Sunday, February 15, 2009

Hangover Soup

  • 2 large heads garlic
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 3/4 cup uncooked orzo pasta or alphabet pasta or other small shell pasta
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 6-8 whole wheat bread croutes
  • 4-6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese or monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • finely minced fresh parsley or cilantro, for garnish
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced, for garnish (optional)

In a large stock soup pot combine the garlic, stock, cloves, sage thyme, and parsley. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low, and let simmer gently, uncovered for 45 to 60 minutes. Strain the soup, pressing down the solids with the back of a wooden spoon to extract most of the garlic from the peels. Scrape garlic purée from the underside of the strainer into the broth. Discard the garlic peels and the spent herbs.

Add the tomato or V8 juice to the strained soup and bring it to a boil. Drop in the pasta and let it cook until done – 5 minutes for alphabets and 8-10 minutes for the larger shapes.

Meanwhile beat the egg yolks in a small bowl.

Put a croûte in each soup bowl and top with a handful of grated cheese.

When the pasta is done, ladle out a little of the hot soup into the beaten egg yolks. Whisk together, and then whisk this mixture into the soup pot. The soup should thicken almost immediately. Remove the pot from the heat, and ladle the soup over the cheese-covered croûtes. Garnish each serving with a sprinkle of parsley and/or cilantro, and top with a few slices of ripe avocado. Enjoy!

Yield: 6 servings

from Soup & Bread by Crescent Dragonwagon

Irish Lamb Stew

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 pound lamb (cut into bite sized pieces)
  • 1 onions (roughly chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 Guinness (or other dark stout)
  • * beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon thyme (chopped)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 white potatoes (cut into bite sized pieces)
  • 4 carrots (cut into bite sized pieces)
  • 1 handful parsley (chopped) garnish

1. Heat the oil in a large pot.

2. Add the lamb and brown on each side.

3. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.

4. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.

5. Sprinkle in the flour and stir.

6. Add the Guinness and enough beef stock to cover.

7. Add the rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper.

8. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the lamb it fork tender, about 1-2 hours.

9. Add the potatoes and carrots and some more beef stock to cover.

10 Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until they are tender, about 20-60 minutes depending on cut.

11. Plate and garnish with parsley.

from Closet Cooking

Shrimp Scampi

  • 1 1/2 pound jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup dry white vermouth
  • 2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Pasta, to serve

Put the shrimp on a large pie pan or plate and pat them completely dry with a paper towel. Arrange the shrimp so they lay flat and are evenly spaced.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Add the butter to the skillet. When the foaming subsides, raise the heat to high, and invert the plate of shrimp over the pan so the shrimp fall into the pan all at once. Cook the shrimp, without moving them, for 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Turn the shrimp over and cook for 2 minutes more. Transfer the shrimp to a bowl.

Return the skillet to the heat and pour in the vermouth and lemon juice. Boil the liquid until slightly thickened, about 30 seconds. Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Stir the zest and parsley into the sauce. Pour the sauce over the shrimp, season with salt and pepper to taste and toss to combine.

Divide the shrimp among 4 plates or arrange on a platter and serve.

Yield: 4 servings

Adapted from the Food Network

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Persian Rice

  • 3 cups long grain white rice
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 cup water

1. Start the 2 quarts water and salt boiling in large stock pot or dutch oven. Rinse rice until water runs clear (or as close to clear as you can get it). Add rice to boiling water, boil about 10 minutes or until rice is about half cooked. Drain rice in colander, reserve.

2. In stock pot or dutch oven, pour about 1/4 cup melted butter on bottom, tilt to cover 2 inches up sides. Pour the half-cooked rice into the pot, try to make a nice mound in the middle, and avoid the sides as much as possible.With the end of a wooden spoon, make holes in the mound of rice (5 or 6 places) evenly around. Pour the remaining melted butter onto the rice, and drizzle 1/4 cup of the extra water into the holes you made. Cover pot with kitchen towel to absorb the steam, place pot lid on towel.

3. Cook on very low heat, checking after about 15 minutes. If the rice is browning too fast, add the remaining extra water a little bit at a time. Cook rice until it's done, about 30 minutes. Try not to check it too often, as it needs to steam.

Serves 6-8

Fesenjen Chicken (Chicken with Walnuts and Pomegranate)

  • 2 lbs of chicken thighs (about 8), skin and excess fat removed (I bought them boneless and skinless and they were fine. )
  • 3 cups of walnuts
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/3 cup of pomegranate molasses (I used about half of this)
  • 1/2 cup fresh pomegranate seeds or dried barberries, for garnish

Put chicken thighs in 4-Quart Slow Cooker.

In a large skillet, toast the walnuts over medium-high heat, stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Transfer the walnuts to a food processor and finely chop them. Add the walnuts and bay leaf to the cookers. Pour in 1 2/3 cups water (I used chicken stock to compensate for the lack of bones) and cook, covered, on the low setting for 3 to 4 hours.

Using tongs, remove the chicken thighs to a board and put the meat off the bone in large chunks. Set aside.

Turn the cooker to the high setting. Stir the sugar and pomegranate molasses into the sauce and cook, uncovered, for 1 hour until the sauce is thickened. Return chicken to slow cooker and cook until heated through. (You can speed this up and get a thicker sauce by pouring the slow cooker juices, molasses and sugar into a large saucepan, bringing it all to a boil over high heat, boiling it for 25 minutes, then adding the chicken to heat through.) Discard the bay leaf. Serve hot, sprinkled with pomegranate seeds.

Serves 4, Or 2 Big Eaters

Adapted from Secrets of Slow Cooking