Tying up Loose Ends
Photography by Derek Bissonnette and Jenn Bakos
Suggestions on How to Use Up All the Edible Bits and Pieces
Waste not, want not. It’s a tenet for sourcing, cooking, and eating sustainably. Here, the Edible Maine staff serves up ways to use up any special ingredient the recipes in this issue may have brought into your kitchen.
Amaro is a bitter digestif with roots in Sicily. Averna is a popular brand of amaro, as are Cynar and Campari. All amaro is made from an infusion of Mediterranean herbs, spices, and fruits, but each brand’s recipe differs, so substituting one for the other in a cocktail will alter the outcome. This aromatic, bittersweet liqueur is commonly enjoyed on its own or simply mixed with seltzer, but it has recently become a balancing ingredient in modern cocktails. For a quick dessert, pour a shot of Averna amaro over a half cup of vanilla ice cream. To deepen the bitterness of a chocolate cake, replace up to ½ cup of the liquid called for in your favorite recipe with Averna amaro.
Chinese Fermented Sausage
Like Italian salami or French saucisson, Chinese fermented sausage (lap cheong) comprises a mixture of pork, fat, and spices that is forced into tubular casing and hung to dry ferment, or cure, in a controlled environment. Unlike the European versions of long-cured sausage, lap cheong sausages require cooking before eating. You can simmer them in boiling water, slice them on the bias, and include them in stir-fries, fried rice dishes, and noodle soups, or simply eat them as an interesting snack with wine.
While sour cream and crème fraîche are both used to add richness and tangy flavor to recipes, they are chemically different products. Sour cream has a fat content of about 20% and may include ingredients like gelatin, rennin, and vegetable enzymes to stabilize it and make it thicker. Crème fraîche has a fat content of about 30% and does not contain any added thickeners as it comprises only cream and a lactic acid culture. Crème fraîche is thicker, has a richer flavor, and is less tangy than sour cream. And it doesn’t separate when cooked, making it a great ingredient for creamy soups.
To make your own crème fraîche, combine 2 tablespoons buttermilk and 2 cups heavy cream in a quart-sized canning jar. Leave the container partially covered at room temperature for at least 8 hours. The mixture will thicken as it sits. After a maximum thickening time of 24 hours, refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
Gochujang, or red chili paste, is a fermented condiment that’s savory, sweet, and spicy all at once. Popular in Korean cooking, it’s made from chili powder, glutinous rice, dried fermented soybean powder, barley malt powder, and salt. Use it wherever you would Thai sriracha, Indonesian sambal oelek, or North African harissa.
Baked Korean-Style Chicken Thighs
Combine 1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar, ¼ cup brown sugar, ½ cup soy sauce, 3 tablespoons gochujang, 1 tablespoon grated ginger, and 4 minced garlic cloves in a large bowl. Add 1 pound of boneless chicken thighs and marinate for 30 minutes. Bake the marinated thighs for 20 minutes in a 375° oven. Meanwhile, combine 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, ¼ cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon gochujang in a small pan over low heat to make a glaze. Brush the thighs with the glaze and cook for 5 minutes more. Serve the chicken hot with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds.
An elderflower liqueur, such as St. Germain, can add a sweet, floral taste to white wine gin, vodka, and whiskey cocktails. In baked goods, it favors lemons.
Elderflower Lemon Cake
Make your favorite lemon pound cake. While it is still warm, use a skewer to poke holes all over the top of the cake. Mix ¼ cup elderflower liqueur with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and use a pastry brush to brush the syrup all over the cake. As the cake cools, whip a cup of cream with 1 tablespoon each of elderflower liqueur and sugar. Serve the cooled cake with the cold whipped cream.