gastronome
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 at 05:19 PM

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 at 11:00 AM

Nouveau Potato Salad

I was SERIOUSLY craving potato salad and made this recipe from Epicurious, slightly altered. God, I love that site.

If only I had a digital camera to show off my creations like you guys! (Hmmm, except that what'd you see is a big ungarnished white glob in a bowl on a very messy counter.)

Potato Salad with Garlic Mayonnaise and Chives follows!

2 pounds small boiling potatoes (about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter)
[I used russet potatoes, and I actually really liked the contrast of the tart dressing with the sweetness at the center of each slice of russet.]
3 garlic cloves, minced and mashed to a paste with 1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice plus additional to taste if desired
[I only had bottled lemon juice, and it tasted just fine.]
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon hot water
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

In a large saucepan combine potatoes with salted water to cover by 1 inch and simmer until just tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain potatoes and cool until they can be handled.

While potatoes are cooling, in a large bowl whisk together garlic paste, 3 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, mayonnaise, and hot water.

Peel potatoes and cut in half. Add potatoes and chives to dressing and toss well. Season salad with additional lemon juice and salt and pepper. Salad may be made 1 day ahead and kept chilled, covered. Before serving, toss salad with 1 to 2 tablespoons water to moisten dressing.

Serve salad at room temperature.

Serves 4 generously.

Gourmet
August 1994

Posted by leek at 08:31 PM

Creamed Kale

See what happens when meriko leaves the country? In lieu of our scheduled Sunday Dinner, I tried to pick up the slack and learned how to cook a new vegetable. Last Sunday I left Food Network on while I cleaned the tv room and caught Bobby Flay making kale, a veggie I know my husband loves but rarely makes for himself. I had to try.

Creamed Kale
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons finely chopped Spanish onion
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups milk, scalded (or plain soy milk)
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 pounds kale, center stalk removed, and coarsely torn into pieces
Caramelized Shallots (optional, recipe below)

Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft. Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, not allowing the mixture to obtain any color. Whisk in the warm milk and cook until thickened. Season with nutmeg and salt and pepper, to taste. Keep warm until ready to use.

Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the kale and cook until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain in a colander and then return to pot. Add cream sauce and cook until flavors meld, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Plate creamed kale and then top with Caramelized Shallots.

Caramelized Shallots
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sugar
10 shallots, peeled and sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Melt the butter and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots, season with salt and pepper, and cook until they begin to brown all over, about 10 minutes.

Makes 4 servings
Original recipe posting at foodnework.com

Posted by rebecca at 06:32 PM

Mike on Fresh Limas

Mmmmbeans
Originally uploaded by Michael Dietsch.

This is a "guest post" of sorts from my fiance Mike, which meriko suggested we share here:

Fresh limas from my grandparents' garden were a staple of summertime dinners when I was a kid. We'd usually overboil them, like we did with most veggies, and then drown 'em in butter and salt.

Tonight's preparation will owe a little to that, but not much: Heat up a little olive oil in a small pan with minced shallot, add the beans and saute lightly, just cover with water, and boil. Season with salt and pepper.

Jen suggested a salad, but I haven't had cooked limas in a very long time, and I'm a little excited. I've never liked canned or frozen limas, but I love them fresh, and I was delighted to see them at the greenmarket.

Good, fresh limas have a meaty texture and a rich, creamy flavor. (Indeed, thanks to that creaminess, beans just a bit larger than this are called butter beans in Southern households.)

This Is Comfort Food.


-- Michael Dietsch

Posted by jenblossom at 07:39 AM

White Beans; Herbfarm

In my continuing quest to build meatless entrees in spite of being raised to consider meat-starch-veggie as your basic meal, I cooked up some protein in the form of the following dish from the Herbfarm Cookbook. On checking the book out from the library I did a little research that informed me that eating at the Herbfarm itself tends to cost $150-200 per person. Ouch. Won't be doing that anytime soon.

At any rate, the cookbook's free from the library, and the beans were dandy. Any requests for other postings from the book?

Oh yeah, and please witness that since reactivating my gastronome account i have been contributing! honest i have! seeeee meriko?

White Beans with Herbed Onion-Garlic Confit

4 qts. water
8 oz dried white beans (Great Northern, navy, flageolet, or cannellini)
Bouquet garni of 2 bay laurel leaves, fresh or dried, and 1 small bunch thyme
tied in a bundle
3 T olive oil
1 lg onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 c. homemade or canned low-sodium chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 T coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
1 T coarsely chopped fresh winter savory, or 1 1/2 T chopped fresh summer
savory
1 t. salt, less if using canned stock
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring two quarts water to boil in large (4-qt) saucepan. Add dried beans, turn off heat, and let them soak uncovered for 1 hour.

2. Drain soaked beans in colander, rinse under cold water, and return to saucepan. Add 2 qts cold water and bouquet garni. Gently boil beans uncovered until they are very soft but still hold their shape, 35 to 60 minutes depending on the type of bean.

3. While the beans are cooking, heat olive oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened but not browned, about 8 min. Pour in stock and add herbs. Boil until the level of liquid is below level of onion and garlic, about 30 minutes. The onion and garlic should be very soft, but not caramelized, and have a consistency like marmalade.

4. When beans are cooked, drain in colander and discard bouqet garni. Return to large saucepan. Stir in onion confit and salt (if using homemade stock). Cook, stirring often, over medium heat for 5 minutes to blend flavors. Taste and season with pepper and additional salt if needed.

My notes: I added some splorts of goat cheese when eating the beans. Nice addition. I also, as always, used veggie bouillon to make my stock, and found that I had no problem adding the salt anyway. But I love me my salt. My beans took around 50 minutes to cook, I think, and they were great northern.

Posted by leek at 09:57 PM

Borrachos

borrachos
Originally uploaded by Jenblossom.

Growing up, one thing my brother and I always looked forward to at family gatherings was my Grandma's "Drunken Beans", or Borrachos. They get their name from the addition of beer, which adds a nice richness and the slightest hint of sweetness to balance the saltiness of the pork and zing of pickled jalapenos. These humble beans are super easy to make, and taste even better the next day - they're a great addition to any summer menu, but are hearty enough to carry you through the winter months, too.

Borrachos

16 oz. dried pinto beans
6 cups water
1 baseball-sized red or Spanish onion, diced
About 1/2 package salt pork, cut into 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch chunks (about 1 to 1.5 cups total)
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 small jar pickled jalapenos
12-14 oz. chopped/diced tomatoes with juice (1 can or 1/2 box POMI)
1 tbsp dried oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
1 bottle amber or dark beer
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pick over the beans to remove any stones or dirt, and place them in a large pot, covering them with water. Cover and bring to a boil. Let boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and let stand, undrained, for an hour.

In a large, heavy bottomed pot, begin browning salt pork. Add onion and cook until softened and golden. Add garlic cloves and cook until fragrant. Add the beans with their cooking water, the tomatoes, the beer, the oregano, and the juice from the jar of jalapenos (along with as many peppers as you like depending on your preference for spiciness!). Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir well to combine, and cook, covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally, for at least one hour these beans can really go all day, and are even better the next day when the flavors have had a chance to really blend.

Serve in bowls (they should be soupy!) these go great alongside burgers, hot dogs, sausage, or grilled chicken, or make a wonderful meal on their own with warmed fresh tortillas.

Posted by jenblossom at 10:27 AM

South Carolina BBQ

When in South Carolina a couple of times I was introduced to the extraordinarily yummy mustard-based BBQ sauce there. This recipe for sauce is dang easy and comes pretty close to what I tasted there. It's best with pulled pork, but I imagine you could use it anywhere you'd use BBQ sauce.

2/3 c. dijon mustard
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white vinegar
1/4 c. water
1 T soy sauce
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t hot pepper sauce

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Posted by leek at 03:39 PM

Meriko's Risotto

This evening, while I pondered over what to accompany my ribeye steak, and deciding that the green beans I had just weren't enough, I looked at my catch of fresh ingredients from the farmer's market, and discovered I had conveniently picked up some fresh corn and basil (actually, my harvest of non-fruits were just corn, beans and basil).

Last year, at about the same time of year, meriko treated me to a delicious variation to her normal risotto recipe, which adds some corn kernels right before the end (like 1-2 minutes left) and a good handful of corsely chopped basil at the end.

Serve in a open bowl with your favorite steak, this is as close to summer bliss as you'll ever have. You'll want to mop up the juices from the risotto and the steak. Thanks meriko!

Posted by tim at 07:11 PM

Potato and Apple Gratin

Super easy and really delicious, this side dish pairs perfectly with simply prepared pork.

potato and apple gratin


 

Take two baseball-sized waxy potatoes, and one similarly sized Granny Smith apple - slice them thinly into rounds using either a mandoline slicer or a very sharp knife. Boil the potatoes in water until they are just slightly cooked through, then drain them well. Add the apple, salt, pepper, a tablespoon of unsalted butter, half a pint of heavy cream, and about a cup of finely shredded aged Gruyere cheese, and stir well to combine. Pour the mixture into a lightly buttered gratin dish or other shallow baking dish, grate a little more cheese on top, dot with about another tablespoon of butter, then bake at 400 until bubbly and golden (I think it took about 30-40 minutes).

Posted by jenblossom at 10:45 AM

Decadent Mac & Cheese

Last night, I had to feed a craving... a craving for something rich and creamy, warm and comforting. I wanted, no *needed* macaroni and cheese. And no blue box concoction would do. In fact, I took it a few steps beyond your standard from-scratch recipe by using a blend of five cheeses, and topping it with crunchy panko crumbs and fresh herbs. This was most certainly not your momma's macaroni and cheese - it was simply decadent.

mac & cheese baked with an herbed panko crust 

Jen's Decadent Mac & Cheese

2 cups medium shell pasta
4 tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus 2 tbsp. for topping
2 cups whole milk
about 1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
3 cups finely shredded/grated cheese (I used 1.5 cups of Grafton 8 yr. Reserve Cheddar, 1 cup cave-aged Gruyere, 1 cup imported Italian Fontina, and 1/4 cup each aged Asiago and Parmigiano Reggiano)
1/2 cup panko crumbs (a Japanese dry breadcrumb)
1 tbsp. each chopped fresh rosemary and thyme

Cook pasta according to package directions until just under al dente.

Meanwhile, in a wide saucepan, make a bechamel by melting 4 tbsp. butter with 4 tbsp. flour, then whisking in milk until all are smooth and well combined. Once this thickens, add a grating of nutmeg, about 1/8 tsp., and stir. Add cheeses a little at a time, stirring until melted and well combined. Add the cooked and well-drained pasta to the cheese mixture, tossing well.

Pour pasta and cheese mixture into a baking dish. Combine choppped herbs with panko crumbs and spread evenly over the top, coating well. Break up the remaining 2 tbsp. of butter into little bits and scatter over the top. Place in a 350 degree oven, uncovered, until the top is browned and the sauce is bubbling.

Approx. 4 main-course servings, or 6-8 as a side.

Posted by jenblossom at 07:55 AM

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle-Maple Sauce


This dish was the surprise hit at Thanksgiving 2004. Since we were doing the potatoes mashed, I wanted the sweet potatoes to have a different kind of texture. We decided to wedge them into pieces and roast them in the style of patatas bravas, and William whipped up a very tasty chipotle-maple sauce to accompany them. We used two preparations of chipotle in the recipe - Tierra Vegetables' chipotle powder and chipotles en adobo. I don't particularly care for sweet potatoes, but even I thought these were pretty darned good. Apparently, we should have made more sauce....

For the Sweet Potatoes:
5-6 medium sweet potatoes
olive oil
chipotle powder
salt & pepper

Oven at 400 F.

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into 2-inch wedges. Toss them in olive oil, salt, black pepper, and a bit of chipotle powder. (Don't overdo this - you only want a little heat on the potatoes themselves.)

Liberally oil a baking sheet, and lay the potatoes out in a single layer. Roast for 20-30 minutes, or until soft inside and crispy on the edges. Serve warm.

For the Chipotle-Maple Sauce:
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 yellow onion, small dice
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1/2 stick of butter
1 tbsp + 1 tsp flour
enough veg stock to thin roux (see below)
5-6 seeded and chopped canned-in-adobo-sauce chipotles
5-7 teaspoons of adobo sauce (from item above)
1/4-1/3 cup of maple syrup
salt
1/2 stick of butter for mounting sauce

0. drain chipotles, reserving adobo sauce
1. remove stem tops of 5-6 chipotles then seed and chop into pleasantly
sized (small) pieces
2. chop all other veg
3. melt butter over med heat
4. saute onions, garlic, shallots until slightly soft then reduce heat
slightly and carefully brown the veg taking care not to:
- burn the butter or garlic
5. when veg starts to go brown, add flour and stir, reduce heat and cook to
a dirty blonde roux
6. add 5 teaspoons of adobo sauce and stir
7. add enough veg stock to start to thin roux, then thin to desired
consistency
8. stir in maple syrup
9. cook for 5-7 minutes on low then strain to get rid of all veg bits
10. cook on low for another 5 minutes just to make sure flour is cooked

- at this point: taste and adjust seasoning including adobo for heat level
remembering that actual chipotles will be going in just before serving. The
addition of the chipotles will definitely make the heat level go UP so plan
accordingly. Adjust for sweetness, if that's your thing as well. You can
hold the sauce on either super low simmer or on top of a warming area.

To finish the sauce:
11. bring sauce to heat over medium heat then take off heat to stir in 1/2
stick of butter taking care not to break the sauce. You can add more butter
if you want but 1/2 stick should make it glossy...
12. add the chopped chipotles
13. taste and adjust seasoning...a bit of salt at this point is probably
good....

Sauce should be served warm not blazingly hot.

Posted by shock at 08:04 AM