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Archive for February, 2010

 

Since it’s Valentine’s Day, I wanted to make something luxurious for breakfast.  And what is more luxurious than saffron?

To make these, I just followed my standard scone recipe.  I left out the berries, and replaced it with the goodies scraped from a half a vanilla bean and the zest from one lemon. 

To make the glaze, juice half the lemon.  Add about 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar and a pinch of saffron.  Whisk together, adding water or lemon juice by the drop or sugar by the teaspoon, until you reach the desired consistency.  When the scones come out of the oven, place them on a rack to cool and frost with the glaze.  Enjoy with your honey.

 

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Orecchiette is this cute little ear-shaped pasta that I use in one of my favorite dishes.  My husband got the recipe from an old Italian roommate of his and it was the first meal he cooked for me.  I was also the first time I had ever had broccoli rabe.  I fell in love.  I love it almost as much as arugula.  The broccoli rabe that is.  My husband does actually place before arugula in my heirarchy of awesome. 

The dish also has anchovies in it.  Don’t be afraid.  And don’t skip them.  They add a fabulous briny, rich taste to the sauce that compliments the bitter broccoli rabe perfectly.  Plus, Michael Pollan says to eat your little fishies, and you can’t argue with him.

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe
Recipe by some Italian guy

Ingredients
1 pound orecchiette pasta (De Cecco is the only store brand I’ve seen that makes it.  If you can’t find it, I think farfelle would be a good substitute.)
1-2 bunches of broccoli rabe, washed and cut into 1 inch chunks
1 4 ounce tin of anchovies.  If they are really firm, you might want to give them a coarse dice before adding them just to help them disintegrate.
1/4 cup or so of olive oil
4 or so garlic cloves, finely minced
good size pinch of red pepper flakes

Directions
In a large pot of salted water, cook the pasta according to the package, and drain, reserving a half cup or so of pasta water.

While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat.  Add the red pepper flakes and garlic and saute for a couple minutes, until the garlic is golden brown.  Add the anchovies, stirring to help them break down.

Add the broccoli rabe, tossing with the oil so it wilts.   Cook for a few minutes until it is completely incorporated with the oil and has wilted.  Add a little bit of the pasta water if it looks dry. 

Toss with the orecchiette and serve with lots of parmesan cheese.

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A slightly more sophisticated looking dinner than last week, using very similar ingredients.

And, this soup rocked.  Butternut squash, pear, and turnip?  Yes, please.  I already had one standard butternut squash soup recipe, but now it has competition in the rotation.  You can definitely taste the pear in it, though the spicy turnip balances everything out, keeping it from being too sweet.  The recipe looks simple, and I was tempted to add some leeks or garlic or something.  I didn’t, and I found I didn’t need to.  It works perfectly just as it is.

The fancy floating pear was pretty easy to do, so try it out and impress your guests with your oh-so-Martha presentation.

On the side, a mix of mustard greens and salad greens.  I dressed it with olive oil and cider vinegar (not local), with a tiny splash of maple syrup (a local-to-them gift from family in Massachusetts).  The maple dressing was really good on the bitter, spicy mustard greens.

All and all, a delicious winter meal.

Pear and Autumn Vegetable Soup
Recipe by Martha Stewart

Ingredients
4 small Bartlett pears (about 6 ounces each), plus an additional larger pear to use for the garnish
1 sugar pumpkin or butternut squash (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 turnip (about 3 ounces), trimmed, peeled, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 sprig fresh sage
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, white if you have it

Directions
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  Cut the larger pear into paper thin pieces, using a mandoline or sharp knife.  Pick out the seeds and stem.  Using a mandoline or a very sharp knife, cut 2 medium pears lengthwise into paper-thin slices.  Arrange the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake about 1 hour, or until the pears are dry.  Cool completely on a wire rack. 

Peal the remaining pears.  Halve lengthwise and core.  Add the pears, squash or pumpkin, and the turnip to a 4 quart stockpot with the sage and a teaspoon of salt.  Cover with water (at least 4 cups) and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Discard the sage.  Carefully transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and puree in batches.   Return the soup to the pot and bring up to a simmer over medium-low heat.  Whisk in the cream, salt, and pepper.   Serve with the dried pears as a garnish.

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