Saturday, July 31, 2010

Things that are pretty: La Chamba Columbian Clay Baking Dish

Today, I decided to start a new 'column', the pretty things column. Why? Over the last few weeks, I've been spending a lot of time clearing out my closets, the clothes, the shoes, and other stuff, and I swore I would buy less 'stuff' in the future -- despite things being so pretty. This morning I opened my email with Williams-Sonoma announcing 650 new items for autuum. Hmm, just looking? Despite my kitchen overflowing with the most beautiful and handy tools, I found a few new items that I like. So, instead of buying them, I will just write about them. Maybe, that satisfies the 'craving' (and saves some space in my kitchen!). :-)

This La Chamba Columbian Clay Baking Dish has a beautiful shape with the rounded sides, much like Nigella Lawson's baking dishes (way too expensive, though). It reminds me of the rounded soft shapes of a woman, and an elegance and earthiness with the black color. There are more items in this collection like the La Chamba Columbian clay oval casserole dish. They are not even terribly expensive, ca $26 for the medium size baking dish, and $59 for the casserole.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Haddock en Escabeche

When I saw Rick Bayless the first time on the newly launched Cooking Channel a few weeks ago, I was hooked: this man knows Mexican cuisine. He does not only have his James Beard award and a Top Chef win to prove it, but his talking about Mexican cuisine speaks for itself. Since his shows are on PBS (appropriately), but not available on satellite, I ordered a few of his DVDs from his website.  Today, I watched one of the DVDs, and lunch was decided: haddock en escabeche.

Serves 2
2 TB olive oil
1 medium white onion, sliced in full rounds, 1/8-inch thick
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
2 carrots, peeled and sliced thinly sliced into long thin sticks
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup of water
1 large sprig fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried), plus a few sprigs for garnish
1 sprig fresh marjoram (or 1/2 teaspoon dried), plus a few sprigs for garnish
A 1-inch piece cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, preferably freshly and coarsely ground
2 bay leaves
3 whole cloves
a few black and green olives
2-3 pickled jalapeƱo chiles, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
Salt, about 1 teaspoon
2 haddock fillets

1. Making the escabeche. Heat the oil in a large (12-inch), deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and carrots on not too high heat; stir often, until onions are crisp-tender but not brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, water, thyme, marjoram, cinnamon stick, pepper, bay and cloves. Cover, and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat, add the jalapeƱos, and season with salt, usually about 1/4 teaspoon.It should still be brothy.
2. Season the haddock fillet with salt and pepper. Wipe out the skillet, add a 1/2 tablespoon of the oil and set over medium heat. When hot, fry the haddock. Cook, turning once, until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.  Transfer the haddock to a baking dish and pour the escabeche over the fish. Let cool to room temperature, and serve.
3. Serving. Remove the bay leaves, cloves and cinnamon. Garnish with sprigs of thyme and marjoram. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lobster Ravioli

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, I received a coupon for a Buitoni Frozen Meal for 2 a while back. There are several seductive options to choose from, but, of course, my first choice had to be: Maine Lobster Ravioli! Unfortunately, I could not find this particular product in my local Target store, and so I settled for Lobster and Shrimp (close enough!). The entire package, found in the frozen food section, is a meal for 2 people (but about 4 full meals for me!). The ravioli are large and filled with a tasty mix of lobster, shrimp and a creamy sauce. I was delighted when I tasted large pieces of succulent lobster meat in the ravioli, just how it should be. Definitely a treat worth for a special meal!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Kale smoothie, the summer version

Kale, the superfood. I am not particularly fond of curly kale, but adore lacinato kale. The one planted in my garden is growing, and every other morning, a kale smoothie is breakfast with fresh cut leaves from the raised bed.

8-10 medium sized lacinato kale leaves
1 cup greek yogurt
1/2 frozen or fresh banana
1 TB agave nectar or honey

Put in blender and puree until smooth. If consistency is too thick, add water.