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Archive for May, 2011

From Dish Gwen:

I’m not a big steak eater but when I get a nice rib eye in my CSA share my mouth starts watering and I know it’s time to fire up the grill. The other night I had a couple of saucy friends over for a quiet evening out in my darkening back yard, and we cooked up a simple, easy-to-make, and healthy dinner from the grill.

Ingredients:
(serves 4)

2 lbs of grass-fed rib eye steak
Salt
Black pepper

Rice
2 cups white long-grain rice
½ cup crushed walnuts
½ cup chopped scallions
2 tsp salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Grilled Zucchini
2 zucchini, sliced 1/3 inch thick the long way
Salt
Black pepper
Olive oil

Directions:
Cook the rice (preferably in a rice cooker) then toss in a large bowl with the walnuts, scallions, salt and oil. Set the rice aside until the meat and vegetables are ready (can be served warm or room temperature).

Rub the steak with copious amounts of salt and fresh black pepper, so that the meat is nicely gritty. Heat the grill up and when the coals are glowing red throw the steak on the center of the grill – if the meat makes a loud hissing noise it means you’re doing it right and getting a good sear on it. Don’t touch, poke, prod, or otherwise mess with the meat – leave it alone! After about 4 minutes check one of the steaks to see what the cooked side looks like, and if it getting black grill marks it’s ready to flip. If not, wait a minute or two longer until it’s good and blackened, and flip the steak.

Rub the zucchini slices with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place them around the outer parts of the grill so they’re not right over the coals, and grill them until they’ve got black grill marks on either side. Pull the zucchini and steak off the grill, and let the steak rest for 5 minutes or so, then slice it into ½ inch wide strips. Serve it all up and enjoy!

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From Dish Amelia:

This sorbet sort of comes from a love affair I’ve been having with a rum cocktail since last October. Back then, I was in Oaxaca, Mexico for dia de los muertos, and i was introduced to this drink. (I don’t even know if it has a name…) Glass of ice, pour of cuban rum, a pour of tonic water, and several limes squeezed in. (Thank you Amanda Mather for showing me this lovely drink, and all those other corners of markets that filled my head and heart and belly so beautifully…). Alas there is no Cuban rum in the U.S. (or I don’t know any gangsters or senators who might have some), but the substitute I like the most is Barbancourt Rhum, from Haiti. The 4-year is golden and possible to drink as you would whiskey. The 8 year is obviously even smoother. Not too many places carry it, but it is findable in Brooklyn, and there are even bars who don’t give me too hard a time for ordering Barbancourt on the rocks, tonic water back and a glass of limes (a shorter name would be helpful, right?).

And though I look forward to some hot summer nights with this light but soulful libation, I was lead to dream up a sister concoction…

A creamy, dreamy, chewy coconut sorbet with a faint tart bitter notion of lime, and a sexy vanillatone caramel shot through with rum. Each bite is a bit different, let it take you somewhere nice.

Make Coconut Sorbet base:

2 cans (14ish oz ea.) coconut milk (I happened to have organic/ light)
1/2 cup dry unsweetened coconut (this is optional, but I usually like when there is chewiness in coconut sorbet)
1 cup sugar
zest of one lime

Heat these in a pot a few minutes until sugar dissolves. Chill in an ice bath, and move to fridge while you make caramel.

Make Rum Caramel:

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup 1/2 & 1/2
3 T water
1 T honey
squeeze of one lime wedge
3 T rum ( NOT Bacardi yo…something you would sip straight. I used Barbancourt 4-year, and the 8’s even better. Don’t even think about Malibu.)

Stir water into sugar and honey until wet. Heat on medium low and swirl pan occasionally. When caramel starts to color keep a close eye on it, and remove from heat when it is the amber you are looking for. Pour in half and half (or cream) (it will bubble) and add butter. Squeeze lime. Stir until incorporated. Stir in rum. Strain through a sieve to remove any curdle-y weirdness, and chill in an ice bath.


Make sweet sweet love…by running sorbet base in ice cream maker until thick. Stop machine. Put a spatula or two in a quart container, and drizzle on some caramel. Put in freezer. Run machine again for a few minutes and then add another layer of both to quart. Repeat this until quart is full. The two entities should intertwine but not mix together.

Freeze several hours or overnight.

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From Dish Danielle:

There’s nothing better than a bright spring-y PUNCH when having your best gals over for a night of clothes swapping. It’s finally the perfect weather to start introducing all things bubbly back into your beverage repertoire, and festive PUNCH cocktails for a night with the ladies seemed reason enough for me.

I wanted kumquats and Prosecco, but wasn’t quite sure how to make it happen in a light & balanced way. Luckily, with a little guidance from my cocktail slinging, Whisk & Ladle bartending roommate Nicholas Bennett, I was able to make my PUNCHY vision a reality. The finished product was bright and delightful, packed the perfect amount of PUNCH– but most importantly–was springtime sippable.

Ingredients
¾-1c kumquat simple syrup (recipe below)
¾ fresh squeezed lime juice, (about 8 limes worth)
1c white rum
½c Hawaiian dark rum, (I used Koloa, which is pretty darn sweet & vanilla-y)
1½c Prosecco
2c club soda
tbsp agave nectar (if needed)
handful of iced cubes

Kumquat simple:
3c water
3c sugar
2½c rinsed & sliced kumquats (you don’t need to de-seed cause you’ll strain it later– and the seeds are actually the sweetest part!)

First make your simple syrup: Throw above ingredients into a small saucepot and let boil for a while. You want the liquid to reduce to about half. Once it’s reduced strain it, and let it come to room temp. You’ll wind up with enough to make a double batch of the punch, or you can have it around the fridge for later use, (you can also save candied kumquats for snacking/ice cream topping purposes).

Now for assembly. This is really tough. Are you ready? Pour all ingredients except agave into a pretty punch bowl and stir. Here’s the most important step: taste it.

Does it need a touch more sweet? If so, add a bit of agave. Feel free to add more/less to your own liking. I wound up fiddling with my initial proportions and the above is pretty in keeping with the final ratio I settled on. It can certainly be tweaked for an even boozier batch for the right occasion.


Garnish with some lime wheels and kumquat slices, throw your best gals a pound and PUNCH it out.

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From Dish Erin:

Though it’s mid-May, a time of year in NYC that should be marked by balmy temps, it looks and feels more like October in London. No matter, I refuse to pay any attention to the crappy weather. I choose Spring and some of the best fruits the season has to offer. Rhubarb is a quirky and ephemeral fruit. There’s a very quick window of opportunity to try it, in fact it’s usually only available for a few weeks in May/June, so I’m happy if I manage to get my hands on some once per season. If you get the chance to grab some (it looks like smooth, pink celery stalks), it’s got a distinct, tangy flavor that pairs really nicely with strawberries (another herald of Springtime) and makes a delicious crumble, which just so happens to be my-go dessert. I’m a cook, not a baker. Crumble manages to skirt past the technicalities and laboriousness of baking. Score! Plus, because it’s fruit based, it’s relatively healthy.

Ingredients
3 cups diced rhubarb
3 cups fresh strawberries, hulled, and halved
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons orange zest + juice of 1/2 orange
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces + 1 extra tablespoon
1 cup all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat)
1 cup plain oats
1/4 cup light brown sugar
Pinch salt

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, 3/4 cup of the granulated sugar, orange zest, cornstarch, cinnamon, vanilla, and orange juice, and toss to thoroughly combine. Grease a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with +1 extra tablespoon of the butter and pour the fruit mixture in the dish.


3. In another mixing bowl, combine the stick of butter, flour, remaining 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, oats, the brown sugar and salt and cut together with fork or pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the fruit and bake until the topping is golden brown and crispy and fruit is bubbly, about 45 minutes.


4. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

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From Dish Nicole:

What’s better than a springtime BBQ with loads of food, friends and wine?? Not a whole heck of a lot in my book. My most recent excuse to have a barbeque/dinner party was to say farewell to a dear friend. Tim is leaving this lovely city to head to the west coast and I wanted to honor him with a proper meal before he goes. San Francisco is definitely one of the bigger culinary hubs in the world, but for tonight, SF ain’t got nothing on me. I decided to make grilled lamb meatballs with yogurt sauce and left out the wheat from Tim’s portion because he doesn’t eat gluten.


For the meatballs you will need:
1 lb ground lamb
2tbs dried bulgur wheat (soak in 1 cup water until soft) and drain
2 garlic cloves minced
1 small onion grated
1tsp salt
1/2tsp pepper
1 egg
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp paprika
2tbs chopped parsley
2tbs chopped cilantro
2tbs olive oil

Before preparing the meatballs, I suggest making the yogurt sauce and letting it cool in the fridge while you do the rest. Many of the same ingredients are used in the sauce so it makes your prepping easier:

1c Greek yogurt
1 cucumber, peeled and diced
Generous pinch of chopped parsley and cilantro
½ tsp cumin
1 or 2 cloves minced garlic (optional but I think garlic enhances EVERYTHING)
Salt to taste
Mix all of the sauce ingredients together and set aside.

For the meatball portion of the meal, mix all the ingredients together, except the oil, using your hands. You will want to have a large plate handy so you can start forming the patties into flattened meatballs. If you are grilling, use skewers to make the grilling easier. Once the meatballs are skewered, brush with olive oil. (You can also place the meatballs in a casserole dish and bake.) Preheat your grill to high and cook each skewer 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Mmmm time to eat. Both the gluten and gluten free meatballs came out great.

They say food brings people together, but I am just hoping this meal is at least worth a visit to SF and a spot on Tim’s couch. We will miss you Tim, good luck- xo

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From Dish Jodi:

The coming of summer means many things – fresh veggies popping up in my garden, school children set free, running through the neighborhood, and my birthday. This year, like any classy 30-something, I spent it in Las Vegas with a group of girls, most of whom I’ve known for over 15 years. Needless to say, in Vegas, we were not very health conscious and pounds of swedish fish, chips & salsa, jello shots (told you we were classy) and booze left me feeling ill and about 10 pounds heavier than normal. Not even dancing til the wee hours could burn off enough calories.

Back in LA, I was in serious need of vitamins and have been in detox mode ever since. Simple veggie soup instead of burgers, and kale chips instead of salt&vinegar potato chips. I feel better already. This soup is super easy – roasting the veggies gives it all a great rich sweetness – and the kale chips are not only a great garnish, but one of my favorite HEALTHY snacks. Enjoy!

FOR THE SOUP:
5 medium Zucchini Squash, halved lengthwise
1 medium eggplant, quartered lengthwise
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed
one pinch red pepper flakes
1 quart chicken stock
one big handful of fresh spinach
one small handful of fresh basil
3 Tbsp greek yogurt
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350 and roast veggies on pan until soft and caramelized. let cool slightly. Scrape eggplant flesh and discard the tough skin.

Heat oil in large saucepan, toss in garlic and pepper flakes and saute until fragrant. Toss in roasted veggies and quart of chicken stock. Bring to simmer and cook until veggies are VERY tender and mashable. Remove from heat, add spinach and basil and stir til wilted.

Using a hand blender or a regular blender (in batches), blend soup til creamy and smooth. Before serving, swirl in the greek yogurt for a final creamy, tart punch.


Serve hot with kale chips as garnish.

FOR THE KALE CHIPS:

Preheat oven to 300. Clean and dry a handful of fresh kale. tear into chip size pieces and toss lightly with olive oil until coated. Sprinkle with salt and toss til evenly distributed.

Spread in a single layer on baking sheets covered in parchment and bake for about 10 minutes or until crisp and dry.

Let cool and snack away. Be amazed by the nutty flavor and the lack of guilt you’ll feel.

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Spicy Side of Meatball Andrew is such a saucy lil cook that his work, alongside supperclubs (and friends of SLD) A Razor, A Shiny Knife and Studiofeast, recently appeared in the NY Times! Scroll through the accompanying photos to spot not one, but two SL-Dudes.

(Yeah, that’s a salad in the background. So what? It’s greens, nuts and avocado. Little lemon, yummy oil, salt n’ pepa. Shoop.)

Imagine Christmas.

We all have friends and family members who we love, but are impossible to shop for.

For my father, it’s me.

Fortunately, facing this annual dilemma, you know that your recipient has a hobby, so you start from there. But chances are they already have all of the equipment to participate in that hobby. Painters have brushes. Gun enthusiasts have guns. Cooks have knives.

It comes to you in a stroke of insight! Hobbies have consumable equipment!

Painters can’t have enough hard to find paints!
Gun nuts can’t have enough rare bullets! (I’m talking about those cop killers banned in the 90s. You know what I’m talking about.)
Cooks can’t have enough exotic foods!

Um…what?

A few years ago, I told my father about Exotic Meats USA. I was cooking with the Whisk and Ladle, and we had been using boar bacon, and bear rib eyes, even the occasional alligator and rattlesnake. Exotic Meats sourced all of it.

After presumably letting the idea marinate for the intervening years, my father decided to pull the trigger this Christmas.

Enter The Emu Egg.

It’s pretty stunning.

It weighs about as much as 9-10 chicken eggs.

Step one…Open it. The shell is at least 10 times as thick as a chicken egg. So have some tools ready.

Tools + Thumbs = Victory:

Now, what do you do with it? Well, anything that takes 10 eggs. I went for fresh pasta with a pork sauce.

I make pasta by weight, with a 3:2 flour to egg ratio.

Emu Egg Pasta:
510g Emu Egg, beaten. (~1 egg)
765g All purpose Flour (use your fancy flour if you’ve got it)
15g salt (~2tsp)

Sorry for the weight measures, but it does make the dough come out perfectly.

There are two styles of pasta making:
1) Make a flour well on a work surface. Pour in the egg and salt. Slowly incorporate flour and egg with a fork until it is solid enough to use your hand. Then start to knead.
2) Throw it all in a stand mixture. Mix until incorporated. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead.
Option #1 makes you feel like an Italian grandmother, which I like. But if you don’t want to get your hands so dirty, or you like technology a lot, go for #2.
Knead the dough until it feels smooth. It should start to feel like play dough. When you pinch it, it should spring back very slightly. When you poke your finger into the middle, it shouldn’t feel sticky. This takes between 10-20 minutes.

Cover the dough with a bit of olive oil, and wrap with saran wrap, and throw in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. This is important. It lets the flour hydrate and gets the elasticity and “bite” you want in the dough.

Roll pasta in a pasta crank. Or use a rolling pin. Here I opt for technology over tradition. But it’s up to you.

Cut into fettucini-sized strips.

When you’re ready (read, after the sauce is made), get a pot of water to a boil. Add a healthy amount of salt. The pasta will take about 3 minutes to cook, depending on how thin it was rolled.

Pork Sauce:

As precise as the pasta recipe is, the sauce recipe is not.

1-2 lb pork sausage, broken apart. (as meaty as you want it)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
Half a large onion.
Half as much carrot as onion
Half as much celery as onion
1 tsp red pepper flakes (skip it if using a hot Italian sausage)
2 sprigs thyme
1 tsp dried oregano or 1 sprig fresh.
1 28oz can diced tomatoes.

First make your mirepoix – diced onion, carrot, celery in a 2:1:1 ratio. If you’re feeling particularly tight, use a scale or measuring cup, but here I eyeball it. (Fun fact: mirepoix doesn’t mean anything in French, it was a royal chef’s name.)

Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Brown the sausage, and remove.

Add garlic. Cook until very lightly golden brown.

Add mirepoix. At a minimum, cook until the onions have released some liquid and are fairly translucent. (Pro tip: adding a little salt while sweating onions will keep them from browning.) At a maximum, go del posto-style, brunoise (very finely dice) the mirepoix and let it turn to mush over low heat for 4 hours.
Add pepper flakes, thyme and oregano. Let it warm a bit.
Add tomatoes. Once hot, add the sausage back in.

Simmer for at least 15 minutes, but at this point it’ll keep warm. If it gets too dry, add some water.

Toss pasta in sauce and serve.

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