June 27, 2012
This is something I will be making repeatedly throughout the summer.
Roasted red bell peppers and eggplant, finely chopped, along with copious amounts of garlic and a bit of olive oil and salt. I was quite astonished to find the depth of flavor in something that truly only had four ingredients. Roasting is certainly what certainly makes it so good. And the thing is, with a gas stove (or this summer the grill, which is in near constant use) roasting takes almost no time. Five to seven minutes or so straight on the burner over the heat, turning every so often to completely blacken the outsides. Put in a covered container to steam and cool for 10 minutes, the skins on the peppers slide off like a silk dress.
This is sexy stuff.
I want it on steaks, on fish. On these balkan burgers. On regular burgers. In my eggs.
In this recipe, I included a bit of roasted eggplant (at which Balkan traditionalists would have been shocked and horrified) but I found it gave a gorgeous texture.
For some background: ajvar is typically made in Serbia in the fall, where in small towns its process requires just about everybody who lives there to pitch in and help. The peppers are roasted, peeled and deseeded. Everything is pureed and put up in jars for the winter. Only here, I can’t wait that long: I ate spoons of it out of the dish while we were waiting for company to arrive. They were lucky they got here when they did. I would have eaten it all.
2 red bell peppers, blackened over a grill or stove, skin, stem and seeds removed, chopped
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March 10, 2012
This 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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September 3, 2011
The quick and dirty version of a Saturday dinner:
Because I made a veal stock today (with lovely bones from Bluescreek Farm Meats), it meant that there was quite a bit of tasty meat left on the bones after the stock was all said and done. It was dropped into the quick tomato sauce, that I seem to make quite a bit here in the summer. (It’s just now about time for the last of those tasty orbs. Get them fresh while you still can.) This was poured over some homemade tagliatelle.
Served alongside for sopping up all the extra tomato-y goodness was a bit of rosemary focaccia: (1 1/4 c all purpose flour, 1 large sprig fresh rosemary finely chopped, 3/4 t salt, 1 package dried yeast, 1/2 c water all dumped into a bread machine for kneading, then allowed to rise in a covered and very generously olive-oiled bowl for about an hour an a half; punched down on a baking tray and allowed to rise once again for about 30 minutes and then drizzled with more olive oil and torn rosemary, salt and grated parm; baked at 400F for about 25 minutes). A simpler, no knead version is here.
Playlist included Misery, by New Jersey’s Big Troubles. How is it that My Bloody Valentine is now retro? Are we that old? Le sigh.
August 30, 2011
Although summer corn here in Ohio is some of the sweetest and loveliest I’ve ever eaten, I still can’t help but occasionally add to an already great thing. Gilding the already golden lily, if you will. This is an easy, flavorful recipe that I’ve made countless times this summer, because it seems to go with everything. And left to my own devices, I would eat bowls of this all alone for dinner. It’s so delicious.
Maque Choux (say mock shoe) is a traditional Cajun dish of braised corn, along with
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July 14, 2011
This is a Saturday meal. Not because it’s hard. (It’s not.) Not because it takes a long time. (It could.) But because if you head to a farmer’s market Saturday morning, or happen to run across some really fabulous tomatoes while you’re doing your weekly grocery shopping, this is what you should make. This time, I used some beautifully imperfect farmstand tomatoes from an unscheduled stop at a roadside market.
This is, without question, the easiest way to make a fresh tomato sauce. And perhaps one of the tastiest. What follows is not so much of a recipe, as a way of cooking. Let your heart (and perhaps your tummy) lead you.
Braised Short Ribs in Tomatoes, Serves 4, inspired by Scott Conant
2 pounds of really lovely ripe tomatoes, cored
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July 12, 2011
Whole Foods recently ran a contest for kid-friendly cherry recipes and honestly I can’t think of a better time for them to have done this. This house has been overrun with cherries. And Cherub’s always wanting to help in the kitchen.
Here’s a no-cook cherry salsa that we came up with together, that uses seasonal raspberries and tomatoes, too. Her favorite task was to pit the cherries: smashing them lightly with a glass and removing the pit. It was roll-y, juicy, slightly messy fun. I recommend an apron for this part.
As for the final product, it was, in a word, devoured. I love that she gets an extra boost of fiber along with a good amount of vitamin C. She loves to scoop big, delicious mounds into her mouth. Everybody’s happy.
While this recipe is super kid friendly, don’t let it stop you from serving it next time you’ve got a bar-b-q or a casual family get together. It’s wonderful. No chilies means it’s not too spicy and the hint of cumin lends it just a bit of sophistication. And we all love that.
Firecracker Cherry Salsa, Serves 4
1/2 c. sweet red cherries, pitted and quartered
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July 11, 2011
I adore the big pots of mesclun that have been moved to the shadier spots in my backyard now summer is in full swing. A few snips and I have the base for a fabulous summer lunch.
There’s no real dressing to make, just assembling a couple of ingredients, including a few slices of Serrano ham, shavings of Parmesan and a handful of yellow cherries pickled with Chinese Five Spice. Somehow these three things paired with just picked lettuces and tender herbs result in a taste greater than the sum of their parts.
The cherries were the result of about an hour in the kitchen over the weekend. Now preserved for the dark days of winter, I couldn’t help but crack into one of the jars for this salad. And I’m glad I did. I have to make more of these while cherries are still in season. I did not make enough. These cherries are not only wonderful in this salad, but perfection with a cheese plate. I want to have plenty on hand to dish out with nibbles of cheese when friends pop in for a cocktail.
For the salad, combine
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