Sunday, September 19, 2010

A busy weekend

Hey everyone!

I've been MIA for a while now... Here's a quick photo update of my weekend, culinary-wise :)

Roasted Bell Peppers Soup

Roast 6-7 bell peppers (I used all colors: green, yellow and red) directly on the flame until they charr. Then put them immediately in a plastic bag (ziplock works wonders) and close tightly. Let them sit for a while, and the skin will come right off when you peel them.
Peel the peppers and chop them up in small strips. Chop up an onion and a clove of garlic. Pell and cube two small potatoes.
In a deep pot, melt some butter and fry the onion and garlic until transparent and tender. Then add the peppers, a sprig of thyme (I used fresh, but dried works fine too), the potatoes and 4 cups of chicken stock.
Simmer for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through. Puree with a stick blender, and serve piping hot with a splash of thick cream and sprinkled with fresh thyme leaves. Enjoy!

Tarte Tatin

Peel and quarter 5-7 apples (use sweet apples, not sour like the Granny Smith). Scrub the quarters with lemon juice so that they do not oxidize. arrange them in the bottom of a cake from (make them in a pretty pattern, as you will see that pattern when you turn the pie upside down for serving).
In a frying pan, melt 2 1/2 oz unsalted butter and 3/4 cup of caster sugar. cook until it forms a golden brown caramel, and pour over the apple quarters in the cake form. The caramel will set really fast on the cold apples and become crunchy. No problem! When the apples bake, they will release some moisture and the caramel will melt and cook with the apples. Lay down a sheet of pastry (whichever kind you like) over the apples and bake for 35-40 minutes in a pre-warmed oven at 365F). Bon appetit!

Chicken Pot Pie

Roast 4 seasoned (salt, pepper olive oil) boneless thighs of chicken in a 350F oven for about 40 minutes.
Put the thighs aside and deglaze the juices from the dish with 2 cups of chicken stock. Reserve the liquid.
Slice and cook a handful of button mushrooms in a little butter until golden brown. Put aside.
In a deep pot, melt about a half a stick of unsalted butter (~ 5tsp) and mix in 1/3 cup of flour. Cook the flour gently (the mixture will bubble up and fluff), then add the chickn stock and immediately stir until it thickens and add the chopped up chicken, 3 carrots (sliced), the mushrooms and about a cup and a half of frozen peas. Transfer into an oven safe dish and cover with puff pastry. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the pastry is fluffy and golden brown. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

When in Rome... (pun intended!)

Ever since relocating to New England, I've had a craving for clams.
Yesterday, I indulged in homemade linguine alle vongole and boy, were they satisfying!

Ingredients for 3 people (or 2 very hungry):

- 2lbs littleneck clams

- 3 cloves of garlic
- one lemon 

- red chili flakes, 1tsp  

- dry white wine, 3/4 cups (I used pinot grigio for cooking and drinking with the meal afterwards)

- non-salted butter, 3 tbsp

- chopped flat leaf parsley, to taste

- 1 lb dried linguine (spaghetti work just fine too)
- freshly grated parmesan cheese, to taste


- start off with rinsing and cleaning the clams in a bowl of cold water several times. Discard any clam that is not closed tight. If they are open, you can tap on them and they will close. If they stay open, it means that they are already dead and potentially toxic. DO NOT eat those!

- Then cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water

- While the pasta is cooking, fry the grated garlic and chili flakes in olive oil over medium heat in a pot for a couple of minutes

- Add the clams and the wine combined with the lemon juice.

- Cover and let simmer over medium heat until the clams are cooked (you know they are when they open up)

- Discard any clam that did not open, just like this one here:

- Drain the cooked pasta, and add them to the clam sauce. Add the parsley and give a good toss.

- Eat hot, sprinkled with freshly grated parmesan cheese.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Dead simple grilled eggplants: and I'm back in the game!

I know, I know, I know... I've been MIA for almost 6 months... I apologize.

I have now moved from Amsterdam to Boston, and after a couple of months, I finally got to cooking again. Things are not quite the way I want them though, as most of my utensils and appliances are still in Europe.

But it wasn't enough to keep me away from the stove any longer.

I am back with a vengeance, and I hereby present you with: ta-da! My dead simple grilled eggplants. You can seriously do this with your eyes closed, it's that simple!

First, gather a few ingredients:

- fresh basil and mint

- a lemon, zest and juice

- a clove of garlic

- eggplants (three eggplants lasted me a whole week!)
- extra virgin olive oil
- coarse salt (fleur de sel is better, but I didn't have any)
- freshly ground black pepper

Here goes:

- slice eggplants (1/4 inch slices are good), and brush them with a little olive oil

- grill them on a hot griddle pan until they are marked, nice and brown. Be careful not to burn them, but make sure they are cooked all the way through! Nothing less appealing than undercooked eggplant...

- while they are cooking, zest and juice one lemon. you can also take care of chopping the garlic clove very fine. I use a microplane to grate it, but chopping will give you a chunkier garlic. I only use the microplane because I just bought it ;)

- when the eggplants are cooked, place them in a serving plate, and drizzle with lemon juice, zest, garlic and olive oil

- as a finishing touch, sprinkle with salt, pepper and chopped herbs