Sunday, August 31, 2008

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Three-grain risotto and bean-and-basil salad

At a dinner party recently, we served a three-grain risotto and a bean-and-basil salad.

For the risotto, wash and dice one leek and one bulb of fennel, and sauté in olive oil and salt. Add 1.5 cups oat berry, one cup barley, and half a cup of rye berry, and six to seven cups of liquid (a mix of vegetable broth, white wine, and water). Bring to boil ,reduce to simmer, cover, and let cook at least an hour, stirring occasionally. Before serving, stir in grated parmesan cheese.

For the salad, shell a few pounds of beans — we had a mix of black-eyed peas, cranberry and dragon-tongue beans, and coco negro and coco blanco. Cover in an inch of water, bring to a boil, cook a few minutes, drain, and rinse cold. In a large serving bowl, combine four apples, quartered, cored and sliced thin, and olive oil, salt, and balsamic vinegar; keep adding dressing as you add more ingredients, which soak up the liquid. Wash and thinly slice most of a pound of crimini mushrooms, and add, along with the beans and the leaves of two bunches of basil.

Both dishes keep well in the fridge, and are better the following day.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fettucini Alfredo

Following this recipe, I made 3/4-pound of fresh parsley fettuccine. I left out most of the lemon: the ingredients I used were 2 cups white flour, 1/2 tsp salt, half-bunch parsley (stems removed and then minced), 1 capful lemon juice, 2 capfuls olive oil, and up to 2 Tbsp water. Rolled out thin on a floured work surface, let to relax, and then rolled again and sliced, this makes a lovely fettuccine: bring salted water to a boil, and cook pasta two minutes until fettuccines float. But as the only dish (plus salad) for two it wasn't quite enough; I think 50% more would be perfect.

We had the pasta with a simple cream sauce: melt most of a stick of butter, add ground black pepper, a healthy amount of grated parmesan cheese, and a good-sized splash of heavy whipping cream. If you do not use parsley in your pasta, add some minced parsley to the cream sauce. Good eats.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Lost notes; barley and beans

I had put together a long list of meals I've made this summer, so that I could remember to write them up for you. Unfortunately, after keeping this list for two months, slowly typing up recipes, I have left it in my pocket when I last did laundry.

Some meals I remember, but will soon forget. Breakfasts are often eggs valentine — poached eggs, served over sautéed spinach on english muffin — or scrambled eggs with pesto, or oatmeal, or melon. Lunches and dinners are often some variation of rice and beans. For example, today's lunch:

Dice and wash one leek, and sauté half in a medium saucepan in olive oil. Add one cup barley, two cups water, and a little salt. Cover, bring to boil, and cook on medium until water is absorbed or cooks off.

Meanwhile, shell half a pound of beans: we have black-eyed peas right now, and also coco blanco and coco negro. Boil a few minutes. While beans are boiling, sauté the rest of the leeks in olive oil and salt. Drain the beans and add to the leeks, and continue to cook on medium until barley is done.

Wash and dice five brown button mushrooms. Mix mushrooms and beans into barley, and transfer to wide bowls. Serves two for lunch.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dinner party: purple veggies, summer soup

We had a dinner party a while back — I'm very behind in blogging my dinners — for some folks from my department. In addition to salad and bread and homemade beer the guests brewed, we had a summer soup and roasted purple veggies. The soup showcased our new soup tureen, which we found in a Free Box in the Berkeley hills.

Wash, peel, and slice red onions, beets, blue potatoes, and purple sweet potatoes. Toss in a glass lasagna pan with dried thyme and salt, and bake 400 degree or so for a while (one hour?), until the roots tenderize.

For the soup, shell one pound fresh beans (a mix of canellini and cranberry). In a saucepan, sauté onions and diced poblano peppers. Add beans, corn sliced from the cob, and vegetable stock. Flavor with marjoram, minced smoked paprika peppers, and salt and pepper. Cook half an hour until beans soften.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Six-course meal for two

We had enough for a third and maybe a fourth, but last night's meal my boyfriend and I shared alone.
  1. Lavash Crackers. In a kitchenaid with paddle attachment, combine in order 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup whole-wheat bread flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp instant yeast, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1/2 cup water. Mix until dough comes together into a single ball. Let dough sit 15 minutes, then knead by hand 15 minutes. Let proof 2 hrs until doubled. Degas, relax, and roll into a flat rectangle, just the same size as your largest cookie sheet, and transfer to said sheet lined with parchment. Mist the top of the dough with water, sprinkle with stripes of caraway seed, cumin seed, sesame seed, poppy seed, and paprika, and slice diagonally into cracker-width strips. Bake 15 minutes in a 350°F preheated oven — strips will grow together, but will snap apart.
  2. Baba ganoush. Pierce two medium eggplants, and bake 40 minutes in a 400°F oven until brown and mushy and starting to deflate. Remove from heat, shock in cold water, and peel. Combine eggplant insides in a blender, food processor, or standing mixer with whisk, along with salt, a few Tbsp tahini, juice of 1/4 lemon, and one minced smoked paprika peppers, to taste. Transfer to small serving bowl, sprinkle liberally with crushed dried paprika, and drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Green hummus. Shell a pound and a half of washed fresh garbanzo beans. Boil beans 40 minutes until soft. Drain, and transfer to blender, food processor, or standing mixer with whisk. Combine with a few Tbsp tahini, a Tbsp olive oil, juice of 1/4 lemon, one clove or more minced garlic, salt, and three sprigs minced parsley to taste. Transfer to small serving bowl, sprinkle liberally with crushed dried sumac berry, and drizzle with olive oil.
  4. Side of feta and olives. In a small serving bowl, combine 1/4 lb pitted kalamata olives, 1/4 lb goat's feta in 1/4-inch cubes, three sprigs fresh oregano, juice of 1/4 lemon, and drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Dolmas. Cook one cup dried brown rice (1.5 cup salted water, covered, brought to a boil, reduced to simmer 30 minutes, then left to steam at least 20 minutes until ready). Since you don't have much experience rolling dolmas, you'll use more grape leaves than really optimal, so prepare to use half a 1-pt jar of pickled grape leaves. Roll 10 large dolmas.
  6. Salad. Wash and remove stems from one bunch purslane. Wash and chop 6 baby lemon cucumbers. Combine purslane, cucumbers, and juice of 1/4 lemon, salt, and olive oil.

Refrigerate everything before serving, and pair with a chilled white wine for a fantastic summer dinner. Total cook time: three hours or so of continuous work for two?

Friday, August 1, 2008

Parsley and lemon bow-tie pasta

In the kitchenaid with paddle blade running, combine in order
  • just under 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • a fair amount of parsley, washed, stems removed, and coarsely chopped
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 capfull lemon extract
  • 2 capfulls olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
Dough should come together into a stiff yellow dough. If it is still dry, add up to 1/4 cup water, but I didn't need any.

Roll out dough as thin as possible. I did not need to let the dough relax nor did I need flour, but you might. Cut into rectangles about 3/4-inch by 1.5-inch, and pinch into bow-ties.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, with salt and olive oil in the water. Boil pastas just 2-5 minutes, until they float. Serve with diced and lightly cooked sweet purple pepper, more parsley, and grated cheese.