Monthly Archives: April 2011

Vote for the Underdogs: Beet Salad tossed in an Anchovy Infused Balsamic Dressing

Beet Salad tossed in an Anchovy Infused Balsamic Dressing, served on a Bed of Baby Arugula and topped with a Farm Fresh Soft Boiled Egg

Beet Salad tossed in an Anchovy Infused Balsamic Dressing, served on a Bed of Baby Arugula and topped with a Farm Fresh Soft Boiled Egg

Beets and anchovies. The undeserving red-headed step children of the culinary world.

I’m not really sure why. Beets are delicious when done right, a beautiful red or gold, with a firm bite and an earthy, buttery flavor. Granted, I was never forced to eat canned beets as a child so perhaps no negative associations were formed.

And anchovies offer such wonderful depth and flavor to sauces and dressings, and yet people shudder at the thought.

So I realize that by making a beet salad with anchovy dressing I’m giving them slim chances of being voted Prom King & Queen (and I know my friends Henk and Angela are cringing in horror), but hopefully at least a few of you will try this because it really is quite good.

Because of the dye transfer of the beets this is best to plate individually, although all the components save for the soft-boiled egg could be made the night before making this an elegant start to a dinner party.

Serve with a dry bubbly.

Beet Salad tossed in an Anchovy Infused Balsamic Dressing, served on a Bed of Baby Arugula and topped with a Farm Fresh Soft Boiled Egg

Serves 2 as a main, or 4 as a small starter

4 medium red and/or gold beets, washed and trimmed
2 tbsp good red wine vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp anchovy paste
salt and pepper
4 farm fresh eggs
4 cups baby arugula
4 baby anchovies (optional)

Preheat oven to 400.  Add scrubbed beets to a small baking dish such as a bread pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add 1 1/2 inches of water.  Cover tightly with foil and cook for 45 minutes or until a knife can easily pierce and the beets are started to release a yummy smell. Let cool enough to handle and slide off skins. This can easily be done by simply rubbing the beat with a paper towel to get off the skins, and minimize the red fingers.

Add to blender red wine vinegar, balsamic, oil, dijon mustard, and anchovies – blend for 30 seconds until the dressing emulsifies. Taste for salt, pepper and add more anchovy paste if you want a stronger flavor.

Boiling Eggs

Add four eggs to an empty pan and fill with water until the eggs are just about 2/3 covered. Remove the eggs from pan and bring to a soft boil. Add the eggs back in and cook uncovered for 7 minutes exactly. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath in a medium-sized bowl. After seven minutes remove the eggs and plunge into the bath until cold, about 3-4 minutes. Peel (running under cold water if shells are hesitant to come off) and set aside.

To assemble toss the arugula with half of the dressing in a large bowl. Add to plates.

Add the beets to the bowl you used for the arugula, add the remainder of the dressing, toss well, and add to plates.

Arugula_Beets

Carefully cut the eggs in half and top the salad.

If desired, put a small anchovy on each egg.

Finish with salt and pepper.

Voila


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Filed under Entertaining, Health Conscious, Lactose Free, Make ahead, Seafood, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Googling for Dinner: Shaved Fennel Salad with Criminis and Parmesan

Shaved Fennel Salad with Criminis and Parmesan

Shaved Fennel Salad with Criminis and Parmesan

There are many reasons to love the Internet:

  • Surfing Petfinder.com for a puppy that I should definitely not get
  • Online shopping at JCrew.com for shoes I definitely don’t need
  • Reading the NYTimes about current events I absolutely ought to know more about

But without fail…another reason for loving the good ‘ol World Wide Web is that after a weekend of a tad too much partying (thinking dancing until 3a with my lovely friend and neighbor, Ila) and not enough productivity I’m able to look in my fridge, see that for dinner we’ve got an old fennel bulb, some crimini mushrooms, and a hunk of Parmesan and immediately be offered a plethora of dining ideas.

I ended up going with the Shaved Fennel Salad from the oh-so-lovely Orangette blog by Seattle’s Molly Wizenberg. If you don’t read her…you definitely should. Just don’t compare me to her…that would be too sad.

This salad is surprisingly good and a wonderful compliment to the other things I had in my fridge and cupboard; grilled chicken breast marinated in a coconut dressing and toasted quinoa.

Make it on a Monday night when you’re wishing you had a weekend to recover from your weekend.

Shaved Fennel Salad with Criminis and Parmesan
Adapted from Orangette
Serves two with just enough left over for lunch

1 medium fennel bulb
3 or 4 small crimini mushrooms
2-3 TB good-quality olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
Coarse sea salt
A hunk of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Freshly ground black pepper

  1. Prepare the fennel by chopping off its feathery fronds (I always feel sad throwing away such a beautiful part of the vegetable, but c’est la vie). Give it a rinse under cool water and dry completely. Carefully trim off any brown or tired spots, then thinly, thinly slice, preferably with a mandolin. Arrange on a large platter and top with olive oil.
  2. Wipe off the mushrooms with a damp paper towel and trim the bottom of the stems. Thinly, thinly slice (probably with a knife this time) and arrange on top of the fennel and top with the lemon juice.
  3. Coarsely grate the sea salt over and then coarsely grate the Parmesan. Top with cracked black pepper and enjoy!

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Filed under Health Conscious, Salads, Vegetarian

Carbonara Made with Farm Fresh Eggs, Topped with Pork Belly

Farm Fresh Eggs

Eggs Glorious Eggs

What is the opposite of a green thumb?

Whatever it is…I’ve got it.

A reluctant gardener at best I’ve been known to kill even the hardiest of plants. We’re talking mint…rosemary…bamboo.

That’s right. For the daughter of an award-winning landscape designer, I am a total failure in the garden.

Which is why when our friend and neighbor, Casey, told us about his new CSA, Hand Farmed Organics, I immediately panicked it would sell out (we are talking about neurotic, type-a me after all), signed up for a half-share, and started pestering him about when it would start-up.

Hand Farmed Organics

The View from the Farm

Potato Planting Party

Potato Planting Party

Well…were just weeks away now from weekly deliveries of broccoli, cauliflower, and beets fresh from the ground, but what he does already have is the world’s very best eggs.

If you buy eggs at a grocery store, stop immediately. Find a farm near you and get the real thing. There is simply no comparison.

Beautifully varied, speckled white and brown shells, these eggs (whose yolks incidentally are neon orange) are the most delicious, velvety treats you’ve had in a long time.

Chicken

Hot Chick

Subsequently, I’ve been trying to think of recipes that include eggs. This carbonara topped with slow-roasted pork belly is definitely a decadent treat, but a perfect dinner for a cool spring night with friends and a good bottle of Pinot Grigio. Don’t let the Pork Belly intimidate you. Just think of it as Bacon’s wilder,  older brother.

Carbonara Made with Farm Fresh Eggs, Topped with Pork Belly
Adapted from two Food & Wine Recipes

Serves 8

Pork Belly

2 pounds boneless, skinless, meaty fresh pork belly, fat trimmed to 3/4 inch and scored
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
1 celery rib, chopped
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 325°. Heat a large, deep ovenproof skillet until hot. Add the pork, fatty side down, and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned on both sides, 8 minutes. Scatter the garlic, onion, celery and carrots on either side of the pork belly and cook until softened slightly, 5 minutes.

Belly Braising

Add the wine and boil until reduced to 1/4 cup, 5 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Cover and braise in the oven for 2 hours, turning every thirty minutes, until the meat is very tender but not falling apart. Transfer the pork to a platter and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Cut the meat into two-inch cubes and set aside.

Carbonara

12 ounces bucatini or angel hair
1 shallot, very finely chopped
1 garlic clove, very finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
4 large egg yolks, whipped
Salt
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley
Freshly ground pepper

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 3 tablespoons of the cooking water.

Meanwhile heat a large skillet until hot. Add the pork belly and cook over moderate heat until most of the fat has been rendered and each side boasts a nice crisp outside, 7 minutes. Remove from pan and set on paper towels to drain. Add the shallot and garlic and cook over moderate heat until softened and beginning to brown, 3-4 minutes. Add the cream and simmer over moderate heat until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the hot pasta to the skillet and stir to coat, 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Stir in the reserved pasta cooking water, the 1/2 cup of grated cheese and then slowly add the egg yolks tossing constantly so they don’t cook onto the pasta. Season with salt. Divide the pasta into bowls, top with pork belly, and sprinkle with parsley and pepper. Serve, passing more cheese at the table.

Carbonara Topped With Pork Belly

Carbonara Topped with Pork Belly

**All photos compliments of Hand-Farmed Organics’ Kim Sklar**

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Filed under Comfort Foods, Pasta, Uncategorized