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Archive for October, 2008

Nothing in this recipe comes from my farm box, but it just looked so delicious I had to try it. It is pretty simple to prepare, though it does involve a fair amount of spices, including saffron. I recommend the investment, as the dish really is delicious.

Again, another recipe from Food and Wine.

Ingredients

1 cup water
10 ounces baby spinach
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
Kosher salt
Pinch of saffron threads
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of freshly ground pepper
Two 15-ounce cans chickpeas with their liquid
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 large tomato—peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped (I skipped the peeling and seeding, it was fine)
1/4 cup golden raisins
Directions
Pour the water into a large deep skillet and bring to a boil. Add the spinach leaves and cook over high heat, tossing frequently, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Drain the spinach in a colander, pressing hard on the leaves to extract the liquid. Coarsely chop the spinach.

I did this step, though I don’t know if you need too. There’s enough liquid in the recipe to add the spinach in at the end, if you’d prefer. You’d have to chop it first though.

Using the flat side of a large knife, mash the garlic to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the saffron.


Transfer the garlic paste to a small bowl. Add the paprika, cumin, cloves and black pepper and mash until combined. Stir in 1/4 cup of the chickpea liquid.
Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the skillet and heat until shimmering. Add the onion and tomato and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until they are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the spiced garlic sauce to the onion and tomato in the skillet and cook for 1 minute.


Add the chickpeas and the remaining liquid to the skillet. Add the raisins and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Add the spinach, reduce the heat to moderate, and simmer for 15 minutes.


I ended up simmering it for about 5 extra minutes to make it slightly thicker, and served it over couscous. The recipe suggests drizzling each bowl with olive oil before serving, which I skipped and it was still delicious.

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Last week, our CSA box had tomatoes, cilantro, and serrano peppers in it. So, we made guacamole. Not just any guacamole though. This is the best guacamole you will ever eat. Trust me.

First things first. The equiment. If you really love guacamole, treat yourself to the amazing William Sonoma Molcajete. Your wallet might say “ouch,” but your tacos will say “yum yum.”
 


I first witnessed the magic molcajete at Rosa Mexicano’s, the semi-posh Mexican chain restaurant that makes the most amazing guacamole ever. A wedding gift registry and a google search for the recipe were all I needed to be able to recreate it at home. If you don’t have the molcajete, this would probably work with a regular mortar and pestle.
 
So, I present to you, the best guacamole ever. Recipe courtesy of people on the internet who ripped off Rosa Mexicano’s.
 
Ingredients
2 Haas avocadoes
3 Tablespoon chopped onion
1 teaspoon chopped, seeded jalapeno chile
1 ½ teaspoon chopped cilantro
2 tablespoon chopped tomato
salt
 
I used serrano peppers. You can leave in or remove the seeds, depending on how spicy you like it.
 


Directions
Combine 1 tablespoon of the chopped onions, ½ teaspoon of the chopped jalapeno and ½ teaspoon of the cilantro with ½ teaspoon of salt in the molcajete. Mash these ingredients into a paste. This releases all their oils and juices.
 
 


Roughly chop the avocadoes in large chunks and add it to the paste in the molcajete and fold to combine thoroughly.
 
Add the other ingredients, folding gently, taking care not to mash it too much.
 
And there you have it. Best guacamole ever.
 
 

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This is, without a doubt, the best thing I have ever made. It is so amazing that I don’t even know where to start. It tastes like a restaurant dish. It is sophisticated and comforting at the same time, and it is just absolutely delicious.

The recipe is a little tricky, but the marmalade can be made in advance, so I recommend doing that so you can focus. But, I’ll try to break down the steps as simply as possible. If you take your time and don’t do two things at once, you will be fine.

The recipe also suggests making the marmalade to spread on bread or serve over polenta, which I think would be wonderful.

Like almost all of my recipes, this one comes from Food and Wine (best foodie magazine ever).

Marmalade
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 pound fresh porcini or stemmed shiitake mushrooms—1/2 pound cut into 1/2 -inch dice, 1/4 pound sliced 1/4 inch thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon water
3/4 cup dry red wine, such as Amarone
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter

Risotto
5 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, minced
1 cup arborio rice (6 ounces)
1/2 cup dry red wine, such as Amarone
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
One 2-ounce piece Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for shaving
2 teaspoons chopped mixed herbs, such as chives, mint and tarragon
I used cremini mushrooms instead and it worked out fine. I have read that you are not supposed to wash mushrooms before cooking them as it throws their water content off, so I didn’t. I just wiped the dirt off with paper towels, which took forever, but I think it made a difference. They didn’t give off as much water and retained their shape a little better.


I think if you were planning this as a main course, I would recommend using a meatier mushroom like cremini or portabella (or a mix of them with the more delicate kind), and perhaps doubling the amount of marmalade.

For the wine, I used a zinfandel blend. Apparently Amarone is a peppery, fruity wine, so I figured zinfandel would be a good bet. I found a lovely bottle from one of my favorite Napa vineyards at Trader Joes for $15. If you can find this wine, I highly recommend it – for cooking, drinking, bathing in, whatever. It is fantastic and at $15, a total steal.


Marmalade Directions

In a large, nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil. Add the diced mushrooms; season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over moderate heat until tender, 5 minutes.

Uncover and cook, stirring, until browned. I took them off the stove after about a minute. Transfer the mushrooms to a plate.

In the same skillet, heat another 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the shallot and garlic and cook over low heat until softened, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cooked mushrooms.

In a small saucepan, simmer the sugar and water over moderate heat, washing down the side of the pan with a wet pastry brush, until amber, 6 minutes.

Add the wine and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Add the vinegar and boil over high heat until reduced by half. The recipe says this will take about 12 minutes, but I found it took only about 8. Just keep an eye on it. It will turn from liquid to syrup fast and you want to catch it right when it turns to syrup. The consistency was very thick and when it cooled, it stuck to my wooden spoon like candy. So, work quickly.

Stir the mixture into the skillet and cook over moderate heat until the mushrooms are glazed, 3 minutes. Season with salt. Take it off the heat and cover.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. The recipe says to use a clean skillet, but I didn’t feel like washing another pot, so I just used the pan that the wine syrup was in. I figured this way I could soak up the last of the wine syrup goodness. I didn’t have an problems doing this.

Add the sliced mushrooms, season with salt and cook over moderate heat until tender and lightly browned, about 8 minutes.

Stir the mushrooms into the marmalade, and swirl in the butter. There is a lot of liquid in the pan at this point, but some will evaporate out, and some will re-absorb into the mushrooms.


And voila! Mushroom marmalade! At this point, I covered the pan, removed it from the heat and placed it on a rack. I started cooking the risotto an hour or so later. As soon as the risotto was done, I put the mushrooms back on the stove over medium heat and slowly warmed them up. It took about 2 minutes.

Risotto Directions

In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a simmer; cover and keep warm over low heat.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until almost evaporated.


Pour in about 1 cup of the hot stock, or enough to cover the rice. Cook, stirring constantly, until the stock has been absorbed, about 5 minutes. Repeat, adding 1 cup of stock at a time and stirring until all of the stock has been absorbed. The risotto is done when the rice is just cooked and suspended in the creamy sauce, about 25 minutes. You may not need all 5 cups of liquid. Once you’ve got 4 cups in, start tasting it. You want the rice soft, but not mushy. I only used about 4 and a half cups of liquid, so add that last cup very, very slowly.

Stir in the butter and season with salt and pepper.

The recipe suggests shaving parmigiano-reggiano over the top of the risotto, but I went with the traditional route of mixing the grated cheese into the risotto right after adding the butter.

Garnish with the herbs (which I forgot to do) and enjoy your amazing restaurant quality dish.

Yum.

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We had a few friends over last week and I prepared a few quick little munchies for the event. These two dishes were quick and elegant and incredibly tasty. Both come from old issues of Food and Wine.

Ingredients
2 garlic cloves, sliced
Olive oil
12 sage leaves plus 1 tablespoon chopped sage
2 cups raw cashews

Directions

In a medium skillet, fry sliced garlic cloves in olive oil until lightly golden. Add sage leaves and chopped sage to the skillet and cook until crisp; drain on paper towels. Add raw cashews to the skillet and cook, stirring, until golden; drain on paper towels. Toss with the garlic, sage and salt. Let cool, then serve.


The best part about this was the little crispy whole sage leaves. When I do this again, I will definitely be increasing the amount of sage – doubling or tripling it. The sage shrinks up during the frying process and the intense flavor really mellows, so I think you can get away with as much sage as you’d like.

Ingredients

1 cup crème fraîche
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons snipped chives
2 tablespoons finely chopped tarragon
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt

Directions
In a bowl, whisk the crème fraîche with the parsley, chives and tarragon. Whisk in the lemon juice and season well with salt.


The recipe recommends serving it with radishes and blanched asparagus, though I subbed raw baby carrots for the asparagus. The carrots were fine, though the dip was perfect with the radishes. It’s a very cool, creamy dip and it is a perfect compliment to the peppery radishes.

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