august 15th: kitchen sink gazpacho
the only absolutely necessary thing for a good gazpacho are ripe summer tomatoes. if you have fragrant, preferabbly garden grown tomatoes you have gazpacho. below are variations on this most perfect summer soup, the only thing i want to eat when the temperature hits 100 degrees. apart from the watermelon and cucumber variations i offer, you may want to try other fruit, such as peaches, or adding lemon instead of vinegar, or chopping fennel, baby squash and raw beets ad adding it after processing. as long as it is well chilled and well salted, it should be delicious!
you’ll need a food-processor (measure your quantities in relation to the size of your food-processor)
peel and core as many tomatoes as you want, take out the seeds, throw them in the food-processor
deseed chunks of watermelon, about 1/3 of the quantity of tomatoes
add about a cup (or more or less) of basil
start processing, add a tbsp or two of red wine vinegar or young balsamic (you don’t want it too sweet) and half a cup of olive oil (approx) and salt liberally
instead of watermelon, use deseeded cucumber, add a clove of garlic and forgo the basil
trow some chunks of stale bread in there if you have them and process
add vinegar and olive oil and chill when desired consistency has been reached
chop hard boiled egg and green pepper and sprinkle on your bowl when you are hungry
august 15th: micheladas – a sanity preserving hot-weather drink
take one big glass, run lime around rim, dredge rim in salt
put 3 ice-cubes in salt rimmed glass
pour juice of one lime into glass
pour mexican beer (pacifico is my personal favorite, but anything will do) into glass
lean back and enjoy
july 19th : green lasagna (involving the not-detested-anymore broccoli)
at a loss over what to bring to a bbq, i rummaged through a vegetable-laden fridge. i had enough butter for a bechamel suce, but not enough for pie dough. in the pantry i found no boil lasagna pasta (i apologize in advance to pasta purists).
i boiled and roughly pureed broccoli in the food processor
i roasted cauliflower with garlic, then pureed that
i zippered corn off the cob and sauteed it with olive oil and sea salt, then added boiled and chopped black kale to the pan.
while it all cooled i made bechamel sauce, but had previously steeped the milk with garlic (which i then threw in the pan with the cauliflower – stay focused!).
when the bechamel was done, i deemd it a bit bland, so mixed in a tablespoon of dijon mustard and a dash of cayenne. perfect!
layer pasta, bechamel, kale/corn concoction (if you have a strong cheese like a stilton or gorgonzola, crumble it in at this level)
more bechamel, pasta, bechamel broccoli, sprinkle some parmesan, bechamel, pasta, bechamel, cauliflower, parmesan, bechamel.
add one more layer of pasta, a thin layer of broccoli, parmesan. then the last layer of pasta , all the left over bechamel and loads of parmesan.
20 minutes at 400F covered in foil, then 15 min uncovered at 350F until it is all bubbly and starting to brown.
will taste equally good warm or at room temp.
june 18th: farmer’s market dinner
broccoli even a broccoli-hater like me loves
parboil the freshest broccoli possible in well salted water. drain and transfer to ice water.
make dressing by mashing 2 cloves of garlic with 2 tsps of salt, mix paste with jice of one lemon and 1-2 tbsp of olive oil, add some red pepper flakes. pour of cooled broccoli. tart and sooooo goood
pour liquid out of can of garbanzo beans. put garbanzo beans in pyrex dish. add 5-10 clove sof garlic, shallot or onion (quartered), salt and pepper and add approx 1/2 cup olive oil. cook at 350 degrees for approx 30 minutes, turn broiler in and broil mixture for 10 minutes – watch so garbanzo roast but don’t burn. drain oil (but keep for hummus). enjoy at whatever temo.
kale, walnut and cranberry
cook kale (stripped and chopped) for approx 5 min in boiling water. drain and cool.
in big skillet (or wok) heat 1 tbsp olive oil, add some garlic/onion/ shallot (whatever’s left), add approx 1/2 cup of walnuts and brown, add same amount of cranberries and then kale – heat through. serve at whatever temp – drizzle a bit of good quality balsamic vinegar.
june 12th: birthday monkfish *
slice leeks, paotatoes (or turnips or other roots), and mushrooms, toss with clarified butter, smooshed carlic and chopped ginger, salt and pepper and roast for approx 15 minutes in 450 degree oven.
pat dry a fillet of monkfish, make slits and slide thin slices of ginger and garlic in the slits.
heat pan, add a tbsp of clarified butter, sear monkfish on both sides, approx 2 minutes each (monkfish will shrink, so buy accordingly).
set fish aside on plate.
deglaze pan with 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar and 1 tbsp shiaoxing wine. pour liquid over roasted veggies
put fish over veggies, put back in oven for approx 20 minutes
serve with nothing, although i think that in the winter it would go nicely with celery root puree. we had it with fresh butter lettuce and champagne (bc of the birthday – not mine, PB’s).
*this is a loose adaptation of the “roasted monkfish with chanterelles” recipe from an old gourmet magazine. it is a surprisingly easy dish – just the thing for those of us who are still a bit unsure how to handle fish without making a horrid mess of it.
june 1st, 2008: revised caprese salad
here’s an easy way to update the traditional tomato&mozzarella salad – especially easy if you have leftover pesto. why anyone BUYS pesto i do not know. like hummus, it is insanely easy to make (as long as you have a food processor), and it tastes way better and costs way less of you make it yourself.
i made arugula pesto 2 days ago – a big batch of fresh arugula from the local market, approx half a cup of lightly roasted pinenuts,same proportion of freshly garted parmesan, juice from half a lemon, salt, a lot of olive oil. mash it all up in the processor.
slice the tomato, slice the mozzarella. then stack : tomoato – dollop of pesto – mozzarella. add more pesto if so inclined. eat it all up and mop up the tomato pesto juices with bread.
may 31st, 2008: Goat cheese and fig lunch-time pita
sometimes I surprise myself with the simplest things – today it was this. You’ll need pita bread, fresh goat cheese and figs – dried or fresh. i also had roast garlic on hand. the sauce is a simple emulsification of honey and balsamic vinegar.
cut the top of the pita so it can be stuffed
spread the roast garlic on one side of the pita
spread goat cheese on the other
slice the fig(s) and add them the pita
put construction into toaster / or toaster oven for approx 5 minutes – goat cheese will heat up and bind to figs, pita will get crunchy
in the meantime emulsify honey/balsamic mixture (an easy way to do it is to put both ingredients in a cup with a lid, and shake vigorously)
take pita out of toaster, plate it, and drizzle honey balsamic emulsion over it.
so easy, soooo good.