Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fall Vegetable Harvest!

Last week a friend and I made what is essentially a ragu with almost all of the vegetables that I got from the CSA, and it was delicious, fresh, and all the vegetables tasted like themselves. The leftovers were also delicious! This all made me very happy! Enjoy!


1 tbl evoo
2 cloves garlic, smushed and diced
1 small onion, diced
1 cup white wine
1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 eggplant, chopped and left to sit with sea salt sprinkled over it for at least 15-20 minutes
1 potato, peeled and chopped
1/2 of a large celeriac root, peeled and chopped
4 pieces of prosciutto, sliced (optional)
1 tbl herbs de provence
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan.
2. Once heated, add garlic and diced onion, and stir fry alone for a few minutes.
3. Add prociutto pieces and herbs de provence and let brown slightly.
4. Add the cup of white wine and let it cook down.
5. Then slowly add the chopped vegetables, stirring frequently to mix.
6. Allow vegetables to cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the pan becomes too dry, occasionally coat the base of the pan with a cup of water.
7. Salt and pepper to taste.

My friend and I also made and loved the Leek Toasts with Blue Cheese from Smitten Kitchen - give these a try:
We also had some extra caramelized leeks from this dish, and just added them to our ragu.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Miranda's Zucchini Soup

I know, I know, it's not summer anymore, and zucchini is falling out of season (I'm well aware - I paid over $5 for a few small zucchini at a grocery store here in NYC, and it wasn't even a fancy grocery). But this is a long-time favorite ever since my friend Miranda made it at her house in Lavacourt the summer before last, and I wanted to make it just one more time before it gets cold.

Save this, then, for next summer! It's as delicious cold as warm or hot.

Zucchini Soup
about 5 fresh zucchini, peeled zebra style and sliced into chunks/disks
1 large white onion roughly chopped
1 tsp herbs de provence
4 cloves garlic, crushed
5 cups vegetable stock (I use boiling water and a bouillon cube)
1 tsp dry dill weed (or 2 TBL of fresh dill)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 or 3/4 cup creme fraiche or greek yogurt

1. Cook onion and garlic with herbs de Provence in olive oil until translucent.

2. Add chopped zucchini and cook until it begins to soften.
Add enough stock to just
cover the zucchini 

3. Add stock, dill, salt and pepper and simmer for at least thirty minutes. The zucchini will start to fall apart.

4. Wait until the soup has cooled a bit (I made this rookie mistake last night and broke the plastic jar of my food processor!), puree it in your food processor. Add creme fraiche or Greek yogurt to the soup to thicken. Enjoy!


*if you have chives, these are a nice garnish.
**if you have hot peppers sitting around, slice some up for the soup, but go easy or it might end up tasting like a tex mex soup!

Me with Mom, Miranda & Francois at Lavacourt

The table of many fine memories!

Monday, October 3, 2011

September Bake-Date

Galina & Amy 
Last week I went to a friend's house with two friends who LOVE to cook! Amy, a friend from high school, has her own cooking blog called Check it out! Galina, a new friend who is a fellow fellow at the Met, was e-mailing with me about a gorgeous-sounding red wine chocolate cake... and we decided to make an evening (and a full meal) of it! Amy's kitchen has plenty of space for three, and we had a great time chatting while we constructed a delicious dinner. Hope to do it again soon, ladies!

We selected three different dishes - two from a favorite blog in the city, and another recipe from Bon Appetit.

For a salad, we constructed Smitten Kitchen's Salad with arugula, fennel, prosciutto, and pomegranate. To die for! To top it off, Amy had purchased nice fresh cut prosciutto from the butcher counter at the grocery store, and it was delicious. The salt from the ham and the sweet from the pomegranate was a perfect combination!
pomegranate arugula salad

For dinner, we made Mac and Cheese with Caramelized Shallots, using a Bon Appetit recipe that you can find here:

caramelizing shallots
our hearty, rich plates!
finished product: gourmet mac'n'cheese
This dish was easy and fun. The caramelized shallots give a sweetness which tastes delicious with the cheddar cheese of the macaroni. And the cheese sauce is super easy, pretty quick and delicious - far superior to anything you can make from powder in a box. Just keep a box of tissues nearby, as cutting the shallots can bring tears to your eye!
me, goat cheese,
mac n' cheese

And the raison d'etre for the evening: Red Wine Chocolate Cake. Why not combine two favorite things?This cake was unbelievably easy,  and, like the rest of the (admittedly rich) meal, heavenly!

Amy and L.C. working on the cake
Galina & the Kitchen Aid

red wine for cake? yes, please!
and don't forget about the dessert!

L.C. was very impressed with our efforts!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Risotto with Caramelized Onion, Cheddar, and Basil

Amy's Rosemary Bread
Sounds yummy, right?! I'd been building up a pile of onions from my weekly CSA that I hadn't used, and hadn't made risotto for awhile, so it seemed like the perfect meeting. And it was delicious, rich, and so much fun to share with my friend Ann, whom I hadn't seen in ages, and her boyfriend. We also enjoyed the meal with a piece of one of my favorite French cheeses - delice de Bourgogne and some delicious rosemary bread from Amy's Bread. This dish takes a leisurely hour to prepare.

2 cups arborio rice
3 tbl olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic, smushed and diced
2 cups dry white wine
3-4 small shallots, peeled and chopped
2-3 large white onions, peeled and chopped
6-8 cups vegetable broth (I make my own with boiling water and a bouillon cube or two)
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 tbl fresh basil, chopped
2 cups arugula
salt and pepper


1. Bring vegetable broth to a gentle simmer on the stove top (on the back burner).
2. Turn on the heat under a large saucepan and a large frying pan and put 1 1/2 tbl olive oil in each.
3. Put half of the garlic in each pan.
arugula nests
4. As soon as the garlic begins to saute, add the risotto into the saucepan and the shallots/onions into the frying pan. Keep stirring the risotto until you see a small white dot in the center (but don't let the rice turn brown) and then add 1 cup of white wine. Once the onions begin to cook, add the other cup of white wine into the frying pan with them.
5. As the onions are caramelizing (add additional wine if the pan gets too dry and stir regularly), add laddle-fuls of broth into the rice mixture, stirring occasionally as it absorbs and waiting until it absorbs to add more broth.
6. After the onions begin to turn light brown, add half of the basil.
7. Once the rice becomes soft and creamy, turn off the heat and stir in the cheeses and the onion mixture.
8. Add salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil to taste.
9. Construct arugula nests on plates and place the risotto in the center. Sprinkle with the remaining chopped basil.

Enjoy with a nice wine!

a lovely tablespread