January 13, 2012
For those of you who don't know, Sam and I are spending three months in London while he completes his MBA at London Business School. Because of this, I'm taking a little break from posting recipes here (although not from cooking in general!) In the meantime, please follow our European adventures at aspotoftea.tumblr.com. Cheers!
December 5, 2011
Simple Bolognese (from Giada De Laurentiis)
- Serves 4-6
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
- 1 carrot, coarsely chopped
- 1 pound ground chuck beef
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, chiffonade
- 8 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
In a 6 quart pot, add extra-virgin olive oil. When almost smoking, add the onion and garlic and saute over medium heat until the onions become very soft, about 8 minutes. Add the celery and carrot and saute for 5 minutes. Raise heat to high and add the ground beef. Saute, stirring frequently and breaking up any large lumps and cook until meat is no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes, parsley and basil and cook over medium low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1/2 hour. Finish bolognese with Pecorino Romano. Check for seasoning.
November 28, 2011
|The table (or tables)|
Everyone has their own traditional Thanksgiving dishes and in my home they always included sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberries, gravy, and most importantly turkey. There was often something green on the plate, but it was mostly just for the color. The sweet potatoes went through a phase where they were covered with toasty mini marshmallows and there was one year when we had a frozen cranberry sorbet sort of thing. But mostly, it was all about the turkey and the gravy. Not brined, not dry rubbed, just plain, roasted turkey and always stuffed. I've continued that tradition (although I've updated the stuffing...sorry Mom) and I think our table looked pretty good, if cobbled together. Here are a few recipes from our meal - don't be afraid to try them out before next Thanksgiving!
Sweet Potato and Carrot Puree (from The Silver Palate)
4 large sweet potatoes (about 2 lbs)
1 lb carrots
2 1/2 cups water
1 tsbp sugar
12 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1/2 tsp nutmeg
dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375. Scrub the potatoes and cut a small, deep slit in the top of each. Set on the center rack of the oven and bake until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, peel and trim the carrots and cut them into 1-inch lengths. Put them in a saucepan and add the water, sugar, 2 tbsp of the butter, and salt and pepper. Set over medium heat, bring to a boil, and cook, uncovered, until the water has evaporated and the carrots begin to sizzle in the butter, about 30 minutes. The carrots should be tender. If not, add a little additional water and cook until the carrots are done and all the liquid has evaporated. Scrape out the flesh of the sweet potatoes and combine with the carrots in a food processor. Add the remaining butter and the creme fraiche and process until very smooth. Add the nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper, Add the cayenne, if desired, and process briefly to blend. To reheat, transfer to an ovenproof serving dish and cover with aluminum foil. Heat in a preheated 350 degree oven until steaming hot, about 25 minutes.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
8 cups Brussels Sprouts
coarse salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Clean and trim the Brussels Sprouts and cut them in half, keeping all of the leaves. Toss in olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 30-40 minutes until the sprouts are browned and crisped.
|Sam wrestling with the big bird.|
Whatever your tradition, I hope you had a wonderful holiday filled with family, friends, and food. But above all, I hope you had a chance to contemplate what you are thankful for, because although Thanksgiving shouldn't be the only time of year we think about all that we are grateful for, it's a pretty wonderful time to focus on it.
|Have leftovers? Consider making Turkey Rice Soup!|
November 8, 2011
Enter the Trader Joe's fresh pizza dough. Sam and I have discovered the wonders of making your own pizza fresh from the oven. I even got these really cool circular pizza pans for our wedding with holes in the bottom to let the heat properly bake the pies evenly. It's been a revelation and we now always seem to have pizza makings in our fridge and extra dough in the freezer. I've already mentioned my fear of baking with yeast (hence the fact that I run to TJ's for $1.79 dough instead of making my own) so this is a wonderful substitute. As long as you have tomato sauce and grated cheese, your option are endless. Tonight's pie? Arugula and salami with a taste of truffle salt. Paired with a salad drizzled with a balsamic vinaigrette, it was the perfect antidote to an otherwise uninspired meal.
When it comes to pizza, let your imagination (and fridge) guide you. Have some mushrooms, broccolini, and potatoes? Slice them thin and throw them on! Have some leftover charcuterie from a delicious dinner party? That will work too! My favorite? Fresh tomatoes and garlic. Simply delicious.
The only specific recipe I'll give you is bake your pizza at 500 degrees for roughly 12-13 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden brown. It will come out perfectly every time.
November 3, 2011
|The Table is Ready and Waiting!|
Well, I have to say, it was pretty cool to see my (now old) name in print last week. In honor of the launch of the Food52 Cookbook, I told you I was going to host a potluck party and boy did we ever. Although we were a small group, we had enough food to feed us twice over. In the end it was exactly what a Food52 potluck should be - friends sharing recipes, cooking tips, and favorite cooking tools. Here are a few snaps from the party - a big thank you to the lovely ladies who bravely went into their kitchens and tried the recipes I chose from Food52. Each dish was fabulous and delicious and the party would not have been a success without each one of them. Next time you're thinking of throwing a potluck, take a look at the Food52 cookbook, plan the menu, then let everyone else shine.
Plus two more dishes that were so good, they went before I could take a photo of them! Fig and Blue Cheese Savouries and Rosemary and Thyme Pita Chips. The savouries will definitely be put into my party appetizer rotation!
Lastly, a big thank you to Lot18.com who provided us with 4 bottles of Gann Family 2005 Merlot from Alexander Valley, Sonoma. (Special because Sam and I went to that area on our honeymoon!)
October 31, 2011
If you do feel comfortable giving homemade treats to your neighbors, then I would recommend this easy and delicious chocolate bark. It can be changed to fit whatever your fancy - even yellow candy corn would make a welcome addition to this chocolate treat. Oh, and don't just wait until next Halloween to try this out - I'm sure you can come up with a few excellent holiday variations on the theme as well!
Adapted from Whole Living magazine
2 bars of 70% dark chocolate (3.5 oz each)
1/4 cup chopped roasted almonds
1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries
zest from half an orange
sprinkle of sea salt
Prepare an 8 x 8 inch pan by laying parchment paper in it, making sure the paper drapes over the side so the bark is easy to pull out of the pan when cool. Spray with vegetable oil and set aside. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and pour into the pan. Sprinkle the other ingredients over the chocolate and let set in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Remove, break apart, and enjoy!
October 25, 2011
Food52 is still doing this (only this time on a fancy updated website) and will continue to do so as long as there are home cooks out there who want to be involved. I for one now go there whenever I need a little inspiration, or help with a food question, or even just to look at pretty pictures of food - there are TONS of those - and I will continue to do so as I grow as a cook and entertainer.
This weekend, I'm hosting a launch party for the cookbook in our little Chapel Hill house. We'll be celebrating with friends, a potluck of Food52 recipes, and, in true Food52 fashion, lots of giveaways. But tonight, on the day of the launch of this exciting venture, I wanted to remember how it all started. So Sam and I dined on Linguine with Breadcrumbs and Kale, my Food52 winning dish. It's still as simple as ever, and I still marvel that I made it into the cookbook with it (thank YOU!), but it is honestly one of the most wonderfully satisfying and tasty dishes I have ever made.
So I leave you with an oldie but a goodie, and I challenge each of you to go ahead and make up your own cookbook worthy recipe in the kitchen tonight. You might be surprised by what you come up with!
Linguini with Breadcrumbs and Kale
½ lb linguini (or other long pasta)
2 cloves garlic, sliced
3 slices day old bread, cubed
½ c. olive oil
1 bunch of kale, chopped
¼ c. parmesan cheese
salt & pepper
Boil pasta in salted pot of water.
Process bread in a food processor until it’s about the consistency of coarse cornmeal. Heat oil in a frying pan and add the garlic. Once the garlic is just fragrant, add the breadcrumbs, salt & pepper, and cook until the breadcrumbs are slightly toasted and golden brown. Remove the garlic and breadcrumbs and let sit. Add more olive oil and the kale to the pan with a little bit of the pasta water and sauté quickly.