Archive for February, 2011

February 28, 2011

Scandinavian Crush | Sole and Vanilla-Scented Rutabaga

The culinary world is in love with Scandinavia.   The tiny, 42-seat restaurant Noma was named the best restaurant in the world last April.  Driven, innovative Marcus Samuelsson is a regular fixture in the Top Chef shows.  The cuisine as a whole has received a makeover of sorts.

I first became acquainted with the basic aspects of it through a great series that was broadcast on PBS several years ago and which lead me to pick up what has become one of my favorite cookbooks Kitchen of Light: The New Scandinavian Cooking.   Author Andreas Viestad gives a wonderful background on the region as well as a bounty of recipes pairing traditional ingredients with new flavor partners.  It is one I reach for on a regular basis during the winter months.

The humble rutabaga prepared in a wide variety of ways makes a regular appearance in Norwegian homes, and I have found that I love it now, as well.  This meal, inspired from Kitchen of Light, takes all of about 20 minutes to make and really only requires two main ingredients, if you exclude a couple of basic pantry staples and a fresh sprig of rosemary.  Give it a try on a night you’re pressed for time.

The rutabaga is prepared the same way you would for mashed potatoes (peel, cube and boil in heavily salted water).  When it is tender, drain (and transfer to a food processor for a silky puree or mash by hand for a bit more rusticity) and add butter, a bit of cream (my preference) or milk, season with a bit more salt and pepper to taste.  While you’re mashing, add in the seeds scraped from a split vanilla pod.

Serve with sole fillets that have been folded in half lengthwise, with a small slit in the top of each for a small bit of fresh rosemary.  Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper.  I place them on parchment paper in my pan to prevent sticking.  Depending on the size of the fillets bake at 350 degrees for about 10 to 12 minutes or until the fish begins to flake when touched with a fork.

Playlist included I’d Rather Dance With You by Kings of Convenience.

February 24, 2011

Warmth | Carrot and Corriander Risotto

Spring has forsaken us for a moment here in Ohio.  The 40’s are not really doing it for me.  Yes, I remember it’s still February.  But I long for barefoot weather.  I crave a muddy, just-pulled summer carrot and the sight of my coriander having, once again, gone to seed before I can get a decent couple of salsas out of it.  I yearn for warmth.

In absence of warm outdoors, I made some sunshine in the kitchen with this sweet, herby risotto.  You can take your time with the stock, as it says in the recipe, or you can certainly make a quick and dirty one, starting it only a few minutes before you start the risotto (no whole onion, cloves, juniper berries required).

I will be making this one again, late this summer, with carrots from my garden that is yet to be planted, and the new cilantro plants that will spring unassisted from coriander seeds that found their way into the cracks around my patio.  I will stretch out barefoot on the grass and be content with the warmth.

Carrot and Coriander Risotto

1 bunch of carrots with tops
1 medium onion
2 cloves
Small handful parsley
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
10  peppercorns
4 or 5 juniper berries
1 t whole coriander seeds

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February 21, 2011

Persephone’s Deli| Devi’s Curried Chicken on Homemade Naan

Sometimes it’s nice to have a sandwich for dinner.  There’s a feeling of simplicity to it.  There’s an even greater feeling of ease to if, if you’re using leftovers to start.  I had some of the white ginger chicken leftover that was already deliciously flavored. Why not work that into an Indian spiced chicken salad, make a few fries and call it a night?

I made homemade naan and fries, but you certainly don’t have to if you don’t feel you have the time (because secretly you do, it’s just how you choose to spend your time).  If you’re starting out at cooking, just make the chicken salad, buy the naan and spice some frozen fries with turmeric and sesame seeds and cashews.

Curried Chicken Salad on Naan Bread

1/2 onion, thinly sliced

3 T butter

Meat from 1/2 of a 3 to 4 pound whole chicken, picked, and chopped

2 t curry powder

1 stalk celery, finely diced

1/3 c currants or raisins

1/2 c mayonnaise or Greek yogurt

Salt and pepper to taste

In a small pan, add the butter and onion and season with a bit of salt and a few twists of pepper.  Cook over medium low heat until very soft and caramel brown.  Drain onions from the butter, keeping both separate.  In a bowl, combine chicken through mayo or yogurt and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Chill.

Make naan

9 oz self rising flour

2 t sugar

1/2 t salt

3 1/2 oz milk

2 T vegetable oil

Sesame seeds or nigella seeds

Combine all and knead for 10 minutes (a mixer with a dough hook works wonders here).  Let rest for 15.  Divide dough and shape into six small tear drop shaped pancakes.  Sprinkle and press a few seeds into each.  Bake on a preheated cookie sheet at 450 degrees for three to four minutes or until golden and bubbly.  Brush with the onion butter.  If using store bought naan, warm the naan then brush with the butter.  I think this is what makes the sandwich great, don’t skip this step.

Assemble the sandwiches and top each with some chopped cilantro or parsley (if you hate cilantro, and I know you haters are out there).

Serve with Guajarati Potatoes or toss cooked store bought frozen fries with 1 T oil that has fried a bit of ground tumeric, chili powder some sesame seeds and a small handful of cashew nuts.

Playlist included Young Blood by The Naked and Famous.

February 17, 2011

It’s Really Just An Excuse | Buttermilk Pancakes

So with all the crème fraiche lying around, I was bound to make some more butter, and with that comes the buttermilk and with that, well, Cherub wanted pancakes.  I can’t say no to her sweet little face.  Well, I can sometimes.  OK, a lot of times.  But today is a yes kind of day.  So fresh buttermilk pancakes for lunch?  You got it little sister.

And for me?  It’s really just an excuse to eat more butter.  Besides, Warren says it’s good for me.

Buttermilk Pancakes, inspired by James Beard’s recipe in American Cookery

2 c all-purpose flour

1 1/4 t baking soda

1 t salt

3 T sugar

2 c buttermilk (homemade, if you can)

3 eggs, seperated

2 t vanilla

1/4 c butter, melted

Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt and sugar together in a large bowl.  Whisk together the buttermilk, egg yolks and vanilla.  Add and mix well with the dry ingredients.  Beat in the butter and mix until smooth.  Beat the egg whites until they have stiff peaks, then fold into the batter gently.

Ladle the batter into a hot pan or griddle and cook until the edges of the pancake are just starting to dry, most of the bubbles on top have popped and the bottom is golden brown.  Flip and brown the other side.

Serve with all that Snowville Creamery butter and some good Ohio maple syrup.  Speaking of which, fresh batches of syrup will available March 5th at Flying J Farm at the annual Maple Sugaring event.  Bring the kids for a demonstration on how syrup is made and stay for a pancake lunch.

Playlist included Thirteen, by Big Star.

 

 

February 16, 2011

Like an Enemy Defeated…

…the snow hath retreated.  To reveal barely beginning-to-green parsley plants.  Be still my heart.

February 16, 2011

Using Crème Fraiche | Quick and Gorgeous Spring Tart

It’s been in the 50s here in Columbus.  It makes me think spring is here.  So since it feels like Spring, I’m starting to cook like it.  This quick rosemary ham tart with only six ingredients, is one of the simplest things you can make.   It is beautiful for brunch, great for a light dinner, even amazing as part of a little buffet of appetizers at a cocktail party.  So flexible, too.  You could certainly sub some roasted spring asparagus for the ham if you were feeling virtuous.

And oh my is it addictively tasty.

Spring Rosemary Ham Tart, inspired by John Torode

1 piece frozen puff pastry, thawed

2 eggs

1/2 c crème fraiche (you can certainly buy it, if you haven’t the time to make it)

1 t good English mustard (prepared, not ground)

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February 15, 2011

Snowville Creamery | Making Crème Fraiche

A little kitchen magic. After 24 hours, thick creme fraiche pours from the heavy cream container.

Slow Food Columbus recently held a free (yes! it was free!) workshop at the North Market as part of their taste education efforts.  It was so wonderful to see a room full of folks eager to learn how to make their own butter.   Warren Taylor, a.k.a., the Dairy Evangelist, lead the class and was a fireball of energy and information.  I learned the differences between the milk produced by the beautiful grass fed ladies Snowville cares for and the product from more intensive methods.  I learned about the difference between pasteurization and ultra high temperature (UHT) pasteurization (Why is UHT milk slightly sweet? Because it starts to caramelize at that high temperature. Eek).  Warren even convinced me to switch from skim to whole.  (I’ll move up to 2% first, but I’m doing it.)

But not only did I learn the difference between sweet cream and cultured cream butters (and made them) but I also learned something tremendous: how to make crème fraiche.  Oh yes.

Here’s how:

1 cup of cultured buttermilk

1/2 gallon heavy cream

Mix the two.  In Snowville’s carton, there’s enough room for you to add in the buttermilk and shake it to mix.  Let it sit on the counter for 24 hours.  Voilà ! Crème fraiche.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Then to make cultured butter, pour some of this crème fraiche into a food processor (no higher than the liquid fill line) and flip on.  Process until the butter separates from the buttermilk (it will happen rather suddenly).  Using your hands squeeze out all the buttermilk from the butter (do this over a bowl and save that buttermilk for pancakes or coleslaw dressing), then rinse the butter under cold water until it runs clear (it keeps longer if you do this).

Fun fact: If you make butter from heavy cream, the liquid you press out is not buttermilk, it’s skim milk!  Who knew?

Keep an eye out for crème fraiche in tonight’s dinner.  It’s divine.

Thank you Warren Taylor.  We love Snowville.  We love your pasture grazed cows.  We love their fresh milk and the heavenly cream that rises to the top.

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