Archive for August, 2010

From Dish Erin:

Last week I went a little overboard at the greenmarket.  I couldn’t help it! It’s that time of year when the farmer’s markets are literally exploding with produce and I am a sucker for all the brightly colored orbs of deliciousness.  I loaded up on green tomatoes and made Dish Rachelle’s fried green tomatoes (delicious) with my own spin, a cilantro lemon aioli (I highly recommend it).  Also in my basket of goodies were one too many bunches of hearty greens and those adorable lil fairy tale eggplants.  So tonight I came home and looked in my fridge and all I saw were copious amounts of swiss chard and baby eggplants. Ok, go! And here’s what I came up with.

2 fairy tale eggplants, cut into 1-inch pieces
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
2 cups whole wheat rotini pasta
1 hearty bunch of swiss chard, rinsed and chopped
3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 shallot, sliced thin
Crushed red pepper flakes
1 heirloom tomato, diced
Lemon wedge
Chopped fresh parsley or basil, or both
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Roast the eggplant with a bit of olive oil, salt & pepper until golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Cook pasta according to package directions in salted water.

While both those things are happening, saute garlic and shallot in olive oil over medium heat. When garlic and shallot is softened, add a few generous shakes of crushed red pepper flakes, cook another minute, then add the tomatoes and cook for another minute more. Add the swiss chard and cook until greens are wilted.

Add a bit of salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon.

Remove the eggplant from the oven and add to the swiss chard and tomato mix.

Spoon a little of the pasta water in to the swiss chard pan, too.

Drain pasta, add to the pan and stir. Add fresh herbs and grated Parmesan cheese and serve.

It’s summer in a bowl.

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From Dish Jodi:

We’ve had a house-guest this past week, and basically ate out or ordered in every night (a culinary adventure spanning Kung Pao China Bistro delivery, and gastronomy at Jose Andres’ BAZAAR). Running around to stores, parties and Disneyland wiped us out. Our first night with the house to ourselves called for a quiet, healthy, simple dinner and our own version of escapist relaxation. In efforts to dress up a simple salmon fillet, I gave it a yummy soak in some sweet and spicy glaze.

1 bottle of prosecco
2 fresh salmon fillets
1/4 Cup orange marmalade
2 T spicy dijon mustard
1 t olive oil
1/4 t ground ginger
1 finely diced garlic clove
a big pinch of red pepper flakes
a pinch of pepper
a pinch of salt
one copy of the third book in the Hunger Games series, MOCKINGJAY

Pour yourself and your husband/roommate a big glass of prosecco. Sip while diving into chapter one (What has been going on in district 13!?) while he finishes his NBA 2K10 game on PS3.

Put a bookmark in and preheat oven to 400. Mix marmalade, mustard, oil, garlic and all spices in a small bowl and brush onto salmon, which has been patted dry. Let sit for about 10 minutes. Congratulation husband/roommate on his win.

Roast salmon at 400 for about 5 minutes or the first half of Chapter 2, then crank up the heat to broil. Broil salmon for 5 more minutes until the salmon is done to your liking and the top is crispy and you discover whether Peeta is still alive or not (!?!)

Give the salmon another brush with the glaze and serve with a light salad and Chapter 3. And more prosecco. Katniss! Will she choose to become the MOCKINGJAY!!!!???!?!?!

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From Dish Amelia:

Yeah, yeah, so I cook for one a lot. But when the time comes to throw an epic summer party, I can bring it, or at least parts of it. Like shoulder parts. Delicious, tender, aromatic, juicy ripped up shoulder parts. Hey, I can handle a piece of meat, okay?

You want to feed a pile of people on the cheap and make sure they are very happy? Here’s how to do it to it:

1 5lb. pork shoulder. (you could also use pork butt)
5-6 cloves of garlic, chopped or mashed into a paste
1 red onion, quartered or a bit smaller
a lot (perhaps a quarter cup, but you need to play this by ear and by the quality of your spices) of
ground cardamom, ground cumin and ground new mexican red chile
1/4 cup rice vinegar (or a bit at a time, so as to make a paste)
1-2 T honey
some S and P
a cup or 3 of white wine such as cheap and delicious vinho verde

Make marinade. In a bowl, combine spices, vinegar, honey, S&P. Get aquainted with your hunk of pork shoulder and remove the skin and excessive fat with a good knife. Rinse and pat dry. Recognize that you are holding a joint that this little piggy carried the weight of the world on.

On a sheet pan or in a glass baking dish, make a giant weird looking sundae, by applying the marinade to the pork. Then get it all up in there. Marinate for at least a half hour, or up to a few hours in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 325. When you are ready to cook, make sure pork comes to room temp. In a Le Creuset or similar heavy tight lidded pot, saute the onions in a drop of olive oil. When they start to wilt, nestle the meat down onto them, pour on some wine so there’s some liquid in the bottom, cover, and put in the oven for 1 1/2- 2 hours. At 45 minutes, check the pork, and see if it needs a bit more liquid, how its cooking, etc.

When pork is looking done, put pork only on a large cutting board and get your saucy friend to help you pull it into shreds with two forks apiece. Put it all back in the pot. Save bone for a lovely future stock.

Prep slider accoutrements with Saucy Team. You could do many things here. We had mini potato rolls with a tiny shmear of mayo, a sprig of fresh cilantro, and sweet, sour and colorful pickled carrots and red onions.

Then you know what to do. Eat, drink and party down with some locals.

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From Dish Danielle:

August has barely begun, and there have already been too many days I’ve melted away in my apartment.  I grow foggy, incoherent…brain-dead even.  Multiple iced coffees from Blue Bottle can only do so much.  No air conditioning + NYC summer heat= major space cadet.  I’m a ‘work from homer,’ so this is becoming a problem.  What is a gal to do to battle this heat??!  Apart from totally overstaying my welcome at the air-conditioned homes of my friends, (which I have definitely been doing), there’s not much else I can do besides grin & bear it…and I think I’d do more grinning and bearing with a cone of homemade ice cream in my hand.

Ingredients: (this will make a little over 2 qts of ice cream; cut recipe in half if you only want to bother making 1 batch.  The way I see it, there’s no point in making a small amount of ice cream, which is the best thing on planet earth.)

For Bourbon syrup:

2 c bourbon

1 ½ c sugar

For ice cream:

2 c heavy cream

2 c whole milk

10 egg yolks

1 ½ c sugar

1/3 c bourbon syrup

2 ½-3 c pecans

For candied pecans:

2 cups pecans

1 c agave nectar

1 c sugar

½ c water

1 ½ tbsp butter

liberal pinch salt

Pour bourbon and sugar in small pot.  Bring to low boil, allowing sugar to dissolve and mixture to reduce by at least half.  Let boil for good while until it becomes slightly thick—like runny honey.

In larger pot, combine cream & milk– place over medium low heat.  In cast iron skillet (if you have one), toast pecans until they become fragrant and slightly roasted.  (Use a med-low flame and watch them like a hawk, it’s easy to burn them with an extra 20 seconds.)  Once pecans are toasted, roughly chop ‘em and toss into the warming milk/cream mixture.  Let mix come to no more than low simmer for close to an hour, allowing the pecans to impart their beautiful flavor into the cream.  (If you think it’s getting a bit too hot you can pull it off the burner completely from time to time—this is what I did.)

While the pecans are steeping, make the candied pecan pieces: In a small pot, combine agave, sugar, water, salt over high heat. With a candy thermometer, check temperature once it’s boiled a bit—it needs to reach 260 degrees.  While you’re waiting on the temp increase, toss the pecans onto a dry baking sheet and warm in the oven on low.  Once sugar/agave is at 260, pull the pecans out of the oven and toss them in along with butter.  Mix well and immediately spread out on buttered baking sheet—allow to cool & harden.  (or, as in my case, store in freezer until use b/c the soaring temps in the loft didn’t allow for it to harden properly).

Now that an hour has passed and the pecans have steeped, strain them out of milk/cream.  Bring mixture back to an uber low simmer on stove.  In a separate bowl, whisk sugar, egg yolks, and bourbon syrup together, placing bowl on counter next to stove if you can.  With heat safe measuring cup, scoop up 1 cup of the hot milk/cream and slowly pour into sugar/egg mix while simultaneously whisking.  You are tempering your yolks so you don’t burn them and wind up with egg flavored ice cream!  Once you’ve tempered, place a fine strainer over the pot of milk/cream and pour egg mix through it, into the pot. (this will catch any eggy bits that cooked and keep them out of our divine ice cream.)  Now stir custard slowly with a wooden spoon, watching for it to thicken.  You’ll see the change happen quickly– as soon as it happens, pull pot off heat and immediately pour custard into bowl placed over ice bath to cool.  Stir to speed up cooling process.  Place in sealed container in fridge overnight or for at least 6 hours to cool completely.

Finally, run the custard through your ice cream maker/churner, adding chunks of candied pecan pieces if desired.  You could always use the candy as a topping if you’re not into the chunky ice cream thing.

I will be eating this for the next week straight.  I hope it replaces my hankering for a 2nd iced coffee when the late afternoon heat-induced daze sets in…Ready for battle.  Wish me luck.

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From Dish Gwen:

Somehow over the last couple of weeks I accumulated three dozen eggs. Normally I go through a fair amount of eggs making cookies, pancakes, breakfast, etc, but three dozen was simply too much for my fridge to handle. Time to make a quiche or three.

Quiche is great because you can keep it in the fridge for several days and bring it out for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner until it’s all gone. I brought one to a potluck, another to work (to feed some hungry farmers), and kept the third to munch on at home. Plus you can pretty much use anything you’ve got in the fridge to round it out – cheese, meats, veggies, whatever. This time I used a bunch of Swiss chard from my farm, tomatoes and onion from the garden, and cheese from a nearby deli.

Step 1: Make a crust

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup butter (cold, cut into small cubes)
¼ cup cold water

Whisk together the flour and salt, then mix in the butter with a pastry cutter or two knives. Don’t knead the dough with your hands or it will warm up and lose the ability to bake into a crispy, flaky crust – just hang in there for a few more minutes and keep chopping and churning till the butter breaks down into little pea-sized balls. Slowly add the water a few drops at a time, and keep mixing the dough until all the water is in there and the dough is consistent and sticky. Form the dough into a ball, roll it out in some flour, and lay the sheet of dough into a pie pan, forming it along the edges so that it is even all around. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes until the crust gets golden brown.

Step 2: fill the crust

1 cup Swiss chard, chopped into 1-inch squares
1 cup chopped tomatoes (with seeds removed)
¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup Swiss cheese, cubed
6 large eggs or 8 small ones
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tsp salt
½ tsp white pepper
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated


While your crust is baking, get all of the filling ready to go. Chop your Swiss Chard and tomatoes, and toss them together in a bowl with a teaspoon of salt, white pepper and some olive oil. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with a pinch of salt so that the yolks and whites are well-blended, and sauté the onion on medium heat until it browns. When the crust is done, let it cool for 5 minutes or so, then lay the Swiss cheese cubes in the bottom so that they are evenly spaced.

Next spoon out the tomato/chard mixture on top of the cheese, then pour the egg mixture over everything. If it looks like the egg is going to overflow over the edge of the crust, don’t use it all, and if it looks like there isn’t enough egg to adequately fill up the crust, whisk up another egg or two and add it in. Top the whole shebang with the sautéed onion and a sprinkle of grated parmesan, then bake it at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until the quiche is firm (it shouldn’t jiggle when you nudge the pan).

Let the quiche cool for several minutes – it’s best sliced and served at room temperature. Eat and enjoy!

* I’m only calling this “Swiss” because it’s got Swiss Chard and Swiss Cheese in it. My knowledge of Swiss cooking is limited to fondues and chocolate, which I have eaten with great vigor but never actually cooked.

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