Friday, June 25, 2010

food blog friday.

One of my favorite food blogs, Pinch My Salt, features a recipe made from a different food blog every Friday. I think this is such a fun idea and am trying it this week. I have a bunch of amazing little golden potatoes that boil up beautifully. I was thinking of making them for dinner tonight, and saving the leftovers for a potato salad for the weekend. Instead of just heading to epicurious, I looked at what is probably my favorite (but how can you choose between your children?) food blogs ever - smitten kitchen. This potato salad recipe caught my eye, and after reading Deb's comments, I'm so glad I didn't just pick it up at epicurious. There is a very involved foil-roasting on a bed of salt plus peeling and standing on your head and reading War and Peace before it's done. Her suggestions made me consider a recipe I otherwise wouldn't have wanted to undertake. My plan is to boil them as usual, and make the potato salad with the dijon vinaigrette and green onion, omitting the shallots and tarragon and maybe including some fresh parsley as the herb if I have any on  hand.

Stay tuned also for a very ambitious meatloaf recipe.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

chicken + vinegar: weird in theory, delicious in reality.

I know, I know - it sounds disgusting. But it isn't. It really, really isn't. This recipe was recommended to me by my british uncle who thinks all manner of odd things are delicious, as the british are known to do. I was skeptical initially, but now I'm in the club and ready to make every other recipe in the cookbook. It's a really incredible little book called Roast Chicken and Other Stories by Simon Hopkinson. Very Alice Waters, it is organized alphabetically by ingredient and just a few choice dishes for each. This dish may sound intimidating, but you are basically braising a cut up chicken with tomatoes, and then deglazing with vinegar and chicken broth. Whisk a little butter in at the end and what you are left with is, in a word, divine. It's savory and chickeny and just the most perfect bit tart. I can't wait to make it again.

Poulet Saute au Vinaigre

4 lb chicken, cut into 8 pieces
salt and pepper
1/2 c. butter
2 tbsp olive oil
6 very ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped*
1 cup best quality red wine vinegar
2 heaped tbsp chopped parsley

Season the pieces of chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 4 tbsp of the butter and the olive oil in a flameproof casserole until just turning nut-brown (I used an enameled dutch oven). Add the chicken and fry gently, turning occasionally, until golden brown all over. Add the chopped tomatoes and carry on frying and setwing until the tomato has lost its moisture and is dark red and sticky. Pour in the vinegar and reduce by simmering until almost disappeared. Add the stock, and simmer again until reduced by half. Remove the chicken to a serving dish and keep warm. Whisk the remaining butter into the sauce to give it a glossy finish. Add 1 tbsp chopped parsley, pour over the chicken and sprinkle with the remaining parsley. Serve with plain boiled potatoes.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Barefoot Contessa's Scalloped Tomatoes

After serving these, I asked what everyone at the table thought of them and was met with total silence. Everyone was too busy scarfing down scalloped tomatoes to answer me. These were a huge hit and I can see why. The tomatoes take on the most amazing flavor when roasted, which really helps a fruit that can be so boring. The toasting step for the breadcrumbs keeps them from falling apart too much in the tomatoes. This is the kind of dish to make when it's winter and all you have around are those pulpy, pale pink orbs misrepresented as tomatoes. The addition of sugar really helps and, while two teaspoons seemed a bit excessive to me, I made myself follow the recipe slavishly the first time. I'm glad I did because it wasn't the least bit too sweet. I served this along side simply grilled steaks. I will definitely be making this again, it would be great alongside salmon or broiled halibut. And to think it doesn't have eight sticks of butter in it!

Barefoot Contessa Scalloped Tomatoes  


  • Good olive oil
  • 2 cups (1/2-inch diced) bread from a French boule, crusts removed
  • 16 plum tomatoes, cut 1/2-inch dice (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup julienned basil leaves, lightly packed
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12 inch) saute pan over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and stir to coat with the oil. Cook over medium to medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the cubes are evenly browned.
Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. When the bread cubes are done, add the tomato mixture and continue to cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the basil.
Pour the tomato mixture into a shallow (6 to 8 cup) baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan cheese and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the top is browned and the tomatoes are bubbly. Serve hot or warm.

Friday, June 11, 2010

for stationary lovers

I am obsessed with stationary. I love paper. I love pens. Staples is in my top 10 favorite stores. I like the way paper smells and the way a good pen scratches against the grain, leaving the perfect amount of smudge-free ink. It's an illness and I never want to be cured.

So you can imagine my delight at meeting Muji. Muji is an exquisite design site, with the most amazing pens on earth. They have much, much more as you will see - handkerchiefs of city maps, perfect little speakers made of cardboard, everything a crazy design freak with an office supply fetish could dream of.

But the pens. Oh the pens. My favorites are the 0.38 - i picked them up in green, orange, magenta, light blue and dark blue. I also got two clicky pens in .5 and 0.38 in black. Just for when I'm feeling official.

Lately I haven't felt so official. I've been feeling more lime green.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Barefoot June

The Barefood Bloggers group posted their recipes for June today! I am so excited because I haven't been able to participate yet since I have been traveling so much.

The selections are:

Sour Cream Coffee Cake and Scalloped Tomatoes

I am really excited about these two choices. I think the scalloped tomatoes sound like a really delicious side that takes the heat off the main dish. Just some simply grilled swordfish or steak with the tomatoes sounds like an amazing summer meal. At first I wasn't that excited about the coffee cake, but I absolutely love using sour cream in cooking and baking, so I am sure I will love it. And I've been loving those banana muffins, so maybe this will be something I can add to my baking repertoire for when guests come to stay.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

a simple dessert

I've heard of balsamic and strawberries as a combination before, but I always imagined there was some really fussy reduction and caramelizing to achieve it. Thanks to a simple google search, I discovered this was not the case. You simply hull and halve the strawberries and dust them with a handful of sugar, and a healthy splash of balsamic vinegar (a few tablespoons). Let them sit at room temperature for at least one, but not more than four, hours.

And, oh my, are they amazing. The vinegar ends up just a tangy note that brings out the strawberry-ness of the strawberries. We drizzled the sauce and strawberries over vanilla ice cream. This is the easiest, most elegant dessert.

Balsamic Strawberries
adapted from various internet recipes

16 oz strawberries
1/3 c. sugar
2 Tbs Balsamic vinegar

combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss.
let sit for 1 - 4 hours at room temperature.
serve with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or mascarpone cheese.

bon appetit!

dinner tonight

We've been doing a lot of grilling recently so I thought I'd try something a little different tonight, again from "Giada at Home." Bucatini all'a Amatriciana! This one has smoked mozzarella meatballs, but I think I may leave that out. I am going to make the bucatini from scratch, so I may save myself the extra step on the cheese. Also, then we have classic meatballs to use in sandwiches this week! Yum.

I have to say again, this is the best Giada cookbook. I like it better than Everyday Italian, and am sad to say I've never even cooked anything out of Everyday Pasta. I usually find her recipes to be a bit fussy, but this time it seems like she made the effort not just to change things for the sake of adding a twist of her own.

I'll report back a review tomorrow!

Monday, June 7, 2010

the art of simple food

I just ordered this cookbook from amazon. Alice Waters is all about simple food, eating seasonally and locally. I am really into this concept lately, not because I am in any way earthy or an active environmentalist (thought I did exclusively wear birkenstocks for approximately 12 years of my life). When you eat food that is truly in season, particularly produce, it is a completely different experience to what you eat in the off season. Anyone who has purchased a tomato in January and taken home a pale pink pulp blob knows this is true.

I am really excited to try her techniques because I like they idea of learning basic ways to cook food and adapting them myself, versus following a recipe by rote.