Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Spicy Red Kuri Squash Soup

Squash soup

  • 1 ts olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 hot red chili, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves finely minced
  • 1 small diced and peeled red kuri squash (also known as Japanese squash, orange hokkaido, or uchiki kuri squash)
  • 1 medium sized peeled sweet potato
  • 2 small diced and peeled carrot
  • 4 cups water (or 2 cups water and 2 cups chicken stock)
  • 2TB ajvar (roasted red pepper paste)
  • Salt and pepper
  • crème fraiche, to serve
  • fresh parsley, chopped, to serve

In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When warm, add the onion and red chili and soften. (ca. 3 to 4 min). Add the minced garlic and continue to cook for 1/2 minute. Add the rest of the vegetables and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Cover with the water or stock.

Add the avjar and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Purée the soup. Add more stock or water if necessary.

To serve, add a teaspoon of crème fraiche, and parsley.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Simple Apple Galette or Pie

Apple Pie

  • 1 store-bought pie crust (800kcal for entire crust)
  • 2 pound tart apples such as Brock or Spencer, peeled, cored and sliced
  • juice of one fresh lemon
  • grated lemon zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Unfold thawed pie crust. Transfer to an non-greased 17- by 14-inch baking sheet or a pie shaped baking dish.

Toss apples with lemon juice and zest in a large bowl, and sprinkle granulated sugar over apples. Place apple slices on pie crust. Either arrange neatly (or not so neatly), or fold in dough border over apples if making a galette, pleating dough as necessary, to form a 9-inch round.

Bake pie 30 minutes, then loosely cover with foil and bake until apples are tender and crust is golden, 25 to 30 minutes more. Remove pie from oven and turn on broiler.

Dust apples with confectioners sugar and broil 5 to 6 inches from heat until apples are just golden, 1 to 3 minutes (watch carefully; sugar burns easily). Slide pie from baking sheet onto a rack, then cool to warm or room temperature.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Slow-cooked Ragu by Marcella Hazan

Bolognese Meat Sauce
Marcella Hazan from her book "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking"

1 TB olive oil
1 TB butter
1/2 onion, diced
3 celery stalks, cleaned and cut into small dice
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 pound ground lean beef (preferably chuck or neck)
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup milk
1/4 ts nutmeg
1.5 cups canned Italian tomatoes, roughly chopped

1. Use an earthenware pot for making the sauce. Since it is long and slow cooked, this works best to not burn it. A slow cooker would also work.

2. In a skillet, add oil and butter with chopped onion. Turn heat on to medium. Cook and stir onion until translucent. Add chopped celery and carrot. Cook for 2 minutes more, stirring the vegetables to coat them well.

3. Add ground beef, a large pinch of salt, and a few grindings of pepper. Break up the meat with a fork and only cook until the beef has lost its raw, red color, but don't brown it.

4. Add the wine and let simmer gently, stirring frequently, until it has evaporated. Add the 1/8 tsp of grated nutmeg and stir.

5. Add the milk and nutmeg, and let simmer, stir often and wait until the milk has evaporated. This can take a while.

6. When milk has evaporated, add the tomatoes and stir thoroughly to coat all ingredients. When the tomatoes begin to bubble, turn heat down so that the sauce cooks at an ultralow simmer with occasional bubbles breaking. At this point, it can be placed in a slow cooker or continue to cook uncovered for a min of 3 1/2 to 5h, stirring from time to time.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Moroccan Baked Eggplant

Moroccan baked eggplant

1 eggplant, peeled and cut into round slices

Tomato Sauce:
1 cup passata pomodorri or canned tomatoes
1 TB harissa (spicy Moroccan pepper mix)
salt, pepper
1 TB moroccan spice mix

2-3 TB home-made framboise baked beans
1/4 cup turkey or beef ragu (slow cooked, or from a jar, bolognese sauce)
fresh grated parmesan

Peel eggplant, and slice into rounds. Sprinkle with salt, and let sit on a towel for 15 min. Rinse and pad dry (this will remove the more bitter taste from the eggplants). Salt and pepper the eggplant slices, heat a grill pan, and dry fry the eggplant slices on both sides until slightly brown.

Meanwhile prepare the tomato sauce by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl.

Preheat oven to 400F. Use an oven-save serving dish (ceramic or a tapas dish), and place 1 layer of eggplant slices on the bottom of the dish. Add some tomato sauce and some ragu. Distribute over the slices. Add another layer of eggplant, and again distribute tomato sauce and the beans. Add remaining slices for decoration and sprinkle with fresh grated parmesan. Bake for 20min, and serve hot!

Makes 2 servings! Serve with rice.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The sour grapes of 2009

The sour grapes of 2009

Yes, there are grapes growing in Maine, and they are even sweet if the summer does not decide to rain out like this year. The harvest (on my house wall) was late this year, but plentiful. It still makes for great fresh pressed grape juice.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fast Snacks: Bratwurst in Phyllo

bratwurst in phyllo dough

A fabulous fast snack or dinner, in a zinch to make.

1 bratwurst (ca. 180kcal)
2 4-inch wide strips of phyllo dough (for one wrapper, use only half of the layers)
sweet mustard or dijon mustard
4 TB onion chutney
1 TB eggbeaters

Cut the bratwurst into 4 equal sized pieces. Distributed djion mustard on the 4 phyllo strips, place 1 TB of onion chutney on one end of the strip, and the brat piece on top. Roll up, and place seam side down on a cookie sheet. For a nice brown coat of the phyllo dough, brush rollups with eggbeaters on top. Bake for 20 min a preheated 400F oven.

Fitbit wireless pedometer

There is a new sleek pedometer in town.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fall Porcini Fettucini

pasta with porcini mushroom

Fall Porcini Fettucini
1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
2/3 cup boiling beef bouillon
2 oz Fiber Gourmet ultra light fettucini
1/2 teaspoon clarified butter
1 finely chopped shallot
1/3 package exotic mushroom blend, coarsely chopped (frozen or fresh)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 TB dry sherry
1 TB Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
2 TB heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage
fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon truffle oil
Sage sprigs (optional)

Combine dried porcini and boiling beef stock in a bowl; cover and let stand 30 minutes. Drain in a sieve over a bowl, reserving the soaking liquid. Chop porcini.

Cook pasta in boiling water 10 minutes or until al dente; drain, and reserve 1/4 cup cooking liquid.

Melt clarified butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots, exotic mushroom blend, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in porcini, and sherry and porcini soaking liquid; cook 1 minute or until liquid evaporates. Reduce heat to medium. Add parmesan cheese, sage, and pepper and stir and cook until liquid is almost evaporated.

Stir in pasta, and a few TB of the reserved pasta water. Toss well to combine. Drizzle in the truffle oil; toss. Place on plate and top with some parmesan cheese.

Home-made apple cider

Apple cider

Fall, the time of apple picking and apple abundance. Cider is readily available, but it is also easy to make at home with the right equipment (e.g. a Breville juicer). To skinny it, use apples and an english cucumber.

Monday, October 5, 2009


Cherry Tomato Tart

Fall reminds me of onion tarts, accompanied with young white wine. Onion, caramelized in balsamic vinegar, baked with ham, cumin seeds, heavy cream, eggs on a pizza dough like crust. But, I was lazy and hungry, so a quick and dirty version had to do. I cut some layers of phyllo dough into round shapes, and lines small tart forms. One was filled with onion chutney, and topped with a mix of ff sour cream and (full fat) grated gruyere with some nutmeg. A second was lined with halved cherry tomatoes, and sprinkled with shredded mozzarella and basil. A third was filled with a mix of eggbeaters, sour cream and spices, and the 4th was filled with peeled sliced tiny picked apples, mixed with some brown sugar, ground cloves and a bit of maple syrup. Baked for 25 min in a 425F preheated oven.

Onion Tart
onion tartelette

Friday, October 2, 2009

Pizza with Olives, Chorizo and Mascarpone

Pizza w Chorizo

Pizza, made simple. A store-bought frozen single serve margarita pizza with some sliced olives, chorizo and some spoonfuls of mascarpone cheese.

Preheat oven to 425F. Microwave pizza for 4 min on high. Bake in oven f0r 5-10 min to make it crisp. Serve!