Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Wasabi Eggs

Wasabi Eggs

6 eggs (if you let them sit in the refrigerator for a few days or even a week after purchasing, the whites will gel a bit more and the egg will be easier to peel)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 t. Dijon mustard
1/2-1 t. wasabi paste (brands vary in strength, so taste it before adding more)
salt and pepper to taste

Hard-boil eggs (I wouldn't even presume to tell you how to do this--everyone is convinced their way is the best way). Peel and slice in half those six now chilled and newly hard-boiled eggs. Plunk the yolks in a medium bowl and mash thoroughly with a fork. Add mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and wasabi. Stir. Season with salt and pepper to taste and fill whites with yolk mixture. Serve proudly and refrain from mentioning your little variation on the traditional deviled egg.

Chicken with Saffron, Smoked Paprika and Garlic

Chicken with Saffron, Smoked Paprika and Garlic

1 organic chicken brutally butchered by hand in Richmond or professionally cut into 8 pieces if you're out of town
2 TB. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/2 c. white wine
1/2 c. chicken broth
1 t. dried orange peel
1 bay leaf
1/2t. dried thyme
1 t. smoked paprika
2 large pinches saffron (toasted lightly in a small skillet beforehand to bring out the flavor)
salt and pepper to taste

Remove skin from chicken and lightly salt with coarse salt. Heat the olive oil in the bottom of a dutch oven or large saucepan, and sauté the garlic and onion until soft and fragrant. Add the tomatoes, chicken, white wine, chicken broth, orange peel and spices. Stir gently and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 45-60 minutes or until chicken is tender. Serve with small new potatoes or couscous (my favorite, but not my family's), a large green salad, and a crisp and flavorful Albariño. Serves 4.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

High-Test Watermelon Margaritas

(based on a recipe by the Surreal Gourmet)

3 cups seedless watermelon, cubed and frozen
3-4 frozen strawberries
3 Tb. (or 1 1/2 oz., if measuring with a shot glass) fresh lime juice
6 oz. tequila
2 oz. Cointreau
1 c. ice

Place everything in a blender and whirl away like a slurpee machine until smooth. Serve in salt-rimmed glasses and be prepared for seconds. Serves 4-6 (depending on the size of your glasses).

Peach Salsa

3 ripe (but not mushy) peaches, diced
1 small red pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced fine
2 green onions, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
2 Tb. fresh lime juice
1/2 Tb. honey
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and allow flavors to meld at room temperature for about one hour.

Adobo Pork Tenderloin

(inspired by the Surreal Gourmet)

1 1b. pork tenderloin
1/2 c. fresh lime juice
1/2 c. fresh orange juice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. cumin
1 t. oregano
1 t. coarse salt
1/2 t. black pepper

Combine the juices, garlic, and spices in a large Ziploc bag with the pork. Marinate a minimum of two hours. Pat dry, and grill over indirect heat for 18-25 minutes (turning in 5-6 minute intervals) until a meat thermometer registers 160 degrees F. Slice thinly and have guests wrap with warmed flour tortillas, choosing their own condiments.
Serves 4-6.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Giavos Macaroni & Cheese


Giavos Mac & Cheese
(*remember, all quantities are approximate)

8 oz. pasta of your choice (i.e. about half a box)
1/2 c. each, three cheeses of your choice:
my daughter remembered cheddar and Manchego; we added Gruyere to the mix because we had some on hand
2-3 Tb. milk
2 Tb. butter
lots of salt

Cook the pasta according to its directions and drain. Add back to the pot over low heat; add butter and milk. Slowly sprinkle in cheese, and when melted and creamy, remove from heat. Serve.

(Will feed two adults as a side dish and two children as the main course, with leftovers for lunch the next day. As nutritious and delicious as my more complicated--and spurred--version.)

Homemade Pasta Dough


Homemade Pasta Dough

I use Jamie Oliver's recipe for homemade pasta dough, but since I can't remember which book it's in, I generally just wing it. Here's how I made it last night:

1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups bread flour (about 8-10 oz. for those of us who weigh things)
3 large (organic) eggs
semolina flour for dusting

Throw it all in the food processor and process until it adheres and forms one or two balls (add more flour if it's too sticky; dribble in a little water if it fails to come together). Knead on a floured board for a minute or two until the dough is silky and somewhat elastic (it'll still be rather stiffish). Wrap in plastic and rest in the refrigerator for an hour. Remove, divide in two and return the unused portion, wrapped back in the plastic, to the refrigerator.

Now for the fun part. Flatten the dough with your hands and run through the lowest setting of your pasta machine. Fold the two ends into the center and run it through again. Repeat. Move up to #2 setting and run through twice. Then, run the dough through each of the settings--taking care to dust generously with semolina--until you get to the second to last one. Cut your enormously long pasta noodle in half, and again, dust very generously with semolina. Attach your pasta cutter to the other side of the machine, and carefully roll the dough strip through, separating each of the strands. Hang on dowels or, like me, the back of a chair. Repeat with the other dough strip and then repeat the entire process with the other ball of dough taking it easy in the fridge. You should have enough for two adults and two children. You can either use the pasta right away (it should only take a minute or two to cook up in boiling, salted water [use a tablespoon or two of salt]) or leave it to dry, about three hours (now the pasta will take about five minutes to cook).




My spanikopita recipe is a close version of Mollie Katzen's from the New Moosewood Cookbook:


2 Tb. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp. coarse salt
1 Tb. chopped fresh basil
1 Tb.chopped fresh oregano
2 Tb. chopped fresh dill
3 packages thawed, frozen chopped spinach, drained and squeezed*
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tb. flour
1 lb. feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup cottage cheese (I prefer large curd, if available)
1/4-1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 sticks (1/2 lb.) unsalted butter, melted
1 lb. filo, thawed according to package directions

*Or you can torture yourself and do it the hard way: wash , de-stem and coarsely chop two 10 oz. packages of savoy spinach. Add to onions and garlic and stir until wilted.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Brush 9x13-inch baking pan with butter.

Heat oil in large sauce pan or Dutch oven. Add onions and garlic and saute until soft. Add spinach and stir until heated thoroughly. Add flour, stir, and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Stir in fresh herbs and salt. Mix in feta and cottage cheese, adding black pepper to taste. Add more salt if needed.

Place a sheet of filo in prepared pan, letting the edges climb the side of the pan. Brush with butter and add another sheet, remembering to give the underside of the sheet that overhangs the pan a quick swipe with the butter each time. Repeat until you have a stack of 8 sheets. Add half of the filling in evenly spaced dollops and then spread so that it fills to the edges of the pan. Cover with 6-8 more sheets (this will be your middle filo layer) and add remaining filling on top. Finish with another 6-8 buttered sheets. Brush remaining butter on top and tuck in the edges. Bake 50 minutes or until golden. Let cool 5-10 minutes before cutting.

Serves 6 generously, 8 more conservatively.