Saturday, November 9, 2013

STEAMED CLAMS IN SPICY BRODETTO


            Brodetto is Italy's version of Bouillabaisse. Most of these stews contain different types of fish and shellfish but I saw Mario Batali make this with only clams so I gave it a try. It's a spicy tomato based broth made only more delicious with the addition of Manila Clams and fresh herbs. Serve with crusty warm bread to soak up the broth.

MARIO BATALI'S STEAMED CLAMS IN SPICY BRODETTO

·  Extra Virgin Olive Oil
·  1 Red Onion (thinly sliced)
·  4 Garlic cloves (thinly sliced)
·  4 Scallions (thinly sliced)
·  2 teaspoons Salt
·  4 pounds Manila Clam, Littleneck Clams or Small Razor Clams
·  1 cup Tomato Puree
·  1 cup Dry White Wine
·  2 teaspoons Red Pepper Flakes
·  1 cup chopped fresh Basil
·  1/2 cup chopped fresh Chives
·  1/2 cup fresh Oregano leaves

 Heat a few tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add red onion and cook one minute. Add sliced garlic, scallions and salt, stirring occasionally, until scallions and garlic color slightly, about 5 minutes. 

Add clams, tomato puree, wine and pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until clams open, about 3-4 minutes. (Discard any clams that don't open.) Uncover pan and add herbs; toss to combine.

Divide clams evenly among bowls and spoon broth over them.

Serve with warm, crusty French bread.

Recipe by Mario Batali

Saturday, August 31, 2013

PAN FRIED SEA BASS WITH HARISSA AND ROSES


I took a leap of faith and went exotic with this recipe. It started with spreading spicy African harissa paste and cumin on my sea bass. I let it marinate for a few hours. With a quick dusting of flour on my fish I pan fried it. This was really tasty right out of the pan.The harissa gave it a nice kick and paired perfectly with my bass. It was hard not to devour it. Now, back to the exotic....a sauce made with onions, vinegar, cinnamon, honey, currants, and rose water, spooned on the fish and then topped with cilantro and dried rose petals. It was sweet and sour, a little bit spicy and had a beautiful aroma of roses. Eating dried rose petals is just.... so....sexy!


PAN FRIED SEA BASS WITH HARISSA AND ROSE




3 tbsp harissa paste (store-bought...)
1 tsp ground cumin
4 sea bass fillets, about 1 lb / 450 g in total, skinned and with pin bones removed
all-purpose flour, for dusting
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
6 tbsp / 100 ml red wine vinegar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
scant 1 cup / 200 ml water
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp rose water
scant cup / 60 g currants (optional)
2 tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro (optional)
2 tsp small dried edible rose petals
salt and freshly ground black pepper


First marinate the fish. Mix together half the harissa paste, the ground cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Rub the paste all over the fish fillets and leave them to marinate for 2 hours in the fridge.

Dust the fillets with a little flour and shake off the excess. Heat the olive oil in a wide frying pan over medium-high heat and fry the fillets for 2 minutes on each side. You may need to do this in two batches. Set the fish aside, leave the oil in the pan, and add the onions. Stir as you cook for about 8 minutes, until the onions are golden.

Add the remaining harissa, the vinegar, the cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and plenty of black pepper. Pour in the water, lower the heat, and let the sauce simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes, until quite thick.

Add the honey and rose water to the pan along with the currants, if using, and simmer gently for a couple more minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning and then return the fish fillets to the pan; you can slightly overlap them if they don’t quite fit. Spoon the sauce over the fish and leave them to warm up in the simmering sauce for 3 minutes; you may need to add a few tablespoons of water if the sauce is very thick.

Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with the cilantro, if using, and the rose petals.

Recipe from Jerusalem a Cookbook





Saturday, August 3, 2013

CRISPY CAULIFLOWER CAKES WITH HERB SAUCE AND ARUGULA SALAD


Want to WOW both vegetarians and carnivores alike? Give this dish a whirl. Cauliflower, potato and shallots are roasted until tender and brown. With a quick pulse in the food processor they become soft and fluffy. Add some cheese, egg and spices, coat with Panko and Parmesan and bake in the oven until brown and crispy. Serve on a bed of arugula and tomato and top each cake with a lively sauce of sour cream, chives, parsley and garlic. Want a party in your mouth? Take a little bit of everything in one bite!


CRISPY CAULIFLOWER CAKES WITH HERB SAUCE AND ARUGULA SALAD

      Cakes:
  • 12 ounces cauliflower florets
  • 1 (10-ounce) peeled baking potato, cut into 4 wedges
  • 2 large shallots, halved lengthwise
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 ounces fontina cheese, shredded (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), lightly toasted
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons light sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons canola mayonnaise (such as Hellmann's)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Salad:
  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup halved grape tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. To prepare cakes, place cauliflower, potato, and shallots on a baking sheet. Drizzle 1 1/2 tablespoons oil over vegetables; toss. Bake at 400° for 35 minutes or until tender, stirring once. Place cauliflower mixture in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until chopped. Scrape mixture into a bowl. Add fontina, thyme, salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and egg, stirring well.

3. Combine Panko and Parmigiano-Reggiano in a shallow dish. Using wet hands, shape cauliflower mixture into 8 (1-inch-thick) patties; dredge in Panko mixture. Place patties on baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until browned, turning once.

4. To prepare sauce, combine sour cream and next 5 ingredients (through garlic) in a small bowl.

5. To prepare salad, combine arugula, tomatoes, 2 teaspoons oil, and juice; toss well to coat. Place 1 cup arugula mixture on each of 4 plates; top with 2 cakes and 1 tablespoon herb sauce.


*To toast panko, place in a large skillet, and cook over medium heat 3 minutes or until browned, stirring frequently.

Recipe from Cooking Light

Sunday, July 21, 2013

SPAGHETTI WITH ASPARAGUS, SMOKED MOZZARELLA AND PROSCIUTTO


My love affair with Scamorza is just starting to bloom. Actually it is smoked Scamorza that I love. In May I had dinner at Berreta in San Francisco. Great restaurant! We ordered Zucchini Parmigiana with Scamorza and Basil. There was a creamy, smoky flavor that haunted me. I had to learn more. Scamorza is an Italian cow's milk cheese similar to mozzarella. When smoked it adds an amazing dimension to your dish. It melts well and imparts an alluring smoky flavor. This pasta dish combines the saltiness of the proscuitto, the creamy smoky flavor of the cheese and the celebration of seasonal asparagus. This recipe just took top spot in my favorite pasta dinners.


SPAGHETTI WITH ASPARAGUS, SMOKED MOZZARELLA AND PROSCIUTTO

2 pounds asparagus, trimmed
3/4 pound spaghetti
4 TBSP. olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut crosswise into strips
6 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese (smoked scamorza), diced (about 1 cup)
6 TBSP. thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

Cook the asparagus in a large pot of boiling slated water until crisp tender, about 2-3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the asparagus from boiling water to a bowl of ice water to cool and stop the cooking. When cool, strain, cut asparagus into 1" pieces and set aside.

Return the water in the pot to a boil, adding additional water if necessary. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add asparagus to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the pasta, and if needed, some of the reserved cooking liquid. Toss to coat. Add the prosciutto, mozzarella, and basil, and toss to combine. Turn off the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Recipe from Giada De Laurentis

Saturday, July 6, 2013

GRILLED THAI CHICKEN BREASTS

    
Photo courtesy of The Yummy Life.

There is a great blog I follow called The Yummy Life. Her recipes are always fantastic and she goes into great detail on how to prepare her dishes. I spotted this grilled chicken recipe on her blog recently and since I'm a Thai food nut I knew this would be good. It was way better than good. This was one of the best grilled chicken breasts that I have ever made. The coconut milk and salt work like magic making these breasts tender and juicy. Thai ingredients and herbs really pack in the flavor. You can marinate it for 2 hours or up to 24 hours. I recommend overnight for the best results.


GRILLED THAI CHICKEN BREASTS

6-8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Marinade:

1 1/2 cups chopped fresh cilantro (leaves and tender stems)
3/4 cup canned coconut milk
10-15 fresh Thai basil leaves
1 large jalapeno or 1 small Thai chili, stem, seeds, and membrane removed
3 garlic cloves
2 slices fresh ginger (approximately 1/8" thick)
1 1/2  TBSP. kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3/4 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. packed brown sugar

Lime wedges for garnish

Put all the marinade ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.

Arrange the chicken in a single layer in a glass dish and pour marinade over. Flip chicken to be sure marinade completely coats it. Cover and refrigerate for 2-24 hours. The longer the better.

Remove from marinade and grill. 

Serve with lime wedges.

Recipe slightly adapted from The Yummy Life.




Monday, July 1, 2013

WATERMELON AND TOMATO GAZPACHO



This gazpacho is summer in a bowl. Juicy watermelon is abundant at the Farmer's markets and with the heat wave we are having our tomatoes are ripe, red and waiting to be picked off the vines.

I served this as a light lunch but on the Fourth of July I will be serving this gazpacho in small tasting bowls. It will be the perfect pallet cleanser between chips and dips and food from the grill.


WATERMELON AND TOMATO GAZPACHO WITH FETA

1 garlic clove
1 small watermelon, or a section of a larger one, about 3 pounds, flesh removed from the rind, seeded, and cut into wedges
2 ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges
2 TBSP. lemon juice or to taste
Salt and black pepper
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or mint, for garnish

Put the garlic in a food processor and pulse a few times to chop it. Add the watermelon, tomatoes, and lemon juice, with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. You have two choices here: chunky or smooth. It all depends on whether you turn the machine on and leave it on, or just pulse a few times. Add a few ice cubes, one at a time, just enough to keep the machine working, and blend or pulse until smooth or chunky. Put the gazpacho in the fridge to chill a bit if you like, up to several hours.

Just before serving, taste the gazpacho and add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice as needed (remember you'll be adding feta, which is usually salty). Pour the gazpacho into 4 bowls, top with feta, drizzle with a few drops of olive oil, garnish with the herb and serve.


Recipe by Mark Bittman





Saturday, June 29, 2013

SANGRIA


HELLO SUMMER.... BRING IT ON!

This bright and tasty Sangria has just the right balance of tart and sweet to make this your go-to summer drink. Sangria can be too sweet sometimes but with the additon of white rum you get the perfect combination of flavors and an extra punch too.


SANGRIA

1 lemon
1 lime
1 orange
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup orange juice
1 bottle dry red wine
1 1/2 cups white rum

Slice lemon, lime, and the orange into thin rounds and put them in a large glass pitcher. Pour in the rum, wine, orange juice, and sugar. Chill for at least 2 hours.

Just before serving, crush the fruit with a wooden spoon and stir.

Serve over ice and garnish with some of the fruit.


Recipe adapted from bespangled.