January 27, 2007
cannellini-stuffed portobello mushrooms

Not only am I back in the kitchen again, I'm holding salons again...and cooking for them again. Life has returned to normal. I picked this recipe from the Jan/Feb 2007 Cooking Light because it was a meatless dish that proved quick and easy to throw together tonight after work. The stuffing was awfully tasty, and I also made a tossed green salad to serve with.

Preheat broiler.

Remove gills from the undersides of 4 (4-inch) portobello caps using a spoon; discard gills. Place caps, smooth side up, on baking sheet coated with cooking spray; broil 2 minutes. Turn caps over; broil 2 minutes.

Combine 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed, stirring well. Spread 2 tablespoons cheese mixture in each cap. Spoon 3 tablespoons bottled pasta sauce over cheese mixture in each serving. Divide 1 (16-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained, evenly among caps; sprinkle each serving with 2 tablespoons preshredded part-skim mozzarella cheese. Broil 3 minutes or until cheese melts. Yield: 4 servings.

Posted by astraea on January 27, 2007
January 20, 2007
yukon gold potatoes sauteed in clarified butter

Now I know how to make clarified butter, and I'm not afraid to use it. I found this recipe in the Jan/Feb 2007 Cooking Light and dumped my batch of clarified butter right into it. The flavor of these potatoes is amazing, and the butter also turned them a beautiful golden color while they were cooking. So simple but so tasty!

Place 3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces, in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 2 minutes. Drain and let stand for 2 minutes.

Heat 1/4 cup Clarified Butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add potatoes to pan; reduce heat to medium, and cook 20 minutes or until tender and browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and 1 garlic clove, minced; cook 30 seconds. Yield: 8 servings.

Posted by astraea on January 20, 2007
clarified butter

I decided to give myself a little cooking class this afternoon and see if I could make clarified butter. It was actually super-easy! The milk solids float on top of the melted butter and skim off no problem. And then you're left with golden liquid butter that has a much higher smoke point than regular butter, which makes it perfect for browning. Check my next post to see how I used it...

Place 1/2 cup butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat; cook 5 minutes or until completely melted. Skim solids off the top with a spoon; discard solids. Slowly pour remaining butter out of pan, leaving remaining solids in pan; discard solids. Yield: about 1/3 cup.

Posted by astraea on January 20, 2007
January 11, 2007
kale! kale! kale!

I love braised kale. This time of year, I think it's the tastiest of the dark green vegetables at our California markets. Jill asked how I made the kale I served her, which got me wondering how other people eat their kale.

This is how I make braised kale, largely influenced by Chez Panisse Cooking. How do you eat your kale?

Wash kale and remove tough stems. I fold dino kale (the curly kind) in half and just slice the stem off lengthwise, but use any method you like. Don't bother drying it -- you use the water on the leaves to cook the kale.

Heat a pan on med-high heat. Add about a tbsp olive oil and heat until fragrant. Put all the kale in the pan. Stir it about quickly and then put a lid on it and lower the heat to med. Cook anywhere from 5 min to 12 min, depending on how tough the kale is. While the kale cooks, chop some garlic very fine. Take the lid off and turn the heat back to med-high -- the kale should be cooked down. Push the kale to one side of the pan. Add a little more olive oil to the pan and saute the garlic very quickly in it (chili flakes are also good), just a few seconds until you smell the garlic, not so long that it browns. Turn the heat off and stir the kale and garlic about. Add a splash of red wine vinegar (about 1/2 tbsp? taste it and see if you need more.) and salt and pepper to taste.

Posted by naomi on January 11, 2007