Saturday, June 6, 2009

CSA - First Delivery

I am splitting a CSA Share with my neighbor, this was week one and I am working on getting through the small but diverse delivery of goods.


I used the Kale in a White Bean, Cherry Tomato, Onion mix that was a tasty dinner with some crusty bread. I used some broth to give it a base. Yummy.

For breakfast I blanched the Asparagus and served it with some Romano and a poached egg and piece of toast for piece of toast.

I have a LOT of oregano though - need to put that to use tomorrow as well as the leeks.

The leeks are looking like they will be part of a stirfry I found on Cookthink:

(I realize it is the first time I have posted in over a year, with the CSA deliveries coming in I'm forced to get creative so I have a new found dedication to putting my creations somewhere.)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Flour, eggs, a touch of water and some muscle

On a wintery Sunday in early January, Diana taught me how to make homemade pasta. The finished product was delicious...the process a ton of fun.

And I'd recommend a pasta machine :)

The instructions are easy but the work isn''s a photo log of turning just a few ingredients into Sunday supper...

Form a ring with the flour, add the eggs to the middle and start kneading. It's hard to capture the kneading on camera as your hands will be covered in dough.

After about 20 minutes of kneading you will reach the right consistency, this may mean adding a bit of warm water or flour if you dough gets too dry or moist. Once ready you can start to roll out into thin sheets of dough. When the sheets are made, slice to the appropriate width for your pasta maker.

Even Scott cranked out a sheet or two of pasta...

I doubt the delicious sauce we enjoyed that afternoon could be recreated outside of Diana's house so make your favorite and top the fresh cooked pasta with it.

Buon appetito!

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Another thanks to - delicious even though we were all quite full at this point, but I love serving individual Cornish Hens to people - the presentation is so nice and clean as you deliver the meal. I don't know how this would work for more than four or six people but for a small party it works well. I also served this with Giada's Brussel Sprouts, look for a future post on how I've changed her recipe a bit for a really yummy roasted flavor with the pancetta.

You can view the complete recipe online at:

This was great but the really flavor was in the sauce, while definitely not a New Year's Resolution diet list this sauce was a great accompaniment to the chicken and I would recommend making with other turkey or roast chicken recipes, I used low fat mayo and you can probably reduce the mayo quantity and increase the apricot preserves.

6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/3 cup finely chopped prosciutto
5 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 1 1/2-pound Cornish game hens
1 1/2 cups canned chicken broth
1 cup low-fat mayonnaise
3 tablespoons apricot fruit spread

Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine butter, 3 tablespoons prosciutto, 2 1/2 teaspoons rosemary and 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard in bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Run fingers under skin over breast of each game hen, loosening skin from meat. Rub 1 tablespoon butter mixture under skin over breast of each hen. Sprinkle hens inside and out with salt and pepper. Place 1 teaspoons butter mixture in each cavity. Truss hens with kitchen string.

Place hens on rack in large roasting pan. Pour 1/3 cup broth over hens. Dot each hen with 1 teaspoon butter mixture. Roast hens 30 minutes, basting with remaining broth and butter every 10 minutes. Continue roasting without basting until juices run clear when thigh is pierced at thickest part, about 30 minutes more. Reserve 1/4 cup pan juices. Cool hens. Cut each hen in half.

Mix mayonnaise, apricot spread, remaining prosciutto, rosemary and mustard, and 1/4 cup pan juices in small bowl. (Hens and sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.) This is from - great recipe and easily the best way to make brussel sprouts!

Giada's Brussel Sprouts

1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 ounces paper-thin slices pancetta, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup low-salt chicken broth

Partially cook the Brussels sprouts in a large pot of boiling salted water, about 4 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until beginning to crisp, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until pale golden, about 2 minutes. Add the Brussels sprouts to the same skillet and saute until heated through and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the broth and simmer until the broth reduces just enough to coat the Brussels sprouts, about 3 minutes. Serve.

Pasta Course: Thanks, Caputo's

I take no credit for making this course, other than knowing where to go for great Italian specialties in my neighborhood, everything from their sandwiches, soup, olives, cheese, fresh ravioli...ok you get delicious and the experience is always good although I would avoid Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.

Caputo's Fine Foods
460 Court St
Brooklyn, NY
(718) 855-8852
Visit Caputo's

While I was getting ready for the dinner party I wanted to incorporate a pasta before the main course, something that really fit into the autumnal theme and I've always been curious of Caputo's pumpkin ravioli that returns each fall (my eyes are now set on a pumpkin ravioli they do in a chocolate pasta - looks really interesting). I went in the morning of the party and selected a box of the ravioli and a small container of their walnut pesto sauce, paired together it was a sweet course with a nice salted flavor from the pasta and pesto. If you have the chance enjoy this combo, it's a great fall dish.


I found this salad on, I made it as recommended for the dinner party but since have taken some liberties and added toasted pecans and pears and just used a balsamic vinaigrette. The sharpness of the parmigiano-reggiano is nice but I've since used a blue cheese because it was what was on hand it had an equally good taste with the figs and prosciutto. Finally, the construction that this recipe recommends looks great but was a little tedious to make -- I did it the first time around but I wouldn't obsess in the future and would just serve as a tossed salad.

For vinaigrette
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 large bunches arugula (about 1/2 pound total)
6 firm-ripe green or purple figs (about 1/2 pound)
6 to 8 large thin prosciutto slices (preferably San Daniele; about 6 ounces total)
a piece Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1/3 pound)
Make vinaigrette
In a small bowl whisk together vinegar, mustard, pepper, and salt to taste. In a slow stream whisk in oil until emulsified.

Discard stems from arugula and transfer leaves to a large bowl. Trim tough stem ends from figs and cut each fig into 8 wedges. Trim some of fat from prosciutto if desired. Halve 6 prosciutto slices lengthwise. Overlap narrow ends of 2 halves by 1 to 2 inches, pressing together gently, to form 6 pieces about 13 inches long (use remaining 2 prosciutto slices if necessary). Transfer long prosciutto pieces as prepared to a tray lined with plastic wrap. With a vegetable peeler shave about 36 thin slices from Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Toss arugula with about 3 tablespoons vinaigrette and mound in center of each of 6 plates. Arrange long prosciutto pieces in a ring around each mound of arugula, overlapping ends to secure . Arrange figs and Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings on and around salad and drizzle salads with remaining vinaigrette!

07 Catch up and 2008 Cooking :)

The following weeks of posts will catch you up on some of the cooking I did in 2007 and then I'll do my best to stay updated thru 08. Enjoy!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Prepping: The Night Before

Knowing that I had a lot of components to pull together, and I couldn't get to Caputo's on Court Street until Saturday morning, I went to Fairway on Friday night to get almost all of the ingredients. The goal was to make the soup and chill it over night.

I was able to conquer the soup, cut and wash the arugula and chop all fresh herbs on Friday, making setting up to cook on Saturday much easier.

The recipe for Butternut Squash Soup was simple and the recipe (with my adjustments) is here, I took off, it was so easy and served with a salad could be a meal all on its own:


* 6 tablespoons chopped onion
* 4 tablespoons BUTTER
* 2 Butternut Squashes, cut lengthwise and seeded
* 3 1/2 cups chicken stock
* 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
* 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
* 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
* Sprinkle of nutmeg

1. Add olive oil, salt and pepper to each piece of the Butternut squash, roast at 375-degrees for about 35-40 minutes. I roasted cut side up for first 25 minutes and then flipped.
2. Remove squash from oven and let cool, when cool enough to handle, scoop our center or peel and cut into cubes.
3. In a large saucepan, saute onions in butter until tender. Add squash, chicken broth, marjoram, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Bring to boil; cook 20 minutes. Sprinkle in just a tiny bit of nutmeg.
4. Puree squash and cream cheese in a blender or food processor in batches until smooth. (If you are making in advance chill after this step.)
5. Return to saucepan, and heat through. Do not allow to boil.

PS. I prepared the "bowls" the next day but they were surprisingly much easier to make than I expected. The directions are:

One large acorn squash for each person attending
Cut top off, like you are making a Jack-o-latern (reserve for when serving)
Scoop out seeds and insides - discard
Cut out any loose insides, being sure to not thin walls too much

Roast at 375-degrees cut side down for about 25 minutes, be very careful to not over roast because the bowls need to be strong enough to hold the soup. Also some acorn squashes have points on the bottom, just level them off before roasting, again being careful to not cut too much.

When there is about 5-10 minutes left, place the "tops" in the oven to roast with the shells.

Like I said, this was much easier than I expected, just work with a sharp knife, the presentation is worth the effort, it made the table look great and saved on dishes!