Sunday, December 19, 2010

Quick pumpkin Gnocchi with Chantrelles in Sage Butter

I picked up some pumpkin gnocchi at the Ferry Building's Farmer's Market yesterday to bring to a sick friend. Sometimes it really pays one back to care for the needs of others. I boiled them for no more that 3 minutes, at a low boil, as instructed.  Then I popped them carefully, into a frying pan where I had sauteed chantrelles and sage leaves (originally from Traders, 3 weeks ago) in butter. I threw in a handful of arugula and I let the gnocchi brown a bit to crisp the edges.  (this happened by accident when I took my eyes off the pan for a moment.  What a happy accident) WOW! WOW! I did not remove the sage leaves and they contributed a nice crispy element.  WOW!

I also made another version of Marie Helene's Apple cake from Around my French Table. This is the second one I've baked in two days! The last one just disappeared, very mysteriously. This time I added the zest of half an orange, 1/4 cup of ground flax seeds, a full teaspoon of vanilla and a shot of turmeric. I reduced the butter to 2/3 of a stick and the sugar to 3/8 cup.
Cake with turmeric and Flax

Friday's cake without turmeric and flax
Is the "plain version"  is a lot more attractive? Maybe, but yellowed cake still tastes wonderful. I'm toppping my pieceof this slightly jaundiced-looking cake with a dollop of nonfat Oikos plain yogurt and having a cup of jasmine green tea spiked with a small piece of candied bergamot peel.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Leek and Potato Soup

This leek and potato soup. for French Fridays with Dorie,was quick and easy to prepare. My husband loved it.  I chose to use my immersion blender to achieve a silky smooth creamy consistency.  The soup tasted as good as one with loads of added cream but this recipe called only for milk. I was surprised that the vegetables boiled in the milk.  I thought the milk might "break" and become separated and ugly, but Dorie knew what she was doing. I thought the picture was a bit bland at first so I added a dried celery leaf for color. The remaining soup was gobbled up as part of my husband's lunch.  Another winner!
Soup Prep

Milk and veggies happily cooking together

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wednesday dinner--Soup and Cake

Tonight I am planning on making a soup with the Jerusalem artichokes I received in my produce box.  Here is the recipe . I will be adding a few sautéed chantrelles to top the soup, as they were too beautiful to pass up at Saturday's farmers market.  I will also be baking Dorrie's Marie-Helene's Apple cake with wonderful Tennessee Jack apples. I may also prepare sautéed collard greens with Boccalone's lardons or guanciale. Taking freezer inventory is like treasure hunting (that's where I found the guanciale)   I am also drooling over my library's copy of The Essential New York Times Cookbook.. I will probably put it back in my cart at Amazon, I may even check out today too.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Quick, Early, Update on Dorie's Go to Beef Daube

As I am the type of person who likes to procrastinate or so far ahead of time that I feel stress-free. Today I am making the Beef Daube for French Fridays with Dorie today.  The weather is perfect making a stew, having the oven on steaming up the kitchen is such a comfort. I do not use alcohol in cooking so I combed the internet to find a replacement for the red wine in this recipe.  One source said a daube's not a daube without wine, but I used pork broth (leftover from boiling my baby backs), mixed with 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar and 4 roasted tomato halves. The sauce has the look of red wine and smells amazing.  My husband will be the final judge.  I prepared Dorie's Celery root purée as a side dish, and I will make an escarole salad with a homemade ceasar dressing. See you Friday with the ratings.

Veg Prep

The sauté
Celery Root Purée

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

BBQ Pork Spareribs San Francisco Style

Saturday evening I had the pleasure of cooking dinner for some visitors from France. I love French food, but I did not want to compete with what they eat back home. Therefore, I decided to cook a completely American meal, but one that I could enjoy. My BBQ baby back ribs are succulent, fall-off-the-bone delicious, and easy to make as well. I decided to buy pork from a non-factory farm, as I believe in putting my money where my mouth is concerning supporting unhealthy farming practices. One of the wonderful advantages of living in San Francisco is the widespread availability of sustainably produced food. I purchased 3lbs of Duroc baby backs. Three pounds of sustainably produced ribs cost me as much as three racks from Costco, but as I said.... money where mouth is. One of the issues I have had in the past with BBQ sauces has been my inability to find a sauce without HFCS.  I went into Marina market and I was surprised and pleased to find no less than five brands of BBQ sauce with no HFCS.  How wonderful! I have made my own sauce in the past,but that is an all-day-affair. I chose 1849 BBQ sauce and Bulls-Eye, mixed them and poured the mixture over my two hour boiled ribs.  The result was succulent and lip-smacking  good. It is my understanding that the French like to eat with knife and fork. My French friend picked up his ribs and lifted them to his lips. I guess he enjoyed his American meal.. I did have to fess up to my guests that I did not make the sauce myself. They were surprised to find an American who cooked at all, but I still felt a bit lacking. I served the ribs with homemade coleslaw and baked potatoes with full fat real sour cream. It has been a long time since I've had real sour cream in the house and I must say clover non-organic sour cream was delicious.
I have already made Dorie's potato leek soup and I will post about it later in the week. Suffice it to say it has all been eaten by now. It's surprising how a few simple ingredients can have such good flavor.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Spiced Butter Glazed Carrots

Let me begin by saying that anything, I mean anything, glazed with butter tastes like heaven. This post is my first for French Fridays with Dorie, an online cooking group dedicated to preparing one recipe a week from Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table. The following was what I jotted down immediately following eating Spiced Butter Glazed Carrots, Wednesday night. Oh and, by the way, the carrots were so good I forgot to photograph them. I apologize. Next time I will hold back from inhaling the food as soon as it hits the table.

I just finished licking the pan from the glazed carrots! Yum. After consuming a double portion, my confirmed cooked-carrot-hating husband asked me to pack what was left of the carrots for his lunch. He loved them. I used leftover turkey broth and served the carrots with Japanese brown rice and turkey vindaloo. The glaze was shiny and unctuous from the Irish butter. Fabulous. This is going to be fun.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My new cooking plan: French Fridays with Dorie

I've just joined the Fridays with Dorie cooking group. So I will give serious blogging another go. This (hopefully) will force me to cook on schedule and write about my results on schedule. My CSA box is on hiatus until March so it's off to the farmer's market for me rain or shine every Saturday. Today I made turkey vindaloo and Clothilde's carrot rosemary mini scones. But.... I forgot to add the rosemary...oops. How could they be bad though, with a quarter pound of irish butter, pecorino romano cheese and sweet organic carrots? After tasting the scones I have to say I love the taste and their smaller size is just right. An extra layer of texture is wonderfully contributed by the carrots.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Two Small Farms CSA forces me to blog

Let me tell you why I love my Two Small Farms CSA share. I am supplied weekly with fresh, high quality organic vegetables and I never have to decide what to buy. You have probably heard all this before but I must join my voice to the many who never want to go back to picking out their own produce. Since the beginning of this season I have eaten more green things and tried vegetables I had never heard of such as agretti. I have had to get back into the habit of cooking creatively. I live under the pressure of the next weeks box coming to fill my already bursting refrigerator. This might sound like a bad thing, but I am so happy. Thank you Two Small Farms.
I will attempt to post my culinary adventures with my CSA share here as often as possible.
Tonight I made chard raviolis (from Rainbow, it's coupon month) with homemade pesto. I used the basil from my share and combined it with garlic, salt, pistachios, Parmesan, pumkin seeds, olive oil and a bit of walnut oil. I incorporated the dark green pumpkin seeds close to the end of the pounding of my mortar, so many were whole or just broken. This looked loved and added a nice crunch. I served this with roasted orange cauliflower from last weeks box and balsamic roasted onions.