Monday, May 31, 2010

Green Goodness

In case you didn't pick up the recent issue of Veranda Magazine, I am sharing with you the amazing spread Caroline Roehm put together called, Green Cuisine.. The story is filled with my favorite colour, and delicious recipes I can't wait to try.   From soup to salads, pastas and veggies all that is green and delicious.  Naturally, the table scape doesn't disappoint;  rich with layers  of green fruits and flowers, linens and's the perfect summer setting.


Serves 4 to 6

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¾ cup shallots, peeled and diced
8 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons fresh oregano
1 pound Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup asparagus, only tips and tender part of spears
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
3 tablespoons butter
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
salt and pepper

In large saucepan, heat oil and sauté shallots until soft. Remove from heat.

In separate pan, heat chicken stock until warm. Combine 2 cups stock and herbs in blender. Process until smooth, then return to remaining stock over heat.

Return saucepan with shallots to heat, then add rice and toast 2 minutes. Add wine and stir until liquid is evaporated.

Add stock 1 cup at a time, stirring continually, about 13 minutes. Add asparagus and peas to remaining stock. Then continue to add stock and vegetables to risotto 1 cup at a time, stirring continually until rice is al dente, about 5 minutes. Strain any remaining vegetable from leftover stock and fold them into risotto.
Remove from heat, add butter and cheese and a little more stock if necessary. Stir well and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.


Serves 4 to 6

4 tablespoons olive oil
8 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cups chicken broth, plus more if needed
1 pound spinach, cleaned and chopped (baby spinach used here)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in soup pot over medium heat. When hot, add garlic, onion and potatoes. Sauté 3-4 minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Add chicken broth and bring to boil. Lower heat and cook until potatoes are soft. Turn off heat, stir in spinach and cover a few minutes until spinach is wilted. Add lemon juice and red pepper flakes, if using. Partially purée mixture with immersion blender or food processor, leaving it a little chunky. Add a little more broth if necessary.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.


Serves 4 to 6

2 cups fresh basil leaves
2/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 cloves garlic, peeled
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
salt and pepper
1 pound Cipriani spinach tagliarelle (spinach linguine or spinach fettuccine may be substituted)
1 cup heavy cream

In food processor, pulse basil, 1/3 cup pine nuts and garlic 8-10 times until coarsely chopped. With processor running, slowly, add olive oil in a stream until smooth. Add cheese and pulse a few more times. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cook tagliarelle in large pot of boiling water according to package directions.

In small saucepan, mix pesto and cream, and simmer. Pour over drained, cooked pasta and garnish with remaining pine nuts and cheese. Serve immediately.


Serves 4 to 6

6 medium artichokes, rinsed thoroughly
1 lemon, halved
1 small red bell pepper
2 tablespoons capers, drained
3 cloves garlic, peeled
¼ cup parsley leaves
½ cup fresh bread crumbs
½ cup olive oil
salt and pepper
1 cup water
few sprigs of fresh mint

Remove tough, outer artichoke leaves and discard. Cut off tips of inner leaves. With sharp spoon, remove inedible center and discard. Place prepared artichokes in cold water with lemon halves.

Finely chop red pepper, capers, 2 cloves garlic and parsley and add to bread crumbs. Add ¼ cup olive oil and mix well.

Heat oven to 375°. Drain artichokes and stuff with prepared filling. Place stem side up in lightly greased baking dish. Drizzle with remaining ¼ cup olive oil; add salt and pepper to taste. Add water, remaining garlic clove and mint to baking dish.

Cover tightly with foil and bake about 1 hour or until very tender. Remove from oven and serve.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Simple and Savoury

Ohh - I know it's been forever.  It's been a little crazy around here.  No crazier than anybody else, of course, I am just less organized.  The meals at home have suffered tremendously - I haven't made anything exciting in a while.  Then I stumbled across an old recipe on ABCD Designs Blog.   Amy posted a recipe for a traditional Italian carbonara, and I suddenly remembered when my mother used to make it for us.  It was exaxtly what I needed  so I picked up some pancetta, and tossed in the fridge for a rainy day.   Last night, I whipped it up in no time and it was perfect.  Delicious savoury, and a perfect Sunday evening meal.

Pasta Carbonara is traditionally prepared with eggs, pancetta and parmigianno.  Some recipes add cream, but I think it is just too heavy.  The pancetta, adds enough heartiness to this dish   Here is the recipe that Amy has on her blog, and the one I made last night.  I found the measurements to be perfectly balanced.  

Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe: 
Ruth Reichl’s via ABCD Designs
Note:  Using fresh ingredients for this recipe will enhance the flavours..  I don't always have organic eggs on hand, but good quality pancetta is a must, and real parmigianno as well.  As Amy also mentions, when you have so few ingredients, the quality will make the difference.  


1 pound spaghetti
1/4 to 1/2 pound thickly sliced good quality bacon or pancetta
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 large eggs
Black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano cheese, plus extra for the table


Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. When the water boils, throw the spaghetti in. Dried spaghetti takes 9 to 10 minutes to cook. The sauce is easy enough to prepare in that amount of time.
Cut the bacon crosswise into pieces about 1/2 inch wide. Place in a skillet and cook for about 2 minutes. The fat will begin to render. At that point, add the two whole cloves of garlic and cook another 5 minutes or so, until the edges of the bacon just begin to get crisp. Do not overcook the bacon. If it becomes too crisp it won’t meld with the pasta. Break the eggs into the bowl you will serve the pasta in. Beat them with a fork. Grind pepper into the bowl with the raw eggs.
When it is cooked, drain the pasta and immediately throw it into the beaten eggs. Mix thoroughly. The heat of the spaghetti will cook the eggs and turn them into a sauce. Remove the garlic from the bacon pan. Toss the bacon with most of its fat into the pasta, toss again, add cheese and serve.