Friday, September 30, 2011

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Tagine over Saffron Couscous

Wow. This morning, exhausted and feeling lazy, I decided to soak some chickpeas to have for dinner, without any sort of plan for how I wanted to use them. At some point this afternoon, I pulled out my trusty copy of Plenty and took a peek to see if any new chickpea recipes would inspire me, and discovered this one, which called almost exclusively for ingredients I already had at home (the squash, cilantro and tomatoes came from the garden, and the rest was all in the pantry- I keep harissa and preserved lemons in my fridge at all times), except for parsnips and carrots, which I left out. The dish has a few different components- the chickpeas (which I cooked with the tomatoes, bay leaf, coriander seed, and garlic), the couscous (cooked with saffron, and I added some ghee at the end for extra yumminess), and the squash (which I roasted in a dutch oven with shallots, more bay leaf, cardamom pods, star anise, cinnamon, and a myriad of other recommended spices)- but in the end it is pretty simple, and if you have the patience to let some chickpeas soak and wait 45 minutes for them and your squash/root veg to cook, the rest comes together in no time. And boy oh boy is it good! I am already anticipating the leftovers...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Eggs with Arugula, Yogurt, Fried Sage, and Chillies

Guess where this came from? Yep, Plenty. What can I say? Every recipe looks better than the last, and I don't think there's a single one I'm not dying to make.

Roasted Autumn Fruit with Custard

Our friends from Seattle were in town so Erik and I made this to take to a lovely dinner in their honor. We used two kinds of figs and two kinds of pluots, cooked with a little lemon juice, orange zest, sugar, and vanilla bean.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tarte Tatin with Creme Fraiche Ice Cream

I wanted to make something using my dad's current crop of extra tart apples, and as it happens, apple pie is a favorite of the dinner guest I was having over this week. Instead of an American apple pie, I decided to try my hand at the classic French version- tarte tatin. I've made banana tarte tatin, and tomato tarte tatin, but never the traditional apple. I followed Jamie Oliver's recipe, which was very simple, but I got impatient waiting for the liquid from the apples to reduce before adding the puff pastry, and it got a little soggy. When I reheated the tarte for this photo, it got a little close to the broiler, so my apologies for the unsightly burnt edge. Either way (soggy or burnt) it still tasted great, and the ice cream (for which I used David Lebovitz's recipe) was fabulous and the perfect tangy accompaniment to this sweet dessert.

Fig and Basil Salad with Goat Cheese

Inspired by yet another recipe in Plenty, with Genovese and Thai Basil, Arugula, and a pomegranate molasses dressing.

Braised Short Ribs and Rapini over Fresh Corn Polenta

I have been eyeing this recipe for fresh corn "polenta" in Plenty for a while now. The corn was so sweet, I would happily eat it for breakfast any day of the week. Last night I served it with braised short ribs and some sauteed rapini to cut the richness of the beef. I cooked the ribs for about four hours with beef stock, red wine, and lots of aromatics. Yum!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Charentais Melon, Buffala Mozzarella, Basil, Sea Salt, Olive Oil

I guess this is just a fancier version of cantaloupe and cottage cheese, but boy is it good...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash with Lime, Chillies, Cilantro, and Yogurt-Tahini Dressing

Another Ottolenghi recipe (the squash is marinated in cardamom and allspice), made with the first of my homegrown butternut squashes! I am so proud of this little squash- he started as a seed that I saved last year, sprouted in my kitchen, planted and nurtured, and tonight he made a delicious dinner!

Monday, September 19, 2011


Shakshouka is a North African dish. I followed Yotam Ottolenghi's recipe in Plenty, which includes a bit of sugar, and I think next time I'd probably just wing it instead. Either way, it was a delicious breakfast!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fresh Butter Beans with Tuna, Onions, Capers and Chillies

This is a preparation I use a lot for quick pasta dinners (sautee onions until translucent with chilli flakes and capers, add tuna packed in oil to warm through, and toss with pasta), but I had these fresh butter beans from the market, and I thought I'd use them instead. Cannellinis and tuna are a classic combo, and I thought this worked out really well.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tomato Party!

Erik came over and we made this dish from Plenty, which is actually called "Tomato Party." It consists of: couscous, fregola, roasted and fresh tomatoes, garlic, tarragon, mint, and oregano. It was good warm but I think it would be even better as a cold salad for a picnic or barbeque. Also, it made me think of this song.