Only braising can get you through the winter alive. But what to braise? Matthew says meat. Molly says vegetables. If this strikes you as stereotypical, however, check out Matthew’s gender-bending headgear.
SWEET BRAISED WHOLE SCALLIONS
From All About Braising, by Molly Stevens
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 pound scallions (about 5 bunches, or 3 dozen)
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh tarragon or 1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Using about 1 1/2 teaspoons of butter, generously butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
2. Trim the root ends and 1 1/2 inches off the green tops of the scallions. Arrange half of the scallions in the baking dish so the bulb ends are lined up at one end and the greens are toward the middle. Place the other half of the scallions in the opposite direction, so you end up with a double layer of scallion greens across the center of the dish and a single layer of bulbs and each end of the dish.
3. The braise: Pour the water into the dish. Cut the remaining butter into slivers and dot it over the top of the scallions. Season with the tarragon or parsley, salt, and pepper. Cover the dish tightly with foil, and slide onto the middle rack in the oven. Braise undisturbed until fragrant and tender, 35 to 40 minutes.
4. The finish: Remove the foil from the dish, and increase the oven heat to 450 degrees. Roast the scallions for 10 minutes, then shake the pan back and forth to coat the scallions with the glaze that will have formed. Continue roasting until the liquid evaporates and the edges of the scallions are beginning to brown, another 5 minutes or so. Squeeze over a few drops of lemon juice to taste, and serve hot or warm.
Yield: Two servings, at the most.
For the carnitas:
3 pounds boneless pork shoulder or country-style ribs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large onion, diced
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup tequila
2 tablespoons lime juice, from one lime
salt to taste
1. Combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, 2 to 3 hours until the meat is tender, the onions have melted into the stew, and the broth is evaporated. (If necessary, turn up the heat near the end of cooking to evaporate the rest of the broth.) At this point, you may optionally refrigerate the carnitas before continuing. They will keep several days in the fridge.
2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the carnitas and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are heated through and well-browned, even burnt or crispy in places, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately with suggested accompaniments.
For the salad:
1/2 medium head napa cabbage, shredded
juice of 1/2 lime
Frank’s Red Hot Xtra Hot Sauce or other hot sauce of your choice
Stir together lime juice and hot sauce to taste. Toss the cabbage with the lime juice mixture and divide into two bowls. Top each bowl with about 1/2 cup hot carnitas and serve.
Yield: Two servings, with lots of carnitas left over for tacos
As Shakespeare didn’t put it, “If food be the food of love, eat food.” That’s how we would put it, though, and we are turning your Valentine’s Day into a scorcher with a feast of noted aphrodisiacs, from green M&Ms to ambergris. You know that movie Love Actually? This episode is ten times more romantic than that. Visit the web site, www.spilledmilkpodcast.com, for an exclusive photo of the ultimate jellybean pickup line. And save us some ambergris.
Mucuna pruriens, noted aphrodisiac
We’re whizzing up trouble here in the Spilled Milk test kitchen, as your hosts make milkshakes and mistakes in equal measure. Follow us down the rabbit hole. Recipe: Chocolate malt. NOTE: Even though this episode has the Explicit tag, it is probably safe for Grandma’s house, but don’t say we didn’t warn you. Includes suggestive blender noises.
We went a little milkshake crazy. Here are our chocolate malt recipes, plus links to two great milkshakes from Adam Ried’s Thoroughly Modern Milkshakes.
Matthew’s Hardcore Chocolate Malt
1-1/4 cups (6 ounces) premium chocolate ice cream (such as Green and Black’s Organic), left out for a few minutes to soften
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup (1 ounce) malt powder
Place ice cream, milk, and malt powder in a blender and blend until smooth. An immersion blender also works well. Pour into glasses and serve immediately. Malts taste better through a bendy straw.
Yield: About 1-1/2 cups, enough for an adult and a small child to share, or you can pretend you have a small child but then just drink it all yourself.
Molly’s Oklahoma City Chocolate Malt
Vanilla ice cream of your choice
Carnation malted milk powder
Put three scoops of ice cream in the jar of a blender. Allow to soften for about 5 minutes. Add a splash of milk, some Hershey’s syrup–I buy mine in a squeeze bottle, and I’d start with maybe a 3-second squeeze?–and two heaping spoonfuls of malt powder. Blend to mix. If it’s too thick, add a bit more milk. Taste, and adjust syrup and malt powder to taste.
Yield: 1 generous serving, or 2 restrained servings