Archive for March, 2012

March 28, 2012

Risotto of the Week | Spring Broad Bean and Foraged Dandelion

I returned home after a lengthy trip to Texas to find spring had sprung: the daffodils were spent and the ferns unfurling.  Nestled amongst said ferns on the shady side of the porch were dandelions, just emerged, with slender leaves and nary a flower in sight.

Which of course meant they are at their peak for eating.

Tonight’s dinner involved a return to cooking with a risotto.  Included were the fruits of my garden weeding – young dandelion leaves – and broad beans, another early spring arrival.

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March 21, 2012

(Fairly) Wordless Wednesday | Dough Pizzeria

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Dough Pizzeria | 6989 Blanco Road, San Antonio, Texas | 210.979.6565

March 20, 2012

Persephone’s Drinks Cabinet | Texas Savvy Firefly

Even a cocktail can be local and seasonal.  Especially if it has lovely ruby red grapefruit juice in it along with a super smooth locally distilled vodka, in this case Savvy, out of Austin.  The recipe: grapefruit juice and vodka in a two to one ratio.  A splash of grenadine.  Stir.  Pour over ice.  Superb.

Playlist included Look at Miss Ohio, covered by Miranda Lambert.

March 18, 2012

Weeknight Wow | Pork Jowl Pasta with Monkfish

We all get stuck in a weeknight routine, I know.  I’ve heard the complaints — “I don’t know what to make and I don’t have the time to make it anyway.”

Maybe all you need is to take something familiar and give it a little tweak.

Enter pork jowls.  In Italian it’s guanciale, and it’s sliced and cured in a manner similar to bacon.  But it’s a deeper, richer almost gamey flavor that brings something different to your weeknight plate.  Fry them up, toss them with some familiar ingredients and you’ll have a pasta that’s delicious on its own.  Add some slices of easily-prepared monkfish and you can serve your loved ones something wonderfully unexpected.

Just be sure to maintain the mystery: don’t tell them how easy it was.

Pork Jowl Pasta with Roasted Monkfish

For the pasta sauce:

1/3 lbs. of sliced pork jowl

Pinch of red pepper flakes

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March 17, 2012

It’s Not Just for St. Patrick’s | Scratch Corned Beef

When we visited our farmer friend Dick Jensen a few weeks ago for maple tapping, we picked up some of his lovingly raised and delicious grass-fed beef.  We blew through the short ribs (I still owe you some posts on those, two ways) but we also bought a brisket with the full intention of having it as corned beef.

And everyone loves it for St. Patrick’s Day.  But consider it as something you could make anytime.  It makes enough for leftovers for a couple of days.  Turn it into amazing sandwiches with a little Russian dressing and coleslaw.  Add some leftover potatoes that you par boiled and then roasted in fat and turn it into hash.  This is not your out of the can variety.

It’s worth the effort.

There is a bit of wiggle room just how long you choose to brine your brisket. 

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March 11, 2012

Eat, Write Retreat | Photo Potluck with Feastie

This year’s Eat Write Retreat is coming to D.C. in May.  It’s been a retreat I’ve admired from afar.  The weekend is packed with workshops on everything from food styling to adventures to some of D.C. best restaurants.  Happily, Feastie is holding a photo potluck of sorts with the winner being treated to a trip to EWR.  Feastie is a recipe search engine that has the sleek feel Pinterest, but the added capacity to write your grocery list for all those recipes.  It’s kind of genius.

Since it’s a potluck, I decided to throw my hat in with this post that’s long been a favorite of mine.  The post is short and to the point, capturing a moment in family life with a slightly messy, but welcoming meal at the center of it all.  Which is to say, it’s quintessentially me.

Juniper Rubbed Sirloin with Balsamic Dressed Potatoes

Weeknight meals aren’t super complicated around here.  That doesn’t mean they have to be the same old boring flavors that make you want to tear your hair out.  Ok, maybe that’s just me that gets worked up like that.  But I digress.  Today I’m not going to give you so much of a recipe as an idea of how to flavor your next steak and potato meal.

Juniper berries, long used to flavor game in Europe, work perfectly with grass-fed, slightly wild-tasting beef.  Crush a half tablespoon of berries along with equal parts peppercorns for a lovely spicy and fresh fall rub.  Mix in a bit of salt and drizzle the steak with olive oil and let it sit for as long as you have time.   Perhaps you’ll mix yourself a gin martini, since you’re going with the juniper berries on the steak.  Not a bad idea, you clever thing.

For the potatoes, treat them as you would a salad.  Make a mustard balsamic dressing, perhaps chop up some tarragon for good measure and a single green onion.  Dress them after you’ve either roasted them or boiled them as you would for a potato salad.

Since we grilled the steak, Cherub asked if we could eat outside.  It was a perfect night for it and who are we to say no?  As the cool front blew in we realized that fall is probably our favorite time to grill and enjoy a dinner outdoors.  No being too hot or swatting away bugs.  Just lovely weather, the turning of the seasons and our little family enjoying a meal that celebrates it all.

The grass fed-sirloin was from Flying J Farm and the potatoes from Northridge Organic Farm.

The playlist included Velcro Shoes, by Pete Yorn.

March 10, 2012

Quick Deliciousness | Walnut Aillade

ImageThis is the most marvelous thing to put on top of pasta, fish, crispy duck breasts, wild rice.  Oh goodness.  It’s good on anything.  I’m planning on putting it on top of some eggs and cream cheese and bagels from The Bagel Tree tomorrow morning.

It is many times like this that I feel very much like Nigella Lawson in the final few shots of her television program, greedily going through the fridge, late at night, slathering spicy spreads on whatever it is that she cooked that day.  But you know, the woman really knows how to cobble together a bite.

And I do, too, if I do say so myself.

This little spread will work wonderfully on lots of things.  And it comes together with just a few ingredients and a fast whiz in the food processor.  Moments, really.

Walnut Aillade, makes enough to sauce a dinner for three or four, plus a bit for late night slathering of snacks

1/2 c walnuts

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