on the menu: white beans, chorizo, kale

On October 3, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

IMG_8781

White beans, chorizo, and kale. With classic Spanish chorizo this dish is wonderfully flavorful and warming. The peculiar sweetness of kale balances the spicy, smoky chorizo.

Not hard:

2 Tbs olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minimum

chorizo, several inches worth, chopped to whatever size. Medallions are popular/picturesque but I like smaller pieces. Chorizo imported from Spain or in the Spanish style is ideal. Portuguese linguica is an OK substitute, any other substitution will require the addition of herbs and pimentón to supply the flavor.

splash of wine

2 cans cannelini beans, rinsed

8 oz broth, your preference

plenty of shredded kale, probably you will wish you had added more

Saute onions, peppers, garlic in olive oil (a dutch oven is nice for this dish), let them get plenty of color. Add the chorizo, allow fat to render. De-glaze with whatever wine you are drinking (I prefer white with this dish, a Sauvignon Blanc maybe, or Chardonnay, or sherry!). Mix in the beans and add the broth (I like beef broth here). Add the kale (I don’t even bother to mix it in at this point, just leave it on the top) and cover to allow the kale to steam. Once it has wilted, mix in. The longer everything can simmer at this point, the better. Say, 20 minutes. Chorizo is traditionally a dry sausage, and takes time to soften, also the flavors have time to mingle.

You can add more or less broth depending on how soupy you would like the final result, this combination is popular as an actual soup as well. All quantities are flexible.

Serve with toast.

x

[This recipe is adapted from one from about.com, which I can’t find anymore.]

omelettes: what you should be doing

On August 27, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

IMG_8027

OK, I love eggs, and I love eggs that have been manipulated into any shape that falls under the umbrella of omelette. This is not about omelette technique (whatever achieves the desired texture and the happiest family of ingredients for you that day, go for that) but about flavor.

IMG_8024

Brussels sprouts, scallions, red onion, camembert, asiago, nutmeg

Whether a creamy French-style omelette, folded, rolled, stuffed, some combination of these, or something in frittatta territory, these principles apply. It doesn’t really matter what the other ingredients are, either. So, next time you are whipping up an omelette, try one or all of the following.

1. fresh herbs – My favorites are parsley, tarragon, chervil, basil, and thyme, but anything you like. Dill and cilantro can also be interesting. This is Thai basil. Any or all. I like to beat them in with the eggs as well as employing as garnish. Fresh over dried: fresh much, much better in this context.

2. pimentón – beat this into the eggs along with your salt and pepper (and herbs). Adds a little smoky kick. You can successfully add this to anything savory, incidentally, and many sweet things, too.

or

3. nutmeg – grate fresh (ideally) over as garnish or beat into the eggs. Use in moderation and your omelette will have an added richness without explicitly tasting of nutmeg (though explicit nutmeg can be good, too). Nutmeg is a true friend of eggs, and can be added virtually anywhere they are.

4. truffle salt – an excellent way to add a dark, creamy depth to the whole scenario. I tend to use it as a garnish rather than an internal element. Much preferred to truffle oil, which is all synthetic. I like this one. Also put on fries. Also put on any potato. Also put on pizza.

5. bonus cheese – Whatever cheese you are adding, add another one. It almost doesn’t matter which. In this example I have asiago and camembert. I use whatever I happen to have around. This is an easy way for the flavor to make a big jump in complexity, with the right cheese.

6. Greek yogurt – add a generous spoonful as a garnish. The tartness of the yogurt cuts the richness of the egg while the creaminess compliments and enhances the creaminess of the egg. Highly, highly recommended. As is the case with most ingredients, the better the yogurt, the better the final result. This Tide Mill Creamery yogurt is a wonderful organic one from Maine.

IMG_7993
IMG_8036

Good luck.

x

on the menu: paella mixta

On May 22, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

So, after reading about 100 paella recipes, I determined that one need only get the ratio of rice to broth correct, and use a good quality broth, and an appropriate grain of rice, and beyond this anything goes. A creature of endless flexibility, is paella.

I opted for a mix of poultry and seafood, a paella mixta, and baked it to finish, a somewhat friendlier way to get an evenly cooked end result when cooking inside, particularly on an electric range.  [I am determined to have, in some future existence, a gas range (and a bathtub).]

IMG_3354

Here we have chicken, artichokes, snails, mussels, green beans, a highly influential sprig of rosemary (one recipe suggested adding either snails or rosemary, which I found intriguing, that they would be substitutes of some kind) and a base of garlic/onions/tomatoes/bell peppers/pimentòn. This is arborio rice, a pretty common substitute for the traditional Spanish bomba rice, which is not hard to find online now but kind of expensive. I overcooked it slightly. Was pleased overall, and inspired to experiment with other rices. Bomba. Valencia. Calasparra. Good names.

Hm. So. I don’t really like snails. Or, I really don’t like snails. I reserve the hope of being converted one day by some superb specimen but until then: no, no, escargot. I had some frozen ones (when you get whimsical at Whole Foods these things happen) and gamely stuck them in (they are pretty), and don’t mind whatever flavor they impart, but the texture is deeply unappealing to me. I spat it out, actually, the one I tried. I couldn’t bear to chew it.

I realize I do quite like mussels, though, which I didn’t know. I didn’t even expect to like them. I had an early aversion to shellfish that gradually softened into a long standing skepticism, and only in the last few years am I open to reconsidering certain things, coming around bit by bit, with many qualifications.

IMG_3350

Paella is so festive, inherently festive, even in the absence of any other markers of festivity (guests, say…an event, say). What is decided is, paella is meant to be shared (much of the lore and tradition surrounding paella, and there is a lot, is tied up in its social nature), and next time I should include some kind of sausage, and more pimentòn.

 

on the menu: Basque chicken

On October 9, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

I finally had a chance to make this Basque chicken recipe from Sorted while I was in San Francisco. It went so well that I made it again, with slight modifications. Better sausage.  A lot more garlic than it calls for.

IMG_7763I like these one pot meals, and this one has a lot of flavor. You basically sautée the base elements, chorizo, onion, peppers, garlic, what have you, deglaze the pan with red wine, preferably Spanish*,  add rice, pimentón, herbs, extras, broth, and shove the whole thing in the oven. The chicken you brown beforehand and place on top before baking. It’s spicy from the chorizo and pimentón, rich from the wine and olives.

More cooking with wine is in order.

*I used the 90+ Cellars Garnacha, which was quite good. Have had such good luck with all of the 90+ Cellars wines I’ve tried.

 

on the menu: hummus + pimentón

On May 18, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

IMG_3590

Hummus is not at all difficult to make, it turns out. It is, though, so dense and filling. I portioned out what I thought would make a suitable fraction of dinner and it turned out to be far, far, too much. I ate it all anyway, to my later dismay, with too many multi-grain pita crackers.  Ah. I love crackers. Really basically all crackers.

Pages:12»