Spicebox Supperclub: Hawaii

ala moana wave

Aloha from Hawaii!  Sorry for the very long absence– we’ve had two supperclubs since our last post!  It seems we’ve been busier eating (and other things) than posting, but we hope to catch up! Before we get to the islands, first, some big news! We were able to share a bit about our Supperclub in a national print publication, a lovely food writing journal called Remedy Quarterly.  Until recently, you could only obtain Remedy Quarterly either online or from specialty culinary booksellers, but now it is available at your local Barnes and Noble. Please check us out in Issue 19: Share, available now!

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Now, back to Hawaii.  Supperclubbers Peter and Linda have been spending a lot of time in Hawaii, our spiritual home (and possible future retirement home), so we decided to pay homage to the islands we love with this menu for Supperclub #6, which we presented on May 24, 2015.

Hosts: Linda and Peter

Executive Chef: Linda

Bartender: Dave

Sommelier: Nalin

Pastry Chef: Chris

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Menu

Cocktails:

South Pacific

Trader Vic’s Mai Tai

 

Cocktail Snacks:

Wasabi macadamia nuts

Japanese Shoyu Iso peanuts

Starters:

Ahi Poke Napoleon

Spam Musubi

 

 

Courses:

Butter Lettuce Salad with Mango, Avocado and Pickled Sea Asparagus with Rice Vinaigrette

“Plate Lunch”:

Kalua Pork with Mashed Taro and Samoan Savory Green Banana in Coconut Milk

Shredded Cabbage

Cucumber-Napa Kimchi

Dessert:

Chris’s Mom’s Big Island Lilikoi Cheesecake

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for coming by!  Mahalo and Aloha!

Up next: South Pacific cocktails! See what Dave mixed up!

 

 

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Mexico: More Chiles

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The Spicebox Supperclub has been celebrating the wonderful flavors of Mexico in our latest series.  See our menu overview to see what we enjoyed.  We started with cocktails, then had a tour of chiles.  This week, we enter the realm of main courses, still exploring the variety of chiles and other flavors used in Mexican cuisine.

Spicy Pasilla Mushroom Tacos

Ingredients

8 garlic cloves

6 large pasilla chiles, stemmed, seeded

1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

¼ spoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

½ cup chicken broth

4 cups sliced woodland mushrooms (shitake)

¼ cup thinly sliced epazote

12 corn tortillas

½ cup finely diced onion

1/3 cup diced queso anejo

12 corn tortillas

Directions

Pasilla Paste

  1. Roast unpeeled garlic. Toast chiles in skillet, then rehydrate for 30 minutes. Drain and reserve 1/3 cup of the soaking fluid.
  2. Combine chiles, soaking liquid, garlic, oregano, pepper and cumin. Blend to a smooth puree. Strain through a medium mesh strainer.

Mushrooms

  1. Heat oil in a medium pot, once hot enough to sizzle seasonings, add all of pasilla paste. Stir for 5 minutes. Stir in broth, then add mushrooms and epazote. Partially cover, simmer over medium-low until mushrooms are soft and sauce reduced, about 15 minutes.
  2. Season with salt. Sprinkle with queso and garnish with epazote. Serve with tacos on bed of shredded cabbage. 

Corona Bean Soup with Ancho Chile and Mint

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Ingredients

1 pound corona beans

8 cups chicken broth

6 garlic cloves

1 large white onion

3 medium-large tomatoes (9-12 plum tomatoes)

6 medium ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 teaspoon Mexican oregano

2 ½ teaspoons salt

½ cup loosely chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons chopped mint

½ cup queso anejo

Directions

Soup

  1. Soak beans for several hours. Drain and place in 8 cups of broth and simmer for 3-4 hours.
  2. Roast garlic unpeeled. Roast tomatoes, discard skins, keep juices. Chop.
  3. Add garlic, onion, tomatoes to beans, cook until ready.

Chiles

Cut chiles into 1/8th inch slivers. Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add chiles and stir for a minutes. Remove from heat, and add vinegar, 3 tablespoons water, oregano and a ½ teaspoon of salt. Let stand for ½ hour, stirring occasionally.

Finishing Soup

Remove some whole beans from soup. Reserve. Blend remaining soup until smooth but with some consistency. Stir in mint and cilantro. In bowls add a few whole beans, chile, and then pour soup over ingredients. Sprinkle crumbled cheese over soup.

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Sandia Ice with Tequila

IMG_9005Directions

Take cubes of frozen watermelon (no seeds), place in freezer for an hour, mix, and freeze again.

Blend and add small amount of good quality tequila.

Serve in cognac glass with salt sprinkled. 

Chicken with Nutty Queretaro Green Mole (Mole Verde Queretaro)

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Ingredients

½ pound (3 medium-large) poblano chiles

12 ounces (8-9 medium) tomatillos

½ cup sesame seeds, some extra for garnish

½ cup whole blanches almonds

1 small soft plantain, peeled and sliced ½ inch thick

1 corn tortilla torn into pieces

2 large garlic cloves, chopped

½ cup golden raisins

½ cup roasted skinless peanuts

1 large leaf of romaine lettuce

8 good sized sprigs of flat-leaf parsley

½ teaspoon cinnamon, preferably fresh ground Mexican

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

½ teaspoon freshly ground aniseed

big pinch of freshly ground cloves

5 cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt, about 2 teaspoons

8 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Directions

Roasting, Toasting, Browning

  1. Roast chiles directly over a gas flame, about 5 minutes. Cover with kitchen towel and let stand for 5 minutes. Peel, pull out stem, and seed. Rinse. Roughly chop.
  2. Roast tomatillos on a baking dish 6 inches below the broiler until softened, about 3 minutes. Then turn over and roast other side. Transfer tomatillos, along with juices, to bowl with chiles.
  3. Heat small skillet over medium and add sesame seeds. Stir continually until aromatic and golden, about 2-4 minutes. Scrape into the chiles, and then do the same with the almonds.

Finishing the Mole

  1. To the bowl, add the remaining ingredients (plantain, tortilla, garlic, raisins, peanuts, romaine, parlsey, cinnamon, pepper, aniseed, cloves). Stir in 2 cups of the broth, and in blender, in batches, puree to a smooth consistency. Pass through a medium mesh strainer.
  2. Medium sized pot over medium heat and add oil. Once oil is hot enough to sizzle a drop of the mole, add all at once. Stir for 3-4 minutes. Add another 3 cups of the broth, partially cover pot and gently simmer over medium low, stiring regularly, for 30 minutes. Sauce should have consistency of a thick cream soup. Season to taste with salt, about 2 teaspoons.

Chicken

  1. Oven to 350 degrees. Coat bottom of a 13×9 baking dish with mole, lay in chicken breasts in a single layer, then ladle remaining sauce over. Bake until chicken is done, about 20-30 minutes. Transfer chicken to a warm platter. Slice the chicken. Add the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Seared Corn (Esquites Dorados)

Ingredients

5 large ears of corn

hot green chiles (3 serranos, or 2 small jalapenos) stemmed, sliced crosswise

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

3 tablespoons chopped epazote (or ¼ cup chopped cilantro)

Directions

  1. Cut kernels from corn. Cook chiles and kernels in nonstick skillet (5-10 minutes), until kernels were browned.
  2. In a cup, combine ¼ cup water, salt, and lime juice. Sprinke cilantro over corn and drizzle on liquid, let stand covered for several minutes. Add more salt as needed. Serve with lime wedges.

Pickled Red Onions

Ingredients

1 small red onion, peeled, sliced 1/8 inch thick

¼ teaspoon black peppercorns

¼ teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon Mexican oregano

2 garlic cloves, peeled, and halved

¼ teaspoon salt

1/3 cup cider vinegar

Directions

  1. Parboil onion by blanching in boiling salted water for 45 seconds, drain and place in a bowl.
  2. Coarsely grind peppercorns and cumin in a mortar and add to onions. Add remaining ingredients plus enough water to barely cover. Stir well, and let stand for several hours until onions are bright pink (covered and refrigerated, onions last several weeks).

Topolo ‘Ceasar’ Salad (Ensalada Estilo Topolobampo)

Ingredients

Romaine lettuce

Olive oil, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, serrano chile, egg

Tortilla chips

Directions

  1. Make dressing
  2. Combine with lettuce, cheese, and tortillas

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Oh, did you remember to save room for dessert? Don’t worry, we’ll give you a week to recover.  See you next time! 

Asian Mash-Up: Pani Puri

pani puri

Our Asian Mash-Up feast began with humble appearing Pani Puri.  Pani Puri are an example of South Indian chaat, street food snacks.  The puri are the fried dough puffs, and pani means water.  The waters are spiced chutneys, in this case, a tomato water and a tamarind based water (these are in the clear Solo containers).  Pani puri are eaten by poking a hole into the top of the puri, and filling in with desired amounts of the fillings (counterclockwise from top), followed by pouring on the pani:

sev, red onion, spiced potatoes, cilantro

Each bite yields a delicate crunch and a burst of flavor.

All recipes are from Chef Nalin, unless otherwise noted.

Mango-Tomato Chaat

Finely cut mango halves into small cubes

Finely cut heirloom tomatoes into small cubes

Small amount of finely diced red onion

Chaat masala, chili powder, aamchoor, cumin, coriander, salt

Let drain, and then refrigerate

Pani Puri Chaat

Potatoes – 1-2 medium sized ones

Green chilli – 1 finely chopped (optional)

Red chilli powder – 1 tsp

Cumin/jeera powder – 1 tsp

Chaat masala – a pinch (use more)

Salt

Sev

Onion – 1 finely chopped

Coriander leaves – as needed (finely chopped)

Preparation

Pressure cook potatoes, peel the skin and mash it well. Add finely chopped green chillies, red chilli powder, cumin powder, chaat masala, salt needed and mix well.

Variant 1: Pani

From www.padhuskitchen.com

Ice cold water – 3 cups

Green chutney – 3 tbsp

Sweet chutney (dates tamarind chutney) – 2 tbsp

Chilli powder – 1 tsp

Chaat masala powder- 1 1/2 tsp

Roasted Cumin/jeera powder -1 tsp (dry roast cumins seeds and powder it)

Variant 2: from Shinku (Nalin’s cousin):

Cut 1 green mango. Boil it in water with a green chili if you want spicy.

In the blender, put  20-30 leaves of mint, 1/2 a bunch of fresh cilantro, cumin, black salt, regular salt, and some of the green mango mixture. Grind well. Add remaining green mango mixture and grind everything. Add tamarind chutney. It is ready made and available at Indian stores. Add water, salt, lemon juice, amchoor as needed.

Tamarind Chutney (aka Imli Chutney)

2 tbsp tamarind concentrate

2 cups water

1/2 cup jaggery or sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp red chili powder

1/2 tsp cumin powder

1. Boil 2 cups water in pot. Add in the tamarind paste and mix well so that no lumps form.

2. Add the jaggery next and reduce heat to medium.

3. When mixture has reduced to about half a cup, add the ground cumin powder, salt and red chili powder. Keep stirring the chutney. When the chutney nicely coats the spatula, then you know it is ready. Remove from flame.

Essence of Tomatoes

(from Running With Tweezers)

5 pounds large cherry or small roma vine-ripened tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 stick celery , finely chopped

1 small cucumber, peeled and finely chopped

1 small shallot , finely chopped

half of a fennel bulb, finely chopped

1 small garlic clove , finely chopped

2 sprigs thyme , roughly chopped

handful basil leaves, roughly chopped

Procedures

In a food processor, pulse the tomato mix in batches until roughly chopped, add salt, cover and marinate overnight

Place three layers of cheesecloth (or a new kitchen cloth) over a large bowl and pour the mix into the cloth. Tie up with string and hang in a cold place for several hours over the bowl to collect the tomato essence. Taste and correct the seasoning, if necessary, then cool in the fridge. Add smoked cumin.

This is part of the Asian Mash-Up menu, presented by Chef Nalin.

The Inaugural Spicebox Supperclub Dinner: Asian Mash-Up

Welcome to the Spicebox Supperclub!
Who are we?
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spicebox– masala dabba, a traditional container used by Indian cooks to organize and store spices
supperclub– an eating establishment that functions as a social club; a pop-up restaurant; a speakeasy
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We’re a group of four couples in San Francisco who share a love of food, travel, adventure and conversation. To be clear, we really, really love food.  Several of us have been known to fly across the oceans in pursuit of one particular meal.  One of us is the author of SpiceboxTravels.com, a food and travel blog.  While we all enjoy eating in restaurants, the idea for our supper club came about from a member who has vivid memories of his parents’ supper club in the ’70s, enigmatic adult-only dinner parties that would last into the wee hours of the morning.  We’re reviving the model and planning quarterly themed dinner parties.  As might be expected from people who travel to eat, we can be a bit fanatical in our menu planning, and we’ll be sharing our menus, recipes, and stories here.
The inaugural dinner was a multi-course menu with the theme of “Asian Mash-Up.”

SpiceboxSupperclub

Spicebox Supperclub Dinner #1 Saturday, September 7, 2013

Asian Mash-Up

Hosts: Heather and Nalin

Executive Chef: Nalin

Bartender:  PCH, assisted by Linda (AKA SpiceboxTravels, the original)

Sommelier: Chris

Pastry Chef: Dave

Menu

Cocktails: Singapore Sling

Appetizers:

Pani Puri with Mango-Tomato Chaat, Pani Puri Chaat, Tamarind Chutney and Essence of Tomatoes

2012 Gritsh Gruner-Veltliner

Miso Soup

Main Courses:

Miso-Ginger Salmon with Sumeshi (vinegared sushi rice) Round and Sweet Soy Glaze, served with Mint-Cilantro Chutney

2012 Hovey C2 White Wine Blend:  tasting room is in the Murphy, CA, childhood home of Albert Michelson, physicist and 1st American to receive a Nobel Prize for calculating the speed of light; visited by the hosts in August, 2013

Kimchi Sesame Noodles

2004 Domaine de la Vieille Julienne Chateauneuf du Pape that Chris and Diana had shipped back home while traveling and wine tasting in Provence in 2006.

Lychee-Plum Soju Sorbet

Indian Influenced Char Siu Pork, served with Wok-Seared Baby Bok Choy with Chili Oil and Garlic and House-Pickled Cucumbers

2004 Finca Sandoval (83% Syrah, 9% Monastrell, and 8% Bobal), a Rhone style wine from Spain

Desserts:

Gingersnaps with Sugar Sparkles

Tea Truffles: Lapsang Souchong Truffles with Candied Ginger, Earl Grey (Blacker originals)

Cardamom-Vanilla Panna Cotta with Mango and Toasted Coconut

2001 Chateau Doisy Vedrines Sauternes 

It was an epic meal, full of conversation and laughter, lasting close to seven hours.  If you’re tempted by the menu, please check back in the coming weeks for the recipes.  Thank you for visiting!