Monthly Archives: September 2014

Chicken Paprikash Soup

One would think that after living in California for 10 years we would be used to grazing on breakfast during an NFL game, but we’re not. It’s still weird. That said we’re certainly not opposed to sipping a wicked good bloody Mary while watching a 10AM start time game.

Now that football season’s upon us, I busted out the Dutch oven to prepare some grub to follow the Patriot’s game last Sunday. Because I will always associate watching the pigskin fly with soup, chili, shepherd’s pie (a.k.a. cottage pie), boiled dinner, and pots of other typical New England Sunday fall/winter fare, I felt compelled to make soup in spite of the toasty temperatures. You know what they say, “you can take the girl out of New England, but you can’t take New England out of the girl.” 

What you’ll need:

1 whole roasted chicken, the meat removed and shredded

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 medium onion, minced

2 celery stalks, washed and chopped

4 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 jalapeno, seeds removed and minced

1 lime

1 small Parmesan rind

½ cup fideo pasta, rice, or orzo (your choice of starch)

½ cup chopped cilantro

48 oz. chicken stock

26 oz. can/box of crushed tomatoes

2 cups of water

1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. cayenne

1 tbsp. EVOO

1 tbsp. kosher salt

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Add EVOO, smoked paprika, cayenne, and cumin to your pan. Place it on medium heat until the spices are fragrant.

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Add your onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook for a minute, or two (be careful not to burn), and then add the remaining ingredients. Keep on a low simmer, covered, for two hours.

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Add fideo (or starch of your choice) to the soup and simmer for 5-10 minutes, until cooked. Pluck out your small Parmesan rind, if you can find it. Taste and add more salt, a little at a time, until it satisfies your personal taste buds.

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Serve topped with a dollop of sour cream, or with the less paunchy Parmesan cheese. We had no sour cream, so I used the latter.

Keep the chicken carcass (you’ll need at least three to make a “chickeny” batch) and save it to make stock. As you can see by my soup recipe, I had run out of my own supply and resorted to store bought. Homemade is always better and I will make a batch once we gobble another two birdies. Will be sure to share.

Go Pats!!!

April 

“Football is like life – it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority.” – Vince Lombardi

 

 

 

 

Tagliatelle with Lemon Cream and Parsley

I’m heading “across the pond” to London soon and I have reservations at several well thought of restaurants. There are two that I’m very excited about: The River Café and The Ledbury. The River Café has been in operation since 1987 and earned a Michelin star in 1997. They specialize in Italian cuisine.

Chefs Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray (who passed in 2010), who have owned and operated their eatery on the Thames since they opened their doors in 1987, are also credited with training many notable chefs in addition to authoring six highly acclaimed cookbooks.

I’m the proud owner of one of their earlier publications: “River Café Cook Book Green,” which focuses on seasonal organic fruits and veg. In honor of my upcoming trip, I cracked my book and decided upon tagliatelle with lemon cream and parsley.

Since there are only two of us at home right now, I cut the recipe in half. The full recipe is written to serve 6. Obviously, if you don’t wish to go through the bother of making your own fresh pasta, you can purchase a quality tagliatelle and save yourself the trouble. One more thing, because this is a Brit recipe, you’ll want to break out your scale. All of the measurements are in grams and mililiters. I’ll begin with the pasta first.

Rich egg Pasta

500 g ‘00’ Italian flour, plus extra for dusting

1 tsp. Maldon salt

4 large, organic free-range eggs

6 large, organic free-range egg yolks

50 g fine semolina flour for dusting

 

Put the flour and salt in a food processor, add the eggs, and egg yolks, and pulse-blend it until the pasta begins to come together into a loose ball of dough. Knead the pasta dough on a flat surface, lightly dusted with the semolina and a little extra flour, until the mixture is smooth, about 3 minutes. Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and allow to rest in the fridge for at least 20 minutes and up to 2 hours.

I’ve made some modifications to their pasta dough processing instructions. Prepare your pasta machine and set it on the widest setting. Scatter some flour on your work surface and cut a piece of dough off of the dough ball. Cover again immediately with the plastic wrap.

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Process the piece of dough and fold in threes. Repeat at least 4 times. Increase the setting and repeat previous procedure until you’ve the 5th setting. Hand cut your pasta into long ribbons. You want the thickness to be about a quarter of inch wide. Nest the pasta ribbons onto a sheet pan or dry on a pasta drying rack.

Lemon Cream Sauce (I’ve made a few tiny modifications here, too)

300 ml organic whipping cream (I think I’d prefer a bit more cream. Bump up to 473 ml or 1 pint)

120 g unsalted butter, softened

zest and juice of 4 large and juicy organic lemons

 

In a large thick-bottomed saucepan, gently heat the cream. When warm, add the soft butter, lemon juice, and zest. Stir briefly together until the butter is completely melted. Remove from the heat. 

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Cook the tagliatelle in a generous amount of boiling salted water until a little less than al dente. You want to finish the pasta in the cream sauce so it soaks up all of that goodness. Add the pasta to the warm cream and bring to a slight simmer until the pasta is finished cooking. Season the pasta with salt and pepper and sprinkle with Parmesan. Sprinkle some more parsley as a garnish.

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 Mangia mangia!

 Eat well!

April

 “Pasta doesn’t make you fat. How much pasta you eat makes you fat.”

– Giada De Laurentis

 

 

 

Gougere

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Roger and I returned home last weekend from a glorious trip to Napa. It was a gift given to my hubby over a year ago and I was the blessed beneficiary of his hard work. We’d been delaying the trip until the kids were off to college so we could fully relax and boy, did we relax: an exceptional dinner at The French Laundry, a 20-mile bike ride through vineyards (in 96-degree heat!), countless great meals, and many fabulous tasting room experiences.

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In addition to all of the fun we had, we also saw firsthand the unfortunate aftereffects of the recent earthquake. Many buildings were damaged, but the one pictured above was the most severe. That being said, everyone we encountered was in good spirits and they were very thankful it wasn’t much worse. Roger and I, of course, took advantage of the many bottles left unharmed in the tremor.

Sinskey Vineyards - www.robertsinskey.com/visit

Sinskey Vineyards – www.robertsinskey.com/visit

One of our favorite winery/tasting rooms is owned and operated by our friend, Bob Sinskey, along with his son, Rob, who’s now in charge of the day-to-day operations. Rob’s wife, Maria Helm Sinskey, manages all of their culinary endeavors. Maria was named Food and Wine’s Best New Chef in 2006 and is a well-respected cookbook author. This is truly a family owned and operated winery.

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Sinskey wine is certified organic and all of their grapes are grown, crushed, fermented, and bottled on property. They use 100% French oak barrels with light to medium toast, and they practice “whole farm” cultivation based upon Rudolph Steiner’s 1928 “Agriculture” lecture.

The Vineyard Garden provides for the kitchen.

The Vineyard Garden provides for the kitchen.

 

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There’s a fabulous kitchen (complete with a wood-fired oven) attached to the tasting room and they serve amazing nibbles to be enjoyed with your wine.

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We toured the caves tunneled into the hillside and poked around the wine “library” that contains at least one bottle of every wine produced on property for decades.

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The bottles in the image above date back to the earliest days of the winery and as you can see, the bottles are covered with dust and mold. Sneezing and coughing began about 15 minutes after entering the cave so we had to make a quick exit.

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We were served some delicious tidbits to be enjoyed with our wine pairings. The salami you see on the plate is a duck salami, made in-house, and it was superb. My other favorite morsel was the gougere (the little round pastry puff pictured in the top right corner) along with their Pinot Noir, Los Carneros, Napa Valley 2011. It was a perfect pairing! A match made in heaven.

Here’s Maria’s recipe for Gougere (yields 40)

1 ½ cups water

6 ounces unsalted butter

1 tbsp kosher salt

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

6 large eggs

2 cups grated gruyere or other firm cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1 tsp. chopped rosemary

2 tsp. chopped thyme

Bring water, butter, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the flour.

Return the pan to medium high heat and stir until the batter pulls away from the side of the pan. Scrape into the bowl of a standing mixer with a paddle attachment. Turn the mixer on and allow the paddle to cool the dough slightly for about a minute.

On a low speed, add the eggs one by one. After each egg is added, increase the speed to medium and beat until incorporated. Beat well after all eggs have been added.

Add the grated cheese and the herbs. Beat well until incorporated.

On a parchment-lined sheet pan, using a pastry bag, pipe the batter into half-dollar sized rounds. The batter may also be scooped into mounds with a tablespoon. Freeze.

To bake, preheat oven to 425-degrees. Egg wash the puffs straight from freezer. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan. Bake for another 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 400-degrees and bake until puffed and golden, 5-10 minutes. Serve warm.

If you’re going to be in the Napa area, be sure and call 707-944-9090 to reserve their “Perfect Circle Tour.” You’ll have an immersive farm to table culinary tour with wine tastings.

Eat well, 

April

“Beer is made by men, wine by God.” – Martin Luther