April 19, 2013
December 14, 2012
|Another reason to love Le Bete!|
The Zen mindframe I'd talked my husband into adopting pre-tree lighting seemed to carry him over to the plumbing. Me, on the other hand. . . Apparently, I had missed the 100-lights per foot of tree rule by, oh, say, half, when purchasing the new strands, which I only discovered mid-way through the endeavor. This moment of awareness coincided with my Mister's not first but second trip to the hardware store for plumbing parts. My hopes for productivity rose as he arrived back home with more boxes of Made in Taiwan lights that looked to be a perfect match to the unique sparkly little globes purchased all the way across town. Things appeared to be back in the flow, at least as much as they can in times like this.
Martha Stewart was kind enough to send me her January 2013 magazine issue, right on time, like she has for the better part of 22 years. She has a few nice soup recipes included, and within a couple of hours of pulling the mag out of the mailbox, I'd made a version of her Mexican corn and poblano soup. I won't presume to instruct you on lighting your tree, but I will encourage you to give this warming, spicy, friendly, chowder-like soup a go. And I'll refer to Martha, the Maven of Everything, for tree decorating advice.
MEXICAN CORN AND POBLANO SOUP
Martha Stewart Living, January 2013
As much as the scent of a freshly-cut evergreen is nice, so much more is that of a roasted poblano!! You'll see where I differed from the recipe, as I roasted my chiles over the open flame and the onions (and yes, I added garlic) on top of a cast-iron comal in the traditional Mexican way. The recipe is also a bit wonky with their corn measurements. I used a 2-lb. bag, about half of which went into the blender and the other half later.
The recipe is not yet available online.
December 11, 2012
|Chicken with 40 (or More) Cloves of Garlic|
No, I' won't be cooking a hollandaise anytime soon, at least not without a stack of three flame-tamers underneath the saucepan. How often do I do that, in reality, anyway? What I do cook is a lot of one-pot stews, soups and tagines, which are so easy to do on this rather large and roaring piece of equipment. Like this perfect pot of 40-garlic chicken.
40-clove garlic chicken was the restaurant rage in the '80's, but I'd never prepared it at home. The recipe comes from my favorite issue of my new favorite food mag, Saveur. The October 2012 issue featuring 100 classics is a treasure. I was pretty thrilled that the recipe called for 40 cloves, or up to 100 cloves of garlic. I had a rather large bag of peeled garlic from Costco, an impulse purchase, langoring in the fridge that could use a purpose, so in went 80 or so cloves. (I stopped counting at 60, but know I didn't quite make it to 100.) This definitely falls into the "garlic as a vegetable" category rather than garlic as a seasoning.
the photo in Saveur.
My adaptions to the recipe were these:
- Instead of piling the ingredients into a baking dish to finish in the oven, place them back into the large, deep-sided skillet that I had used to brown the chicken, lidding it, and finished it on the stovetop. One less pan to wash, and incredible results.
- After reserving a generous amount of garlic to be left whole, I smoothed the sauce with my immersion blender and used perhaps twice as much stock as called for to thin it, adding back the whole cloves after blending.
- I had thyme and rosemary instead of tarragon, which were wonderful added to the sauce.
Make enough of this for left overs, as it tastes even better the next day.
Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
Saveur Magazine, October 2012
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 (3 to 4-lb.) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
40 cloves garlic, peeled (you can use up to 100 cloves)
½ cup dry vermouth
¾ cup chicken stock
1 tbsp. chopped tarragon
Heat oven to 350°. Heat oil in a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper; add to pot and cook, turning once, until browned, about 15 minutes. Transfer to an 8″ x 8″ baking dish; set aside. Add garlic to pot; cook until browned in spots, about 6 minutes. Add vermouth; cook, scraping bottom of pot, until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Add stock; boil. Transfer ¼ of the garlic to baking dish; mash remaining into stock. Pour over chicken; bake until chicken is glazed and tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Garnish with tarragon.
December 6, 2012
|Ready for the oven|
While you listen to your holiday playlist, why not throw together this delicious supper? It's rich, warm and gooey, perfect for an early winter holiday season evening or Sunday afternoon supper. The combination of the music and the pumpkin lasagne may just be the perfect inspiration for seeing the world in snappy new ways.
To learn more about the remarkable man, Dave Brubeck, listen to this 1999 interview.
Pumpkin Lasagne, Food & Wine magazine online
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 pounds Swiss chard, tough stems removed, leaves washed well and chopped
- 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 3 cups canned pumpkin puree (one 28-ounce can)
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan
- 1/2 cup milk
- 9 no-boil lasagne noodles (about 6 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- In a large nonstick frying pan, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to moderately high and add the chard, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon sage, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Cook, stirring, until the chard is wilted and no liquid remains in the pan, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 400°. In a medium bowl, mix together 2 cups of the pumpkin, 3/4 cup cream, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and the remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon sage, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.
- Pour the milk into an 8-by-12-inch baking dish. Top the milk with one third of the noodles, then spread half the pumpkin mixture over the noodles. Layer half the Swiss chard over the pumpkin and top with a second layer of noodles. Repeat with another layer of pumpkin, Swiss chard, and noodles. Combine the remaining 1 cup of pumpkin and 3/4 cup of cream. Spread the mixture evenly over the top of the lasagne, sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup of Parmesan, and dot with the butter. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden, about 15 minutes more.
November 11, 2012
Because life is short, we tend to do a lot of celebrating, and the entire month of October was devoted to commemorate our second wedding anniversary. Pulling out the precious bottle of Goldwater Sauvignon Blanc from our dwindling New Zealand stash demanded the just right food pairing. It didn't take too much imagination to refer back to our first Goldwater tasting adventure for ideas.
It was a great experience several years ago at a Turkish restaurant, Troya, on Clement Street in San Francisco, that determined the destination of our honeymoon trip. Actually, it was the aromatic, spicy, honeysuckle-nosed Goldwater Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough that stopped us in our tracks that night and caused us to head off to New Zealand in search of more. More we had, and this beautiful bottle made the trip home with us.
With dolmas in mind, I'd brine-preserved leaves from our own Pinot Noir and Riesling vines this summer. We always have our favorite local Anderson Ranch lamb in the freezer, and adding fresh mint from the garden, pine nuts, rice and spices, it all came together into these beautiful little packets of goodness.
Taking another hint from the Troya menu, muhamara, a spicy red pepper and walnut dip, and smoky baba ghanouj because it's a favorite of my Sweetheart, rounded out our meze platter.
We sat in the glow of the fireplace and candlelight, eating with our hands, pulling apart pieces of chewy pita. Warm little bundles of lamb and rice, all wrapped up in the leaves of the vines we planted from clippings we were given from vineyard visits on some of our earliest dates made the celebration all the more special.
While I was cooking, my sweetheart and husband pulled together a playlist for the evening of music that we'd fallen in love to, including the first dance song from our wedding. And we danced.