Aug 28 2010

zucchini lemon pasta

There are a few food blogs that I check pretty regularly, but hands down my favorite is Smitten Kitchen.  When I saw this recipe of hers there was no question about whether I was going to make it, it was when.  You see, I love any quick simple pasta that involves lemon.   Oh, and there’s cheese!

When I had already picked up the zucchini for this recipe, my sister sent me a different but similar zucchini pasta recipe.  When I responded that we were once again on the same wavelength, she wrote back that she had seen this recipe and wasn’t going to  make it because she didn’t have a mandoline.  Oh.  Oops, I missed that part.  But it wasn’t going to stop me! I had a fleeting thought that I could just cutting them thicker, but scoffed at the idea. I would do it by hand!  So I painstakingly cut the first zucchini into teeny tiny slivers.  Then Joseph came along and finished the next two double time with his master cutting skills. Continue reading

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Aug 25 2010

thomas keller’s caramelized sea scallops

Joseph insisted that instead of going out for his birthday, he wanted to make a nice meal at home and break open a bottle of wine that we brought back from our honeymoon in Napa last year.  One of the restaurants that we went to on our honeymoon was Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc (French Laundry wasn’t quite in our budget, not to mention it’s really hard to get reservations) and I gave Joseph Keller’s new cookbook, Ad Hoc at Home for Christmas.  Now, Thomas Keller’s cooking at home isn’t quite what we do at home on an average weekday night (I wish).  In fact, we hadn’t made anything from it yet, although Joseph has found the book to have really helpful tips, for example, how long to let meat rest before serving.  I mostly like to look at all the pretty pictures.

Anyway, while many of the recipes are bit more involved, Joseph found a very simple recipe that he wanted to make and oh my goodness, you need to do yourself a favor and try it in your home right away.  It’s very, very simple, and very, very tasty.  A perfectly caramelized scallop is pure perfection – a sweet little treat from the sea. We served them with roasted broccoli and some rice, threw in a cheese course (Camembert that we brought back from the French airport highrollers that we are), all served with Joseph Phelps’ 2007 Sauvignon Blanc. The result was a meal that tasted so good it felt like we’d spent a small fortune at a great restaurant and the cleanup was pretty minimal so we weren’t left with a mess wishing that we had gone out. Continue reading

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Aug 24 2010

macaron expédition

Remember my search for a macaron that rivaled the one I got in France?  Well, I hadn’t given up the search, but until this past weekend, the only other macarons I had tried were the ones from the River St. Whole Foods in Cambridge.  They were good, fine, whatever, but not worthy of their own post.  Luckily my sister-in-law, Jordan, tipped me off that Joyce Bakeshop in Brooklyn has amazing French macarons.  Now, a tiny disclaimer here that Jordan and her husband Mark are actually good friends of Joyce and her husband.  That said, this place is awesome, all family connections aside. In addition to the great vibe and friendly, helpful staff (definite bonuses, but let’s not kid ourselves about the most important component of a bakeshop!), the goods here are are more than good.  The shop has shelf after shelf of delectable treats of all kinds (chocolate cakes, fruit tarts, and puff pastry, oh my!) that I just can’t decide between.

I could go on and on, but it would make me too hungry and not to mention depressed because I live 4 hours away.  But we were in New York this weekend visiting Mark and Jordan (and little almost 2-year-old Amelia!) and for a wedding luncheon and frankly, there was no way I was leaving the state without going to Joyce’s and getting a macaron.  We went Saturday night but alas, it was too late in the day and they were out of macarons.  So we tried again the next afternoon on our way out of town.  Success! The second that I saw that they had macarons I ran and  told the guy at the counter that I needed one of every flavor.  I was in such a rush that I forgot to ask what flavors they were, so it’s kind of a guess… but I think we got coffee, vanilla, and salted caramel.

Yum, yum, yum.  These are definitely the best stateside macarons we’ve had!  They had the perfect balance of a delicate crunch of the outer meringue and ooey gooey middle.  The vanilla was quite tasty, but not my favorite of the three (but vanilla rarely – ok, never – is).  The coffee flavor was very subtle and super delicious.  The caramel macaron was also quite good, but what I really loved was the salt.  I wonder what kind of salt it was?  The big flaky grains had a really sharp flavor and I wish I had some in my cupboard.  I don’t know, maybe it was kosher salt after all and the yummy macaron just heightened the flavor experience.  All in all, I strongly suggest you begin planning your next trip to Brooklyn right now and make sure you get to Joyce’s early enough to get yourself a macaron (or 10).

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Aug 23 2010

shrimp tacos with tomato, radish, and habañero

Ok, it’s been a while since I’ve shared a recipe and here I am sharing another Rick Bayless recipe, also from Mexican Everyday.  This is the perfect summer meal — nice and light, crisp, and refreshing.

These tacos do pack a bit of heat from the habeñero, which is considerably spicier than jalepeños, but nothing too serious and the citrusy radish salad helps soften the heat level. Rick’s directions don’t specify whether you are to seed and de-rib the pepper and Joseph nearly didn’t which I believe would result in something nearly inedible for most people.  The ribs (the white part running the length of the inside of the chile) and the seeds pack the biggest punch of peppers, and like I said, habeñeros are up there on the heat charts. Check out cookthink.com for great tips on how to cut chiles.  Please also remember not to handle the seeds or ribs with your bare hands because the oils will remain long after and then you’ll go to take out your contacts and you will be very sorry. You can always use a plastic bag or something if you’re worried about it.

There’s really nothing else to say about about this dish, other than to make sure you make these before summer slips away and also make sure you check out his tips on how to reheat store-bought corn tortillas.  Failure to do so will result in lots of ripped up tortillas and that’s a promise.

Shrimp Tacos with Tomato, Radish, and Habañero
Adapted from Rick Bayless

Serves 4

1 to 1 1/4 lb medium-small shrimp, cooked and peeled*
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 small white onion, finely chopped
6 radishes, thinly sliced
1 fresh habeñero (or jalepeño), stemmed and finely chopped
2 large ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped in 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 cup (loosely packed) chopped cilantro
salt
12 warm corn tortillas (reheat using Rick’s technique if you get store-bought)

Combine the shrimp, lime juice, onion, radishes, chile, tomatoes, and cilantro in a bowl. Season to taste with salt, probably close to a teaspoon.

Serve with warm corn tortillas.

* These can also be made with fish or shellfish if you prefer

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