Friday, October 3, 2008

Girls Night In

Got to cook for Jen and the girls last year... Folks have been clamoring for some of the recipes, so it's time to blog again:

The menu was Salmon ala Newman & Merchant, the cauliflower and scallion dish that I stole from Julie Sahni and saffroned basmati rice. For dessert, a raspberry crostata with homemade vanilla ice cream. There was some homemade bread--sort of, I cheat and let the breadmaker do the heavy lifting of kneading and rising. Then I step in at the last minute and steal the show, forming the loaf and baking it off. 

How were things made? Stay tuned. I'll let you in on all my secrets. I may even give credit to the people I stole them from...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pepperoncini Beef

This is a great recipe, drop dead simple. But you have to plan, and I'm not very good with exact measurements on this one.

So. Twenty four hours before you want to eat, you need: A paring knife, a cutting board, a crock pot, a splash of olive oil, some salt and pepper, a 2lb slab-o-beef, and about a third of a 24oz jar of pepperoncini. What you're looking for in that slab-o-beef is nice marbling. I've used chuck with great success. What you're looking for is something that can cover the bottom of your crock, about an inch or so thick.

Crock pot on low, splash the oil. Rinse the slab and pat dry with paper towels. Salt it generously on both sides and into the crock pot. Grind some pepper on top. You want maybe 8 ounces of pepperoncini juice in the crock pot. Now, stem and seed all the pepperoncini that are above the juice line. I stem, slice the remainder in half and use my thumb. Toss the halves into the crock pot.

Wash your hands! Particularly before you touch your eyes or visit the bathroom for purposes other than washing your hands. Don't say I didn't warn you... Put the jar of pepperoncini in the fridge, cover the crock pot and walk away.

The next day, get a nice loaf of ciabatta  bread or some crusty french loaf and make some sandwiches. A little sharp cheddar is nice. Some Parmigiano Reggiano is nicer still.

A sprinkle of rosmarino (or a sprig) wouldn't be the end of the world. Neither would increasing the amount of pepperoncini or being less aggressive about seeding them. Sorry, no pitcure. It hardly ever lasts long enough...

Credit has to go to Michele Martin of PA for this one. Michele, let me say, "Thank you!" for everyone...

Thursday, January 31, 2008


This was dinner last night, a little Risotto with Sausage and Zucchini. It's in its final stages on the stove here. Not the first time I've done this, but the chunk size on the zucchini is a bit larger than what I've done in the past.

I was going for more of a sweat on the zucchini, but I think browning and then adding them back in with a two or three ladles of stock to go will give me more flavor.

The size let them still have some crunch, but the edges disintegrated like potatoes in beef stew. So I think I can have my caramelization and still get zucchini liquid into the rice...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Wine Picks

We had this really nice wine with some wonderful friends on our last trip to Italy... I recently came across a note with some details, so if you run across a bottle of this on your next trip to the packy, buy it! Buy two, and if you don't like it, pass one on to me.

The gory details that I scrawled are Castelli del Duca colli Piacentini Gutturnio Superiore. There's a lot of Barbera grape in the wine and for some reason my note says "~$10". It didn't drink like a $10 bottle of wine, though.

I think we ate for over three hours that day. I'm looking forward to our return trip.