12.?.01 : wayne's peach salsa
peach ginger salsa

peaches, sugar, fresh ginger, lime juice, onion, salt, cilantro, red pepper flakes

Buy a bunch of peaches at the grocery store. Lament the fact that it is not summertime, you are not in Georgia, and the peaches are abysmal. Take them home, peel them, cut them up, and macerate them in a little bit of sugar. After they've chilled for a bit, grate a little bit of fresh ginger into them. Add a copious amount of lime juice, a small amount of chopped onion, and a little salt. Let it sit for a little while, and then throw the whole mixture into your roommate's new Cuisinart. Pulse a few times, throw in a few handfuls of chopped cilantro, add some red pepper flakes, and pulse into it's the texture of homemade applesauce. The longer it sits, the better it will be. Yum.
12.28.01 : french onion soup, braised chicken, salad

French Onion Soup au Gratin

Start with some stock. It doesn't matter what stock as long as it's not vegetable. Vegetable stock is an oxymoron. You need stock.

We took a bunch of leftover bones (chicken, lamb, etc.), browned them up in a deep cast-iron pot in the oven at 450 degrees for about 40 minutes, then covered with water and set to a boil on the stove. Because Greg betrayed us and had to leave by 7 pm, we didn't have enough time to really let the stock develop, so I threw in some chopped beef (top round, maybe?) to expedite the process. I also added some chopped carrot, celery, shallot, and a couple bay leaves.

Meanwhile, I caramelized some onions. Slice 'em thin, cut up a lot of them, and cook slowly in some butter and olive oil with a liberal amount of salt and dried thyme. When they get soft and really tender and sweet, turn up the heat to medium. As they brown, add white wine (I used Pinot Grigio) to deglaze the brown caramel-y bits from the pot. Stir the wine, brown bits and onions together to form a glorious mass of onion-y goodness.

When the stock is ready, strain and add to the onions. Salt, pepper, and add wine to taste. Add a couple drops of sherry vinegar. Simmer together for a few minutes.

When you're ready to eat, toast a couple pieces of good white bread. Rub them with garlic, bruschetta style, and place them directly on top of the soup. Cover the bread with an obscene amount of grated Gruyere. Place under the broiler until the cheese is starting to brown and is bubbling.

While the gratin is gratinizing, mix up one egg and a glug of tawny port. When the gratin is finished, poke a hole through the top of it and pour the egg mixture into the soup. Serve.

12.27.01 : split-pea soup
split pea soup

4 cups split peas (2 lbs), 16 cups cold water, leftover ham thigh bone from christmas with some meat attached, a good amount of additional ham in nice cubes, 5 medium carrots, 2 celery stalks, one onion, a few garlic cloves, about 3 bay leaves, salt and pepper

this is a double recipe, mostly stolen from the joy. what's nice about this soup is that you don't need a broth before hand, and it's filling. start with a large pot, and combine water, peas, and ham bone. bring this to a boil, then reduce to simmer for an hour. then add chopped carrot, celery, onion, and garlic, plus bay leaves (this is, according to my grandfather, the most importatn ingredient. that and the ham). remove the ham bone and carve off any good meat, then place it all back in the pot, along with additional ham. there is never enough ham in pea soup. simmer for about an hour, until you're happy with the consistancy - i boiled mine at the end, which broke up some of the beans nicely. remove bay leaves, season with a good pinch of salt and lots of black pepper. this served 6 plus ample leftovers, which freeze well.
12.25.01 : chris makes tarte tatin
tarte tatin

for crust: 10 oz. (250 g.) flour, 2 oz. (half a stick) butter, 1/4 c sugar, pinch of salt, cold water

for filling: 1/2 c sugar, 1 T water, three granny smith apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, a few hunks of butter

i learned to make this at a camp in the dordogne valley in france when i was in highschool, and it turns out to be my grandmother's favorite dessert. it is assembled upside-down, then baked and flipped.

start by caramelizing the sugar and tablespoon of water in a 10" pan - this can either be the pan that you will later bake, or another pan from which you will pour the caramel (if you can, do the whole thing in cast iron). caramelizing sugar means watching it closely over a medium/low flame, but not messing with it too much beyond a few stirs (overstirring somehow recystalized it once for me). when the caramel is dark, cover the bottom of the pan and set aside. peel the apples and cut into medium-thickness slices (i did mine thin, and my family rebuked me, suggesting that i should survey the tarte tatins of the world to see that they really should be more rustic. hey, it still tasted good). arrange the slices around the pan, sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg, and a little sugar, plus a few small chunks of butter then start on the dough. in a bowl, work the flour and butter with your fingertips until it is encorporated and crumbly. form a well in the middle, and add a little water at a time until you have a ball of dough - do not overwork the dough, and try to work with it in a cool place so as not to melt the butter. roll out dough on a floured surface, then place over the apples (an easy way to do this is to roll the dough over the rolling pin to transport it, then unroll again over the pan). trim and tuck the edges, then cut a few slits, sprinkle sone cinnamon and some hunks of butter, and then bake in a 375 degee oven until the crust is slightly brown and hard, about 45 minutes i think. let it cool for a minute so that you don't get horribly burned by hot caramel, then place a plate over the pan and flip them together, et voila.

12.18.01 : penne in spicy asparagus sauce
penne in spicy asparagus sauce

half a yellow squash, a shallot, a clove of garlic, two tomatoes, a few tablespoons of puree tomato, small bunch of asparagus, splash of red qine vinegar, splash of balsamic vinegar, red pepper flakes, fresh oregano, salt, pepper, penne, parmesan

a discovery - yellow squash and asparagus somehow compliment each other in this sauce.

slice the squash and sautee in olive oil about half way, then add sliced shallot and smashed garlic. when shallots are mostly cooked, about two minutes, add tomatoes (seeded, salted, mine were unpeeled, cut into quarters) and tomato puree (to add some juice), as well as asparagus (cut into penne-length pieces). turn heat to medium-low, cover, and check in about 5 minutes, then addthe vinegars, about two shakes of red pepper flakes, slome salt, fresh ground black pepper, and oregano. cover again, simmering while the pasta water going (the sauce should be wet and loose from the tomato juices). when the penne is almost done, drain and add to pan with sauce, as well as some good olive oil. plate, and top with a liberal amount of parmesan. served one while watching "apocalypse now" (freaky... they play _the doors_ "the end" at the beginning).

12.16.01 : chris's grandfather's birthday: first encounter with foie gras (rich and buttery), caviar (salty and fishy, but with a good spritz of lemon, appealing. needed vodka.), and calvados (an apple liqueur. when i stuck my nose into the snifter and inhaled, it burned pleasantly all the way down, longer than any other liqueur. the flavor was strong like brandy, and the apple subtle.)

12.12.01 : potato-leek soup with croutons, bruschetta hamburgers with arugula

potato-leek soup

two large leeks, 4 medium potatoes, 3 c broth, one small onion, a strip of bacon, butter, milk, cream, salt and pepper

a comflagration of mark bittman and the city tavern's recipes (one had cream, the other bacon... heh) : slice off the green part of the leeks and discard, then wash white part and cut in half down the middle, then cut into slices. sautee in the bottom of the soup pot in butter over medium-low heat, while cutting up the potatoes into small pieces. when leeks are ready (about 10 minutes), add stock and potatoes, and simmer for about 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender (i kept the lid on, making for a thinner soup). in a pan, frizzle sliced-up bacon about half-way to done, then add diced onions and brown them. add to pot, and then season with salt and pepper to taste. when soup is ready, take out about 3 cups and liquify in a blender, then add back to pot, along with a glug of cream and about 3/4 c milk, and heat but do not boil. serve with croutons, because they're good. serves 3-4.
12.11.01 : doggy bag of lamb-shank bone from sergentsville inn

12.10.01 : "that'll be $19.95" - duck and pork sausages smothered in caramelized onions with home-made applesauce, buttermilk mashed potatoes, and asparagus gratin

12.09.01 : grilled tuna steaks stuffed with arugula, cucumber salad with soy, sushi rice

(we disappeared for a while... somewhere in there wayne made this, and i missed it:)

braised chicken

chicken legs, garlic, salt and pepper, shallots, fennel, white wine, chicken stock, butter, cream

I finally bought a lid for my cast-iron skillet.

Take a couple chicken legs and salt and pepper them liberally. Heat the skillet up to high and brown the chicken on both sides. Add a glug of olive oil, throw in a few mashed cloves of garlic, some minced shallots, some chopped fennel stalks, and add a little more salt and pepper. Sizzle everything up a bit, and then add some white wine and some chicken stock. Cook for a minute or two, then cover and place in a 250 degree oven.

Cook, undisturbed, for about 2 hours.

Remove from the stove. Remove the best chicken you've ever had to a platter, along with the floating, half-dissolved fennel/garlic/shallot bits. Put the pan with the juices back on the stove on high. Reduce the juices down, then swirl in some butter and cream. S & P to taste, slather over the chicken, and mangia mangia.

12.04.01 : steak sandwiches, tortellini in broth, "disgustingly rich brownies" (from the klutz cookbook)

12.02.01 : breakfast - spinach-ricotta omelettes, biscuits and sausage gravy

12.01.01 : blues 'n' bbq - grilled pizza (mushroom-sage, tomato-roasted pepper), grilled portabellas, apple crisp

november | january