San Francisco Bay Style Ciopinno
December 30, 2005
What better way to bring in the New Year than with a bowl of seafood? I suggest you try making this dish for your party or intimate dinner for 2.
My brother took me to Fisherman's Wharf and treated me to a bowl of San Francisco's finest Ciopinno from Alioto's. This dish (sometimes spelled cioppino) is said to have originated in SF by Portuguese fisherman and was later adopted by Italian immigrants in California as a dish of their own. Wherever it came from, the best bowl you'll ever have is in the bay area. Recreating this dish is a little expensive, but worth every cent if you are a seafood lover. I suggest that you purchase your fish from Whole Foods. Their fish market is one of the best in the country for a chain grocer and they buy from companies who use sustainable methods of fish harvesting so you can eat with a clear conscience that you haven't contributed to over-fishing.
You will need:
- 1/2 of a bell pepper, diced;
- 3 cloves of minced garlic;
- 1 bay leaf;
- 1/2 tsp of saffron threads;
- large can of whole tomatoes that you dice yourself (reserve liquid);
- 2 tblsp of tomato paste;
- 3 tblsp of olive oil;
- 1/2 c white wine;
- 1 c vegetable stock;
- 1/4 c fresh chopped basil and Italian parsley;
- 1 large carrot finely diced;
- handful of diced white onion;
- 1/2 c of diced fennel;
- 2/3 lb deveined shrimp with tails on;
- 6 littleneck clams; 6 mussels;
- 1 lb of Dungeness crab (your fish monger should prepare this for you so it is cleaned and cracked).
- Lemon, chile piquin and parmesan cheese, and a side of toasted baguette should accompany service.
Step One: In a large stock pot, combine onion, fennel, garlic, bell pepper, carrot, and olive oil. Cook until translucent.
Step Two: Add wine and cook for 5 minutes. Add vegetable stock and tomatoes with reserved liquid, tomato paste, bay leaf, saffron. Cook that on medium high for 10-15 minutes. Add more liquid if necessary (consistency should be that of a stew). Remove bay leaf after cooking time.
Step Three: Scrub the clams and mussels, add them to the pot and cover. Cook this for 4 minutes. Add crab and cook for another 7 minutes. Add shrimp at last before serving, cooking for 4 minutes or until shrimp turns pink. Add the chopped basil and Italian parsley, incorporating it into the dish.
Step Four: Divide seafood among bowls, ladle in the soup. Garnish with lemon and parmesan cheese. Leave an empty bowl on the table for shells. Eat with spoon, oytser fork, and bread. Goes will with wine.
Tip: for extra tasty dishes, be sure to add kosher salt in the cooking process, but only about 1 tbsp in a pot like this (seafood is already salty). You should also reserve the shrimp shells, wrap them into a cheesecloth, and add this to the stock in step two, removing when you add the other seafood. You may also add clam juice (1/2 c) to the stock during step two as well if you like.
Simple French Toast
December 26, 2005
If you are thinking about tossing out that left over crusty baguette bread - don't! You can convert this bread into breakfast with a little milk and eggs.
You will need:
- 6 (or four) hearty slices of leftover baguette (really fresh baguette isn't that great for this dish);
- 2 eggs,
- 1/2 c of half and half or cream;
- 1/2 tsp of nutmeg or cinnamon,
- 1 tsp of vanilla.
For a really yummy treat, add 1 tsp of frangelico or rum.
Butter, and quality maple syrup are a must.
Step one: in a bowl, whip the eggs with a wire wisk or fork, add milk, vanilla, and spices.
Step Two: Dip bread in so it soaks up mixture on each side, place in a hot skillet with 1 tbsp of butter melted (cook on medium).
Step Three: Serve with syrup, butter, and powdered sugar if you like.
Mom's Christmas Enchiladas
December 24, 2005
Alfredo Sauce over Fettucini
December 22, 2005
I learned to cook Alfredo sauce at a restaurant almost 8 years ago and it is the tried and true recipe in my pasta arsenal. There is no "fat-free" version, so just plan on eating a small portion with a glass of white wine and a side salad.
You will need (for 3):
- 1 pint of heavy cream;
- 3 minced garlic cloves;
- dash of white wine;
- 1/2 c of grated parmesan;
- 4 egg yolks (separate the whites and discard).
For pasta, use DeCecco brand dried fettucini or fresh pasta from a local Italian grocer.
Step One: Boil water for pasta with 1 tsp of salt. Cook according to directions.
Step Two: In a skillet, cook garlic in 2 tblsp of olive oil over medium heat fro 5 minutes. Add dash of white wine to cool off.
Step Three: In a bowl, combine cream and yolks, wisk until smooth. Pour into skillet with garlic and cook over medium heat for 8-12 minutes or until it thickens (will coat a spoon without coming off completely). It is okay if this simmers a little but DO NOT BOIL or you will burn the cream. You must stir this constantly to avoid overcooking.
Step Four: Take off the heat, add parmesan & salt to taste. Ladle over cooked pasta and garnish with Italian parsley. For this occassion, I added sauteed shrimp with garlic on top.
December 21, 2005
What can bring me more joy than food? A hot espresso from my new FrancisFrancis! X5 machine in metalic turquoise. Observing Mr. Person's fine X3 machine, I decided that this would make a fine gift to myself this year.
If you take coffee, especially espresso, very seriously, I highly recommend this machine for your home use. Designed by an Italian architect and sold through Illy (an Italian espresso company), this machine comes in several stylish designs and accommodates both Easy Serving Espresso (ESE) pods and espresso grounds. I prefer the pods, and this machine give you a consistently frothy cup of joe each time. If you are overwhelmed with envy, check out all of Illy's FrancisFrancis! espresso machines at: http://www.illyusa.com/
I hope Mr. Person will post a comment here about the do's and don'ts of espresso. BTW, my flatemate was kind enough to bestow these fun espresso cups upon me for the holidays. Thanks.
Black Bean Soup
December 20, 2005
Fast and easy, this soup is great for winter time. Be sure to buy a good brand of canned beans.
You will need:
- 1 can of black beans,
- 1 can of drained sweet summer corn,
- 1 tomato,
- 2 green chiles (or 1 small jalapeno diced),
- 2 thick slices of onion finely diced,
- 2 clovea of garlic,
- 1 potato boiled and diced,
- 2/3 c of vegetable stock,
- 1 c of water.
Step One: heat 2 tblsp of vegetable oil in a sauce pot and add onion, garlic, tomatoes, chile; cook this until onions are translucent. Add the beans and cook on medium high for 8-10 minutes.
Step Two: Add corn, stock, and water. Cook this for another 8 minutes or until heated through. Add the precooked diced potatoes.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a side of tortilla.
Green Bells and Lentils with Feta
December 18, 2005
This dish reminds me a lot of my sister Raquel. She hated bell peppers more than any other vegetable, and for that I dedicate this dish to her memory (even though she would totally gross out).
You will need:
- 2 bell peppers,
- 1 1/2 c of green lentils,
- 2 sprigs of green onion diced (may substitute with white onion),
- handful of grated paremsan,
- 1/3 c of diced or crumbled feta cheese,
- handful of chopped flat leafed italian parsley,
- 3 tblsp of olive oil,
- pinch of oregano (optional),
- 2 minced garlic cloves,
- spring greens
Step One: After picking through the lentils and removing rocks and rinsing, place them in a medium pot with 3 1/2 c of water. Cook on medium high with a lid on until soft. Like rice, this takes about 20-25 minutes to cook. Test for tenderness - if they need more water, add it 1/4 c at a time until soft but not mushy. Set aside.
Step Two: cut the bell peppers in half, remove the core, and place in pot of boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove and place in a bowl of ice water. Color should be bright green - not yucky avocado green.
Step Three: combine your cheeses, olive oil, onion, parsley, and oregano in a bowl, stirring so all ingredients are mixed in.
Step Four: Spread greens on a plate, place lentil mixture inside of the bell peppers and serve a grated parmesan on top.
Oh so yummy.
If You Can't Go To El Patio, Bring El Patio To Yourself
December 15, 2005
I know - you all feel abandoned - but really, it is not my fault. The digital camera I've been using is not giving me my pictures - so many bids for forgiveness. I will try to catch up now that my roomate is back and can hopefully fix the camera bug.
Well, I love and miss enchiladas--especially my mom's. I promised her, however, that I would not divulge her green and red chile recipes on my blog because every Mexican knows better than to post their chile recipes for all to see: otherwise, you have some half-assed jerk publishing it in his food network cookbook and making money off such a simple thing as chile, onions, garlic and spices with water. Chile is not so much about measurements, rather it is about the cooking procedure and method--about roasting your chile right, not overcooking the onions and garlic, and reducing the caldo (broth) so it thickens without burning or overcooking the chile.
For you non-chile officianados, red chile is basically the ripened form of green chile. Red is often dried, hung to dry on a ristra or ground into a powder. Green is roasted and peeled. To eat it year-round, you have to buy it in August-September, roast it, freeze or can it, and then use it at the time of cooking. Chile is a labor of love and my favorite place to eat it is at El Patio restaurant in Albuquerque, NM (home of all chile, red or green, and if you order both, it's called Christmas). To my delight, El Patio started canning its chile and selling it at the restaurant. I purchased the red and green to make enchiladas al estilo Nuevo Mexico. Unlike traditional Mexican enchiladas, the NM kind are flat and not rolled. The layers usually consist of hamburger and potatoes, but for this recipe, I used chicken and beans. The vegetarian plate featured in the photo is of course spinach and beans.
You will need:
- one 12 pack of corn tortillas,
- 2 cans of El Patio red and green chile (you can always purchase 505 brand of canned green chile at Safeway or Smith's),
- a crock pot of fresh beans (frijole de bolita was used here), or 2 cans of pinto beans that are cooked with 3 tbsp of vegetable oil in a pot over medium-high heat for 10 minutes
- diced onion,
- spinach (fresh baby spinach), lettuce, cheese (always use Monterey Jack),
- shredded chicken (2 chicken breasts whole with bones, boiled in a pot over high heat for 12-16 minutes, then shredded with a fork),
- 1/2 c of oil to fry tortillas (replenish as necessary).
Step One: in a small egg pan, heat up your oil over medium heat.
Step Two: on a plate, serve a scoop of beans, quickly fry the tort on each side for about 45 seconds, and place on top of beans. Add more beans or chicken, spinach, cheese, onions and scoop of chile.
Step Three: Repeat step two. Top off with cheese, lettuce, and tomato. Serve with a side of beans.
It's like El Patio in my kitchen! For those of you in ABQ, break me off a little next time you are on Harvard drive and jonzen for chile.
For you "heartburn" types and people who ask "is the chile hot?" - don’t bother.
Eggs from Hades are Deviled Delicacies
December 06, 2005
For this recipe you will need: 1 dozen boiled eggs, cut in half with yolks removed and set aside; 2 tblsp capers; 1 crushed garlic clove; 2 tsp salt (kosher is always best); 2 tblsp minced chives; 3 tblsp quality dijon mustard (try Colemans); 4tblsp mayo (real mayo); paprika to top off. Dan, please correct any of this in a posted comment.
Step One: After you've boiled and cooled the eggs in ice water, peel them and cut in half long ways. Place all the yolks in a bowl and refridgerate the whites.
Step Two: In the bowl of yolks, combine the mustard and mayo, incorporating until smooth. Add the garlic, salt, white pepper to taste, chives, and capers. Stir well.
Step Three: Spoon the mixture on top of egg whites, dust paprika on top, and decoarte with a long stem of chive.
Purple Potato Salad
December 01, 2005
This is a bastardized version of a delicious Peruvian dinner I had a coworker's house last year. I took the basic idea of a potato salad and combined it with some of the ingredients I had at this delectible supper. To Ms. Cave - I thank you for this inspiration of purple passion.
You will need: 4 purple potatoes boiled and chopped into large pretty pieces, head of bib lettuce, 1 avocado cut into pieces, 3 hardboiled eggs peeled and quartered, cheese, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, lemon.
Step One: Boil the potatoes whole for 10 minutes, drain and plunge into a cold water bath. Quarter these.
Step Two: Boil the eggs (add eggs after water boils) for 10 minutes. Plunge into a cold bath of water. Peel and quarter.
Step Three: Tear of large pieces of lettuce and arrange on plate. Cut avocado and place half on each plate. Slice your favorite cheese for this dish. I recommend goat cheese or queso fresco. Place potatoes and eggs on plate, drizzle everything with olive oil and red white wine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze a small piece of lemon over avocado.