30 August 2005

Spicy Bean, Pasta & Sausage Soup

2 15- to 16-oz cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas) [or 1 can chickpeas, 1 can cannellini]
2 T olive oil [more if using turkey sausage]
1 pound Italian hot sausages, casings removed [turkey sausage worked just fine]
4 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped [maybe 3]
1/4 t dried crushed red pepper
1 28-oz can of diced tomatoes instead
4-6 c canned low-salt chicken broth
8 oz orecchiette (little ear-shaped pasta) or other small pasta [elbow works well]
3/4 - 1 c grated Romano cheese
Strain liquid from canned beans into blender. Add 1 cup beans and puree until smooth. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add sausages, rosemary, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Sauté until sausages are cooked through, breaking up with fork, about 8 minutes. Mix in tomato paste. Add bean puree, remaining beans, broth, and pasta. Simmer until pasta is tender and mixture is thick, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Mix in cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
Put a handful of fresh spinach in each bowl, ladle soup onto spinach. Let stand a minute and serve.

23 August 2005

ginger peach cobbler

adapted from Diner Desserts, by Tish Boyle

3 pounds ripe peaches
1/2 c granulated sugar
2 T all purpose flour
1 t peeled and grated fresh ginger
1/2 t cinnamon
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 T heavy cream

1 1/4 c all purpose flour
1/4 c granulated sugar
1 t baking pwder
1/4 t ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 T chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 c plus 1 T heavy cream
1 T finely chopped crystallized ginger

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9x13" glass baking dish.

To make filling: blanch peaches by plunging them into boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove them to a bowl of ice water, and, using your hands, slip off the skins. Cut into 1/4" thick slices off the pit, and put slices into a large bowl. In a small bowl, stir together well the sugar, flour, fresh ginger, cinnamon, lemon juice, and cream. Pour the mixture over the peach slices and toss to coat. Transfer the fruit to the prepared baking dish.

To make biscuits: put the flour, sugar, baking powder, ground ginger, and salt in a food processor and pulse until combined. Add the butter pieces and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir the vanilla into 1/2 c of the cream and add to the flour mixture. Pulse just until the dough starts to hold together. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured piece of waxed paper and shape it into a disk. Roll the dough out 1/4" thick. Using a 2" round biscuit cutter, cut out as many biscuits as possible. Gather up the scraps, roll and repeat until you have 12 biscuits.

Arrange the biscuits on top of the fruit filling, spacing them evenly (they will not spread much if at all). Brush the biscuits with the remaining 1 T cream and sprinkle with the crystallized ginger.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until the fruit is bubbling and the biscuits are golden brown. Serve warm.

10 August 2005

Asian Vegetable Salad

Serves 2

2 tbsp soy sauce
½ tbsp honey
½ tbsp fresh ginger, finely diced
½ tsp chilli flakes (optional)
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
75g fine Chinese egg noodles
85g mangetout, trimmed
115g red cabbage, finely sliced
1 carrot, peeled and sliced into julienne (matchstick-sized) strips
¼ cucumber, peeled and sliced into julienne strips
2 spring onions, finely sliced
115g fresh bean sprouts
115g tofu, diced into small cubes
Juice of lime
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the soy sauce, honey and ginger and chilli, if using, in a small saucepan. Set over a low heat and keep just below boiling point for 2-3 minutes. Pour the sesame oil into the warm ginger soy sauce and whisk in the vinegar. Tip into a large mixing bowl.

Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions — usually, this is to drop them into a pan of boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes. Drain thoroughly and shake dry, then mix into the ginger soy sauce.

Bring a pan of water to the boil, then add the mangetout to the pan. Slowly count to 10, then drain the mangetout and cool under the cold tap. Pat dry on kitchen paper and finely slice at an angle. Mix into the noodles with the sliced cabbage, carrots, cucumber, spring onions and bean sprouts. Pat dry the diced tofu and add to the bowl. Add the lime juice, adjust the seasoning to taste and serve.

05 August 2005

pasta with leeks and lobster tails

lobster tails
pasta, preferably smaller pasta like gemelli, orrechiette
dry white wine, maybe a sauvignon blanc
fresh tomatoes, chopped
tarragon, marjoram
leeks, white part, cut into 1/4" inch rounds, soaked and rinsed and soaked to remove sand
shallots, finely chopped
olive oil/butter
kosher salt
white pepper, red pepper

Boil the lobster tails until done, let cool, remove from shell. Cut into bite sized chunks. Cook pasta to preferred doneness, drain.

While cooking pasta, saute leeks in olive oil/butter, adding garlic, shallots, and a splash of wine as the leeks soften (garlic may burn if you add it too early). Add more wine as the pan gets dry. When leeks are almost done, the tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper to taste. Cook for a couple minutes, then add the lobster just until heated through. Turn off heat, adjust seasoning, and toss with pasta.

Serve immediately in shallow bowls.

Seasoning notes: Do not add parmesan or other cheese, as it will obscure the more delicate flavor of the lobster and leeks. This turns out fairly sweet from the lobster meat and the cooked leeks, so I like a little white pepper for contrast. Red pepper flakes might work too, but that could wind up too strong. The amount of wine you add dictates how liquid the non-pasta mixture winds up. It never turns into a sauce, but I like to use enough wine that every piece of pasta picks up the wine-leek-lobster-herb flavor.

03 August 2005

bleu cheese risotto

from Garrison’s Broiler and Tap, published in the AJC 08/03/05

6 c low-sodium chicken stock
4 slices bacon, diced
1 T butter
1/4 c diced yellow onion
1 c arborio rice
1/4 c white wine
4 oz crumbled bleu cheese
white pepper to taste

Pour chicken stock into a saucepan and heat over low. Do not boil. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the bacon until gently browned. Remove bacon and set aside.

Add butter and onion to bacon drippings in pan and cook, stirring, until onion is translucent, about 1 minute. Add rice and continue cooking and stirring for 2 more minutes. Add white wine to deglaze pan. Add enough warm chicken stock to cover rice completely. Cook, stirring constantly, until most of liquid is absorbed.

Repeat this process, adding just enough liquid each time to cover the rice, until it is creamy and tender but still has just a hint of resistance when you bite into it — about 30 minutes. You will use most or all of the chicken stock.

Remove from heat. Stir in reserved bacon and the blue cheese until cheese is melted. Season with white pepper.

Allow risotto to sit 10 minutes before serving. It will thicken as it cools.

4 servings, 463 calories, 18 grams fat, 30 grams protein, 41 grams carbohydrates