Wednesday, July 29, 2009

CSA Week 6: Marinated Peaches over Maple Yogurt

Here it is Wednesday night and I still haven't posted anything about this week's farm haul. For shame, Lady A! And this was an extremely exciting haul! We're slowly inching towards summer vegetables and we got a fantastically large fruit share this time around! While not all fresh and sweet, it was been delightful to be able to munch on fruit all week--exacty what we were hoping for when we first signed up for the share. So, without further ado, here's what we got: 4 cucumbers, 2 spring onions, 9 carrots, 5 fava beans, 2 oz. parsley, 3/4 lb. greens (swiss chard) and 1/4 lb. baby greens. As for fruit: 5 lbs (!) plums, 3 lbs peaches and 1 pint cherries. Yay!
As I sat on the kitchen floor, munching on a peach, I realized they were not quite ripe and starting dreaming about what to do with them. I've been toying with the idea of buying a bigger ice cream maker, so I was very attracted by Kelly's Peach Ice Cream (and accompanying rant) on Sass & Veracity. But dinnertime came around and I had no ice cream maker. Instead, I marinated the peaches while I prepared dinner and while we ate. Then I drizzled on some blood orange olive oil, scooped the peaches over cream top maple yogurt that I bought us as a treat last week at whole foods. Delicious.
Marinated Peaches over Maple Yogurt
Toss peaches, sugar and clementine juice in a bowl together and set aside (in the fridge if you have room) until ready to use, preferable for 2 or more hours. When ready to serve, add olive oil and mix well. Scoop yogurt into bowls and serve covvered by peaches. They're also wonderful over vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!
Links to other peach noshes:

Monday, July 20, 2009

Halibut and Spicy Yogurt Sauce

Since I've started blogging regularly again the past couple of months, though with little increase in readers, I began thinking about why I started blogging in the first place. Honestly, it wasn't for the food blogging community (that was an added bonus!); it began purely as a way for me to keep track of the food I was making--kind of a 21st-century collection of recipe index cards. See, I was living in Paris and, for the first time, solely responsible for what I (and, usually, the Boy) were eating. This meant not only was I cooking regularly, but I was also encountering new ingredients and preparations every day. Not to mention that I was learning about meal planning and attempting to keep us healthy at the same time. So it came as a pleasant surprise that I was creating so many delicious recipes. And, late one night while the Boy was with his family in China, I wrote my very first post. Believe it or not, that was over 4 years ago!
All of this is to say that, now I've re-entered the blogging world, I've noticed a significant in my cooking and my comfort in the kitchen, developing and adapting recipes. So, reviewing some of my earliest posts while deciding what to make for dinner tonight, I stumbled upon my third post: filet de mulet et sauce piquante de yaourt. I decided to tweak it and remake it (adding some fronds from my leftover fennel) and was thrilled by how well it came out. Served alongside a leafy green salad for two, this was a light and easy summer meal. Enjoy!
Halibut and Spicy Yogurt Sauce
Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat bottom of a glass baking pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Place 1 bay leaf and 1 fennel leaf on each side of pan. Rub halibut with salt, fish spice blend and pepper. Cut into 2 fillets and place each one on top of bay leaf and fennel. Cover with water, until fish is completely submerged. Cook 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the Sauce:
In a small bowl, stir together sauce ingredients until sauce is all 1 color. Once fish is cooked, serve with sauce spooned over. Serves 2.
Links to other halibut noshes:

Sunday, July 19, 2009

CSA Week 5: Caramelized Beets with Garlic

Another week and another batch of produce. This week, we had quite a large assortment of vegetables--so much so that, I admit, I'm a little stumped as to what to do with it all! So, if you have any suggestions, please feel free to share them. And, with no further ado, the vegetable goodies were: spring onions, fresh garlic, carrots, fava bean pods, beets, field greens and swiss chard. The fruit was very similar to last week, with one minor addition: pink currants, black currants and cherries. All in all, a varied haul. Thus far, I've made a Garden Harvest Cake, using twice as many carrots and ignoring the zucchini; a Carrot, Turnip and Mint Salad with Raisins, finally finishing the turnips from so long ago; and these Caramelized Beets with Garlic, the idea for which I took from this wonderful ode to beets on Farmgirl Fare.

Although beets have gained a bad reputation, we needed no convincing of their deliciousness. However, I'm always looking for new ways to enjoy vegetables and these caramelized beets were so easy that I knew I had to try them. I only wish I had more beets! We enjoyed them with deviled eggs with anchovies and white beer. This was also the first time I made beets forgoing the messy task of peeling them. Enjoy!

Caramelized Beets with Garlic
Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add beets and cook, stirring frequently, for 45 minutes. When beets are soft, add garlic, salt and cardamom and cook undisturbed 1 minute. Mix everything together and cook 1 more minute so flavors meld. Serve.
Links to other beets noshes:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

CSA Week 4: Lettuce Corn Salad with Pancetta

Well, this week certainly flew by! It's already Wednesday and I realized I'd better write up this week's farm haul before Thursday's upon us and we get a whole new batch of goodies.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to do much interesting cooking. In fact, I only made real dinners Thursday night and Friday night, neither of which got photographed. The tastier dish using farm ingredients was by far the simple salad I made Thursday night, so that's the rough recipe that will follow, but, really--sorry for not offering something more groundbreaking. I'll have to make it up to you next week.

Anyway, on to the CSA! Our vegetables were: 1 lettuce, 2 spring red onions, 1 bulb fennel, 1 napa cabbage, 1 bok choi and greens (kale and swiss chard). Also, our fruit share finally got started, so we also got a small container of black currants and one of cherries.

Lettuce Corn Salad with Pancetta
Remove leaves from lettuce and wash and dry well. Place corn in a small pot covered with about 1/4 inch water and simmer 4-8 minutes, depending on how fresh corn is. Drain and reserve. Fry up pancetta in a pan over medium heat until crispy. Mix lettuce, corn, pancetta and green onions in a large salad bowl.
Combine all other ingredients in a small jar to make the dressing. Shake well and pour over salad. Toss and serve immediately.
Links to other lettuce noshes:
A final note: welcome to any fellow CSA members! So glad you've stopped by and please feel free to leave comments about what you've been making with all our goodies.

Friday, July 03, 2009

CSA Week 3: Cold Blueberry Garlic Almond Soup

Week 3 of our CSA and another very exciting haul. It's still been extremely rainy here, so no fruit share yet, but we've been promised a double share next week. (Yikes; I mean, yay!) But we have some lovely vegetables again, still more springy than summery, but no complaints here. And things that I can't usually find in Chinatown. So...what did we get? 1 (very small) head of broccoli, 1 head of lettuce, 3 beets (with their beautiful greens still attached), 2 heads of garlic with the thick green stalk still attached, 1 pound swiss chard and 1 bunch mint.

Once I brought everything home and stored it properly to last the week, I began thinking about what to make for dinner. What most excited me about this haul was the garlic. I'm a really big fan of what I call "fresh garlic" since it's the garlic I prefer to eat raw. So it's my garlic of choice for pestos and uncooked sauces (before I discovered garlic scapes, of course). But I've been making lots of sauces lately so I started thinking about a cold soup. Then the Boy and I started discussing whether people eat beets raw so I did some research, decided that they do and garnished my soup with some chopped beet. This soup was inspired by Cold Garlic Almond Soup from Anne's Food.

While very tasty, I never did completely get rid of the almond meal texture. Any suggestions? And the addition of blueberries is the reason for the stupendous color.

Cold Blueberry Garlic Almond Soup
Tear the bread into about 9 pieces. Submerge in a bowl of cold water and let soak for 30 minutes. Squeeze out as much water as possible and remove bread to bowl of food processor. Add almonds, blueberries and garlic and process until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add olive oils, salt, curry powder, pepper, water, sherry and vinegar. Process again until as smooth as possible (and perhaps you'll find a way to get rid of the coarse almond texture, perhaps by straining the soup through a cheesecloth-lined strainer?). Transfer to a glass bowl, cover, and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve (1-2 hours).
Before serving, mix together pine nuts, raisins and beet in a small bowl as garnish. Serve soup and invite diners to sprinkle garnish on top. Enjoy!
Links to other garlic noshes:

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sauteed turnip greens and spinach with pancetta and cannellini beans over tomato fettuccine

One of the many perks of living in Chinatown is that we're right next door to Little Italy. And that means easy access to Italian cured meats and cheeses from Di Palo's (in their beautifully renovated and expanded new store!) and fresh pasta from Piemonte Ravioli, a store we just discovered on Saturday that makes their own delightfully flavored pasta. How could it have taken us so long??

This is a simple (almost) vegetarian meal that really showcases that flavors of good dry beans, fresh turnip greens (from our CSA), fresh pancetta and homemade tomato fettuccine. The spinach I used was frozen (it was all I had on hand) but I'm sure this would be fantastic with fresh spinach as well. It was also my first time making dry beans from scratch. How easy and what a big taste difference! Because I was making so few, I didn't even pre-soak them. Enjoy!

Sauteed turnip greens and spinach with pancetta and cannellini beans over tomato fettuccine

Place beans in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then simmer until beans are tender, about 40 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Free turnip greens from the turnips and break in half. Rinse, then spin dry in a salad spinner, along with spinach.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add fettuccine. Cook until it rises to the top, then drain and set aside until greens are ready.

Halve pancetta slices lengthwise, then roughly chop. Saute in a large skillet over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add greens, cover and cook 6 minutes, stopping halfway through to give everything a good stir. Uncover and add beans, salt, sesame seeds and pepper. Cook another 2 minutes. Add wine and cook another 4 minutes, stirring, until it no longer tastes alcoholic. Add cardamom and cook a final 2 minutes. Toss with pasta. Enjoy!

Links to other turnip greens noshes:

Sunday, June 28, 2009

CSA Week 2: Filets de poulet au sauce de moutarde, menthe et persil

Week 2 of our CSA and we had another exciting haul: 5 more garlic scapes, 4 baby turnips with their greens still attached, 3 more heads of lettuce, 1 bunch swiss chard, parsley, mizuna and field greens. Obviously, salads are in our future, but I'm also trying to come up with some scrumptious cooked dishes as well.

While not cooked, I made this sauce on Thursday night when I came home hot and sweaty with my vegetables. I wanted a tasty, refreshing, light meal that wouldn't require too much work to prepare. After browsing online for a while, I found a recipe for a Mustard-Mint-Parsley Sauce that Alosha served with salmon. The sauce sounded delicious, but I was more interested in having meat than fish. So I searched for a turkey dish that would go nicely with the sauce. I finally settled on Turkey Cutlets from Kalyn's Kitchen. After tweaking both recipes quite a bit (and discovering that there actually are no turkey cutlets to be found in Chinatown), I created my own dish which, served with a simple salad with almonds, turned into a delightful meal.

Chicken fillets with mustard mint and parsley sauce

Begin by making the sauce so the flavors have sufficient time to meld. Simply mix all ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Reserve until ready to use.
Now make the chicken. Mix breading mix, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper together on a plate. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add butter and melt into olive oil. Dredge each chicken fillet in breading, then add to hot pan. Cook 4 minutes, then flip, lower heat, cover and cook another 4 minutes until fillets are cooked through. Remove from pan and serve accompanied by sauce. Enjoy!
Links to other parsley noshes:

Monday, June 22, 2009

CSA Week 1: Cabillaud au pesto de mizuna

Thursday was the first shipment of our CSA and I couldn't be happier. For those of you who don't know, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and basically means that the Boy and I have bought a share in a farm (in this case, Norwich Meadows Farm) and, for the next five months we will be receiving an assortment of freshly-harvested vegetables every Thursday. Not only is this saving us money; it also introduces us to vegetables we don't normally use and ensures that we eat many more vegetables since we certainly don't want to be wasteful. And, it provides us with an opportunity to conveniently get organic vegetables that are not traditional to Chinese cooking. All in all, a very good deal. In a few weeks, we'll also be starting a fruit share with produce from Red Jacket Orchards. Both of these are through a delightful store we discovered purely through our quest for a CSA--Provisions on Beekman. Located right near South Street Seaport, they have local products and fantastic olive oil (I currently have a bottle of their Blood Orange Olive Oil which is absolutely delightful.

So, you ask, what did we get this first week? 4 heads lettuce, 10 garlic scapes, 8 spring onions, 2 lbs. of greens (swiss chard, kale and mizuna) and 4 oz. parsley. I've already used quite a lot of the produce, having made kale, rotelle with swiss chard and garbanzo beans and stir-fried tofu with spring onions, garlic, ginger and soy sauce. But the recipe I'm sharing with you today is one I made on Friday night, when we had my parents over for shabbos dinner.

I was inspired by a recipe I found on serious eats for Cod with Pesto. Wanting to use some of my farm produce, I decided to make a pesto out of mizuna instead of the traditional basil. Spicy and very fresh-tasting, it was a perfect partner to the rich, buttery cod. It also was a perfect opportunity to use my blood orange olive oil. Enjoy!

Cod with Mizuna Pesto

Begin by preparing the pesto. Add all the ingredients to a food processor and pulse, stopping to scrape down the sides if necessary, until everything is the same texture--that of a liquidy paste. Scoop into a bowl and set aside while you prepare the cod.

Preheat a George Foreman Grill. Rub cod on both sides of each fillet with salt and pepper. Cook in grill for 3 minutes. (Depending on the size of the grill and of your fillets, you may need to do this in batches.)

Serve cod and pesto together, encouraging diners to spoon as much pesto as they like onto the cod. Enjoy!

Links to other mizuna noshes:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Farfalle margherita

Now I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I do most of the cooking around here. However, there are nights when I come home so exhausted that all I really want for dinner is a bowl of cereal. Unfortunately, that's been happening rather frequently lately (hence the lack of posts) as I've been working nights again. But sometimes, the Boy comes to my rescue, as he did the other night, by making me dinner.

Dinner made by the Boy almost always consists of pasta, and this was no exception--a simple, delicious homemade tomato sauce, sprinkled with fresh basil (from the little plants on our balcony) and le coup de grace--hunks of mozzarella di bufalo, purchased from Trader Joe's. A simple, delicious late-night meal, this will be even better made with fresh tomatoes when they burst into season. A nice alternative might also be to try it with smoked mozzarella! And because the Boy doesn't believe in measuring cups and spoons, these are approximate. Enjoy!

Farfalle margherita

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add farfalle and kosher salt and cook farfalle according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and red onion and saute until onion begins to soften. Add both kinds of tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until farfalle is cooked. Remove sauce from heat.

Drain farfalle and toss with tomato sauce. Add basil and mozzarella and toss until mozzarella begins to melt. Serve.

Links to other mozzarella di bufalo noshes:

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mozzarella Matzoh Brie

Passover is over and we're back to consuming out usual amounts of chometz and trayf. But, in an ongoing effort to record our tasty culinary creations, I invite you to return your minds to Passover (just for a bit!) and allow me to share with you this delectable Mozzarella Matzoh Brie.

But first, a little background. For those of you who don't know, during Passover, observant Jews refrain from eating leavened foods (chometz). This applies not only to baked goods, but is also often applied to grains and beans (which grow when cooked in liquid). It also means you can't eat flour or anything cooked with flour, other than matzoh and matzoh meal. In other words, it's a holiday during which we certainly miss our pasta. Matzoh Brie is a great way to have a quick, filling meal with all that starch you've been craving. Though traditionally served for breakfast, I love making a savory version for an easy weeknight dinner.

I usually add whatever vegetables I have on-hand, but this time I was inspired by a traditional Italian dish, Mozzarella in Carrozza, and recombined the ingredients (minus the white bread that usually creates the crust) to make this Matzoh Brie. It was delicious!

And for video instructions on making Matzoh Brie, check out Mom's YouTube Clip. Enjoy!

Mozzarella Matzoh Brie

Break matzoh up into 2 or 3-inch pieces (as unevenly as you want) and soak in a large shallow pan filled with well-salted water. Soak for at least 5 minutes, then drain as well as you can in a colander, squeezing the matzoh pieces against the sides of the colander to get out as much water as possible. The better you squeeze out the matzoh, the more egg it will be able to soak up and the fluffier the matzoh brie will be.

While matzoh soaks, beat eggs with black pepper and ground mustard. Add soaked and drained matzoh pieces and mix well. Let sit at least another 5 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic and saute 2 minutes. Add anchovies and cook, stirring, until anchovies have melted into the oil, another 2 minutes. Whisk in lemon juice and cook, stirring, another 2 minutes until all flavors are combined. Allow to cool slightly.

Add mozzarella, basil and garlic-anchovy mixture to matzoh-egg mixture and stir well. Add remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil to skillet and heat over medium-low heat. Add matzoh mixture and cook, without touching it, for 10 minutes. Using a spatula, cut matzoh brie into quarters and flip each quarter. This doesn't have to be perfectly even, so don't worry about it. Cook another 5 minutes. Raise heat to medium, flip matzoh brie again and cook an additional 5 minutes, until cooked through (but still fluffy!) and bottom is slightly browned (but not burnt). Serve, garnished with celery tops and lemon quarters. Enjoy!

Links to other matzoh brie noshes:

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Daikon roti avec sauce de soja et graines de sesame

It's been a long time, I know. And, honestly, while I've been cooking, it hasn't been worth sharing. You see, I've been working--teaching French and stage managing--which has left very little time for meals. Tonight, however, I was finally able to (almost) take a day off, stock my terrifyingly empty refrigerator with a much-needed trip to Trader Joe's (we'd been making due with Fresh Direct orders for the past two months) and make a real dinner that didn't include the use of my slow cooker and involved two dishes.

For my first meal "back," I decided to use a vegetale I encounter quite frequently on the streets of Chinatown, though, to the best of my knowledge I had never tried it. I'm talking about daikon, or lobak, as it's commonly referred to down here. Daikon looks like a giant white turnip, but smells and tastes like a radish. It has a nice sharp bite raw. Roasted, however, it becomes delightfully caramelized and almost sweet. Paired with soy sauce, it remains a savory side dish and we quite enjoyed it with Broiled Lime and Vinegar Chicken, whose acidic sauce paired beautifully with the daikon. It was also a lovely marriage with our Sauvignon Blanc. Definitely a vegetable I'll be exploring again soon!

And, to give credit where credit's due, I got the idea to roast the daikon in the first place from Kalyn's recipe for Roasted Radishes. As you can see, I tweaked it slightly. Thanks for the inspiration, Kalyn!

Roasted Daikon with Soy Sauce and Sesame Seeds
(inspired by Kalyn's Kitchen)
Preheat oven to 425 F. Toss daikon pieces with vegetable oil in a baking pan. Roast for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and add soy sauce and green onions. Toss everything together with tongs as best you can, trying to get the soy sauce on all the daikon pieces. Roast for an additional 5 minutes. Once done, remove from oven, transfer to serving bowl and sprinkle with sesame seeds and rosemary. Enjoy!

Links to other daikon noshes:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Potage au boeuf et au vermicelle chinois

"Soup of the evening, beautiful soup!
Soup of the evening, beautiful soup!
Beau-ootiful Soo-oop!
Beau-ootiful Soo-oop!
Soo-oop of the e-e-evening,
Beautiful, beautiful soup!"
--Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Mock Turtle, speaking)

Happy Chinese New Year and welcome to the Year of the Ox! In honor of the New Year, I'm sharing a recipe for a soup made in the wok. As you probably know, the wok is a traditional Chinese cooking vessel that I use quite frequently. That said, until I made this soup, I had only ever used the wok for stir-fries. However, wanting something warming, I flipped through a little French cookbook I have, Le petit livre du wok, and made it no further than the first recipe when I decided to make this soup. (I know; sometimes I surprise even myself with my decisiveness.)

You may be wondering, however, why there is no picture of said soup. Truth be told, I added quite a bit of black pepper, which, while flavorful, ended up severely discoloring the soup to such a degree as to leave it unphotographable. That said, it was exceedingly tasty. Enjoy!

Beef and Bean Threads Soup

Peel and mince onion and ginger. Place meat in wok, along with onion and ginger. Add water to cover, as well as salt, pepper, five-spice powder and pumpkin pie spice. Cook for 1 hour, 30 minutes. Take out meat, slice thinly and reserve. Add bean threads to wok and boil for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, chop parsley finely. Pour soup into bowls and top with meat and parsley. Enjoy!

Links to other soup noshes: