Sunday, January 21, 2007

10 recettes favorites

The lovely Mijo, of Je Mijote, tagged me for a Meme! It's for each blogger to make a list of his/her ten favorite recipes of 2006. These recipes are not necessarily those that received the most comments, but, rather, those that I preferred. So, without further ado, here they are:


Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Stir-Fry with Cashews, over Quinoa

I made this for the first and, so far, only Paper Chef I've participated in and it was delicious! Yogurt was a great marinade for the Chicken, ensuring that it stayed moist and tangy. And the Cashews added a great change of texture. I must remember to make Quinoa again (it's a great substitute for Rice) and to take part in more Paper Chefs.


Frittata d'epinards, oeufs et trois fromages

This baked dish, which was really more of a crustless Quiche than a Frittata, was absolutely delicious. I served it as a side dish, but it could be equally appropriate for brunch. With two bunches of Spinach, it's an easy way to get in a serving of green, leafy vegetables. And, chock full of Eggs and three kinds of Cheese, it's a great vegetarian source of Calcium and Protein.

Rib-eye steaks au livarot

This was the first recipe I ever blogged and I made it again to celebrate my first blog-birthday. It was even better than I had remembered it, so I'm really glad I made it twice! Being in the States, I used Rib-Eye Steaks instead of Filet de Boeuf. Livarot, a stinky washed-rind cheese, is the perfect counterbalance to the rich, almost sweet, meat and makes a fabulous sauce.


Soupe de betterave

This was nothing more than a simple Beet Soup, but very delicious. It was chock full of Beets and Onions which made it extremely flavorful. I also think there are very few dishes that are more nourishing than a good Soup, no matter what the weather is like outside. That said, this is definitely a dish I'll remake now that it's quite cold out.

Focaccia d'ail, asperges, fraises & romarin

My first attempt at homemade Focaccia (and using a pizza stone) and it was wonderful. It was also surprisingly easy; the hardest part was to be patient and wait for the dough to rise. I'm looking forward to experimenting with many toppings other than the unlikely combination of Asparagus, Strawberries and Rosemary.


Glace pomme-mangue

The Boy bought me an Ice Cream ball and, in the midst of a heat wave, this was one of my early experiments with it. The ball was a lot of fun to play with and I really liked the combination of Mango and Apple (I actually didn't invent the flavor; I used a Mango-Applesauce).


Berry Pudding Cake

Seduced by all the summer Berries in the Greenmarket, I decided to put them together, inspired by one of the recipes they handed out at the stand. This Cake has a soft, Pudding-like interior that made it light enough for a summer dessert.


Pesto d'ete

A huge surprise for pasta eaters like the Boy and me, it took me years to make my own Pesto. But, last Summer, I finally did. It was so easy that, as soon as fresh Basil starts appearing at the Greenmarket again, I'll start makin big batches of it and freezing it to remind us of summer in the winter months.

Soupe d'ete

My last attempt to hold onto Summer's bounty was this Soup, adapted from one created by Susan of Farmgirl Fare. It's great if you have a garden of your own, or if you just can't contain yourself at the Greenmarket, which is my problem. Definitely a keeper!


Pain de biere, d'amandes et de gingembre

Although I'm still quite nervous about baking, I did finally get around to making my own Bread from scratch. I had read that making Bread with Beer is considerably easier, so that's what I did. The hardest part was waiting for it to rise! This time, I flavored it with Almonds and Ginger. Next time I'll definitely play around with some more flavorings.

Thanks for "listening" to my re-cap! Stay tuned for 2007.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Simple Recipe: Tomato-Challah Soup

One of my New Year's Resolutions this year is to blog more frequently. One of the reasons I haven't been doing so is that working at a toy store during the Holiday Season absolutely devours your life. But now it's January and life has slowed down. Ozzy's finally settled into a schedule and the Boy and I are apartment-hunting, so hopefully you'll soon hear about the excitements and travails of a new kitchen.

And even though things are settling down in January, I'm still working a few days a week and leaving the house for work (rather than mainly working from home with a few nighttime rehearsals that forced us to order up Chinese food more often than I'd care to admit) does give me less time and energy to cook. So, in an effort to blog more and to force us to continue eating good food even when I've worked that day and possibly am working the next, I'm starting a series on this blog: Simple Recipes and Easy Recipes. Simple Recipes are, you guessed it, simple. That means they can be made even after a day at work but, because they aren't extremely quick and taste slightly more exotic than normal, they're best when you can relax a little and don't have to work the next day. Easy Recipes, on the other hand, are designed for those nights when you've worked all day and have to get up early the next to start all over again. So, here goes. These won't be the most creative or imaginative recipes, but they sure will taste good. And, since I have today off thanks to Martin Luther King, last night's soup, Tomato-Challah Soup, was certainly Simple. I served it with Spicy Beef with Basil and Saucy Braised Eggplant (the links are to the recipes that served as my inspiration). Enjoy!

Tomato-Challah Soup

Pour Olive Oil into large pot. Add Garlic and cook over low heat for 3 minutes, until Garlic is soft. Add Basil, Tomatoes and Water. Raise heat to high and bring soup to a boil. Add Challah, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occassionally to keep Challah from sticking to sides of pot. Add Salt and Pepper and stir well.

Spoon into Soup Bowls and serve with crushed Basil leaves sprinkled on top.

and and and and and and

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Paprika Rice Supper with Pork Carnitas

Even when I try to cook something from a culture not my own, I still can't help but potchke with it. For instance, Mom recently gave me a wonderful Mexican cookbook, Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen, which she had doubles of. I've never made Mexican food before and, having grown up mostly with simple taquerias in lieu of slow-cooked homestyle Mexican food, I was excited about trying it out in my own kitchen. What I love about Bayless's book is that, even though there are many, many directions for almost all the recipes, the directions are very straightforward and down to earth. So, after devouring the recipes on the page, I decided to make Pork Carnitas with Achiote Rice, but because I had no Achiote, I decided to substitute it with Smoked Spanish Paprika, thereby making a fusion dish with my first attempt at "authentic" Mexican cooking. While I'm sure the Carnitas would have been wonderful with Achiote, it was super with the Paprika, taking on a smoky flavor that underscored the slow-cooked Pork very well. The Pork itself was extremely simple to make and, while it had to cook for a while, it was well worth the effort and, actually, required very little hands-on time. So, feel free to experiment, and enjoy!

Paprika Rice Supper with Pork Carnitas

2 tablespoons Smoked Spanish Paprika
2 teaspoons whole Allspice
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons Dried Oregano
3 tablespoons Cider Vinegar
7 cloves Garlic, peeled
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt, or to taste
1 - 2 pounds Boneless Pork Shoulder, trimmed and cut int 1 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon Lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 Anaheim Chile, fresh
1 cup frozen Peas, defrosted
1 cup Spanish Rice
1 Yellow Onion, finely chopped
1 3/4 cups Beef Broth
2 Carrots, chopped (I used Yellow and Purple Carrots from the Greenmarket)
Italian Parsley, chopped, as a garnish (optional)

With a mortar and pestle, grind and mix well Paprika, Allspice, Pepper, Oregano, Vinegar, Garlic and Salt (it is easier to give garlic a pastelike consistency if ground together with Kosher Salt). Add water (around 1 tablespoon) to make a thick paste. Spoon into a bowl and set aside.

Place Pork in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cover with water by 1/2-inch. Add Lime Juice and pinch of Kosher Salt. Simmer, partially covered, on medium heat, for 1 - 1 1/2 hours; until the pork is frying in its own fat and no other liquid remains. (As you near the end of the cooking time, watch the pot carefully so you don't wind up with a nasty burned mess like I did.) Reduce heat and, uncovered, brown meat, turning frequently, for about 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove meat. I only had a thin veneer of fat left--perfect to cook the rice in. If you have too much fat remaining, feel free to empty some of it out.

Meanwhile, pre-heat broiler and, when hot, place Chile inside and roast, turning every few minutes, until blackened on all sides. Remove, wrap in a kitchen towel and, when cool, peel off blistered skin, cut in half lengthwise, remove and discard seeds, and dice Chile.

Return Carnitas saucepan (with a thin layer of fat on the bottom) to the stove over medium heat and add Rice and Onion. Cook, about 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until Onion is soft and Rice no longer translucent. While Rice and Onion cook, heat Broth in a small saucepan. Stir in Paprika paste (2 tablespoons, or to taste) and Salt, if needed. Mix well. When Rice and Onion are ready, add Broth mixture, along with Pork, Chile and Carrots. Stir once, scrape down sides of pot, then cover and cook over medium-low heat until Rice is nearly cooked through--about 15 minutes. Turn off heat, stir in Peas and re-cover, then let stand another 5 minutes or so, until Rice is cooked through. Fluff Rice and serve, sprinkled with chopped Parsley.

and and and and and and