Archive for December, 2010

From Dish Erin:

It’s the holidays. Season of lengthy to-do lists, gluttony and stress. Oh, also joy. That, too. For some much needed downtime amidst the chaos, I locked myself in my apartment, put up a Christmas tree and focused on food. Oh and 2 buck Chuck. He’s never too far from me.

1 whole boneless pork loin roast
Salt & pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
dash of sherry or apple cider vinegar
lemon zest
handful of fresh rosemary, finely minced
handful of fresh thyme, finely minced
2 cloves garlic finely minced
dash of olive oil

Brussels sprouts, halved
Fingerling potatoes, halved (make sure all the pieces are roughly the same size)
A few thinly sliced onions
More olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Season the pork loin with salt and pepper. In a dutch oven or saute pan, heat some olive oil on high. When the pan is really hot, sear the pork on all sides until golden brown (about 4 minutes per side) to lock in the juices. Remove from heat.

Combine the next 8 ingredients in a small dish until it forms a nice paste. Coat the top and sides of the pork with the mustard paste and bake for about 50 minutes.

When the pork is about halfway cooked, saute some fingerling potatoes in a pan with olive oil (or bake them–I just didn’t have room in my oven!), some sliced onions and garlic, salt, pepper, and some of those leftover fresh herbs until tender. Ditto for brussels sprouts: coat with olive oil, salt, pepper, and saute in a pan with a lid for about 15-20 minutes. Throw a splash of Chuck Shaw wine in there. Why not?

When the pork is done, remove from the oven and let it stand for about 10 minutes. Then slice and serve with the sides.

Ho ho ho, ladies.

**Oven times and heat levels really vary, so check it at 45-50 minutes. The pork should register 160 degrees on a meat thermometer when done.

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From Dish Nicole:

Now that the cold weather has settled in for good this holiday season, I have been digging out all of my soup and stew recipes. There really is nothing better than coming home to a steaming bowl of soup after a long chilly day of running around the city. I could eat soup for just about every meal and it’s one of my favorites to cook up because it’s so easy to improvise with the ingredients. For this particular recipe I wanted a potato leek soup but without the “cream of”. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good “cream of” but after Thanksgiving I decided to try and lay off the sweets and the old “cream ofs” for a bit. This recipe I adapted to suit my needs and it doesn’t need a lot of ingredients to make it tasty, thanks to the leeks.

For the soup you will need:
-3 TBS olive oil
-2 large leeks
-2 large carrots diced
-3 stalks of celery diced
-1 medium white onion
-1 cup fresh dill
-a dozen small red potatoes washed and sliced with the skins
-48oz of Chicken or vegetable stock
-sea salt and pepper for taste
-shaved parmesan cheese to garnish




To start, dice up the leeks using all of the white and light green parts and soak in a bowl of cold water to clean. While the leeks are soaking, dice up the onion and set aside. Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat and add the onions and leeks stirring with a wooden spoon until softened. Next, add the carrots and celery to the pot and cover until the vegetables soften. Add the stock to the pot and season with salt and pepper.

Once the stock starts to simmer throw in the potatoes and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally, add more salt and pepper if necessary. After the potatoes are cooked add the dill. Portion out your delish soup, garnish with parmesan and dig in. The best part of making big pot meals is that you have plenty of soup for you and a few friends, maybe even leftovers.

Happy Holidays!

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Chocolate Truffles

From Dish Jodi:

An almost Christmas greeting to all our readers! I’m about to head to
Paris for the holidays and escape into a magical culinary dreamland
for a little while. The only plans so far are to, every day, whip out
our list of stores, restaurants, bars and cafes that all friends have
recommended and explore a city neither I nor my hubby have been to
before. (If you have any “must see” or “must eat” things, please
leave tips in the comments section!) Needless to say, some gorgeous
chocolates will certainly be devoured. Just like you wouldn’t try to
run a marathon without lots of training, I needed get my tastebuds in
shape for the Iron Man of Deliciousness we have ahead of us. Made
these super easy, super creamy truffles for a friend’s christmas party
this weekend…definitely a good warm up.


1 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Lb Good Chocolate – i use a mix of semi-sweet and bitter-sweet.
1 Tbsp Brewed Coffee or Espresso – I just use a bit of instant
espresso powder dissolved in warm water
1/2 tsp of Vanilla Extract
2 Tbsp flavored liqueur, rum, etc. (optional)
Handful of finely chopped nuts (optional)
Cocoa Powder or Powdered Sugar (optional)

Finely chop the chocolate and put in a heat-proof bowl. In a small
saucepan, bring the heavy cream JUST to a boil, then pouring through a
sieve in case of any weird curdled parts, pour over the chocolate and
stir til it’s all melted and shiny. Add the coffee and Vanilla and any
liqueur if using. When it’s all combined, let cool completely til room
temperature and moldable. I will sometimes put in the fridge if my
kitchen is too warm.

Once cool, using spoons or your fingers (or, even better a tiny ice
cream scoop!) make tablespoon- (or so) sized balls, and roll them in the
chopped nuts to coat –

Or if no nuts, roll in cocoa powder or sugar.
Place on parchment til they harden up a bit and serve at room temp!

I like to play with lots of different combos…kahlua mixed in with
hazelnuts on the outside, Grand marnier and cocoa powder, cherry
liqueur and almonds outside. Have fun…it’s hard to screw up these
little smooth fudgy bites of awesomeness.

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From Dish Rachelle:

After a humid New York summer of beer and burger BBQs, tanning, Miami Vices on the beach and – oh yeah – a heavy workload and a big move, it was time to admit that my skin was looking…taxed. Aware that the upcoming holiday season would be equal parts stressful and indulgent, the Boy and I decided to take advantage of the calm before the storm and make some changes to our diets, which in recent weeks had become more and more take-out Chinese centric. This involved eating out less, shelving the delivery menus, paper-bagging it to work and flipping through cookbooks like the Moosewood Restaurant New Classics in order to get fluent in more vegetarian-friendly meals. One night we were planning a meal for guests and I suggested making cassoulet, thinking it was a light bean stew. Wrong! We googled recipes and variants called for everything from pork shoulder to duck confit (it started getting funny when we found one version that called for both, plus ham hocks, pancetta and sausages). Many sites described it as a “pork stew,” treating the beans like an afterthought. Twist my arm – we ended up making an amazing one-pot dish using a pork shoulder, which seemed conservative given the other recipes we’d read. However, a few weeks later I got a repeat craving for white bean stew, and determined to make a healthier version, I invented this one myself.

We had these beautiful chiles from the Boy’s Dad’s garden, and I picked the big long red one, which is beautiful but a little bit evil – so spicy! I ended up using only half and removing the seeds for a flavor that was hot but not overwhelming.

Olive oil
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
1½ celery stalks, sliced
1 large carrot, sliced
spicy pepper (optional)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
2 springs fresh thyme
1 tbsp. tomato paste
3/4 cup marsala wine
1 qt. chicken or vegetable stock
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 can butter beans, rinsed and drained
1 loose cup spinach, chiffoned
2 tbsps. fresh parsley, chopped

Start by sautéing a seasoned diced zucchini on medium-high heat until browned, about 5 minutes (if you want to, you can pretend it’s bacon). Reserve to a plate.

Add onions, celery, carrots and a spicy pepper if you’re using one, and sauté until onions are translucent, sprinkling a little more S&P. Add garlic, ginger and thyme and stir until fragrant, about one minute. Add tomato paste and stir until vegetables are coated.

Add the marsala wine and turn heat up to high, until the alcohol cooks off (you’ll see little bubbles form and the booze will vaporize, leaving lots of wine flavor but nothing intoxicating). Stir in half of the cannellini beans and half of the butter beans. Pour stock over the beans to cover, and then turn heat up to high to bring the stew up to a simmer.

Turn heat down and let simmer, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes.

Once the liquid has reduced by at least a half and the some of the beans have started to crack, add the rest of the beans along with the spinach and parsley. If needed, add a bit more stock and turn heat up to high. Let cook for another 5-7 minutes until the greens have wilted, the beans are heated through, the stew is seasoned to taste and you couldn’t be more excited to eat.

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From Dish Paige!:

Well, friends of SLD, the title of this post basically says it all. Thanks to my Spicy Side of Meatball, I’ll be able to puree things in a jiffy, make soups as smooth as silk, and….you know…other stuff I’m sure. (I just got the thing, give me a break.) Anyway, I used it to make the Harissa, the yogurt sauce and the falafel, but I would venture to guess that a regular blender would have worked better only for the falafel. Who knows.

Ingredients for falafel:
1 ¾ cups canned chickpeas
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 pinch cayenne
1 cup chopped cilantro
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
juice of 1 lemon
½ – ¾ cups ground flax seed


Preheat oven to 375. In a blender, combine all of the ingredients except the flax seed. Pulse until well ground but there’s maybe still some bits of chickpeas (I like it to have a little texture), adding water a tablespoon at a time if needed. Once you’re done blending, add in the flax meal so that the mixture becomes a sturdy paste. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray, and add the falafel batter into each cup, about 1inch high (you might not be able to fill up each cup but that’s ok!). Bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until the tops are dry and golden brown.

Ingredients for Harissa
6 oz dried ancho and guajillo chilies
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 pinch salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Toast the chilies in a pan over medium heat about a minute on each side. Place in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let the chilies sit for about half an hour. After that, remove the tops, ribs and seeds from the chilies (the more seeds you leave, the spicier it’ll be) and blend them with all the rest of the ingredients except the oil. You can add some of the chili-water if you need it to make things move around in the blender better. Heat the olive oil on medium, and add the chili paste, stirring constantly for 2 minutes or until fragrant.

Ingredients for yogurt sauce
1 cup Greek yogurt
½ roughly diced cucumber
juice of ½ a lemon
pinch of salt

Combine all of the ingredients and blend until smooth!!!!

To assemble your falafel:

Warm up some pitas in the oven
Place 2-3 of your falafel cakes into the pita
Slather the Harissa on one side of the pita
Garnish with abandon (I had cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, kosher pickle slices)
Pour on the yogurt sauce
*Extra bonus: I made oblong-shaped french fries for this meal. Try putting them IN the falafel. Mind = blown.

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From Dish Amelia:

Persimmons are in my family. When I was little and we visited my grandparents house in Texas, I would stare often at a print of a persimmon hanging over the bed I slept in. At home, my dad would buy them and they would sit on the counter until they slumped towards it, one side becoming nearly flat as it achieved ripeness. I realize now we had plenty of food rituals, but the eating of the persimmon was an early one. Dad and daughter would stand over the trash can in the kitchen, and just lick the orange sugary pulp from our hands. I was told this was really a treat. I wasn’t exactly thrilled about the persimmons, but they were sweet and fun, and apparently important to my upbringing. One year, we got a package from the grandparents in the mail that when opened had indeterminate contents. We put it out in the yard, and later found out they had just sent the fruits to us in the US mail without much to protect them. Later, my stepmom told me she just hated them, which I believe was because there was a persimmon tree at her school and boys would hurl them, which seems like a pretty good reason. I haven’t addressed the fruits as an adult really, but I was reading a vintage cookbook that mentioned an Indiana Persimmon Pudding, and then I walked past some in the grocery store that looked perfect and ripe, so here we are. It should be noted that these are the Hachiya Persimmons, which are elongated and heart shaped, with a symmetrical wide leaf cap on top, and not the stout flat Fuyu variety. I took a lot of care getting them home, carrying them separately, but by the time we were through the door, they could barely hold themselves together. So, on to their next incarnation.

The skin is easy enough to remove.

in this case, there was no pureeing needed.

As I said, I have been reading vintage cookbooks, and I’ve read a fair number of recipes for steamed puddings. Like the English sticky toffee pudding or Boston brown bread, a persimmon pudding is a cake batter that can be steamed into shape. Sometimes these recipes were just boiled in bags, or coffee cans, (“Hey! nice cans!”) which I like the sound of, but in my case I have two small mold pans, only a few cups each. To set up this operation, I used a large pot with a lid, an upside-down strainer, the mold, and an inverted stainless bowl (to cover the mold, or use an all metal lid of appropriate size).

The batter: (based on a recipe by Carolyn Beth Weil in Bon Appetit)

olive oil spray
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temp
2 Lg eggs
3/4 cup persimmon pulp (2 large persimmons)
juice from 1 lemon

Prepare mold(s): spray and then coat with flour, knocking out excess).
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Cream butter and sugar in mixer, add eggs. Add in dry mixture, then add persimmons and lemon juice. Fill molds 1/2 to 3/4 of the way to the rim, place into pot and cover. add boiling water so it comes to halfway up the mold. Cover entire contraption and keep heat on low, for two hours until pudding is set, testing with a toothpick.

It will be moist and springy, but still like cake.

Serve at room temperature, with a creme anglaise or some such thing.

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From Dish Danielle:

So clearly, winter is taking it’s sweet time to get here, and you’ll certainly hear no complaints from this Dish. To celebrate this season’s longevity I chose to make something I’ve been cooking up every fall since Norah (the infamous founder of the Whisk & Ladle supperclub), and I created this autumnal recipe a few years back. Some friends that run The Noble Rot, (a rambling wine saloon) asked me to supply them with a nice cozy fall appetizer for a shop opening last month, and I instantly thought of this tried & true W&L fall staple.

7-8 leeks, trimmed, rinsed and sliced thin
7-8 green apples, peeled and roughly chopped
a bunch of butter
mushroom hazelnut stock*
1 can evaporated milk
1 bunch thyme, picked

This is a very easy soup. It’s totally fine if you don’t have precise amounts above—it’s all about improvising! (Ahem. And tasting.) Start by placing a large pot over medium heat. Throw a few generous chunks of butter in to melt. Now toss in your leeks and allow them to sweat for a good while, stirring every so often as to cook evenly. You may want to add a few more chunks of butter—or, olive oil if you prefer. You want the leeks to look slightly wet. Once they’ve mushed up a bit, it’s time to add your apples.

Add a few liberal pinches of salt as well. I typically let the apples sweat for a bit, (5mins or so), before adding any stock—if the soup pot is a bit crowded there’s no harm in adding a dash of stock early to really get the apples cooking. Either way this soup will turn out tasting delicious. Now it’s time to add a decent amount of stock—Since we’re making a pretty hearty amount of soup (you’ve probably noticed I don’t typically cook in small quantities…) I’d start by adding an entire quart. Now you want to bring the soup to a nice simmer, and let it do its thing. Now it’s thyme time. (Toss it all in). Check on it and stir every so, and if it’s looking too thick add a bit more stock. I would say you’ll eventually add another entire quart to the pot, give or take a cup. It’s all up to you and how thick you’d like it to be.

Once the apples feel soft and mushy, add the half a can of the milk. If you have an immersion blender, here’s an opportunity to put it to use. I usually buzz this soup on the fastest setting to get it as silky as possible. If it’s still a bit too thick, now is when you’ll want to add some stock, (or the rest of the milk, your call). Definitely add S&P to taste.

When convinced, I’ve also been known to pass the soup through a chinoise, or fine strainer, for enhanced silkiness. This step isn’t totally necessary unless you’re trying to charm a room full of Michelin starred chefs.

*To make stock:

Fill your largest pot full of water to boil. Pell, rough chop, and toss in: 1 head celery, a bunch of carrots, 4 qts of mushrooms, a bunch of onions (6 or so?), leek tops (from the trimmings of leeks needed for soup!), the apple cores (from above ingredients as well), a bunch of thyme and a half lb of hazelnuts. Add a few large pinches of salt. Allow to simmer for a few hours, and taste to see how flavors are coming together. Salt again if needed, then strain out veggies. You now have a homemade stock. (sidenote: sometimes I reserve the hazelnuts from the broth that are now soft & tender to use as garnish on the soup…) Also, this recipe will likely yield you more stock than you need for the soup, so freeze for later use.

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