Simple Pasta Sunday – Anchovy Goodness

I say Anchovy, you say Bleccch.

That’s just how it goes, and it’s unfortunate. I fully understand – my first experience with the feeder fish came on pizza, sort of as a dare, and all I remember is that its flavor enveloped (and ruined) the entire pie. It wasn’t until I lived in Seattle and had the Cauliflower Anchovy spread at Lola that I began to realize the potential of this boldly-favored, powerful little fish.

Encountering them again in Italy and at Italian restaurants in the states, served either on crusty bread, or solo, usually with parsley, served to further grow my respect for the fish, and their umami-packed flavor. And realizing that anchovies form the base of the traditional Caesar salad dressing proves that anchovies are a flavor-enhancement more than anything, and truly worthy of a Yessss rather than a Bleccch.

In this recipe, inspired by the wonderful handmade linguine I encountered at the Studio City Farmers Market this weekend, I hope to show that anchovies are not only accessible, but a crucial part of a dish that is simple, delicious, and perfect for a summer afternoon – even for a two-year old.

I’ve condensed the video (thank you Snapchat) I hope you enjoy.

Ingredients

  • linguine, 8-12 oz.
  • EVOO
  • garlic, 4 cloves, slivered
  • anchovies, 6-8 filets
  • spinach, two handfuls
  • fresh parmesano reggiano
  • lemon, juice of one half, reserving other half

Directions

  • boil a huge pot of water, adding a ton of salt. The water should taste like ocean.
  • heat a large pan to medium, adding a healthy amount of EVOO, until the oil is glistening.
  • add the garlic, and once that starts to crisp (but not brown), add the anchovy and mash until its a paste.
  • put the pasta in the boiling water and cook as per directions (generally two minutes for handmade, 8-12 for store bought).
  • add spinach to the pan and stir until wilted, coating with the anchovy/garlic mixture.
  • once pasta is cooked properly, add it directly from pot into the pan, stirring until each noodle is coated. there is no need to drain prior to doing this, the excess water helps thin out the mixture and makes more for a saucy approach.
  • I like to add a healthy squeeze of lemon at this point, and again prior to serving.
  • grate parmesan on top, serve, and picture yourself looking out on to the Adriatic Sea.
Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Tortilla Española

Inspired by Omar Allibhoy, I recreated one of my favorite all-time dishes with this Tortilla Española. I first encountered the dish as a naïve, hungover, food-deprived 21-year old in Madrid. After successive nights of ecstatic partying, our gracious hosts prepared what looked to be a ‘puffy omelet.’ At the time, I was kind of agnostic about eggs – take ’em or leave ’em – and prepared to be satiated with a few simple bites. What happened next, even in my slumberious haze, was nothing short of a revelation. Was this cheesy? Was this buttery? What is this creamy texture that somehow holds tight, and oozes deliciousness over every tastebud?

Turns out, this was a simple fortification of potatoes, onions, eggs, salt, pepper & EVOO. And that’s IT.

One of the simplest recipes I’ve made, but takes concentration and is definitely an ‘active’ recipe. But absolutely worth it – breakfast, brunch, dinner. Amazing food here.

Ingredients

  • Four fist-sized waxy potatoes
  • One yellow onion
  • 7 eggs
  • glugs upon glugs of EVOO
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions

  • pour oil, realistically 3/4 of a cup, in to a wide, non-stick skillet. heat on high.
  • quarter the onion, then slice it. once pan is heated, add to pan.
  • while onions are heating, and they need time to caramelize & brown, half then slice the potatoes.
  • once onions have nice color, add potatoes to the pan and mix actively for the next 15 minutes, or until potatoes have great color as well.
  • while potatoes are frying, crack eggs in a large bowl and whisk with salt and pepper
  • after potatoes & onions have browned, turn off stove and drain excess oil (strain & save it – can be reused about five times and has a great subtle flavor)
  • place potato/onion mixture into the eggs and let stiffen for about five minutes.
  • put skillet on stove and heat to medium – add mixture
  • heat for four-five minutes, moving subtly the entire time
  • place a large plate on the top of the skillet, press down firmly and flip. this is easier than it sounds, but still pretty harrowing.
  • slide the now-forming tortilla onto the skillet again, and heat other side for four-five minutes, again shaking subtly.
  • slide off onto plate, let cool for five minutes and slice.
  • i like to add crisp greenery and an acidic element (tomatoes) as well as an herb (parsley), but you can literally make this as sweet or savory as you’d like.
  • enjoy.

 

tortespa             tortespañ

Tagged , , , , , , ,

four-ingredient elegance, even with bacon

Basil.

Apple.

Mascarpone.

Bacon.

baconapplebasilmascarpone

 

as straight forward and delicious as it looks.

one option is top it with a drop of honey, but note that there is already plenty of sweetness.

a second option is top it with a dollop of your favorite brand of sriracha. fun.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Simple Green Beans. Really Simple

A really, really easy recipe for the unheralded green bean. Honestly almost too easy, and a crowd pleaser for sure.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

 

Ingredients

  • green Beans, ends removed, chopped in half
  • pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • two garlic cloves, smashed
  • high quality EVOO
  • sea salt

Directions

  • Boil green beans, garlic and a healthy glug of EVOO in pot of heavily salted water for three-four minutes
  • drain in colander and remove to pot immediately
  • glug EVOO generously over green beans
  • add sea salt to taste
  • serve and marvel and the lustrous wonder of this simple vegetable

 

 

 

Tagged , , , ,

Simple, Quick Lamb Chops, Eggplant and Chickpeas

The Nigel Slater tome, Eat, has provided me with not only an awesome perspective on food and cooking, but accessible, realistic recipes that are more simplistic than they appear – thus perfect for somebody with slightly-better-than-novice skills such as myself.

My meal last night was both inspired by (lamb w/ yogurt) and adapted from (eggplant & chickpea puree) recipes in the book. The Middle Eastern influence (from a British chef/ author, haaa!) was definitely outside of my typical kitchen paradigm, but I have to admit it came out awesome. And the entire meal was on the plate within 30 minutes of start time. Pretty awesome.

Hope you enjoy.

Lamb

Ingredients

  • 6 smaller lamb chops, frenched and cleaned
  • EVOO
  • head of garlic
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 can, chickpeas
  • handful of fresh thyme
  • handful of mint lives, minced
  • greek yogurt
  • 1 lemon
  • salt
  • pepper
  • paprika

Directions

  • slice eggplant in half, salt and let sit for 20-30 minutes to draw water out
  • marinate lamb in olive oil, salt, pepper, sliced garlic for at least one hour
  • rinse eggplant and let dry over paper towels, then slice into half-rounds
  • preheat oven to 400°F
  • prepare yogurt accompaniment by whisking yogurt, juice from 1/2 lemon, mint, paprika, salt, pepper & minced garlic
  • take half of the eggplant half-moons, put on baking sheet with garlic and thyme and generous EVOO. place in oven.
  • heat cast-iron skillet to high with a handful of garlic cloves
  • heat dutch oven or other high-sided pan, pour in generous EVOO – when heated, layer in the remaining rounds of eggplant. sauté the eggplant until browned, then flip for 2 minutes to brown on other side
  • sear the lamb chops thoroughly on both sides – should take about 3 to 4 minutes per side – when done, put the lamb chops in the oven to finish for 2-4 more minutes
  • add chickpeas to the eggplant in dutch oven, as well as more salt/pepper. turn off heat, cover
  • pull lamb and eggplant from oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes
  • use handblender to puree half the eggplant & chickpeas, leaving the rest in tact for both textural and aesthetic purposes
  • plate as desired, with or without couscous, rice, and enjoy

 

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Sated and Slated – Sausage Lasagne

Recipe Source: Nigel Slater, Eat (the little book of Fast Food)

So in reading Eat I came across this delightful ‘lasagne’ (the non-North American spelling for ‘lasagna’) that promised to be simple, wholesome, delicious & fast – essentially a perfect representation of the recipes in this must-own book. Simply titled Sausage Lasagne, Slater calls for the most basic of ingredients and puts together an amazingly delicious – and quick! – spin on a typical Lasagna (Lasagne!).

Perfect for a winter night, but also perfect for whenever you feel like a pasta-y dish, this is one of the most redeeming recipes I’ve made out of a cookbook. Enjoy!

sausagelasagnenigelslatermagnoliagardens

Ingredients

  • six sheets of oven-ready lasagna pasta
  • EVOO
  • 12-16 oz. cherry/plum tomatoes, chopped at least in half
  • two firm, large tomatoes such as Hot House
  • shredded parmesan cheese, the more the better
  • 12-16 oz. pork sausage w/o casing; anything from Jimmy Dean to your butcher’s finest will work here
  • ricotta cheese (optional)
  • 1 cup, cream
  • 1 tablespoon, dijon mustard
  • handful of fresh basil leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • preheat oven to 400ºF
  • brush EVOO on the bottom of a baking dish
  • layer the bottom of a baking dish with the dry noodles; break as necessary to form a complete bottom
  • generously glug EVOO on the noodles
  • cover the noodles with half of the tomatoes and half of the sausage
  • generously ‘fill in the gaps’ with ricotta (if using), and otherwise layer generously with parmesan
  • add another layer of pasta, as complete as possible
  • add the rest of tomatoes, sausage and ricotta – also healthy layer of parmesan
  • mix cream and dijon, pour over mixture
  • cover dish with slices of tomato, and cover that with parmesan
  • bake for 45 minutes or until tomatoes are roasted and browning and the cheese mixture is bubbling

This is quite literally an amazing, and amazingly simple, dish. I am a total Nigel Slater hyper because of this book and recipes like this. Absolutely awesome.

 

Tagged , , ,

My Guiltiest Pleasures

I’m not talking the shaved frozen foie gras at Momofoku; I don’t mean the Spicy Pork Tacos from Kogi. I definitely am not referring to the “Coffee & Doughnuts” at The French Laundry. What I want here are your dirtiest, darkest, deepest desires that you’d ordinarily be embarrassed to discuss with your fellow gastronomes.

Here are mine, in no particular order because frankly – when the craving strikes, any one of these bad boys can vault to the top of my ‘must have NOW’ list:

*Jalapeño poppers from Jack in the Box w/ ‘house buttermilk sauce’ (aka Ranch).

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 10.25.08 AM

These fried bundles of joy brought me many smiles and more than a few pounds in college. I feel sorry for you east coasters that don’t know Jack, because this oddball gem – at least for a fast food menu – is quite literally the definition of a food that is disgustingly delicious. Oh yeah, I use THREE of the ‘buttermilk’ cups for a seven piece jalapeño.

 

*Reddi-Wip original cream, straight out of the can.

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 10.24.35 AM
My mom used to harangue me incessantly after catching me wrap my lips around the nozzle of this Thanksgiving pie-finisher. To this day, I keep a can in the fridge just to guide me through those tough days as an adult, if for only a moment to harken back to childhood.

 

*Reese’s peanut butter chips.

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 10.21.21 AM
The Pieces are great, the Cups are phenomenal, but these. . .these, allegedly, are for cooking. Too bad at my household they go straight into the freezer, only to be extracted by the handful when that late night hunger pang hits.

 

*Anchovy fillets in a tin.

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 10.24.04 AM
Kind of the oddball of the group, and mostly a guilty pleasure because of where they are consumed – at work. I keep a half dozen tins in my top drawer for those post-lunch protein swoons. If you wonder why the guilt, you can ask any of my coworkers, most of whom run for the conference room as soon as the lid is peeled back.

*Mocha Mix.

mochamix
Again, blame my Mom. Despite her Mrs. Gooch’s shopping, margarine mandating, soy cheese buying dogma, she always had that big yellow carton in the house. Poured generously with coffee, forming a soup for various berries or splashing into cereal, the creamy richness of Mocha Mix was a true treat. And now it’s often in my house, consumed similarly. Or, if I’m feeling particularly mischievous, a small glass of pure, unglamorous, I-don’t-even-know-what-it’s-made-out-of Mocha Mix.

 

Can’t wait to hear yours. Off to the kitchen. . .

 

pic of Jack poppers courtesy of violettenewyork.com

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Roasting Chicken in a Bertazzoni

After one month of being kitchen-less, we finally have our kitchen back (photos to be posted later on designstiles). A complete renovation, actually, and it’s awesome. The centerpiece for me – and the one allowance I availed myself – was a 30″ Bertazzoni gas range.

Despite honing my chops (pork, lamb and otherwise) for half a decade of seriously approaching the kitchen, I never really delved outside of our existing repertoire – standard stove, oven, flatware, cutlery, knives. I realize that when both books & chefs constantly focus on improving equipment, it’s paramount. So I figured it was time to finally start upping the ante, especially if we have a beautiful cooking room in which to work.

In researching ranges, I was shocked at the variety. While AGA and La Cornue are absolutely beautiful while maintaining top function, I really don’t have that kind of money to spend on a range. Viking, surprisingly, had poor reviews for their consumer-based product (it’s more a ‘professional’ range). Smeg was nice, so was American Range, but being limited spatially to a 30″ range, we found that the Bertazzoni, an Italian brand, had the best value & performance for the money we wanted to spend. Best of all, our model came with a Bertazzoni hood, a necessity for the power of this commercial-grade machine.

Realizing that this was not a casual stovetop/oven, I watched a few YouTube videos to get acclimated to the range. The features, including convection, a double burner, a simmering burner, high BTU output are far beyond my accustomed methods of cooking and needed a tutorial. Aesthetically, everything from the knobs to the grates to the burners themselves – and that seductive logo – is gorgeous. It really is an awesome addition to the kitchen; hopefully to my cooking as well.

After doing a classic spaghetti preparation with my first attempt at utilizing the stovetop & boiler, I was ready to give the oven it’s first test – a roast chicken. Simple, delicious, yet requiring a keen eye and good temperature management, it would be a good ‘getting to know you’ mutual introduction for me & my Bertazzoni.

The recipe that follows is taken nearly verbatim from Ina Garten

Ingredients

  • 4 pound chicken
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • pinch of brown sugar
  • bunch of fresh thume
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • full head of garlic, crushed into cloves
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 large yellow or brown onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 carrots cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 bulb of fennel, cut into large chunks
  • EVOOroastchickenDirections
  • Preheat oven to 425°, 400° if using convection.
  • Rinse the chicken inside and out
  • dry the bird and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper
  • stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, one half of lemon, half of the onion &garlic
  • rub the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper
  • place the onions, carrots, remaining garlic and fennel in a roasting pan
  • toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and generous amounts of EVOO
  • roast the chicken on an elevated grate above roasting pan for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh
  • turn oven up to 500° for five minutes to crisp skin
  • remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 10 minutes
  • cut and serve, or just tear at meat and let the juices run down your fingers and arms while enjoying your juicy, delicious delicacy!
Tagged , ,

Where’s Your Bread Buttered

This is the second of my *I can’t really prep or cook food right now because we’re renovating our kitchen* series.

Now I want to know about bread. What’s your ranking? With apologies to Baguettes, Matzo, Focaccia, Challah, Crepe, Ciabatta, Ezekiel, Banana Bread, French, Injera & plain white – here’s my list:
1) Tortilla – the ultimate vehicle. with butter, cheese, meat, vegetables, prepared or raw, a good tortilla is the perfect size (both diameter and thickness) to accompany the filling yet also provide sturdy smokey corn flavor. tortillas can also be re-prepared into some awesome dishes, eg nachos chilaquiles etc. gold medal winner for me.
corn-tortillas-recipe-photo-260x260-cnewman-001
image courtesy family.go.com
2) Baguette – if it has that crispy crust, chewy dough and little middle spec of yeasty moisture, it’s perfect. with butter, with cheese, with charcuterie, with nothing at all but a ripped hunk in your mouth, this is the bescht for me.
3) Bagel – I mean super awesome, great texture (again, for me it’s heavily texture-based), perfect chewiness with a great crisp (toasted) so so good
4) Cornbread – even the fake stuff at El Torito. any bready, sweet corn – as long as it’s moist – is awesome with me. add butter or honey and i’m in heaven.
5) Biscuit – almost the same visceral pleasure as cornbread, but a little sturdier. kind of annoying that the perfect biscuits are so flaky that they make a mess so my OCD takes over, but man again butter or honey or just plain biscuits – or with gravy! – dude awesomeness
biscuit
image courtesy made in our kitchen
6) Pita – best conduit for stuffing your face, and it can be packed into a no-mess pocket if the pita is prepared well enough. very convenient, very earthy taste with a subtle toughness, and when slightly warmed it becomes a comforting blanket for any ingredients.
7) French Roll – similar to the baguette but sans the subtle sour tanginess – in other words just the perfect sandwich medium, for which you can use literally any toppings. hell yeah.
french
image courtesy thebakingway
8) English Muffin – the OG Thomas version. i’m a sucker for these, and it may well be because my Mom had them in the house religiously while I was growing up.
9) Pan Dulce – probably the only bread for me that goes equally well for breakfast and dessert without any alteration. Definitely need a good coffee (breakfast) or milk (dessert) accompaniment, though.
pandulce
image courtesy of house of lunit
10) Sourdough – unique and so damn enjoyable heated to a crisp and with butter or cheese. wow.
What breads satisfy your carb craving?
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

What’s Your Favorite Donut?

sprinkle

Donuts, Doughnuts, or “doe-no-ugg-huts” as I used to call them on my Friday morning jaunts to Winchell’s or Fosters with my pops in the late 80’s, how I love thee. As a youth, I would go for the rainbow sprinkle, a maple bar and a box (yes, box) of chocolate milk. Absolutely awesome combo on all fronts and exactly what an adolescent needed to start his day.

From DK’s in Santa Monica to Dough in Bedford Stuyvesant, these tasty treats have seen a renaissance in the last few years.

That renaissance may or may not have been led by my great friend in Brooklyn (late of Los Angeles), a platinum-palated gentleman with a weakness for the fried fritters. I imbibed in many a crumbly pleasure with this man as he enlightened me with his understanding of donut nuances from texture to flavor gradient to type of dough. He regaled me with mythological stories of donuts that quite literally melted upon first taste; we chased these treats both up Ventura Blvd. and down Figueroa Street.

And alas, we’ve both moved on – but I still enjoy a damn fine donut and I’ve come to the awkward realization that an
Apple Fritter
is actually my favorite of these delectable wonders. I often ask myself, is the apple fritter even a donut? Is it technically a pastry? Is it cake?

I’m not sure of the answer in fact, but I do know that I’ve only ever purchased one of these delicacies at a donut shop. And no other pastry/cake/donut can match the pseudo-crunch of the edges and the spongy cake of the center. It’s a texture thing, and the fresh tartness of the apple is a perfect counter to the frosting sweetness. So there it is, my favorite donut.

What’s yours?

applefritters

 

photos courtesy of myinnerfatty & somethingfortheroad

Tagged , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 42 other followers