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Archive for the ‘pasta’ Category
Thursday, March 21st, 2013
We had a full weekend of food, wine and no kid. He went skiing with a friend in Tahoe for the weekend. I don’t think there was a time, aside from when I first woke up, that I wasn’t full and/or a teeny bit tipsy. We didn’t need to drive anywhere, we just needed to eat and drink. Friday night we had dinner at Central Kitchen. Saturday morning we slept in then walked down to the Ferry Building and had brunch at Marketbar. We wandered around Chinatown, walked back to our hotel, had a couple of gin and tonics in the bar, took a nap, then headed out for the next round!
I have a tremendous admiration for Chris Cosentino. He makes edible things which most people would go nowhere near. He’s getting people excited about nose to tail cooking. He’s elevating to gourmet levels things that most people cast away or at best use for stock. I just have one problem…I don’t like offal or pieces-parts. At least none I’ve ever tried. Still, I wanted to eat Chris’s cooking, I would just order everything from the middle edges of the pig rather than either end or the center ;-)
We had no trouble finding non-pieces-parts dishes. The arugula-feathercress salad was lovely. Our waitress was fun and knowledgable and just made the evening fun. She recommended wines that we may not have picked but went with each dish wonderfully.
One problem I kept having, I’d forget to take pictures! So, most of my shots are after I’d eaten some and messed up the presentation. *SIGH* But when the food is so good, you don’t want to grab a camera, you want to grab a fork!
The PORK BELLY (Spicy pork belly, asparagus, scallions, pistachios, mint)! Oh good lord. Sooooo creamy and delicious. It looked like it would be fatty and greasy but it was pure pork heaven. Spicy from the pepper topping and … just damn good!
Handkerchief pasta and rustic pork ragu was comfort food. I wanted to take the plate to a fireplace with a blankie and my glass of Brunello. It was baby-it’s-cold-outside kind of food. Comfort food like this is where the law of diminishing return goes out the window. More more more!
The cod was perfectly cooked with artichokes, potato and lemon. I had to talk my husband into this one since wine and artichokes don’t mix but the Brachetto was nice with the dish actually.
The table next to us got the In-CAN-to dish which was tripe and trotters served tableside in a soup can. Really fun presentation and the woman said it was great. At one point I saw Chris expediting but also with his phone out. I slipped my phone out of my purse and checked and, yup, he was tweeting pics of the dishes as they went out. Our’s didn’t make the photo shoot!
Dessert was the first lemon meringue pie that rivals my mom’s. She set the bar high. Her lemon pie is amazing. They called this one a lemon curd torta but it was a lemon meringue pie with a shortbread crust. It’s my perfect dessert. I love it. I didn’t leave a crumb on that plate.
After we were done I asked our server if Chris was still around and available for me to play fangirl. Luckily he was. He came out, said hi and we chatted for probably longer than we should have kept him out of the kitchen but he was a gracious host. I felt like I was talking to an old friend and he seemed pretty convinced that I’d be eating offal sometime in the future. I’m not ruling anything out.
Thursday, January 31st, 2013
My newest adventure is actually grabbing a recipe from one of the bazillion newsletters I get each day and cooking something from it for dinner that night. One night in and I’m already improvising of course. I never follow recipes! The first recipe was from the Epicurious newsletter: Rigatoni with Spicy Calabrese-Style Pork Ragù
The first thing I changed about this recipe is the simmer-for-4-hours bit. I didn’t have 4 hours. The second thing was I only had a pound of sausage and no ground pork. I did say “inspiration” right? Oh, and no carrots. I food-processed the onion, celery, garlic and chili flakes. Meanwhile I browned the sausage until it was almost cooked through. I took out the sausage and put the pureed veggies into the pan and cooked all the liquid off of those until the edges started getting toasty.
Then I added the sausage back in, tossed it with the puree and added 2 cans of tomatoes that I pureed in the food processor and one can diced. I like some chunks in my sauce sometimes. I put that on low and let it simmer until it was thick.
I didn’t have any rigatoni…seriously, I didn’t go to the store for this one! I ran with what I had! I had farfalle so I cooked that until it was 1 minute from done then I put the pasta in the pan with the sauce and let it cook the last minute in the sauce.
I learned that trick from Molto Mario years ago! It’s the only way to have pasta. It integrates all the flavors and keeps the pasta from becoming a clump under the sauce.
In the end it only took about 45 minutes for the whole process. I’m sure it would have been far richer and wonderful with 4 hours of simmering and more pork. I’ll try that sometime. This was a lot like a typical go-to pasta dish I make a lot without a recipe but the trick I liked was food-processoring the veg. It integrated the flavors into the meat and tomatoes much more quickly I think.
I thought I’d do a second day of newsletter recipes tonight but all the newsletters were Superbowl themed and I was not interested in quesadillas or chili so the next adventure will have to wait until next week when “ball” season is done.
Tuesday, January 29th, 2013
Vertigo runs in my family. I’ve always been prone to motion sickness but about six years ago I went on a ferry in Sydney and my head thought it was still on the ferry for about 5 days. I’d be standing in the kitchen pouring a cup of tea and the whole room would spin. Since then I can’t swing on swings, jump on trampolines or, I thought, go on boats. I’d never in my life been on a sail boat. Why would I do such a thing when I’d just spend the whole time heaving over the side?
Well, before we left for this trip, I got transderm scopolamine from my doctor. That’s the little patch that goes behind your ear and sucks all the water out of your inner ear so there’s no sloshing happening. I’m very sloshy. I had no idea if this thing would work or if I’d have side effects or anything. I just stuck it behind my ear, washed my hands really well so I wouldn’t touch my eyes and dry them up, and then headed to the dock. I’ll end the suspense…the patch worked! The water wasn’t smooth by any means, we were up and down and all around but I didn’t feel a single worble. I can go on boats!!! I also wasn’t worbly when I got back on land. Maybe I should wear these patches all the time ;-)
So, we got on this catamaran along with a couple of dozen other people and sailed about 45 minutes out to Stingray City. I can honestly say I’ve never experienced anything like this. I’ve petted the manta rays at the Monterey Bay Aquarium but they’re small, don’t have stingers and half the time are huddled in the pool away from people. Stingray City was a whole other kettle of fish (*groan*). My son and I were the first down the ladder (well, he was first and I followed) and then he was the first to stop and get scared to jump down. The water was choppy and he wasn’t going to be tall enough to touch the bottom. So I passed him and jumped down first, tried to convince him to jump to me and then got doused by a wave and got about a quart of salt water up my nose. That’s a great start. But I recovered, got him down and then we were surrounded by stingrays! It was unsettling at first, and then really, really cool. They feel soft and a little slimy and have spent their whole lives at the sandbar where people come and feed them so they are really friendly…almost too friendly. We all had them swim up to either side and slap our legs looking for squid. It was CRAZY!
We spent about 30 minutes in the water with them then headed back up to the boat for some tequila drinks, lots of water, and a sail to Rum Point for some burgers. Since my husband’s foot is still healing from his accident in September, we always had to search out a place to sit first. We camped out in some beach chairs right next to the water, the margarita stand, and Eric Ripert’s station.
Sweeet. I had to pass on Spike Mendelsohn’s burger because it was lamb and I know how I am about lamb. I love rack of lamb. Let it grow up and it’s too lamby for me (I can’t overthink the baby-eating part of that). So I just wandered on and got one of Eric’s snapper sliders with spicy aioli. I actually got one for myself and my hubby and my son got one without the aioli. Then I went back and got another, and I’m pretty sure another. I scoped out the other burgers and taste-tested a few but always went back to Eric. To quote my son, “How does he make food taste so good?!”
Eric wasn’t overly busy, this was a small event, so I went up to attempt a conversation. I was doing really well! I was asking about the capers and the peppers on the fish from the Barefoot BBQ the night before. He said the capers were brined Spanish capers (they were amazing and unlike any caper I’d ever had) and the peppers were a local island pepper that he didn’t know the name of. I was commenting that I was surprised I liked them because they weren’t hot but they didn’t have the flavor of bell pepper at all which was great. See? Going well right?! Then I spilled champagne down my shirt. *sigh* It wasn’t sexy with me in a bikini, splashing champagne on myself in a hair-flipping, buxom, margarita-fueled craze (I was not in a bikini, nor am I buxom). I basically drooled. Someday I will manage to not look like a fool.
We had to finish up and catch the first catamaran back to get our son to his snorkeling camp before we went to see Eric and Tony Bourdain do their demo and talk. So we waltzed back to the catamaran and had a lovely sail back to the resort.
It’s always fun to listen to Eric and Tony razz each other. They didn’t do the Good vs. Evil routine (they’ll be on tour with that this spring) but they did a basics of cooking demo and Q&A session. They addressed things that people regularly screw up in the kitchen. First up, the omelet. Tony made a simple omelet, Eric acted shocked that Tony could cook. Their kids taste tested it and got the thumbs up :) Eric talked about how Tony has taken up meditation. Tony looked quite shocked and confused by this idea. And then of course Eric throws the punchline out which is a stack of photos he has taken, and I’ve seen him post them on twitter, of Tony sleeping on airplanes. This bromance can get catty!!
Eric then showed how to property tie up a chicken for cooking to keep its shape and juices in. He made scrambled eggs which were to die for! They passed them out in little egg shells. He cooks them through then whips in creme fraiche and chives. I am going to try this technique. Then they started going through the list of things people do not do right in the kitchen. First up, grill a steak. I was happy to hear them go through the list of do’s and don’ts and know that I was doing it all right! Let the steaks come up to room temp, salt them right before putting them on a not-too-hot grill (or you get raw inside, charcoal outside), DON’T touch them. Flip the steaks only once, don’t cut or poke them, leave them the hell alone. Then let them rest for about 8 minutes before serving. Yup, I do all that! For pasta: lots and lots of water, tons and tons of salt and don’t put oil in the water. It does nothing to keep the pasta from sticking. Oil and water don’t mix.
The funniest bit was when Sandra, Eric’s amazingly awesome, beautiful, funny wife, asked what they make when they cook romantic dinners for their wives. Eric replied with, “I’m not married.” Ouch! And then said they go out to eat. Poor girl’s never going to get a romantic home-cooked meal! That’s what you get for marrying a chef.
After it was over I got Tony to sign my Get Jiro! book and then we went and got our son from snorkeling and, yet again, spent the rest of the day in the ocean, on the beach or in the hot tub. It’s hard to be back home now!
Read about Thursday and Friday!
Saturday, June 30th, 2012
Everyone’s reaction to me telling them I’m remodeling my kitchen is first, “FINALLY!” and second, “Where are you cooking? When we remodeled our kitchen it was a lot of microwaving.”
No way! Not for me!
Pasta and broccolini boiled on my camp stove…garlic sauteed and pine nuts browned on the other burner. Topped with fresh CSA basil and a dash of chili flakes I made with last year’s crop:
Pasta with broccolini, pine nuts, garlic, basil and chili flakes
Locally caught sand dabs cooked in foil on the grill with CSA garlic, garden parsley and marjoram and olive oil. Served with grilled CSA leeks and grilled CSA lettuce (romaine-like but not actually romaine) topped with caesar dressing:
Sanddabs with garlic, parsley, marjoram, grilled leeks and grilled lettuce with caesar dressing
I think I’ve used my microwave twice and that was for warming up leftovers for lunch. No kitchen does not mean no Food Porn!!
Thursday, January 19th, 2012
Fresh off the heels of the Cayman Cookout, I went to the Farmer’s Market completely inspired. I picked up various ingredients: lemongrass, cilantro, shallots, salmon. I had no plan though until I got home and started flipping through Eric Ripert’s A Return to Cooking. I didn’t follow any of the recipes but saw one that was for shrimp with cilantro and another that was a chicken pot a feu with ginger-cilantro vermicelli. That got my brain movin’.
I simmered lemongrass, ginger, shallots, garlic, lime rind and chicken (I didn’t have any chicken stock made but I had a couple of drumsticks in the freezer so I tossed those in). I let that simmer for about an hour. It would have been better if I had much longer but I didn’t and it was quite flavorful even after such a short time.
Next I skinned the salmon and put it in a dish with garlic, cilantro, a little oil and a splash of white wine. I turned it a few times while I was working on everything else.
I didn’t have any vermicelli but I did have spaghetti so I broke a handful of that into thirds and boiled it up. When it was done I tossed it with cilantro, shallots, lime juice and a little olive oil.
I removed the salmon from the marinade and dried it off. I wanted the flavor but since I was going to be searing it on high heat, I need to get the garlic off as much as I could so it wouldn’t burn. I heated canola oil until it was almost smoking and added the fish. I let it cook on the first side for 3-4 minutes, until it had a nice brown crust starting to happen. Then I flipped it an only kept it about another minute on that side.
To serve I put a small pile of sugar snap peas, cut into 1/2 inch pieces. I placed the pasta on top of that. Scattered some sunflower sprouts from our wonderful microgreen and mushroom folks at the farmer’s market around the pasta. Topped that with the salmon.
I strained the simmering broth and ladeled that over the pasta. To add some crunch I added a few more sprouts to the top, not in the broth. Then a generous squeeze of lime juice over the whole thing.
Tuesday, March 8th, 2011
Take the leftover chicken meat, I had 2 legs and 1 breast left, and cut it into chunks. Put it in the food processor with some sauteed garlic and shallots, some chopped herbs, salt and pepper. For the amount of chicken I had left I used 2 shallots and 2 cloves of garlic, a tablespoon or so of chopped marjoram and a tablespoon of chopped thyme. Blend that all together until it’s an incorporated minced up ravioli filling.
This was a quick weeknight meal for me so I didn’t make my pasta dough, I just used gyoza wrappers. They’re quick easy ravioli wrappers and they’re perfectly square so they’re quick to fill and fold! You only have to boil them for about 2-3 minutes on low boil so they don’t break open.
For my husband and I, I sauteed up some kale in coconut oil (a tip I got from a friend, it’s yummy!), sprinkled it with some chili flakes and served the raviolis on top of that with some butter and cheese (on his). For my son i just put butter and cheese on them. Easy for the whole family!
Thursday, December 16th, 2010
It’s gotten cold and rainy. When that happens, I start making more pasta and soup. More comfort foods. More warming, cozy foods. One of the easiest is usually pasta with red sauce.
2 onions, chopped
3 oz pancetta, diced (optional for vegetarians…not optional otherwise!)
Cook down until onions are soft and starting to brown.
Add 1c. white wine and 2 cloves minced garlic. Cook off almost all the wine.
Add 3 cans of tomatoes (not sauce).
Rehydrate some porcinis. I put as many into my 2 cup measuring cup as I could comfortably do. It’s not 2 cups of dried porcini per se because they aren’t packed in but they add great flavor so if you have them, use them! We have a few.
Chop up the porcinis once they’re soft and add them to the sauce. Let that reduce for, oh, awhile. You want to cook off most of the water bit of the tomatoes so you have a good thick sauce. When almost all of the liquid is cooked off add a huge handful of minced herbs. I use thyme and marjoram.
When the sauce is saucy and not watery, dump it into a food processor and zap it until its perfect.
Once again, I ate before I snapped a final picture. I wish I had smell-o-vision. This is one of my favorite smells in my house: garlicky goodness.
Tuesday, July 13th, 2010
Simple and delicious.
Grill salmon with just some salt, pepper and olive oil. In a grill basket, toss some broccoli florets and chopped summer squash. Cook all that until it’s done.
Meanwhile (on the stove not the BBQ) sauté up some chard with garlic and chili flakes. When the grilled veggies are done, mix those into the cooked chard. When the salmon is done, separate it into small pieces and mix that into the veggies. When that’s all tossed together, put it on top of some pasta…penne or something else short works best.
Chiffonade some basil–I had this gorgeous purple basil from my CSA–and top the pasta with a generous amount of it.
Wednesday, March 31st, 2010
I needed to cook as much produce as I could for dinner. I’m picking up my first CSA box today and it’s going to fill my fridge. I had a huge bag of spring onions from my dad’s garden and a head of napa cabbage that were taking up the most space. Pasta time!!
2 cups chopped spring onions
1/2 head of napa cabbage
2 garlic cloves
1 c. white wine
1 package of prosciutto cut into 1″ slices
1 lb shell pasta
1/2 c. toasted pine nuts
I chopped the spring onions into 1/2 inch chunks (just the tender white parts…i cut down a little too far into the green and got some tough pieces). Put those in a large pan with some olive oil and salt. Cook for what seems like forever. When they look soft, add the wine and cook that until the wine is almost gone. Add the garlic and cabbage. It will be a huge pile, but will quickly reduce. Once the cabbage is soft, fold in the prosciutto.
Toss the cabbage-onion mixture into the cooked pasta. Top with the toasted pine nuts.
This turned out to be far tastier than I imagined. It was just a clear-out-the-fridge meal for me but the result was really, really good. We had a 2004 Ridge Syrah with it that was great!