Sunday, May 24, 2009
Fresh Chick Peas in the Pod
Cleaned and Cooked
Cleaned and Cooked
Hummus and Pita Chips
A rare farmers market find are fresh chick peas in the pod, also commonly known as garbanzo beans. When I spotted these and had to buy a few handfuls of the fresh pods because they are not normally sold fresh, I instantly came up with the idea of making hummus with them. The fresh pods are about the size of a peanut containing one to three beans in each, after shelling I simmered the beans in salted water for a few minutes, then shocked them in ice water to stop them from cooking and to set the bright green color. Using a mortar and pestle I mashed the beans with fresh lemon juice, garlic, tahini (sesame seed paste) olive oil, fresh oregano, cumin and kosher salt. It turned out really Delicious with a mild nutty flavor. I served them with crispy baked pita chips.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
I found a really nice pork loin with bone in at neighborhood market, cooking with the bone in provides additional flavor, helps retains moisture and gives you the rib bones to chew on as well. I trussed the loin with heavy duty twine and placed the pork in a brine for two days. The brine is simply made with water, kosher salt, sugar, garlic, fennel seeds, carrots, celery and onion. The brine gives a lot of flavor and will help the pork stay moist during cooking. After a quick sear on top of the stove it goes into a hot 400 degree oven to roast till it reaches 150 degrees, after a 15 minute rest the chops are carved from the roast and served with roasted potatoes and honey glazed carrots, the pork turned out very moist and tender. I could have made a sauce using maybe mustard or fruit, but this time I left it alone and it was great.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Lasagna is a really nice one pan meal that everyone likes, it can be made ahead of time and reheated as needed. My kids love it and request it almost as often as pizza. Only a few components are required for assembling a simple tomato sauce and cheese version. I always make my own pasta sheets with results in a delicate texture. Other options are using different vegetables and meats in the filling such as spinach and sausage.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
A really good and easy salad to make is roasted peppers dressing with extra virgin olive oil and a splash of good quality vinegar, some chopped herbs like basil or oregano and its done. This simple salad was made with green, yellow and red peppers, charred black on the grill then cleaned of the charred skin and sliced, next drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and a dash of Chianti vinegar, chopped oregano and parsley to finish. The salad will be better the next day when the flavors have a chance to blend. Try this salad with a piece of grilled fish on a hot summer day.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
My daughter asked me to make Focaccia bread for her school class project, I don't remember ever doing food for my school work? but that was a few years ago. I started by making a big batch of bread dough using lots of garlic infused extra virgin olive oil and chopped fresh rosemary from the garden. After mixing, kneading and proofing till it doubled in size, I punched the dough down and placed it into two half sheet pans for the second rise, next before I put the bread dough in the 400 degree oven, I made the classic dimple indentation's that focaccia has with my fingers and drenched the dough once again with more extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt. The house smelled amazing while it baked and I wish I made some for me to eat. I think the kids will like it.
I harvested the first strawberries from my back yard garden today, I didn't have time to make anything with them because the kids ate them immediately. There's more berries ripening on the plant so I will have more for future use, I have heard of strawberry and arugula risotto, its unusual but really good and I might have to make.