on the stovetop with orange zest and warm spices, for carnitas tacos. Today, we are making beef chuck roast, braised in the oven for more than three hours with an orange-lime-cilantro-garlic salsa, for…well, we have some options! 

You can nestle the meat into warmed corn tortillas with queso fresco and raw onions. You can serve it over rice, polenta, or potatoes – don’t forget to add your favorite garnishes and accoutrements. You could even spoon some alongside (or overtop) fried eggs, beans, and tostadas for an otherworldly plate of huevos rancheros. 

The recipe comes courtesy of Molly Baz. I am a huge fan of hers, and you can sign up for her Club for just $5/month for amazing dishes like this one. 

  1. Salt 3.5 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 3-inch cubes
  2. Cut 4 strips of zest from an orange and set aside
  3. In a blender or food processor, add ¾ up white distilled vinegar, 10 cloves garlic, ½ bunch cilantro, 1 packed tablespoon fresh oregano, the juice and pulp of 3 oranges and 2 limes, 3 tablespoons honey, 2 teaspoons salt, and 3 jalapenos, cut in half and into 1-inch pieces. Blend until “a green, speckly puree forms” 
  4. Preheat oven to 325° F. Peel and thinly slice 2 onions. Reserve a big handful for garnish later on and use the rest to scatter along the bottom of a large Dutch oven
  5. Place the beef atop the onions. Scatter orange zest around them. Drizzle 3 tablespoons olive oil overtop. Pour in the braising liquid along with 1¼ cup water
  6. Bring to a simmer on the stovetop. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and transfer to the oven for 3.5 hours, basting “with some of its juices once every hour and returning the lid, until the beef is fork tender and shreddable.” 
  7. Remove from oven and increase heat to 425°. “Remove the lid and scoot any onions off the surface of the beef to expose the flesh. Use a spoon to kind of prop the beef so it’s sticking out of the liquid by a bit.” Cook until the meat is caramelized and liquid has reduced, about 15 minutes 
  8. Shred and serve…however you like!
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