Saturday, September 19, 2015

Real Simple: End of Summer Dinner

This weekend is the last weekend before Fall officially sets in on the east coast. In other parts of the US, the dates that demarcate the changing of seasons can seem arbitrary. But in New York City, a few weeks after the school year begins, and Fall arrives, the weather, the air, and the wind really do change and make it feel like autumn.

So what does the end of summer mean for food or, more specifically, for me, as an ingredient-obsessed cook? Well, for one thing, it means I better get in my fair share of tomatoes before I mourn their disappearance and I can only find them in cans or my freezer. After I made this pasta from the Smitten Kitchen blog last weekend, I could not stop lusting for tomatoes that taste so candy-sweet all on their own!

I kept this dish real simple - roughly chopped heirloom beauties, basil from our pot on the sill, garlic, fresh corn (because that will be done soon, too), peppery olive oil and fresh burrata. And I think I would have been happy to eat it without any pasta at all! Maybe next time...

How To Keep It Simple:

2-3 pounds of the best tomatoes you can get your paws on
1 clove garlic, smashed with the side of a knife
1 ear amazing corn, kernels cut off the cob
2 T lemon juice
fresh black pepper to taste
salt to taste
Pasta shape of choice, cooked according to package
burrata, or other fresh cheese
olive oil to finish

Combine tomatoes, garlic, corn, lemon, pepper, salt in a bowl. Let sit for close to 20 minutes. Cook pasta. Serve pasta with vegetables on top, and douse with cheese and olive oil to finish. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Make this soup! (it's cold outside)

All I wanted to eat yesterday was something that would be soothing on my throat. Ahh, sore throat syndrome has finally reached my body.

I browsed and browsed. I sought a simple recipe with few ingredients. Simple process. I found this on Smitten Kitchen - it's a recipe that had been adapted from Charlie Trotter for the NYTimes. I like that it can be completely vegetarian or, if you want a richer soup, you can use a meat stock, instead. I also like the clarity of the soup - the thinly sliced onions cook for almost an hour before anything is added to them and then, even when stock is added, it's completely clear! Just broth and onions! The herbs are infused by steeping them in the soup for just a few minutes wrapped in cheesecloth or, if you have none on hand, by tying them together with thread or stuffing them into large fillable tea bags, as I did.

The wild rice blend at the bottom makes the soup heartier, and the blue cheese croutons on top just make it more exciting! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Sweet Onion Soup with wild rice and blue cheese croutons
Serves 4-6

1/2 c wild rice (I could only find a wild rice "blend" which was fine)
3 T butter
2.5 lb vidalia or other sweet onion, sliced very thin
salt and pepper
6 c vegetable or meat stock, or 3 c stock, 3 c water
herb bundle (3/4 c chopped herbs, may include: tarragon, chives, basil, parsley, thyme)
baguette, sliced
olive oil (for brushing)
blue cheese

Cook rice according to directions on package. Wild rice should take around 45-55 minutes.
In a large pot or dutch oven, melt butter over low heat. Add onions. Toss to coat in butter, then cover the pot. Leave onions to sweat in covered pot for 15 min. After 15 min, uncover pot, stir onions. Add some salt and pepper, stir, raise heat to medium, and continue cooking onions another 25 min. You want the onions to be well cooked and tender, but not browned, so lower the heat if you need to. After 25 min, add the stock. Simmer over low-medium heat for an additional 25 min. Add salt and pepper to taste. In last 5 minutes of simmering, add herb bundle. When time is up, remove herbs. Brush the baguette slices with olive oil on each side and pop 'em onto a baking sheet and into the oven set to 400 for 5-10 minutes. When bread is warm from oven, spread blue cheese on top.
To serve, spoon rice into the bowl first, then add onion soup, and top with 2-3 blue cheese toasts. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Welcome to 2015!

Let's kick off my return to food blogging with a bang, shall we? Perhaps by highlighting last night's Winter Foods potluck at 666?
There were no specific guidelines - only that attendees should prepare something seasonal (-ish, considering we are in the midst of a New York winter). And everyone was told that of the 9 of us, 4 or so would be vegetarians. Despite the dark, cold winter having descended upon us all, together we made a pretty colorful table! Clockwise from center we had: blood orange and grapefruit fennel salad with pomegranate and hazelnuts, vegetarian farroballs and tomato sauce, dal with spiced yogurt, chickpea leek salad with feta, polenta with mushrooms, kale cabbage salad with apples and cumin, Finnish avocado pasta, and risotto with beet and taleggio.

Recipes to come in the next few days!