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Posts Tagged ‘Food and Wine’

 So, here’s something you probably don’t know about me.  I’m obsessed with cults.  I once toured the Scientology mansion in DC just to get a look around and when the Texas Department of Child Services invaded that polygamist ranch, I was glued to CNN.  So when this article appeared in the East Bay Express a few months ago, linking a local raw food restaurant with a cult like organization, I was totally intrigued.  I still haven’t been to the restaurant yet and I’ve heard it’s very good, but I think I’d be too intrigued by watching out for cult things to care about the raw food.

If you don’t want your salad to come with a side of brainwashing, you can make your own.  Now, this has parmesan cheese, which probably isn’t raw.  But the asparagus is, which is unusual but totally delicious.  If you are used to roasted asparagus, this tastes nothing like that.  It’s fresh and mellow.  The cheese adds richness and the lemon makes it tangy and bright.

Grating the asparagus was a little tricky.  Don’t snap the ends off the asparagus before you grate.  I made that mistake and then had nothing to grip on to when I was using the vegetable peeler to shred it.  Either way, I imagine it will take a bit of time, but since it’s really the only thing you need to do, the recipe is fairly quick to throw together.   The recipe makes a ton – I made about a half a pound of asparagus and adjusted accordingly, since it was just my husband and me.

Shaved Raw Asparagus with Parmesan Dressing
Recipe by Mario Batali and adapted from the April 2010 Food & Wine

Ingredients
2 pounds large asparagus
1 cup coarsely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (3 ounces)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons warm water
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions
Using a vegetable peeler, shave the asparagus into long, thin strips and transfer to a large bowl.

In a small bowl, mix the Parmigiano-Reggiano with the lemon juice, water and olive oil. Add to the asparagus and toss to coat. Season the salad with salt and pepper and serve at once.

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I really like gnocchi.  I usually cheat when I eat it, and use a package from Trader Joe’s.  I made ricotta gnocchi once, and while it was good, it was too rich for me to want to eat regularly.

This gnocchi recipe, however, is awesome.  I want to make it all the time.    It’s labor intensive, but totally worth it because it is truly delicious.   I’ll try to go through it step by step.   

There’s a lot of different sweet potato gnocchi recipes out there.  I chose the one on Martha Stewart’s site because it makes a ton and just looked right to me.   I loosely adapted a sauce from Food and Wine using some good apple cider from the farmers’ market.

I bought my sweet potatoes at the farmers market and they weren’t orange, so my finished product wasn’t a pretty orange shade, but still very yummy.

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Sweet Potato Gnocchi
From marthastewart.com and “Pasta Sfoglia,” by Colleen and Ron Suhanosk

Ingredients
Makes 2 1/2 pounds

1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (optional – I skipped it because I was making such a sweet sauce.  I reduced the flour by a 1/4 cup or so just to make sure they wouldn’t be too dry)
1 teaspoon coarse salt
Extra flour for dusting (The recipe calls for rice flour.  I used all purpose without a problem.)

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.   The recipe says to wrap the sweet potatoes in parchment paper-lined aluminum foil.   I skipped the parchment paper because I didn’t see the point, and I didn’t have a problem.  Bake until easily pierced in the center with a fork, about 1 hour.  Let cool.

Place russet potatoes in a large pot; add enough water to cover.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until easily pierced in the center with a fork.  Drain and cool.

Peel all of the potatoes.   Pass potatoes through a ricer or food mill fitted with a medium-hole dish.

Spread all-purpose flour on a clean, dry work surface.  Place potatoes on top of flour.   Add egg, maple syrup if you are using, and salt. 

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Using your hands, mix together ingredients on work surface until well combined to form a dough.  Gently knead dough into a 10-by-8-inch rectangle.  Let rest for 2 minutes.

Lightly dust a clean, dry work surface with flour.  Cut the rectangle into 4 equal pieces.  Roll each piece into a 1-inch-thick rope.  Cut each rope into 1/2 inch gnocchi.  If you are super ambitous, lightly press a fork into each one to create ridges.  The ridges will help the sauce stick  a little better, but they definitely are not necessary.

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Store gnocchi on a rice flour-covered baking sheet until ready to use and dust with more flour. 

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To cook the gnocci, gently place into a boiling pot of salted water.  When they float to the top, cook for approximately one more minute, then drain.  Some will float to the top much faster than others, so I usually start my minute countdown when it looks like more than half of them are floating.

Gnocchi can also be frozen up to 2 weeks. To freeze, place them, dusted with rice flour, in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen, place them one on top of the other in an airtight container. To thaw for cooking, place gnocchi in a single layer on a baking sheet in the refrigerator for not more than 1 hour before cooking.

Apple Cider Sauce
Loosely adapted from Food and Wine

The original recipe can be found here.  I liked the idea, but I thought it looked too sweet, so I doctored it up a little.  While really good, I do think it was still a bit sweet, so next time I’ll reduce the cider by a 1/2 cup and replace with chicken or vegetable stock instead.

2 cups apple cider (or a mix of cider and broth)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of coarsely chopped sage leaves
Salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese to taste

In a heavy pot over medium heat, bring the cider (and broth) to a boil.  Reduce it to about a 1/2 cup of liquid, approximately 20 minutes.

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil and butter.  Add the shallots and saute until slightly golden, approximately 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and sage and saute for another minute or two. 

Add about a pound of gnocchi, or one half of the recipe printed above.  Add the reduced cider and stir to coat.  Serve with parmesan cheese.

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I served the gnocchi with a side of broccoli rabe that I tossed in garlic, olive oil, and red pepper.  And because I had labored all day over this dish, I decided that it deserved to be served with something good.  I opted for a bottle of pinot from one of my favorite Sonoma wineries, Stephen & Walker.  Their Sonoma Coast pinot noir is much fruiter than your typical pinot and went perfectly with this meal.

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And it still tastes good!

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I love me some risotto.  In fact, risotto was one of the first things I ever taught myself to make, after practicing a risotto recipe in the first cookbook I ever purchased over and over again in my tiny little studio kitchen, using a non-stick saucepan, a non-stick frying pan, and a plastic ladle, because that’s all I had at the time.  I’ve since gotten better equipment and better skilled at making it, but I’ve never done anything else with arborio rice besides make risotto.

Until now.

Arborio rice works really nicely in this rice salad.  It’s still has a creamy taste to it, even though there’s no dairy in this salad at all.  It’s really fresh and summery, and would be great for a barbeque or a light lunch. 

Lemony Rice Parsley Salad
from Food and Wine

Ingredients
1 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup tightly packed flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 small sweet Italian frying pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/3 cup oil-cured pitted black olives, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Lemon wedges, for serving

This is a pretty loose list of ingredients and I didn’t really measure anything, just tossed everything together and adjusted for taste as I went along.  Also, I have no idea what a sweet Italian frying pepper is.  I bought a Hungarian wax pepper at the farmers’ market and used that, though I think any pepper would do except for a green bell pepper, which would probably be too harsh tasting.  I also skipped the capers and just upped the olives a bit, and for those, I just used kalamatas because that’s what was in the fridge.  I actually liked the briny taste of them in the salad, and would do it again over using the oil cured kind.

Directions
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.   Add the rice and simmer over moderate heat until just tender, about 14 minutes.  Drain thoroughly.

In a large bowl, toss the rice with the olive oil and lemon juice.  Stir in everything else and season with salt and pepper. 

Serve warm, cold, or at room temperature with the lemon wedges if you’d like (though I skipped those too).

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On Saturday night, we had friends over for dinner.   The farmers market is just incredible right now, with all the wonderful summer produce everywhere, so I had a lot of fun planning out this meal.  Since I tried several new recipes, I’m going to make three posts over the course of this week.  Today, drinks and appetizers.

We aren’t really cocktail people, but I thought it would be fun to try making one.  I found this recipe in Food and Wine, created by Todd Thrasher.  When we lived in DC, we were lucky enough to enjoy his drinks at the wonderful speakeasy-style bar, PX, and as his other home, the absolutely incredible Restaurant Eve.  His drinks were always fantastic, so I knew this drink would be good.

Sweet Basil

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10 basil leaves, plus 1 basil leaf for garnish
Ice
3 ounces Lillet blanc
1/2 ounce gin
1 ounce Simple Syrup (equal parts water and sugar, boiled until the sugar dissolves, and cooled)

In a cocktail shaker, lightly muddle the 10 basil leaves. Add ice and the Lillet, gin and Simple Syrup and shake well.  Strain well, using cheese cloth,  into a chilled glass and garnish with the remaining basil leaf.

The drink was amazing.  My only complaint is that this drink was very sweet.  I prefer less sweet cocktails, and if  you do, I suggest reducing the simple sugar and the Lillet and increasing the gin by equal amounts to get to a balance that works for you. 

To accompany it, I wanted something mild tasting that wouldn’t taste weird with the basil drink.  I made a simple white bean puree and some pickled crudite.

White Bean Puree

I’ve made this dip a number of times, and each time it turns out differently.  Basically, I throw a can of white beans into the food processor and add whatever is around – herbs, spices, onions, garlic, whatever.  This time, I used 12 scallions, a clove of garlic, juice of half a lemon, and a splash of olive oil.  Add some salt and you are good to go.

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Salt and Sugar Pickles

Back in February, I wrote about the easiest appetizers ever.  I take that back.  These are the easiest appetizers ever.  I got the recipe from the June 2007 Food and Wine.  Mix equal parts sea salt and sugar and sprinkle on cut vegetables.   Let it sit for 5-10 minutes and the mixture quickly brines the vegetables.  Serve immediately, because the vegetables get watery and soggy after about an hour.

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Food and Wine recommends radishes, daikons, cucumbers, and watermelon.  I used radishes and lemon cucumbers, both of which were great.  The salt and sugar mixture is very subtle, but cuts the raw taste of the vegetable just enough, so you feel like you are eating a yummy snack and not just a pile of bland vegetables.  I really think this might become an entertaining staple. 

Later this week, I’ll blog about the sides and the main course.

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Yes, those are anchovies.

Don’t close your browser in digust, it is going to be alright.  Trust me.

I stumbled upon this recipe while looking for ways to use the zucchini that is now starting to pour in from my CSA.  I’ve used anchovies before, so I’m not bothered by them.  They really do get a bad rap.  In this recipe, they disintegrate into the sauce and the result is a briny, rich taste.  You would probably guess that there were olives in the dish before you guessed a fish.

It’s an easy dish and a good way to use your zucchini.  It was wonderful with a glass of white wine.

Pappardelle with Zucchini, Anchovies and Mint
Food and Wine, January 2002

Ingredients
4 ounces anchovies, drained and minced
1/4 cup finely chopped mint
2 tablespoons snipped chives
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 1/2 pounds medium zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise
Coarse sea salt
1 pound dried pappardelle
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese and lemon wedges, for serving

I had some lemon pepper pappardelle from Trader Joes in my pantry, so I used that.  I also substituted a green onion for the chives.

Directions

In a large bowl, mix the anchovies, mint, chives and 2 tablespoons of the oil.

In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1/4 cup of oil until shimmering. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper; cook over moderate heat until the garlic is lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Add the zucchini, season with salt and cook over moderately high heat, tossing, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. 

Meanwhile, cook the pappardelle in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Return the pasta to the pot. Add the zucchini and the reserved pasta water and toss over moderate heat. Transfer the pasta to the bowl with the anchovies and herbs, season with salt and toss well.  Serve right away, passing the Parmesan and lemon wedges at the table. 

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On Thursday, my husband finished his first year of business school.  This meant several days of celebrating…parties, Thai food at a fabulous neighborhood restaurant, a trip to the wonderful winery Jessup Cellars, and delicious Greek food at the Oakland Greek Festival.  Yes, we really did all this in three days.  So, when Sunday night came, I was tired, full, and ready to embrace nutrition once again.

We had some chard from our last CSA box, so I made this salad from the July 2004 issue of Food & Wine.  This is a fantastic way to prepare chard.  You can serve it warm or cold, and the yogurt-tahini dressing is delicious.  I think next time, I may add a can of chickpeas to it to make it a nice vegetarian main course.

Swiss Chard Salad with Garlicky Yogurt

Ingredients

1 medium red bell pepper
2 pounds Swiss chard, leaves only, finely chopped
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
1/4 cup tahini, at room temperature
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

I changed a few things.  First, I used jarred roasted red peppers from Trader Joes.  Their peppers are both yellow and red, which made the salad extra colorful.  I used Greek yogurt instead of regular plain, and I only used about half the recommended tahini because it just seemed like a lot.  My suggestion would be to add the tahini in slowly, one tablespoon at a time, until you get the flavor you want.

Finally, instead of red pepper, I used Aleppo pepper.  While in Napa on Saturday, we swung by Oxbow Market and I bought some at the spice counter there and I was itching to try it out.  Aleppo pepper is essentially sun-dried peppers from Syria, ground up into tiny flakes. 

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 It’s got a wonderful, spicy, smoky taste.  To approximate the flavor, you can mix 3 parts smoked paprika with 1 part cumin, though you won’t get the interesting, oily texture of the dried peppers.  If you add a bit of water to it, the peppers reconstitute somewhat and make a thin paste.

Directions

If you aren’t using jarred peppers, roast the red bell pepper directly over a gas flame or under a preheated broiler, turning as needed, until charred all over. Transfer the pepper to a bowl, cover and let steam for 10 minutes. Peel and seed the pepper, then cut it into 1/4-inch dice.

Put the Swiss chard in a large colander set in the sink. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of salt over the chard and toss it through the chard, rubbing it in.   Let stand for 1 minute, then rinse the chard, and squeeze dry.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet. Add 2 of the minced garlic cloves and cook over moderate heat until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the Swiss chard and cook, stirring, until tender, about 7 minutes.  Add the roasted red pepper and cook for 1 minute.  If you want to serve cold, transfer the vegetables to a platter and spread them in an even layer until they cool.  Otherwise, serve them up right out of the pan.

In a medium bowl, mix the yogurt with the tahini, lemon juice, and the remaining 3 minced garlic cloves.  Season with salt.  Spoon the yogurt sauce over the Swiss chard.

If you are using the pepper flakes, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet.  Add the crushed red pepper and cook over moderately high heat until the pepper begins to sizzle, about 10 seconds.  Pour the pepper oil over the yogurt sauce.  If you have Aleppo pepper, mix one teaspoon of the pepper with two teaspoons of water.  Let it sit for a few minutes, then spoon it over the yogurt sauce.

I didn’t have any parsley, but if you do, sprinkle some on just before serving.

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I’ve been curious about Nate Appleman of San Francisco’s A16 and SPQR ever since I saw him battle Michael Symon on Iron Chef.  Now that he just won a James Beard Award for Rising Star Chef, going to one of his restaurants is topping my list of things to do this summer.  In the meantime, however, this month’s Food and Wine magazine comes through with a couple of his recipes.

We got a huge bunch of asparagus in our farm share on Friday, so it seemed like a good opportunity to try his Smoky Glazed Asparagus recipe.  I never would have thought to marinade vegetables in a mayonnaise-based sauce before cooking them, but it works.  Most of the sauce cooks off as you grill them, so they don’t taste mayo-y at all, but rather, get this great creamy, charred taste to them.

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The recipe comes in two versions, so if you want to make Sean Hannity cry, you can opt for the fancy mustard flavor.

Smoky Glazed Asparagus

Ingredients

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika 
1 teaspoon kosher salt  (The recipe called for 2 teaspoons, which was way too much.)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds  (I used 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin powder.)
1 pound thick asparagus, trimmed

Directions

Light a grill. In a shallow dish, whisk the mayonnaise with the oil, lemon juice, garlic, paprika, salt and cumin. Add the asparagus and toss; let stand for 30 minutes.

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Grill the asparagus over moderately high heat, turning, until tender and blistered in spots, 6 minutes; serve.

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