Sandwich Merguez Au Harissa

Moroccan Sandwich Merguez Au Harissa

Inspired by this New York Times article about seven new sandwiches, I felt like making something I have never tried before. The Chili Mackerel Man Tou (Chinese steamed bread) and Knish Press sandwiches sounded really interesting but sounded a bit too complicated for a quick mid-afternoon snack. I have never tried Merguez sausages and had freshly baked homemade baguettes on hand, so I immediately knew what to make from the article.

The Merguez sausages used were a mixture of beef and lamb. There was a faint hint of heat from paprika and cayenne, but the addition of harissa should quickly crank the heat level towards incendiary.

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Beef Short Ribs Adobo

Filipino Beef Short Ribs Adobo

Adobo is the quintessential Filipino comfort food and is widely regarded as the national dish of the Philippines. When I had just started cooking and flopped around in a kitchen equipped with nothing but a crusty pot and a butter knife from Ikea, the first thing I made was adobo, sans recipe. It didn’t require much in the way of ingredients or equipment. Just throw everything in a pot and simmer. Not to be confused with Mexican adobo (a seasoning paste made of chiles, herbs, and spices), Filipino adobo refers to any seafood, meats, or vegetables braised in vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic. The most common types of adobo in my household were chicken, pork, squid, and water spinach (also known as kangkong).

Browsing through the recipes for this dish in Memories of Philippine Kitchens, the very first thing I noticed was the use of coconut milk to enrich the braising liquid. I don’t ever recall having adobo enriched with coconut milk, but it sounds like a good idea for leaner meats such as chicken breasts. The next thing I noticed was the recipe for beef short ribs adobo. I confess to never having beef adobo and thought it was quite unusual, but the use of short ribs made perfect sense. Braising slowly is arguably the best cooking method for short ribs, with the hot and fast method of grilling Korean kalbi a close runner-up. This is the first recipe I tried from the book, adapted to the way I learned to prepare adobo, of course.

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Peter Reinhart’s French Bread

French Bread from Peter Reinhart - The Bread Baker\'s Apprentice

When I first got interested in making bread, I found baguettes to be the most intimidating. How can I get irregular holes in the crumb? How can I get regularly spaced slash patterns? How can I get a golden crackly crust?

It took more than a few tries to make passable baguettes with this recipe from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. The shaping of the baguettes proved to be the most difficult step and required a lot of practice and several attempts at misshapen, albeit delicious, loaves.

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