Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Guilty Pleasure

I have a confession to make. Instead of Parmigiano-Reggiano on my pasta and red sauce tonight...I topped it with goat cheese. I blended it in and was in red and white sauce pasta heaven, and so healthy.

The sauce, thrown together by husband Scott

olive oil
canned tomato's
Kalamata Olives
dried basil
dried red pepper
brown sugar

I got involved and added more brown sugar, red pepper and basil and then..

The Penne, cooked al'dente...I had a brain storm.

I am loving the River Valley Goat Cheese and I'd picked up a tube at the Ballard Farmers Market. I put some on a spoon, scooped up some red sauce and tasted it. Nice.

When the "serve yourself dinner bell" rang I grabbed my bowl, spooned in some penne, topped it with sauce and a few dollops of goat cheese.

Sat down, mixed it up, took a bite and thought, "WOW, you are on to something here." So satisfying.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Look what wintered over in my garden.

March 21st and it is ready to pick.

Surprised by the color, I read up on cauliflower and apparently the purple turns to green when cooked.

Let's find out by cooking up Cavalfiore All'Acciuga or Cauliflower with Anchovy Sauce.

A favorite at my house, here is the recipe -

One whole steam cauliflower topped with a sauce of olive oil anchovies garlic breadcrumbs and salt and pepper.
Eaters not fond of cauliflower tend to say "yum yum and more PLEASE" after they give this preparation a taste.

Steam cauliflower until tender, drain and transfer to serving dish.

Heat a 1/4 cup of olive oil over medium heat
3 cloves of chopped garlic
6 anchovy fillets, mashed or use paste
3 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
heat and stir for 2 minutes then
pour over the warm cauliflower and serve with a knife and spoon.

I enjoy this dish warm, room temperature, re-warmed the next day with a baguette and right out of the fridge on a spoon and into my mouth.

There are many similar recipes out there, some call for cutting up the head but I like it whole and pretty.

This recipe is from "Italy The Beautiful Cookbook" by Lorenza De Medici. You most likely have seen the Beautiful Cookbook series; over-sized books with gorgeous photographs of a regions cuisine.

So, back to the purple cauliflower....I cooked it and the purple turned a bright blue-green. I'll have to post the photo later because of technical difficulty.

Tastes real good...a tad milder than the traditional white heads.

Enjoy. Ciao, Jenise

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Meatballs....How About Bra-zhul !

Chicago friend Cathy "Cav's" is showing up in Seattle next week, for a drink. I learned to cook meatballs at her house when I was a young girl. No last names but she has an Italian one and although her mom did not have the blood of the boot, she learned how to serve it up right to keep papa Joe and all his brothers in garlic and tomato sauce.

Meatballs are one thing - it was the braciola, pronounced bra-zhul that curled my hair.
A piece of tenderized beef, stuffed with various goodies, tied off, browned - then simmered in tomato sauce for hours. Ambrosia.
The Cav's braciolas, stuffed with hard boiled eggs, were a special treat and the eggs, the prize.

We take our places at the table and wait for Joe, Mr. Cav's, to come home from the hardware store, wash his hands, sit down and serve himself. Then, we could eat.

First the rich tomato sauce, served over pasta, usually zitti.

So good so rich so much flavor so much beef fat...sometimes the sauce was made with meatballs and sausage and bra-zhul. These were the days before anyone had heard of cholesterol or gave two shits about their mid line.

Ok, next, remove the pasta from the table and bring on the braciola !!! An anxious air hung over the table...who gets the egg this week?


I've never made a braciola but I've talked about it enough over the years and last year I cycled with an Italian guy from Jersey whose new girlfriend was pulling her hair out over how to make the perfect braciola so she could be accepted into the fold and win the heart of her man.

Well Honey, try the following recipe which is penned by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich.

This dish is truly an act of love. Check it will take hours to prepare and that jives with my memory of Sunday braciola at Cathy's.

Good luck, enjoy and let me know how it turns out. Jenise

Monday, March 10, 2008

An Oyster Eating Shindig

I epicurioused and came up with Bob Flays,


Hot, sweet, pretty and easy the recipe was a hit and so was Marin, the x of Deb's, who, turns out, is an x oyster shucking competitor.

Oyster shucking as a sport ? Not long after moving to Seattle in 1996 I met the Lance Armstrong of oyster shucking, Xinh Dwelley, a five time winner of the West Coast Oyster Shucking Championship.

Xinh operates a restaurant in Shelton WA, Xinh’s Clam and Oyster House. When travelling that way include a stop for dinner. Great seafood with an Asian flair and a good reason to take in the wilds of Shelton.

Another dish worth mentioning was the kale I made - before sauteing and steaming the kale I first browned a small amount of sweet Italian sausage, then added the kale, salt and pepper and it was excellent. Served it with a smoked salmon fettuccine.

Bought the oysters, salmon and kale at the farmers market earlier that day.

It's oyster time of year in the Northwest and I urge you not to miss out on the 2008 harvest. Slurp....until next time....Ciao

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Breakfast ???

Today a cauliflower onion frittata for breakfast and tomorrow, a wedge of the same served with a glass of wine for dinner.

I love frittata's for their versatility and artfulness. So lovely is a piece of Spanish tortilla; a different name for a similar dish.

Such a perfect food. This a.m. my cupboard - bare -
What's in the frig? aging head of cauliflower, half an onion, 6 eggs and a bottle of spicy olive oil.

You know the drill...saute the onion and cauliflower in the oil...add salt, cook until soft.

Beat the eggs with a tad more salt and a few grinds of pepper.

Turn the veggies up to medium heat and pour the eggs into the pan.

Cook the bottom half and then broil off the top (or flip and cook) then plate the gorgeous pie.

The perfect vehicle for olive oil. I love frittata's for their versatility, absolute beauty, their taste and nutritional value.

Crack the eggs, grab the wisk and start cooking.