January 22, 2007

The Final Ten - 91 Through 100

91. New Lok Kee Restaurtant in Queens, New York. This one is recommended by my husband. His eyes fill with longing whenever he thinks about their shrimp in lobster sauce, egg drop soup or wontons. He is a man who knows his Chinese food, so if you're in the neighborhood, try it out! Read the New York Times review here.

New Lok Kee
36-50 Main St (37th Ave)
Flushing, Queens
(718) 762-6048

92. New Orleans Rum made by Celebration Distillation Corporation. This is hand crafted, single barrel aged and the only rum made from Louisiana sugar cane. Incredibly fragrant and spicy-sweet, it is great on its own or as a mixer.

93. Lucques Olives. Originally from Lucca, Italy and now found mainly in the Languedoc-Roussillon, this bright green olive has a small crescent shaped stone, crunchy flesh and an incredibly soft, nutty flavour. They're picked early for curing and eating or later, after they've turned black, for olive oil. They are unlike any olive I've ever tasted, not too strong nor too salty.

94. Jambalaya. I've written about jambalaya before. When I started researching the origins of this versatile dish, it became clear that they are muddled, at best. Some say it is a Creole dish while others claim it is a Cajun dish. Some claim that it is a combination of both. I read that some believe the term Jambalaya is Louisiana French, from the Provençal "jambalaia". Others think that it derives from the Spanish jamon or the French jambon, meaning "ham," the French article "à la" and finally, "ya", of West African origin meaning rice OR it could possibly be the combining of the Creole words "Jhamba" (gift) and "laya" (rice). It can be made with various combinations of pork, chicken, duck, oysters, shrimp, sausage, crawfish, tomatoes, celery, green pepper and onions cooked with rice. Here's a recipe for Cajun style Chicken and Andouille Jambalaya from Louisiana Real and Rustic by Emeril Lagasse.

Chicken and Andouille Jambalaya

1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped bell peppers
3 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons cayenne
1 pound andouille, chorizo, or other smoked sausage, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
1 1/2 pounds boneless white and dark chicken meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 bay leaves
3 cups medium-grain white rice
6 cups water
1 cup chopped green onions

Heat the oil in a large cast-iron Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, 2 teaspoons of the salt, and 1 teaspoon of the cayenne. Stirring often, brown the vegetables for about 20 minutes, or until they are caramelized and dark brown in color. Scrape the bottom and sides of the pot to loosen any browned particles. Add the sausage and cook, stirring often for 10 to 15 minutes, scraping the bottom and sides of the pot to loosen any browned particles.
Season the chicken with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon cayenne. Add the chicken and the bay leaves to the pot. Brown the chicken for 8 to 10 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned particles.
Add the rice and stir for 2 to 3 minutes to coat evenly. Add the water, stir to combine, and cover. Cook over medium heat for 30 to 35 minutes, without stirring, or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Remove the pot from the heat and let stand, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the bay leaves.
Stir in the green onions and serve.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings
(a side note on this recipe; I found using 5 cups water is enough and I lower the heat when I add the rice so it doesn't burn on the bottom)

95. Gianduja Chocolate. (also spelled Gianduia) There's a whole story about the origins of this cocoa and hazelnut confection from Torino, Italy. You can read it here. This is addictive, luscious chocolate! Once I made some Gianduja brownies for a party I catered and guests were literally taking platters of brownies out of my hands, not just a brownie or two, but the entire platter. This is the recipe I used.

Gianduja Brownies

Source: Gourmet - February 1998

1 1/4 cups hazelnuts (about 6 1/4 ounces)
4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate
(not unsweetened)
3 ounces fine-quality milk chocolate
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/4 cup Nutella*
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs

*available at specialty foods shops and many supermarkets

Preheat oven to 350°F and butter and flour a 9-inch square baking pan, knocking out excess flour.

Toast and skin hazelnuts (procedure this page). In a food processor pulse hazelnuts until coarsely ground (bits should be about 1/8 inch).

Chop chocolates into small pieces and in a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water melt chocolates with butter and Nutella, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat.

While chocolates are melting, into a bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and a pinch salt. Whisk sugar into chocolate mixture until combined well. Add eggs, whisking until mixture is glossy and smooth. Stir in flour mixture and hazelnuts until just combined.

Pour batter into baking pan and bake in middle of oven 35 to 40 minutes, or until a tester comes out with moist crumbs adhering to it. Cool brownies completely in pan on a rack and cut into 16 squares. Brownies keep, layered between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container at cool room temperature, 5 days.

Makes 16 brownies.

96. Madhur Jaffrey's Ultimate Curry Bible. With over 150 Indian and Asian curry recipes and a few curries from places like South Africa and Europe thrown in, this cookbook is very appropriately named!

97. A Pair of Tongs. Another indispensable kitchen tool. I have a few pairs, one long handled and one short handled, and a pair with heat resistant silicone on the end to use with non-stick cookware.

98. Mole Poblano. A rich and complex sauce from the Mexican state of Pueblo that is made with around 30 different ingredients including toasted, dried chile peppers, nuts, a small amount of Mexican chocolate, spices, onions, stale tortillas and garlic. It is time consuming to make, but worth the effort.

99. Lavender Sorbet. Another sorbet I'd be making if I had an ice cream maker. It is an edible perfume.

Lavender Sorbet

4 cups water
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons dried, culinary lavender blossoms
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Bring first 3 ingredients to boil in heavy medium saucepan over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil without stirring until syrup is reduced to 4 cups, about 8 minutes. Strain syrup into medium bowl.
Chill syrup until cold, about 2 hours. Transfer to ice cream maker. Add lemon juice. Process according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to covered container, freeze until firm, about 2 hours. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Keep frozen).
Makes about 1 quart

And, finally...

100. Saveur Magazine. If I'd been able to find their 2007 Top 100 List online, I never would have thought to make my own.

Has anyone found it online yet? If so, please send me a link!
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Riana said...

Yum, I make lavender ice cream, but I will let you borrow my ice cream maker when you are done traveling to NOLA and Paris, you can come and see the baby and make me some sorbet!!!! AND bring a plate of those brownies too, oh and the rum and mole sauce too ;)

Donna said...

I always thought that jambalaya was a derivation of paella. It seems very similar in concept.

Also- NO Rum- how is it that you can find it when I can't? I thought they had stopped making it. Every time my brother visits, I look for a bottle, but I can never find it!

Loulou said...

NO Rum's website isn't working but I read that it is available in Sav-A-Center?
Some people think Jambalaya was also inspired by paella.

Sara said...

Loulou - thanks for the lovely comment and for the excuse to discover your fabulous blog! The 100 list is great and I have to see if I can hunt down this NO rum!!

Mimi said...

Lavender sorbet. Yum.

You know, LouLou, I liked your list better than Saveuer's.

Sam Mooney said...

Have you been to the olive co-operative, Oulibo, in Bize-Minervois? It's great, all kinds of sample olive, you could have lunch. They have a web site but be warned, loud music! http://www.loulibo.com/

Loulou said...

Yes, I know it well. Our neighbors take their olives there for pressing. Thanks for thinking of me and saying hi.

Katie said...

Nutella Brownies! Now that I HAVE to try.
Great job!