10.31.01 : "something simple" - take-out white pizza with ricotta and prosciutto

10.30.01 : chicken saltimboca (chicken wrapped around prosciutto, parm, and sage, seared in butter) with spinach, fennel, and ugly-fruit (they're kinda like big funky oranges) salad (with balsamic vinagrette) and two-fennel (roasted and fresh stalks) soup, olive bread and olive oil for dipping

10.29.01 : spice-rubbed salmon, wilted mixed salad with pancetta and almond-rolled chevre

spice-ribbed salmon

2 fillets (tails) of salmon, salt and pepper, 1 T coriander seeds, 1/4 t cloves, 1 1/2 t cumin seeds, 1 t fresh grated nutmeg

from the minimalist - my dad had given me a tail of salmon that he brought back frozen from alaska, which i thawed for several days in the fridge. when i filletted it, i thought it had gone bad, since the meat was mushy rather than firm, but not so! it turned out awesome.

start by laying the salmon skin-side-down on a baking sheet and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. grind up the spices - there are two ways to do this: a spice grinder (wayne wouldn't let me use the coffee grinder), of mortar and pestle (in this case, the butt end of a wooden bottle opener i made this summer, and a small glass). layer on the spices evenly, rolling the glass over them to press into the fish, then cover with saran wrap and let sit while you take a shower or something. when you're done, preheat the oven to 450, heat up a pan on medium-high, then melt some butter and pan sear the salmon for 3 minutes. flip over on to baking sheet, and bake for about 4-5 minutes. made enough for 4... i shoulda invited my dad over.

wilted mixed salad with pancetta and almond-rolled chevre

small bunch of beet greens, a cucumber (salted, seeded, and sliced into thin wedges), a leek (sliced into rounds and seperated into two piles), green onion, sherry vinegar, salt and pepper, some pancetta, garlic, a package of chevre, bround almonds

on the side, spread out some ground almond (we had some left over from weeks ago) on a plate. in a small pan sautee half of the leeks in butter, and let cool. mix in with goat cheese, then use a knife to seperate a clump, let it stick to the knife, and coat in almonds on three sides, the unstick it fom the knife and roll it around. we heated these up in the toaster oven before we put them on the salad (watch out, they're gooey. gooey is good).

start by cooking up the pancetta with a clove of garlic (discared this, unless you wanna chew on it for a while...), then add to beet greens, the other half of the leeks, some green onion, and some salt and pepper. get a medium pot heated up a bit, then toss in the mixture with a glug of sherry vinegar and put the lid on for a few seconds. remove from heat and put into a bowl, and add cucumber. serve on plates and add chevre.

10.28.01 : wayne's antipasti of four bruschetta: olives and anchovy, tomato and goat cheese, prosciutto and parmigiano reggiano, mushrooms and sage; chris' first try at home-made pasta: pumpkin-filled raviolis in butter and sage sauce (the filling rocked, but i still need practice with the pasta...)

10.27.01 : chris' dinner - radish greens salad with goat cheese and walnuts, sweet potato fries with poblano catsup (hmm... shoulda thrown out that poblano puree a bit earlier...)

10.25.01 : barbequed beef with pumpkin seed mole (a wierd bastardization of emeril's recipe with chicken. how do you shell pumpkin seeds anyway? oh, and the beef was rubbed in cayenne and fennel seeds, and slow cooked for about 3 hours), steamed sugar snap peas, and mashed potatoes

10.24.01 : chris's lunch: pastrami and goat cheese sandwich on sourdough with salted plum tomato and pepper mayo; dinner: lemming stew

lemming stew

half an onion, about 1/4 lb of pancetta (aw yah philly italian market), clove o' garlic, 1 c white wine, one can drained and passingly rinsed cannellini beans, about 1.5 - 2 c of stock (we made ours last night from all the frozen leftover bones of the past few weeks, plus carrots and roasted fennel), a splash of sherry vinegar (not too much - it can overwhelm), liberal salt and pepper, one sprig each fresh oregano and thyme (thanks mom), fresh parsley (thanks supermarket people), hunka-hunka parmesan (go fig - that's the dictionary spelling...), and a package of tortellini (until we start making our own...)

so we set up a diving board over the soup pot to see what would happen... ok, actually it's tortellini in broth, but for some reason during dinner we started talking about lemmings. but it got ya interested, didn't it? anyway: sautee rustic cut onions and pancetta in olive oil, and toss in a crushed clove of garlic, until pancetta is starting to brown, 7-8 minutes. add wine, beans, and stock, cook for few minutes. add sherry vinegar, salt and pepper, and tortellini, then cook until tortellini are about ready. toss in fresh oregano, thyme, cook for a minute or so, then serve, garnished with parsley and lots of parm. the bean starches will make this more like a stew than a soup, but you can add more broth to get, well, a more brothy soup. served 2 pretty darn well.
10.23.01 : cider-cumin beef kabobs, roasted fennel bulb, goat cheese and walnut spinach salad with sherry vinegar-dijon-garlic vinaigrette
cider-cumin beef kabobs

marinade: 1/2 t each of cumin, coriander seed, and curry, plus a dash of paprika, salt, and pepper, mixed into enough cider to cover meat

about 1 pound of london broil or thick-cut beef trimmed of fat (get your hands in there) and cut into 2 inch cubes, three colors of bell peppers, half an onion

start marinading the meat about half an hour to an hour before charging up the grill. by then it will be dark, so bring a flashlight. slice peppers and onions thickly, enough to have them hang on the skewer, about an inch for the peppers, and at least 1/2 an inch for the onion. skewer meat interspersed with veggies, and lay on the grill. flip after about 5 minutes, then let cook with the lid down until you don't get red juices out of the beef when you squeeze it, about 15 minutes. flip, and cook for a few more minutes, and remove from grill. this gave us medium-well beef, which was tender but not as red as some carnivores desire. and don't be afraid of char... it tastes good. really. boil down pan sauce with a dallop of sour cream, and pour over dismantled kabob. serves 2.
10.22.01 : chinese takeout for chris

10.21.01 : breakfast: buttermilk pancakes, homefries, pear butter

buttermilk pancakes

2 c flour, 3 c buttermilk, 1/2 stick (4 T) melted butter, 2 eggs, 1 T each of baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and a dash of sugar

[new, perhaps improved method:] start by melting the butter and beginning to let it cool. take the eggs out of the fridge and let them warm to room temp (this seems wierd, but i think it helps). mix the dry ingredients, then add buttermilk and mix in (you don't want to overmix the batter at any point now, because the acids in the buttermilk are what react with the baking soda and make the pancakes kinda fluffy). add sugar to butter and cream together a bit, then mix in eggs (alternative method: add butter to batter, then eggs, then sugar. the idea is not to cook the eggs with warm butter, and also not to freeze the butter with cold eggs. never thought it could be so complicated, huh?). lumps are alright. heat up a pan over medium/high heat, wake up your friends, and go for it. try making silver dollar pancakes... they're fun. always use real syrup. serves 6-8.

pear butter

pears, butter, ginger, cinnamon

this idea is from our landlord - i went to ask if i could pick pears from her tree along the driveway. she gave me three pears (they ripen off the tree, she says), and suggested not too many spices, since the flavor of the pears can be easily overpowered.

slice up the pears into smallish pieces (1/4 inch is best - they cook faster). i didn't peel the pears, which gave a more gritty consistancy in the end, which i kinda liked. start heating a small pan on medium heat, and put in about a tablespoon of butter - this may be too much, since it appeared congealed when i put it the mixture a jar in the fridge, but it works pretty well when reheated. start sauteeing the pears in butter, and add about a half teaspoon of ginger and a shake of cinnamon.

put the heat on low. the cooking process was an experiment - the idea is that it will take about 2-3 hours over low heat to fully cook/caramelize the pears. i alternated covering and uncovering the mixture to control water content (covered keeps in moisture, uncovering lets it evaporate). you will know it's done when the mix is a nice deep brown and the pieces of pear are no longer distinct. this goes well with the pancakes, and refridgerates for at least a few days.

10.20.01 : monk's restaurant in philly for wayne's birthday

10.19.01 : butternut squash stuffed with sausage and apples

"don't you guys cook anything without sausage?"

butternut squash stuffed with sausage and apples

a butternut squash ("great for picking up the chicks"), 8 oz breakfast sausage, 1 large apple or two small apples, 2 T butter softened, 1 T brown sugar, handful of sage leaves, salt and black pepper

based on the joy: preheat the oven to 375. halve and seed squash, then put on baking sheet and put a few thin pats of butter on it. bake the bugger for 30-40 minutes, until soft and brown on top. after 45 minutes, when you've forgotten about the squash in the oven, spring up at random and freak out your roommate, and save the squash from oblivion, and let the poor thing cool. in the meantime, crumble sausage into skillet and cook until no longer pink. peel, core, and cut apples into 1/4-1/2 inch cubes, then add to skillet and cook for a few minutes until tender but still crisp. scoop out most of the squash's insides (you mean person you), leaving a 1/2 inch shell. mix squash into stuffing, along with butter, brown sugar, ripped-up sage, salt and pepper. stuff back into the carcass, top with a some more brown sugar and butter, and bake at 375 for about 20 minutes (if impatient: 10 minutes). serves 3, including one guy who can't eat wheat or dairy... sorry about the butter dude ; ) ... "i eat so well whenever i come here. it's awesome."
10.18.01 : pesto tortellini in butter-sage sauce with a cubic yard of parmesean

10.17.01 : "three-yards-of-rosemary" roasted chicken (or, "rosemary wrapped in chicken", or "there are two sides to every chicken". hint: stuff it with lemon) with roasted turnips and celery root, wayne's mom's cucumber and onion salad, stirfried broccolini and sugar snap peas

wayne's mom's cucumber and onion salad

a cucumber, some of an onion, about a cup of half & half, 2 T sugar, 2 T white vinegar

slice the cucumber and onion into salad-sized pieces, and sprinkle over about a teaspoon of salt. let these sit for an hour (of if impatient, 10 minutes), then squeeze then within an inch of their lives. set aside. in a bowl mix the half & half, sugar, and vinegar (it won't curdle. don't ask why. we mixed the sugar and vinegar together first in a glass, just because we were nervous), then toss in veggies. let sit for an hour (if impatient, 10 minutes, but apparently this is the secret, so do it). feeds two.
10.16.01 : grilled pizza with assorted mystery cheeses, herbs from chris' mom's garden, pancetta, and orange tomatoes
grilled pizza dough

1 t active dry yeast, 2 c flour, 1 1/2 t salt, olive oil

from the joy:

first dissolve yeast in 2 T of warm water (not too hot, or it will kill the little yeastlings), about five minutes, then give the mixture a stir. in a bowl mix flour and salt, then wash out the yeast bowl with 2/3 cup of cool water, into the dry stuff, and stur until all is incorporated. here comes the fun part: with a thing of flour ready at hand, start kneeding the dough, adding flour so that you can actually kneed the stuff without it climbing up your arms, but you don't want it too dry either. kneed for ten minutes, then place in an oiled bowl, swirl around until top is also covered with oil, then cover and let sit for about two hours (it should double in size) in a warm place. yay gluten formation. punch the bugger, then let sit for another 45 minutes.

get the grill ready at a decent heat, then stretch the dough onto the oiled back of your significant other, i mean, a cookie sheet. if the dough doesn't stay, give it some time to relax, then strech again... but don't over-handle the stuff, cuz it'll get wierd - i had the most success with just removing it from the bowl, placing on the sheet, and pushing out once. also, thin is good, because the grill with make it puff without it being too too filling. anyway, take it down to the grill, outside in october, when it is now completely dark, and lift or slide onto the grill. watch it, and allow for charring (it tastes good). when ready, flip, add toppings (if using an olive oil base, be sure to sprinkle with salt), and close the top to melt. remove when bottom is good one done.

10.15.01 : stuffed-pepper-rice-mixture-and-black-bean-in-chicken-broth leftover soup, not-quite-what-i'd-expected autumn almond-apple-smoked-gouda bruscetta

10.14.01 : for an autumn afternoon: broiled grapefruit; that night: caprese salad and sage mashed potatoes

broiled grapefruit

halved grapefruit (preferably pink), about 2 t sugar per grapefruit half, ground or crystalized ginger

set rack and broiler pan such that the grapefruit will be about 3-4 inches from the top element of your oven, and preheat broiler. halve grapefruit, take out big seeds, cut around the periphery to make pieces easier to remove, then cover with a liberal amount of sugar and a good sprinkle of ginger. place on pan, and broil with door open so that you can see when the tops are browned, about 5 minutes.
wayne's sage mashed potatoes

So buy yourself a food mill.

That's the first rule of making beatific mashed potatoes. Use a food mill. It turns potatoes into pureed angel wings. Trust me.

Cut some baking potatoes into quarters and throw 'em into boiling water--don't bother peeling. Cook 'em until they're fork tender (or forking tender, as they say in some neighborhoods). Meanwhile, heat up some cream in a saucepan. Throw in a clove or two of garlic, slightly crushed, and a few sage leaves into the cream.

When the potatoes are done, take a little of the cooking water and place in the mashed potato bowl to warm it up. Drain the potatoes and carefully pull the peels off. Dump the water out of the potato bowl. Place the potatoes into the food mill and start milling them into the bowl. When all the potatoes have been milled, strain the cream and add to the potatoes. Stir it together. Add some buttermilk. Stir, stir, stir. Add butter, salt and pepper. Stir and fluff. Eat while still hot. Yum.

10.11.01 : our first meal of two (as far as we know) original (and darn good) recipes: stuffed peppers and eggplant wrapped around mozzarella
wayne's stuffed bell peppers

3 bell peppers, 3 c rice (1 c short grain rice, 2 c water, 1/2 T butter, 2 large pinches salt), 1/2 lb of italian sausage removed from casing, a head of spinach (stems removed), mashed clove of garlic, salt and pepper, splash of sherry vinegar, 1 T butter, 1/2 cup parm, handful of sage leaves

start cooking rice. preheat oven to 500 degrees. take peppers and make a cut all the way around, about a half an inch from the top. twist the cap, remove seed bundle and seeds, and set aside. cut off the bottom of the pepper so that it stands upright. in a pan, brown sausage in olive oil, then add spinach, garlic, s&p, and sherry vinegar. when rice is 75% cooked, place in pan with meat mixture, add rice wine vinegar, more salt and pepper, and sage leaves, and cook. when ready to stuff, stir in butter and parm, stuff into pepper. slather pepper in oil, sprinkle salt on the cap, and place upright in a skillet or oven dish. cook for 10 minutes or so, until the caps blister pretty well. place some extra rice mixture on the plate, and place stuffed pepper in the center of it. served 2, but it should serve 3.

wayne had an idea for a variation: roast peppers first, with a slit in the side. remove skin, pry open, remove seeds, and stuff the buggers.

chris's eggplant-wrapped mozzarella

two 14-18 inch japanese (long and skinny) eggplants, olive oil, bread crumbs, about a 1/4 lb fresh mozzarella

start by removing the tops and bottoms of the eggplants and slicing them into about 1/4 inch strips. sprinkle the slices with salt, and set aside, next to a plate with oil on it, and a plate with bread crumbs in it. start heating a pan, and when it is hot, add a liberal amount of oil. dredge both sides of slice in oil, them in bread crumbs, and fling into the pan. brown them, then drain on a paper towel until you can handle them. while they cool, slice up the mozzarella into rectangular prisms about 1/4 inch on a side and about 2 inches long, enough for one per slice of eggplant. preheat your toaster oven to about 300 degrees. when the eggplants are ready, carefully wrap each one around a piece of mozzarella, starting at one corner of the eggplant, so that it wraps in a spiral around the mozzarella and covers it from end to end. place on toaster tray and bake until cheese begins to melt (but doesn't run out the sides too much), about five minutes. served 2, could serve 3.
10.10.01 : farfalle in smoked ham and pea cream sauce (see marcella cucina)

10.09.01 : soul food day: collard greens, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, buttermilk drop biscuits

surprisingly zippy collard greens

ham or bacon, turnip leaves, few glugs cider vinegar, large pinch of salt, few large pinches of sugar, some ground red pepper, black pepper

brown the ham in the bottom of the pot, then remove stems from greens, chop in thirds or so, cover with "a couple coffee mugs full" of water, and simmer for an hour. add cider vinegar, salt, sugar, pepper, and serve partially but not completely drained of the juices.
10.08.01 : grilled chicken, rosemary risotto, salad
rosemary risotto

about a cup of risotto rice, a cup of white wine, half an onion, several garlic cloves, 2 T butter, 1 T chopped fresh rosemary, about 3 cups of broth, salt and pepper, parm

it seems like the ways of making risotto should be public domain, but this idea at least was marcella hasan's...

start by heating up the broth and having it simmering nearby. dice onion fairly small, and sautee in either a deep skillet or 4 qt. pot (you want even heating). add garlic after a few minutes, then when the two are ready, toss in rosemary, stir a few times, and then pour in rice, stirring to coat the rice, and then add half the wine. let the wine soak up almost completely, then pour in rest of wine. continue this process of adding liquid (now the broth) and letting it get soaked up, until the rice is good (no longer crunchy) - be sure near the end to not add too much liquid, because at least i don't like rosiotto soup-style. add pepper and check to see if you need salt, which you may not depending on the broth you used. grate in some parm, and serve hot, since it can turn from creamy to cement somewhat easily. serves 3.

10.07.01 : kielbasa sausage and "wayne-just-got-a-food-mill" mashed potatoes

10.06.01 : went to italian market in philly, bought food mill, insane spatula, and pasta maker. he he he.

10.04.01 : cuban black beans, mashed butternut squash with maple syrup and sour cream, sauteed fennel, bratwurst, roated pablano puree

10.02.01 : hamburgers with smoked gouda on portuguese rolls

10.01.01 : breakfast - "the best omelette i've ever had"; dinner - "that was a long weekend" soup

soup au fennel fennel fennel

4-6 c of stock, half an onion, 2 peeled tomatoes, about 1 cup of fennel stalks and bulb, 2 medium red potatoes, about 5-7 cloves of garlic (halved), rind of parmesean and gruyere, a can of cannellini beans, about 1 cup of ditalini, fennel seeds, salt and pepper, parsley for garnish, crouton with melted gruyere and blue cheese to top

sautee onions and fennel together just until onion starts to become clear, then add to stock. cube tomatoes, add. cube potatoes, sautee for a few minutes (not to brown), and add. toss in garlic raw, rinds, beans, and pasta, and season with a healthy amount of salt and lots of pepper. then comes the key step: forget that there is no lid on the fennel seed container, and pour in about half a tablespoon. simmer until pasta is done, top with toast that has been broiled with cheese over it, sprinkle parsley, and grind on some more pepper.

wayne's omelette

for egg mixture: 4 eggs, spoonful of dijon, glug of white wine, few spoonfuls of ricotta or parm

filling: gruyere, bacon, green onions

i still can't quite figure out how to flip these things right, but then again, who can ;)

september | november