Template This Is bc: June 2006

This Is bc

Friday, June 23, 2006

Summer soup

It seems like every time I post now, I have to apologize for not posting in a while. Well, I'm not saying sorry this time! If I don't post because I'm doing other things with my disposable time, then I don't have to apologize for it. Take that!

But you're right, it has been too long. I even have two recipes I want to share. I'll do one now and later. Soon, but later.

In case you didn't notice, it was hot this week. I decided to make a cold soup. Vichyssoise, perhaps? No. Gazpacho, you say? Getting warmer (colder.) Must be a cucumber soup then? Yes! And no. I added fruit to this soup. Because, I mean, why not?

Cold Cucumber and Fruit Soup
Servings: 4-6

a food processor or blender (my blender did not work with this)

2 C plain yogurt
4 large cucumbers
some fruit (I used 1 green apple, a bunch of green grapes and a handful of blueberries just to throw the color off)
1 t lemon juice
pinch of salt

Cut up the fruit and throw most of it in the food processor. Reserve about half a cuke and some of each of the fruit you are using. Add the yogurt and lemon juice and puree. Now add the rest of the fruit and just give a quick whirl of the processor. This way you'll have a texture difference between the smooth soup and the chunks of fruit. Add the salt, if you think it needs it. Chill. Eat. Be less hot.

Monday, June 05, 2006

a dessert

I have yet to post a dessert recipe, which might be surprising because in many circles I am known soley for my brownies or banana bread. Those two might make it in here in-time, but it's spring and its time for a seasonal dessert.

One of my coworkers supplied me with some rhubarb from her garden before the weekend. And though I have about 10 stawberry plants in my garden, there are probably only 5 ripe strawberries on them; I had to use store bought berries for a Rhubarb and Strawberry Crisp.

This recipe is adapted from Sara Moulton's Rhubarb Crisp on the Food Network website.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Crisp

1 baking dish (rectangular, square, Pyrex, metal, whatever)
1 large bowl
1 small bowl, microwave proof

1 lb. of rhubarb, or about 4 C cut up into 1/2 inch pieces
2-3 pints of stawberries, halved
1 C sugar
1 1/4 C flour
1 t cinnamon
1 C firmly packed brown sugar (it doesn't matter if it's light or dark)
3/4 C rolled oats
1/2 C of butter (1 stick,) melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut up the butter in the small microwavable bowl. Melt the butter and let it sit to cool a bit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
In the large bowl toss the cut up rhubarb and stawberries with 1/4 C of the flour, the regular sugar, and the cinammon. Put this in the baking dish. In the big bowl mix the rest of the ingredients, the flour, the brown sugar, the oats, and butter. Sprinkle this over the fruit and bake for 35 minutes.
Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Champagne and sage

Hello. That last post contained a lie. I obviously did not post within 36 hours. That was four days ago. I've been busy, but don't worry; nothing interesting ever really happens anyway.

Last week I spent many of my evenings in New York. Culinarily, it was a joy. I had chinese with Vivian in chinatown, dinner at a french bistro , Brasserie 360, with the fam and Maltz family, amazing Cuban in Norwalk,CT (place called Habana,) Thai in Queens, and on saturday for lunch I went to Artisanal with Emily and the family. Artisanal is a cheese lover's dream. Its probably also the highest Zagat rated restaurant I've been to. I think I left the cheese list in New York, but if I find it I can tell you what cheese I had on my cheese plate. There were three and I know that there was a Gruyere, a Stilton and a soft sheep's milk from France, kind of like a Brie.

In addition to eating out, I made dinner with Jackie and Stef at their place. Inspired by Mark Bittman's Roasted Chicken and Fennel recipe (The Minimalist in the NYTimes) and Stef's many bottles of good Champagne (from some party) we made Roasted Chicken, Fennel and Carrot with a Champagne Sage Sauce. We served it over orzo, which I think goes really well, but any pasta or rice would do well.

Roasted Chicken, Fennel and Carrot with Champagne Sage Sauce
Serves 4

1 large oven proof pan (cast iron would be great)
1 baking dish, if you don't have a large enough pan
1 whisk or fork - this is going to touch your pan so if you are using non-stick don't use metal

4 chicken thighs
4 chicken legs
2 heads of fennel, cut off the fronds and cut into medium sized slices so that each slice will stay together at the base of the plant
4 carrots, roughly chopped
2 T of butter
1 T of flour
10 sage leaves, fresh and cut into a chiffonade (how to: here
1/2 C of sparkling wine - from Champagne or elsewhere
1 C of chicken broth

For this recipe you want to get your pan pretty hot, so that the chicken skin can be browned on the stove top and then finished in the oven with the fennel and carrots. If you don't have a big enough pan to get all 8 pieces of chicken in with some space in between them, work in two batches, putting the first batch in a baking pan and right into the oven. With one big pan you can do it like this:

When your pan is really hot add some cooking oil and then the chicken pieces, skin side down. Use a splatter guard if you have it to reduce the amount of burning hot oil that winds up on your stove, walls, arms, etc. It should only take a minute or two until the chicken gets some good color. When it does, it is done. Kill the heat on the pan and move the chicken temporarily onto a plate. Add the fennel and carrot and season with salt and pepper. Toss the chicken right on top and roast in a 450 degree oven. This should be done in 30-45 minutes. The carrots will be tender and the chicken juices will run clear. Move the entire pan's contents to a serving dish so that you can use the pan again.

Making the sauce:
Put a medium high heat under the pan and add the butter and the sage, saute the sage until it becomes fragrant and bright green. Add the flour slowly while whisking it into the liquid in the pan to make a slurry. If the mixture starts to get too think to mix add a little chicken broth. If your pan is still really hot, the liquid should be bubbling the entire time. Now add the wine and whisk to get all of the dark stuff off of the bottom of the pan. Add as much chicken broth as you need to get your sauce to the right amount/consistency. Cook this while whisking, to get all of the flavor off the bottom of the pan and to reduce the sauce a bit. Pour over the chicken and eat.

Note: save some of the dill-looking fronds at the top of the fennel as a garnish.