Archive for February 2005

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I made this watercress soup recipe today, substituting nasturtium leaves (without stems, about 4 loosely packed cups) for the watercress. The cookbook (Chez Panisse Vegetables) also suggests using spinach. I had it with some croutons on top, and gave up on the sieve because none of the vegetable was ending up in the soup itself. I have to remember to puree this in the blender, not with the hand blender, because it’s too fibrous for the hand blender to handle.

Watercress Soup
2 bunches watercress (~1 lb)
1 yellow onion
1 clove garlic
2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cups chicken stock (I used vegetable) or water
A few parsley leaves
A few tarragon leaves
Salt and pepper
Creme fraiche (I didn’t use this)

Pick through the watercress and discard any thick stems.
Peel and slice the onion and garlic thin and stew them in the olive oil, covered, until soft and translucent. Add the stock, bring to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. After 5 minutes, add the parsley. Have ready a large bowl half filled with ice and a smaller, stainless steel bowl that will nest inside it and rest on the ice.

Remove the soup from the heat, add the watercress and tarragon, and allow the soup to stand for 5 minutes, no longer. Immediately puree the soup in a blender and pour it through a medium-fine sieve into the bowl on ice. Stir the soup until it is at room temperature, then remove it from the ice and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Reheat the soup to a simmer just before serving; do not boil. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish lightly with lines of lightly salted creme fraiche streaked on the surface.


Written by orata

February 20, 2005 at 5:01 pm

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I’m making this today:
2 large eggs3/4 cup milk1/4 cup water1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted1 cup minus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour1/2 teaspoon salt1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves

Preheat oven to 375°F. Generously grease six 2/3-cup popover tins or nine 1/2-cup muffin tins.
In a bowl whisk together eggs, milk, and water and add butter in a stream whisking zest, pepper, and 1 teaspoon thyme into batter. Add flour and salt and whisk mixture until combined well but still slightly lumpy. Divide batter among tins, sprinkle remaining teaspoon thyme over popovers and bake in lower third of oven 45 minutes. Cut a slit about 1/2 inch long on top of each popover with a small sharp knife and bake 10 minutes more.Makes 6 large or 9 medium popovers.

I also made a baked acorn squash (halved, face down, in water in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, then face up with butter, cinnamon, and sugar in the cavity, for another 25). I plan to season with salt and pepper and eat it along with some of Semifreddi’s amazing dark gingerbread.

Written by orata

February 13, 2005 at 3:08 pm

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I made a risotto this weekend:

I sauteed two kinds of wild mushrooms separately in a pan–one was large and yellow and, according to Rahul, had “the consistency of chicken fat,” and the other, which I had more of and which was cheaper, was chewier and more flavorful.

I started with a base of 1/2 onion and 1 carrot and a little handful of chopped cutting celery leaves from the garden. I sauteed these in butter and olive oil, then added about 3 cups? of Arborio rice. I rehydrated dried porcini mushrooms in hot water, then added the soaking liquid, the chopped dried porcinis, and a glass of chardonnay from my Target wine cube. I added about 6 or 8 cups of vegetable broth and generous amounts of Parmesan and butter at the end, along with plenty of salt and pepper (no, the broth wasn’t enough for the salt). I chopped the sauteed mushrooms and stirred them in.

The less appetizing-looking side dish that came along with that was the remainder of my purple broccoli, which apparently turns a wan translucent violet-gray with purple undertones, like the skin of a salamander, and oozes a magenta liquid like beet juice, when cooked with an acid. I braised the broccoli with garlic, water, and red chili flakes, then added some lemon zest and lemon juice and salt and pepper. It tasted better than it looked.

Also, I got ripped off by buying “grapple” apples from Safeway. They’re pronounced “grape-L,” apparently. “Looks like an apple, tastes like a grape!” ran the tagline on the box. It cost a whopping $5 for 4 apples, but gosh darn it, it smelled just like grape-flavored bubble gum, and wow, apple breeding technology has come a long way! I was so excited after my discovery this year of my new favorite apple, Pink Lady, which smells and tastes vaguely floral and very sweet and fragrant.

When I got home, Rahul asked about the grapples, and I said they were apples that had been bred to taste and smell like grapes (my impression from the packaging). He pointed out the fine print that said “Ingredients: Apples, artificial grape flavoring.” Fuckers. What kind of a name is “grapple” anyway? At least broccoflower has a nice ring to it. What’s next? The Blape? The Grorange? Plus, the verb “grapple” doesn’t have especially positive connotations.

Written by orata

February 6, 2005 at 9:24 pm

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