Archive for January 2011

pasta with bottarga

leave a comment »

Cook whole wheat spaghetti in salted water.

Slice up garlic; saute in grapeseed oil with some red pepper flakes. Add a package of pea sprouts and cook till wilted. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over this. Add the pasta and about half a cup of the cooking water. Grate lemon zest into the pasta, squeeze in lemon juice, and grate generous helpings of the bottarga over the top. (It looks and tastes a lot like salted duck egg yolks, with a smoky, fishy note, and it’s covered in a thin membrane that I peeled away and discarded.)


Written by orata

January 30, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Posted in recipes

Tagged with , ,


leave a comment »

Core and finely slice 1/2 head green cabbage.
Saute with 1 can smoked oysters (with their oil) until cooked through
Beat 2 eggs and add some water, Better ‘n’ Bouillon, sugar, soy sauce, and flour.
Pour over the vegetable mixture and cook through.
Serve with Laoganma chili crisp.

Written by orata

January 26, 2011 at 1:05 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with ,

cardamom pecan yogurt cake

leave a comment »

The base recipe for this is tweaked from the Joy of Cooking yogurt cake recipe (I used all-purpose instead of cake flour, and added whole eggs instead of one whole egg and two whites):

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt


Remove the seeds from green cardamom pods until you have about 1 1/2 tsp worth. Toast these in a small pan over medium heat until fragrant. Crush the seeds (it’s very difficult to crush the raw seeds–they become more brittle when toasted). Stir the crushed seeds into the flour mixture.


In another bowl, cream together 5 Tbsp butter and 1 cup sugar.

Mix in 2 medium eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup nonfat yogurt

1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream

Beat until bubbles appear. Using a spoon and working the batter as little as possible, stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture.

Line an 8-inch springform cake pan with parchment paper and butter the sides.

Press the cake batter into the cake pan (it will be very thick, more like cookie dough than a typical cake batter). Pour chopped pecans over the top and press them into the dough.

Bake about 45 minutes, until lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean.

This would probably be nice with an additional syrup drench (like a rum cake) or sugary topping. As is, it’s lightly sweet and quite moist and fluffy.

Written by orata

January 23, 2011 at 11:39 pm

Posted in recipes

Tagged with , , , , ,


leave a comment »

Bacon toffee

from my favorite food blog:


(I also did a unsuccessful experiment with peanuts and Szechuan peppercorns on part of this toffee. )

Classic English Toffee
1 lb. butter (4 sticks) – unsalted is standard, you can go salted to add some nice depth to the finish product
2 1/3 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. light corn syrup
1/4 c. water
1 tsp. vanilla
chopped chocolate, nuts or whatever other topping of your choice

Put all the ingredients except the toppings into a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, clip a candy thermometer to the pot.  Let the butter melt and whisk to combine it with the sugar, corn syrup, water and vanilla.

Cook the mixture, stirring often, until it hits 300.  If your butter does start to separate out – it shouldn’t, it never has for me – just whisk it back in.  The mix’ll  heat fast, so keep an eye on it.

Pour the hot toffee onto a baking sheet or marble board that’s been oiled or lined with a silpat or parchment.  Spread it into an even layer with an oiled offset spatula.

At this point, do with it what you will as outlined above.  If you want neat squares, let it set up a few minutes and then score with a pizza cutter.  If not, sprinkle your toppings (if any) right onto the sheet of toffee, let it cool and then break it up with your hands.

The toffee burned at the bottom of the pot–came out tasting sort of OK but mostly too sticky when chewed. I think the bacon add-in would be better suited to a mixture with pecans, to give it more crunch. also, next time I’d probably try the honeycomb/brittle recipe with baking soda I’ve used before.

Orange Chicken

Vaguely Moroccan in tone, aside from the bacon, which I had left over from the toffee.

Some soffritto (onion, carrot, celery)

2 pieces bacon

1 can chopped tomatoes

1 orange

1 package chicken drumsticks



Cook the bacon till the fat renders out, remove and crumble into pieces; cook the soffritto in the bacon fat, then brown the chicken drumsticks. Pour in the tomatoes and add the bacon back in. Grate in the orange zest and add the cinnamon and cumin. Simmer till the sauce is thick and the chicken is cooked through. Squeeze in the juice of 1/2 of the orange. Eat the other half out of hand.

Serve the chicken stew over couscous with vegetables.

Pasta al limone (inspired by this month’s Cook’s Illustrated)

Make some spaghetti. In the meantime, in another pan, lightly brown a few cloves of minced garlic in olive oil. Pour in some cream and reduce over low heat; grate in the zest of 1 lemon and some Parmesan cheese. Drain the pasta and mix with the sauce over low heat; squeeze in the juice of the lemon and mix in some chopped fresh parsley and red pepper flakes. Sauce should be thick and creamy.

Scrambled eggs with smoked oysters

Dump a whole can (oil and all) of smoked oysters into a small pan. Heat it up, cutting up the oysters with a spatula, then add a couple of eggs. Scramble the whole mess together in the pan with your spatula until the eggs are barely set but still creamy. Serve with water crackers and a big mug of coffee (cream, no sugar!)

Written by orata

January 16, 2011 at 2:30 pm