Justin & Meredith Winokur's Kitchen Cooking Notebook

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Lamb Arugula Patties

Wednesday, March 31, 2021, 08:20 PM

Since Meredith and Caroline are out of town, I decided to try to make the Lamb and pistachio patties with sumac yogurt sauce [Ottolenghi Simple] that we are always making with turkey but with lamb, as it actually calls for. I still did the other changes (more arugula and cooked in the oven) but I used 1 lbs of 80% lean lamb.

I liked them a lot. I thought they tastes better than with turkey but also more rich that got to be a little much. I am glad I tried them with lamb but I am also happy with turkey. They were also greasier as I expected since it was fattier meat.

I kind of "winged" it a bit more with the dressing. I used greek yogurt and apple cider vinegar since I didn't feel like getting a lemon. That was not as good by any means. I would not do that again. I also served it with some cashew dressing Emily left and crumbled feta. Those worked well!

Tofu Satay

Sunday, March 28, 2021, 08:18 PM

I made tofu satay. I used 4 blocks of the super-firm tofu so I doubled the marinade. I also tried something different. I sliced the tofu instead of cubing and skewering it. Much Easier! This is how I would do it in the future. Since there was so much, I had to do it in two batches.

It was very popular. We ate all of it!

Matzo Ball Soup and Salmon Salad

Saturday, March 27, 2021, 09:08 PM

I made matzoh ball soup. Like last year, I simmered vegetables (whole onions with the root still attached, celery, carrots, and this time parsnips) for a really long time. I used Better Than Boullion vegetable base since Emily would be eating it. I have to say, I do not like that base as much as their other stuff. I ended up having to add a lot more and also add some soy sauce (not kosher for passover) and Worcestershire sauce. In the end, it wasn't too bad.

I also made Knaidlach (Matzo Balls). I read a few things and figured out that I could make my own matzo meal with about 2 sheets being 1/2 cup. I originally doubled it but I misread last time and used 2 tsp nutmeg already. So I decided to triple it.

I tried something different and (a) used the (2 oz) cookie scoop to make the initial shape and then I rolled them, and (b) I added them all at once. I do not think that was the cause, but they came out a bit dense and the inside was less colored, as you can see in the photo. Still very good though!

Meredith and I also made Fresh Dill Salmon Salad with about 3 lbs of salmon (so triple the recipe). I baked the salmon at 365 until it was 140° inside; about 20 minutes (checking more often). That worked well compared to doing it for less time at a higher temp. I stored it in a container for later which also make it easy to drain off more liquid and oil. It was a bit scant on the capers since it was all we had. Finally, we used shallots instead of red onion since we forgot to buy the latter.

The salmon salad was actually pretty good on matzoh!


Tuesday, March 23, 2021, 09:40 AM

Out of the oven

I made brioche from Bread Illustrated. Unlike last time, I measured out how much more flour I added and tried to be conservative about it. I ended up with adding 1.5 oz of additional bread flour.

This entire loaf was the story of letting it go too long. I started it on Saturday, 2021-03-20. I meant to cook it on Monday at the latest and kept forgetting until Tuesday (today). And then I formed it and forgot it for too long. Though, to be honest, it did not seem to have risen too much more than I would have wanted.

It did rise a ton in the oven. I do not know what happened?! When I took it out at 35 min, it was around 190°F, as I wanted for this kind of bread at altitude. It also kind of split which I think was from the roll tearing a bit (maybe from rising too much?).

The final loaf was around 1.375 lbs. It still tasted good even if it had more crumb than I would have liked.

Comparison to Commercial

We also had some Wenner Bread Products (which I think also made it for Trader Joes). See the photo below with the commercial on the right and mine on the left. I knew mine was over-proofed but even look at the last two (2021-02-13 and 2021-02-26), mine is clearly less dense. Also, the commercial one has a much smoother top

Taste and texture wise, the commercial is much fluffier, smaller/denser crumb, and also much sweeter. Mine is more savory and is reminiscent of croissant while the commercial is more like a cake. Mine is also more addicting! You just want to keep eating it.

I am glad I got to try them together. I think I actually like mine more but I would like the denser crumb of the commercial.

Red Bean, Walnut, and Pomegranate Pâté

Sunday, March 21, 2021, 07:08 PM

Meredith made Red Bean, Walnut, and Pomegranate Pâté [Cool Beans]. I do not think she made any notable or major changes. We liked it a lot. It reminded us of fesenjan

Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Sunday, March 21, 2021, 03:18 PM

I made the Whole Wheat variation of American Sandwich Bread [Bread Illustrated by America's Test Kitchen]. The biggest note is that I let the rise way too much in the pan. As you can see from the photos, it is way more than an inch above the pan. Also, I had some trouble shaping it because I didn't try to do it right out of rising like I was supposed to.

I think it came out ok. Maybe a bit dry. I did let it go to 199°F which is very high for this altitude. I should have taken it out a tiny bit sooner. But otherwise, I was pretty happy with it and I liked that it was "healthier" than the white-bread one.

Peruvian Chicken

Saturday, March 20, 2021, 07:25 PM

I made Peruvian Chicken for our friends. I mostly following The Food Lab / Serious Eats (LOCAL) but I also read some others including America's Test Kitchen. Also, the Food Lab Website version is slightly different with the spices bumped up.

I finally settled on the following for one chicken. I decided to use two (4.74 lsb and 4.34 lbs) so I doubled the following:

All of the spices except the salt. Used all but one of the garlic cloves The paste.

The Food Lab one has you dry-brine the bird and then add the spices right before cooking. The America's Test Kitchen has you make a saltier paste and apply that for at least 6 hours. So I kind of did both. I used salt (under and on top of the skin) to dry-brine for about 24+ hours. Then the next day, I made the spice mixture (again both under and on the skin) for another 5-6 hours.

I debated grilling or baking the chicken but eventually decided on the oven. I cooked it at 475°F with the thermometer set to 153°F (a bit of a compromise of a few different sources). Of course, at that point, my instant read showed everywhere was much hotter. Not sure what is going on with that...

After dry brining Rubbed with the paste under and on top of the skin Cooked. Maybe a bit too long

Note: It put out a ton of smoke while cooking! I wonder if turning off convection would help with that filling the kitchen so much?

For the sauce, I followed the recipe with no major changes. For the three jalapenos, I de-ribbed and de-seeded two of them. Also for the "salt to taste", I did about 1/2 tsp. Next time a little bit less salt. I also may have gone a tad high on the garlic. I used the little bits leftover from the microplane for the spices. I did not have ají Amarillo paste.

We also served it with roasted asparagus and our friends made sweet-potatoes

Banana Bread

Saturday, March 20, 2021, 05:43 PM

Banana Bread [Joy The Baker]

Meredith covered it for the last 10 minutes of baking since it needed more time but was getting too browned

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