Monday, November 10, 2014

Linguine and meatballs with a tomato-cream gorgonzola and marjoram sauce

This came out as a result of an intense craving for a creamy-gorgonzola-y pasta dish a few weeks ago after a run.

I had all meatballs in the freezer I needed to use (click here for a recipe) and pretty much everything else was idly sitting in my pantry and fridge.

Here's what happened in Poupette's kitchen that day.

INGREDIENTS (2 people):
- 1/2 pack of dry linguine
- a large handful of small meatballs (click here for a recipe)
- a handful of fresh cherry tomatoes, reserve a few on the side for decoration
- 1 small basket of fresh cremini mushroom
- 1 medium onion
- 1 splash of olive oil
- 1/3 cup of heavy cream
- 1/4 cup of crumbled gorgonzola
Note: if you can, use gorgonzola dolce (a creamy, soft and almost sweet gorgonzola). I used the super acidic crumbly kind you can find easily in supermarkets here in the US, but it would have been orders of magnitude better with the dolce.
- 2 to 3 sprigs of fresh marjoram (oregano or thyme would work well as substitutes)
- freshly grated parmesan cheese for serving

- bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the linguine al dente

- while the pasta is cooking, brown the meatballs in the olive oil over medium-high heat until golden but not yet cooked through, about 2-3 minutes

- in the same pan, saute the diced onion and sliced mushrooms over medium-high heat and deglaze the meatballs drippings with the moisture of the mushrooms, cover if necessary to create a steamy environment

- after 4-5 minutes, add the marjoram and fresh tomatoes and cook over medium heat until the tomatoes are soft (about 1-2 minutes). If it gets a little dry and starts to stick to the pan, add a ladleful of pasta cooking water and stir

- add in the cream and crumbled gorgonzola and cook over low heat until the meatballs are cooked through

- drain the pasta and serve hot sprinkled with freshly ground black pepper, a few fresh tomatoes and a healthy dose of parmesan shavings
- bon appetit!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Cabbage and salt pork peasant soup

This is the best soup to eat when it is freezing cold and you feel sick. So easy to make, super cheap and very hearty and warming.

Here's how to make it.

INGREDIENTS (4-6 people):
- 3 large yukon gold potatoes
- 1 large carrot
- 1 small head of green cabbage
- 1 large bunch of kale
- 1 medium onion
- 1 large clove of garlic
- 2 tbsp of butter
- 12 cups of liquid (I used water and 1 small pack of ham flavoring from Goya, but you can absolutely use vegetable broth or chicken broth)
- 1 small pack of salt pork, diced
- salt and pepper to taste (be conservative with the salt, as the pork will bring a lot of salt too!)

- dice the onion, carrot, potatoes, cabbage and kale to bite-sized pieces

- in a large stockpot, melt the butter and saute the salt pork until golden

- then add the diced vegetables and your liquid of choice (I used only water at first and then spiked it with a pack of ham flavoring from Goya)

- bring to a boil, then lower the heat to low, cover and let it simmer for about 45 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through and the cabbage and kale are cooked to your liking

- serve hot with a slice of rustic sourdough to soak up all the flavorful juices :)
- enjoy!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pumpkin pie

Last weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving and I baked my first ever pumpkin pie for the occasion!

As a French national, pumpkin pie is a very foreign concept to me, so I had to research how to go about this. It turns out there are a gazillion recipes. Some use sweetened condensed milk, some use cream, the spice blend varies from baker to baker… I chose to use sweetened condensed milk because, well, I just LOVE the stuff! I also made it my own by adding some cloves, vanilla extract and allspice.

Here's how you can make it.

INGREDIENTS (one 9" pie)
- 1 can condensed sweetened milk
- 1 1/2 cups pumkpin puree
- 2 jumbo eggs
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp cloves
- 1/8 allspice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- a dash of vanilla extract
- 1 single pie crust (click here for recipe)

- preheat your oven at 350F
- roll out the pie crust and place it in a pie dish, trim to size, line it with parchment paper, baking weights (I used rice that I keep and reuse especially for this) and blind bake crust for 30 min 350F

Note: keep the trimmings, they may come in handy to doctor the crust back into shape if the dough shrinks during blind baking!
- when the crust has baked for 30 minutes, let it cool at room temperature while you prepare the filling. - to make the filling, mix all the remaining ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth

- pour into pre-baked crust, lower the oven to 320F and bake another 60 min

Note: the pie is ready when a toothpick comes out of the filling dry
- serve at room temperature with freshly whipped cream and enjoy!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Parsnip, barley and mini-meatballs stew

The weather is getting crisp and it is soon time for hearty stews and soups.

Last week, I was inspired by a bag of parsnips in my fridge and a can of crushed tomatoes, staring at me from the back of my pantry. I knew I had ground meat in the freezer, so I made mini-meatballs (click here for a recipe) and whipped up an easy stew. Or soup? Stoup?

Here's how you can make it.

INGREDIENTS (4-6 people):
- a large handful of mini-meatballs (click here for a recipe)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
- 6 to 8 cups beef broth
- 1 cup of barley
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 to 1 tsp smoked paprika, to taste
- 2 shallots, sliced finely
- 2 to 3 ribs of celery, diced
- 1 clove of garlic, grated
- 1 lb bag of parsnips, peeled and diced finely

- in a large, deep stockpot, melt the butter and saute the meatballs over medium-high heat until golden but not fully cooked and reserve on the side

- in the flavored butter, saute the shallots, celery and garlic over medium heat until soft

- add the crushed tomatoes and beef broth and bring to a simmer, the add the diced parsnips and cook until soft (20-25 minutes)

- about 15 minutes in, add the barley to the simmering liquid and cook for another 10 minutes, or following your barley's cooking instructions

- a few minutes before you are ready to eat, add the precooked meatballs and heat up until completely cooked through

- enjoy!