Saturday, April 26, 2014

Marinated Rack of Lamb with Coriander and Honey

We've slowly been making our way through 2 lbs worth of a rack of lamb. Almost anything you do with lamb is tasty, but this is something special with an herby mix of sweet and sour. While you do have to remember to marinate this the night before, the dish itself is quick and easy to cook. It's perfect for company or as a weeknight meal.

One year ago: Chargrilled Morocco Chicken
Two years ago: Lamb Merguez Burgers with Harissa Mayonnaise
Four years ago: Lamb Yogurt Cake with Blackberry Sauce

Marinated Rack of Lamb with Coriander and Honey (from Ottolenghi)

1 kg rack of lamb, French trimmed
20g parsley, leaves and stalks
30g mint, leaves and stalks
30g cilantro, leaves and stalks
4 garlic cloves, peeled
15g fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
3 chilies seeded
1/2 tsp salt
50 ml lemon juice
60 ml soy sauce
120 ml sunflower oil
3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 tbsp water

1. Cut lamb into portions of 2 or 3 cutlets. Place in a non-metal container.
2. Blitz remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor. Pour over lamb. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 400F. Heat a cast iron skillet over a medium-high flame. Remove lamb from marinade (reserving it) and sear on all sides, ~5 minutes in total.
4. Cook in oven for 10 - 15 minutes depending on how cooked you want the lamb.
5. Meanwhile, heat marinade in small saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes.
6. Serve lamb with sauce.

Avocado and Sumac Whip

This of this as a cross between guacamole and hummus ... in other words, the perfect snack. This works great as a dip with bread or as a side dish to some fish that's been crusted with toasted cumin and a bit of sumac.

One year ago: Chile-Smothered Pork with Vinegar
Two years ago: Hare and Chocolate Sauce
Four years ago: Lemon Sugar Cookies

Avocado and Sumac Whip (from Purple Citrus and Sweet Perfume)

2 ripe avocados
juice of 1 small lemon
1/4 cup tahini
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp crushed sumac
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cumin
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp black sesame seeds

1. Peel and cube the avocados, discarding the pits.
2. In a food processor, blend avocado with lemon juice until smooth.
3. Add tahini, olive oil, sumac, cinnamon, cumin, and garlic and mix until the consistency of mayo.
4. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

Asparagus Salad with Ricotta Salata, Fava Beans, Mint, and Farfalle

This salad is a celebration of spring. While limes are at a price premium now, the acid really brightens this salad and the zest adds a few beautiful green flecks. If you can't find ricotta salata, the author suggests that feta is a good substitute. I remember very early in my cooking on here (before I had a full appreciation of the amazingness of fresh mint) suggesting that you could skip the mint in an orzo salad. That was just crazy talk. Don't skip the mint here! This is a quick weeknight pasta salad.

One year ago: Creamy Lamb Meatballs
Two years ago: White Chocolate and Raspberry Tartlettes
Four years ago: Tomato and Olive Penne

Asparagus Salad with Ricotta Salata, Fava Beans, Mint, and Farfalle (from Melt)

1 cup shelled fava beans (1 lb in the pod)
10 ounces farfalle
1 lb asparagus, woody ends broken off, cut diagonally into 1" sticks
3 tbsp avocado oil, divided (or olive)
8 ounces ricotta salata, broken into small chunks
1/4 cup mint leaves, cut into chiffonade
juice and zest of 1 lime

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the fava beans for 1 minute (or until they begin to float). Scoop out with a slotted spoon, rinse under cold water, and when they cool remove the outer skin. Do NOT discard the water.
2. In the same water, cook pasta until it's al dente. Drain and set aside.
3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp oil in saute pan over medium-high heat. Add asparagus, season with salt and pepper, and cook until asparagus is slightly blistered, 4 minutes.
4. Toss fava beans, pasta, asparagus, ricotta salata, mint, lime juice, and lime zest in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle with remaining 2 tbsp oil and serve.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Vanilla Semifreddo with Rhubarb Compote

Think of this dessert as a luscious cake slice of vanilla ice cream covered in a rhubarb jam. The texture of the semifreddo is incredibly smooth with a rich flavor of vanilla. The rhubarb compote could easily be substitute for any other fruit compote, but the tartness lends a nice contrast to the richness of the semifreddo. The compote would also be great over regular ice cream or maybe even with yogurt for breakfast. This recipe does require a bit of washing of the mixing bowl, but the results are worth it and the stand mixer does do most of the work.

One year ago: Moroccan Spice-Rubbed Lamb Shoulder Chops
Two years ago: Roast Potatoes and Jerusalem Artichokes
Four years ago: Lentil, Goat Cheese and Asparagus Salad

Vanilla Semifreddo with Rhubarb Compote (from Sunday Suppers at Lucques)
1 tbsp flavorless oil
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean
3 extra-large eggs, separated (I used large)
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup granulated sugar, divided

1. Lightly oil 9" round cake pan and line with plastic wrap letting wrap hang over the sides.
2. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip cream at medium until stiff peaks form. Transfer to another bowl, cover, and chill. Wash and dry mixing bowl and whisk.
3. Split vanilla bean and using a paring knife, scrape seeds and pulp into mixing bowl. Add egg yolks, vanilla extract, and 1/3 cup sugar. Mix at high speed with whisk until doubled in volume, thick, and light-colored, ~3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside. Wash and dry mixing bowl and whisk.
4. Whip egg whites at medium speed with whisk attachment for about 1 minute, until frothy. Turn speed to high and slowly pour in remaining 1/3 cup sugar. Whip on high until stiff peaks have formed, ~4 minutes.
5. Fold whipped cream into egg yolk mixture.
6. Fold egg white mixture into yolk and cream about 1/3 at a time.
7. Pour mixture into prepared cake pan and tap on counter 3 times. Cover with plastic wrap.
8. Place in freezer and freeze for at least 4 hours.
9. Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving. Serve in slices with rhubarb compote above and below.

Rhubarb Compote
1 lb rhubarb
1/2 vanilla bean
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup white wine
3/4 tsp cornstarch

1. Cut rhubarb stalks in half lengthwise and slice crosswise into 1/2" pieces.
2. Split vanilla bean in half lengthwise and using a paring knife, scrape seeds and pulp into a medium pan.
3. Add vanilla pod, sugar, and 2 tbsp water to pan.
4. Without stirring, bring ingredients to a boil over medium heat. Cook for 8 minutes, swirling the pan once in a while until you have a deep golden brown caramel.
5. Add half of the rhubarb and the wine to the caramel. DON'T PANIC when the caramel seizes.
6. Turn the heat down to medium and stir with a wooden spoon breaking up the rhubarb until it's jammy.
7. Stir in rest of rhubarb and 1/2 cup water. Cook a few minutes until additional rhubarb is tender but not mushy.
8. Strain rhubarb over a bowl. Return the liquid to the pan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
9. Meanwhile, mix 1 tbsp water with cornstarch and whisk into liquid. Let it come to a boil and stir over medium heat until liquid is shiny and thickened.
10. Pour liquid back into the bowl and stir in rhubarb. Chill before serving.

Edamame Hummus

I made this as a warm side dish to go with some goat chops, but this works equally well as a cool appetizer to dip raw vegetables in. To me, this seems a little less fussy than making hummus (peeling chickpeas is not my idea of fun) and the flavor is equally good.

One year ago: Spice-Braised Tuna
Two years ago: Hash Brown Quiche
Four years ago: Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

Edamame Hummus (from Smoke & Pickles)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups shelled cooked edamame (you can use frozen)
1 cup water
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cumin

1. In large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic and saute for 2 minutes or until soft.
2. Add edamame and cook for 2 minutes.
3. Add water, tahini, lemon juice, soy sauce, salt, and cumin. Stir and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 6 minutes.
4. Transfer to a food processor and process until thick and crumbly (it doesn't need to be completely smooth). Serve warm or at room temperature.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Spicy Verbena Meatballs

These little meatballs make for a bright and refreshing spring meal. For some reason, when we were at the market, I saw the lemon verbena, but thought that I had already made the recipe that I needed it for, so I made do with his recommended herbal improvisation of mint instead. Next time though, I'll be having lemony meatballs!

One year ago: Beef Meatballs with Fava Beans and Lemon
Two years ago: Changde Clay Bowl Chicken
Four years ago: A Trip Down Memory Lane

Spicy Verbena Meatballs (from the Herbal Kitchen)

1 lb ground pork
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (I used serrano)
4 green onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp finely chopped lemon verbena or mint
1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1 1/2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp coarsely chopped mint
1 cup yogurt

1. Put pork, garlic, jalapeno, green onions, lemon verbena, cilantro, ginger, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
2. Kneed together until evenly combined.
3. Pinch of pieces 1 1/2 tbsp in size and roll into balls. You can store on a baking sheet covered with plastic wrap in the fridge until you're ready to cook them.
4. Pour oil in a 12" skillet over medium heat. Add meatballs.
5. Cook for 10 minutes until well-browned and cook through (they'll likely stick to the pan).
6. Stir mint into yogurt and pour in a small bowl for dipping. Serve.

Dilled Celery, Asian Pear, and Hazelnut Salad

Celery in general gets a bad rap. It's a flavor base for stews and soups or a vector for peanut butter, but so rarely appreciated on its own. This salad manages to highlight the celery in a way that works so well that it's surprisingly bright and refreshing. While I was in Seattle for work, I was happy to be able to eat in Jerry Traunfeld's new restaurant and just as his cookbooks show, he is a master of mixing herbs and spices. He suggests this would be nice served alongside a wedge of blue cheese and I agree.

One year ago: Boneless Pork Cooked with Toasted Coconut
Two years ago: Spicy Greens Salad
Three years ago: Breakfast!
Four years ago: Roasted Acorn Squash and Gorgonzola Pizza

Dilled Celery, Asian Pear, and Hazelnut Salad (from The Herbal Kitchen)

1 1/2 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tsp whole-grain mustard
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup hazelnut oil or extra virgin olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced celery
1/4 cup coarsely chopped dill weed
1 medium unpeeled Asian pear or Bosc pear, cored and cut into thick matchsticks
1/2 cup coarselly chopped toasted hazelnuts

1. Whisk together vinegar, mustard, and salt in small mixing bowl.
2. Whisk rapidly as you slowly pour in oil.
3. Toss celery and dill with dressing in large mixing bowl.
4. Toss in pear and hazelnuts and serve.

Seared Fish with Tangy Habanero

I was pleasantly surprised with the the ease of this recipes, the bright flavors, and the beautiful presentation of a light pink sauce. Don't be afraid of the habanero in this recipe as the cream helps to mute it a bit (we actually made a 1/2 recipe using a whole habanero and found the heat rather mild). If you have a very thin and delicate fish (I was using Dover Sole), skip the initial sear and just poach the fish in the sauce.

One year ago: Stewed Chicken in a Mustard Greens-Spinach Sauce
Two years ago: Cucumber-Sesame Salad
Three years ago: Baked Potato with Barbecued Beef
Four years ago: Cherry Tomato Pizza Margherita

Seared Fish with Tangy Habanero (from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen)

1 small (4 oz) red onion
2 tbsp fresh sour orange or lime juice
10 ounces (2 small round or 4 plum) ripe tomatoes
6 radishes
1/2 - 1 whole habanero chile
12 large sprigs of cilantro
1/2 tsp salt
4 fish fillets
2 tbsp oil
1/3 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream

1. Very finely chop onion with a knife, scoop into strainer, and rinse under cold water.
2. In a small bowl, stir together onion and juice.
3. Core tomatoes, cut crosswise in half and squeeze out seeds. Finely dice tomatoes and place in medium bowl.
4. Finely dice radishes and add to tomatoes.
5. Deseed habanero (or not) and finely mince. Add to tomatoes.
6. Finely chop cilantro (all of it, including the stems) and add to tomatoes.
7. Stir onion with juice into tomato mixture.
8. Heat heavy skillet filmed with oil over medium-high heat.
9. Sear fish on both sides until brown. Remove from pan.
10. Add salsa to pan and stir until wilted and liquid reduces.
11. Stir in creme fraiche, nestle fish back into pan, cover and simmer over medium-low until fish flakes. Transfer to plates and serve.

Brigante with Tilapia, Shallots, Spring Herbs, and Fusilli

One of my latest cookbook purchases is a book solely devoted to macaroni and cheese. If this recipe is any indication, it was a good, cheesy investment. A few notes on substitutions. She calls for Brigante cheese which I couldn't find and suggests substitutes of San Andreas (from Cowgirl Creamery which should've been easy for me to find, but was not!), Berkswell, Shepherd's Way Friesago, or Young Mahon. I ended up using a firm sheep milk cheese as recommended by the ever helpful cheese people at Bi-Rite. Usually, I just want to ponder the cheeses without being interrupted, but this time their friendliness worked to my advantage! For the tilapia, any white fish would work. I used some sole that we had in the freezer. She also suggests that you could use shrimp. Finally, for the herbs, I forgot that I actually needed tarragon and chevril for this recipe. Instead, I used a mix of mostly dill with a bit of parsley and marjoram. Feel free to mix up the herbs, but definitely make sure you get a bit of anise flavor in there as it works very well with the cheese and fish and cuts the richness a little. I would also consider upping the herbs to about 1/4 cup total, but I've been obsessed with adding more fresh herbs to dishes lately.

One year ago: Mustard Paste Smothered Cod and Mushrooms
Two years ago: Skillet-roasted Potatoes and Turnips
Three years ago: Sesame Chicken
Four years ago: Coconut Red Lentil Soup

Brigante with Tilapia, Shallots, Spring Herbs, and Fusilli (from Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese)
4 tbsp butter, divided
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 tbsp chopped tarragon
4 tsp chopped chervil
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
2 small tilapia fillets, ~1/2 lb
8 ounces fusilli
2 cups milk
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
7 ounces Brigante, rind removed, grated
lemon wedges to garnish

1. In a saute pan, melt 1 tbsp butter over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until soft.
2. Add tarragon, chevril, and pepper. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
3. Add wine. Cook, stirring, until most of the liquid has cooked off, 2 minutes.
4. Transfer shallots and herbs to a small bowl and return pan to stove.
5. In same saute pan, add 1 tbsp butter and turn heat to medium. Saute tilapia for 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to bowl, shred with forks, and set aside.
6. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling water until al dente, drain, and set aside.
7. Heat milk in small saucepan over medium heat. When it starts to steam, turn off heat.
8. Place remaining 2 tbsp butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir until roux begins to form light brown color, 3 minutes.
9. Slowly add milk and stir until sauce thickens.
10. Lower heat to medium-low, add salt, pepper, and sauteed shallots and herbs.
11. Remove from heat and add cheese to sauce, stirring until melted.
12. In large bowl, add pasta to cheese sauce and toss to coat. Fold in shredded fish, and serve with lemon wedges.

Pizza Bianca with Roasted Mushrooms and Fontina

It's been a while since we had homemade pizzas for dinner, despite having quite a few homemade pizza doughs hiding in the freezer. None of the usual suspects sounded quite right for pizza, so we decided to take inspiration from this recipe. While the original calls for 3 smaller rectangular pizzas, we decided to make one standard-sized one using our existing dough. The combination of roasted garlic, earthy mushrooms, and rich cheese was outstanding. My one complaint? There was a little too much cheese (did I just say that?) for the amount of mushrooms. The adjusted ratios are below, with 3/4 the amount of cheese and an extra cup of mushrooms. I also reduced the olive oil a bit (the original calls for 1 1/4 cups total!). One other bonus for this recipe that makes it a great weeknight dinner? The cheese is diced instead of grated, saving a bit of time and/or cleanup.

P.S. Do you often buy cookbooks from Amazon? If so, you should check out their program. A small portion of all of your purchases will go to support a charity of your choice. Note that once your sign up, it won't always redirect you from to, so you have to pay attention to the URL and/or logo image.

One year ago: Burrata with Asparagus, Pine Nuts, and Golden Raisins
Two years ago: Grilled Cumin and Chile Veal Meatballs
Three years ago: Potato Latkes
Four years ago: Tex-Mex Comfort Food

Pizza Bianca with Roasted Mushrooms and Fontina (adapted from The Cheesemonger's Kitchen)

4 cups mixed mushrooms (oyster, cremini, chanterelle, etc.)
3/4 cup olive oil, divided
salt and pepper
9 garlic cloves, peeled
coarse cornmeal
9 oz Fontina Valle d'Aosta cheese, trimmed of rind and diced
pizza dough of your choice

1. Heat oven to 425F.
2. Spread mushrooms out on baking try and toss with 3 tbsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Roast mushrooms for 10 - 12 minutes or until tender and golden. Set aside to cool. Increase oven heat to 500F for the pizza.
4. Meanwhile, in a small frying pan, combine 1/2 cup olive oil with garlic and cook over very low heat for 7 - 8 minutes or until soft and slightly golden. Remove garlic from oil and set aside to cool. Save oil for other uses.
5. Scatter cornmeal on a pizza peel and place shaped pizza dough on peel.
6. Squeeze garlic cloves with your fingers and spread over dough.
7. Scatter mushrooms on top of dough and follow with fontina. Drizzle with remaining tbsp olive oil (or more if you desire).
8. Shake pizza onto pizza stone in hot oven. Cook for 10 - 12 minutes or until dough is cooked and cheese is melted and golden.
9. Remove pizza from oven and serve.