Monday, March 4, 2013
The branches of grapefruit trees hang low with heavy, ripe, sweet fruit in the Valley right now. The only sensible option --no arguing here, it is the only sensible option-- is to make a batch of Alice Water's vin de pamplemousse,or grapefruit wine. If you're finding yourself drowning in citrus, consider this your lifeline. It's delicious beyond imagining.
yields about three liters
3 bottles crisp, dry white, such as Sauvignon Blanc
1.5 cups vodka
4 grapefruit, sliced in 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 Meyer lemons, sliced in 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 vanilla bean, split
1 cup sugar
Place all of the ingredients in a large, glass pitcher and agitate until the sugar is dissolved. Store in your refrigerator, stirring as it comes to mind, perhaps once or twice a week.
Taste weekly, adding sugar to adjust the sweetness as desired. Careful, not too much, or you will lose some of the delightful, bitter complexity of the grapefruit.
After about four weeks, strain the mixture through several layers of cheesecloth into glass bottles and store in the refrigerator.
The exact alcohol percentage depends on the original wine used, but I generally consider similar to port, at about 18 to 20 percent.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
What do you get if you cross a vegan and a paleo recipe? No eggs or grain. What's left? Pure bliss!
I have made these cookies half a dozen times since I stumbled upon a similar recipe on Real Sustenance. I have also gained about three pounds since then. Coincidence? Probably not. My husband knows that all of my puritanical abstinence from junk food is no match for chocolate chip cookies. The salty chewiness of the dough married with the hard pieces of dark chocolate is a religious experience.
Since I went gluten-free about two years ago, I have searched for a suitable chocolate chip cookie recipe. I made this version last year, but they're nutritionally void, especially when compared to this recipe based on almond meal. They're vegan friendly too, if you want to swap the butter and milk for earth balance spread and almond milk.
makes 1 dozen
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups almond meal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder1/2 cup dark chocolate pieces
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Cream the brown sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond meal, salt, and baking powder. Stir together the dry and wet ingredients until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate pieces.
Place rounded tablespoon-fulls of dough onto the cookie sheet. The dough will have a somewhat pasty consistency.
Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the edges are slightly browned. Cool on a cooling rack and then store in a covered container in the refrigerator. In my opinion, these are at their absolute best after cooling completely, even the next day if you can wait that long.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
The i'itoi onion is not native to Arizona, having hitched a ride to the so-called new world with Jesuit missionaries in the late 17th century. Nevertheless, we have adopted it as our own, and no one more so than the folks at Crooked Sky Farms, who possess an evangelical zeal about this amazing little onion. It multiplies rapidly, from one small bulb to as many as 140 in just one season. And, it grows about 11 months out of the year here. That's a big deal in a place with an annual rainfall of about eight inches.
So, when Frank at Crooked Sky sent me home with a huge bunch of these onions, I was eager to see whether their flavor equaled their agricultural chops. They're somewhere between shallots and scallions, however, their green tops are more fibrous than scallions'. They stood up well to a brief saute and baking in this simple supper or brunch tart.
1 tablespoon butter
1 small bunch i'itoi onions
4 large, cage-free eggs
1 pint organic half and half
4 ounces grated hard cheese, such as asiago, romano and parmigiano reggiano
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
prepared 10" tart shell, blind baked
Remove the top half of the onions and split them lengthwise. Saute them for about two to four minutes in olive oil and butter. Remove them to the tart shell.
In a large measuring cup, whisk the eggs until smooth, then add the half and half and grated cheese. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Pour the mixture over the onions in the tart shell and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and mostly set. Allow to rest for about 10 minutes before serving.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
This week I interviewed Frank Martin, owner of Crooked SkyFarms in South Phoenix for a piece I’m writing on sustainable agriculture for Seedstock.com. Have I mentioned how much I love my job? I walked away from Crooked Sky with a bundle of fresh produce, including kohlrabi, collard greens, kale, chard and a bunch of i’itoi onions.
Every day since has been a culinary adventure, reminiscent of my 2010 Eat Local project. We started with diced kohlrabi, julienned chard and tofu stir fried with peanut sauce on Tuesday night. Today for lunch, I enjoyed a simple salad of wilted collard greens with chorizo cantimpalo and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Simple and delicious!
The trick with this salad is to cut a very thin chiffonade of the collard greens, which yields a lacy texture and helps avoid them clumping together when you cook them momentarily.
Serves 2 as a starter or side
Extra virgin olive oil
1 ounce chorizo cantimpalo, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
2-4 leaves collard greens, tough ribs removed, fine chiffonade
Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
½ lemon, juiced
Heat about two tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Typically, the quality of olive oil is lost when cooking, but the cooking time is so brief here, you still enjoy the flavor profile of your particular oil.
Pan fry the chorizo and garlic for about 2 minutes, making sure the garlic does not burn. Toss in the collard greens and cook for about 1 minute, or until they’re bright green and wilted. Squeeze with lemon juice and season to taste with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper. Be conservative with the salt initially; the chorizo has a wonderful saltiness all its own.
Thursday, January 3, 2013
On Monday morning, I woke up with the slightest tickle in the back of my throat. By the evening, I began to reconsider the liberality with which I have kissed and snuggled with our sickly but adorable children.
At 7:00PM we raised our glasses and toasted the New Year in Reykjavik, five hours ahead of us, and put the babies to bed. I followed closely behind with a swig of Nyquil. Not exactly the celebration I had imagined.
Fast forward a few days, three trips to the doctor and a long line at the pharmacy. Looks like I'm not the only one who's sick around here. So, here's my idea: Let's all make chicken noodle soup and hot toddies and pop in some equally vapid but comforting movies, such as Mama Mia and Julie and Julia. Oh, I feel better already!
Chicken Noodle Soup
yields four servings
extra virgin olive oil
2 chicken thighs, cut into 1" pieces
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 stems thyme
32 ounces chicken broth
2 ounces noodles
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil in a medium stock pot over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken on all sides. Add the carrots and celery, and cook for about four minutes. Turn the heat down to medium and add the garlic and thyme. Cook for about one minute, then add the chicken broth. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for about 15 minutes.
Remove the thyme sprigs. Break up the noodles and toss into the pot. Cook until al dente, then season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
yields one serving
1 ounce whiskey
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup boiling water
Place the first three ingredients together in a glass, then whisk in the boiling water until dissolved.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
You know I don't normally care about making things easy, unless of course we're talking about all of the screw-top wines out of Britain, in which case--I'm sorry the puns are too easy here--let's toast to another year behind us.
Tonight I made these awesome green chile enchiladas with queso fresco and scallions. Seriously, I don't even need to give you the recipe; that's it. But, I will anyway.
1 package queso fresco
1 package corn tortillas
28 ounces chile verde enchilada sauce
3 green onions, roughly chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Ladle about 1 cup of enchilada sauce into the bottom of a casserole dish.
Crumble the queso fresco and combine with the green onions and cilantro. Fill each tortilla with the cheese mixture and snuggle them down into the casserole dish, with the seam side down.
Top with the remaining sauce and a few tablespoons of queso fresco. Bake for about 25-30 minutes. Enjoy.
Monday, December 10, 2012
Have you ever cooked with Port? I used it in an an award-winning recipe I submitted to Bare Chicken recently for Pan Seared Chicken Thighs with Port, Mushrooms and Cream. It was one of the best things I've ever made. The judges concurred.
I had about a third of a bottle of Ruby Port left over after I cooked and tested the chicken recipe a few times (read: gorged myself). So when I read Deb Perelman's recent recipe for Cauliflower-Feta Fritters with Pomegranate, I knew what to do. First, make a port wine reduction. Second, order a copy of her cookbook, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.
With both satisfactorily accomplished, Rich and I sat down to dinner last night with candles lit and the kids in bed and indulged in absolute food heaven. In all my years of vegetarian cooking, this is most definitely in my top ten recipes. It's right up there with my Creamy Spinach and Black Bean Enchiladas, one of the favorites from my own cookbook, Modern Family Table.
I did not follow the original recipe exactly. Do I ever? So here's my take on Smitten Kitchen's version.
1 head cauliflower
6-8 ounces Greek feta
2 shallots, minced
zest of one lemon
sea salt and black pepper to taste
1 egg, whisked
1/2 cup flour (we used a gluten-free flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup ruby port
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon cumin
sea salt to taste
pomegranate arils to serve
baby greens to serve
Blanche the cauliflower in salted water until it is fork-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and then shock in cold water. Pat dry and set aside.
Meanwhile, pulse the feta, shallots and lemon zest in your food processor a few times. Add them to the cauliflower and mash with a potato masher or a wooden spoon. Season to taste with sea salt and several grinds of black pepper. Add the flour, baking powder, stirring to combing. Finally, incorporate the egg to bring everything together. It should have a pasty consistency, somewhere in between cookie dough and cake batter.
In a clean small pot, cook the port over low heat just below simmering. Swirl the pan often until it thickens and coats a spoon. This will take about 10 minutes. Set aside until ready to serve. You can certainly do this ahead of time if you wish.
In a small container, whisk together the plain yogurt and cumin. Season to taste with sea salt. Cover and set aside until you're ready to serve. Again, you can certainly do this ahead of time.
Heat about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a wide skillet over medium-high heat until it's good and hot. Form small patties--at the most 1/4 cup volume--with your hands and place them in the pan for about 2-3 minutes on each side. The process reminded me of making pancakes far more than making fish cakes insofar as the fritter mixture is more viscous.
Set the fritters on a pan in your oven to stay warm if you need to fry them up in batches.
To serve, drizzle each plate with the port reduction and a dollop of cumin-scented yogurt. Stack the fritters and top with baby greens and pomegranate arils.
P.S. Normally, I do all of my own food photography, but last night, my husband had just come from a shoot and offered to do these for me. As usual, his work floors me. Check out his other work here.