Archive for September, 2011

From Dish Danielle:

I’m not one to keep track of high-profile chefs and the hippest new restaurants. I love food and I love to cook. For me it’s usually that simple. But alas….I do admit that there’s one professional chef whose recipes make me swoon, and those are the culinary delights of mister Marcus Samuelsson. His Ethiopian and Sweedish roots inspire unique flavor combinations that somehow fuse African and Scandinavian cuisine in an incredibly exciting and balanced way. The food he creates reflects his distinct heritage exquisitely and I’m inspired every time I try a new recipe of his.

Samuelsson’s second cookbook, ‘The Soul of a New Cuisine,’ is one of my all time favorites, and it’s not for a home cook who’s faint at heart. His dishes often have 3-4 parts, as each recipe requires the completion of a spice rub, infused oil, or special sauce – instructions for all of which can be found in the beginning pages of his book.

Let’s get to it. M. Samuelsson’s Jerk Chicken (slightly tweaked):

1. Compose his ‘Jerk’ Mix:

Place 2 tbsp olive oil in pan over med heat. Add 6 minced garlic cloves and 2 seeded & chopped jalepenos and cook for 3 minutes. Add 1 tbsp allspice, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp cayenne, and 2 tbsp brown sugar. Stir constantly. Remove from heat when mixture starts to clump. Transfer mix to blender. Add 1 tsp white pepper, 1 tbsp dry thyme, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp ground ginger, 4 chopped scallions, 1/3c fresh lime juice and ½c red vinegar. Blend until smooth. Set aside.

2. Prep the chicken:
3-4lb chicken
½ c Jerk Mix
a few thyme springs
½ head garlic, top third cut off and papery skin removed
2 potatoes, peeled & cut into 1’’ cubes
1 sweet potato, peeled & cut into 1’’ cubes
1 parsnip, peeled & cut into 1’’ cubes
1 onion, cut into 1’’ cubes
1 pear, cut into 1’’ cubes
1 quince, cut into 1’’ cubes

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly salt & pepper the bird. Generously rub ½ jerk mix under the skin & all over it. Stuff some thyme under skin. Place garlic in cavity, (I also stuck ½ a lemon in there as well). Set aside. Toss potatoes & parsnips with remaining jerk mix. Spread on bottom of roasting pan in an even layer. Scatter few thyme springs atop. Place chicken on roasting rack above veggies and roast for 45 minutes.

3. Make his ‘Yogurt Dip’ accompaniment:
Place 2 tbsp olive oil in pan over med heat. Add 2 peeled garlic cloves, a 2’’ piece of minced ginger, and a seeded & minced jalapeno chili. Sauté for 5 min. Add ½ tsp fresh ground coriander (if you have seeds to grind yourself), ½ tsp cumin and sauté for 2 more mins. Let cool briefly. Transfer to blender. Add 2 limes worth of juice and 2c thick greek yogurt. Blend until smooth. Fold in 2 tsp fresh chopped cilantro and 2tsp fresh chopped parsley. Store in fridge until dinnertime.

4. Add pear/quince to roasting pan:
Pull chicken out of oven and remove chicken from roasting pan. Add pear & quince to veggies. Increase oven temp to 375. Return chicken to roasting pan and bake for additional 30-40 minutes, until juices run clear. Let cool for 10min before serving.

5. Do as Samuelsson says and ‘Cook with Love.’ Then, EAT!

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From Dish Erin:

Last Friday, I decided it was time to conquer a personal culinary hurdle: Chinese food. Sure, I’ve whipped up some fried rice, but that’s kind of like cooking up some macaroni and cheese and calling it Italian cooking. I definitely love going out of my comfort zone, but Chinese food has an extra degree of difficultly to it–though I eventually discovered it can be solved with a little cornstarch and soy sauce.

Naturally, I didn’t start slow. I wanted to make two dishes, not just one. And it took me about two hours. But then again, that’s my kind of Friday night: Elbow deep in flour, corn starch, beer in hand, making a Chinese Feast. And let’s face it, you can’t have a Chinese feast without a few dumplings. For those, I used Dish Rachelle’s recipe and put my own twist on it. I substituted red peppers for shiitake mushrooms, and for the sauce I added in red chili oil to make it nice and spicy. [Side note: her dumpling recipe is SPOT ON. Highly recommended.]

For the main course, I chose one of my standard Chinese favorites, Cashew Chicken.


1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2 cubes
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons corn starch
1 teaspoon + 2 tablespoons rice wine or rice vinegar
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1/2 cup green beans or sugar snap peas
1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
12 cup thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup unsalted roasted cashews

In a medium bowl combine the chicken, garlic, 1 teaspoon of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of cornstarch, 1 teaspoon of rice wine, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Stir to combine and set aside to marinate.

In a small bowl, combine the broth, the remaining soy sauce, rice wine and corn starch.

Heat a saute pan or wok over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil, then add the ginger and remaining teaspoon of garlic. Using a spatula or spoon, stir until the ginger is fragrant.

Add the chicken, spread it evenly in the pan and cook, undisturbed for about 1-2 minutes until the chicken is lightly browned, but not cooked all the way through.

Add the remaining oil to the pan, add the green beans (or snap peas) carrots, celery, and cashews. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes.

Re-stir the broth mixture, add to pan and cook about 2 minutes more until sauce thickens and veggies and chicken are cooked through.

Serve over white or brown rice.

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From Dish Jodi:

Full disclosure, this month’s recipe was inspired by Bon Appetit’s story on Osteria Mozza’s Nancy Silverton. Singing Mozza’s praises is nothing new – it’s truly delicious, and the site of some of the most memorable meals of my life. There was a birthday, an anniversary, and a celebratory dinner where a friend and I shared 4 different pastas. Also – LA folks – they have an amazing deal where, at the bar, Sunday-Thursday, you can get a mozzerella app, a pasta, a dessert and a glass of house wine for around 40 bucks. Damn.

They make a dish there that I fantasize about: Burracotta, Grilled Radicchio, Honeycomb, and Candied Walnuts on grilled bread. Sweet, bitter, creamy. Damn again. With a fridge full of dairy products that needed using, I decided to make my own version, with the stuff I had on hand…and to experiment a bit with the homemade “Ricotta” cheese from Bon Appetit this month.

For the cheese:
4 C whole milk
1 C heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp lemon juice

For the crostini:
Sliced Italian bread
a couple medium of endives
candied walnuts

Bring the cheese ingredients just to a boil in a medium saucepan, then remove from heat. While it sits for 15 minutes or so, it will start to curdle. If you don’t think it’s curdling enough, gently stir in a bit more lemon juice. After it has sat, use a slotted spoon to place curds in cheese cloth over a strainer and drain the curds for an hour or so. You should have a curdled, creamy, salty cheese – very spreadable.

Grill the bread and endives lightly.

Slice endive and divide pieces among toasts. Slather with the cheese, sprinkle chopped walnuts and drizzle them with honey.

(The endive is a little light in flavor for this, radicchio would be better, but no one was complaining here – it’s the combo of bitter and creamy that works.)

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From Dish Rachelle:

After last month’s SLD, I promised myself I was going to cool it on posting soups for a while. They’re one of my top home cooking go-to’s – I love savoring a hot bowl of soup with some crusty bread, year round – but I also don’t want to become predictable! But that was before. That was before the Boy and I took a trip to Florence, and I tried this soup, which damn well blew my mind. This is a classic Tuscan dish, served in the summer when the tomatoes are ripe. The region is famous for its dense, salt-less bread, which is served fresh with generous pours of olive oil, but the Italian cooks are industrious, and it’s also used when it’s a day old in rustic panzanella salads, and to thicken the Pappa col Pomodoro.

A word on the ingredients: I used a salted baguette, because (don’t tell the Tuscans) I think it tastes better.

I also carried these three heirloom tomatoes around in my purse all of Saturday night. Yes, I want a medal.

Ingredients (Makes 4 medium-sized bowls of soup):

2 lbs. ripe, good quality tomatoes, mostly red
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
4 garlic cloves
5 basil leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups of stale bread

Start by peeling and seeding your tomatoes, then coarsely chop the “guts”. Run them through a food processor, and then pour the mixture through a sieve so that you’re left with smooth, red tomato juice. Your kitchen will look like a crime scene.

In a large, deep saucepan, add 4 whole cloves of garlic (skin removed) and 5 whole basil leaves to the chicken stock, and bring it up to a boil. Meanwhile, tear your stale bread into small pieces and run it through the (clean, dry) food processor, until you have them to a size that’s in-between ripped pieces of bread and bread crumbs.

When the stock is boiling, remove the garlic and the basil and add the tomato juice and olive oil, along with a dash of salt and pepper. Cover, and let simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. Add the bread, and simmer, covered, for another 5 minutes, until the pieces have expanded into moist globules. Serve hot immediately, or cold the next day, and debate with your dining companion whether you think this soup should be served with (what else?) bread.

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From Dish Paige!:

I’m going to be straight with all of you in SLD land – I really don’t like zucchini. It’s not one of those situations where I will avoid something with zucchini, and I’ll eat it, especially if someone is serving it to me, but it’s never a vegetable I choose on my own, nor have I even really cooked with it. And every year as the summer ends, I start to feel guilty, like I haven’t given this squash it’s fair due and then it will be gone and I’ve hurt its feelings. The other day, I decided to sit down and fix this situation once and for all, and armed with the two best tools for tricking anyone into liking something (pasta and cheese), the zucchini revolution began…

3 large zucchini
1 package pappardelle pasta
3/4 cup frozen peas
olive oil
1 lemon, zested
2 tablespoons thyme
4 oz. goat cheese*
salt & pepper

*A note about the goat cheese: I was originally going to use ricotta (which would also be awesome so give that a try if you want) but decided instead to amble my way into Caseus cheese shop and ask the experts what they thought, at which point I was directed to this amazing goat cheese that was flavored with lavender and fennel. Dreamy!

With a vegetable peeler, peel the zucchini lengthwise into ribbons (you’re trying to mimic the pappardelle here), turning the zucchini to peel off more once you get to the seeds at the core. Discard the seeds (or do something else with them!?).

Cook the pappardelle according to the directions on the package and throw in the frozen peas when there are only a couple of minutes left on the cooking time. Drain the pasta & peas but reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking water and then toss the pasta & peas with olive oil to prevent sticking.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and then throw in the zucchini ribbons. Season with salt and pepper and saute until they begin to turn translucent. Add in the thyme and lemon zest and stir.

In a large bowl, stir together 3/4 of the goat cheese and enough of the reserved pasta cooking water to thin it out into a sauce-like consistency. Toss the zucchini, pasta & peas with the goat cheese.

Serve (to guests!!! woo!!!) with an extra dollop of the cheese and a sprinkle of thyme.

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From Dish Nicole:

Every now and again it’s good to take inventory of what you have in the old fridge and pantry before setting off to the grocery store to shop for more.  A lot of times things get pushed to the back of the pantry or produce spoils before you even realize you have it.  I decided I felt like cooking but didn’t feel like heading out into what looked like looming storm clouds.  So I took a gander and poked around in the kitchen until I came up with all of the ingredients for an all-time favorite and super easy Thai fried rice.  Here is what I had and used in my rice:

3 spicy sausage links- removed from casings
2-3 cups cooked rice (jasmine is ideal but I happened to have yellow rice in the cupboard)
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 garlic cloves- pressed
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3-4 scallions diced- white and green parts
The juice from 1 lime (and extra lime for garnish)
3 teaspoons soy sauce
3 teaspoons fish sauce
1 sliced cucumber
Optional: 1 egg, 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

When cooking fried rice, most restaurants use day old rice and most recipes you find will recommend it as well.  This is a great way to make use of otherwise dried out rice, but I didn’t have that so I made my rice in the rice cooker beforehand.  The rice cooker is one of those gifts I received that I didn’t even know I wanted and now find it hard to imagine living without it.  Ahhh, the ease of adding the rice and water and letting the machine do the rest, brilliant.  Okay so now that you have your rice cooked or your day old rice, go ahead and prep the rest of the ingredients.  Most fried rice recipes also call for fried egg but I chose not to include this even though I had it on hand.  I am just not a big fan.  But if you choose to use egg, heat the wok on high and fry the egg first.

So to get started, I heated the vegetable oil in the wok until it started to smoke slightly and turned the heat down to medium. Add the garlic, stirring vigorously so it doesn’t burn.  Next add in the sausage and break up the pieces while stirring.  When the sausage is cooked and no longer pink add in the carrots and cook for about 1 minute and then add in your rice.  Keep stirring the whole time so nothing burns or sticks to the bottom of the wok.  Once the rice is good and hot, add in the fish and soy sauces, the sesame seeds and the pepper flakes.  Again the trick to fried rice is to continuously keep it moving.  Add in the lime juice and turn off the heat.  Add in the scallions and cilantro and mix into the rice.  At this point you can also add in any additional salt and pepper as desired.

Oof, although it’s relatively easy, I always manage to work up a sweat standing over the hot wok- but it’s worth it.  For a minimal amount of effort you get a tasty main dish!  To complete the dish, lay down a few pieces of lettuce, scoop in some rice, garnish with sliced cucumber and a lime wedge and presto, dinner is served.

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From Dish Amelia:

Grape Sorbet and Peanut Butter Shortbread Cookies

Inspiration comes easily at the market in early September. It struck when my eyes fell on the shadowy still-life lovelies known as Concord grapes. To eat them is no fun for me, thick skins slipping off translucent gel orbs with hard seeds. However their flavor is clear as a bell and is what all grape soda or candy is modeled after. With a little effort, the poised fruit can be translated into a bright sorbet.

For Sorbet:
1 Qt concord grapes
a squeeze lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
pinch salt

Put grapes in food processor. Pulse several times until you have a bright magenta liquid. The seeds will miraculously remain intact. Strain. Add sugar, lemon, salt to taste, and stir until dissolved. Chill well in fridge and run in an ice cream maker. This recipe will yield a pint.

GrapesGrape GooGrape Sorbet

How could you make grape sorbet and resist a little PB&J? Here, some little crumbly iced peanut butter shortbread cookies quell the question.

For PB Shortbread:
1 stick butter
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
1/3 cub brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup AP flour
1/8 cup rice flour
1/3 cup finely chopped peanuts
pinch kosher salt

Cream butter and sugar. Add peanut butter and vanilla. Add flours, peanuts, salt. Roll out to a bit less than a quarter inch thick, and punch cookies. Bake at 350 until they are done. (Are firm but not getting too golden at the edge.)

1 3/4 cup
3 T maple syrup
3 T water

Mix. Spoon into zip-top baggie, snip corner, and drizzle into pattern over cookies when they have cooled.

Ice 'em upIced Cookies!

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