Sunday, February 03, 2013


HAPPY SUPERBOWL SUNDAY to you! As I have made perfectly clear, I hate football. But my roommate loves it, and I like making yummy game day party food and watching the commercials and the halftime show, so it's all good. At my house, we are rooting for Baltimore. For Cyd, it's because they beat her beloved Patriots. My arguments are much more reasoned and germane: I love Baltimore crab cakes, I loved the movie The Blind Side, and I love the purple in their uniforms (my signature color). But mostly, I don't love that the 49ers are harboring hate-mongers on their team--from San Francisco no less! So...GO RAVENS, say we!

I decided to forego the traditional wings and seven-layer dip this year, and I ended up assembling an international smorgasbord of sorts. First, I made a batch of salsa verde based on the one I had at a Halloween party at my friends' house in New Jersey. Of course, I changed it fairly significantly, as is my way. Here is my version:

Salsa Verde

1 poblano + 1 jalapeno, stems and seeds removed
1/2 white onion, cut into chunks
2 cloves garlic, peeled
juice of 2 lemons
1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
half a bunch of fresh cilantro leaves
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into chunks
1/2 cup olive oil
salt, to taste

Roast poblano and jalapeno in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees. In a food processor or blender, add all ingredients except olive oil. and salt. Blend well and then slowly add olive oil to emulsify. Season with salt to taste.

Will last 1-2 weeks in the fridge.

For our second dish, I made a salad that I saw Ina Garten make on her new series about her visit to Napa wine country. It's made with tuna and my favorite Israeli couscous, and it's easy and delicious. Definitely a keeper and one to make again. It would be a great for a luncheon or to take along to a potluck.

Israeli Couscous and Tuna Salad
(Source: Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa)
Serves 6-8

2 cups Israeli couscous (10 to 12 ounces)
2 (7-ounce) cans or jars Italian tuna, drained and flaked
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup good olive oil
3 tablespoons capers, drained
1/2 cup pitted, oil-cured black olives, coarsely chopped (3 ounces)--I used green 
1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers, medium-diced (4 ounces)
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped scallions (6-8 scallions)
1/4 cup julienned fresh basil leaves, lightly packed--I used 2 tablespoons prepared pesto
Juice of half a lemon
Bring four cups of water to a boil in a medium-size saucepan. Add the couscous and reduce the heat to very low. Cover the pot and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until the couscous is just tender. (Pull the pot halfway off the heat.) Drain in a colander.

Meanwhile, combine the tuna, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, capers, olives, red peppers, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper in a large bowl. Pour the hot couscous into the mixture and stir well. Cover and set aside for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Just before serving, stir in the scallions, basil, juice of the half lemon, and one more teaspoon of salt. Taste for seasonings and serve warm or at room temperature. Garnish with small tomato wedges, if desired.

Lastly, I made some terrific pork and kimchi potstickers for us, using my homemade kimchi and some pre-fab frozen wrappers that I bought at a little Asian market in Burlington. These are easy to make and super-fun--perfect for any party!

Pork and Kimchi Dumplings, or Potstickers
(Source: Food and Wine)

1 pound ground pork
3/4 cup chopped kimchi
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil

about 40 round gyoza wrappers

Spoon one tablespoon of the filling onto the center of each round wrapper. Wet all around the edges with a little water using your fingertips. Bring up the sides of the wrapper; press and pleat the edges to seal in the filling. Lift each dumpling by the pleated edge, transfer to the baking sheet and press down lightly to flatten.

In a nonstick skillet, heat two tablespoons of the oil. Arrange half of the dumplings in the skillet, pleated edge up. Cook over high heat until the bottoms are lightly browned, 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of water, cover and cook until the filling is cooked through, 5 minutes. Uncover and cook until the bottoms are well browned, 1 minute; transfer to a plate. Cook the remaining dumplings and serve.

Make Ahead: Freeze the uncooked dumplings on a floured baking sheet. Store in a plastic bag for up to one month. Cook from frozen. Serve with dumpling dipping sauce.

Dumpling Dipping Sauce
(Source: Food and Wine)

1/2 cup soy sauce (I used the kind with ponzu)
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon Chinese chile garlic sauce (or sriracha)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

In a small bowl, whisk the soy sauce with the rice vinegar, chile-garlic sauce and sesame oil, then serve.

Make Ahead: The dipping sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

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