Posts Tagged ‘Food Network’

I have a girl crush on Ina Garten.  I want to move in with her, into her gorgeous house in the Hamptons, and cook and drink French wine with her and her friends every night.  We’ll pick fresh herbs from the garden, Michael will bring the flowers for our table setting, and Miguel will take the photos for my food blog.  Jeffrey is out of town most of the time, so surely she has room for one more, right?

Until that dream comes true, I will have to live out my fantasies making her recipes from my old kitchen in Berkeley.

This recipe of Ina’s is really good.  It’s fast and simple, since you can prep the other ingredients in the time it takes the pasta to cook.   It’s a really unusual combination, but it works.    When she made it on her show, she included cherry tomatoes.  While the Food Network website’s recipe doesn’t include the tomatoes, I did because I found a pint of this season’s first tomatoes at the farmers market.  I wouldn’t skip them – they add a sweetness that balances nicely with the pepper.  I also used penne instead of noodles because I think the tomatoes mix in a little better with shorter pastas.

Pasta with Pecorino and Pepper
Recipe by Ina Garten

1 tablespoon whole black Tellicherry peppercorns
1/2 pound dried pasta – I used penne, but Ina recommends an Italian egg pasta, such as tagliarelle
1 cup freshly grated aged Pecorino cheese (4 ounces), plus extra for serving
2 tablespoons heavy cream – I used half and half
1 tablespoon unsalted butter – I used about half that amount
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved

Place the peppercorns in a mortar and pestle and crush them until you have a mixture of coarse and fine bits. (You can also grind them in a small food mill or coffee grinder.) Set aside.

Fill a large, heavy-bottomed pot with salted water and bring to a boil over high heat.  Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package until al dente.  While the pasta is cooking, mince the parsley, grate the cheese, and halve the tomatoes.

 When the pasta is done cooking, reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water before draining.  After you drain the pasta, return it to the pot.   

Working quickly, with the heat on very low, toss the pasta with 1/2 cup of the grated Pecorino, the crushed peppercorns, cream, butter, parsley, and 1 teaspoon salt, tossing constantly. If the pasta seems dry, add some of the reserved cooking water.  Once everything is combined, turn off the heat, and add the tomatoes and the remaining cheese.    Serve immediately with a big bowl of extra grated Pecorino for sprinkling.

And because at Ina’s house, no meal is complete without a glass of wine, I served it with some lovely sauvignon blanc from St. Supery.  How bad can that be?


Read Full Post »

This is a weird dish though.  Good, but weird.  The squash is raw.  I liked it, because it was fresh and crunchy, but it has a really unusual taste.  I found it tasted better the next day, after it had sat for a while and absorbed some of the dressing.  My husband wasn’t so much of a fan, as he claimed it had a raw squash taste.  That’s sort of the point, but I suppose if you don’t like the raw squash taste, then you probably won’t like this.

If you’ve got any butternut squash still stashed away from your garden or CSA, this would be a good dish to try.  It’s a great way to use up the squash in a lighter, more spring appropriate dish if you are sick of heavier soups and roasted vegetables.  IT’s also super easy and takes just minutes to prepare.

Butternut Squash Coleslaw with Honeyed Goat Cheese Dressing
Recipe by Tyler Florence

4 ounces fresh creamy goat cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 lemon, juiced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium butternut squash
1/2 cup dried cranberries (I used golden raisins, though cranberries would probably be prettier.)
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves

In a large mixing bowl, combine goat cheese, honey, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and season with salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.  Whisk it up well until fully combined. 

Remove the top narrow portion of the butternut squash and peel, and reserve the bulb for another use.  Or just use an entire small squash.  The recipe recommends using a mandoline to cut it into long, fine matchsticks, but I don’t have a mandoline.  Into the food processor it went, using the grating blade.  Perfect.  And probably easier than the mandoline.  This should yield about 4 cups, though I probably had at least 6 and found the dressing enough to cover all that.  Fold it into the dressing and add the dried fruit, walnuts, and parsley.

Read Full Post »

So, I think we are all in agreement that pasta is delicious and wine is delicious.   Well, imagine having them together.  Not just a glass with your pasta, but all in one, delicious, winey-carby bite?  Yes, such a dream is possible with this Michael Chiarello recipe.

I don’t really have much else to say about it, except that this is delicious.  The bitterness of the broccoli rabe goes so perfectly with the spicy zinfandel and red pepper flakes, and there’s garlic. 


Red Wine Pasta with Broccoli Rabe
Recipe by Michael Chiarello

1 3/4 pounds broccoli rabe, thick stems discarded – I used two big bunches from the farmers’ market, which seemed to be just the right amount.
1 pound spaghetti – I used linguini.  Use a reasonably good brand here like Barilla or De Cecco.  I think some of the cheaper brands wouldn’t hold up as well during the cooking process.
1 bottle red wine (750 ml – preferably Zinfandel) – I used a $4 bottle of “Old Moon” Zinfandel from Trader Joe’s, which worked just fine.  A better quality wine would probably give it a richer flavor, but I liked how this one worked.
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped (2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes – I used this much, but next time I’ll halve it.  It was just a bit too spicy.
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Chop the broccoli rabe into 1 inch, bite size pieces.  If your broccoli rabe has a lot of florets and is fairly thick and sturdy, you’ll want to blanch it in boiling water for a minute or two, then transfer to a colander to drain, reserving the liquid.  Mine was leafy and a little more delicate, so I skipped the blanching phase. 

Bring water to a boil (or bring the broccoli rabe water back up to a boil and cook the pasta for about 5 minutes.  The pasta won’t be cooked at this point.  Reserve one cup of the pasta water and drain in a colander.  

In that same pot, add the wine and sugar and bring to a boil.  Boil over high heat for about 2-3 minutes, until it starts to reduce.  Add the pasta to the wine and continue to boil.  Stir gently with tongs to ensure it doesn’t stick, and cook for about 6 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the pasta is al dente.

Meanwhile, warm a deep skillet or saute pan over low heat.  Add the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes,  stirring to ensure they don’t burn, and cook until garlic is pale golden, about 5 minutes.  Add the broccoli rabe, salt, and pepper and stir together while keeping the skillet on low, about 1-2 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water and simmer for another minute or so.

Pour the broccoli rabe mixture into the pot of pasta and wine, and toss together with thongs.   Cook while stirring, about 2 minutes or until most of the liquid has boiled off.   Remove from heat, season with freshly ground black pepper and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, if you like.  Add the grated cheese and serve immediately.

Read Full Post »

img_6260A while back, I attempted a delicious looking recipe for savory parmesan shortbread cookies that included thyme and pecans.  And, the dough tasted delicious.  But the cookies just didn’t work.  The batter never really came together and the cookies came out of the oven looking all broken and crumbly. 

I really wanted to attempt a savory shortbread again, but this time I did a couple things differently.  First, no nuts.  I’m convinced the chunks of pecans led to the cookies’ crumbly demise since the dough never really stuck together well.  And second, I followed a different strategy for shaping the cookies.  The recipes all seem to call for the shortbread to be rolled into a log and sliced.  But since it’s impossible to get a perfectly round or square shape in your log, the cookies will look nicer if you slice, roll the cookie in a ball, and then gently press them down on the baking sheet.  Shortbread doesn’t really spread out like normal cookie batter, so this seemed to be the best way to get cookies that are somewhat uniform in shape.

This recipe is really easy and everyone who tried them seemed to like it.  Or, at least that’s what they told me.  I don’t think they were lying.

It comes from Ina Garten.


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1/4 heaping cup ground parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon freshly cracked/ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil or use the dried herb you like the most
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

I made a few changes from the initial list above.  First, the recipe called for salted butter, but I think unsalted is better since the parmesan is salty.  Then, since I wanted to get the flavor of my earlier failed attempt at savory shortbread, I omitted the basil, added two teaspoons of fresh thyme, and doubled the amount of pepper.  I like peppery things, so I liked the extra kick. 


Line a light-colored baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, mix together the butter, salt, parmesan, black pepper and whatever herbs you are using until creamy.

Slowly add the flour, and mix until dough holds together when pinched.   If the dough is still too crumbly, add up to 1 tablespoon of ice water. 

Turn out onto a floured counter top, roll into a ball and then into a log.  I wanted my cookies to be small, so I made two logs, each about 8-10 inches.  But, if you want larger cookies, just adjust the length.

Wrap the log in tin foil or plastic and freeze for at least 30 minutes.  You can freeze them for up to a month.

When you take the logs out of the freezer, preheat your oven to 350ºF.

Slice the logs into rounds and roll the rounds into balls.  Ina’s recipe says that it yields 36, but since mine were not much larger than a quarter in diameter, I got about 50.

Arrange in rows on the baking sheet.  While you need a little space, you don’t need a ton since they won’t spread out like most cookies do. 

Bake for 15-25 minutes, checking after about 15 minutes or so.  There’s no eggs in these, so you don’t have to worry about salmonella or other creepy things.  I found my tiny cookies needed about 17 or 18 minutes, and they were crispy on the outside and a little soft on the inside. 



Read Full Post »

I first found this recipe on the food blog Smitten Kitten and was so intrigued, I had to try it. It uses the entire clementine – rind, pith, and flesh – and it uses no butter or flour. So, you can make this for your gluten-free friends.

The original recipe is by Nigella Lawson of the Food Network, and is supposed to be a cake, but I thought cupcakes would be fun for my book club meeting. The comments on the Food Network site were a little all over the map on this one, but I managed to get some good advice from them.

First, keep in mind that this is not a particularly sweet cake. The rind makes it somewhat bitter, so it doesn’t taste like a typical dessert. A five year old is not going to want this for their birthday. Second, the fruit you choose is very important. If the rind or pith are too thick, it will be too bitter. Clementines are really the ideal fruit to use, since the rind is so thin. Nigella suggests doing this with regular oranges and lemons, but increasing the sugar. You can always taste the batter before you pop it in to the oven to add a little more sugar if you need to. Finally, while the original recipe does not call for vanilla, I think it adds a nice flavor to the cupcakes, and I’d recommend using it.

I also made a little orange-vanilla glaze for them, though the recipe says you can eat the cake without it (and would be delicious plain, particuarly as a nice cake for a brunch).

This recipe makes 1 8 inch cake or about 20 cupcakes.


For the cupcakes
4 to 5 clementines (about 1 pound total weight)
6 eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/3 cups ground almonds
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
1/2 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

For the glaze
One orange, zested and juiced
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 pod from the vanilla bean (optional)


Put the clementines in a pot with cold water to cover, bring to the boil, and cook for 2 hours. I had to add extra water at about the one hour mark, since a lot had boiled off.

If you are using a vanilla bean, scrape the seeds from the pod, and pulse in a food processor with the sugar.

If you are planning on making a glaze, put the pod in with a cup of confectioner’s sugar, and let sit until you are ready to make the glaze.

Drain and cool the clementines. Cut each clementine in half and remove the seeds.

Puree the skins, pith, and fruit in the processor until very smooth.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Line the cupcake tins with cupcake wrappers, or butter and line an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper.

Mix the sugar, ground almonds, and baking powder.

Beat the eggs. Stir in the pureed clementines. If you are using vanilla extract instead of a bean, I would add it here.

Slowly pour the dry mix into the wet mix and stir well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan or tin. I baked the cupcakes for 20 minutes. If you are making a cake, Nigella says to bake for 1 hour, covering with foil after about 40 minutes.

Let the finished cupcakes or cake cool on a rack. The cakes will keep for at least several days, and in fact, the flavor will improve over a day or two, so feel free to make in advance.

To make the glaze

Take the powdered sugar and slowly add in the orange juice, a teaspoon or so at a time. Add a pinch or two of finely zested peel. Whisk until incorporated, and add more juice as necessary. You want the glaze to be thick, about the consistency of glue. If you put a drop on the cake and it runs too much, just add a bit more sugar to thicken it up and try again.

Do not add the glaze until you are ready to eat the cake. After it’s been on the cake for 12 hours or so, it will start to absorb into the cake. While it’ll still taste good, it will look weird.

To frost, just take a small spoonful and drop it on each cupcake. It should spread out a little without too much running or dripping.

And that’s it.

Read Full Post »