Earlier this summer I created an appetizer recipe, hoping that by September I could share it with friends on my deck. That’s a hard “No.” Because of my age (71 this month) I’m still social distancing and limiting my interaction with others to quick, masked trips to the pharmacy and grocery store followed by vigorous hand-washing.
Tony and I did hitch up our camper and got away to upstate New York and the mountains of New Hampshire last week, but we didn’t eat out and didn’t mingle. Campground check-ins were on-line. Fellow campers kept their distance.
In other words, no festive occasions to debut my spicy picadillo galette with avocado and sour cream. Tony and I enjoyed it privately, though. We made a dinner out of it, and you can, too.
A galette, as most of you know, is simply a rustic tart baked free-form, with an inch or two of the edges folded over the filling. It is the easiest kind of pie to make, and already this summer I’ve made two peach galettes. Making an appetizer galette is an unexpected twist, though. When cut into wedges like a pizza, it is a lovely substantial bite or, in my case, dinner.
The filling is a Cuban picadillo — deeply seasoned ground beef and tomatoes with sliced olives. You could sub sloppy joe filling or taco-spiced ground beef with less work, but the picadillo has a lot more flavor.
After the galette cooled a bit, I fanned avocado slices around the middle, one per wedge, and drizzled thinned sour cream over the top for a bit of dazzle. Share it with friends someday or make it now for a private pandemic dinner.
SPICY BEEF AND OLIVE GALETTE
1 disk pie dough (recipe below)
1 to 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 medium-large onion, diced (1/2-inch cubes)
1/2 bell pepper, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. lean ground beef
3 tsp. ground cumin
Salt, pepper to taste
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup sliced stuffed green olives
1 can (10 oz.) Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 cup water
1/2 ripe avocado
3 tbsp sour cream thinned with 1 tbsp. milk or water
Make dough and refrigerate.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick or cast iron skillet. Sauté onion over medium heat until it starts to soften. Stir in garlic and sauté for a minute or two more. Scrape to one side.
Crumble beef into same skillet, adding more oil if needed. Increase heat to medium-high and brown the meat, breaking it apart with the side of a spoon. Stir meat and onion mixture together. Stir in cumin, salt and pepper and continue to cook for 30 seconds. Add wine, stirring until wine evaporates.
Stir in olives, Rotel tomatoes, tomato paste and water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is almost dry. Remove from heat.
Remove one disk of dough from refrigerator and place on a floured surface. Let stand at room temperature for a few minutes, until it softens slightly. Roll to a 12 to 13-inch circle. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Spoon beef mixture evenly over dough, leaving bare a 2-inch rim around edges. Fold edges of dough over beef mixture, pleating and pinching in a circle. Bake on middle oven rack at 325 degrees for about 50 minutes, until crust is golden. Remove from oven, slide the galette on the parchment off of the baking sheet and onto a counter. Let cool until just warm or room temperature.
When ready to serve, cut the galette into 6 to 8 wedges. Remove the avocado from its skin, remove the pit and cut the flesh into 6 to 8 wedges. Drizzle sour cream mixture over the galette in a back-and-forth pattern and decorate with the avocado slices. Makes 6 to 8 appetizer servings.
FOOD PROCESSOR PIE DOUGH
(From Ina Garten)
12 tbsp. cold butter
3 cups flour
1 tsp.. kosher salt
1/3 cup (5 tbsp.) cold vegetable shortening
6 to 8 tbsp. ice water
Dice butter and return to refrigerator. Measure flour and salt into food processor and pulse briefly to mix. Add cold butter and shortening. Pulse 8 to 12 times, until fat is the size of peas.
While processor is running, slowly pour ice water through feed tube, adding just enough to make mixture come together in a ball. Divide dough in half, shape each into a fat disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill. Makes enough for two galettes, two single-crust pies or one double-crust pie. If not using both disks immediately, slip extra one into a quart freezer bag and freeze. Thaw in refrigerator before using.
Thanks to the pandemic, preserving food at home is trending big-time. Social media is filled with posts from people trying to track down canning supplies. Many stores are sold out.
If you are getting into canning, freezing, drying, curing, smoking or pickling this season, you can check out safety tips and access hundreds of recipes on line at the National Center for Home Food Preservation at the University of Georgia, nchfp.uga.edu.
So, what are you preserving? I have frozen a few quarts of green beans, sliced peaches and blueberries. I’ll freeze whole tomatoes for soup and maybe make some sauce this year.
I’m not canning because I don’t have central air and the kitchen has been unbearable this summer. But I’m curious about what you are canning. Or freezing, pickling, smoking or curing. Please share so we all can get some ideas for saving this month’s bounty.
What I cooked last week:
Fried egg, tomato and pesto on wheat toast; Japanese pork curry and steamed rice.
What I ate from restaurants, etc.:
A turkey pastrami sandwich and yogurt parfait from a gas station in Vermont; a cheeseburger and chocolate chip sandwich cookie from Whitefield Market and Deli in Whitefield, N.H.; chili mac (they called it “Chop Suey”) from the Whitefield Market; frizzled beef, tomato, lettuce and mayo on a toasted roll from Wayne’s Market & Deli in North Woodstock, N.H.; bacon and pineapple pizza from Catalano’s Pizzeria in Twin Mountain, N.H.;
Regarding a recent recipe request: I have been to Cleveland’s New York Spaghetti House dozens, perhaps a hundred times before it closed. The following recipe has been in my book since 2002 or ’03.
I’m not certain if it is the original recipe but it (in my memory) duplicates the dish at the restaurant. I was told many times by the wait staff at the restaurant that the start of the sauce was a roux. Not a simple sauce recipe.
New York Spaghetti House Brown Sauce
3/4 cup olive oil
1 cup flour
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery ribs w/leaves, diced
1 cup grated carrots
6 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
1 quart beef stock
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 cup dry red wine
2 tbsp. Italian seasoning
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. crumbled thyme
1 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 bay leaves
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
3/4 lb. 85/15 ground beef
3/4 lb. ground pork
1 15-oz can of cannellini or great northern beans (pureed)
Prepare a roux: Heat 1/2 cup of the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet. Add flour a little at a time, stirring constantly and cooking over low heat until the mixture is the color of peanut butter. This should take about 30 minutes or so. Do not turn up the heat to hurry along the process or the roux will burn. Set aside.
In a large pot over medium heat, add ¼ cup of the olive oil and when hot, sauté the onion, celery, carrots and garlic until garlic starts to brown, about 10 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, beef stock, Worcestershire sauce and wine. Stir well. Stir in Italian seasoning, basil, thyme, sugar, salt, bay leaves, parsley and red pepper flakes.
Add raw meat in chunks (don’t brown the meat). Puree the can of beans with the water from the can, and add to the sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil, and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir in the roux until smooth and incorporated and simmer for 15 additional minutes. Remove bay leaves. Using an immersion blender, blend the sauce (but don’t over blend – you still want to see meat granules).
Also, here’s a recipe from the Recipe Roundup in the Beacon Journal in 2004:
BROWN SAUCE OF NORTHERN ITALY
5 oz. prosciutto fat or larding pork, ground
14-by-5-inch piece (about 2 1/2 oz.) pork rind, boiled for 10 minutes and drained
2 lbs. rump or shank of beef, cut into chunks
1 lb. boneless veal shank, cut into chunks
4 to 5 lbs. cracked beef and veal bones, with marrow
1 ounce dry mushrooms, soaked in tepid water for 20 minutes, squeezed dry and chopped
2 large yellow onions, coarsely chopped
2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 whole cloves
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 cup dry red wine
1 bouquet garni (1/4 tsp. dried thyme, 1 crushed bay leaf, sprigs of parsley and 1/4 tsp. dried marjoram tied into cheesecloth bundle)
1/3 cup flour
1 cup canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, drained, seeded and chopped
3 quarts boiling water
Additional salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom of roasting pan that can be used on stovetop with prosciutto fat or larding pork. On top place pork rind, beef rump or shank, veal shank, beef and veal bones with marrow, mushrooms, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, cloves, 1/2 tsp. salt and the black pepper.
Cook on the range top over low heat, stirring occasionally. As soon as the meat starts to brown, add the wine and bouquet garni. Cook, stirring, until wine is almost evaporated. Remove from heat, sprinkle with flour, and stir well. Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly over very low heat for 1 minute.
Add tomatoes and mix well. Add boiling water to cover and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt. Simmer (do not boil) for 5 minutes. Scum will start to rise. Remove it with a spoon or ladle until it ceases to accumulate. Place in oven, partially covered, so that steam may escape, and cook for 4 hours, being very careful that it barely simmers (turn heat down if it boils).
Take out of oven; remove beef, veal, and pork rind, and reserve for other uses. Strain liquid, discarding vegetables, bones, and bouquet garni, into a saucepan. Simmer until liquid is reduced to 1 1/2 quarts (6 cups), removing fat from surface with spoon or ladle. Allow to cool.
Place liquid in refrigerator, uncovered, until remaining fat has hardened on top and can be scraped off. Taste for seasoning, and, if flavor is weak, boil to reduce water content further and remove any scum that rises to surface.
Sauce may be kept in refrigerator or freezer. If kept in the refrigerator, it must be removed and brought to a boil every 3 or 4 days before storing again.
Obviously you are an aficionado of the restaurant’s sauce and searched for the recipe. Thank you so much for sharing it. I remember tracking down what I hoped was a similar recipe for Recipe Roundup. Yours sounds much closer to the original. Maybe if ground meat were added to the Recipe Roundup sauce, it would approximate the restaurant’s more closely.
From Kim D.:
Just wondering if you have a recipe for the soup they serve with the meals at Hibachi Japan in Cuyahoga Falls. The soup seems to be a blend of chicken and beef stock, clear, has scallions, mushrooms and fried noodles added before serving.
I’ve tried a few recipes online, but they are not quite right. They call for caramelizing carrots, ginger, garlic and onions before adding stock and water to simmer for a couple hours. It is not quite right. Maybe too sweet?
Tony worked at Hibachi Japan before he opened his own restaurant. That’s how he got to Akron. It was long ago, though, and he was the sushi chef, not the soup maker. He seems to think the two soups served at the restaurant were miso soup and a clear soup that was plain dashi. I don’t think so.
I know the soup you’re talking about, because I’ve had it in a number of Japanese restaurants. It is brown and clear, like bouillon. Recipes I’ve seen call for a combination of beef and chicken broth with garlic, onions and ginger. Carrots add sweetness to stock, so I recommend leaving them out. If anyone has the recipe from Hibachi Japan, or hints on how to make it, could you share?