November 30, 2011
Pie. Tart. Deliciousness in a dish.
The recipe for this Any Season Fruit (or Vegetable) Tart (page 19) is from Gilt Taste. It’s a surprising base that can skew sweet or savory. But on first blush, you could only assume it would be sweet as the base is butter and sugar creamed together. It has to be cake, right? But no, with a full teaspoon of salt in it, as well as some savory and thyme (thrown in by me), this autumnal pastry was devoured by everyone, including Cherub.
I used a combination of parsnips and butternut squash, parboiling them for just five minutes in heavily salted water before draining them and adding them to the tart. I also sprinkled in some dried thyme and savory. To add a little extra oomph to the final dish, I shook up a quick chili and sriracha cream in a half pint ball jar until thick. A tablespoon per slice adds a nice kick of heat.
Playlist included Video Games, by Lana Del Rey.
November 3, 2011
There is a vast expanse of Europe between the Black and Baltic Seas commonly known as “Eastern Europe.” Millions of Americans can trace their ancestry from this region, but many of them don’t know exactly where. They came through both the front and back doors of the East Coast in search of something more. They came to mine coal, bend steel, crunch numbers, and maybe raise hell. Many of them saw the horrors of the 20th century up close, and came here to escape. They might not have brought much, but they brought their culture, their spirit, and their food.
At the center of this culinary tradition are Pierogi. It’s the unofficial national dish of Poland, and they are eaten, with different names, from Ukraine to Latvia. They are traditionally filled with potato, cheese, sauerkraut, or fruit preserves.
But most importantly to me, it’s Hades’s favorite food and the in-laws’ official celebratory dish. Needless to say,
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October 5, 2011
Sometimes dinner is completely off the grid. Tonight’s rabbit was an example of that. Not purchased at a store or farmer’s market, simply gifted to me from generous friends who have local farmer friends. The dinners, over two nights, could not have embodied the essence of local more than that.
Spot the backyard bunny. No, this was not dinner.
For the squeamish, let me tell you that a beautifully raised, local rabbit might strike you as tasting a whole lot like turkey. For the more adventurous, it is light, meaty and absolutely delicious. It is a protein entirely worth hunting down (albeit grocery shopping or the actual in-the-woods kind) to find responsibly-raised meat.
I wasn’t home last night and Hades took it upon himself to braise our rabbit with leeks and carrots and some decidedly non-local French vermouth. He served it with warm red cabbage, beet and apple salad and a butternut puree.
I cannot begin to express my bitter disappointment at not being home for this meal.
Freakishly, there were leftovers.
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October 3, 2011
Local pumpkins are now prolific at farmer’s markets and my Whole Foods. They are tasty, vitamin-packed treasures that are as versatile as you care to make them. Add in some of the last of my backyard chilies and yellow cherry tomatoes, and you’ve got a dish that’s downright good for you.
Tonight I yearned for some Indian food and so I spiced up a leftover half of roasted pumpkin to accompany the fish I baked. With the new addition of mustard oil to my pantry and now this dish, I even felt like I might be breaking some sort of law. And after dinner there was a very distinctive warmth (not spicy heat) in my mouth that couldn’t be attributed to anything but that mustard oil. Who says cooking is boring?
Curried Pumpkin, serves two hungry people, originally inspired by a dish by Aktar Islam of Lasan
2 t mustard oil (or grapeseed oil, or other oil with a fairly high smoking point)
1 t whole fennel seeds
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September 23, 2011
My friends and I have been kind of fawning over Sean Brock, chef and owner of Husk and McCrady’s in Charleston, South Carolina. Add to that that he was a James Beard Award winner in 2010. And Bon Appetit named Husk best new restaurant this year. Sean lives and breathes local. And he’s just so cute.
And he loves pugs.
I am smitten.
I was so happy to see that he was featured in September’s Southern Living and that he gave up some great recipes. I made his Lowcountry Shrimp-and-Okra Pilau for dinner tonight. Fabulousness in a bowl, really. Plus, Cherub’s first experience with okra was a successful one thanks to this recipe. I used some local Schmidt’s Bahama Mama smoked sausage as well as the okra I picked up at the Worthington Farmer’s Market. Don’t be afraid. Okra is delicious, even when unadorned and not fried.
While you do simmer this dish for about 30 minutes in the middle, you can use that time to clean up the kitchen. Because who has time to cook? You do.
Wine pairing: Chateau Bonnet 2009 Sauvignon Blanc – Semillon – Muscadelle.
Playlist included Police Dog Blues, by Hugh Laurie.
November 19, 2010
So when you’re gone most of the day, you need something that you can stick in the oven on a really low heat, or perhaps in the crock pot, if that’s your weapon of choice. A tri-tip roast is your answer. It’s an inexpensive cut that I’ve found works beautifully with Cuban flavors. It can stand to be braised for a good while. Because there are only two per cow, they may not be behind your butcher’s window – so just ask. Today, the roast was cooked along with a combination of peppers, onions and carrot, which was later pureed and turned into a lovely sauce that pulled the whole dish together. Served with a sunchoke and cassava mash and a few fried plantains, this is a sturdy meal for a chilly night. Familiar, but with a little bit of newness to keep your interest piqued. Just like a first date.
Cuban Tri-tip, Sunchoke and Cassava Mash with Fried Plantains, serves 4
3 pounds tri-tip
1 jalapeno (all of it, seeds and everything) stem cut off and cut in quarters
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November 16, 2010
You may have noticed that I like to enjoy a nice wine with dinner
all the time now and then. So of course I wanted to give extra thought to the wine pairing for my favorite food holiday: Thanksgiving. I visited with my friends Josh Shapiro and Miss McCoy at Vino 100 Short North to figure out what would taste great with my dinner, and heck, your dinner, too. Persephone’s always happy to help! Here are our picks.
Feeling Bold and Modern?
Josh recommends that you pair your bird with a rosé from Provence. While rosé used to have a terrible reputation in the 80’s as overly sweet and well, kinda gross, now rosés are being rediscovered by the cool kids. Not just for summer drinking anymore, Provence rosés add a smidge of elegance to a holiday meal. A couple of good ones are Commanderie Bargemone ($17) which is delicate and has a dry finish, and Domaine de Terrebrune Bandol ($30), which was awarded 90 points by Wine Spectator. The nice thing about these is that they appeal to both red and white wine crowds. Success!
The Right Red
Beaujolais, also being touted as Gamay, referring to the grape, pairs well with a rich holiday meal. The acidity in Beaujolais partners skillfully with the turkey and rich gravy. These are not the unserious Beaujolais Nouveaus you’ve read stories about. These are beautiful, balanced wines that have black fruit and cherry flavors. The 2008 Pierre Chermette ($19) is lushly fruity and velvety with a peppery finish. For a Cru Beaujolais, Josh recommends the Domain Chignard Les Moriers 2008 ($25). This is what’s being served at his house. No word yet if he is accepting reservations.
Whites that Work
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