A Few Recipes That are Not in the Book

April 2, 2019

In the original manuscript of Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir, there was a recipe in almost every chapter.  My wonderful editor thought they slowed the narrative, and in the end we left in only a handful of recipes that were really important to the story.  This week I’ll be posting a few of the recipes that were left on the cutting room floor. So check back tomorrow.

To begin, the recipe for the Ian Knauer’s goat tacos.  If you’ve read the excerpt on Eater, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.  This is from the chapter called:

Dot Com

Ian and Alan returned from Queens toting two enormous plastic bags. From halfway across the building you could smell them coming; the goat was still warm, the reek of the abattoir so intense it was as if they were carrying the entire contents of the butcher shop. The primal barnyard scent grew stronger as they approached, and by the time they reached the kitchen door the animal funk was overwhelming. Up close they were engulfed in the sharp metallic scent of freshly spilled blood; the hair rose on the nape of my neck and every instinct urged me to run. Despite my strong desire not to, I put my hand over my mouth. For a moment I  stopped breathing.

“I’m amazed the guards let you in.” I cautiously lowered my hand.

“They didn’t seem happy,” Ian admitted.  “But we flashed our passes and ran for an elevator before they could stop us. The doors were just closing.”

“I hope it was empty.”

Ian and Alan exchanged a glance.  Ian heaved his plastic bag onto the counter. “Anna Wintour was in there.”

I stared at him, fascinated and appalled.  “What did she do?”

“What could she do?  She just kept backing into the corner until she couldn’t go any farther.”

Goat Tacos for Eight

(adapted from Ian Knauer and Alan Sytsma, who adapted the recipe from Alexandro Garcia, Blue Agave Club, Pleasanton, Ca.)

Wipe 3 dried guajillo chiles and 2 dried anchos clean (they tend to be very dusty), slit them open and remove the seeds and stems.  Toast them in a hot, heavy dry skillet, turning them with tongs, until they change color (about 30 seconds each).

Soak the chiles in hot water for half an hour.

Peel a pound of tomatoes and chop them, carefully reserving the juice.

Drain the chiles and put them in a blender with the tomatoes, the tomato juice, a teaspoon of salt and 4 cloves of peeled garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons of dried oregano, a teaspoon of vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, 5 whole peppercorns, 3 whole cloves and a bay leaf. Puree until very smooth.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Sprinkle 3 1/2 pounds bone- in goat (neck, shoulder, leg), that you’ve cut into pieces at the joints with a teaspoon of salt and put it into a shallow baking dish.  Pour the sauce over the meat, turning it about so that the meat is coated to on all sides.

Cover the baking dish tightly with foil, put it into the oven and leave it for about 3 hours, until it is very tender.

Uncover the dish and let the goat cook for another half an hour, uncovered, in the sauce. Remove from the oven, coarsely shred the meat and mix it into the sauce.

Return the dish to the oven and cook, about another half hour.

Serve on corn tortillas with these toppings: crumbled queso fresco or feta, salsa, cilantro, chopped onions, sliced radishes, julienned lettuces, pickled jalapenos, limes.