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
olive oil

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.


NEXT

Roasted Butternut Squash Soap
NEED:
2 squashes
onions
shallots
olive oil
brown sugar cider vinegar
lemon
cayenne pepper, regular pepper, salt
heavy cream or half and half
chicken stock (1 quart)
optional garnish:
creme fraiche
sage leaves


2 large bnut squashes. cut in half, seeds scooped, oiled lightly face down on baking sheet at 350 for 45 min.
follow?

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!

NEXT

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
chicken stock
dry red wine
paprika
cloves
olive oil
8 cipolini onions
sprig of thyme
flower
butter

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...

8 comments:

Judy said...

it does feel good to be somewhat normal again.........

keri said...

yay for you! welcome back! that's one of our favorite techniques for ensuring truly delicious food - drink heavily and eat late. (though it sounds like your victuals would have been delicious at a teetotaler's breakfast.)

everythinggardens said...

did you realize you gave us the recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash "Soap" which sounds strangely delicious as well :) :)

rhoda said...

poladroid. i'm a fan.

Kate Kelleher Blue Sky Butterfly Studio said...

Good, I am glad the wedding season is over for you, that means more time for you to blog, and as you make me laugh, some times big belly laughs. Keep it coming. (no pressure.)

17 beats. said...

love this uber long post. made the pasta dish last night per your suggestion. my grocer didn't have any local chard (i've become THAT person, groan...) so i made it wish kale. don't worry, i cancelled all that healthiness out with an extra dri-zizzle of olive oil and a generous shower of bread crumbs. had no pine nuts.

on another note, thank you for posting a picture of my girl. it made my heart burst a thousand times over.

17 beats. said...

ps. CHICKENS GET A TASTE OF YOUR MEAT!

17 beats. said...

pps. having the left overs with a poached egg tonight!!!!

okay, i will stop now.