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Archive for June, 2009

100_1253While apricot picking last weekend, my cousin reminded me that my grandmother used to make apricot-pineapple jam. Inspired by this, I decided to make an apricot-pineapple crisp for yesterday’s ostrich eggstravaganza, and it was delightful! I had seen this recipe in Bon Appetit, and kind of used it as a guide. Here’s what I did:

Apricot Pineapple Crisp

Filling:

2 large chicken eggs

1/2 cup ricotta

1/2 cup cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Tbsp bourbon

1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup all purpose flour

6 cups apricots, pitted and sliced

1/2 fresh pineapple, cleaned, cored, and cut into small chunks

1/4 cup dried tart cherries

1/8 cup brown sugar

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Butter a large (9 x 13) glass or ceramic baking dish.
  • Place fruit, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup of flour in a large bowl; mix and then pour into baking dish.
  • In a smaller bowl, place eggs, ricotta, cream, vanilla, bourbon, and 1 Tbsp flour; whisk together.
  • Pour egg mixture over fruit in baking dish.
  • Make your topping, and follow the instructions below.

Topping:

1 cup all purpose flour

6 Tbsp (packed) golden brown sugar

1 tsp finely grated lemon peel

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup oats

1/4 cup toasted almonds, chopped

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Place dry ingredients (everything but butter and vanilla) in bowl and mix with a fork.
  • Add butter and vanilla; mix with a fork until crumbly.
  • Using your dominant hand (your right hand if you are right handed, and your left if you are left handed), sprinkle evenly on filling.
  • Place baking dish (with all contents) in oven, and bake for about an hour (until custard is set).
  • Cool for an hour or so, and serve warm with ICE CREAM!

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100_1256I went apricot picking over the weekend, so I decided to use a bunch of them in a black rice salad. I’d had a delicious black rice salad at a cooking group dinner, but could not get a hold of the recipe or the chef, so I figured it out myself.

Black Rice Apricot Salad

1 cup black rice

1 3/4 cups water

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp cayenne

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1 Tbsp olive oil (or butter)

1 tsp sesame oil

1 T balsamic vinegar

1 cup fresh apricots, pitted and sliced

2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds

2 Tbsp pine nuts

2 Tbsp sunflower seeds

5 leaves fresh basil, thinly sliced

5 leaves fresh mint, thinly sliced

1 T fresh parsley, chopped

1 T fresh chives, chopped

  • Place rice in colander and rinse until water runs clear.
  • Transfer rice to pot, and add water, pepper, salt, cumin, and cayenne.
  • Bring contents of pot to a boil, stir, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer about 35 minutes or until all water has been absorbed.
  • Add vinegar and oil (or butter) while rice is hot.
  • Cover, and allow to cool (maybe about an hour or so).
  • When rice is cool, transfer to a bowl, add the rest of the ingredients, and then stir.
  • Refrigerate.
  • This dish is best served cold, and it gets better as it sits, so if you can make it a day ahead, that’s the way to go.

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Ostrich Egg Frittataspanolouffle with Black Rice Salad

Ostrich Egg Frittataspanolouffle with Black Rice Salad

When I found out that Whole Foods was selling ostrich eggs (thanks for the heads up, Monica), I instantly had a vision of a frittata-esque dish. Then, I looked through my latest issue of Cook’s Illustrated and saw a recipe for Tortilla Española. I decided to use this as inspiration, as I thought the subtle flavors of potatoes and red onion would allow us to taste the flavor of the ostrich egg, which I’d read taste different from chicken eggs.We noticed that the ostrich egg had a delicate, almost sweet flavor. I’m not sure it’s really worth 10x the price on any kind of a regular basis, but it was definitely worth it to try it out, and maybe for some sort of special occasion. The one ostrich egg was roughly equivalent to a dozen chicken eggs, and boy was it hard to break into that thick shell. Christin took pictures of me struggling with the thing. First of all, you really have to whack it, and it’s as if you’re whacking a dinner plate – bits of shell flew everywhere. I ended up just prying open a large enough hole that I could pour the egg out.

I should have used a wider pot for this, but it was kind of fun to eat a really tall Tortilla Española – Frittata – Souffle hybrid, so I’m not sorry I used my old standby 5.5 quart Creuset pot for the job.

Ostrich Egg Frittataspañolouffle

6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced

8 small Yukon gold potatoes, thinly sliced with skin on (preferably from Holly’s CSA box)

2 tsp salt

½ tsp cayenne

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1 ostrich egg (or a dozen chicken eggs, or probably 8 duck eggs)

1 Tbsp cream

¼ cup swiss cheese, shredded

¼ cup provolone, shredded

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Place olive oil in heavy bottomed, 5.5 quart or larger, oven safe pan over medium heat.
  • Slice onion and place in pan, stirring occasionally. Add salt.
  • Scrub and slice potatoes, and add to pan.
  • When potatoes and onions have started to brown, add your spices, then cover and cook until potatoes are tender.
  • While potatoes are cooking, whack and pry open your egg, pour into a bowl, and whisk with cream.
  • Add cheeses and parsley and whisk once more (I forgot to do this before adding to the pan, which is why you can’t see the parsley floating around in the picture – it would have been easier if I’d remembered to do this before pouring the egg into the pan).
  • Cover pan and place in oven. Cook for about 45 minutes (check at about 30 minutes), or until the egg springs back when you poke it in the center.
100_1241
Check out the size of this thing!

100_1242

100_1243
After whacking the bejeezes out of it, I finally have a hole I can pry open.

100_1244
Pouring the egg out of its shell.

100_1245
That’s a big egg.
100_1246
Whisking the egg.
The egg is now in the pot!
The egg is now in the pot!
It’s a masterpiece! (Or at least the tallest frittata Sasha's ever seen)
It’s a masterpiece! (Or at least the tallest frittata Sasha’s ever seen)

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100_1240I realize this isn’t the most appropriate recipe for summer, but it was really cold and gloomy here last week, which is when I made it.

Meaty Meaty Pea Soup

1 package bacon, chopped

1 package pre-cooked no nitrates andouille sausage (Niman Ranch is a good one), chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped

8 cloves of garlic, chopped

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

6 celery stalks, chopped

2 Tbsp fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced

4 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

1 tsp fresh ground pepper

4 cups broth

2 cups dry split peas (I used the yellow ones, but you could use green if you prefer)

  1. Chop meats and place in a heavy bottom pan over low-medium heat. Stir periodically as they brown.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion starts to brown, stirring periodically. (You can remove the meats and pour off the fat, but then add a little olive oil as you saute the onion and garlic.)
  3. Add the carrots and celery, stirring periodically as they cook. When they have softened, add the broth, sage, parsley, and pepper.
  4. Bring to a boil, and then add the split peas.
  5. Cook over low heat until the peas get creamy, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing is burning on the bottom of the pot.
  6. Add water as necessary if the mixture starts looking too thick. I even add water when I reheat the leftovers, as the mixture tends to get thicker the longer it sits.

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100_1223

Jambalaya risotto, pictured here with collard greens

I had a vision. It was jambalaya made with arborio rice. Since I’d never made any actual jambalaya before, I used several different recipes to figure out which meats and spices should be included. The two main recipes I used for guidance and inspiration were from Cook’s and Paul Prudhomme.

Jambalaya Risotto

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 tsp salt

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 ribs celery, chopped

2 bell peppers, chopped

1 serrano chili, minced

1.5 cups pound chopped smoked ham

4 pre-cooked andouille sausages, chopped (I used the Niman Ranch free-of-bad-stuff kind)

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut in bite sized pieces

14 oz can of diced tomatoes in juice

1 cup clam juice

2 cups arborio rice

1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

3 bay leaves

3 tbsp minced fresh Italian parsley

4 cups low sodium chicken broth

1/2 lb medium shrimp

1/2 lb langostino tails

  1. In a heavy bottomed pot, heat butter, add onions and salt, stir periodically as you chop garlic.
  2. When onions are wilty, add garlic.
  3. Add the following ingredients as you chop them: celery, peppers, sausages, and ham.
  4. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until meats have browned and vegetables begin to caramelize.
  5. Add tomatoes, chicken, rice, clam juice, thyme, cayenne, black pepper, bay leaves, and parsley.
  6. Cook covered over medium-low heat until the rice has absorbed the liquids, stirring periodically (scraping the bottom of the pan each time).
  7. Add 1 cup of chicken broth, stir, cover, and cook over low heat until all is absorbed, stirring periodically (scraping bottom of pan each time).
  8. NOTE: Make sure you use the low sodium broth because the ham and sausage are pretty salty, and it’s always good to add your salt during the cooking of the onions, as it promotes caramelization. If you use the regular broth, your jambalaya will be very salty.
  9. Continue the chicken broth process until all of the chicken broth is gone.
  10. When the last cup of chicken broth is mostly absorbed, add the seafood. If you do not like seafood, do not add it. If you have some people around who do not like seafood, and others who do, scoop some of the jambalaya out of the pot, place it in a large bowl, cover the bowl, and keep it warm as it absorbs the remaining liquid.
  11. I just had some leftover jambalaya for lunch, and I think it might even be better left over. It’s delicious 🙂
1 medium onion , peeled, ends trimmed, and quartered lengthwise
1 medium rib celery , cut crosswise into quarters
1 medium red bell pepper , stem removed, seeded, and quartered lengthwise
5 medium cloves garlic , peeled
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
8 ounces andouille sausage , halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice (10 ounces)
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (see note)
1 can diced tomatoes (14 1/2-ounce), drained, 1/4 cup juice reserved
1 cup clam juice (bottled)
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 pound medium shrimp (31 to 35 shrimp per pound), or large shrimp, shelled
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

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100_1209These hearty cookies seem to have magical powers. They kept my starving brother alive when he arrived in Spain with no cash and a broken ATM card. They were the only thing my cousin (the one who dubbed them “quarter pounders”) could keep down the day after his 21st birthday. They are magical and delicious, and I’ve been making these cookies since I was probably about 10 years old.

Quarter-Pounders

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

3 cups old fashioned rolled oats (NOT quick oats)

1 cup unsalted butter, partially melted

1.5 cups dark brown sugar

1/3 cup buttermilk

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (Guittard is best)

  1. Preaheat oven to 350
  2. Combine flour, salt, and oats in a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon (NOT a mixer), stir the mixture until it is of uniform consistency.
  3. Pour the butter over the top, and stir again until all butter is incorporated and dough is crumbly.
  4. Add the brown sugar, and stir again until all dough is of uniform (crumbly) consistency.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir with a fork to dissolve baking soda.
  6. Pour buttermilk mixture over dough, and stir again until dough is of uniform crumbly consistency.
  7. Add chocolate morsels and stir again.
  8. Using your 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop dough from bowl and form into a ball (as you would a hamburger patty), and then press flat, so they are about 3 inches wide and 3/4 inch thick.
  9. NOTE: The dough will feel very crumbly and awkward to work with. That’s just the way it goes. Do NOT try to fix the dough by adding more liquid ingredients. That will throw off the texture and make them cook unevenly.
  10. Place the “patties” on a cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.
  11. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  12. Cool for about 2 minutes on the cookie sheets before transferring to rack.

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100_1201My dad always requests these yams when we are “camping” at their construction site. I make them in an electric skillet there, but they could be made in any type of skillet on the stove. The ones pictured here have swiss chard in them, which is not how I usually make them but it was a really good addition.

I use the same method for all pan fried potatoey things, so if you substitute any sort of potato for the yams in this recipe, you are in for yet another delicious.

Pan Fried Yams

1 yellow onion, thinly sliced

2 Tbsp olive oil

4 cloves of garlic

2 tsp salt (1 to sprinkle over the onions as they brown, and the other to sprinkle over the yams when you put them into the skillet)

3 large yams, peeled and cubed (cubes should be about an inch or so)

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tsp pepper

1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne

1 bunch chard, sliced (optional)

  1. Heat oil and add onions, sprinkle 1 tsp salt over the top.
  2. When the onions wilt, add the garlic.
  3. When the onions begin to brown, add the yams.
  4. Sprinkle remaining salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper over yams.
  5. Squeeze lemon over yams.
  6. Stir.
  7. Cover and cook until yams are almost tender, stirring periodically.
  8. Uncover and let the mixture brown over low heat, until the yams and onions are as brown as you like, stirring periodically so nothing burns. Add chard during this part of the process.

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