My mom makes the best clam sauce in the whole wide world. (See for yourself--these are the mouthwatering pics of the actual dinner she made when I was visiting her this past week!) I love this sauce because it isn't white, and it isn't red. It's in between. She makes a basic white clam sauce but adds some chopped tomatoes to the sauce.
This is a slightly sweet sauce because of her secret ingredient: Marsala wine. A lot of white clam sauce recipes call for dry white wine, but she insists on Marsala and Marsala only, which gives the sauce a slight sweetness that offsets the garlic and clams. The chopped tomatoes (rather than puree) complement the Marsala, and when the alcohol reduces, thickens, and the basil works its magic, well, you've got yourself a bit of snack heaven on your hands. Crusty bread and a glass of your house red is a must!
CHICKIE’S LINGUINI & CLAM SAUCE
1 pound of linguini
¾-1 cup exrta-virgin olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup Marsala wine
2 cans of 6.5-ounce chopped clams, 1 drained, 1 juice reserved
1 Tbs. dried basil
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper
½ a 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes
Locatelli Romano cheese, grated
Boil water for pasta, and cook al dente, according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepot, heat olive oil over medium low. Add garlic, and cook gently for about 5 minutes, being sure garlic doesn’t burn.
Stir in wine, clams, basil, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper, tomatoes. Bring to a gentle boil; reduce to a very soft simmer, and cover. Let cook for 15 minutes. Toss sauce with hot pasta, and serve, passing grated cheese at the table.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
My cousin Karen hooked me up! She is an amazing cook, especially of Italian cuisine: she makes her own homemade pasta and has a wonderfully fresh style of cooking. I'd like to officially announce that Karen rocks. I love this dish so much, I've already made it for dinner twice this week!
This is light, summer cooking at its very BEST. It's a celebration of summer's bounty: juicy, sweet tomatoes, bright green basil leaves, and sharp, glorious garlic. The sauce does not even get cooked--the ingredients just macerate in a bowl on the counter. If you aren't a fan of brie, smoked mozzerella makes a fantastic substitution. I tried it and it was delicious!
I have not yet attemped making my own pasta, but I did buy fresh whole wheat fettucini from my local grocer. It makes a huge difference to buy fresh, I think. The texture is so lovely and succulent with the sauce.
The lighting was a little low for my evening food photo session, but I promise you, the colors, texture and taste of this dish are vibrant times one hundred.
Thanks cous! xoLinguine with Tomatoes and Basil
adapted from the Silver Palate Cookbook
4 ripe large tomatoes, cubed
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup clean basil leaves, torn in strips
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil (but Karen & I both think a 1/2 cup is plenty!)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 lb Brie, rind removed and torn into pieces (good brie substitutions: smoked mozzerella or regular mozzerella)
1 ½ lbs linguine
freshly grated parmesean (optional)
Combine first seven ingredients in a large bowl and set aside covered at room temperature for up to 2 hours.
Cook linguine and drain. Add pasta to the bowl of tomato mixture, and toss to combine. Serve at once - and pass the peppermill and parmesean at the table.
Could a delicious, fresh, gorgeous dinner come any easier than this??
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I'm getting my inner grandma on today just for you. xoHey…what’s all this frettin’ about? You watching the news again? Those scavengers of terror. Disease. Sadness. Crime. Terrible things happening to beautiful people. I know, I know, it gives me agita too. Things should be a little nicer for everyone out there in that big world. That's when I go into my kitchen and make the world a little smaller for a couple of hours (and it doesn’t get any smaller than this little kitchen, I'm telling you.)
So listen, fuggeddaboudit. OK? Good. Come on now, sit down at the table. You can keep your shoes on, it’s an old rug. Lemme chop this onion, I’m listenin’. I'm just gonna make a few braciole. Here, have a glass of this nice red. There are some nuts on the table. Now tell me what happened. You hungry? You’re not hungry. What do you mean, you’re not hungry? Okay, so you’ll eat it without bread. Lemme kiss your cheek.BRACIOLE WITH BROCCOLI RABE
(Beef Flank Steak Rolls with Broccoli Rabe)
Recipe by Mario Batali
Serves 4 main course servings
3 cups Basic Tomato Sauce, recipe follows
1 cup green Italian olives
2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano leaves
1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese
4 bunches Italian parsley, finely chopped to yield 1 cup
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 pound beef flank steak, sliced into 8 thin scallops
Salt and pepper
1 bunch broccoli rabe, blanched in boiling water and refreshed
Flour for dusting
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dry red wine
In a medium saucepan, combine the tomato sauce, green olives and 2 tablespoons oregano and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and continue cooking while assembling the rest of the dish.
In a mixing bowl, combine the Pecorino, chopped parsley and nutmeg and mix until well blended. Lay 8 pieces of steak out on board. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the Pecorino mixture evenly over the beef, spreading it to form a thin layer on top of each piece of steak. Roughly chop the broccoli rabe and divide it among the pieces of beef. Roll up each piece like a jelly roll and tie securely with a piece of butcher's twine. [FLAPPER NOTE: You can also secure with 2 or 3 toothpicks in each roll in lieu of the twine.] Dredge each roll in the flour.
In a 12- to 14-inch skillet, heat 1/4 cup oil until smoking. Place 4 rolled steak pieces at a time in the skillet and brown evenly, rolling with tongs or a wooden spoon. Remove first 4 pieces and repeat with remaining four. Remove second group and pour off the cooking oil to discard.
Put the skillet back on the heat and add the red wine, scraping the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Add the simmering tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Add all 8 beef rolls and simmer, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes, until all of the meat is cooked through.
[FLAPPER NOTE: At this point, you can also put everything into a crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours and fuggedabouddit.]
Remove the meat to heated platter, pour the sauce over the meat and garnish with the remaining oregano.
Basic Tomato Sauce
Recipe by Mario Batali
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, chopped in 1/4- inch dice
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
1/2 medium carrot, finely shredded
2 28 ounce cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved
Salt to taste
In a 3 quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt and serve. This sauce holds one week in the refrigerator or up to six months in the freezer. Yield: 4 cups
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Last night was the two-year anniversary of the day I met my husband to be! (I will go from Flappergirl to Flapperwife in about 5 months!) So...we were going to have dinner out, but seeing as it was a Monday night, we decided to stay in and have a romantic dinner at home, complete with wine and dessert. And romantic it was!
This is a very quick dinner to prepare. My big note to all you cooks is to be sure to brown the chops really well first. Why? Because in the words of one of my favorite crazy-genius chefs Anne Burell, “Brown food tastes GOOD!”
Pan-Seared Veal Chops with Rosemary
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Steamed Mustard Greens with Olive Oil
Blueberry & Blackberry Shortcake Parfait
Pan-Seared Veal Chops with Rosemary
2 veal chops (about 3/- inch thick)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup chicken stock or broth
Rub the chops with the garlic, rosemary, 1 tablespoon oil, salt and
pepper and let sit on a plate for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Heat a large cast iron or heavy skillet over medium high heat and add remaining oil. Add chops to pan and cook until golden brown and on both sides. Remove chops from pan to a baking dish and roast in oven for 10 minutes.
Add wine, stock any drippings from baking dish to cast iron skillet and stir up brown bits from bottom.
Reduce sauce by half. Serve with the veal chops.
MASHED SWEET POTATOES
NOTE: Heating the milk first before adding the hot potatoes will ensure the texture is smooth and not grainy.
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoons butter (I like Soy Garden)
1 tablespoon light or dark brown sugar
2-3 tablespoons half-and-half or milk
Cook sweet potatoes in boiling water until fork tender and drain into a bowl.
In the same cooking pot, add milk, butter, brown sugar and salt. Heat gently and stir until melted and combined. Add potatoes and mash with a potato masher. Check seasonings and adjust with more salt/sugar or butter if necessary.
BLUEBERRY & BLACKBERRY SHORTCAKE PARFAIT
I wish I had a picture of dessert! After a couple glasses of wine I forgot about my camera...The fun thing about this recipe is that I just winged it with what I had on hand. Remember when I made Tiramisu for that Tofu Takedown a short while back? Well, I had an extra sheet of homemade ladyfinger , and it was taking up space as if I'd put a bathmat in my poor little freezer. So I decided to take a pretty cookie cutter to my bathmat, and make lovely little flower shapes. But you can just buy prepackaged Savoiardi (Italian lady fingers) or mini sponge cakes, which will work just as well!
1 pint of blueberries and black berries
3 Tbs. white or red wine
1 Tbs. water
1 sprig of thyme, leaves on
1 Tbs. sugar or honey
A pinch of cinnamon
4 ladyfingers (or 4 flower discs from a bathmat ;))
In a small saucepan, add wine, sugar, water, thyme and cinnamon. Cook over medium heat, reducing wine by half. Add the berries and cook 2-3 minutes, until they break apart a little bit from the heat.
Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
Line the bottom of a wine glass with lady finger. Drizzle some berries and juices on top to soak the ladyfingers. Add a dollop of whipped cream. Add another layer of ladyfingers, then another layer of berries and juice, and another dollop of whipped cream. Repeat this step as many times as you like to make a parfait as tall as you like.
Finish the top with a dollop of whipped cream and eat 'er up!
Thursday, April 16, 2009
I’m always looking for the ultimate lasagna recipe. This one comes close—it’s a combo of my favorite lasagna filling, spinach pesto, layered with a sweet, roasted tomato sauce. The basil, herbs, nuts and parmesan of the pesto give the filling a very delicious, green, creamy, dreamy flavor. And of course I Flapperfied the whole recipe by using whole wheat lasagna noodles and part-skim ricotta. The wheat noodles mirror the nuttiness of the pine nuts nicely.
A word on the sauce:
You can use any jar of your favorite sauce, but the one in this recipe, adapted from Alton Brown, is a very unusual and flavorful sauce—it is a sweet sauce due to the roasting of the tomatoes, and the addition of wine vinegar, a little sugar, and caramelized vegetables. Believe me, I was skeptical when I first saw the recipe (I thought, "What kind of proper Italian cook puts CELERY in her sauce?!?) It's unusual but totally worth the time. (It is also HIGHLY recommended for pizza!) I like to make a big batch of this sauce and just keep it in bags in the freezer—that way it’s there whenever I have a hankering for homemade.
PESTO-SPINACH LASAGNA WITH SWEET ROASTED TOMATO SAUCE
40 minutes to prepare
50 minutes to bake
about 16 whole wheat lasagna noodles
1 lb. fresh spinach
(or 2-10 oz. pkgs. of frozen, chopped spinach - defrosted)
2 lbs. (4 cups) ricotta cheese
4 large cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs. dried sweet basil
1/2 tsp. salt
fresh black pepper to taste
3/4 cup grated parmesean
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts (or minced walnuts)
1 lbs. mozzarella cheese, grated
1 jar or 4-5 cups of your favorite tomato sauce (sweet roasted tomato sauce recipe below)
1) Preheat oven to 350 F.
2) Bring to a boil a large potful of water. Add the noodles and cook them for 4-5 minutes. (They will be undercooked.) Drain them, and lay them flat and straight on a table, counter or tray.
3) Meanwhile, thoroughly wash and dry the fresh spinach. Remove and discard the stems; finely mince the leaves. (If using frozen spinach, thoroughly drain and squeeeeeeze out all extra water!)
4) Place the ricotta in a large bowl. Stir in the spinach, garlic, basil, salt, black pepper, 1/2 cup of the parmesan, and nuts. Mix well.
5) Spoon a ½ cup of sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking pan pan. Place a layer of noodles in the bottom of the pan. Spread about 1/3 of the ricotta filling over the noodles (OK if it's uneven), spoon a cup of sauce on top, and sprinkle about 1/3 of the mozzarella on top. Follow with another layer of noodles, another 1/3 of the filling, 1 cup of sauce, and another 1/3 of the mozzarella. Repeat this pattern one more time with a third layer of everything. Top with one final layer of sauce and the remaining ¼ cup of parmesan on the very top.
Here it is in list form, from the bottom up:
6) Bake for 50 minutes. If the top browns too quickly during baking, cover loosely with foil.
7. Allow the lasagna to sit on the counter for 15 minutes or so to allow the cheeses to set a bit so you can cut nice, square pieces of lasagna, otherwise you will spoon soup onto your plate. ;)
YUMMY! Have a nice salad and some crusty bread on the side, and you are ready for a cozy dinner of comfort food galore. Don’t forget the wine. ;)
SWEET ROASTED TOMATO SAUCE
2 (28-ounce) cans whole, peeled tomatoes (San Marzano variety is the best!)
1/4 cup sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 stalk celery
2 ounces olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
1. In a sieve over a medium non-reactive sauce pot, strain the tomatoes of their juice into the sauce pot. Add the sherry vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes, oregano, and basil to the tomato juice. Stir and cook over high heat. Once bubbles begin to form on the surface, reduce to a simmer. Allow liquid to reduce by 1/2 or until liquid has thickened to a loose syrup consistency.
2. Squeeze each tomato thoroughly to ensure most seeds are removed. Set the tomatoes aside.
3. Cut carrot, onion, and celery into uniform sizes and combine with olive oil and garlic in a cast iron skillet or oven safe roasting pan over low heat. Sweat the veggies until the carrots are tender and the onion becomes translucent, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the tomatoes to the roasting pan.
4. Place roasting pan on the middle rack of the oven and broil for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Tomatoes should start to brown slightly on edges with light caramelization. Remove the pan from the broiler. Place the pan on the stove. Add the white wine to the tomatoes and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes over medium heat.
5. Put the tomatoes into a deep pot or bowl and add the reduced tomato liquid to the tomatoes. Blend to desired consistency with a wooden spoon and adjust seasoning. Allow the sauce to cool a bit if using to assemble a lasagna or pizza. Otherwise, eat it up!
Thursday, March 12, 2009
So the old Nat King Cole tune goes. The boy had martial arts practice after work and I had the apartment to myself. These are the types of nights I find myself eating a piece of leftover chicken over the sink and grabbing a swig of juice out of the carton. But tonight, I was feeling a little indulgent, and decided to treat myself to pasta and meatballs, and a cute little teency chocolate cake! I set the table, bought a nice baguette and a bottle of wine (which, of course I shared with the boy once he got home, as I did the cake).
The cake recipe came from my amazing cook of a niece, Jessica. She does a lot of cooking and baking, modifying many recipes to feed just one or two. She even has cute, little tiny cake and pie pans. Believe it or not, you can bake this cake in empty tin cans if you don’t have special bakeware, which is exactly what I did. Thank you, Jessica!
Check back for uploaded pics in the next day or two!
PASTA AND MEATlessBALLS MARINARA
1 or 2 cups of your favorite pasta sauce
1 cup of cooked pasta (I love whole wheat penne rigate!)
1. Open the bottle of wine to let it “breathe.” By doing this, the oxygen will touch the wine and the flavors will open up. Such a little thing but makes a huge difference in the taste. Set the table, laying out your nicest table setting. :) Put on some tunes (highly recommended: Louis Prima and Keely Smith. Trust me on this one.)
2. Put water on the boil for the pasta.
3. Make Meatballs
Meatballs for One or Two People
½ a tube of Litelife brand Gimme Lean - beef style (or 4 oz. real ground beef or turkey)
1 egg white (save the yolk in a cup for the chocolate cake!!)
½ tsp. dried basil
Two shakes of dried thyme
1 shake of dried oregano
1 shake of garlic powder
3 grinds of black pepper
A pinch of salt
4-5 leaves of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
1 slice of the baguette, crust removed, soaked in soy milk (or 1 Tbs. breadcrumbs)
1 Tbs. of grated parmesean cheese
a. Squeeze out the milk from the bread and add that to a small bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix with your hands.
b. Form into cute, little 1.5-inch balls (might as well keep the "mini" theme going here ;) )
c. Fry balls in two swirls of olive oil, in a heated frying pan on medium heat.
d. Cook for a couple minutes on each side till browned.
e. Lower the heat to medium-low and pour the sauce over the meatballs. Simmer on low, stirring gently so the bottom doesn’t burn and the balls cook all the way through.
4. Add pasta to boiling water and cook to al dente, following package directions.
5. Drain pasta and add to the cooking pot of sauce and balls. Gently stir to combine.
6. Scoop the pasta into a dish, sprinkle with a little fresh, chopped parsley and lots of grated parmesean. Lay a hunk of bread on the side. Pour the wine. Smile. Feel special. Mangia!
I made the cake after dinner (as opposed to before) because I was doing it more for the joy of baking than for the need to have a piece of cake. (Of course, once the cake is baked, I always need to have a piece of cake!)
MINI CHOCOLATE CAKE
Feeds just one or two
NOTE: These little cakes make wonderful gifts! They are so tiny, that a wine glass turned upside-down can serve as an adorable cake stand. You can find give-away wine glasses at the dollar store. If you give two of these with a bottle of dessert wine, it would make a fantastic housewarming or dinner party gift.
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup water
Yolk of 1 large egg
½ tsp vanilla
3 Tbs. melted and cooled butter
2 ½ Tbs. cocoa powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
½ cup sugar
Two 14-ounce cans or one 28-ounce can
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Grease and flour insides of two 14-ounce cans or one 28-ounce can. Set on baking sheet for easier handling.
3. Combine water, egg, vanilla in small bowl and whisk. Slowly pour melted butter in, whisking constantly.
4. Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in medium-sized bowl. Blend well, add sugar, blend well again.
5. Slowly add wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until just moistened.
6. Divide batter between the two 14-ounce cans or all into one 28-ounce can. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
7. Cool 15 mins, run knife along inside of cans to release cakes, cool upright on rack.
Chocolate Ganache Frosting
3 oz. milk chocolate or choc. chips (1 cup)
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate (dark chocolate bar works) (1/2 cup)
3 Tbs. sour cream, at room temp
½ tsp. vanilla
1. Microwave 2 minutes or until melted. Cool 5 minutes.
2. Add sour cream, vanilla, salt, and blend well. Cool completely. Refrigerate to thicken if needed.
3. Be sure cakes are cooled completely before frosting. Cut cakes in half and frost between layers and on top.
NOTE: You can also use the glaze recipe from my Red Velvet Black & White Cookies (which is exactly what I did, because I had no sour cream!)