Sunday, February 20, 2011

Kaoru: Spaghetti with Fried Eggs

Elaine is right -- you definitely want to embellish some of Bittman's dishes. For this one, a nice pat of butter, leftover bacon, pork jus (from pork shoulder I braised last week), frozen peas, Parmesan and the eggs did just the trick. And with a few generous grinds of black pepper at the table, we had ourselves a nice carbonara-esque dinner tonight. It was really rich, but tasty. Dessert was a half scoop of Haagen Dazs (Five) lemon ice cream, which cleansed the palate.

Elaine: Pear, Gorgonzola and Mesclun Salad

Bosc pears were perfectly ripe. Tossed them in the lemon juice to keep them from discoloring. Poured 1 part evoo and 1 part balsamic into a jar...I like my vinaigrettes extra acidic . Added a dollop of dijon and a pinch of salt. Closed the lid and shake, shake, shake. I had some candied pecans in my pantry. Threw them in there. Dressed my salad and crumbled the gorgonzola on top. A perfect salad. It was my lucky day to have those pears perfectly ripe and ready for Bittman's salad.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Baking with Navels

What's one to do with Navel Oranges that aren't the tastiest to consume sliced?
Oatmeal Orange Currant scones and some Orange cranberry icebox cookie. I wanted to share these recipes with you because they are both crowd pleasers.
I whipped these scones up quickly in my Cuisinart this morning.
Oatmeal Orange Currant scones (courtesy of epicurious)
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar plus additional for sprinkling
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces
Finely grated zest from 1 large navel orange
2/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk plus additional for brushing
1/2 cup dried currants

Orange glaze (courtesy of ina garten)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 t. freshly squeezed orange juice

Preheat oven to 425ºF. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt into a food processor, then add oats and pulse 15 times. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with small (pea-size) lumps, then transfer to a bowl. Stir together zest and buttermilk. Toss currants with oat mixture, then add buttermilk, stirring with a fork just until a dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead 6 times. Pat dough into two 1-inch-thick round, dusting surface with more flour if necessary. Slice 6 wedges per round. Brush tops of scones with buttermilk and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Or drizzle with an orange glaze. Bake in middle of oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes, and transfer to a rack.

I also made Orange Cranberry icebox cookies that are great for an afternoon tea gathering. My friend brought these over over the holidays and they are very easy to make into logs and just slice up and bake before guests come. A great butter cookie base with a citrus-y twist and beautifully red chewy treats. I added more cranberries than the recipe called for because I wanted more bites of the chewies.

1 C unsalted butter at room temp
1 C confectioners sugar
1 t vanilla
1/2 t salt
2 C flour
Grated zest of 1 orange
1/2 C dried

1. With electric mixer, beat first 4 ingredients. Add flour on low speed.
2. Stir in orange and cranberrries.
3. Divide dough in half and place each piece on floured waxed paper. Roll each into 1 1/2 inch in diameter log. Wrap logs in waxed paper and refrigerate 1-1 1/2 hrs.
4. Preheat oven to 350.With serrated knife cut dough 3/8 inch thick and place on ungreased cookie sheet for 15-20 mins.

Elaine: Spaghetti with Fried Eggs

Talk about a quick meal. After swim lessons, the kids are starving for dinner. So I had leftover pasta in the frig, sauteed garlic in oil, fried up some runny eggs which the kids loved and sprinkled tons of parm on top. It was however really missing some crispy crunchy swine! And I probably would add some frozen peas into that dish as well. But it saved me this past Tuesday. I'm realizing that Bittman's "Minimalist" column was named that for a reason?! Definitely have to embellish a little on his recipes. Will try the runny egg on top of steamed rice next time with toasted sesame seeds, a little soy drizzled on it and some crumbled nori for my next emergency, after swim meal.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ashley: Chicken under a brick

I chose a half chicken because a) butchering was sort of done and it would be quicker for me and b) Steve was traveling and I didn't need a ton of leftovers hanging around. I picked up a "pasture fed" half bird at the farmers market last week and it was very good. I'm not sure that I find that the "under the brick" lends itself to much more taste than a roast chicken. It may crispin the skin a little, but I don't generally eat that. Nonetheless, the family enjoyed. I'm just proud that I'm keeping up!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Kaoru: Chicken Under a Brick

I got a bit of help from my husband on this chicken. And I’m truly grateful because there was some chopping off of feet involved (our pan was too small), chicken juice everywhere, a lot of heavy lifting, not to mention the smoke detector that went off in the middle of cooking. Oh, and bless his heart, he cleaned everything up after dinner too.

The chicken was good – amazing chicken texture, perfectly crispy skin, visually arresting and incredibly juicy. We enjoyed it. But there was something missing, je ne sai quoi. Depth of flavor? Complexity? Should I have marinated it longer than 45 minutes or salted more liberally?

Since I purchased a 4 lb chicken, we had tons of leftovers. The following day, I reheated some chicken and drizzled some soy sauce on top (did the trick) and ate it with rice. Yummy!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Elaine : Chicken Under a Brick

Cooks Illustrated uses this method for Butterflied Chicken on the grill, which we do a lot where we brush BBQ sauce on at the end. I use my cast iron as the weight. I roasted it on a sheet pan with thyme instead of rosemary. My legs needed 15 min more time than the recipe called for. I paired the delicious chicken with roasted broccoli and roasted cherry tomatoes and garlic that I tossed in israeli couscous.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Ashley: Red Pepper Puree

Well I don't make nearly as much pasta as I used to, but it's still a big hit for my husband and the kiddos. So, I found myself with the beautiful red pepper puree in need of a quick weeknight dinner to suit everyone. I just prepared the pasta and sauteed the chicken with some garlic and the asparagus and tossed everything with the red pepper puree and some pasta water. It was a hit with the family! I've also been spreading on sandwiches at lunchtime and it goes a long way to spruce up the normal drab turkey sandwich. We ventured to Santa Monica and had breakfast at the Huckleberry Cafe this past weekend. I had "Green eggs and ham" and I've thought that the puree would make a great "red eggs and ham" : english muffin, red pepper puree (instead of pesto), prosciutto, fried egg and arugula tossed with a light dressing.

Julie: Red Pepper Puree

Yum! So easy and definitely going into the arsenal. I made it last night, letting the bells roast while I was doing other things in the kitchen, and it was about a half hour in that the lovely aromas started to fill the house. After 45 mins they were looking charred but as I expected. I sealed them up in the foil and it was only after I opened up that little package that I was surprised to see them totally collapsed. But so flavorful. And the juices were wonderful-- smoky and sweet/savory all at the same time. The spread came out SO much more complex then I had envisioned. No idea why, but I'm not complaining!

This morning I served up the puree with some chopped avocado to Joshua-- you can see he enjoyed it! He gobbled up the bowl so quickly I had barely enough time to get him another bowlful!

Tonight I served them for the superbowl, atop crostini with some goat cheese (I popped the crostini under the broiler for a couple mins to get everything bubbly). Rave reviews all around. I bet this would be delish on a white fish like halibut. Or on a sammy. In an omelette? Yumm, so many possibilities.

Looking forward to trying the next one!


Saturday, February 05, 2011

Jer: Red Pepper Puree

Since everyone has had such wonderful experiences with the recipe thus far, I decided to see what types of results I'd get if I used some roasted peppers purchased from the deli case of my favorite local Italian deli.

I used the nicest olive oil I had in the pantry and some wonderful French sea salt. Voila! Results were absolutely delicious and because I didn't grill the peppers myself the whole thing took maybe 5 minutes (including cleaning of the bowl)!

I sent Jack to daycare the next day with two servings of the puree. When I came at lunch time one of the wonderful teachers in the room said she wished she had some pita chips to eat some of it while she was feeding Jack. The next day I sent Jack to school with it mixed with some avocado. Holy smokes, he ate it in a flash.

For dinner we enjoyed the puree with some roasted cauliflower. Not only delicious but beautiful contrast against the white cauliflower (spooned the puree on the bottom of the plate and served the cauliflower on top of it).