Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Summer’ Category

I have seen both Martha Stewart and Jamie Oliver make white crudite platters.  And they looked soooo beautiful.  Even Jamie’s, who’s food usually looks delicious, but well, not like Martha’s, to say the least.  So, I wanted to do that.  Either they have whiter vegetables than me, or they were photographed through some magic whitening lens because this is not white.    So, this is my shades of beige crudite platter.

The vegetables are endives, steamed potatoes, radish, and carrots.  The white (ish) carrots and radishes were procured by my amazing husband, who went to Berkeley Bowl and searched for the best white vegetables he could possible find, just for me.  Totally made my day that he came back with awesome stuff and not boring old cauliflower.   The potatoes were inspired by a friend of mine, who served steamed potatoes and siracha aioli at her housewarming, and it was so delicious.  But since siracha aioli is not white, I did not make it.  Instead, I made roasted garlic aioli.

Roasted Garlic Aioli
Recipe from the this website, reprinted from the Mustards: Napa Valley Cookbook by Ciny Pawlcyn.

Ingredients
1 large head garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 egg yolks
1 clove garlic, mashed to a paste
Juice of 1 small lemon
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of ground cayenne pepper
1-1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil

Instructions
To roast the garlic, preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Cut a thin slice off the very top of the head of garlic to expose the tops of all the cloves. Set the garlic head in a shallow baking dish. Pour the oil slowly over and into the head. Season with the salt and pepper. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 1-3/4 hours, until the garlic is very soft and tender. Don’t rush it; older garlic may take longer. Drain and reserve the oil, and set the garlic aside.

When cool, squeeze the pulp out of the roasted garlic into a food processor or blender and add the egg yolks, garlic, lemon juice, water, salt, and cayenne pepper. Purée until smooth. With the motor running, add the reserved roasting oil and the additional 1-1/2 cups oil in a slow, steady stream and continue processing until emulsified.

Makes about 2 cups

This was my first time making my own mayo, and I couldn’t believe how easy it was and how delicious it tasted.  I used half the mayo at the party.  The other half went into a potato salad with fingerling potatoes, scallions, and arugula, which was amazing, and a bit on some burgers.

Read Full Post »

Twas the night before Christmas, and my husband and I were enjoying the glorious peace and quiet of a holiday alone.  I made a lovely Italian-themed dinner, but before that, we had our own cocktail party.  On the menu, roasted olives and fennel, blue cheese cookies (cut in the shape of stars, to be festive), and negronis.

Roasted Olives and Fennel

I am a huge olive fan.  Love them.  But, there is only one thing better than olives, and that is warm olives.  To make them, I rinsed off a mix of olives from the olive bar at the store.  I then zested an orange and lemon, removing the zest in big chunks, then juiced each of them.  Toss the olives in the juice.  Then, take a fennel bulb (or part of one, depending on how big and how much you like fennel), cut it in strips, and toss that in.  Add a bay leaf and a few cloves of garlic smashed up.  Toss it all together with a drizzle of olive oil.  Preheat the oven and stick them in.  This is not an exact science, so if your oven is already on for something else, that’s fine.  In general, I’d say a good 12-15 minutes or so at 375 or so ought to do the trick.  You want to heat them up, and cook the rawness out of the fennel.  And voila, warm yummy olives.

Negroni

Now on to the drinkies.  I am not a huge cocktail person.  Wine is my vice.  But, I make an exception for these.  They are just lovely.  The Campari is bitter, but it’s cut nicely by the vermouth. Not too sweet, not too harsh, just right. To make one, put one ounce each of gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari in a shaker with some ice, shake it up, and serve with an orange wedge.  Cheers!

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

It’s a cold and rainy weekend here, so I wanted to make something comforting and satisfying.  In preparing the sausuages, I loosely followed this recipe from Food & Wine.  For the mash, I was inspired by this Martha Stewart recipe for mashed parnsip and apple, and this Ina Garten recipe for pureed celery root and apple.  Since there seems to be a bunch of recipes floating around online for mashed parnsip and celery root as well, I saw no good reason not to just throw them all together.

This is a pretty forgiving, easy meal, so I’m not going to bother with precise measurements or instructions.  Just throw things into a pan, and you’ll probably be fine.

Braised Sausages and Grapes

Add a few Italian sausages to a skillet and add water.  Simmer for about 6 or 7 minutes, longer if they are really big, turning a few times.  Drain. 

 Turn the heat down to medium and put the sausages back in the pan.   Add a splash of olive oil and some minced shallot to the pan.  Saute for a few minutes, turning the sausages, and allowing the sausages to brown. 

Add about 1/4 cup of wine (I used red).  I’m sure vinegar or broth would be fine too.  Scrape up the sticky bits from the bottom of the pan.  Pour the grapes into the pan and season with salt and pepper.  Allow the dish to simmer for a couple minutes, adding another splash of wine to help it all come together.  Remove from heat and serve.

Apple-Root Vegetable Mash

Peel a large apple, a 1 pound celery root, and a couple parnsips.  Chop into 1-2 inch chunks.  Put into a pan with about a cup of water and a good pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer.  Let the vegetables cook for 20-30 minutes, until soft.  Drain and add everything back to the pan.  Add a splash of cream or milk and a good pat of butter.  Mash with a potato masher until it reaches desired texture.  Add extra butter or salt if needed.

I served everything with some braised broccoli rabe, which I made by sauteing it in some olive oil, a few cloved of minced garlic, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. 

To drink, some lovely Syrah from the fabulous Bonny Doon vineyards, a favorite of my husband’s.

Read Full Post »

I had never heard of champvallon before but if Martha Stewart says it’s a real dish, I believe her.  Apparently, it’s a French dish of stewed lamb and potatoes that may have been invented by a wife of Louis XIV.  It seems to me more like peasant food than a dish of kings, but wherever it came from, it’s delicious.  And, for a dish that’s just a pile of meat and potatoes, surprisingly light, though that could be my super delicious Marin Sun Farms lamb talking.

Champvallon
Recipe by Martha Stewart

Ingredients
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, plus more for sprinkling
5 to 6 russet potatoes, peeled

Directions
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Season lamb generously with salt and pepper.  Cook a third of the lamb, until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side.  Transfer to a bowl.  Stir in cup stock, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom.  Pour liquid over browned lamb.  Repeat with oil, lamb, and stock.  After the last batch, do not pour out stock.

Add onions, garlic, and rosemary to pot, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.  Return browned lamb and juices from bowl to pot.  Add remaining stock and  bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover. Simmer until meat is tender, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Slice potatoes as thin as possible.  If you have a mandoline, even better.  I don’t, but managed to get about 1/8 inch slices with a good knife and some patience.  Rinse, then pat dry.  Toss with remaining 2 tablespoons oil.

Cover bottom of a 12-inch dish with half the potato slices.  The recipe recommends a gratin dish, I found a good wide pie plate worked fine.  With the potatoes, start at outer edge, overlap each potato by half, working in concentric circles toward center.  Spoon lamb and broth over top, then repeat arrangement with remaining potato slices on top of lamb. Sprinkle with rosemary, and season with salt and pepper.  Bake until top is gold, edges are crisp, and juices are bubbling, about 1 hour.  Let cool slightly before serving.

The resulting dish was delicious. The potatoes on top get crispy and brown and the ones on that bottom soak up all the juices from the lamb and the rosemary infused broth.

Because this is a French dish, I thought French wine would be fitting.  But, with all my jaunts to Napa and Sonoma, there’s just no French wine anywhere in my house.  Fortunately, we had on hand some lovely French style pinot noir from Freeman Winery in Sonoma.  Ken Freeman and his wife Akiko have built this beautiful little winery in Sebastopol, complete with a spectacular wine cave.  They make lovely French style wines, and some of the best Chardonnay I’ve ever had.  I highly recommend a visit if you are in the area.  And, if you are not in the area, I recommend seeking out some of this Sonoma Coast pinot to drink with your champvallon.  It was a perfect combo.

Read Full Post »

 

Just like last year, I’ve been buying up my beloved dry farmed early girl tomatoes like crazy.  They are the best tomato ever, and if you are lucky enough to find them at your farmers market, buy them.  You won’t regret it.

With those tomatoes on my mind, I was quite excited to stumble across this recipe in this month’s Food and Wine.  The tomatoes don’t get cooked, so it’s really a perfect recipe to savor the last of the amazing summer tomatoes.

Pasta with Tomatoes, Anchovies, and Almonds
Recipe by Food and Wine

Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds  tomatoes, cored and finely diced.  I used dry farmed early girls, but the recipe recommends beefsteak.  I think any meaty tomato that doesn’t have a lot of water in it would work.
1/4 cup finely shredded basil leaves
2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup salted roasted almonds
3 large oil-packed anchovies
1 large garlic clove, smashed
1/2 cup grated fresh pecorino cheese.  I used parmesan, but the recipe recommends Fiore di Sardo.
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1 pound pasta.  I used fetticine, but the recipe recomments spaghettini

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the diced tomatoes with the shredded basil, scallions, olive oil and crushed red pepper.  Season lightly with salt and black pepper and let the tomatoes stand for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a mini food processor, pulse the almonds with the anchovies and garlic until finely chopped. Add the 1/2 cup of cheese and the capers and pulse to combine.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta, shaking off the excess water. Add the pasta to the tomatoes along with the chopped almond mixture and toss well. Serve the pasta, passing extra cheese at the table.

Read Full Post »

Frozen Bloody Marys

I’m several weeks behind in my blog posts because I’ve been traveling and running around busy with other things.  But, we are still getting tons of gorgeous tomatoes around here, so I figured I should get this up before they are gone.  For a while, I was having crazy bloody mary cravings.  I’m not sure why, though I suspect it was due to a particularly fabulous one I had for brunch one morning at Gather.  A recent Food and Wine had a recipe for frozen ones, so I thought I’d give it a try.

They recommended yellow tomatoes, but I could only find orange.  I also skipped the basil because in my haste to finally quench my Bloody Mary thirst, I forgot it.  They were so delicious though.  I will say that the leftovers were better the next morning after they had thawed out in the fridge.  The texture was thick and icy, but a little easier to drink.  My recipe also made way more tomato ice cubes than they said it would, so I just keep them in my freezer along side some vodka with a jalapeno in it, ready to go for my next breakfast emergency.

Frozen Bloody Marys
Recipe by Food and Wine

Ingredients
4 jalapeños, sliced
1 cup vodka
2 pounds yellow (or orange or red) tomatoes, cored and halved
16 Thai basil leaves (optional)
Salt
Yellow cherry tomatoes, halved, and basil flowers, for garnish (optional, as my boring glasses below indicate)

Directions
In a jar, cover the jalapeños with the vodka. Let stand for 3 hours, then strain.

In a food processor, puree the tomatoes. Pass the puree through a fine sieve into a large measuring cup; you should have 2 cups of juice. Pour it into ice cube trays and freeze until firm, about 3 hours.


In a blender, combine the jalapeño vodka, tomato ice cubes and basil. Blend until smooth and season with salt; if the drink is very thick, add a little water and blend again. Pour into rocks glasses, garnish with cherry tomato halves and basil flowers and serve.

If I had to do one think differently, I would put salt on the rims of the glasses.  Otherwise, they were perfect.

Read Full Post »

As I have mentioned a few times, I’m signed up for a CSA through Marin Sun Farms.  Each month, I get 4 pounds of a braising or roasting cut and 5 pounds of ground meat.  It’s taken me a few months to find a variety of things to do with the ground meat.  I can only make so many burgers, meat sauce, and chili.  Shepherd’s Pie is now in my regular repertoire and now, I’ve got these.

They are really good and really easy.  The ingredients list looks long, but it really isn’t too complicated.  I read online that lemongrass can be frozen, which is a trick I haven’t tried yet, but I’m planning on buying a bunch and experimenting so I don’t have to make a special trip to a store that sells it just to make these.

And don’t skip the sugary coating.  That’s the best part.

Vietnamese Meatballs in Lettuce Wraps
Recipe from Food and Wine

Ingredients
For the meatballs
1 pound ground meat (I use ground pork, the recipe recommends chicken)
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (I skipped this)
3 small shallots, finely chopped (I used onions)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 stalk of fresh lemongrass, tender white inner bulb only, minced
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup granulated sugar
To Assemble
1 head Boston or red leaf lettuce, leaves separated
Thinly sliced cucumber, radish, and/or red onion
Sprigs of cilantro and mint
1 small seedless cucumber—peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1 small red onion, halved and sliced
Asian chili sauce, if you want, but I don’t think you need it

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl, mix the ground meat with the shallots, garlic, lemongrass, chopped cilantro and mint, cornstarch, salt and pepper, and fish sauce, if you are using it, and mix with your hands.

Spread the sugar on a plate.  Form the meat into small 1 1/2 balls, roll in the sugar, and place on the baking sheet.  You should have about 16 balls.

Bake for about 15-18 minutes.  Serve the meatballs on a platter with the lettuce and other goodies.  Particularly delicious with a cool glass of sauvignon blanc.

Read Full Post »

Back in May, I spent a weekend in Sonoma with some friends.  We rented a giant house in Guernville and relaxed for four days, drinking wine, lounging by the pool, driving around Healdsburg, and playing Taboo.  We took turns cooking and one night, a few of us teamed up for Mexican.  I made my sweet potato and chorizo tacos, my husband made the guacamole, and our friends made some amazing salsas, beans, and these incredible vegetarian tacos.

I’ve been craving those tacos ever since that night and finally got around to making them.  And you should too because they are awesome.  My proportions here are just rough estimates.  Use whatever you have on hand in whatever combo you like.

Corn, Poblano, and Mushroom Tacos
Recipe by my friends, Gabriel and Christina

Ingredients
a pound or so of cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
A few poblano peppers, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
2 ears of corn, shucked
A couple cloves of garlic, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
A big splash of canola oil
Half an onion
a bunch of cilantro
lime
a bit of cotija cheese, to serve
tortillas (should make enough to fit on about 10 or so 6 inch tortillas)

Directions
Mince the onion and the cilantro.  Mix together with a big pinch of salt and the squeeze of a half of lime.  Stir and set aside.

In a wide skillet on medium, heat a bit of canola oil.  Add the red pepper flakes and garlic, stir for a minute or so.  Turn the skillet up to medium high, and add the peppers.  Saute for a few minutes, until they start to soften.  Add the mushrooms.  Saute for 5-8 minutes.  If the vegetables start to look dry and stick to the pan, add a small splash of water.


When the peppers and mushrooms are cooked, stir in the corn.  Saute until the corn is warmed through.

Spoon on to the tortillas and add a spoonful of the onion-cilantro mixture and a few crumbles of cotija cheese.

Read Full Post »

I got some really lovely chicken from Marin Sun Farms and really wanted to make a delicious, summery meal to go with it.  I left the chicken simple, just with a bit of rosemary sea salt rubbed on it, and my husband threw it on the grill.  With it, a big bowl of pickled tomatoes and some fresh homemade cornbread

To make the cornbread, I borrowed from two recipes.  The pickled tomatoes were spicy, so I skipped the “firecracker” part of 101 Cookbook’s Firecracker Cornbread recipe, which I selected because I could use some fresh, sweet corn in it.  To make the cornbread more interesting, I borrowed an idea for honey butter from a Martha Stewart cornbread recipe.  With the chicken, the spicy tomatoes, and a cool glass of Simi viognier, I had myself a perfect summer dinner.

Fresh Corn Cornbread with Honey Butter
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

Ingredients
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (I used all purpose)
3/4 cup instant cornmeal (or instant polenta) or fine-grain cornmeal
1/4 cup natural cane sugar (or brown sugar)
1 tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
2 1/2 cups corn, fresh (or at room temperature if previously frozen)

For the honey butter, mix a tablespoon of honey and a pinch of salt with 3 tablespoons of room temperature butter

Preheat your oven to 350F degrees, with a rack in the middle.

Just before you make the batter, in a small saucepan, melt the butter and pour into a 9-inch pie tin and place in the hot oven.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt.  In a separate bowl whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and corn.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir until just combined.  Now very carefully remove the hot pan with butter from the oven.  Brush the butter up around the edges a bit to make sure its evenly coating the pan.  Carefully fill it with the cornbread batter, pushing the batter out to the sides if needed.

Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until the edges are golden and the center is just set. Remove and brush on the honey butter before slicing.

Read Full Post »

One of my favorite blogs is Not Eating Out in New York.  The blogger, Cathy Erway, always uses such lovely, fresh produce and comes up with some of the most interesting combinations.  She was the creative force behind one of my favorite dishes last year, sweet potato gnocchi with arugula and hazelnuts.  So, when she posted this salad, I knew I had to make it.

It’s delicious.  If you are looking for something inspired and fresh to do with your beets, I highly recommend this. I didn’t have all the ingredients, so I simplified it quite a bit.  I imagine it’s even better when done properly, but this worked out well for a farmers’ market eve dinner, when produce on hand is low.

Peach and Beet Salad
Adapted from Cathy Erway, Not Eating Out in New York

Ingredients
4 beets
2 medium-sized peaches
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
handful fresh basil leaves

Ingredients I skipped: 1 shallot or 1/2 small onion, finely chopped, about 1/4 cup sweet bell or cubano pepper, finely chopped, about 1/4 cup the beet stems, finely chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash each beet and remove any long strands.  Wrap each beet individually in foil and place on an oven-safe tray. Roast approximately 30-40 minutes (depending on the size of your beets). Remove from oven, unwrap foil, and let cool completely. Once cool enough to handle, peel the skins off (they should slip off easily). Cut into quarter or eighth wedges.

In a large bowl, toss the onion, pepper and beet stems if you are using them, with the olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.  Carefully cut peaches into wedges and discard the pits. Gently toss in the beet and peach wedges, and add the basil leaves for garnish just before serving.

The beets stained the peaches before I could get a good picture, but here it is.  I served it up with some delicious ribs, coated with a harissa spice blend, and a bottle of pinot noir for a summery, fresh Friday night dinner.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »