Changes in the works …

May 4th, 2016 by glenemy

Well, we’ve thought about it, and have decided on a new direction for Humboldt Kitchen! Let’s face it — there are thousands and thousands of recipe and cooking web sites out there. Nothing about our site stands out.

So it’s time for a change to something more interesting. Stay tuned as we announce the changes we’re planning, and trust us, it’ll be worth it.



In case you can’t tell …

June 11th, 2015 by glenemy

… we’ve been on a bit of a hiatus while we rethink the purpose of our site.


Pizza in the East Village

April 6th, 2012 by glenemy
Let the pizza be our canvas.

"Let the pizza be our canvas"


I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been hungry but thought that pizza wasn’t a good idea. From Saint Louis-style wafer-thin cracker crust to Chicago deep dish to the traditional thin crust cooked in a coal-fired oven, I love them all. One of my favorite stops for a great lunch is at the tiny East Village (12th St @ 1st Ave) outpost of Brooklyn’s Motorino. (note: Motorino’s Brooklyn outpost is currently closed due to building issues. They are looking for a new locati0n in the same neighborhood.) 

$12 gets you a salad of mixed greens and a pizza — wine not included — a fantastic deal in a place where lunch can easily set you back $75 (admittedly, you can get something cheaper at Papaya Dog up the street, but it’s not pizza, and those $1 slices you see around town are typically garbage).

My favorite pizza at Motorino right now is the Soppressata Piccante: a crispy outside, chewy inside crust topped with red sauce, fior di latte (a type of mozzarella), spicy soppressata, chili flakes, garlic, and herbs. Paired with a couple bistro glasses of Gragnano (a semi-sparkling red wine from Naples), it’s a perfect way to spend a lazy afternoon.

Soppressata Picante

Soppressata Picante


Getting to pho …

Well, long hiatus. We won’t go into the details.

Recently, a friend expressed interest in making a good pho broth at home. We’ve spent some time trying different versions (Modernist Cuisine’s version is pretty darn good) and tinkering with them, and are starting to narrow it down. In the meantime, here’s one we’re getting close to being happy with.

Onions and Ginger

Onions and ginger charred with a propane torch. A gas grill would have done a better job.

  • 1t black peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick (we liked the Mexican kind)
  • 3 cloves star anise
  • 1/2t allspice (ground)
  • olive oil
  • 1.5 – 2 pounds oxtail (jointed)
  • 1.5 – 2 pounds beef short ribs (separated between the bones)
  • 2 medium/large white onions (a little over a pound)
  • 1/4 pound ginger
  • 2 – 3 quarts water
  • lime, sugar, salt, fish sauce to taste

Briefly toast the spices in a pan and reserve. Rinse any dirt off of the onions and cut them in half, leaving the skin on. Rinse and then cut the (unpeeled) ginger in half. Using a gas torch, a very hot dry pan, an outdoor grill, or the burner on your range,  char the onion and ginger.

Sear the oxtails and short ribs in a pressure cooker or stock pot, in batches if needed. Return all the meat to the pot, and add the charred onion and ginger, the toasted spices (in a sachet if you wish), and the water. Bring to a simmer, skimming off any scum or foam that comes to the surface.

  • If you’re using a pressure cooker, seal the cover, and bring the pressure to 1 bar (maximum). Adjust the heat and cook for 30 minutes. Don’t vent the cooker. When the 30 minutes is up, remove the cooker from the heat and allow the pressure to drop naturally (i.e. no cold water or venting).
  • If you are using a traditional stock pot, cover the broth and adjust the heat so that it is barely simmering. Cook for at least 90 minutes, periodically skimming any foam from the surface.

Remove the cover, and carefully strain the broth into another container. Adjust the seasoning with the lime, sugar, salt, and fish sauce. Cool to room temperature, then transfer individual portions to ziplock-style bags and either refrigerate or freeze.

Optionally, you can clarify the stock using a ground beef, egg, and mirepoix raft. This makes it looks absolutely stunning and intensifies the beef flavor of the broth.

Let us know any tweaks you make and how it turns out.


Sunday Snack: Filipino-Style Grilled Pork Skewers

June 26th, 2011 by glenemy
Pork skewers on the grill!

Pork skewers on the grill!

This week we’re introducing one of our absolute favorite and underused ingredients: vinegar. We do a lot of fusion cooking, for lack of a better term, and one of our influences is most definitely the food of the Philippines — itself a fusion of sorts, a wild conglomeration of indigenous, Chinese, Spanish, and American cuisines. One of the hallmarks of Filipino food is the frequent and generous application of sourness in its various forms … in one of our favorite ways, by using vinegar as both a marinade and in sauces. Our platform to deliver the flavor is a great summer afternoon snack: grilled skewers of marinated cubes of pork.

For what it’s worth, we’re pairing these with a crisp sauvignon blanc, in our case, a 2010 Château Lestrille Entre-Deux-Mers. They go great with beer (San Miguel, anyone?) as well.

For more traditional Filipino dishes, we would use cider vinegar or plain old white vinegar, but to the uninitiated, the intensity may be too much, too soon, so we settle for balsamic vinegar and a seasoned rice vinegar. Both the balsamic and the rice vinegar give the pork a nice, sweet, and tangy flavor profile. You can pick up both of these in the ethnic aisle at any reasonable grocery store. If all you can find is plain rice vinegar (i.e. no sugar or salt listed in the ingredients), you can use it, but add a few pinches of sugar and salt to the marinade. Please don’t use expensive balsamic, it would be a waste — use a plain old mass market brand and you’ll be fine.

  • 2 pork chops, 4 – 6 ounces each, or pork tenderloin, or shoulder, or butt … whatever you have on hand. Size isn’t important as long as you adjust the amount of marinade accordingly.
  • some bamboo skewers, soaked in water so they don’t burn on the grill (metal skewers are fine, of course)

    Marinade (cw from top): soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, shallot, bay leaves, lemon, and balsamic.

    Marinade (cw from top): soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, shallot, bay leaves, lemon, and balsamic.

For the marinade, you will need:

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 cup soy sauce
  • the juice of one medium lemon
  • one shallot (substitute some minced yellow onion if you wish)
  • two cloves garlic (or more if you like), peeled and degermed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • one teaspoon (or to taste) Sambal Oleck or another hot, spicy sauce (optional)

It takes an hour or so to properly marinate the pork, longer if you want a more pungent, intense flavor. I wouldn’t go less than 30 minutes unless you plan on reducing the marinade on the stove to use as a dipping sauce. Let’s get cooking:

  1. Combine both vinegars, the soy sauce, the bay leaves, and the hot sauce (if using) in a one gallon ziplock bag.
  2. If you have a Rocket Blender or some other such thing, pulverize the shallot and garlic with the lemon juice and add to the marinade. If you don’t have something like that, just mince the shallot and garlic and add it with the lemon juice to the ziplock bag.
  3. Cut the pork into 3/4 inch cubes or, if you’re using the “S” curve skewer method, 3/4 inch wide strips. Add them to the marinade, mix well, seal the bag, and stick back in the fridge for an hour (or more if you’ve drank the kool-aid and already love vinegar).

    S-type and traditional ways to skewer the pork.

    S-type and traditional ways to skewer the pork.

  4. Decide whether you want to make rice. Rice is awesome with this dish, and can turn this snack into a lunch or light dinner. Have a glass of wine, or crack open a beer. You deserve it, you have arranged things so that you will be eating well very soon.
  5. Get your grill going when it’s time. I’m assuming you know how to do this. For charcoal, pile the coals to one side so you can do both direct and indirect heat. Your strategy will be to sear and mark the pork and then move them to the indirect side to finish. For gas grills, don’t underestimate the power of pre-heating … it’s crucial for good results. You can sear these with a propane torch, too, but your neighbors will look at you funny. Since apparently you read Humboldt Kitchen, you are probably used to this, and have thick enough skin that you couldn’t give a f … care less. If you want rice, make it now.
  6. Remove the pork from the marinade, and pat dry with paper towels. Skewer your pork.
  7. If you want to make a great but intense dipping sauce, put the marinade in a shallow pan over medium-high heat on the stove and reduce it to a consistency you like. It’s great to dip the cubes in, or to drizzle over rice.
  8. Grill your pork, taking care to rotate it so you can get some nice grill marks on each side. It won’t take more than 5 or 6 minutes, if you remember that the FDA has lowered the “safe” cooking temperature of pork to 145 degrees F. That’s right, folks, you can leave it pink and not worry about poisoning your loved ones.

    Filipino-style Grilled Pork Skewers

    Filipino-style Grilled Pork Skewers

  9. Pile the pork on a plate and let it rest a bit, then serve with the optional rice and reduced marinade. Thank me later, and welcome to the world of vinegar. You will be craving Adobong Manok in no time, and will be all the better for it.

Quick and Easy Sunday Afternoon Snack (with Wine): Cheese Toasties

June 12th, 2011 by glenemy

This is the first in our brand spanking new Quick and Easy Sunday Afternoon Snack series. Every recipe we post with the Quick and Easy tag must possess three primary characteristics: (1) it has to be quick to make with minimal prep work; (2) it has to be easy, as in “you could do this tipsy,” to throw together; and (3) it has to provide a decent cover story for having a couple glasses of wine on a Sunday afternoon. See, if you are eating something and it absolutely begs for wine, then you are obligated to pour yourself a glass, and you definitely aren’t a lush. Just don’t make any of these for breakfast and you’ll be fine.

As an added bonus, the snacks in this series will be a good way to introduce kids, or slightly less than adventurous adults, to progressively more sophisticated tastes, without scaring the bejeezus out them in the process. The dishes themselves should look familiar and classic enough to transport them to a place where they’re comfortable enough to try something new and unexpected. This week’s edition introduces Dijon mustard, tarragon, and some non-crappy cheese to the classic open-faced toasted cheese sandwich. For four mini-sandwiches (call them Cheese Toasties if you want), you will need:

Cheese Toasties ... Dijon, tarragon, scamorza, and black pepper on Challah rolls

Cheese Toasties ... Dijon, tarragon, scamorza, and black pepper on Challah rolls

  • 2 English muffins, Challah rolls, Hawaiian or Honey Wheat rolls, or 2 slices of regular sandwich bread (sliced kitty korner)
  • butter
  • Dijon mustard
  • the leaves from a sprig of tarragon, finely minced
  • decent cheese that melts easily, enough to cover the bread, such as scamorza, mozzarella, or even Gruyère, grated or thinly sliced
  • a few pinches freshly ground pepper
  1. Slice the rolls in half, like a hamburger bun, and butter the top side. Smear some Dijon over the butter, top with the cheese, and sprinkle some tarragon over the cheese.
  2. Place in a toaster oven and toast, or under a broiler, until the cheese is melted and gooey. Top each one with a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper. You likely won’t need salt if you use scamorza or mozzarella, but season gently with salt if they need some.

Told  you it was easy. For wine, I’d go with something with enough acid to cut the fat in the cheese and butter and hold up to the Dijon, which, depending on the type you use, can be quite assertive. A New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc would do nicely, as would a Chablis if you prefer Chardonnay. For reds, I would stick with the lighter side, such as an Oregon Pinot Noir. Of course, I need not mention how well good cheese goes with beer. My favorite right now is Goose Island’s Matilda, and it happens to pair with this snack wonderfully.



Rosemary O’Brien, AKA Guinness Braised Short Ribs

June 9th, 2011 by glenemy

Braised (beef) short ribs take time, but they couldn’t be simpler and their versatility can’t be beat. I use them on sandwiches, in ravioli, to stuff tacos or burritos … at one of Dublin’s best restaurants (Pearl Brasserie, if you’re keeping track), they used nicely braised short rib and wild mushrooms to garnish a beautiful filet … pure decadence.

Short ribs after a trip to the oven to brown

Short ribs after a trip in the oven to brown ...

My favorite way to cook these babies is to brown the ribs in the oven while I caramelize the veggies on the stove, then combine them all in a pot with garlic, some herbs, and a good beer before letting them simmer in a low oven for a few hours.

When they’re almost, but not quite, falling off the bone, I remove the ribs from the braise and pop out the bones. You strain the liquid a couple times, leaving a dark, yeasty juice that smells and tastes absolutely amazing … it’s what monks would have drank 800 years ago if they knew how to make it. Hell, maybe they did, and I’ve just recreated what they had been doing for another 800 years before that, albeit in the dark, and without the benefit of electronically controlled temperature ovens and stainless steel pots, much less the cryovac-sealed short ribs from a family farm not 30 miles past the Indiana border. Man, those monks probably had to actually kill the damn cow, too.

Ingredients for the braise ...

Ingredients for the braise ...

Anyway, I digress. What else is new? The point is, this takes some time and patience, but it’s as simple as microwave popcorn and much more worth the effort.

At the left you’ll see my braise: 2 carrots, one stalk of celery, 2 sprigs of rosemary, an onion, Guinness, the peeled cloves of a head of garlic, and 3 bay leaves.

The mirepoix (carrots, onion, celery) is what gets browned in olive oil with a pinch of salt before meeting up with the already browned and seasoned ribs, Guinness, garlic, rosemary, and bay leaves in the pot.


Everything together in the pot

Everything together in the pot


Add water to cover, stick it in a 300 – 325 degree oven, and wait a few hours. Check the meat as mentioned above, and when it’s ready strain the veggies out, reserving the liquid, remove the meat, pop out the bones, let everything cool, put the ribs and juice into a clean container, and stick it in the fridge.

To serve, pull out some of the ribs, remove any obvious fat or gristle, and heat to serving temperature in the liquid.

Seriously, the next time you get one of those grey, chilly, rainy, nasty, WHY IS THIS HAPPENING IN LATE SPRING??? type of days … make some of these. Trust me, it’ll be brilliant.



Basic Bread Pudding

May 16th, 2011 by glenemy

A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of making a chocolate-banana bread based on a Gordon Ramsey recipe. It was delicious, but since we don’t really have all that much of a sweet tooth, and the chocolate pushed it into that realm, we had leftovers. Rather than let them go to waste, we turned the bread into a classic bread pudding, and loved the results. Sorry, it didn’t last long enough to take a picture. 😉

Other than something to cook it in (a loaf pan, silicone mold, an old hub cap, a muffin tray, etc.), you’ll need:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 (chicken) eggs … we use a lot of duck eggs here, but this calls for chicken
  • 1/2 cup decent honey … buy this at a farmer’s market for half the price and 3 times the flavor of one you would pick up at a grocery store
  • 4 “slices” banana bread, brioche, or just plain good old bread bread … 1/2″ to 3/4″ thick.
  • butter (unsalted, naturally)

The method couldn’t be easier:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Gently warm the milk in a pan. When it’s tepid, take it off heat and add the honey. Stir to dissolve the honey in the milk.
  3. Pour the milk-honey mixture (Biblical references aside) into a bowl and beat in the eggs.
  4. Generously (is there any other way) butter each slice of bread on one side and then cut the slices into cubes.
  5. Butter your baking dish, and toss in the cubes … don’t stack them, just toss them in there.
  6. Pour the egg-milk-honey mixture over the cubes to cover. You may have too much of this, in which case, let the thing settle and the bread soak up some of the liquid, and then top off with more of the mixture.
  7. When the oven is good and hot, bake the soon-to-be-pudding for an hour or so. You’ll know it’s done when the mixture sets and the top browns. If it stays gooey, remember to use less egg-milk-honey next time. 😉 Trust us, it will still taste awesome even if you have to eat it with a spoon, so there will be a next time.
  8. Remove for the oven and sample some. Sample some more. Now, show some discipline and cool it for an hour or so at room temperature, and then in the fridge. It’s better the next day.

The quality of your final product depends on the texture, density, and quality of the bread and the ratio of bread to liquid. Try it a few times and you’ll develop your own favorite technique. You won’t need to top this with anything, but whipped cream, caramel, and berries are all good options if you’re so inclined.

We’ll have a fun announcement later this week to make Humboldt Kitchen better, so stay tuned.


Rotini with Chorizo, Peas, and Olives in a Rosemary Tomato Cream Sauce

April 12th, 2011 by glenemy

Pasta swimming in a tomato cream sauce should be a go-to weeknight dish for everyone; it’s comforting, simple, and if you have some pantry basics, quick to throw together at the last minute. This very adds Spanish or Portuguese chorizo for flavor, complementing it with peas and black olives. The addition of rosemary to the sauce lends some complexity and brings the dish back to Italy.

This will give you enough for two (with plenty of leftovers for lunch!!!), or four if you serve it with some greens and a light dessert or glass of wine. Tradition would suggest a high-acid red wine to counter the richness of the cream sauce, but I liked this with a pleasant California chardonnay, in my case the 2009 Au Bon Climat Santa Barbera Chardonnay, a great value for $15.

Rotini with Chorizo, Peas, and Olives in a Rosemary Tomato Cream Sauce

Rotini with Chorizo, Peas, and Olives in a Rosemary Tomato Cream Sauce

  • 12 ounces (roughly a package) of whole wheat rotini, such as Bella Terra Organic
  • 2 shallots, sliced into rings ~1/8″ thick
  • 4 oz Spanish or Portuguese chorizo; the cured kind, not the fresh Mexican stuff, sliced into 1/4″ discs
  • ~18 pitted and roughly chopped black olives (I used Kalamata for their brininess but if you adjust your seasoning at the end … and I know that you will … use whatever kind you like.)
  • one sprig rosemary
  • 1 cup peas, fresh, but frozen if not in season
  • 1 cup basic red tomato sauce, like the kind you would already have in the fridge if you looked at the second recipe in this Italian Wonton post.
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • kosher or sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and olive oil

On to the mechanics …

  1. Put a large pot of salted water on to boil. Drizzle some olive oil into it, it doesn’t affect the taste, but it’ll help keep it from over boiling and making a mess.
  2. Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. When hot, add the shallots and stir. Reduce the heat — you just want to sweat them a bit.
  3. When they’re limp, add the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until that beautiful red oil begins to leech out and the chorizo is heated through.
  4. Add the olives, rosemary, and peas. Continue to cook, stirring off and on, until the peas are starting to cook.
  5. Remove the rosemary and add the red sauce and the cream. Stir everything together, and drop your pasta in what should be your boiling water. Continue stirring the sauce every so often.
  6. After the pasta is cooked al dente, drain it and transfer to a bowl.
  7. When the sauce reduces to a texture that you like, add the butter and stir to integrate it into the sauce. Check your salt and pepper, adjusting as necessary, and remove from heat.
  8. Dress the pasta by adding just enough to coat the rotini. This is quite rich, so will take less than you think. Make sure you include the chorizo, peas, and olives. The rest of the sauce will keep for a few days. It’s good over scrambled eggs, though perhaps a bit decadent.
  9. Plate and serve. Top with some fresh Parm if you’re in the mood.

Proof of God’s Existence

April 4th, 2011 by glenemy

We know we owe you, and lobster no less, but we’ve been sick, and the last thing we wanted to do was give you the flu. 😉 OK, well, cut us some slack.

Here’s our apology:

Hamachi Collar

The above is raw hamachi collar. It is not only proof that God exists, but that He loves us. A LOT.

If this stuff were red meat, it would be Kobe beef short rib, and 99% of the rest of the fish world would be a McDonald’s hamburger, sans the ketchup. If it were wine, the label would read Château Lafite, while it’s neighbors in the fish case would likely be adorned with hastily rendered silhouettes of Australian marsupials.

When you add salt, heat, olive oil, and a quick squeeze of lemon, you find perfection:

Broiled hamachi collar, sautéed asparagus and leeks, grated daikon with lemon and black salt, and rice.

Broiled hamachi collar, sautéed asparagus and leeks, grated daikon with lemon and black salt, and rice.