Tongue, as a Cold Cut

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Let’s face it, they’re not pretty. They look like huge, well, tongues. So just don’t think about it being a tongue. Think of it as a culinary delicacy. Tongue is soft, tender, and lean, with a unique texture.

With very little work, you can turn this piece of cow into a fabulous “cold cut” for hors d’oeuvres. All you need to do is poach the tongue, just like you were poaching a chicken.

Not intended to offend anyone, but this is a tongue!

Beef Tongue

1 beef tongue, about 3 1/2 pounds, at room temperature
1 onion, quartered
3-4 stalks celery, quartered
10 baby carrots
1 leek, cleaned, quartered
1 bunch parsley
5 bay leaves
1 head of cloves, sliced horizontally
Handful of whole black pepper corns
2 teaspoons salt

Place all of the ingredients in a large pot. Add enough water to cover everything. Bring it all to a boil on the stove, then simmer, covered, for about 2 – 2 1/2 hours.

You could heat the broth ingredients first, and then add the tongue, but this way works well, and you do end up with a great meat plus a good broth. After cooking, remove the lid and let the mixture cool a bit, then remove the tongue and set on a plate to cool completely.

Remove the fatty chunk at the base of the tongue, but don’t discard it. Peel the tongue – especially the top part of it where you can see the taste buds. It doesn’t all work with the pinch and pull method; a paring knife comes in handy.

Slice the peeled tongue crosswise into 1/4 to 3/8″ slices. Tongue is good at room temperature, or cold. I love it with Dijon mustard and good bread.

The slices are wonderful as part of an charcuterie platter, along with cheeses, olives, and cornichons.

If you don’t want the tongue as a cold cut, sear the slices instead in hot skillet with a teaspoon of olive oil. Add salt and pepper after turning. I sliced up that piece I cut off the tongue to make these non-uniform strips to sear.

I like to put these in flour tortillas and eat with onions and cilantro, and you can make a more involved filling like Rick Bayless’s creamy zucchini and corn. Or, serve the hot seared tongue with crispy potatoes and a couple over easy eggs.

Tongue is also good with pigs’ feet, but that’s another post!

Make sure to use this wonderful broth in another recipe! I added potatoes and leeks for a quicky soup!

Tigelle

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I have fallen in love with a food show called “Somebody Feed Phil.” Or maybe I’ve fallen in love with Phil himself, cause he’s adorable. Previously known as the executive producer of the popular American show, “Somebody Loves Raymond,” he somehow created his own show going around the world experiencing food!

So, is he like Anthony Bourdain? Oh my goodness no. In fact, I’d call Phil, whose real name is Phil Rosenthal, a sweet, goofy, fun- and food-loving nut! And let me say this. I’ve never teared up so much watching a food show.

So in one show about Chicago, which he calls “the city that tries to kill you” because of all of the fabulous food there, like the wonderful Chicago pizza, he goes to Monteverde, an Italian restaurant co-owned by Chef Sarah Grueneberg. And it was on this show that I first heard of tigelle.

Tigelle, pronounced ti-gel-ay, are little yeasted round breads that look similar to English muffins in the U.S. They originate from the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy, and can also be called crescente.

But it was what Chef Sarah did with the tigelle that got me wanting to investigate. She sliced one horizontally, added burrata, prosciutto butter, a thin slice of melon, and then prosciutto. Phil looked like he’d reached nirvana! Of course, all Phil has to do is look at a donut and his face really lights up!

Anthony Bourdain, god rest his soul, will always have a special place in my heart. But Phil Rosenthal, you are my hero!

The recipe I’m using is from the website called Great Italian Chefs. Tigelle recipes were not in my Italian cookbooks.

I spent a few days searching for a tigelliera, which I learned is the press with which to make these, and lo and behold, I found one on the website Taglia Pasta. If you want one check it out here.

The dough for these is a basic yeasted bread dough. And just fyi, if you use yeast regularly, buy it in bulk. I keep this bag, that was once a 1-pound bag, in the freezer and pull it out when I need it. Here’s a pound of yeast on Amazon for $7.80. Don’t buy the little packages! It would add up to about $70.00!

Tigelle

500g or 2 cups of 00 flour, plus extra for dusting
150g or 5 ounces lukewarm water
150g or 5 ounces lukewarm milk
25g or 1.5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5g or 1 teaspoon dried yeast
5g or 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Combine the milk and water and stir in the yeast. Leave for 10 minutes to activate the yeast (I always sprinkle a pinch of sugar over the yeast first.)

Place the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the oil, then stir in the milk mixture with a spoon. Once it starts to come together, tip out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, or until you have a nice, smooth dough.

Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and leave somewhere warm to proof for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Tip the dough out onto a floured surface, knead for a minute, and cover and let sit for at least 10 minutes. Then roll out to 1/2” thick. Use an 8cm cutter to cut the dough into discs. Re-roll trimmings and cut out more until all the dough is used, placing them all on a parchment paper-lined tray.

Let the dough proof for one more hour.

Heat the tigellieria over medium-high heat on a gas stove. Cook six at a time, for about 4 minutes on each side. Make sure to oil both sides of the press.

They should be puffed up and slightly browned.

It took a little time to get them to the proper color. Sometimes the dough squished a little, but that’s okay.

Like I mentioned, tigelle are just a basic bread dough, but once they cooked and sliced open, they are a vehicle for just about everything good that is Italian!

I put out prosciutto butter, fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, melon slices, and some arugula.

I got the idea for the prosciutto butter from the show. I simply mixed a herbed garlic compound butter with prosciutto in the food processor. And wow is it good when it melts on hot bread!

Hopefully I’ll get the hang of using the tigelliera and do a better job next time. I saw someone in a video using small scissors to trim around each tigella and make them perfect rounds, but I like the rusticity of these.

Pork All’Arrabbiata

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The other day I read an email from New York Times Cooking, What to Cook this Weekend, by Sam Sifton, that I only occasionally read. I say occasionally, because I dislike the format of the highly-packed food and cooking info in the emails. But a photo caught my eye so I read on.

I’m probably in the minority, but I think Sam Sifton must be an arrogant man. Or maybe he’s just too smart for me, but I would bet he’s someone who likes the sound of his own voice.

According to Wikipedia, “Sam Sifton is the food editor of The New York Times, the founding editor of NYT Cooking and a columnist for The New York Times Magazine. He has also served as the national editor, the restaurant critic and the culture editor.”

Okay, so he does know a few things. But he still seems show-off to me.

Mr. Sifton has a cookbook out, called “See You on Sunday.” It’s about Sunday meals, and has high reviews. Some reviewers suggest that the book is for novice cooks, and I’d have to agree. In the chicken section, are Tuscan chicken, chicken Milanese, beer can chicken, chicken paprika, chicken Provençal, chicken Shawarma… there’s just nothing new or exceptional.

The recipe in the email that caught my attention in the NYT Cooking email, from 2-21-2020, was braised pork All’Arrabbiata, by Ali Slagle. According to the recipe’s information, “this spicy pork shoulder’s long-simmered flavor is one you’ll crave all season long.”

It’s basically pulled pork, but instead of barbecue sauce, it’s cooked in a spicy red sauce. I served it as sandwiches. Delicious.

I substituted prepared Arrabiatta sauce for the fire-roasted tomatoes listed, but a good marinara like my Marinara would work just as well.

I also didn’t use wine. See printable recipe below for original recipe.

Braised Pork All’Arrabbiata
slightly adapted

3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of more than 1/4″ fat
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin oil
10 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne chile pepper flakes
42 ounces Arrabiatta or marinara sauce

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Season the pork all over with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.

In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high. Add the pork shoulder and sear until browned on all sides, 8 – 10 minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the garlic and cayenne flakes to the oil and stir to combine. Add the marinara sauce, season with salt and pepper as necessary, then bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Cover, then transfer to the oven and cook until the pork falls apart when prodded with a fork, 3 hours.

Working directly in the pot, use two forks to shred the meat into long, bite-sized pieces. Stir the pork into the tomato sauce until it’s evenly distributed.

This lucious pork can be served in quite a few ways. As a sauce over pasta, served over polenta, or as sandwiches, similar to how you’d serve meatball subs.

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I added grated mozzarella and Parmesan to the sandwiches before heating.

I thought these were way more fun than meatball subs, personally.

On another day, I prepared polenta and served the pork on top. That was also wonderful!

 

 

Mimi’s Chicken Salad

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Years ago, I visited a girlfriend in Texas to help with her daughter’s baby shower. She lives just outside of Austin, so it’s always fun to visit. (Think Texas Hill/Wine Country!)

One of the dishes planned for the shower luncheon was “Mimi’s Chicken Salad.” I had no idea what that was, but she told me that it was my recipe, thus the name!

Recently I was reflecting on my “namesake” chicken salad, but couldn’t remember what the heck was in it. I emailed my friend, and she sent me back a photograph of my recipe. In a cookbook.

The cookbook is “Cooking by the Bootstraps: A Taste of Oklahoma Heaven Cooked Up by the Junior Welfare League of Enid, Oklahoma, published in 2002.

So not only did I forget how to make my own chicken salad, I didn’t remember it was a recipe I created, nor did I remember that it is in this cookbook – which I own!

I’ll just chalk this up to (older) age.

Here’s the recipe, although somewhat adapted, because I can’t even leave my own recipes alone!

Mimi’s Chicken Salad, or Mango Chutney Chicken Salad

Chicken tenders, about 1.2 pounds
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped nuts, I used pistachios
1/2 cup chopped mangoes
1/3 cup mango chutney
3 green onions, sliced
1/2 teaspoon curry powder, I recommend Penzey’s sweet curry powder
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

Grill the chicken tenders in a skillet, with a little oil, seasoned first with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken just till barely pink so as to keep them tender. Set them aside to cool slightly.

Cut the chicken into small pieces and place in a medium bowl. Add the sour cream and mayonnaise and stir until the chicken is well incorporated.

You can adjust the volume of sour cream and mayo mixture to suit your taste. I prefer chicken salad just creamy enough, but not drowning in the mayo.

Add the remaining ingredients together in a bowl and stir gently.

Add the mixture to the chicken and combine them well.

Refrigerate the chicken salad if not serving immediately. Serve chilled or at room temperature on a platter of lettuce leaves; I prefer this salad at room temperature.

Alternatively, make chicken salad sandwiches with sliced croissants or your favorite soft bread.

I actually prefer making roll-ups with tender butter lettuce instead of sandwiches.


What’s fun about this recipe is that you can mix up the nuts and add fruits – even dried fruits. Think about chopped macadamias and dried cherries!

I’m really appreciative of the local Junior Welfare League of Enid, Oklahoma for including some of my recipes in this cookbook. It was an honor.