Thursday, November 8, 2007

More soup...

This is a great leak and potato soup recipe. I purchased all of the ingredients I wanted to utilize -- leeks, onions, garlic, potatoes (of course) and then began searching for inspiration. Emeril saves the day.

We were in New Orleans a couple of years ago and had dinner at two of his restaurants, NOLA in the French Quarter and Delmonico. Both were truly entertaining and lovely. I rarely use FoodTV recipes, but this was a home run. We had half for dinner and the rest is in the freezer just waiting for a rainy day...

The secret here is the bouquet garni (and the Carollo's bacon), I hope the pictures do this justice. I use a stick blender to puree everything, it is easier than a stand up blender or food processor to me...especially with the hot ingredients.

Potato and Leek Soup
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2003

1 large or 2 small leeks, about 1 pound
2 bay leaves
20 black peppercorns
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons butter
2 strips bacon, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
5 cups chicken stock
1 to 1 1/4 pounds russet potatoes, diced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 to 3/4 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream
2 tablespoons snipped chives

Trim the green portions of the leek and, using 2 of the largest and longest leaves, make a bouquet garni by folding the 2 leaves around the bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme. Tie into a package-shaped bundle with kitchen twine and set aside. (Alternately, tie 2 leek leaves, bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme together in a piece of cheesecloth.)

Using a sharp knife, halve the white part of the leek lengthwise and rinse well under cold running water to rid the leek of any sand. Slice thinly crosswise and set aside.

In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter and add the bacon. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is very soft and has rendered most of its fat. Add the chopped leeks and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil.

Add the reserved bouquet garni, chicken stock, potatoes, salt and white pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are falling apart and the soup is very flavorful.

Remove the bouquet garni and, working in batches, puree the soup in a food processor or blender. (Alternately, if you own an immersion blender, puree the soup directly in the pot.)

Stir in the creme fraiche and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Serve immediately, with some of the snipped chives sprinkled over the top of each bowl of soup.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The new apple of my eye...

I have a favorite apple. It is the only apple I will purchase or eat. I did not think there was a better apple than the Pink Lady. Crisp, sweet, always reliable. So many apples are starchy and mushy and not very sweet, but the Pink Lady rises above. About a month ago, the Pink Lady disappeared. I was lost, eating pears and plums, missing my apples.

Last week I noticed a new variety, something I'd never seen before and with an intriguing name...Ginger Gold. Just the idea of a ginger flavored apple excited me, so I brought a few home. Delicious. Upon research, it appears the apple is actually named after a woman, not because it tastes like ginger. Regardless, I had an inspiration.

There had to be a great recipe somewhere for an apple crisp recipe with ginger. Lots of ginger. I found this recipe at KQED's web site and it looked perfect. Fresh ginger and crystallized ginger. I actually froze fresh ginger a few weeks ago, in an attempt to make grating it easier. I peeled the ginger and just wrapped it in plastic. It worked very well and was especially convenient.
Apple-Ginger Crisp with Mascarpone Cream

6 servings
For the streusel topping:
1/3 cup whole unblanched almonds
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon crystallized ginger, minced
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold, cut into 3/4-inch cubes

For the apple filling:
2 1/2 lbs. (about 8 medium) tart, firm, baking apples, such as Rome Beauty
Juice of 1 lemon, strained
2 teaspoons fresh, grated ginger root
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

For the mascarpone cream:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325º F. Place the almonds on a baking sheet and toast for 5 minutes. Stir the almonds and continue toasting for another 7 minutes until light brown in the center. Let cool on the pan for 15 minutes. Chop the almonds roughly. Set aside.

Turn the oven up to 400º F.

To make the streusel, put the flour, sugar, and cinnamon into the bowl of a food processor and pulse 2 to 3 times to mix. Add the butter and pulse 8 to 10 times until the butter is the size of large peas. Pour the mixture into a medium mixing bowl, and stir in the crystallized ginger and almonds. Set aside.

Alternatively, mix the flour, sugar, and cinnamon in a medium mixing bowl. Add the butter and, using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it is the size of large peas. Stir in the crystallized ginger and almonds. Set aside.

To make the apple filling, butter a 2-quart glass or ceramic baking dish. Peel and core the apples and cut into 1-inch chunks. Toss the apple chunks with the lemon juice. Mix in the ginger, sugar, and flour.

Pour the apple mixture into the baking dish. Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the top, covering the apples completely. Place the dish on a baking sheet and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the apples are tender when pierced with a knife and the topping is golden brown. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 20 minutes.

To make the mascarpone cream, put the cream, mascarpone, sugar, and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl. Stir with a whisk until the mixture smooths out and then whisk vigorously until the mixture is light and fluffy and will hold a stiff peak. Be careful not to overwhip or the mixture will become grainy.
Serve portions of the crisp topped with mascarpone cream.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash

This is the risotto recipe I mentioned yesterday. A good friend made this Monday night and it was delicious. The pancetta and Parmesan give a really nice salty, sharp contrast to the sweet roasted butternut squash. This is a great one dish meal with a side salad.

Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash
Recipe from Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa
Serves 4 to 6

1 butternut squash (2 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken stock
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ounces pancetta, diced
1/2 cup minced shallots
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and cut into 3/4-inch cubes. You should have about 6 cups. Place the squash on a sheet pan and toss it with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once, until very tender. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock in a small covered saucepan. Leave it on low to simmer.In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the pancetta and shallots on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until the shallots are translucent but not browned. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of stock to the rice plus the saffron, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir, and simmer until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes.

Continue to add the stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry, then add more stock. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 30 minutes total. Off the heat, add the roasted squash cubes and Parmesan cheese.

Mix well and serve.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Curried squash soup

Sunday night, our English friends invited us over for a proper English dinner. Yorkshire pudding, rib roast, roasted parsnips and potatoes, bread pudding…you get the picture. It was all wonderful and such a treat after a busy weekend, to have no worries over making dinner on Sunday night.

For starters, they made a Curried Squash Soup, it was fantastic. Even my “so over squash…” husband was looking at me, sort of saying, “we can have squash again if you can make this.”
Given the five squash still in my possession from our CSA and the strong desire to try to replicate their fantastic recipe, I gave it a go. This version is good, but I think the spices can still be substituted. Curry is not my thing, I’m trying to learn. I’ll be sure to try and get the blend that they used and post it soon. The soup is obviously, very spicy… and really good. Now that the weather is changing, I could have soup every day.
I also want to share an Ina Garten, butternut squash risotto recipe that another friend made on Monday. We didn’t get pictures, but the risotto was wonderful; really complex with a few quality ingredients.

Curried Squash Soup
For roasted squash:
2 small butternut squash
1 acorn squash
2 small summer squash
3 T olive oil

For soup:
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 T olive oil
2 T Hungarian paprika
1 T curry powder
1 t ginger powder
1 t cinnamon
1 t cumin
½ t cardamom powder
5-6 saffron threads
4 cups chicken broth (or more for a runnier soup)
1/8 c heavy whipping cream
Fresh cilantro

Set oven to 350 degrees. Peel, seed and chop the squash into 1-inch cubes. Toss in olive oil and spread across a baking sheet or large metal baking pan. Use more than one if you need to in order to spread the squash evenly to form a single layer. Roast for 30 minutes, toss and roast for an addition 20 – 30 minutes, until squash is caramelized and very soft.
**You can do this step ahead and refrigerate or freeze the squash until you’re ready to make the soup, it makes a quick dinner if the squash is already cooked.

In a large, heavy stock pot sauté onion and garlic over medium heat until opaque. In a smaller pot, heat chicken broth and saffron over low heat to release saffron flavors. In a small bowl, evenly blend spice mixture. Add spice mixture to onion and garlic, sautéing until the spices start to toast. It will be a thick. (I use a Le Crueset pan, which works very well. The spices stick to the enamel a bit, but with the addition of the chicken stock, release from the side of the pan.) Add about 2 cups of the chicken stock and stir for about 2 minutes so the flavors blend. Add the squash and cook evenly for another 2 minutes. Use either stick blender or puree soup in small batches in a food processor to process soup until smooth. Return to stock pot and add additional broth to achieve desired consistency. Cook an additional 10 – 15 minutes over low heat. The longer it cooks, the more the flavors meld.

Serve the soup with a drizzle of cream and a bunch of fresh cilantro.

Makes 6 – 8 servings.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Roasted fingerlings with red and yellow piperade

The November issue of Bon Appetit is stocked full of Thanksgiving recipes, definitely pick it up if you are planning to do the cooking for family or friends this year.

I wanted to try this side because we love fingerling potatoes and we received red and yellow bell peppers and onions in our last CSA box of the year. I will miss the weekly produce, but the City Market will still have produce on the weekends for another month or so. I used a combination of farm-raised fingerlings and Amy's organic fingerling potatoes.

The fresh herbs and vinegar at the end really made this a special side dish.

roasted fingerlings with red and yellow pipérade
Bon Appétit November 2007
Michael Lomonaco

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, cut into 1/4- to 1/3-inch-wide strips
2 large yellow bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, cut into 1/4- to 1/3-inch-wide strips
1 large red onion, halved through core, thinly sliced crosswise
3 pounds fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup Champagne vinegar

Preheat oven to 425°F. Pour 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil onto large rimmed baking sheet. Spread all peppers and sliced onion over, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast 10 minutes. Place halved potatoes and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Arrange potatoes in single layer atop peppers. Roast until potatoes are tender and beginning to turn golden, about 50 minutes.

DO AHEAD: Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm in 425°F oven for 10 minutes before continuing.Sprinkle chopped parsley and shallots over potatoes and toss to coat. Roast potatoes 5 minutes longer.

Transfer potatoes to large platter. Sprinkle with chives, basil, and thyme. Drizzle with Champagne vinegar and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pipérade refers to the classic Basque stew made with tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, and garlic.

Mushroom Soup & Red Guitar Wine

I am going to try to catch up on a few recipes, starting with a great Mushroom soup I made earlier this week. I couldn't pass up the over sized jug of dried gourmet mushrooms at Costco last week. I was envisioning Mushroom sauce for steaks, Mushroom soup, Mushroom get the picture. For $10, a collection of gourmet shrooms that if purchased fresh, would easily would cost ten times that at Whole Foods. It was worth a shot. I loved it, my husband didn't like the larger chunks, I will puree the soup next time and cut the mushrooms into smaller pieces; but overall, this is a wonderful recipe. And, of course, fresh mushrooms could be substituted. The sherry and thyme really stand out and give it a restaurant quality. This would be great to serve guests.

We had bread and a great, cheap wine. If you haven't tried it yet, you should pick up a bottle of Red Guitar 2005 Navarra. It is less than $10, a fruity Spanish blend of Grenache & Tempranillo. A great, every day wine that stood up to the sherry in the soup. And yes, the label is really cute!
Here is a good blog review of the wine, with comments:

Manitou Mushroom Soup
3 cups re-hydrated Gourmet Mushroom Blend
2 large onions finely chopped
8 large cloves of garlic crushed
3-4 cups heavy cream (more cream = thinner soup)
6 cups beef broth
2-3 T sea salt
1 stick whole butter
1/2 - 1 cup flour (more flour = thicker soup)
1 cup sherry

In a large soup pot, melt the butter on medium low heat. Cook the garlic and onion until translucent. Add the re-hydrate mushrooms and cook until the moisture is mostly gone. Add the flour. Stirring often, cook for 5-7 minutes or until the flour looks and/or smells lightly toasted. Add the wine, and cook for two minutes. Add the broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes.

Add the fresh thyme and cream and cook for 2-3 minutes. Serve with warm bread. Serves 6-8

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Dinner for one

I have a lot of recipes to catch up on. It has been a really busy couple of weeks, with work, travel, football, fantasy football (if you can't beat them, join them...) and life in general. I don't have much time now, but I do want to share my favorite dinner for one recipe. This is generally a female favorite.

We received the best red plums in our CSA this month; sadly it was just one week, but they were delicious. On one of my evenings at home alone, I made this salad. Blue cheese or Gorgonzola would have made it perfect, but all I had was Parmesan. Next time...

Plum, Walnut & Mixed Greens w/Balsamic Vinaigrette
Place mixed greens on plate. Slice one ripe, red plum over greens.
Sprinkle small handfull (about 4 whole) of broken walnut pieces over plums.
Garnish with cracked black pepper and Parmesan cheese.

2 T. balsamic vinegar
4 T. olive oil
1/2 shallot, finely minced
1 t. brown sugar
Whisk ingredients until emulsified.

Dress salad. Eat.
**** Taste
* Difficulty

Sunday, September 16, 2007

What is your favorite River Market restaurant?

There are so many great restaurants in the River Market, and I think that each has its own special time and place. For example, Sunday brunch and Wednesday night are definitely Succotash-worthy. Cafe Al Dente is a great for those nights when you just can't cook. Vivace is a nicer restaurant and the perfect place to take out-of-town guests so you can impress with the ice bar.

I haven't included all of the restaurants in the River Market, just the ones we frequent on a weekly basis. Let me know your favorite. Obviously, not limited to Kansas Citians, even if you've visited (family), what has been your favorite?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Beef Biryani

Last night I tried another recipe from delicious. magazine, the wonderful Australian food magazine. The recipe was contributed by Ben O'Donoghue and he suggested that it was an easy curry dish for a Friday night. I really liked the idea of layering partially cooked rice, onions and fresh herbs over the curry in a dutch oven to finish cooking and steam the rice with loads of flavor. It is a great method and the basmati rice (purchased in the City Market at 5:45 last night) was wonderful.

This was a much more labor intensive recipe than I imagined, I find myself in this situation quite often, but it was worth it...especially to try something new.
Ben writes that biryani originates in the Hyderabad in central India, and more often than not, these dishes are vegetarian. The skirt steak is a cheap cut of meat, but when marinated and cooked in this manner, it is actually very tender.
I would change a few things if I make it again. For starters, the spices were almost overwhelming, especially the cardamom and cloves. I considered using ground cloves, but decided to honor the recipe. I also purchased cardamom seeds, rather than pods, so every bite of the curry had a whammy of clove or cardamom crunch and punch. If I had corrected that issue, I probably would be making this again next week. The best thing about trying something new is finding a new method; now I will try some different flavor and meat combinations.
beef biryani
Adapted from delicious. magazine, vol 4 issue 7

Serves 6

18 oz beef skirt steak, thinly sliced
1/4 cup tomato paste
Pinch of saffron threads
1/4 cup milk
2 1/2 cups basmati rice
1 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped, plus leaves to garnish

4 T peeled, grated ginger
10 garlic cloves
3 long red chilies, roughly chopped
2 T slice peeled papaya (optional)
2 T sunflower oil
1/2 cup natural yogurt, plus extra to serve
Juice of 1 lemon
1 T ground turmeric

Spice mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 onions, thinly sliced
2 t cardamom pods, bruised with back of a knife
1 cinnamon quill, broken
2 t cloves
2 - 3 bay leaves

For the marinade, place ginger, garlic, chili, papaya, if using, and oil in a small bowl of a food processor, or use a stick blender, and puree until smooth. Pour into a bowl with the remaining marinade ingredients and stir will to combine. Place steak in a large bowl, pour marinade over and mix to coat, then set aside to marinate while you make the spice mix.

For the spice mix, heat oil in a large flameproof casserole or wide heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat until almost smoking, add two-thirds of the onion and fry for 5 - 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove onion from casserole and set aside. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook remaining onion and spice mix ingredients for 3-4 minutes, until slightly golden.
Reserving the marinade, add the meat to the casserole with the spice mix. Cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes or until meat is sealed all over. Stir in the tomato paste and reserve marinade, then simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325. Stir the saffron threads into the milk and set aside to soak for 20 minutes. Wash and drain the rice. Cook in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 6-8 minutes. Drain and arrange over the meat, alternating layers with reserved fried onion, mint and cilantro. Pour the saffron milk over, cover with a tight-fitting lid, then bake for 15 minutes until the rice is cooked and beef is tender. Serve in bowls topped with the extra yogurt and coriander leaves.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Foodie Blog Roll

I've added a new feature to the blog. On the right you'll see the Foodie Blog Roll, possibly the most comprehensive site on the web for foodie blogs. There are a lot of cool sites with great recipes, photography and commentary. I hope you check out some of the sites and maybe, you can figure out what's for dinner.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Plum perfection...if patient

The September issue of Bon Appetit had a ton of recipes featuring plums so, the only think I can say is…the magazine made me do it. We didn’t need a dessert. We didn’t need anything sweet. I was home by myself, enjoying a really nice, quiet evening, watching a rerun of Top Chef. (The one when Howie tries to quit.) Why did I choose to involve myself in a relatively easy, yet time consuming recipe that probably needs to be served for company with a really nice dinner?I knew I was going to do something with plums, just not necessarily on a Wednesday night. I bought 10 shiny black plums earlier this week because I merely skimmed and bookmarked the recipe. This recipe calls for red plums, but the black plums worked just fine. They might be a little bigger than red plums; I think I used six and a half in an All-Clad non-stick nine-inch pan. The reviews for the recipe online also caution that it creates a lot of juice, and it does. I added just a little flour mixed with water to the juice right before covering it with the pastry. I think that really helped to thicken it enough to keep it from running all over the plate.
There is a major problem with trying this at home, alone. As soon as it comes out of the oven, you want to taste it. Just a little bite. Is that too much to ask? Apparently it is. Because this is to cool completely before you invert it onto a plate. Not fair, I say. Not fair at all.

I broke the recipe rules and paid for it. It was not set up, but it was close. We had an unexpected gathering, after my evening alone. And there I was, waiting with a lovely ending to a lovely evening. I served it, it was runny and delicious. Tart and sweet and perfect; even if was a bit runny.

plum tarte tatin
Bon Appétit September 2007
Makes 6 servings

1 cup crème fraîche*

1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed
2 1/4 pounds sweet firm red plums (such as Burgundies or Satsumas), halved, pitted
2 tablespoons plus 2/3 cup sugar, divided
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter

Whisk crème fraîche and orange peel in small bowl. Cover; chill. Roll out pastry on lightly floured surface; trim corners to create circle. Place on plate. DO AHEAD: Crème fraîche and crust can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover separately and chill. Preheat oven to 400°F.

Mix plums, 2 tablespoons sugar, lemon juice, lemon peel, nutmeg, and seeds from vanilla bean in large bowl. Let stand 30 minutes.Melt butter in heavy ovenproof 9-inch-diameter skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle remaining 2/3 cup sugar evenly over melted butter. Tightly arrange plums, cut side up, in concentric circles in skillet (plums will appear slightly uneven but will soften while cooking, creating even layer). Drizzle accumulated juices from bowl over top. Cook over medium heat, shaking skillet gently to prevent sticking. Continue cooking until syrup turns deep red, pressing plums slightly to form compact layer, about 35 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat; cool 10 minutes.Slide crust atop plums in skillet. Press crust edges down around plums at edge of skillet. Cut several slits to allow steam to escape. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Cool tart completely in skillet.Rewarm in skillet set over high heat to loosen, about 3 minutes. Place large platter over skillet. Using oven mitts hold skillet and platter together and invert, allowing tart to settle onto platter. Slowly lift off skillet.

Let stand at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours at room temperature.

Serve with orange crème fraîche.*Sold at some supermarkets and at specialty foods stores.
Makes 6 servings

Starker's Reserve

Saturday night we celebrated our anniversary at Starker's Reserve on the Country Club Plaza. We wanted to go elsewhere, but waited too long to make reservations, so we decided on Starker's. I've never been there and always wanted to.

The food was excellent, their menu is posted online and changes seasonally, so we knew about our options. The Caesar salad was beautifully presented with dressed romaine leaves stacked with Parmesan shavings and an anchovy on top. I had the mixed greens with granny smith apple, candied pecans and Maytag blue cheese. It was wonderful as well.

For my entree, I chose sea bass with mussels over angel hair pasta, fennel, with a green olive tapenade. (That must be last night's inspiration.) It was amazing. The fish was cooked perfectly, the mussels made me wish I could have ordered only mussels. Others had pork tenderloin, beef filet and rib eye. Everyone loved their food. The wine list was great.

But something was not quite right. The ambiance was all wrong. We were too young, and we're not that young, to feel so old. I'm sad to say, we should have saved Starker's for our 15th anniversary.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I’m addicted to food magazines and before this weekend, I was sure I’d seen them all. Boy was I wrong. We found an Australian food magazine, “delicious.”, as we were bumming around Barnes and Noble over the weekend. PLEASE, if you find this magazine, buy it. Visit it online if you can’t buy it: It is lovely, great recipes, wonderful photography and features written by some of the world’s great chefs. You have to do some converting on the recipes, but I figured it out and I'm in PR, not exactly a good numbers person.

I have a bunch of recipes that I want to try from this single issue. Tuesday night, we…and I say “we” because any recipe that includes meat and grilling involves my master grill mate (see also: husband)...tried a recipe from the “real fast food.” feature. Low fat, easy, high protein, low carb and gluten free…there’s something for almost everyone, my apologies to the vegetarian crowd.

The real surprise is the butter-bean mash, which someone (see also: husband) mistook for potatoes. If that’s not a win, then I don’t know what is. A meat and potatoes man thought he was eating potatoes, when he was actually eating a lower carb, higher protein substitute. And, one that took way less time. I used about 1/3 cup of hot water to thin the beans, for two cans you might need more like 2/3 cup.

We halved the recipe for just the two us, but this would be a great, stress-free dinner to serve friends. Add a green salad with a lemon and olive oil dressing, a bottle of red wine and you're good to go. Fast. Easy. Delicious.

chargrilled steak with green-olive tapenade and butter-bean mash
Serves 4

½ cup pitted green olives
½ cup flat-leaf parsley, plus 2 extra T chopped
2 tsp baby salted capers, rinsed, drained
2 T lemon juice
1 T olive oil, plus extra to brush
4 5-6 oz filets
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 cans butter beans, rinsed, drained

Place olives, parsley, capers and half of each of the lemon juice and olive oil in a food process and process to a coarse paste. Season with freshly ground black pepper.

Heat grill or grill pan on high heat. Brush steaks with extra olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes each side or to your preference. Remove, cover loosely with fool and rest for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in saucepan over medium heat. Cook garlic, stirring, for 1 minute. Add beans and remaining lemon juice, and cook for further 1 – 2 minutes, until warmed through. Remove from heat, add the extra parsley and season with salt and pepper. Process beans until smooth, adding hot water to loosen if necessary.

To serve, divide mash among serving plates, top with steak and tapenade.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Looking back, it has been a pretty good year...

Today is our first anniversary. September 8, 2006 was a gorgeous Kansas City day. Late summer in the Midwest can either be perfect or it can be a downpour...our day was perfect. And, yes, it has been a pretty good year. Hard to believe it has flown by so fast.

I'm a very lucky girl, when we first started dating he told me he was the Powerball and he was right. So, many thanks to my husband for supporting me in all that I do, for his patience, understanding and for always being there with a good sense of humor no matter what state I'm in. He can make me laugh quicker and harder than anyone I've ever known. And isn't that what its all about? Having fun and loving life.

We celebrated last night with a lovely dinner with friends at Le Fou Frog. Seriously good French food and unbelievable wine. Tonight, we're going to Starkers Reserve on the Plaza.

Now, we're looking forward to a really good second year.

Succotash + Yalumba = A Perfect Pair

Last night we did the only thing you should do on a Wednesday night in the River Market...the Succotash weekly prix fixe dinner. It has been about a month since we've been and we weren't disappointed. (Of course we ran into our UK friends at dinner and made an evening out of it.) Everything is homemade in their kitchen and Beth really puts a lot of thought into her menus.

We called ahead to find out what they were serving, then popped into the Wine Cellar to pick up a bottle to go with dinner.

$12 Dinner menu (really...only $12)
Seasonal vegetable soup
Mixed greens with succotash
Vegetarian and mean epanadas, black bean tostadas and Spanish rice
Lemon cake with sauteed apples and pears

Its so nice having the wine shop next door, they really go out of their way to help you pick out the perfect pairing for the dinner. They insisted we try Yalumba's Hand Picked Shiraz + Viognier. Every since visiting Hunter Valley last year we regularly buy Australian wine, so it wasn't a hard sell. We often buy the Y Series of the same wine, it is about $15 cheaper and an always good, everyday red.

The "Hand Picked" version was a different wine all together. This word is probably overused, but I'm not a wine snob so I will say it was "jammy" and very intense. Deep plum color, dark berry flavors, spicy almost anise notes. An absolutely great find and it paired nicely with the smoky meat, roasted vegetables and black beans. You could easily put it down for a few years if you were married to someone who wouldn't pull it from the back of the wine refrigerator....but, ahem, that would not be me.

I think we'll be going back to get a couple more bottles.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Zucchini, anyone?

We're suffering from end of summer, summer squash over saturation. I've grilled zucchini, sauteed zucchini, hidden it in turkey burgers and I have 8 cups shredded and frozen. Last Sunday I made pretty little round Italian-sausage stuffed ronde de nice (8-ball or globe squash) from a recipe featured on Smitten Kitchen's site. I really enjoyed them, my husband, notsomuch. He like the sausage, but I think he's suffering from squash fatigue.
Our CSA included 2 green zucchini, 2 yellow zucchini and 2 more ronde de nice squash this morning. I knew I had to make something really yummy or else he would never eat summer squash again. I discovered a wonderful zucchini bread recipe on Heidi Swanson's 101 cookbooks food blog. I really enjoy her recipes and just purchased two of her cookbooks. She has a lovely writing style, unbelievable food photography and promotes a whole, vegetarian approach to cooking without being preachy or overbearing. I highly recommend her cookbooks, especially Cook 1.0 for someone who wants to start cooking. The book very simply outlines really simple, fresh recipes, with a number of tasty variations.

I've attached the link to her recipe below. I had so much squash that I actually made two variations. For the first, I used her recipe, minus curry powder and poppy seeds, simply because I didn't have the ingredients, resulting in 6 muffins and a loaf of bread. The second, I omitted the first four ingredients and instead used 1 1/2 cup of chopped raw walnuts, 1 cup of oatmeal, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup softened butter and made a crispy, crumbly mixture. I also used Almond extract instead of Vanilla. This resulted in 6 more muffins with the crisp sprinkled on top. I also made a bundt cake, using half the batter in the bottom of the pan, sprinkled the crisp evenly over the batter, then covered with the remaining batter. (Bake muffins 20 minutes, bundt cake 40 minutes.)
This morning in the City Market, Shatto Farms, a local dairy farm was selling fresh butter, milk and other products. They even brought three little black & white Holstein calves for children to pet. It took me back to growing up on the farm. Shatto's products are amazing, I used their unsweetened butter and it creamed so well in my favorite cooking tool. The bread is really, really moist. The batter was really fluffy and rich. Even with a little wheat flour. (I always try to sneak in a little wheat flour, but not much, replacing no more than 1/2 cup.)

I will be conducting an unofficial poll to determine which of the muffins are the best. Personally, I love the crystallized ginger and lemon combination. The ginger is such a sweet surprise in the bread and the lemon provide a fresh note. My husband, digs the almond version. His reasons have yet to be explained. He's a man of few words.

Unofficial taste test results will be updated:
  • Lemon, ginger, walnut - 4
  • Cinnamon, almond - 1

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Stuffed Poblano Peppers

The pepper population in the City Market has expanded rapidly as summer winds down, so we decided it was time to try to do something with them. We attended a party a couple of weeks ago where the "scientists" tried an experiment where they stuffed a jalapeno with a fig and cream cheese, then grilled it until the skin on the pepper popped. Magically, the cream cheese stayed in place and did not ooze out of the pepper and onto the grill. So, with the help of our friends, we identified our primary stuffing ingredient. The pleased pepper partakers tell me they were amazing. My husband enjoys heat...and I mean the red faced, sweat rolling down your forehead heat. I do not. My pepper experience has been that stuffed poblano peppers are not as hot as some of the jalapenos and others I've tried. So, we came home from the City Market with poblanos for me and poblanos and jalapenos for him.
Many recipes call for meat and/or rice stuffing with cheese and vegetables for poblanos, but I decided just to go for the cheese. I marinated a flank steak, which I recently learned from my former boss, is one of the leanest cuts of beef. He's a beef guy, he should know. My husband grilled the steak and his jalapenos and I warmed some tortilla, whipped up a fresh pico and stuffed and fried the poblanos. All around, it was an excellent meal. The grilled jalapenos would be great as an appetizer, or a side dish.

Stuffed poblanos and jalapenos
6 poblano peppers
6 jalapeno peppers
4 oz cream cheese, softened (I used low fat)
1/2 cup shredded Monterrey jack and Cheddar cheese mixed
1/2 cup flour
3 egg whites
2 - 3 Tablespoons oil
Roast the poblano peppers under a broiler or over a flame until the skin jumps off the peppers all around. Place roasted peppers in a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap for about 10 minutes or until cooled.
In a small bowl, mix the cheeses into a smooth, soft consistency.
Once cool, remove the skin from the peppers and cut a small opening in the side of the pepper to pull out the veins and seeds. (Since I don't like heat so much, I rinse the peppers with water to make sure I get out all of the HOT seeds.) Gently stuff peppers with enough cheese to fill, but not overfill.
Mix the egg whites with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium, dredge poblanos in flour and then egg whites. Fry on all sides about 3 minutes per side, until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel.

Cut the very top and stem off the jalapenos, gently cut out the seeds and veins out of the pepper and stuff with cheese mixture. Grill outside on gas or charcoal over medium heat until skin is charred and cheese melts, but magically does not run out of pepper!

Flank steak
1 lb (ish) flank steak
1/4 cup beer
1/4 cup tequila
juice of 1 lime
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
glug of olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried cilantro
pinch of salt and cracked black pepper
Mix marinade ingredients together, whisking in a small bowl. Pour over flank steak in a large Ziploc bag. Set in refrigerator overnight, turning a couple of times.
Drain and dispose of marinade. Grill flank steak 8 minutes per side, or to desired doneness. Let steak sit for a few minutes then slice thinly for steak tacos, or fajitas, or a wrap, or over a crisp green salad.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Why I love the City Market

I'm not sure this photo even needs a post. Sunday morning in the City Market...and we weren't the only ones taking pictures.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 25, 2007

And for dessert....

A few weeks ago we tried Michael Smith's new restaurant in the Crossroads. The restaurant had been open just a couple of weeks and the buzz was so good...we just had to go. The menu is impressive, not unlike his former restaurant, but with a much fresher menu. Every item from the freshly squeezed fruit in the cocktails to the dessert, featured seasonal ingredients. I had halibut with a corn slaw, it was lovely. For dessert, we chose a sampling and had little bites of everything. The sweet cherry clafoutis was a show stealer. Although the lemon sorbet and Pimm's float rocked.

I decided to try a clafoutis the very next day, searching through all of my resources for a great recipe. The recipe below from
Bon Appetit had the best reviews and won the biggest praise overall, so I went for it. I used the peaches and blueberries from our CSA, in place of the pears. We had such a hard spring with late freezes, our Missouri peaches are just not as good this year. They are best cooked or used in smoothies.

This is very much a custard-like dish, while the cherry clafoutis at the restaurant had more of cakey consistency. Both were delicious, but not as similar as I'd hoped. This is a nice summer dessert that isn't too sweet. I'll try it again with fall fruit. Bonus: the leftover Reisling is a great starter for white sangria.

Vanilla Pear Clafoutis
Bon Appétit November 1997
Makes 6 servings.
3/4 cup sweet white wine (such as Riesling)
3 large pears, peeled, cored, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
4 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup milk (do not use low-fat or nonfat)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 325°F. Combine wine and pears in large bowl; let stand 10 minutes. Drain pears, reserving 1/4 cup wine.
Butter 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Beat eggs, sugar and salt in medium bowl to blend. Whisk in flour. Add milk, butter, vanilla and reserved 1/4 cup wine; whisk until smooth. Arrange pears in prepared dish. Pour batter over pears.
Bake clafoutis until center is set and top is golden, about 55 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Sift powdered sugar generously over top. Cut into wedges; serve warm.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Another hot dish...I'm embarrassed

I have a good friend who told me this week that she and her boyfriend have decided to eat vegetarian 2 or 3 times a week. I think that is a great idea! I've been inching that way for awhile, but have been afraid that my carnivorous better half will threaten all-out rebellion unless presented with a large portion of protein at each meal. Guess what? He surprised me. I've been kind of sneaking in some vegetarian meals and he hasn't complained at all. He notices, but he's enjoyed what I've made. Wednesday night I scored a meat and no starch! Now, I didn't say no cheese...we're not getting crazy in the River Market.

It all started with a baby spaghetti squash I picked up two weeks ago in the City Market. I also have a bigger version, waiting for a bigger presentation, but I was making dinner for two tonight...not ten. When I cut the squash in two I couldn't help but think, "hmmm...probably 34B's, I bet the big squash is more like 40DDs," laughing to myself thinking how funny I am.

I also raided the kitchen of every bit of produce to create a veggie-loaded tomato sauce and made some sort of spaghetti squash meets lasagna-ish casserole. And yes, I am embarrassed that I've posted now 1 - 2 - 3 "hot-dish" recipes in a row. I usually don't make casseroles this often, but it has been too hot to grill and I'm trying to find as many new ways to use fresh produce as possible.

I made up this recipe so please bear with my explanation below.

Preheat oven to 350.

Cut 1 small spaghetti squash in half and place seeds down in a small baking dish with enough water to cover about 1/4 inch of the squash. (You can also use a little butter, if you plan to toss the squash with a light sauce instead of baking it.) Cook for 30 - 40 minutes until soft in the middle. Let cool a bit, scrape out seeds with spoon then using a fork, scrape out the squash into thin spaghetti-like strands. (I didn't do this, but I recommend straining the squash for a few minutes before using it in the casserole.)

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic minced
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 orange bell pepper
1/2 red or yellow onion
8 - 10 mushrooms sliced
3 large tomatoes cored and chopped
1/2 cup slivered Italian parsley
1/2 cup slivered fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 pound of thinly sliced provolone
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan

Add olive oil to bottom of saute pan over medium heat. Add garlic, onion and peppers, saute for about 3 minutes tossing regularly to coat with olive oil. Add mushrooms and continue to cook for about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper to pan and cook for another 3 - 5 minutes to break down tomatoes. Add fresh herbs and cover saute pan for about 10 minutes, cooking over low heat.

Clean the small baking dish used for the squash and lightly oil. (I always use spray olive oil.) Place the shredded squash in the bottom of the baking dish and add 1 cup of the tomato sauce, draining off the juice. Lightly mix the squash and sauce to coat the strands. Layer 4 slices of provolone over the squash mixture and sprinkle with 1/2 the Parmesan. Add the remaining sauce, straining the juice, using mostly vegetables. Layer the remaining provolone cheese and Parmesan over the top.

Cook for 25 minutes at 350 or until brown and bubbly. EAT!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Chicken enchiladas

I love searching for new recipes. In my pile of cookbooks I find inspiration, but I usually arrive at some sort of combination from cookbooks and online recipes. This weekend, I had the perfect, healthy, low-fat dinner planned. A whole roasted chicken, with baby artichokes and a green salad. I had the pile of herbs ready to go and the plump, farm raised plan was "hatched" (ha!) until my husband says, I want tacos. Tacos? Are you kidding me? Then I remembered he spent an entire year as a little boy eating nothing but tacos and wearing his Dallas Cowboys jersey. So... we settled on enchiladas.
I agreed to the enchilada request and set out on my search for a great Mexican shredded chicken recipe. My last enchilada experience was at Carlos and Charlies in Aruba and the food was horrible (although, we shouldn't have been surprised). I still don't know why we went there. They seriously used canned chicken meat (!?!?!?) in the enchiladas and tacos. We were shocked. To my delight, I discovered the ONLY way to cook chicken that is perfectly seasoned and tender and a couple of great new sites. The chicken could be utilized in tacos, enchiladas, soups, whatever. Minor changes in the spices would lend it to Italian or other ethnic dishes.
Chicken enchiladas, with refried black beans, guacamole and chips. Pairs perfectly with a nice, Mexican beer. My disappointment is long gone. The baby artichokes will have to wait.

But this didn't....

Mexican Shredded Chicken
By Kate Heyhoe
Yield: About 4 to 5 cups shredded chicken, plus broth
1 whole chicken cut into pieces, with bone and skin (about 3 pounds)

1 small onion, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican

2 bay leaves

Pinch of dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon salt

Arrange the chicken pieces snugly in a large, deep saucepan or pot. Sprinkle on the onion, garlic, marjoram, oregano, bay leaves, thyme and salt. Add enough water to just cover the chicken.
Bring the liquid to a boil on high heat. Partially cover and reduce the heat to low, so the liquid just simmers. (Make sure the liquid does not boil again.) Cook for 7 minutes, then cover the pot completely and remove from the heat. Let the chicken cool in the broth for 30 minutes to 1 hour. (I freaked and left it for a little over an hour, I didn't want to kill anyone.)

Tomato sauce:

2 pt red grape or cherry tomatoes (1 1/2 lb)

5 large garlic cloves

2 teaspoon dried oregano

2 tablespoon taco seasoning

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup warm water

juice of 1 lime

2 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 small yellow onion chopped

1 small can of green chilis

10 - 12 corn tortillas

1 pound of shredded colby jack cheese

1 bunch finely chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 250°F.
Halve tomatoes through stem ends and arrange, cut sides up, in 1 layer in a large shallow (1-inch-deep) baking pan. Add three garlic cloves (unpeeled) to pan, sprinkle with half oregano and taco seasoning; roast in middle of oven until tomatoes are slightly shriveled around edges, about 1 hour. Cool in pan on a rack 30 minutes.
Peel garlic and purée with oil, water, lime juice, salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup roasted tomatoes in a blender until dressing is very smooth. Add remaining tomatoes and seasonings, continue to puree until smooth.

In separate deep saucepan sauté the chopped onion and two minced garlic cloves. Add shredded chicken, sauce, can of chilis and 1/2 to 1 cup of remaining broth from chicken. Cook over low heat for 30 minutes so chicken breaks down and flavors blend.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large fry pan at high heat add 3 Tbsp of canola oil. Add a tortilla to the pan. Cook for 2-3 seconds, lift up the tortilla with a spatula, add another tortilla underneath. Cook for 2-3 seconds, lift again, both tortillas, and add another tortilla underneath. Repeat the process with all the tortillas, adding a little more oil if needed. This way you can brown and soften the tortillas without using a lot of fat. You do this process to develop the flavor of the tortillas. As the tortillas brown a little, remove from the pan one by one to rest on a paper towel, which absorbs any excess fat.

Put some olive oil on the bottom of a large casserole pan. Take a tortilla, spread chicken and sauce in middle, cover it lightly with the shredded cheese and a sprinkle fresh cilantro, then roll up the tortilla and place it in the casserole pan. Continue until all tortillas are filled and rolled. Cover with remaining chicken and sauce and remaining shredded cheese. Put the casserole in the oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese melts.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Summer Harvest

Seriously, it has gone past the point of rescue. We have so much summer produce it isn't even funny. And I have forbidden myself to let a bit of it go to waste. I have 6 quarts of stewed tomatoes in the freezer for winter chili and tailgating. I've frozen pesto and an assortment of fresh fruit.

We're so fortunate to live near the City Market, which is a feast of fruits and veggies; and just last weekend my parents brought a ton of tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers and green beans from their garden. At one point, we had at least 30 tomatoes in our possession. I didn't know what to do, my only thought was Vegetable Lasagna. Now, my husband (and father) are both meat and potatoes men, so I was concerned that this plan would leave them wanting more. I couldn't have been more wrong. In fact, as my mother and I were navigating the recipe and making our own changes, we realized we had a winner on our dinner for four, quickly spread and we invited our friends over to enjoy as well. Everyone loved it and I think you will too...if anyone is actually reading this!

Recipe note -- this would also be good with mushrooms, we just didn't have any. Saute the shrooms after the peppers and onions and set aside until time for layering. Also, while it takes forever, please do not skip the step of frying the eggplant and zucchini. Two things I do not believe in -- no cook lasagne noodles and mushy eggplant.
This would easily serve 10 with a fresh green salad and bread. The leftovers rock.
Vegetable Garden Lasagna
Adapted (very loosely) from "The New Basics Cookbook" by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins
1 eggplant
1 teaspoon coarse (kosher) salt
1 zucchini
8 tablespoons olive oil
2 bell peppers (any color combination, I used 2 orange), cored, seeded and cut into Julienne
1 large onion, slivered
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
8 ounces lasagna noodles
3 cups tomato sauce (I used it from a jar, if I'd had more time, I would have the basic tomato sauce recipe from Smitten Kitchen and used my tomatoes)
12 ounces ricotta
1 cup tightly packed fresh spinach slivered
1/2 cup slivered fresh basil leaves
1 cup grated Parmesan
3/4 lb thinly slice provolone
Slice the eggplant into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Sprinkle them with coarse salt, and let drain in a colander for 1 hour. Wipe off the salt and pat dry.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the bell peppers and onion, and saute over medium-low heat until cooked through, but not browned, 10 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the peppers and onion from the skillet.

Slice the zucchini into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Add 3 more tablespoons olive oil. Dredge the zucchini with the flour, shaking off the excess, and saute the slices on both sides, over medium heat, until lightly browned, adding more olive oil as needed. Transfer the cooked zucchini to paper towels. Repeat this process with the eggplant.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, Parmesan, spinach and basil until smooth.

Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add the lasagna, and cook at a rolling boil until just tender. Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again.

Spread a small amount of tomato sauce on the bottom of a deep 13 x 9-inch baking dish.

Arrange half the lasagna noodles over the sauce. Cover with the peppers, onion, eggplant and zucchini, in layers. Spread with half of the ricotta mixture. Top with more tomato sauce, and then another layer of lasagna noodles. Spread the remaining vegetables, then ricotta, top with remaining tomato sauce. Spread the provolone slices overlapping to cover the entire pan. *I used about 3 slices per row, but use to suit your taste. Shredded mozzarella would also work.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until brown and bubbly, another 15 minutes. *I actually didn't cover with aluminum foil and it was fine, if your use mozzarella, you'll definitely want to.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

My Blueberry Mojito

The first time I had a Blueberry Mojito was at the "Blue" Hotel in Sydney. It was deliciousness in a tall glass...I vowed to make them myself someday. That day arrived last weekend, as we prepared to celebrate one of our good friend's birthday. The City Market must have known I had something up my sleeve since it sent about a zillion limes and a huge bunch of mint home with me that Saturday morning. My fortuitous stash of frozen fresh blueberries were also waiting to showcase their loveliness. We spent the rest of the evening searching for a comparable cocktail to no avail. My only warning is if you make these, make a lot...they go down fast and your guests will want more.

adapted from Bon Appétit, January 2001

3 cups (packed) fresh mint leaves
9 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen) +berries for garnish
1 1/2 cups light rum
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
6 cups club soda
6 cups crushed ice
6 lime wedges
Reserve 6 mint leaves for garnish. Place remaining mint leaves in medium bowl. Add sugar and blueberries. Mash with wooden spoon until mint is aromatic and oils are released. Add rum and lime juice and stir until sugar dissolves. Strain mixture into pitcher.
Add club soda to pitcher; gently stir. Fill each of 6 glasses with 1 cup crushed ice. Pour mojito over and garnish each glass with 1 mint leaf, a few blueberries and 1 lime wedge.
Bon Appétit, January 2001
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Best BLT/PAHT ever!

Confused? Our new favorite BLT now includes pancetta, arugula, heirloom tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.

I often receive my BonAppetit and say I'm going to cook whatever is on the cover that very night....however, it rarely happens. This month it actually did and was it ever worth it. (Well, except for setting off the smoke detector with all of the pancetta frying...)
The sandwich tastes as good as it looks and looks as good in real life as it did on the cover. I hope the photo does it justice. Marinating the tomatoes makes a big difference, the fresh basil and argula give the sandwich a fresh, summery taste. I did not have burrata cheese, so I substituted fresh mozzarella. I also used whole grain bread instead of egg bread. The husband suggests slathering it with mayo next time around...but he managed to restrain himself the first time around. He's already wondering when we can have it again!

I also made my favorite summer corn dish to go on the side, but I kind of made it up because I couldn't find the recipe. I'll edit this post and add the recipe as soon as I can track it down. It is a great recipe to use when then corn isn't quite good enough to eat off the cobb.

Bon Appétit, August 2007
Sal Marino
Il GranoI
4 (3-ounce) packages thinly sliced pancetta (Italian bacon)
6 (3- to 4-inch-diameter 3/4-inch-thick) slices ripe Costoluto Genovese tomatoes or other ripe red heirloom tomatoes
1/2 cup (packed) coarsely torn fresh basil leaves
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or coarse kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
12 (4 x 4 x 1/2-inch) slices egg bread or brioche, lightly toasted
18 ounces burrata cheese
4 cups (about) baby arugula or mixed microgreens
Working in batches, cook pancetta in heavy large skillet over medium heat until brown and crisp, about 6 minutes per batch. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Place tomato slices in shallow baking dish. Add basil, olive oil, oregano, and fleur de sel. Sprinkle with ground black pepper and turn to coat. Let stand at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
Place 6 toasted bread slices on work surface. Divide burrata among bread slices and spread to edges. Top each with 1 tomato slice, then pancetta slices, dividing equally. Top with arugula. Cover with remaining 6 toasted bread slices, and press each slightly to adhere. Cut each sandwich in half and serve.