Monday, July 30, 2007
Saturday, July 28, 2007
On a purely selfish note, Nicholas loves food, wine, cooking and experiencing different flavors. Having him around to cook with and for has been such fun. I also had an excuse to go sailing, and we couldn't have picked a better day - it was very hot at home, and on the water it was the perfect sailing conditions - great wind.
Sailing with Nicholas day before yesterday:
Friday, July 27, 2007
This is a great side dish, or a main dish as a vegetarian meal. I find it goes well with a hearty red wine.
Another use for this recipe: Pomodori Ripieni or Stuffed Tomatoes
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Sunday, July 15, 2007
This apron has a story, but its origins remain a mystery. I bought it at least 20 years ago at a flea market. I always thought of it as Swedish for two reasons. One, I bought it from a vendor who also sold me a Swedish tablecloth, and so I wanted to believe that this, too, was Swedish. Then there is the fact that I am half-Swedish, so in making myself believe that this is Swedish, and while baking Swedish holiday cookies, I feel oh-so Svenska!
Saturday, July 14, 2007
~ Martha Graham
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
1/2 lb. linguine or linguine fini
1/3 cup good olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
red pepper flakes
approx. 15 shrimp, peeled and deveined (if you prefer, you can leave the tails on)
2 tsp. lemon zest
juice of 1/2 a lemon (plus some lemon weges for table)
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
Bring a generously salted pot of water to a boil. In a skillet add olive oil and garlic and slowly cook garlic. After a few minutes add red pepper flakes. When garlic appears cooked, add shrimp and raise heat just a bit. After a few minutes of sauteeing, add lemon zest. Add pasta to the water and cook until al dente. Add lemon juice and most of parsley (reserving a bit for end) to the skillet. Add a dash of salt to taste. Drain pasta and add to skillet. Toss linguine with the shrimp and transfer to a platter. Sprinkle remaining parsley over top. As an added, delicious touch, sprinkle with a very good olive oil, like one from Liguria, that goes well with seafood. Serve with extra lemon wedges on table.
Monday, July 9, 2007
Sunday, July 8, 2007
Quarter a large artichoke or halve a small one. With a spoon, clean out the hairy choke, or center. As quickly as possible put them into a small amount of salted, boiling water. (The longer they are exposed to air, the centers become dark.) Cook, covered in simmering water until they are almost done - when the hearts are almost soft. While cooking, light grill. Remove and drain well. Coat lightly all over olive oil and grill on a medium flame until they get a little crispy with grill marks on all sides. I like to serve this a basil aioli for dipping.
For Basil Aioli: (make aioli from scratch and blend in some chopped basil, or you can use the shortcut version for aioli that I often make)
By hand mix some high-quality mayonaisse, with a one pressed garlic clove, a light squeeze of lemon and some high-quality olive oil. Crush some basil leaves with a mortar and pestle and add to the aioli mixture. Blend well with a fork or whisk. Taste to adjust ingredients.Artichokes and wine make a terrible marriage, although with the grilled flavor and bold aioli, rose' is not a bad match.
Friday, July 6, 2007
I love eggplants, and lucky for me, so does my husband as I am always experimenting with different ways to cook this lovely purple vegetable. Last night we made one of our favorite summer dishes - Pizzette di Melanzane - something we invented as a healthy, but tasty, way to satisfy our pizza cravings. We have also made this in the winter, when we can find a good eggplant, and substitute a homemade pizza sauce for the fresh tomatoes.
You will need:
One large, firm eggplant, cut crosswise in round slices about 1/2" thick
2 large or 3 small ripe tomatoes, chopped in small cubes (cherry tomatoes also work nicely!)
About 2 balls of fresh mozzarella, dried well and cut in small cubes
About 10 large basil leaves, chopped
Dried oregano, salt and pepper
Generously salt the eggplant slices and place in a colander to release their water for at least 30 minutes. Wipe the salt off with a paper towel and brush with olive oil. Grill on low to medium heat until there are nice grill marks on each side and they appear to be cooked.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
While the eggplant is grilling, combine the tomatoes, mozzarella and half of the basil in a bowl. Add a few generous shakes of dried oregano, some salt and pepper. Combine with a little olive oil (maybe 1 Tbsp.)
Place grilled eggplant slices on a baking sheet and top each with some of the tomato mixture. Bake for about 10 or 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown on top. Before serving, sprinkle remaining fresh basil on top.
Serves 2 as an entree and 4 as a side dish.
Don't forget the wine! A fruity, young Chianti or Dolcetto would be ideal. Buon appetito!
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Remove the stems (they are woody.) Chop the leaves in a chiffonade and rinse well . In a skillet heat some olive oil and slowly carmelize a clove of garlic that has been quartered along with a light sprinkling of pepperoncini (red pepper flakes.) Once the garlic is carmelized, you can throw it away, or leave it depending on how much you like garlic. With these particular greens, I recommended throwing it away; they only need a light touch of garlic. Then add the greens to the skillet with a small amount (1/4 cup) of water and cover with the flame on medium-high. These greens take a while to wilt as they are crunchy. In the meantime, fry some pancetta or good bacon and drain on paper towels. Toast some sliced, good bread, like ciabatta. Once the water has almost evaporated in the skillet, remove the lid and let the rest completely evaporate. Turn off heat as soon as pan becomes dry. Place the greens on the bread. Drizzle with olive oil and top with a slice of pancetta.
Michelle, the "wine girl" at http://www.wine-girl.net/ hosts a virtual tasting event called "Wine Blog Wednesday" in which she invites everyone to taste and review wines in a certain category and post their opinions on their own blog or via email to her, where she will post it. I couldn't resist jumping into anything with PASSIONATE in the title, nor anything to do with Spain. This one was definitely up my alley. The criteria for this "Passionate Spain" tasting was to find a value wine, preferably for under $10. So, here is my find:
Marques de Caceres Rioja Rose' 2006: (With apologies to Michelle for reviewing a wine from Rioja, but I couldn't resist...read on.) My husband and I are rose' crazy. We find them to be one of the most versatile and food-friendly wines to drink. There is nothing quite so refreshing on a warm summer evening and rose's from Spain are among our favorites. In addition, rose' goes so well with Spanish and all Mediterranean foods. This particular rose' can be found in most grocery stores and we buy it at Trader Joe's for the unbelievable price of $5.99. Many wine snobs out there will turn their nose up at "grocery store" brands or wines this inexpensive. To the contrary, we believe, as do many of our friends in the wine business, that there are loads of good to great wines out there for under $10 and many are made in large quantities, and are therefore found in grocery stores. (That is not to say that all wines found in grocery stores are good; they are not.)
Now, onto the wine. It starts with a powerful nose for a rose'; this is not your delicate, South of France rose'. The nose is reminiscent of Pinot Noir with a touch of earth and berries. On the palate it has a complex structure for a rose' with light tannins. It is full of fruit, particularly strawberries, balanced by minerals and a lively acidity, with a hint of white pepper in the long finish. This rose' would marry well with richer foods like a garlicky aioli, paella, sausages, or a grilled steak. Lastly, we have been drinking this wine for many vintages, and while there are variations due to weather, this wine still shows great consistency, year after year. Drink within the first year, or until the next vintage is released! (It is imported by Vineyard Brands if anyone is searching for it.)
I must say that I almost reviewed many of the whites I have been drinking from the Northwest of Spain, specifically the Albarinos from the Rias Baixas DOC in Galicias. These are worth seeking out and most are $15 and under.