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Last night Robin and I hosted three friends from work, all French teachers.  It was great fun to see them and share a dinner together.  Christy and her sister Jamie had heard too much about our remodel and finally had a chance to see it.  Sophie and her husband Igor are diving into a remodel right now.  Kathy is a foodie and is always sharing recipes with me at work.

Sophie brought tastry apps including Igor’s Three-Day Dates.  Kathy made a fabulous Chez Panisse Almond Cake with fresh fruit (not cut too early) and whipped cream.

I spent the day working with Robin to make Fava Bean and Burrata Bruschetta.  They were fabulous with fresh mint flavor and the wonderful creaminess of burrata.

We served these with Grilled Romaine and Citrus Caesar Salads as well as Mark Bittman’s Salmon with Chive-Tarragon Sauce.

Salmon with Chive-Tarragon Sauce

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tblspns minced fresh chives
  • 3 sprigs fresh tarragon (or approx 1 tsp dried)
  • 2 tblspns butter
  • 2 big tomatoes, or about 4-5 Romas seeded, minced
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 lemon (optional)

In a pan, bring wine to boil and let it bubble for about a minute. Add herbs and butter; stir. When butter is melted add tomatoes and cook for 30 seconds or so. If sauce tastes flat after seasoning with salt and pepper, add lemon juice. Spoon sauce over fish.

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Marshall and Polly joined us for a fun evening of pasta making that resulted in the best pasta dinner I have ever cooked.  The combination of fresh pasta, spices, herbs and two sticks of butter was restaurant quality.

We served the pasta with a blood orange salad and a raspberry and pear Mission Pie.

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Saffron Tagliatelle with Spiced Butter
By Yotam Ottolenghi
From: Plenty

Counterintuitive as this combination of pasta with Moroccan-style butter may seem, it is absolutely delicious and I am sure that once tried you’ll keep on coming back to it. Instead of homemade you can go for a good variety of dried pasta and add a decent pinch of saffron threads to the cooking water.

Ingredients
2 teaspoon saffron threads
4 tablespoons boiling water
4 medium eggs
4 tablespoons olive oil
15-1/2 ounces (3-1/2 cups) “00” pasta flour, plus extra for rolling
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
Spiced butter
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
8 shallots, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspono cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon chile flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
Black pepper
Topping
2/3 cup pine nuts, toasted and roughly chopped
4 tablespoons roughly chopped mint
4 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley
Directions
1 Place the saffron in a small bowl with the boiling water and leave to infuse for at least 10 minutes. Then add the eggs and oil and beat to mix. Place the flour and turmeric in the bowl of a food processor and add the saffron mix. Blend until a crumbly dough is formed. You may need a little more oil or flour to adjust the dough to the required consistency – neither sticky nor very dry.

2 Lightly dust your surface with flour, tip out the dough and knead into a ball. Work for a few minutes, adding more flour if you need, until it becomes silky soft. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes, or up to a day.

3 Divide the dough into two pieces. Keep one well covered. Using a rolling pin, flatten the other piece into a thin rectangle. Set the pasta machine to its widest setting and pass the dough through. Continue rolling the pasta, narrowing the setting by a notch every time, until you get to the lowest setting.

4 Fold up the pasta sheet twice along its length, sprinkling some flour between the layers. Use a large knife to cut long strips that are 3/4 inch wide. Hang them on the back of a chair to dry for 10 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough.

5 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

6 To make the spiced butter: Place the butter and oil in a frying pan and cook the shallots gently for about 10 minutes, or until they soften and the butter turns slightly brown. Now add all the spices, the salt and some pepper. Remove from the heat and keep warm. Cook the tagliatelle for 2 to 3 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and return to the saucepan. Pour the spiced butter over the pasta and stir well, then divide among four plates.

7 Sprinkle with the pine nuts and chopped herbs and serve.

In an effort to bring more protein into our diets, I cooked up some turkey tacos tonight.  How about that for alliteration!  I added black beans to the ground turkey and the result was fabulously fast and filling.

Black Bean Turkey Tacos

Sautee 1/2 an onion.
Add .75 lbs ground turkey.  Once browned add taco seasoning and water to simmer.  Add a can of beans for additional protein.
Serve with jack, avocado and cilantro.

No photo.  Sorry ’bout it.  This was quite yummy but could have been supported by a nice protein.  Grilled fish?  Sausages?  Even a steak.  A great side for the future.

1 pound fresh kale or one 10-ounce package frozen kale, thawed
1/2 cup water
5 medium-large potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cup Swiss cheese, grated
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
11/4 cup milk

If using fresh kale, thoroughly rinse it and shake off the excess water. Pull the leaves from the stems and discard the stems. Stuff the kale into a medium pot and add about 1/2 cup water. Cook until the kale just wilts, about 7 minutes. Drain and cool the kale. Squeeze out the remaining water with your hands. Roughly chop the kale and set aside. (If using frozen kale, simply squeeze it dry with your hands and set aside.)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Generously butter a 10-by-10-by-2-inch baking dish or other large shallow baking dish. Spread half the potato slices on the bottom of the dish. Spread all of the kale, then sprinkle on the garlic and half of the cheese, butter, salt and pepper. Top with the remaining potato slices, cheese, butter, salt and pepper.

Carefully pour in the milk and gently shake the dish to distribute. Bake 50 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the top is nicely browned.

Robin and I have a busy work week ahead with a number of evening events.  I decided to make this pasta so that I have something to eat for dinner later in the week and Robin has a few lunches.

This Moosewood Simple Supers recipe is great.  I was able to make the pesto before the water even boiled.  Adding a little pasta water at the end created a rich, almost creamy, tomato sauce for the pasta.  A definite hit and will be repeated again.

Recipe after the Jump

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Jack Bishop can do no wrong.  This is my second new Jack Bishop A Year in the Vegetarian Kitchen recipe this week and boy is it a keeper.  I only wish that I had done a better job of waiting until the plantains were VERY ripe.  Next time.

Recipe By: Jack Bishop, A Year in the Vegetarian Kitchen, page 374
Servings: 4 as a main course

Ladeled into bowls, black beans spiked with garlic, chile, and citrus juice are topped with sauteed plantains. Use only the ripest, black or mostly black, plantains. Rice (either on the side or under the beans and plantains) makes an excellent addition to this meal.

2 large ripe plantains — mostly or all black
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt
4 medium garlic cloves — minced
1 small jalapeno chile — stemmed, seeded and minced
2 15-ounce cans black beans — rinsed and drained
2/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves — minced

Trim the pointed ends from the plantains. Cut the plantains into 2 inch chunks. Use a paring knife to slit the skin lengthwise in several places on each piece. Carefully remove the skin with your fingers and discard it. Cut each 2-inch chunk in half lengthwise.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet until shimmering. Add the plantains and cook, turning once, until quite browned but not burned, about 8 minutes. Transfer the plantains to a plate and sprinkle with salt to taste. Cover to keep warm.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, the garlic and the chile to the empty skillet. Cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the beans, orange juice and lime juice and cook, stirring often, until the beans are heated through and have absorbed most of the juices, about 4 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and season with salt to taste.

Spoon the beans into individual bowls. Top each portion with some of the sauteed plantains and serve.

Inspired by my mom’s recent luck with Jack Bishop’s Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen, I flipped through the “Winter” section and found this recipe.  With the lentils and rice simmering for a few last minutes, I grabbed this quick photo of the two garnishes.  The big pot of rice and strong flavor looks like a winner.

Jack Bishop’s Coconut Rice & Lentils

  • 2 Tbs. Peanut Oil
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbs. minced gingerroot
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp. hot red pepper flakes
  • 1.5 cups dried green lentils
  • 3.25 cups water
  • 1 14oz. can unsweetened light coconut milk
  • 1.5 cups basmati rice
  • .25 cup minced fresh cilantro

Sautee garlic, ginger, zest, red pepper flakes in oil.  Add lentils and toss to coat in oil (1 minute).  Add water and coconut milk, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Stir in .75 tsp. salt and rice. Return to simmer, cover, cook until liquid in pan has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.  Stir the rice and lentis, reduce the heat to lowest possible temperature, cover, and continue to cook until rice and lentils are tender, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the lime juice and cilantro.  Serve.