Archive for December, 2010

December 29, 2010

“Wow” | Crab, Leek and Ricotta Rollatini (with Truffles)

There are fireworks on New Year’s Eve for a reason.  It’s a time for the best we’ve got.  A dinner like this requires a lot of you.  But oh my, is it worth it.  And the one you make it for will think so, too.  And I’m sure they’ll be grateful.

I cooked a lot today.  I picked one and a half pounds of snow crab.  Kind of tedious.  Made a stock from the crab shells and froze it.  Easy.  Cooked up a batch of ricotta.  Simple, but a little time-consuming.  Mixed up a big batch of homemade pasta.  Great workout.  Rolled said pasta into lasagna noodles.  Time consuming, but simple.  Assembled said pasta and crab, etc. into rollatini.  Pretty simple.  Bake.  But my oh my, look what happened to the time!  Nothing today was difficult, but it all took time.

That seductive, elusive siren:  time.  Everyone (hello, Thirty Minute Meals) will tell you that you don’t have enough of it, that you have to squeeze more out of what you’re given.  Don’t believe them.   Take pleasure in the cooking tasks in front of you.  Your end results are what nurture you and those you love.  For a real wow factor, make something at home that is worth both your effort and your time.

Crab, Leek and Ricotta Rollatini, serves 4

STEP ONE:  Make Ricotta

STEP TWO:  Make the filling

Mix 2 cups of cooked crab, 2 cups of ricotta, 1 leek that’s been sautéed in olive oil, 6 stems’ worth of picked thyme leaves, salt and pepper to taste.  Reserve a spoonful of the filling for garnish.

STEP THREE:  Make the pasta

You will find a large variety of fresh pasta recipes online and in cookbooks.  A quick guideline ratio is 1 cup of flour to 1 egg plus one egg yolk.  I follow the recommendation of the flawless Marco Pierre White.  Easy.  Accurate.  Delicious.  I grated the remainder of our truffles (three tiny ones) into the dough.  Please try to add this if you can.  It makes a world of difference.

STEP FOUR:  Assemble the dish

I rolled the mixture into rollatini (heaping bits of the mix along the length of the pasta), greased the dish with truffle butter (thank you, Snowville and Greener Grocer) and baked for 20 minutes at 350 F.  You may do as you wish.  Cut your pasta into strips for papardelle and toss with the crab mixture.  Make ravioli and use the crab as the filling.  Just know that by making your own pasta you will attain new heights of flavor.

At the end of the day, this dish is about the transformative power of cooking.  The pasta is flour and eggs.  The cheese is simply warmed milk and a bit of lemon.  The truffles and leeks are pure earthiness.  Do yourself a favor – take the time to make something extraordinary.  It’s that time of year for fireworks.

Serve with Prosecco.

Playlist included Wow, by Kylie Minogue.  On repeat.

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December 29, 2010

Soup of the Week | Chicken, Leek and Beech Mushroom

How do you make this soup?

Well, first you take a leek…

What can I say?  It’s a favorite around here.

Let me know if you want the recipe for this week’s lunch.

 

 

December 27, 2010

Christmas Leftovers | Pear, Stilton and Roast Goose Quesadillas

This was the first year I had goose for Christmas.  The first time I’d had goose, full stop.  Goose is the delicious flavor baby of turkey crossed with roast beef.  FabulousRhea roasted it, we brought truffles for shaving over the top.  The next day, we stole took the leftovers home and whipped up this yummy quesadilla with a bit of leftover Stilton and some of the thinly sliced pears that I had used for the Christmas Eve centerpiece (NOT a tablescape, people.  Never a tablescape.)  PK tip: For my quesadillas (even the “normal” ones with shredded cheddar and red onions), I don’t ever oil or butter the pan.  Just about all recipes out there tell you to do it.  But you really don’t have to.  And I’m originally from Texas, so I’ve made and eaten a lot of quesadillas in my time.  Trust me.

Quesadilla with Pear, Stilton and Roast Goose, serves 2

4 flour tortillas

1 very ripe pear, cored, thinly sliced (I used Bosc)

1/2 c shredded roast goose

1/3 c crumbled Stilton

Crème fraiche or sour cream for serving

In a pan over medium heat or on a hot griddle, place two tortillas and divide ingredients evenly between the two: pear, goose and Stilton.  Top each with a second tortilla.  Heat until just beginning to crisp and brown.  Flip carefully and brown the opposite side.

Slide onto a cutting board and slice into four quarters.  Serve with crème fraiche or sour cream.

Playlist included Drumming Song by Florence + The Machine.


 

 

 

 

December 27, 2010

Christmas Menu | A Recap

Christmas was a Cronus and Rhea’s and it was marvelous.

Twice-Stuffed Roast Goose with Truffles and Pan Gravy, Stuffing of Sausage, Stuffing of Onions, Apples and Prunes

Braised Spiced Red Cabbage

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

Yorkshire Pudding with Carrots and Broccoli

Pear Salad with Stilton and Walnuts

Dense Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt with Raspberry Puree, made by the lovely Amphitrite

A bit later today, I’ll post a quick,  light supper recipe using the leftovers.

If you want any more details about the menu or recipes, just let me know.

December 23, 2010

Darkest Night of the Year | Truffled Root Vegetable Dauphinoise

I love the Greener Grocer.  You can find so many local things at the shop as well as the occasional rare treat from farther afield.  The most recent delicacy was a quarter pound of Oregon black truffles, which will feature prominently in our Christmas Eve and Christmas day meals.  But my favorite way to use them is in the humblest and simplest dishes where they can show off all their earthy fragrance.

For dinner, I cobbled together three things that were sitting in my crisper in need of quick use: a half of a celeriac, a half of a rutabaga and a half of an onion (from vegetable soup to atone for all my enchilada sins in Texas).  Looking across at the shelf with the dairy, I spied the half gallon of Snowville whipping cream (uh, yeah, sorry vegetable soup) that needed to be used, too.  Voila! Dauphinoise!  Normally a potato dish with cheese, I had a suspicion combining the root vegetables with the silky fat in the cream would make the truffle the star.  I love it when an idea comes together.

Truffled Celeriac Dauphinoise, Serves Four

1/4 large rutabega, very thinly sliced (use a mandolin if you’ve got one)

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December 21, 2010

Locavore Dessert | Caramelized Apple Cranachan

It’s snowy and cold here in Ohio.   Perfect Christmas weather.

But don’t let that weather preclude you from making something deliciously local and in season.  At the Greener Grocer in North Market, you can pick up the three or four ingredients you need for this simple, luscious dessert.  In fact, it makes a fantastic Christmas pudding because it’s dead simple.

This is a Scottish dessert.  And Scots know that when it’s cold, a wee bit of whisky will warm you up.  This cranachan is essentially whipped Snowville Cream mixed with local honey and a bit of good bourbon whiskey.  Do your level best not to eat the whole bowl straight.  Instead, this time of year, top with a sliced local apple  that’s been caramelized in a bit of butter and a sprinkling of toasted rolled oats or spelt.

Ohio River Valley Cranachan, Serves 4

2 apples, cored and thinly sliced (I used ones from Hirsch Farm)

2 T butter (you can make your own with Snowville)

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December 19, 2010

Holiday Party Detox | Tomatillo Salad with Oak-Grilled Snapper

By this point in the Holiday Season, we may be reaching our fill of cocktails and nibbles.  Here’s a light, fuss free, midweek meal, inspired by South Texas, that’s designed to give you a break between the Food Court, the office break room spread, and the eighth family feast this month.  Just arrange the salad, blend the sweet and spicy dressing, then grill the romaine and fish (outside, with a handful of oak chips, for those of you living somewhere your Webber isn’t under a snowdrift. If it is, the grill pan is fine).  Helpfully, the ingredients for the salad are still in season in Texas.  As a result, you’ll get some bright flavors and a sunnier mood.  And won’t that be nice before your final mall run.

Oak-Grilled Red Snapper with Tomatillo Salad and Guajillo Dressing,

Serves 2

For the Dressing:

5 T. olive oil

2 T molasses

1 dried guajillo (or your personal favorite) dried pepper, covered with boiling water and soaked for 30 minutes

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