Posts tagged ‘wine’

August 20, 2011

Simplicity from the Farmers’ Market | On the Grill

Honestly in the summer I can’t be bothered with much.  Dinner of a meat and a veg.  Perhaps a second veg.  If it doesn’t require cooking.  And if Cherub loves it.   Only then.

So if you’re like me and don’t feel up to much, stop by the farmers’ market in your town on Saturday morning and pick up two or three things for a Saturday night grilled dinner: some chicken thighs with the bone removed but the tasty skin left on, some fresh sweet corn and some grape or cherry tomatoes.

If you buy your ingredients from reputable and local farmers, you can be assured of freshness and flavor you wouldn’t normally get at the grocery store.  And if you’re a lazy cook in the summer, these are the greatest things you can buy because you have only the slightest work to make something really tasty.

Spiced Chicken Thighs with Grilled Corn and Lime Butter, serves four

6 chicken thighs, bone removed, skin left on

1 garlic clove

1 T chili powder

1 T whole cumin seeds

1 T brown sugar

1 t salt

2 T olive oil

4 ears sweet corn

4 T butter

1 t chili powder

Zest from 1 lime, juice from 1/2

Salt

Prepare grill (I prefer a charcoal).

In a mortar and pestle combine garlic, all spices and olive oil and mash to a consistent paste.  Rub onto chicken and allow to marinate from 15 minutes to two hours.

Grill chicken for 15 to 20 minutes or until meat is no longer pink and juices run clear.

While chicken is cooking, gently peel back husks to remove silk from corn, carefully replacing husks to cover back over the corn.  Mix lime zest with juice and spices along with softened (not melted) butter to create an even mixture.  Place corn in husks over cooler coals after chicken is cooked and resting and cook for approximately 10 minutes, turning frequently.

To serve, eat outside, for God’s sake.

Remove husks from corn and slather with butter mixture.  Serve with chicken.  And perhaps some of those tomatoes that you didn’t bother to cook, merely wash.  And a wine, maybe an A to Z 2009 Pinot Gris.

Playlist included Thursday, the mixtape by The Weeknd.

August 12, 2011

Sharing History | Gigot d’Agneau

Sometimes a memorable meal transcends your kitchen tools and cooking techniques.  Instead, it’s a celebration that connects you to your friends, family, and culture.  That’s what happens when you cook a leg of lamb.  It isn’t particularly complicated, but the result is magical.  If you appreciate the cut and revere the process, history will carry you along.

Lamb is the centerpiece of celebrations on every continent.  And the leg of lamb is the most sought after cut.  It’s lean, forgiving, and can take on flavors through marinading, grilling, roasting, or braising.  Most importantly, though, its sublimely delicious and it makes enough to share.

I simply scored the fat in a crisscrossed pattern and arranged a handful of garlic cloves in the cuts.  After seasoning quite generously with salt and pepper, I placed it in a roasting pan with diced carrots, onions, peppers and tomatoes.  About an inch of water and a bouquet garni later and the hard part was done.  Cover it tightly with foil, then its into the oven at 300F for five hours or so, checking the liquid level at the halfway point.  Then invite friends, family or both, and serve it with white beans and white wine.

But really, you should let your imagination be your guide.  It’s not everyday that you find yourself in possession of such beautiful meat (thank you dearly, Kate), so use the opportunity to celebrate and share your life.

Playlist included Rue St. Vincent, par Yves Montand.

June 4, 2011

Persephone’s Drinks Cabinet | Sage Flower Sangria

Get some food people together and you can come up with some pretty tasty ideas.

At dinner recently, my friend Bethia pointed out how flowery Kate‘s sage plant was and plucked a few of the purple blossoms for us to pop in our mouths.  Our eyes widened and we were immediately smitten with the surprisingly honeysuckle-y sage-iness of the teensy lavender-colored blooms.  Enterprising Kate made up a quick batch of sage flower syrup and kindly gifted me a batch.  I love that girl.

I used some this afternoon in some red wine sangria.

My sage plant in the background with the last of the flowers on it. Note the syrup and the triple sec in the bottom of the pitcher. Make sure to give it a good stir.

Sage Flower Sangria, serves me and Hades…

1 bottle of red wine (inexpensive Rioja, Beaujolais and Lambrusco are all good kinds)

Small handful of strawberries, halved (Worthington farmer’s market has them in now)

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January 26, 2011

Potluck Party | Crab Pot Pie with Pimento Cheese Biscuits

I was so excited to be invited to a cool little supper club started by a friend here in Columbus.   The ingeniously-themed meet up was entitled Showcase of the Crusted Arts.  Meaning bring something with a crust on it somewhere.  The smart and gracious hosts cooked up a beautiful whole striped bass in a salt crust.  Other clever folks brought goat cheese pizza, clementine pie, Hot Pockets, pork pie, spanakopita, all sorts of deliciousness.

I wanted to make something that would travel fairly well and have something substantial and savory, if perhaps a bit non-traditional, as a crust.  Enter a pot pie of sorts with crab and shrimp, topped with Georgia-inspired pimento cheese biscuits.  Kosher it ain’t, but it was good.

Greensboro Pie, serves plenty folks

For the Pie:

1 leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced

1 T butter (made some quickly with all the Snowville cream I had)

3/4 c white wine

3/4 c vermouth

1 1/2 c homemade fish stock or chicken stock

3/4 c heavy cream (Yup, Snowville)

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January 19, 2011

Globetrotter | Braised Brisket

Sometimes, the heavens align to make my cooking for the week a little easier.  Enter the brisket.  Such a great cut and so flexible.

Sidenote: I’m in serious trouble if Zeus is reading this post, because in the country I was raised, brisket can be prepared one way only.  Small exceptions are made one day out of the year – March 17th – when it is acceptable to consume corned beef.

A brisket is a great, inexpensive cut of meat that’s superbly tender if it’s been given some low and slow cooking (just like bbq, y’all).  And if you cook a really big piece of meat one day, you are left with the lovely proposition of leftovers.

Tonight, this simply-braised brisket was served in generous slabs lacquered with the cooking liquids.  Partnering it was a silken parsnip and potato puree and the world’s greatest (hyperbole, perhaps) spiced purple cabbage.  A bit like a dinner in Alsace.

The excess brisket will be the base of two more days of worldly deliciousness.  Look later this week for recipes in which the leftovers will be dressed up in tight Mexican Mariachi pants and a big hat and then subsequently looking demure in a separate Philippine dish.  Globetrotting indeed.

Simple Long-Braised Brisket

1 – 3 pound  brisket

1/2 onion, chopped

2 carrots, scrubbed and cut in thirds

6 cloves garlic (I used some garlic confit that was in the fridge – you don’t have to, of course)

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January 11, 2011

Winter Kitchen | White Bolognese with Fresh Pasta

You can’t find a fresh, ripe, beautiful red tomato here in Ohio in January.  You just can’t.  So how could you possibly make a bolognese in the depths of winter?  Make a white bolognese.  Skip the tomatoes altogether and make a very Italian specialty.  In doing so, you will make my single most favorite thing to cook.

It is my most favorite of all favorites.  Really, truly.  The kind that my small family of three will piggishly devour an entire pound of pasta, with Cherub (remember, she’s three) helping herself to thirds.  It is, in a word, delicious.  Amazingly delicious.  Well, that’s two.  But I mean it: if you have yet to make a recipe from this blog, you should make this one.

White Bolognese, adapted from The Silver Spoon

1 T olive oil

2 strips of bacon

1/2 finely chopped yellow onion

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December 29, 2010

“Wow” | Crab, Leek and Ricotta Rollatini (with Truffles)

There are fireworks on New Year’s Eve for a reason.  It’s a time for the best we’ve got.  A dinner like this requires a lot of you.  But oh my, is it worth it.  And the one you make it for will think so, too.  And I’m sure they’ll be grateful.

I cooked a lot today.  I picked one and a half pounds of snow crab.  Kind of tedious.  Made a stock from the crab shells and froze it.  Easy.  Cooked up a batch of ricotta.  Simple, but a little time-consuming.  Mixed up a big batch of homemade pasta.  Great workout.  Rolled said pasta into lasagna noodles.  Time consuming, but simple.  Assembled said pasta and crab, etc. into rollatini.  Pretty simple.  Bake.  But my oh my, look what happened to the time!  Nothing today was difficult, but it all took time.

That seductive, elusive siren:  time.  Everyone (hello, Thirty Minute Meals) will tell you that you don’t have enough of it, that you have to squeeze more out of what you’re given.  Don’t believe them.   Take pleasure in the cooking tasks in front of you.  Your end results are what nurture you and those you love.  For a real wow factor, make something at home that is worth both your effort and your time.

Crab, Leek and Ricotta Rollatini, serves 4

STEP ONE:  Make Ricotta

STEP TWO:  Make the filling

Mix 2 cups of cooked crab, 2 cups of ricotta, 1 leek that’s been sautéed in olive oil, 6 stems’ worth of picked thyme leaves, salt and pepper to taste.  Reserve a spoonful of the filling for garnish.

STEP THREE:  Make the pasta

You will find a large variety of fresh pasta recipes online and in cookbooks.  A quick guideline ratio is 1 cup of flour to 1 egg plus one egg yolk.  I follow the recommendation of the flawless Marco Pierre White.  Easy.  Accurate.  Delicious.  I grated the remainder of our truffles (three tiny ones) into the dough.  Please try to add this if you can.  It makes a world of difference.

STEP FOUR:  Assemble the dish

I rolled the mixture into rollatini (heaping bits of the mix along the length of the pasta), greased the dish with truffle butter (thank you, Snowville and Greener Grocer) and baked for 20 minutes at 350 F.  You may do as you wish.  Cut your pasta into strips for papardelle and toss with the crab mixture.  Make ravioli and use the crab as the filling.  Just know that by making your own pasta you will attain new heights of flavor.

At the end of the day, this dish is about the transformative power of cooking.  The pasta is flour and eggs.  The cheese is simply warmed milk and a bit of lemon.  The truffles and leeks are pure earthiness.  Do yourself a favor – take the time to make something extraordinary.  It’s that time of year for fireworks.

Serve with Prosecco.

Playlist included Wow, by Kylie Minogue.  On repeat.

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