Posts tagged ‘tomatoes’

October 17, 2010

Sunday Dinner: Lasagna, Meatballs, Sausage and “Gravy”

For those of you who have been following the goings on in Persephone’s Kitchen, you’ll know most important things to me are techniques, tradition and family.  I’m determined not to lose the family history that is contained in recipes handed down generation to generation. 

As a result, Persephone doesn’t always do the cooking.  This morning, while the marathoners made their way to the finish line, I sat in Rhea‘s kitchen and watched her start the involved process of a big Italian-American Sunday dinner.  Her lasagna and meatballs require the patient efforts of a Thanksgiving dinner.  So when she decides to make Italian, everybody gathers ’round.  Cronus is especially happy.  All day the sausages and homemade meatballs braised in scratch tomato sauce.  The long day’s work meant that tonight we were treated to her homemade gravy (for those of you not from Jersey, that’s the tomato sauce), meatballs, sausage and lasagna.  Food coma heaven.  And Cronus, bless him, broke out a Red from A.D. 1991 to properly celebrate Mom’s hard work.

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October 7, 2010

A Vegetarian Dinner to End a Vegetarian Day

Some days our family goes all veg, but it’s almost always by accident.  It’s not until later in the evening when we think over what we ate that day do we realize it’s done.  Meals like the one we made tonight are the main reason for it.  We sometimes just don’t miss the meat.  Food this good will satisfy anyone.  Today’s 10 minute homemade ricotta cheese and a perfectly poached egg contributed to the lovely feeling of abundance to the meal.  Thanks to Miss Whisk for the original inspiration for this dish.

Fresh Ricotta, Roasted Vegetables and Rossi Pasta, serves 2 (plus 1 three-year old)

1 baby eggplant, diced into 1 1/2 inch pieces

2 large Roma tomatoes, diced into 1 1/2 inch pieces

Olive oil, salt, pepper

3/4 c fresh ricotta

Scant 1/2  pound fettucine (we used Rossi’s Parsley and Garlic)

3 eggs, poached for two minutes

1 T chopped fresh basil

Mix the eggplant and tomatoes with the olive oil, salt and pepper and spread in a roasting pan.  Roast on 400˚ for 30 minutes or so. 

Poach your eggs (bring water with a splash of vinegar to a low boil, crack the egg into a small bowl, swirl the water with a spoon and pour the egg in the center of the water, cook for two minutes, remove with a slotted spoon to drain on a towel). 

Cook the pasta according to package directions.  While it’s cooking, add the roasted veg to a small sauce pan, along with the ricotta and two ladlefuls of pasta water.  Stir to create a sauce.  Drain the pasta,  divide between warmed pasta bowls, top with the sauce, a poached egg, the fresh basil and perhaps a further crumbling of the ricotta.

The only non-local ingredients in this post were the olive oil, salt and pepper.  For complete sourcing, please see the Farms and Producers page.

Playlist included De L’alouette, by Columbus-bred funk-soul-brother RJD2.

October 5, 2010

Lake Erie Walleye with Spaetzle and Cheese

Another play on a classic today, the eternal combo of fish sticks and mac and cheese. 

While I didn’t fry the walleye, you could.  I seasoned the walleye with salt and pepper, cut a shallow slit in the top of each fillet and stuffed them with a combination of fresh herbs.  Then a drizzle of olive oil and it’s into the oven for about 15 minutes, depending on the size of your fishies.  If you have the time, brown some butter in a pan with a sprig of fresh rosemary for a quick and flavorful brown butter sauce to drizzle over your fish.

Spaetzle is a simple batter to mix up.  I used about two cups (half whole wheat flour from Flying J Farm and half unbleached white flour from prairie Mills) along with 3 local eggs and about a half a cup of milk from Snowville.  You want it nice and thick (like pudding almost) so you can press it through a colander with the back of a spatula over a deep pot of salted boiling water.  You don’t want it running through of its own volition, you need to push it through, otherwise you’ll be left straining out a bizarre oatmeal-looking slop.  (Not that this has ever happened to competent Persephone.)  Each batch of teeny tiny dumplings are done in about a minute.  Lift the spaetzle out of the water with a strainer and place on a clean kitchen towel to drain.

Homemade cheese sauce is a snap to make.  Warm a chopped yellow tomato and some garlic  and add it to the cheese sauce to give a potentially heavy dish a nice touch of freshness.  Mix in a couple of generous spoonfuls of the tomato cheese mixture into the spaetzle that’s been moved to a saute pan to rewarm.

Serve the two together and you might be able to get your kids to try your version every once in a while.  And every once in a while is not a very bad start.

The only items in dinner that were not local were the olive oil and the salt and pepper.  Neat-o.  Complete sourcing can be found on the Farms and Producers page.

Playlist included Superior, by Columbus local Colin Gawel.

October 4, 2010

Dinner, Day Two: Needmore Chicken

Sunday dinner with the family is important to me.  It’s a time when the extended family  is invited (tonight it was Cronus and Rhea) and everyone partakes of a leisurely meal.  It’s a great thing for Cherub, who is three: she gets to practice her table manners and eat something the whole family is enjoying.    

For Local Foods Week, I thought chicken would make for a good Sunday dinner.  As it turns out, Hill Family Farm is in Xenia, about an hour away.  We bought a whole bird and decided to take it the French country route, a riff on a Coq au Vin.  Anthony Bourdain’s recipe in the les Halles Cookbook was a jumping off point.  I used Ohio wines for marinating and for the table.  Since we purchased our bird at Dorothy Lane Market, what better musical inspiration than Dayton’s Guided by Voices.   

Hades has hung with Franz Liszt; gave the odd tip to Stravinsky.  He’s held his own with Shane MacGowan, and there’s a rumor that he wrote the bassline to “Love Will Tear Us Apart.”  In short, he knows music.  He cannot impress upon me the greatness of Guided by Voices often enough.  Its time to rock.  Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome, Ohio’s own, Needmore Chicken!    

Needmore Chicken    

1 whole roasting chicken, giblets removed and reserved for another use    

2 parsnips, sliced (ours were from the backyard)    

4 green onions, white parts only, sliced in two lengthwise (we were late to the farmer’s market, feel free to use a whole diced onion)    

Bouquet Garni – cheesecloth wrapped bay leaf, 10 peppercorns, small sprig of fresh thyme, two sprigs of parsley)    

1 bottle of red wine (we used Firelands Cab Sauv)   

  

    

In a large bowl that will hold the chicken comfortably, combine all ingredients.  Cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate overnight to 24 hours.    

Notice the lighter parts where a parsnip or chicken wing stuck close to the breast skin during marinating.

 

    

2 T butter    

1 T flour    

Salt and pepper    

After marinating, remove chicken and pat dry with paper towels.  Season inside and out with salt and pepper.    

Remove the bouquet garni, and strain the solids out of the marinade, reserving each seperately.  In a large, heavy lidded pot, add 2T of butter and heat over medium high heat until almost smoking.  

    

Using it for its God given purpose.

 

Place the chicken in the pot and sear on all sides until golden brown, turning as needed.  Remove chicken from the pot and set aside.  Tip in reserved vegtables from the marinade and cook until softened, about three to five minutes.  Sprinkle the vegetables with 1T of flour and stir to coat, cook for another minute.  Add back in the chicken, pour in the marinade.  Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to very low, cover and simmer for an hour and 15 minutes.   

1/4 pound bacon ends, chopped finely   

 1 large handful of shitake mushrooms, stems sliced, tops quartered   

 6 to 8 whole baby shallots (or pearl onions)   

Pinch of salt, pinch of sugar, water   

In a small skillet, render the bacon ends until crisp.  Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate.  Keeping only 1 T of bacon drippings, heat over medium high heat and add in the mushrooms.  Sear until browned, remove to same paper towel lined plate as the bacon.  In the same pan, add in the shallots or onions, along with the salt, sugar and water to cover.  Cut a piece of parchment or wax paper to cover the pan, reduce heat to low and cook until the liquid is evaporated and the shallots are carmelized a bit.  Add in two ladlefuls of the cooking liquid from the chicken and reduce until syrupy.  Remove from heat.   

When finished cooking, remove the chicken from the sauce and place on a cutting board to slice up.  Strain the liquid from the pot and add to the skillet with the reduction.  Mix in the bacon and mushrooms, remove from heat and whisk in 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter to finish the sauce.   

A simple, elegant appetizer for this meal, or any meal, let’s be honest, is French breakfast radishes with herb butter.  The butter was from Snowville cream, and mixed with backyard herbs (this time, parsley, tarragon, rosemary, basil, and green onion).   

Serve with egg noodles and Provencal tomatoes (tomatoes halved and stuffed with breadcrumbs, parsely, garlic and chopped tomatoes).  Pour a ladle of sauce over the noodles for good measure.   

Meal notes: breadcrumbs for the tomatoes were from the left over biscuits from this morning.  Noodles were from Mrs. Miller’s Homemade Noodles, Fredrickstown, Ohio.  Herbs were from Cronus’s garden.  All other sourcing can be found on the Farms and Producers page.  Wine served with dinner was a 2008 Syrah from Kinkead Ridge, Ripley, Ohio.  

  

Playlist included Bulldog Skin because it totally rocks and it’s my personal favorite GBV, unless you count My Valuable Hunting Knife…

October 2, 2010

Dinner, Day One: Fall Fest at Flying J Farm

Photo credit, Ely Brothers

 

Hades, Cherub and I headed to Johnstown this afternoon for some fun on the farm. Cherub enjoys chasing the chickens and enticing Jewel the farm dog to play fetch. 

Hades and I were looking forward to the organic, grass-fed beef burgers for which Farmer Jensen is famous. 

While once again it managed to rain when we were there (same as the Slow Food dinner back August), but the rain never seems to dampen anyone’s spirits when they’re there. Dinner was pot luck, so I brought along a green bean and tomato salad from all the produce loveliness we bought this morning. Original credit for this salad goes to Chef Brian Polcyn, cited in Ruhlman’s Soul of a Chef

This is an easy salad that is great for entertaining and for pot luck meals like this one.  And it could hardly be more local. 

Wishwell Green Bean Salad  

½ pound green beans, tipped and halved if too long (Wishwell Farms

3 oz bacon ends, chopped (from Curly Tail Farm

1 Roma tomato, sliced in strips the approximate size as the beans (Wishwell) 

1 yellow tomato, sliced in strips (Wishwell) 

1 very large green onion, sliced (from Northridge Organic Farm) 

Apple cider vinegar, grapeseed oil, salt and pepper 

In a large pot of heavily salted boiling water, cook the beans for 3 to 4 minutes, or until just done. Remove the beans from the water to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. 

Render the chopped bacon ends until crispy. Remove to a plate lined with a paper towel. Reserve the drippings. Yes. Do it. 

In a large bowl, combine the bacon fat, 1/8 c grapeseed oil, 1/8 apple cider vinegar and the salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. Add the beans (that have been drained and dried slightly), yellow and red tomatoes, green onion, and crispy bacon. Mix lightly to keep the tomatoes in strips. 

For more pictures of Slow Foods Columbus‘s Shake the Hand That Feeds You Dinner, check the Ely Brothers’ Facebook album.

October 2, 2010

OH So Good Omelette

The parent sized portion

 Today started off with a classic French bistro lunch made with entirely local ingredients.  This was after we ran out to The Hills Market, didn’t find what we’d hoped and then scurried through the Worthington Farmer’s Market, just under the bell.  Where we found just about all we’d hoped.  You’ve gotta get there pretty early to snag local leeks. 

I’ll be doing some linking this week in the posts, but tonight I’ll start a page with suppliers for the week. 

OH So Good Omelette 

2 to 3 tomatoes, chopped (ours were backyard tomatoes) 

1 t bacon drippings (ours was from Bluescreek Farm Meats) 

2 eggs (these were from Holistic Acres in Ashland) 

1 T finely chopped herbs (today it was tarragon, basil, parsley, from Cronus’s garden) 

¼ c shredded strong cheddar (from Ohio Farm Direct in Fredricktown) 

The cherub sized portion

 

In a small nonstick pan, cook the tomatoes over medium low heat until you are left with a thick paste.  Season with a bit of salt.  Remove from heat.  Melt the bacon drippings in a small nonstick pan over medium low heat.  Scramble the two eggs and mix in the herbs, whisking firmly to incorporate.  Pour the eggs into the pan, allow to firm slightly then pull the edges of egg toward the center of the pan, allowing the uncooked egg to run to the bottom of the pan.  Spread half the tomato mixture over the eggs, sprinkle with cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.  Reduce heat to low.  Allow eggs to set a bit more, then fold omelette in half.  Flip, if you’re feeling sassy.   

Serve with Honey Run Farms greens with fennel frond vinaigrette. For the vinaigrette mix 3 T grapeseed oil, 1 T red wine vinegar, 1 t mustard, 1 T finely chopped fresh fennel fronds, five twists of pepper, a pinch of salt and a drizzle of local honey.  Toss lettuces in the dressing and serve immediately. 

Playlist included Devo’s Fresh.  Of course.

September 27, 2010

Brick Lane, Meet Persephone: A Seasonal, Weeknight Curry

Awww! Cherub is such a big help with chopping tomatoes. With a butter knife.

 

Indian food is something I’ve developed a taste for.  To the point that I crave it regularly.  I didn’t always.  I didn’t understand it; it was a little too exotic.  Now?  Let’s be honest here: I love it.  It has become a point of pride that I’ve tried to learn what I can about a world cuisine that 1.1 billion (with a B) eat every day.  

On Sunday, Hades, Cherub and I made a stop at the Sawmill Patel Brothers, the Indian supermarket, and worked up the ingredients for a lovely English-inspired vegetarian curry (it’s the heavy cream that makes it smack of something that Richard Hammond might enjoy after a few shouts at his local).  Cherub even helped pick out the 10 pound bag of Basmati rice that we ended up taking home.  Add in some seasonal baby eggplants and cauliflower, plus the last (I keep saying this) of the tomatoes from our garden.  Then a lovely melange of Indian spices from Patel to make it delicious.  

These two dishes require a bit of prep, but it’s totally worth the minor, and I do stress minor, effort. 

Lemon Basmati with Curried Eggplant and Cauliflower 

For the Lemon Basmati 

1 c. Basmati rice, soaked briefly in water 

2 c. water 

Salt 

While you’re doing prep for the rest of dinner, soak the rice in cold water.  When it’s time to get cooking, bring two cups of water to a boil and add in a generous sprinkling of salt.  Then tip in the drained rice, bring back to a boil and then reduce to the lowest setting to simmer slowly for about 15 minutes.  Turn off when done.  You will finish this in a frying pan just before the curry is ready. 

For the Curried Eggplant and Cauliflower 

The cauliflower breaks down significantly in the 30 minutes it cooks. Leave it initially in large chunks, so that you'll have some variety in size when it comes time to serve the dish.

 

1 bay leaf 

1 small red spicy pepper, whole 

1 black cardamom pod 

3 or 4 green cardamom pods 

1 t. cumin seed 

1 t. mustard seed 

1 red onion, chopped 

1 shallot, chopped 

1 garlic clove, minced 

1/2 inch fresh ginger root, finely grated 

5 or 6 baby eggplants, halved 

1 Japanese eggplant, sliced into rounds 

2 red skinned potatoes, cubed 

1 tomato, chopped 

1 heaping t. of curry 

1/2 t. garam masala 

2 c. water 

1/2 c. heavy cream 

Vegetable oil, salt, pepper (optional) 

In a pan heat a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil over medium high heat.  Add in bay through mustard seed and cook for one to two minutes, until browned.  Careful, the mustard seeds really pop.  If you have a screen to put over the pan, by all means, do it.  Then add in the onion and shallot.  Continue to cook over medium high heat for another two minutes, or until just beginning to brown.  Add in the garlic and the grated ginger.  Cook for 30 seconds.  Tip in eggplant through garam masala, cook for two minutes.  Add in the water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and cook for 30 minutes.  Just before serving, reduce heat to low, add in the heavy cream and stir to incorporate. 

To finish the Basmati 

1/2 t. mustard seeds 

1/2 t. fenugreek seeds 

1/2 cumin seeds 

6 curry leaves 

2 green onions, sliced 

1/2 c chopped almonds 

1/2 lemon, zest and juice 

1/2 inch grated fresh turmeric root (1/2 t. dried turmeric will work just as well) 

1 generous pinch fresh coriander leaves, chopped for garnish 

In a large frying pan, heat 1 to 2 T. vegetable oil over medium high heat.  Add in the mustard, fenugreek and cumin seeds and the curry leaves.  Cook for one to two minutes, until browned.  Careful of the popping mustard seeds, cover with a lid or splatter screen.  Add in the green onions and almonds, cook for two minutes.  Mix the lemon zest, juice and fresh turmeric and pour in quickly and cook for 20 seconds.  Add in the cooked rice and stir to incorporate the seasonings.  Fry for two or three minutes to reheat. 

To serve, place generous servings of rice and curry in shallow plates, top with chopped coriander. 

Playlist included M.I.A’s Paper Planes.

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