Wednesday, January 28, 2009

black bean chiles rellenos over a spicy sage romesco sauce with sweet corn pitas

grilled six large poblano peppers and three medium sized red bell peppers over medium heat until the outside was charred and flaky and then threw them all in a paper bag to sit and steam for a while. after they had cooled a little, most of the skin was removed from all of the peppers (making sure to keep anything that looked flavorful [oils, some skin], no water used in this process). the stems and seeds were then removed from the peppers. the clean red peppers were set aside.

the poblanos were split down the side and unrolled then stuffed with black beans, a thin slice of whole milk mozzarella, and a thin slice of gruyere, then rolled back up and placed spaced out on a baking sheet. when the time came, these were baked at 375-degrees for about 10-minutes (until they started to sizzle a lot and the cheese was obviously melted).

in the food processor went (in this order): one clove of garlic, 1c. whole raw almonds, 1/2 of a large green habenero pepper, 8 leaves of fresh sage, juice from 1/2 of a lime, 1T. olive oil, the three skinned and seeded roasted medium red peppers, 1T. agave nectar, salt and pepper. blended until smooth.

the corn pitas were made from 2 1/4 lb of a 50/50 mixture of finely ground cornmeal and high gluten flour, 1T. active dry yeast, 2-3T. olive oil, 2T. sugar, 2T. salt, 1T. agave nectar, 2 1/4c. of room temp water. let rise for 45-min or so, punched down, rolled out with a french rolling pin in some all purpose flour, then tossed on a 400-degree baking stone and flipped once until cooked through and crispy on the outside.

the baked poblanos were served over the romesco sauce on a warm plate with a wedge of the sweet corn pita on the side. maddie made a nice soup/stew with veggie chorizo, potatoes, kale, and some noodles, which went nicely with this dish.

Monday, January 26, 2009

spaghetti and meatballs, done right

spaghetti and meatballs, done right, originally uploaded by aarn! +26th January, 2009+.

not quite the quick meal that mom and dad used to prepare for the peanut butter and jelly kids, or the canned “meal” that mr. boy-ar-dee made so well. this batch of spaghetti and meatballs started from a pork butt, a thick beef round steak, a pound or so of semolina flour, half a dozen eggs, a stale loaf of bread, half a dozen medium tomatoes on the vine, a head of garlic, and fresh herbs and spices. oh yeah, and a small can of tomato paste (which probably wasn't even necessary).

took six or eight medium sized vined tomatoes and cut them in half, down the axis of the stem, then sliced a few times perpendicular to the cut about 1/4-in deep. squeezing each tomato half (like one of those gross rubber change purses), opening the 1/4-in cuts, a mixture of minced garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper, and balsamic vinegar, was rubbed into the cuts and across the halved surfaces. the tomatoes were then placed (cut side up) on parchment paper and roasted on a medium rack in a 200-degree oven for about 2.5-hrs. then set aside, covered.

made up a batch of pasta dough with 1-lb of sifted semolina flour, 4-eggs and a splash of water (to the desired consistency), then tossed that in the refridgerator for a while, and then rolled out and cut into spaghetti with the hand-crank pasta machine. tossed it around in a bowl of all-purpose flour to avoid sticking and then set aside.

coarsely ground a three pound pork butt and one pound round beef steak, making sure to keep it cold up until right before grinding (easier to work with). took one pound of the ground pork and put it in the freezer for a later meal, and a handful of the combination of beef and pork was set aside for the sauce. a pureed half of a spanish onion, four or five cloves of minced garlic, about 1.5c. of chopped parsley, 1.5c. of freshly ground breadcrumbs (recycled a stale loaf of italian bread by pulsing in the food processor) rehydrated in enough whole milk to make a mushy consistency, 1.c of coarsely shredded emmental cheese, an egg, 1T. of olive oil, fresh ground pepper, and kosher salt was added to the remaining combination of meat, which was a pork heavy 2.5-lb mass (most likely). the mush was worked until everything was distributed and mixed, by hand, making sure to not overwork (left nice and fluffy, well, as fluffy as ground meat can be). more breadcrumbs were added to the mixture until it was at the appropriate consistency (could barely hold a ball shape). the mixture was then shaped into fist sized balls and placed on parchment paper in a 375-degree oven, until the internal temperature was around 150-degrees on an instant read thermometer. then the balls were transferred to a casserole dish submerged in sauce and put back into the oven until the pasta was plated (probably about 6.375-minutes).

in a quart sauce pan, olive oil, one half of a pureed spanish onion, and the handful of meat that was set aside, was sauteed with a little bit of salt, pepper, a few bay leaves, and then 1/2 of a can of tomato paste was added and cooked for a little bit. the roasted tomatoes were then added to the pot with 1.5c. of water and some fresh chopped basil, then the sauce was allowed to cook down for a while, then added to the meatballs in the oven.

the pasta was added to boiling water, with a splash of olive oil and salt, cooked, then strained, and put in a bowl and tossed in a little of the tomato sauce, and some of the pasta water. a carving fork was use to twirl the pasta and it was plated on a little pile of sauce on a warm plate with one of the meatballs and a sprig of parsley. after the photo, the dish was doused in a little more sauce. a big loaf of warm crusty bread helped with the cleanup. clean plate club all-around. except for maddie, who couldn't eat her last bite.
[photo: trisha]

the perfect crust, coming soon...

the perfect crust, coming soon..., originally uploaded by aarn! +26th January, 2009+.

still working out the details for the perfect traditional pizza crust. pretty sure it involves a pizza peel and stone.
pizza shown with artichoke hearts, roasted garlic, mozzarella, onions, fresh basil, oyster mushrooms, and olive oil.
stay tuned for the results.

Monday, January 12, 2009

hearty winter salad with grilled vegetables in a black bean caesar dressing

the dressing was kind of an experiment (as usual), but turned out totally delicious. in a food processor, combined a small clove of garlic, an egg, 2-3t. worcester sauce, 4-5 fillets of canned anchovies in oil, 2-3T. panko breadcrumbs, 1T. lemon juice, 3-5T. of drained canned black beans, 1T. mustard (spicy smooth dijon), salt, and fresh cracked pepper, and pulsed until smooth. then gradually drizzled 3-4T. of canola oil in while blending.

half-skinned a medium sized eggplant (cut strips out of the skin with a peeler, eggplant skin can get really bitter), then sliced into 3/4-inch thick discs and rubbed with salt, fresh cracked pepper, olive oil, and crushed garlic. grilled the eggplant, as well as skewered 1-inch thick cross-sectional slices of sweet spanish onion (thanks for the tip, cooks illustrated: summer grilling and entertaining issue 2008, the bible for next summer), and a whole poblano pepper, until nicely colored and adequately tender.

some red lettuce, sliced baby portobello mushrooms, sliced sweet red pepper, and wedges of bosc pear were tossed with some of the dressing, and topped with some thick oven roasted potato chips, which were prepared with some thyme, salt and pepper and baked until brown and crispy on the outside. served with a slice of the grilled onion, a few pieces of the grilled eggplant, and a few slices of the poblano pepper (probably around the back side of the heaping salad, in the picture, the plate pictured is a 12" charger btw) this salad was hearty and filling.
[potato chips: trisha, photo: trisha]

Friday, January 9, 2009

grilled pork loin with cherry chimichurri sauce

grilled pork loin with cherry chimichurri sauce, originally uploaded by aarn! +9th January, 2009+.

marinated a 1-lb pork loin in crushed garlic, molasses, olive oil, salt, fresh cracked pepper, and a splash of white balsamic vinegar, for about 30-minutes while prepping other ingredients. placed the loin on a hot grill and cooked until the entire outside was nice and colored, then lowered the heat, still turning the loin every so often, until an instant read thermometer in the thickest part read 150-155 degrees F, then tented at room temperature in aluminum foil for 5-10 minutes, sliced and then served on a warm plate with some sauce.

the sauce was kind of a spin, not a traditional chimichurri. blended a length or two of scallion, a small clove of garlic, a handful of fresh cilantro, and a handful of stemmed and pitted fresh cherries. then added the juice from 1/2 of a lime, 1t. olive oil, 1T. sugar, salt and pepper, and blended until relatively smooth, then chilled until use. stirred well and then plated.
[photo: trisha]

fish tacos on fresh flour tortillas

fish tacos on fresh flour tortillas, originally uploaded by aarn! +9th January, 2009+.

got 1-lb of fresh caught and skinned ocean pollock from the new deal fish market, cut it into four equal sized pieces (one for each taco, more pieces = more edges = more crunch), breaded it in a dry-wet-dry of flour, lots of fresh cracked pepper, salt, some cumin and nutmeg, then into the egg, then back into the flour, then straight into a hot frying pan with a little canola oil. browned on each side, then sliced up and placed on a tortilla with some lettuce, black beans, corn, cilantro, mango salsa, and some seasoned greek yogurt.

making fresh flour tortillas is easy. mixed 1 1/2c. flour, 1/4t. salt, 2T. butter (used earth balance), cutting in the butter until mixed. then added 1/2c. warm water and worked until about the consistency of a wet bread dough. let sit at room temp for a while, then sliced into 6-8 sections and rolled into rounds on a floured cutting board with a french rolling pin. placed each rolled and floured round in a dry frying pan on medium heat, browning both sides. put them in a covered baking pan in a 200-degree oven with the warm plates while the rest were finishing cooking. takes about 5-min per tortilla.
[photo: trisha, tortillas: bittman]

roasted winter vegetable, prosciutto di parma, bom petisco, and gorgonzola pressed sandwich on focaccia

reused some leftover winter vegetables that trisha had roasted. potatoes, butternut squash, green beans, garlic, and red onion, baked for 45-minutes (flipping along the way), in thyme, olive oil, and salt and pepper. put some bom petisco semi-soft cheese on a few slices of iggy's focaccia, with a few rocks of gorgonzola, a slab of prosciutto di parma from savenors market, and pressed with an iron in a lightly buttered frying pan. heavy duty.

urban yield: concord grape sorbet

urban yield: concord grape sorbet, originally uploaded by aarn! +9th January, 2009+.

in the same harvest that brought the concord grape jam, trisha decided to attempt to make a grape sorbet, and the result was a deliciously light and fresh tasting treat (too bad that it was november and not august).

4-lbs of grapes (rinsed and stemmed) and 1c. of water were blended and put over low heat in a sauce pan. 3/4c. sugar and 1T. vodka were added to the warm pulp, and stirred until the sugar had dissolved. i think that the mixture was transferred to a mixing bowl, stirred over an ice bath for a little while until slightly chilled, then moved to the freezer. while in the freezer, the blended grape mixture was removed and stirred every 30-45 minutes for 2-3hrs, until at the desired consistency.

in the future probably would have used a combination of a food mill and some other process to remove the seeds (while keeping the skin). to use after it was frozen solid, it was put out at room temperature for an hour or so.
[sorbet: trisha]

urban yield: concord grape jam

urban yield: concord grape jam, originally uploaded by aarn! +9th January, 2009+.

in november some nice ripe concord grapes started showing up on the rusty fence in lower allston that separates trisha's house from the neighbors. the grapes were harvested, washed, ground into a pulp (seeds, skin, and all), and cooked down with a 1:3/4 ratio of grapes to sugar. concord grapes have a naturally high pectin content, so once the hot mixture passed the gout test (where the last drop doesn't fall from the spoon) the jelly was canned and put into the refrigerator, and was nice and thick. this was a nice seedy and thick jam with a nice fresh and sweet concord grape flavor, and it was neat that it was all processed less than 20-ft from the vine!

peanut butter and shrimp curly noodle soup

peanut butter and shrimp curly noodle soup, originally uploaded by aarn! +9th January, 2009+.

made a bunoise of celery, carrots, garlic, ginger, scallions, and onion, seasoned with a little cinnamon, salt and pepper, over 1T. of butter. added vegetable stock and cooked down for 15-min or so, added 1T. of soy sauce, 1t. sesame oil, chopped baby portobello mushrooms, sliced zucchini, and uncooked shrimp, and let cook for 3-5 minutes. before serving added 1t. of white vinegar. poured the soup into a bowl containing a spoonful of peanut butter and cooked curly noodles, garnished with fresh cilantro.

green bean salad with cucumber cilantro and avocado

green bean salad with cucumber cilantro and avocado, originally uploaded by aarn! +9th January, 2009+.

blanched and chilled green beans, diced tomato, thin sliced red onion, chopped scallions, sliced avocado, chopped cilantro, sliced cucumber. in a dressing of 1/2T. canola oil, 1T. white vinegar, 1T. greek yogurt, 1t. sriracha chili sauce, salt and pepper. served with cooked and chilled bean sticks, and topped with sesame seeds.

grilled tofu with sweet chili garlic sauce, braised baby bok choy, and mediterranean couscous

half submerged bok choy in sauté pan with vegetable stock, chopped garlic, chopped ginger, a splash of soy sauce, salt, and pepper, covered and simmered for 15-minutes, then grilled for a little color and flavor.

quickly marinated blocks of tofu in crushed garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, fresh chopped oregano, a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. then grilled on high heat on an oiled grill until colored and crisp on the outside. served over the sweet chili and garlic sauce from a previous entry.

cooked the couscous in 1:1.25 ratio of cous to water, adding a little white balsamic vinegar, olive oil, crushed garlic, local dark farm honey, salt, fresh cracked pepper, a little stock from the bok choy, fresh tomato, and parsley.
[photo: trisha]