Saturday, December 20, 2008

Pan Sauteed Pork Chops with Braised Fennel and Gorgonzola



Simplicity is the order of the day around here. This time of year and the year that we are having dictates some sort of simplicity would be welcome anywhere.

And that is the beauty of this dish.

This easy method of cooking pork chops on top of the stove presented last year by Terry B of Blue Kitchen makes a flavorful chop.

The addition of braised fennel and salty sweet Gorgonzola run under the broiler at the last minute takes the chop to an elegant finish.

Easy.

Flavorful.

Delish.

Simple.


Braised Fennel with Gorgonzola
Adapted from Kitchen Conversations by Joyce Goldstein

A couple of good swirls extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 small heads fennel, sliced thinly
1 tbsp garlic confit, smashed
A good splash dry white wine
½ cup homemade chicken stock
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 ounce Gorgonzola, crumbled


Heat a medium saute pan and add the swirls of extra virgin olive oil. And butter. Add the fennel and garlic confit. Cook over medium heat until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the wine and let reduce down, about five minutes. Add the chicken stock and cover the pan. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove top and let simmer until chops are done.


Pan Sautéed Pork Chops
Adapted from Blue Kitchen
1 tsp fennel seed, crushed
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 to 4 bone-in pork chops, about 8 ounces each
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tbsp butter

Heat a large cast iron (or ovenproof) skillet to medium. Add olive oil. Terry says the oil will start to shimmer (and it does!), stir in fennel seed and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pat chops dry and season on both sides with salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high and add the pork chops , directly on top of herb/garlic mixture. Cover pan and cook chops undisturbed for 5 minutes. Turn chops, cover pan, reduce heat to medium and cook until just cooked through, about 5 minutes for chops 3/4-inch thick.

When chops are done, put braised fennel on top and sprinkle Gorgonzola over the top. Run under the broiler until Gorgonzola melts, no more than five minutes tops.

Enjoy!!

Serves 2-4 depending on how many chops you cook!

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Lamb Curry



I could tell you that I took a grand picture of this divine lamb curry elegantly served on fine china, possibly the best pic I've done yet, but it didn’t turn out and you would believe me.

But I didn’t.

I took pictures all the way up to when I added the stock and whisked in the Greek yogurt.


And it curdled.

Time stopped. Hysteria ensued.

Cats hid under the piano.

But wait, what would any self respecting food blogger do?

Adapt.

Talk about the incredible flavors this lamb curry has.

Cardamon, cinnamon, bay leaf, garam masala, ginger and garlic… spicy cloves, onion, tomato, smoky hot cayenne.

Talk the ease of prep. Slam bam thank you ma’am. Easy peasy. Cooks like a dream.

And vow to make again til the yogurt whisking becomes second nature.


Lamb Curry
Adapted from Sue L.’s 2002 version in Recipezaar

2 lbs boneless lamb, cut into nice chunks
A couple of good swirls extra virgin olive oil
1 large sweet yellow onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 large cinnamon stick
1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
4 whole cloves
1 tbsp ground cardamom
2 tbsp chopped fresh garlic
1 large spoonful garlic confit or 4 big fat cloves garlic, smashed
1 smallish green chile, seeded and chopped (I used jalapeno)
Splash of water
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp garam masala
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup chopped fresh tomato
½ cup Greek yogurt
3 cups chicken stock (if you have lamb stock or beef stock you could use it or just water)
Chopped fresh cilantro
Chutney

In a good sized Dutch oven, heat the swirls of extra virgin olive oil over medium high heat and add the bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon stick, cloves and peppercorns. When the bay leaves start to cook and release their aromas, reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and cook for about 15 minutes until the onions are golden. In a blender, put ginger, garlic, green chile, and a splash of water. Grind to make a paste.

Raise heat to medium high, add the lamb and the ginger paste and combine well. Season the lamb with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook for about 20 minutes. If the lamb starts to stick, add a bit of liquid to the pan. In my case it was a bit of Shiraz for lack of anything else nearby.

Add turmeric, garam masala, cayenne, tomatoes and coriander and another splash of nearby liquid (aka Shiraz) to keep from sticking and cook for five minutes. Remove lamb from pan and add the stock, raising the heat to high and reduce sauce down about half. Whisk the yogurt into the sauce, add lamb back into the pan and heat over low til flavors blend and you’ve quit freaking out over the yogurt curdling.

Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.

Serve with jasmine rice, some wondrous homemade mango chutney and candlelight.

Serves 4.

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

FG's Chicken Fajita Pasta



Comfort food.

Sometimes you need it because you’ve had a bad day at work.

Sometimes you need it because trying to create something exotic and grand to eat seems positively akin to having a bad day at work.

Then again, sometimes you need it because, well, it’s familiar, tasty, easy, and comforting.

Comforting because you’ll probably have the ingredients in your pantry and freezer.

A little Mexican, a little Italian, a lot of good.

Comfort food.



FG’s Chicken Fajita Pasta

1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp medium chile powder
1 tbsp Spanish hot paprika
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
1-½ tsp garlic powder
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into long strips
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into long strips
1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into long strips
1 medium Spanish onion, cut in half and then cut into strips
A couple of good swirls extra virgin olive oil
5 boneless chicken thighs, cut into strips
1 14 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
Penne for three people, ready to cook
Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
An avocado, peeled and cut up (if you like)
A handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
Your favorite salsa
Greek yogurt or sour cream

Combine seasonings in small bowl. Rub into the chicken thigh pieces and let sit while you cook the veggies. Swirl extra virgin olive oil in cast iron pan and when oil is wavy add the onion and peppers and cook until soft. Remove from pan and add a bit more olive oil. Add the chicken pieces and cook on one side til golden and turn and cook on the other side.

Start the pasta water and when boiling add the penne and cook 10 minutes.

When the chicken is done, add the peppers and onions back to the cast iron pan and the black beans. Let simmer until pasta is done.

Drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of the cooking water. Add pasta to the chicken and veggie mix along with the reserved pasta water. Stir well and cover for five minutes over low heat to allow pasta to absorb the flavors.

Serve with shredded sharp cheddar cheese, avocado, cilantro, chopped tomatoes, your favorite salsa and a blop of Greek yogurt or sour cream.

Serves 3 generously.

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Monday, December 1, 2008

Chili Rubbed Short Ribs with Kale


The last weekend of November, cold and damp.

Warm, toasty fire.

Spicy smells in the kitchen for hours.

A good book.

An easy meal with inspiration from Bobby Flay.

Not a turkey in sight.

We’re thankful.

Chile Rubbed Short Ribs with Kale
Adapted from Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill Cookbook

1 Tbsp medium hot chile powder
1 Tbsp ancho chili powder
1 Tbsp chipotle chili powder
Two good pinches coarse salt
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp smoked sweet paprika
2 tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
½ large red onion, coarsely chopped
½ large Vidalia onion, coarsely chopped
3 pounds bone in short ribs
3 large carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup red wine
4 cups chicken stock
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 large spoonful garlic confit
1 bunch kale, chopped


Preheat oven to 325.

Mix together the chile powders, salt, cinnamon, paprika and pepper in bowl. Rub the spice mix into one side of the ribs. Heat a couple of good swirls extra virgin olive oil in Dutch oven until wavy. When wavy, add the short ribs to the pan and cook until a crust forms on all sides. Remove from pan.

Add the onions, garlic confit, carrots, and celery. Cook until golden and add the wine. Bring to a boil and reduce down til wine is almost gone and then add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Add the ribs to pan and cover.

Put in oven and cook until meat is tender and falls off the bone. 2-2-½ hours.

Remove short ribs from pan and defat the sauce. Place over medium high heat and add kale. Cook for 15 minutes. Lower heat to medium and add short ribs back to pan, heat for about 10 minutes and serve. Wonderful with smashed potatoes.

Serves 4 generously.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Spinach Lasagna



I have a couple of dishes I used to make often.

Years ago.

Spinach Lasagna and Beef Stroganoff.

Both fabulous, but haven’t really come to mind to make in a long time.

You know how you find other things to cook and old standbys sometimes get lost in the shuffle.

Groom heard about my lasagna. Off and on, since we met, he has asked me to make it for him.

Sometimes not so subtle in his requests.

“ When are you going to make your lasagna?”
“I’m having knee surgery and I’ll recover faster if you make your lasagna, don’t you think?”
“We have some spinach, are you going to make lasagna? “
“Of course, if you’re not in the mood to make lasagna, I could eat Beef Stroganoff instead.”

I gave in.
I made it for him.

Now, I hear “When are you going to make it again. That was too good.”
“I’m feeling like having lasagna, what do you think?”

I froze enough to keep him at bay for a few meals.

He mentioned Beef Stroganoff today.

Help.


Spinach Lasagna
Most Liberally adapted from
The Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas

Make sauce:

1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
½ large Vidalia onion coarsely chopped
1 large spoonful garlic confit
A couple of good swirls of extra virgin olive oil
Handful of fresh basil
1 tbsp dried Turkish oregano
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-½ cups San Marzano tomatoes and their juice , pureed in the food processor
1 glass red wine

Cover dried mushrooms with 1 cup boiling water and let sit for 20 minutes.
Strain through paper towel or cheesecloth, reserve broth and chop the mushrooms. In skillet heat the olive oil and when wavy add the onion. Cook, stirring until transparent and add the garlic confit.
Chop the basil and throw it in the pan with the oregano
Add the mushrooms, their broth, the tomatoes, to the pan and red wine (Beaujolais is the wine of choice for us) and simmer on low for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350.

Make filling:

1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped
1 small spoonful garlic confit
1-½ lbs fresh baby spinach, chopped
3 large eggs
1 lb whole milk ricotta
grate about a tsp of fresh nutmeg
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ lb grated Parmesan Reggiana,
½ lb shredded whole milk mozzarella
1 pound lasagna noodles, uncooked

Put a couple of good swirls of extra virgin olive oil into a medium saute pan over medium high heat. When the oil is wavy, add the Vidalia onion and cook for about 8 minutes until soft and add the garlic confit. Lower the heat and cook for five minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
Chop the spinach. Whisk together the eggs and add the cheeses, nutmeg and coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the spinach and set aside.

Take a bit of olive oil and grease a large oblong pan or two small ones.
Put 3 dry lasagna noodles in pan. Then the spinach mix and then top with some tomato sauce. And repeat the layers until you have used all, ending with the tomato sauce.

Cut a piece of aluminum foil to cover the lasagna. Put olive oil on the side of the foil that will be closest to the lasagna. Bake for 45 minutes covered. Remove foil and bake for 20 more minutes or til lasagna is bubbling and hot through.

Big fat yum.

This is best the second day. It also freezes beautifully. To freeze, cut cooled lasagna into serving sizes. Wrap in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil. Store in plastic freezer bags. When you’re ready for some faboo lasagna, take out of freezer and remove foil and plastic wrap. Preheat oven to 400 and cook for 45 minutes or til hot through.

Serves 6

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

FG's Well Worth the Wait Chicken with Peppers and Turkey Sausage




The phoenix has risen from the ashes.

Well, not literally, but here we go.

Last night, I decided to cut up a whole chicken.

I saw this video...


and said to myself, “Self, you can do this if Groom sharpens that knife for you.”

He did, and I did.

Then I went to work on this recipe from Patricia Wells’ The Provence Cookbook, one of my faves.

Everything in this recipe is great.

Except one little bitty thing.

The directions.

I followed them.

Ended up with not what I was supposed to end up with. If that’s a sentence.

But that’s okay, where’s there’s a will there’s a way.

It might be a twenty four hour way, but it’s there.

And it worked. And was fabulous.


FG’s Well Worth the Wait Chicken with Peppers and Turkey Sausage
Adapted from
Patricia Wells’ Fricassee of Chicken with Chorizo and Peppers


1 3-4 pound chicken, cut into 6-8 serving pieces (by you, if you wish)
Coarse seal salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp butter
A couple of good swirls extra virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 large Vidalia onion, peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 large spoonful garlic confit
2 cups chicken stock
4 canned plum tomatoes, chopped
A couple of good squirts sun dried tomato paste ( I use the Amore brand in the tube. Great stuff!)
2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
2 green bell peppers, thinly sliced
2 large links turkey Italian sausage with fennel

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat and add a couple of good swirls extra virgin olive oil. When it’s wavy, add the butter. Season the chicken with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. As soon as the butter foams, add the chicken and brown until golden on all sides. You may have to do this in batches.

Remove the chicken to a platter.

Add the 2 large links of sausage and cook on all sides until brown. Remove from pan. Add the onions to the fat and let cook, covered until soft and golden. This should take about five minutes. Then add the garlic confit and cook about five more minutes. Return the chicken and sausage and any juices that have accumulated to the pan. Add stock, tomatoes and paste. Cover and cook over low heat, turning the chicken to coat with the sauce. Let this cook for about 25 minutes *. Add the peppers and cover and cook for 20 more minutes. Season and serve with rice or pasta.

Serves 4.

This was where the recipe detoured for me. After 25 minutes, there was a whole lot of stock left over. Liquidy. So, if this happens to you, remove the chicken and cook the sauce down uncovered over medium high heat. Or, you can do like I did. Take it off the heat, let cool and refrigerate until the next evening, defat the dish, reheat and serve over the rice. It was truly wonderful.


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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Lamb Shanks with Tomatoes and Olives



There’s something to be said about lamb shanks.

Talk about your cheap but effective meal.

They are highly impressive at table.

They make the house smell like you are flat in the middle of Tuscany, or Morocco or France, depending on how you are preparing them.

This is one of Bittman’s best.

Your guests will think you’ve outdone yourself.

Which, of course, you have!


Lamb Shanks with Tomatoes and Olives
Adapted from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

A couple of good swirls extra virgin olive oil
4 lamb shanks, about a pound each
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cups sliced red onion
A large spoonful garlic confit
A couple of sprigs fresh thyme
1/3 cup chicken stock
1 15 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1-½ cups assorted olives, pitted
Chopped fresh Italian parsley

Heat a couple of good swirls of extra virgin olive oil in large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add lamb and brown on all sides, season as you cook. Remove lamb and add the onions. Cook over medium heat until soft and goldenish, about 10 minutes. Add garlic confit and thyme and cook one minute then add the chicken stock and the tomatoes and stir. Add the browned lamb shanks and turn them once or twice, season to taste, cover and turn heat to low.

Cook for 30 minutes, turn the shanks and add the olives. Cook for an hour until shanks are very tender. Meat falling off bone is good sign!

Garnish with the Italian parsley and serve.

Serves 4.

Can be adapted to slow cooker with great ease! Fabulous with smashed potatoes.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Roasted Chicken with Orecchiette in a Greek Tomato Sauce


As the sun fades in the west, the roast chicken of the past two posts comes to a good end.

It’s stocked the freezer with, wait for it, stock.

And having been picked clean by a professional chicken picker, aka Groom, it has yielded yet another memorable meal.

Thanks to The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper, the left over chicken found itself in one hell of a tomato sauce seasoned with cinnamon, crushed Aleppo pepper flakes and Turkish oregano. Topped with a bit of creamy goat cheese, the only thing missing from this meal was the belly dancer.

No, wait. I was here.

You gotta do something to keep the spice in life.


Roasted Chicken with Orecchiette in a Greek Tomato Sauce
Liberally Adapted from The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper

A couple of good swirls extra virgin olive oil
½ large Vidalia onion, coarsely chopped
Small handful Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp sun dried tomato paste
1 tsp dark wildflower honey
½ glass red wine
Big spoonful garlic confit
28 ounce can San Marzano plum tomatoes
1-½ cup diced roasted chicken
Orecchiette or a “hollow” pasta to catch the sauce
1 ounce creamy goat cheese

Heat olive oil til wavy in 12 inch skillet over medium high heat. When wavy add parsley, onion and a generous pinch of coarse salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper.

Cook until onions are soft and golden and add sun dried tomato paste, garlic confit and dark wildflower honey and combine well. Let cook for about five minutes and then add red wine and the San Marzano tomatoes and their juice. Season well to taste, and let cook for about 10 minutes until thick. Add diced roasted chicken. Let simmer for 10 minutes .

Cook orecchiette , drain and add to the tomato sauce. Sprinkle 1/2 ounce of creamy goat cheese to pasta, stir and add a remaining.

Serves 3 generously.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Roasted Chicken Stock



I used to make chicken stock the easy way. A tablespoon of chicken base and water added to a recipe.
Too much salt that way.
Not very creative or healthy, really.

Then I decided to make it on top of the stove, bubbling away for a couple of hours, strain the stock and freeze.
Took up a whole day once I finished.
Not an efficient use of my time, really.

Now? The Beast takes over.
My slow cooker. A venerated family favorite.
Ok, I’ve only had it for a year. But it’s venerated all the same.

Last night, around nine, the stock ingredients went into the Beast.
I set the timer,
Slept through the bubbling, cooking part.

Got up this morning, defatted the stock, froze it in 1 cup batches.

Took me 30 minutes.

The Beast, in its place of honor, smiled as only a stainless steel, venerated family retainer can.
And it spoke to me.

I think it said, “ What took you so long, dear?”

And with that, a great big thank you goes out to Feeding Groom fans. This is FG’s one year anniversary posting (I'm a day late..oh well) and without your support and comments and major help, this blog would not be around.

Raise a glass to yourself and FG and here’s to many more posts to come!


Roasted Chicken Stock

2 well picked over roasted chickens
The tops of two large leeks you saved after using the white parts
A carrot, broken up
4 large cloves garlic, smashed
A couple of bay leaves
1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
1 bunch of parsley (you know the type, you’ve almost used it all up and it’s mostly stems)
Cold water to cover

Adjust ingredients to the size of your slow cooker. You can always cut up the chicken to fit.
Set slow cooker on LOW for 13 hours. When done, strain into large bowl, mashing down on the cooked ingredients to get all the flavors.
Strain the fat out of the stock to your desired fat quota.

If you don’t have one of these gadgets, get one. They come in several sizes…mine is 20 years old but any will do a great job for you!

Makes 3 quarts.

Et voila, you have perfect chicken stock ready for your next adventure in the kitchen.

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Henry Fielding's Roast Chicken




Every person should have a meal like this.



There’s not a food group left untouched after this is over.

Granted, Tom Jones and Mrs. Waters are characters from The History of Tom Jones: A Foundling by Henry Fielding.

It does make you wonder about Fielding.

Logically, he must have enjoyed his food.

And his dinner companions..

Seems to me Fielding put his life experience whole heartedly into his work.

And then the movies came along and put it on the screen.

I don’t know about you, but I have never quite looked at roast chicken in the same way since.

Henry Fielding's Roast Chicken
Adapted from Jacques Pepin’s Table

1 3-4 pound chicken
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
A couple of good swirls extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 425.

Sprinkle the chicken inside and out with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle with a bit of extra virgin olive oil.

Heat a couple of good swirls of olive oil in large cast iron or oven proof skillet until hot and the olive oil looks wavy. Place chicken on one side in the skillet and brown over medium to high heat for 3 minutes or so. Turn it over and brown on the other side for 3 minutes.

Put the skillet in the oven. Roast chicken uncovered for 20 minutes. Turn on other side and roast for another 20 minutes. Then turn chicken on its back and baste with juices from cooking and roast it breast side up for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and place it breast side down on a platter. Pour drippings from skillet into a bowl and set aside to allow fat to rise to the top. Do not rinse the skillet. IF you are making the fabulous pasta side dish, read and follow those directions.

If no pasta for you, just the chicken, deglaze the skillet by adding a couple of tablespoons dry white wine, or red wine or water, whatever you have handy, and stir to melt the juices over high heat. Add to drippings in bowl and skim off and discard as much fat as you can. Serve with the chicken.

Serves 4 generously.

Pasta with Manchego
Adapted from Jacques Pepin's Table


10 ounces medium sized pasta (I used penne but shells are best)
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 cup freshly grated Manchego cheese

Cook pasta and drain, reserving ½ cup pasta cooking water. Put the skillet the chicken was cooked in over medium high heat. Add the pasta water and bring to a boil, stirring to get the juices in the skillet and put this liquid in a bowl large enough to hold the pasta. Skim off about 3 tbsp fat that has risen to the top of the bowl with the original drippings. Add the fat to the bowl with the deglazing liquid. Add remaining ingredients and toss well.

Serves 4 generously.
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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day


If you haven't, go vote.

Exercise your right to state your opinion about the way things are done.

Join the march.

And hit the enjoy button for a little GroomMusic on the subject. Click the play button on the top left of the page.

We can change things.

Starting today.



ENJOY


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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ground Pork with Fresh Fennel, Broccoli Rabe and Two Tomatoes: A Sauce for Pasta


Wow.

What a meal.

Frost in the forecast.

A warm fire.

A bunch of broccoli rabe.

A desire for a different pasta sauce.

And a package of ground pork that wanted a home.

It got a great one.

Ground Pork with Fresh Fennel, Broccoli Rabe and Two Tomatoes: A Sauce for Pasta
Inspired by Last Night's Dinner

A couple of good swirls extra virgin olive oil
1 pound ground pork
¼ cup dry vermouth
¼ cup chicken stock
½ large Vidalia onion, chopped
1 large fresh fennel, chopped
1 large spoonful garlic confit
1-½ tsp crushed red peppers
1 tbsp fennel seed
1-½ tsp dried French thyme
1-½ tsp dried Turkish oregano
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-15 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes and their juice
¼ cup sundried tomatoes in olive oil, chopped
1 bunch broccoli rabe, trim the stems, wash and chop
Medium pasta shells, cooked (enough for four)


Heat a cast iron pan over medium high heat and add a couple of good swirls extra virgin olive oil. When the oil is wavy, add the ground pork and season well with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. When pork has cooked through, remove from pan and add a bit more olive oil.

Add fennel and Vidalia onions and let cook for about 10 minutes til soft. Add crushed red peppers, thyme, oregano and season with freshly ground black pepper. Add the garlic confit and let cook for another 5 minutes or so. Add the vermouth to the pan and stir well. Add the pork back to the pan and any drippings and stir well. Add canned tomatoes, the sundrieds and chicken stock. Let cook for about 30 minutes.

Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the broccoli rabe and bring back to a boil and let cook about three minutes. Remove the rabe from the water, add it to the pork mixture and let simmer while you cook the pasta. When pasta is done, drain it and add to the sauce. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.

Serves 4 generously.
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pilaf with Shrimp, Pancetta and Swiss Chard





I never think about Arborio rice.

I think about things like shrimp, the election, an occasional bone in pork chop and whether or not the Fed is going to cut interest rates.

So why did I start thinking about Arborio rice?

I don’t have a clue.
But I did have it in the pantry.

And after a long day in the financial world, I wanted comfort food.
And a golden hour with Groom.

I got both!

Pilaf with Shrimp, Pancetta and Swiss Chard

A couple of good swirls extra virgin olive oil
1 ounce pancetta, chopped
1 lb 21-25 shrimp, tail on
1-½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium red onion, sliced thin
1 tsp dried Turkish oregano
1 tsp dried French thyme
1 large spoonful garlic confit
A nice bunch of Swiss chard, washed
1-¾ cup Arborio rice
2-¾ cup chicken stock


Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
Add a couple of good swirls of extra virgin olive oil.
When the oil looks wavy add chopped pancetta and cook til brown, doesn’t take a lot of time. Remove the pancetta and turn the heat down. Put the pancetta on a paper towel to drain.

Raise the heat add a bit more olive oil and when wavy add shrimp, crushed red pepper flakes and several grinds black pepper.

When the shrimp turns pink…this will happen very quickly, remove it from the pan.

Add a bit more olive oil and when wavy add the red onion, Turkish oregano and dried French thyme and stir, letting the onions caramelize and then add a soup spoonful of garlic confit. Mash it up and let the onion/garlic continue to caramelize.

Chop up the stems and the leaves of the Swiss chard and add to the caramelized onions and cook, stirring for about five minutes. When wilted add Arborio rice, and chicken stock and bring to a boil. When boiling , reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 25 minutes. Uncover, stir and add the shrimp/pancetta mix.
Fall out of your chair and enjoy!!!

Serves 4 generously.
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Monday, October 20, 2008

A Mustard Chicken Saute


Food discoveries sometimes come from necessity.

What if you thought that you had plenty of one thing to use for dinner and then the hour for preparation is upon you and, kerblam…what you thought you had isn’t what you have at all and what you thought you were having for dinner takes a new direction.

Take this chicken dinner, for instance.

You think you have bone in chicken thighs.
You don’t.

You think you have mushrooms.
You don’t.

You think you’re making a hunter’s style chicken dish.
Apparently not.

You’re making this.

A Mustard Chicken Saute

4 large boneless chicken thighs, cut in large pieces
A couple of good swirls of extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-½ tsp dried summer savory
½ large Vidalia onion, sliced very thin
A big spoonful of garlic confit
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup water
A nice tablespoonful Dijon mustard
A handful of chopped fresh parsley

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat and put a couple of swirls of extra virgin olive oil in. when it looks wavy add the onions and cook, stirring til they are golden brown.

Remove them from the pan and swirl a bit more olive oil in. Then add the chicken, season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook fast. Do a good sprinkle of summer savory and add the onions back and the spoonful of garlic confit. Stir really well, add the water and the dry white wine and bring to a boil. Sprinkle a little all purpose flour over and stir well.

As the sauce thickens, add a nice spoonful of Dijon mustard (not too much) and let sauce cook til flavors blend. Fling a bit of chopped fresh Italian parsley over the top and serve big spoonfuls.

This will serve 2 generously.
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Monday, October 13, 2008

Sauteed Shrimp in a Citrusy Fennelly Tomato Sauce


So, this is what I did for dinner.

Nothing fancy. Just a fast shrimp saute thrown (literally ) into a fennelly, citrusy tomato sauce slung over angel hair.

Using up the stuff in the fridge so I can go get some more stuff and forget that I have it.

Then remembering and deciding to forge ahead, because extra virgin olive oil, garlic confit, San Marzano tomatoes will bring out the best in some rather past its prime fennel and a slightly sad looking Valencia orange.

It’s Monday night.


Sautéed Shrimp in a Citrusy Fennelly Tomato Sauce

1 fennel bulb, coarsely chopped
½ large Vidalia onion, coarsely chopped
1 heaping tbsp garlic confit
A couple of good swirls of extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
About a tbsp of fennel seeds
1 Valencia orange, zested, then cut in half
A splash of Pernod
1 28 ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes and their juices
16 large shrimp, peeled, tail left on
A couple of good swirls more of extra virgin olive oil
Fresh Italian parsley, a handful, chopped


Put a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Do a couple of good swirls extra virgin olive oil. When it looks wavy add the fennel and onion and let it cook until soft, about five minutes. Add garlic confit and fennel seeds. Season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Cook, stirring until garlic is blended in. Add tomatoes and their juice and raise the heat a bit to get a good bubbling going. Add the splash of Pernod, add the orange zest and squeeze one half of the orange over top and stir. Reduce heat to a good simmer and let cook for about twenty minutes.

Take a medium skillet and place over medium high heat and do a couple of good swirls extra virgin olive oil. Throw in the shrimp, season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper and squeeze the other half of the orange over the shrimp. These should cook really fast and turn pink. Remove from heat.

When you are ready to eat, add the shrimp to the tomato sauce and let bubble for about three minutes. Toss with chopped fresh Italian parsley and serve with angel hair pasta.

Serves three generously.
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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Ripe Mango Chutney




I have a confession to make.

I love Major Grey’s chutney.
I have for years.

It’s gooey and sticky and sweet and I always have a jar of it in the fridge. Usually the top is stuck on the jar and I have to run very hot water on it to get it open.

I was toddling about the Saveur website when I came upon this recipe for Ripe Mango Chutney.
I thought that I had died gone to heaven because now I could make the chutney I adore whenever I want.

Except for one thing. It’s not Major Grey‘s. It’s nothing like it. And I am afraid that the Major Grey’s Chutney makers of the world will discover a downturn in their financial situation because I prefer this.

Spicy and sweet and hot and fresh and fast to make and improves with age.
Compliments all food groups and combinations.

Sorry, Major. You‘ve ruled my palate long enough..

It’s time for a change.


Ripe Mango Chutney
Adapted from Saveur Magazine who adapted it from The Great Mango Book by Allen Susser


4 large ripe mangoes
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 medium Vidalia onions, peeled and diced
3 tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 tbsp minced fresh garlic
2 long red thin chiles
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 tbsp black mustard seeds
1 tbsp toasted cumin seeds, ground
1 tbsp coarse salt
1 cup dark brown sugar
½ cup cider vinegar
¼ cup fresh lime juice
½ cup golden raisins

Peel mangoes, remove flesh slicing along flatter sides of mango, on both sides and then around the edges with a sharp knife. Cut into large dice and set aside.

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook about five minutes, til they begin to get soft, and add the ginger, garlic, chiles and red bell peppers; stir well. Stir in the mustard seeds, cumin and salt and cook for about five minutes. Add sugar and cook stirring until dissolved, add vinegar, lime juice and raisins and mangoes. Simmer til chutney has consistency of a marmalade, takes about 50 minutes.

You can sterilize jars, put the chutney in and store in the refrigerator or take it a step further and process the chutney in the sterilized jars in a hot water bath to seal (method is here)and then you can store in your pantry.

Makes 5 cups of chutney.

Try it with these recipes:

Goan Shrimp Curry

Country Captain

The Frazzly Nub Rice Bowl
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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Chili Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Spicy Orange Vinaigrette




I don’t cook pork tenderloin very often.
I love a bone in pork chop.
Something to hold onto.
Know what I mean?
Pork tenderloin always seemed to me to be a bit…I don’t know…light.
Boring, maybe?
It just wasn’t my “go to” pork for dinner thing.

However, I’ll go to it for this fabulous meal any time.
Bobby Flay’s way too cool rub . …lime juice and ancho chili powder and spicy hot Spanish paprika…makes you think it would be too spicy, right?

Wrong…it’s perfect.

And then the spicy orange vinaigrette to drizzle over the top when you serve it. Orange juice reduced to a sweet syrup and blended with sherry vinegar and more ancho.

And leftovers make a killer chef’s salad for lunch.

Nothing boring about that!!

Chili Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Spicy Orange Vinaigrette
Adapted from Bobby Flay's From My Kitchen to Your Table


¼ cup ancho chili powder
¼ cup hot Spanish paprika
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup fresh lime juice
½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Mix in blender and pour over two pork tenderloins. Let sit for at least an hour. Remove from marinade and season to taste with salt and pepper. Grill until medium rare to medium, 10-12 minutes turning and basting with marinade. *

2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tsp ancho chile powder
¼ cup aged sherry vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Heat the orange juice over medium high stirring often. It will thicken and reduce down to about a ¼ cup.
Put ancho chili powder, sherry vinegar and salt and pepper in blender and slowly add the olive oil and let blend.

Serve over the sliced pork tenderloin. Lots of fresh cilantro for garnish.
Serves 3 generously


* I have preheated the oven to 450, heated a cast iron skillet and filmed it with olive oil and seared the tenderloins on all sides. Then popped in the oven and let cook until done, takes about 20 minutes. Works great when you forget to buy gas for the grill!

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Crispy Tortilla Eggs with Avocado and Lime


Well, to look at this picture, you’d think this meal was a hot mess.

By looks alone, it may appear that way. But taste wise…this simply rocks.

This is an adaptation of a recipe from The Splendid Table‘s: How to Eat Supper by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift.

Crisped corn tortillas, eggs, Vidalia onion, then let your imagination go…this version has avocado, tomatoes, green tomatillo salsa, a bit of Manchego…and then a spritz of fresh lime juice.

Great ingredients that come together fast to make one of the best and easiest busy night suppers you’re gonna eat. You can virtually clean out your fridge and be lazy at the same time.

Multi tasking at it’s best.

Brilliant concept.

Brilliant book.

Crispy Tortilla Eggs with Avocado and Lime
Adapted from The Splendid Table‘s: How to Eat Supper by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift


A couple of good swirls extra virgin olive oil
4 stale corn tortillas, cut into long narrow strips
½ medium Vidalia onion, chopped
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup green tomatillo salsa
A couple of mini Bradley tomatoes, quartered
1/3 cup grated Manchego cheese
1 large ripe avocado, sliced
1 lime, halved
¼ cup sour cream, Greek yogurt or crème fraiche
Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish (I didn’t have any but it would be fab on this)

Swirl the olive oil in large nonstick saute pan and heat over medium high heat til oil looks wavy. Add tortilla strips and try until they begin to crisp, about a minute. Don’t move around too much , let crisp on one side and then turn them.

Add the onion and continue frying until the tortilla strips are crispy and nicely browned. Season with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Remove from heat and if there is any extra fat, pour off and reserve 1 tbsp in pan .

Return pan to burner, reducing the heat to medium. Move the majority of the strips to the edge of the pan, leaving about three inches clear in the center. Pour the eggs in the center and partially over the strips. Allow the eggs to set, and then gently pull them apart, letting the uncooked egg reach the surface of the pan. Once the eggs are firmly set, turn them in large pieces to finish cooking.

Serve with the salsa, cheese, slices of avocado, a squeeze of fresh lime and the sour cream.

Serves 4.
Halves well.
Tastes divine.
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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fresh Fig and Strawberry Jam


I’ve been on a picklin‘, jammin’ kick over the past month. The veggies and fruits of late summer have been totally inspirational.

The fresh figs of late have been exceptional.

As well as the brown sugar strawberries.

So I decided to try my hand at an adaptation of a recipe for Fresh Fig and Strawberry Jam from a great cookbook called The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard.

This is the perfect for people who don’t want or need mass quantities of pickles or jelly in their house, but enjoy the process and the outcome.

Fresh figs, fresh strawberries, vanilla sugar, a bit of Harvey’s Bristol Cream and fresh orange zest.

Makes you want to bake bread at the same time.


Fresh Fig and Strawberry Jam
Adapted from
The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard

1 pound fresh green figs, stemmed and cut into small pieces
2 cups quartered strawberries
2 cups vanilla sugar
3 tbsp Harvey’s Bristol Cream
Grated zest of one Valencia orange

Place figs, strawberries, vanilla sugar and Harvey’s in medium stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Cover and let stand for 1 hour stirring occasionally.

Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium and boil rapidly, uncovered until mixture will form a gel about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat.

Ladle into hot jars (with two piece tops) and process for 10 minutes. (see below for instructions)

Makes 4 cups.. (4 half pint jars)

Use the freezer test to see if it’s gelling. Put a couple of small plates in freezer. After 15 minutes, put a spoonful of the jam on plate and return to freezer for two minutes. (take jam off the heat while you wait so it doesn’t overcook.) Then take the plate out and rotate it. The jam should move slowly as you rotate it. If it throws itself off the plate onto the floor, keep cooking and try again in five minutes with the other plate. You’ll get a feel for this.

To prepare the jars, fill a large stockpot with enough water to cover the jars and place the jars in the water. Start heating over medium. About 10 minutes before you’re ready to fill the jars, put the tops in.

Fill the jars, leave about a half inch from the top for airspace, wipe the rim and side so the jars will seal well. Put the filled jars back in the hot water.

Place the pot over high heat, cover and bring to a rocking full boil. Once it boils, set timer for 10 minutes. At the end of 10 minutes, turn off heat, take off top and leave jars in water for five minutes. Then lift out and place on heat safe surface. I put mine on a kitchen towel on a cake rack out of the way. Don’t touch or dry jars for 12-24 hours. Be sure all are sealed. (You’ll hear them pop and when you punch the tops they don’t make a sound.)

If they don’t seal for any reason, refrigerate them.
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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Panna Cotta with Lemon Thyme Peaches


Every now and then a recipe jumps out of the pages of a magazine and demands to be made.
That was exactly what this Panna Cotta with Lemon Thyme Peaches did to me in late June when Gourmet’s July issue arrived.

I dreamed about this recipe.

Cream, honey, Greek yogurt with sugared peaches and lemon thyme.
Bliss. Swoon.

I thought about it for weeks. I kept talking about making it.
The opportunity never presented itself.
Until one of Groom’s dear friends came for a visit and dinner was planned.
Around dessert.

I know, I know there have been Panna Cottas all over the place this summer. We had a dreamy version in Apalachicola last spring at Avenue Sea.
This one, though.
It’s something special.
And with the last of this summer’s peaches, it’s perfection.
I should have made it sooner.


Panna Cotta with Lemon Thyme Peaches
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine July 2008

1-1/4 tsp unflavored gelatin from packet
2 tbsp water
1-1/4 cup heavy cream
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup Greek yogurt
¼ cup wild honey
1/8 tsp almond extract

1-1/2 tsp chopped fresh lemon thyme
1 tbsp vanilla sugar
3 peaches, washed and sliced thin

Put water in medium saucepan and sprinkle gelatin over. Let stand a minute to soften.
Add the heavy cream and salt and heat, stirring, until gelatin dissolves. Remove from heat.

Whisk together yogurt, honey and almond extract. Then whisk in the gelatin mix. Put in four small bowls, glasses…your choice and refrigerate. (Recipe says 8 hours, mine were ready in 4.)

About 20 minutes before serving, take the panna cotta out of the fridge. combine peaches, lemon thyme and sugar and let sit until ready to serve. Spoon over top of panna cotta and get ready to swoon.

Makes 4.
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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Frank's Pickled Okra

The Recipe from Cotton Country, a Junior League Cookbook

The Okra

The Long Red Chiles

The Boiling Jars

Garlic and Dill Seed

The Process Begins..

And Continues..

There's One in Every Crowd!

Ten Minutes in a Hot Bath

We're Done!

Wait for three weeks before eating. Make as many as you can. These go fast.
Happy Labor Day!
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Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Best Ribs Ever



Yesterday I posted on something that was good for you.

Today, in honor of Labor Day, which is rapidly approaching, I am going to provide you with a rub for baby back ribs.

Which probably would not wind up in the Good For You column of foods. Or the Best Looking Food in the world column.

Best Tasting Food in the World column, absolutely.
These ribs are one of those things that you make and those that get to eat them remember them for years.

They ask you to make it.

And if you don’t make it often enough, they figure out how to make it themselves and have you over to dinner to remind you about how good they are.

These ribs are messy, taste fabulous, do not involve a grill and, after years of experience, provide the same reaction across the board from every single person after the first couple of bites.

How did you do this? This is amazing.

Well, now you know.

Enjoy.

The Best Ribs Ever

The Rub:

2-½ tbsp sugar
3 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp ground cumin
1-½ tbsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp medium hot chili powder
1 tbsp Lawry’s seasoned salt


2 full racks baby back ribs

The Baste:

1-¾ cup cider vinegar
2 tbsp Tabasco
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp Lawry’s seasoned salt
1-½ tbsp ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 300. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Spray with Pam. Rub both sides of the ribs with The Rub.
Heat The Baste ingredients on top of the stove and stir til sugar dissolves. Put ribs in oven and cook for 2-½ hours or til ribs reach temp of 140 degrees. Baste about every 20 minutes.

Totally enjoy!!

Serves 5.
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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Asian Grilled Salmon with Warm Soba Noodle Salad



In the interest of the good health that seems to be abounding around the Red Brick Ranchero, I’ve been concentrating my culinary efforts on things that are good for you.

Checking the ingredients of this particular effort, we find :

Salmon. Good for you.

Edamame. Good for you.

Garlic. Good for you.

Ginger. Good for you

Soba noodles. Surely they are good for you.

Throw in sautéed red bell peppers, green onions, toasted sesame oil and you’ve got something here.

A meal that‘s, well, good for you. And is too easy.

And tastes divine. For supper and lunch the next day.

Asian Grilled Salmon with Warm Soba Noodle Salad

3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup cooked edamame, ( I used the ones from Costco that are seasoned)
3-4 green onions, trimmed and chopped
2 nice pieces wild salmon, seasoned with a bit of tamari and black pepper
Fresh cilantro for garnish
Toasted sesame oil
Fresh lime
6 ounces dry soba noodles, cooked and drained

Grill the salmon til just done. Heat large skillet with a couple of good swirls of extra virgin olive oil and add the green onions and red bell peppers. Cook about five minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook about five minutes, don’t let it burn. Add edamame and stir til the edamame is hot. Remove from heat then add the cooked noodles and toss well, drizzle with the toasted sesame oil to your taste. Cut the salmon into nice chunks. Put the noodle mix on the plate and top with the chunks of salmon, drizzle with toasted sesame oil and a squeeze of fresh lime and a touch of fresh cilantro.

Dinner for 3!
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Monday, August 18, 2008

A Pickle



Sweet with a kick. Slightly sour. A bit of a crunch.

Addictive.

Serve them once, people will follow you all over the house to find out about these pickles.

Making the pickles is so unbelievably easy ,you’ll tell them.

And they won’t believe you.

At all.

They’ll think you bought them.

Nope.

Didn’t buy the pickles.

Keep a jar in the back of your fridge for snacks, to chop into old fashioned tuna salad, for a sweet bite with a sliced chicken sandwich, chopped and stirred into a sauce remoulade to go with steamed shrimp, to give as a quick hostess gift.

But be prepared.

Those that eat them won’t listen.

The last thing they will believe is that you made them.

Which is all the more reason why you should.


A Pickle
From the Nashville Seasons Cookbook

1 gallon jar kosher dill pickles, drained
2 tbsp alum
5 lbs sugar
10 cloves garlic, peeled
2 bottles McCormick pickling spices
1 cup cider vinegar
½ cup white wine vinegar

Slice the pickles ½ inch thick . Soak in ice water with alum powder for two hours. Keep cold by adding ice.

In original pickle jar put 1 inch layer sugar, 1 inch layer of pickle slices, sprinkle a layer of pickling spices, a couple of garlic cloves and repeat until all pickle slices have been used. Pour vinegar over top and let sit 36 hours.

Stir once a day.

These last indefinitely in the fridge if they’re allowed to.

Makes a gallon of pickles. I know, I know, it makes a lot of pickles. You’ll need them.
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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Pan Seared Scallops with Fresh Thyme and Summer Vegetables



It’s that time of year when the farmer’s market is filled with fresh vegetables and one’s thoughts turn to…the pig.

I can’t help it. We have been so good this summer. The pig has barely made an appearance at any of our dinners.

Sometimes I feel like I’m running a seafood restaurant.

Tonight I just couldn’t stand it anymore. We had beautiful sea scallops, fresh “peaches and cream” corn, red bell peppers, fresh lima beans.

And all I could think about was the pancetta. Sitting lost and alone in the fridge.

It positively threw itself into the hot cast iron skillet.

The rest is history.

Fabulous edible history.


Pan Seared Scallops with Fresh Thyme and Summer Vegetables

1 pound large sea scallops, patted dry
2 pieces pancetta, diced
A good swirl extra virgin olive oil
Several sprigs fresh thyme
2 ears peaches and cream corn, cut from cob
1 red bell pepper, seeded, diced
1 cup fresh lima beans
2 green onions, diced
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat good swirl of extra virgin olive oil in cast iron skillet. Throw in the pancetta and let it brown til crisp. Remove from pan and let the pancetta drain on paper towels.

Be sure the scallops are as dry as possible and put them in the hot cast iron skillet. Let cook, undisturbed until they are golden brown and caramelized on the bottom. Turn and season with lots of freshly ground black pepper and a bit of coarse salt. Cook a couple of minutes til done and remove to a bowl and sprinkle with fresh thyme bits (stripped from the stem, not chopped).

Add the green onion and red bell pepper and cook for several minutes, until soft. Add the limas and the corn and cook for about five minutes until done. Toss with the scallops and fresh thyme and sprinkle with the pancetta.

Serves 3 generously.
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Saturday, August 9, 2008

Bread, My New Best Friend


Ok, remember several months ago I announced that I had conquered bread making. That it was something I could do with confidence and provide healthy bread for my family.

Yea yea …whatever, Mary.

I haven’t cracked a bag of flour since then.

Not once.

I work full time. I blog. I have a life.

I haven’t got the time to rise, punch down, rise, punch down.

Until I discovered this. Thanks to cookiecrumb and her knock out blog, I'm Mad and I Eat.

She provided a life changing moment for me.

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois.

I watched the YouTube video.
.
I was sold. I bought the book.

These guys have got it goin’ on, people. They totally simplify the bread making process using natural ingredients and a brilliant method. It is without a doubt tailor made for someone who works full time and loves to cook but hasn’t had the inclination or the talent or the patience to be a bread baker.

Basically you dump flour, water, salt and instant yeast in a container with a lid. You stir to combine, you don’t knead. Let it sit two hours at room temp. Put in the fridge and it sits. And thinks. For up to fourteen days. When you want some bread, you shake a little flour over the top of the dough, pull up a grapefruit size mound o’ dough, shape it, let it sit 20, preheat the oven, slash it and let it sit 20 and then bake for specified time.

Finis.

Done.


I have, at the present time, two types of bread dough in my refrigerator, the boule and European peasant bread. If I need a baguette, or batard or a quick pissaladiere ( straight from the book and a great Sunday supper), I use the boule.

For sandwiches, panzanella, bruschetta, I use the European.

I’m considering making brioche for Christmas presents.

Me. Brioche.

It’s a miracle.

Buy the book. It will change your life.
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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Tagliatelle with Six Peppers


Food does not have to be complicated to be considered excellent.

You don’t have to have lots of different ingredients to make an outstanding meal.

You can feature one item, concentrating its flavors so you get the essence of what it’s all about.

Using the brightly colored peppers of summer, crushed red pepper flakes for heat, extra virgin olive oil, spicy fresh basil and a quick grating of Parmigiana Reggiana you have an easy summer supper that is as beautiful as it tastes.

Simple can be legendary.

Tagliatelle with Six Peppers
Adapted from Patricia Wells’ Tagliatelle con Peperoni e Basilica in
Trattoria


1 large red bell pepper
1 large yellow bell pepper
1 large green bell pepper
1 large orange bell pepper.
6 good swirls extra virgin olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of a covered deep 12 inch skillet)
Crushed hot red pepper flakes
¼ cup fresh basil, cut into chiffonade
Freshly grated Parmigiana Reggiana
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Enough Tagliatelle for three people*

Halve the peppers, core them and slice in very thin matchstick pieces. Swirl enough extra virgin olive oil to into the bottom of a deep 12 inch skillet that has a top. Shake a bit of crushed red pepper flakes into the oil, add the peppers and season with a little coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss them well and put the pan, covered over very low heat until the peppers are very soft. This takes about 45 minutes. Don’t let the peppers brown. Stir from time to time and don’t let them burn. They will make a lovely sauce from their juices in the bottom of the pan. You can do this ahead of time and reheat.

Cook the Tagliatelle in a large pot of water until tender and drain.

Put the Tagliatelle in the skillet with the peppers, off the heat and toss to blend. Cover and let sit for three minutes so the sauce is absorbed. Transfer to pasta bowls, top with the basil, grate Parmigiana and you’re ready for a great meal.

Serves 3 generously.

(it's possible to use Papardelle in this as well. It tastes divine either way)
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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Spicy Jumbo Lump Crabmeat and Black Bean Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce


I think I’ve been in the cooking doldrums.

You know what that’s like. Total lack of inspiration.

That doesn’t mean that I’ve got nothing to turn to in the fridge to get inspired.

It just means that when I look in there nothing inspires me.

Until I saw… the crabmeat.

I want crab salad. I don’t want a mayonnaisy thing.

But I want tons of flavor. And you know, I wouldn’t mind a bit of the Latin influence going on either.

Did you know there are tons of crab salad recipes in the world but none like this.

Spicy and decadent at the same time.

And fast. I was surprised how easily this came together.

In less than an hour.

Inspired eating in less than an hour.

Who knew?

Bobby. Of course.

Spicy Jumbo Lump Crabmeat and Black Bean Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce Adapted from a recipe in From My Kitchen to Your Table by Bobby Flay

Black Beans:
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
A good shake of ancho chile powder
A couple of swirls extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp Citrus Vinaigrette

Combine and season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Citrus Vinaigrette:
¼ cup fresh orange juice
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup fresh lime juice
A couple of leaves of fresh basil, cut into chiffonade
1 tbsp finely chopped red onion
2 cups extra virgin olive oil

Combine juices, basil and onion in blender and blend til smooth. Keep motor running and add olive oil in thin stream and blend til emulsified. Season to taste with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.
May be refrigerated up to one day. Use on grilled fish. It’s faboo.

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:
4 good sized roasted red peppers (I had them in a jar and went for it. Too hot to cook)
¼ medium red onion, coarsely chopped
1 canned chipotle pepper
6 tbsp fresh lime juice
1-½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine peppers, onion , chipotle and lime juice and blend until smooth. Keep the motor running and slowly add the olive oil in thin stream until emulsified. Season to taste with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Makes about 2 cups.

Crabmeat:
1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over
2 tbsp Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
1-½ tsp fresh lime juice
A good squirt wild honey
1 tbsp pureed canned chipotle pepper
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine it all and season to taste.
This can be made a day in advance.

Serve with sliced tomatoes and avocados with extra Roasted Red Pepper Sauce on the side.

Serves 4.


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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Green Sauce



Green sauce.

Pretty unenlightened name for such an enlightened sauce.

This is a sauce that is found all over the world.

But, the name.

It doesn’t describe the way it tastes.

Salty, sweet, bitter, fresh.

It doesn’t describe what it does to a piece of grilled fish, a tortilla Espanola, sliced Bradley tomatoes hot off the vine..

Takes them to a whole new level of flavor. Makes the food dance.

Makes it more than just supper, an omelet, a salad.

Makes it special.

Makes it something a clever cook has in her repertoire for any food occasion that calls for something….green.


Green Sauce

Small handful chives, chopped
3 - 4 anchovies, chopped
A Tbsp capers drained
Juice of 1 lemon
Small handful Italian parsley, chopped
A big squirt of sissy (yellow) mustard (because for the first time in my life I’m out of Dijon)
Squirt of wild honey
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tbsp garlic confit

Put in blender, turn on add ½ cup extra virgin olive oil until thick.

Done .

Makes about ¾ cup.
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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cantaloupe Sorbet


I love cantaloupe. It’s got such a cool, sexy flavor if you think about it. It works with sweet and salty.

Growing up, cantaloupe was always for breakfast. Always ice cold with salt and pepper on it.

Not any more.

In an effort to maximize the cantaloupe in our lives, I decided it would be the perfect thing after this wonderful spicy dinner Groom was making for a summer supper for friends.

Thanks to a wonderful blog, Vanilla Basil, and a little help from the our big daddy ice cream maker comes a divine Cantaloupe Sorbet. A little Pernod, a little lime makes this an easy, knockout summer dessert.

Cantaloupe Sorbet
Adapted from Vanilla Basil and Cuisinart recipes

2-½ -3 lbs (1 extra large) cantaloupe, seeded and cubed
1 lime, juiced
4-3 inch wide zests of lime
1 cup freshly squeezed Valencia orange juice
¾ cup vanilla sugar
1/3 cup water
Pinch of coarse salt
3 tbsp Pernod

Puree the cantaloupe in a food processor.

Take a 1-½ quart saucepan and put sugar, lime juice, lime zest, Pernod, pinch of salt, orange juice, water over medium high heat and add about 1 cup and a half of pureed cantaloupe. Chill the remaining cantaloupe.

Bring syrup ingredients to boil, then immediately reduce the heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves..

Remove from heat and let cool to room temp. (of course I was in a hurry, so I put it in a bowl and then that bowl in a larger bowl of ice and stirred until it was cool.)

Add the syrup to the cantaloupe, cover and chill for two hours. Remove lime zest before freezing.

Put in freezer bowl of ice cream maker and follow directions, letting this stir and chill for about 30-40 minutes. It will be like an Italian ice, according to Cuisinart, meaning slushy, or you could freeze it til you are ready to eat! If you like, a little Pernod on the side is wonderful!

Makes a ton..

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