Spoonin' some slurpy stuff about the world's drippiest drool

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Kale, Toasted Chickpea and Plum Tomato Stew

We have three tomato plants in our garden. One plum tomato, which is happily providing fruit, one beefsteak tomato, which is grudgingly providing smallish, non beefsteak looking tomatoes, and one plant that is pretending to be a tomato plant, but has yet to give any fruit.
Thankfully, this recipe only requires plum tomatoes. Of the top five cancer protecting foods, this has two - tomatoes and kale. The other three are listed on the chart below -

- unfortunately hot dogs and doughnuts are on the other list...
Here is a rough estimate of the ingredients ( I wasn't working from a recipe - just tasting as I went):
1 can chickpeas
2 tbsn Olive oil divided
1 onion diced
2 garlic cloves diced
2 tbsn cumin
2 tbsn coriander
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c veg broth
1/4 c wine
26 oz of Pomi tomato purée
Salt and pepper to taste
Two bunches of kale - stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped
10 small plum tomatoes sliced
1. Toss the chickpeas with about 1 Tbsn olive oil. Toast for about 12 minutes, until the chickpeas start to brown. Remove from heat, toss with salt (to taste).
2. Heat 1tbsn olive oil in a large pot over med high heat. Cook onions 4 minutes, add garlic and cook one more minute.
3. Add spices, sauté for 30 seconds.
4. Add wine, cook till mostly evaporated. Add broth and tomato purée. Taste and adjust spices. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Add kale. Cook till wilted, stirring often - about 3 minutes.
6. Remove from heat. Top with sliced tomatoes.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Rockville, MD

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Fig Skewers

As I write this, Jacob is upstairs cleaning his room, possibly for the last time. Tomorrow he leaves for Penn State, for NROTC training and the beginning of his next great academic adventure. I am proud and sad and excited for him, and I wanted his last home cooked meal for a while to be memorable.

As if in anticipation of my mindset, fresh figs unexpectedly showed up at our door last night. Actually our neighbor showed up at our door bearing a bag of figs from her fig tree. Of course, this led to a scouring of recipes that would do justice to a gift of fresh figs. And a search for fun fig facts. Here are a few:

Eating figs can help you quit smoking due to their high alkalinity.
Many believe that it was actually figs, not apples in the Garden of Eden.
Figs are higher in fiber than any common fruit or vegetable and are also extremely high in calcium.
Figs were the training food by the early Olympic athletes and a token of honor.

Seems fair that Jacob be seen off with honor and a meal fit for an Olympian. We have every reason to believe he will go on to do great things.

The search for fig oriented recipes ended with this one, from Epicurious.com:

Click here for recipe

The sweet figs, goat cheese, rosemary, honey and pork blend really nicely. Make sure to season the pork well before grilling - you want to get a nice crust on the outside of the meat. And while the goat cheese seems slightly odd, don't be stingy - it adds a velvety richness that absolutely complements the unadorned pork.

And so, Jacob, we send you off with a belly full of sweetness and a soul full of goodness. You make us so proud.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Rockville, MD

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Sweet-and -Sour Onions

Gift giving is an art. It is an act of stepping outside your own likes and desires to consider the needs, or wants of another. When done properly, there is joy for the giver as well as the receiver.

Recipe books are always a winner for me. Each time I pull the book off the shelf, good memories of a dear friend come with it. This one appeared at my door quite unexpectedly, and is not only a hysterical parody of the book series, but also has some very good recipes. All commentary is from the perspective of the chicken, which seems very inclined toward the various "treatments" it experiences.

Tonight's draw from the book came under the heading "Dripping Thighs". But first lets talk corn.

I make a lot of corn in the summer. It is so versatile, and there are a million ways to prepare it. My current favorite is the crab boil approach. Into boiling water I throw a combination of herbs and seasonings and let them steep. Sometimes I go cilantro, jalapeño, lime, palm sugar and garlic - quite flavorful. Tonight I used dill, pickled garlic and a bit of brown sugar. The result was fresh summer corn with a lovely undertone of dill. This is a great way to use up extra herbs, and the flavors never overpower the corn.

Ok, back to dripping thighs. This is quite a simple recipe, with a high flavor return.

1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs - pat them dry with paper towels
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 tspn + a pinch coarse salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Onions: (personally, I would double this part - the onions make the dish)

1 sweet onion thinly sliced
1 C white wine ( the good stuff - you will taste it)
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
1 Tbsn honey
2 Tbsn unsalted butter

1. Preheat oven to 450. In a large bowl toss the chicken with the garlic, 1 tspn salt and the pepper.

2. In a small saucepan, simmer the onion, wine, bay leaf, cinnamon stick and a pinch of salt until most of liquid is evaporated - about 20 min. Mix in honey and butter.

3. Spoon the mixture over the chicken and toss well. Spread the thighs :-) onion mixture, and any juices on a rimmed baking sheet ( I think a cast iron skillet might actually be better). Bake until the chicken is no longer pink and the onions are tender - at least 25 minutes. ( I ended up finishing it in the broiler to get it browner).


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Rockville, MD

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Doing The Unthinkable

Today I did the unthinkable, I put summer tomatoes in the oven.

And with good reason - they were bland. I had purchased them yesterday for the usual exorbitant summer tomato prices, and was anticipating that luscious, vibrant summer tomato flavor. Not so much. So, disappointed, I decided that a quick broil might coax out a bit more flavor. It did.

Coincidentally, maybe, I just added this cookbook to my collection. It is well written, with vegetables separated by family, fun bits of history about the evolution of each vegetable, beautiful photography and a plethora of recipes for an absolute carnivore who is desperately trying to eat healthier (while refusing to give up wine, ice cream or chocolate).

Within the nightshade section of the cookbook was the following recipe:

Beefsteak Tomatoes Baked with Feta Cheese and Marjoram

(As interpreted by me...)

Thickly slice beefsteak tomatoes (I assume 1 per person). Top with the strong cheese of your choice - they recommend feta, I went with a cheese from the farmers market - a sheeps milk gray with streaks of blue - very creamy but not quite as sharp as the feta.

Sprinkle with marjoram (or oregano) and drizzle with olive oil (thyme or sage might also have been nice - the goal is to match the pungency of the herb to the pungency of the cheese).

Broil for 7 minutes (don't go that long - I went for 5 minutes and the tomatoes were getting soft).

Sprinkle with more marjoram (or whatever herb you used), salt and pepper.

Very quick and simple for an easy summer dinner, and even the blandest tomato will be elevated.

Enjoy, and be sure to leave room for wine and/or chocolate and/or ice cream. Life is short.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Rockville, MD

Soup Kitsch Rebirth

Seriously? A book on food blogging? On reflection, though, it makes sense.

Over the last five years or so, I have been posting food pics on line, occasionally accompanying those photos with a recipe. At first, there was minimal thought about presentation, visual balance of colors, textures etc. I was just thrilled that at least it looked edible. Now, while I am still happy when the food comes out looking appetizing, I actually spend time on occasion composing the photo. If I don't like the way it photographs, the dish is not likely to get posted.

Having a blog is different. There is more room to explain why you are discussing the pathetic looking thing on the plate. There is also an art to recipe writing - clear directions and expectations, with bits of experience thrown in, because, frankly, at least for me, that is the point to the blog.

So, I will try this again, in the hopes of having a little more to show for myself than a bunch of pretty photos with no attached recipe or information.

Happy cooking!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Rockville, MD