Monday, November 2, 2009
A RETURN TO SOCILIZING AND COOKING
November marks the beginning of the end of our wedding season, as if you were keeping track on a scorecard or tableaux or something. Well annotate this; 4 more weddings left in 2009...which means we're doing things normal people do like showering and cooking.
This week's stats included:
Swiss Chard and Rigatoni, adapted loosely from a memory of dinner made by Russel some time ago
2 bunches of rainbow chard, washed, chopped, spun dry in a salad spinner
5 cloves of garlic, minced
heaping half cup of ricotta (the really smooth, dense kind if possible. if your using the more watery type, increase amount to 3/4 cup)
1 cup grated pecorino romano
1 pound of rigatoni
toasted pine nuts
1. put on salted water for pasta
2. in more olive oil than you would think, saute the garlic until just before it starts to brown, then toss in chard. sprinkle with salt, and let cook down for 20 min or so over med-low heat.
3. While pasta is cooking grate up the pecorino, toast the nuts
4. Drain pasta (reserve some cooking water, should you need it to thin out mixture later)
Then mix the ricotta in with the chard, lots of ground pepper, a bit of lemon zest, perhaps the smallest bit of grated nutmeg.
5. Mix the pasta with the chard/ricotta mixture and last, fold in the grated cheese, reserving a bit for garnishing the top if you choose.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soap
brown sugar cider vinegar
cayenne pepper, regular pepper, salt
heavy cream or half and half
chicken stock (1 quart)
2 large bnut squashes. cut in half, seeds scooped, oiled lightly face down on baking sheet at 350 for 45 min.
2 large onion 2 large shallots (or more!) chopped, sauteing in some left over bacon grease or olive oil till very soft - 30 minutes. Then add 1/4 cup of cider vinegar and a sprinkling of brown sugar and cook onion mixture 10 min more. You would have also salted the onions when you put them into the fat.
squashes come out of oven. cool near open window.
scoop out squash, puree in processor (in batches) with onions and eventually 4 cups of chicken stock till you've got everything smooth - at this point you're using a big soup pot to collect the batches of puree.
If it's still too think, thin with water or more stock. Bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and add either 1 cup of heavy cream or half and half.
Then you'll want to season the sucker. I like a healthy dash of cayenne, juice from a large lemon...acidity is often overlooked, then perhaps more salt.
I made this during the day, then let it hang out and cool on the stove top; reheating later for dinner. Creme fraiche and fried sage leaf on top when you dish it out. We ate this with a salad of arugula, pear, spiced pecans and shaved fennel. Jenna brought an Apple Charlot. Hot damn, it's fall!
Dinner with Eli and Laura and Siouxsie..
David Tannis, author, A Platter of Figs may have the perfect braise recipe yet. I improvise:
2 pounds of short ribs
can of san marzano tomatoes
dry red wine
8 cipolini onions
sprig of thyme
Salt and pepper ribs. Leave in refigerator for a few hours.
Then bring to room temperature before you cook...
In a large dutch oven or cast iron skillet heat a 1/2 inch of olive oil. Brown ribs on all sides, about 6-8 min per side. Turn on the fans in your apartment.
Remove ribs to plate. pour out fat in pan.
Add 1 tablespoons of butter to same pan, turn on the heat, and put 1 tablespoon of flour in the melted butter, creating a roux, if you will. Add 1 cup of tomatoes (if they are whole, puree them briefly), 1 cup of wine, 2 cups of chicken broth, 1 heaping teaspoon of strong paprika, a few whole cloves. Bring this mixture to boil. Then add the ribs to the liquid, cover, and bake at 325 for 2 hours. If the liquid is not enough to cover the ribs, add more liquid - wine or stock.
After 2 hours, remove, add the cipolini's (outer skins removed) and bake 1 hour more.
What results is a mysteriously smoky delicious braise. I don't strain the sauce, because we're usually so drunk and hungry after 3 hours of waiting that there simply doesn't seem the need for it. But I also can stomach very rich food. Depends on how fatty the ribs were to begin with. If you must, remove the ribs and onions from the stew. Cool the mixture, and scrape the fat layer off. Then rewarm the liquid with the onions and ribs.
Obviously this requires a potato of sorts, we made mashed with crem fraiche (left over from the soup) and braised red cabbage.
flourless poppyseed cake is on the horizon...