December 9, 2011
Happy Friday, ya’ll!
I came across a Mark Bittman recipe for Moroccan spiced apples which he suggested as a side to a nice piece of pork – you know, an elitist NYTimes version of Pork Chops and Apple Sauce. Just kidding guys, I love Mark Bittman. He’s not an elitist, he’s the master of simplification.
Anywayyy, I thought these apples would go well with ricotta instead. A bruschetta made on fresh bread topped with creamy ricotta and savory-sweet apples sounded just right to me.
Not for nothing, but these babies are perfect for a festive cocktail party or for enjoying by one’s self while standing/wiggling in the kitchen listening to LCD Soundsystem.
Moroccan Spiced Apples:
- 2 large or 3 small apples (I used Gala), chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Moroccan spice blend
- Sea salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 220C/425F. Combine first 3 ingredients in a bowl and mix until well combined. Spread out on a lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the apples are golden and soft.
To Make it a Bruschetta:
- Fresh Ricotta
Slice baguette into 2.5-cm/1-inch thick pieces. Spread on as much or as little of the ricotta as you’d like. (I am biased toward a heaping spoonful, but that’s just me.) Top with apples, serve immediately.
Apples can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for a day. Serve at room temperature.
Before you go…let’s talk about holiday things!
Technically not a Christmas song, but damn this gets me into the spirit
I LOVE Peter Alexander and all of these PJ shorts!
Cannot wait to make some festive (there’s that word again) cocktails like this and this.
December 2, 2011
One of the best parts about Thanksgiving is the leftovers – leftover turkey (in my case chicken) for salads, soups and sandwiches, stuffing made into hash with a fried egg, cold roasted veggies – I love it all. But I always run into an issue with the leftover mashed potatoes. When made fresh they are fluffy, creamy clouds from heaven but once they hit the fridge, it’s all downhill.
So, what do you do when you’re left with a big mountain of potato that you just can’t bare to toss out?
Do the taters justice and make pierogies.
These traditional Polish dumplings are delicious when boiled or pan fried and served with a little sour cream or apple sauce. When you already have the mashed potatoes, making them is super simple. You can add cheese, sauerkraut, mushrooms or onions to your potatoes to spruce them up inside their little parcel.
You can also make your own dough if you’d like, but after cooking for two Thanksgivings in one week I was feeling a little lazy. I picked up some fresh lasagna sheets and cut them into rounds using a glass.
(Not perfect rounds, as you can see…)
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November 18, 2011
I’m going to go ahead and dedicate this post to my food processor. Medium-sized and sturdy, it can handle nearly every job I throw at it. (I only say nearly because I don’t want to jinx myself here.) Specifically, it is the essential tool for making one of my all-time favorite condiments (not just for pasta, folks!): pesto. I’ll call it a condiment because it’s way more versatile than something like ketchup for me.
When I make a batch, I like to freeze small portions to keep it fresh. It’s easy to defrost quickly if you submerge the container in warm water. I store mine in small jars or good tupperware containers.
A standard pesto involves basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan and olive oil but it’s pretty common these days to swap in any number of other things. Sun-dried tomatoes and macadamia nuts instead of basil and pine nuts is a stand out variation - fancy, and ridiculously tasty.
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November 11, 2011
I love everything about Spaghetti Carbonara. I love the way a short list of ingredients come together to form something just right. And how crispy bites of pork weaved through perfectly cooked pasta cannot fail to make me happy and comforted, even if I didn’t need any comforting in the first place.
Some people use cream , among other things to make a Carbonara, but I prefer a simple (and more authentically Roman – for brownie points) approach, which makes for a lighter feeling dish.
I made my Spaghetti Carbonara with only five ingredients (if you will allow me the salt, pepper and olive oil for free):
- 1/2 cup chopped pancetta (or thick cut bacon)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano
- 2 eggs
And ok, I cheated with a 6th: some parsley if you’ve got it. (But I’m trying to adhere to my new Friday theme day, damnit!)
Heat oil in a pan and add the pancetta. Add the chopped garlic after a few minutes and continue to cook until your pancetta is nice and crispy.
Add your pasta to a pot of boiling (salted) water and cook for about 8 minutes. While the pasta is cooking, whisk eggs, Parmesan and a generous (I went for more-than-generous) grinding of pepper together in a large bowl.
Once the pasta is done, drain it quickly (it’s ok if there is still a little water with it) and transfer to the large bowl with the egg mixture. Add the pancetta and parsley and toss extremely well to combine. This tossing step is the most important – the heat from the pasta melts the cheese and cooks the egg, which makes the sauce.
…And you’re good to go! Serve immediately with a simple green salad to balance out all that beautiful fatty pork and salty cheese. Happy Friday!