Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What I cooked this week, Episode 14

I took so long getting around to putting this post up that I'm making it a double--here's what I made in the past two weeks.

If I had been neglecting my kitchen recently, I've definitely made up for it by now.

Episode 14, September 6-September 19

Egg salad
Egg salad

Let's start out simply, with the egg salad I've been making since I was a kid: mayonnaise, honey mustard, dill, salt and pepper. My honey mustard of choice is Jack Daniels, but right now we've got Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Honey Spice on hand.

Mixed greens with blue cheese, blueberries, and walnuts
Blueberry, blue cheese, walnut salad with bacon-balsamic dressing

Labor day was warm here in San Francisco, so we decided to keep dinner light: a green salad with Point Reyes blue cheese, blue berries, and walnuts; I made a bacon-balsamic dressing.

Mixed greens with egg, blue cheese, walnuts, and mustard dressing
Salad remix

I remixed this salad for lunch the next day: same greens, same cheese, same walnuts, but with hardboiled egg and mustard-vinaigrette. Have I mentioned how much I love making my own salad dressings? I will never buy bottled dressing again.

Pizza with chevre, roasted chinese eggplant, proscuitto, heirloom tomatoes, and mozzarella

After eying heirloom tomatoes all summer, I decided to showcase some on this pizza. I used soft chevre as the base, then laid down roasted chinese eggplant, prosciutto, tomatoes, and a little mozzarella. Homemade crust, as always--by the way, I ran out of flour halfway through making the dough and had the run to the store. I ran out of flour the last time I made pizza, too. Seems like I should just put flour on my grocery list whenever I plan to make it.

Pickled grapes
Pickled grapes

Pickled grapes

I know--weird, right? But delicious! I'd had my eye on this Smitten Kitchen recipe since it was first posted, and when grapes started showing up at the farmers' markets I saw my opportunity. The grapes pickle in a brine of champagne vinegar, sugar, black peppercorns, brown mustard seeds, and cinnamon stick; I let them go for about a day and a half. I know, I know, it sounds weird, but if you are intrigued at all I highly suggest that you make these for a unique and delicious treat!

Oven spareribs and fresh corn casserole
Ribs 'n corn

One of the husband's favorites, Smitten Kitchen's spareribs, paired with a Pioneer Woman corn casserole that I've been wanting to make for ages. Both were quite tasty, though I need to remember that the ribs take SIX hours, not four.

Corny cheesy eggs
Corny cheesy eggs

I used up the leftover corn casserole by mixing it into some eggs, along with a generous amount of mozzarella, left over the pizza. Hooray for using up leftover ingredients!

Risotto with atichoke hearts, proscuitto, and homemade chicken stock
Risotto with artichoke hearts and prosciutto

Speaking of using leftover ingredients, I also had some prosciutto leftover from the pizza. Into a risotto it went, along with some artichoke hearts and chicken I made from my last farmers' market chicken.

At this point in the week, I decided that I had a great deal of pickled grapes, and while eating them by themselves just straight out of the jar was fine, the next best option would be to have...

...a wine and cheese party!
Cheese and wine shindig!

All of the food and wine was from California: fennel salami made locally, grapes, strawberries, and tamari-glazed almonds from neighborhood farmers' markets, Vella Dry Jack, Nicasio Square, and Humboldt Fog cheeses, and even the crackers, since I made them from scratch:

Cream crackers
Cream crackers

This is a recipe of Mark Bittman's that I followed the last time we had a wine and cheese shindig, and it's beautiful: the dough is easy to roll out thin, and assuming you roll it thin enough and remember to prick the dough before baking (sorry, batch #1!), they turn out amazingly. This variation uses cream as the liquid, and a large amount of butter as the fat. Mmmm. They're more like pastry than crackers you might think of, and not necessarily the best for serving with cheese, since they are a little soft. But no one seemed to mind.

Onion panade
Onion panade

This is undoubtedly the least visually-appealing dish I have made in a long time. Luckily, it makes up for it being tasty. This recipe from The Stone Soup is basically french onion soup in bread pudding form--tons of browned onions, piled together with chunks of bread and cheese, soaked in chicken broth (I used my homemade stuff) and then baked until warm and melty. As I said, ugly, but tasty.

Pickled strawberries
Pickled strawberries

I reused the bring from the grapes for some strawberries. While they're not bad, I think strawberry pickles would be better with balsamic vinegar as the base and a different seasoning mix.

Linguine with tomato pesto
Linguini with tomato pesto and sausage

I really wanted to make this tomato-almond pesto recipe from Smitten Kitchen, but I already had pine nuts and walnuts at home so just used those instead of buying almonds specifically for the purpose. While I still want to try to almond version sometime, this variation turned out well on top of some fresh linguine (store bought--I can't imagine making linguine at home without a pasta roller) with some Niman Ranch sausages for extra protein.

Tofu scramble
Tofu scramble with roasted red peppers, smoken pimenton, onion, and tomato paste

A visiting vegan friend provided me with the perfect excuse to try The Stone Soup's tofu scramble, guaranteed to please veggie- and meat-lovers alike. As a committed omnivore, I found it delightful, and I'm pleased say my carnivorous other half enjoyed it as well. The tofu is joined by roasted red peppers (from a jar), tomato paste, and smoked paprika, and we added half a diced onion; we served it over a bed of spinach with some shredded basil (left over from the pesto) on top. This was really, really good, and armed with the knowledge that "scrambling" tofu is the best way to get it to soak up lots of flavor, I look forward to adding tofu to my regular protein line-up.


It's Not You, it's Brie said...

I'm definitely going to try these pickled grapes- saw them a while ago on smitten kitchen, but forgot about them completely. I bet they're lovely with cheese!

joe Lewis said...
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