August 5th, 2009

Sometimes making a dish triggers the oddest memories.  This soup I found in Saveur beneath an article about a 73 year old Sicilian chef, Margherita Chiaramonte.  Not a soup person, I was drawn to this recipe by her photograph and the comforting flavors of the ingredients… sage, rosemary, garlic, olive oil, lemon…

Then I started to remember a scene in a Cinderella book that I once read where Cinderella was drinking soup that her fairy godmother made her.  I have always loved Cinderella.  As a child, maybe it was the sparkly slippers, the singing mice or the magic pumpkin, that caught my attention.  Soon my interest branched out from Disney and I began to read every Cinderella version that I could find.  I liked the ones where the Cinderella character was independent and resourceful.  She did not wait for Prince Charming to find her but worked hard to make her own happily ever after.  As a very independent and driven girl, I relate to that character.  Although, sparkly slippers and a Prince Charming does not sound that bad either…

This soup was delicious and very simple to make.  It does make six very, very generous portions.  Having eaten it for five days straight, you may want to half it when making it for smaller numbers.  The lemon, olive oil and pecorino really do add a lot to the flavor.  I recommend it with some crusty bread and a glass of red wine.

What is your favorite fairy tale?

Zuppa Di Grano Cuturru/Sicilian Greens and Bulgar Soup
(adapted from Saveur)

5 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
8 cloves garlic, smashed
1 large onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage
1⁄4 tsp. chili flakes
8 cups chicken broth
1 1⁄2 cups bulgur wheat
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 lb. escarole, washed and roughly chopped
6 tbsp. grated pecorino
1 lemon, sliced into 6 wedges

1. Heat 3 tbsp. oil in a 6-qt. pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onions, cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.

2. Add rosemary, sage, and chile flakes and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute (Smell it!!! So delicious!!!). Add broth, bulgur, and 1 cup water. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until bulgur is soft, 20–25 minutes.

3. Add escarole and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Divide soup between 6 bowls. Drizzle each with some of the remaining olive oil; sprinkle with the pecorino. Serve with lemon wedges.

Feta-Shallot-Tomato-Rosemary Quick and Easy Focaccia!!!

November 24th, 2008

Yesterday morning, when I saw Rebecca’s Focaccia with Caramelized Onions, Goat Cheese and Rosemary, I knew exactly what I wanted. I really didn’t have the time to knead bread dough but I found this no-knead recipe over at Amber’s Delectable Delights. A few short hours later, I was pacing back and forth in front of the oven waiting for my focaccia to be ready. I topped it with feta, shallots and grape tomatoes. It is excellent!

Feta-Shallot-Tomato-Rosemary Quick and Easy Focaccia
(adapted from here)

1 1/2 cups warm water
3 tablespoons olive oil (plus additional for drizzling)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
1 shallot, sliced
1 cup feta, crumbled

1. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan, and drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil in the bottom.
2. Dissolve the yeast into the water until it is bubbly.
3. Add the salt, olive oil and flour and beat until sticky but incorporated.
4. Scoop the sticky batter into the prepared pan, cover the pan, and let it rise at room temperature for 60 minutes, till it’s become puffy. (I let it rise for about 3 hours and it worked well).
5. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.
6. Gently poke the dough all over with your index finger.
7. Drizzle it lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with the rest of the ingredients.
8. Bake the bread till it’s golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.
9. Remove it from the oven, wait 5 minutes, then turn it out of the pan onto a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

A Quick Dinner and a Guest Blogger

February 26th, 2008

This week has already been really stressful and exhausting (I know, it is only Tuesday). When I came home today, I wanted to have a decent meal but I was starving so it had to be quick. I knew what I was going to make (we will get to that soon) but I was impatient. Also, I, dedicated blogger that I am, wanted to get some photos of my meal. As I was cooking, I grabbed my camera, set up the background, rummaged around for something to accompany the main dish (broccoli, in this case) and discovered that my camera’s batteries were dead! But this crazy blogging lady would not be stopped. I grabbed the remote out of my roommates hands (I really wish that wasn’t true), borrowed those batteries, took a few quick shots and finally sat down to eat. It was delicious and really was quick! I made Rosemary Sage Chops that I had found on Blue Kitchenby Terry when I was searching for some way to use an abundance of fresh sage and satisfy my pork craving. I used a mixture of fresh sage and dried rosemary because that is what I had. I also decided to add a new flavor by adding Parmesan.

Now, I had mentioned something about a guest blogger. My desire to make pork chops came from an email that my sister sent me regarding her most recent cooking adventure. She is also a excellent cook, although not as crazy as I am. I found it amusing so I thought I would share it, as an example of the trials and tribulations one sometimes faces cooking with roommates in an apartment building:

My apartment lacks air circulation, so when I was cooking a pork chop it got a bit smoky. I wasn’t even burning the thing. I opened the windows and it started to clear out, but not fast enough for my roommate. She opened the front door which set off the fire alarm. I called the fire department to ask them to turn it off, but they said it wasn’t there job and to just call my landlord. It took some time to get him on the phone, but eventually he called back and gave instructions on how to turn the thing off. Meanwhile, someone upstairs called 911. The fire department showed up and gave us shit for turning the alarm off because they are supposed to investigate. I’m mortified! I just wanted a damn pork chop.

Rosemary Sage Parmesan Chops

(adapted from Blue Kitchen)

Serves 1 to 2

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon dried rosemary or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
2 tablespoons of parmesan per chop, shredded
1 to 2 bone-in pork chops
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil.

2. When it starts to shimmer, stir in sage, rosemary and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. In the meantime, pat chops dry with a paper towel and season on both sides with salt and pepper.

4. Increase heat on skillet to medium-high and add chops to pan, directly on top of herb/garlic mixture.

5. Cover pan and cook chops undisturbed for 3 minutes (make sure to cover the pan because the grease will spit everywhere).

6. Turn chops, cover pan, reduce heat to medium and cook for 3 minutes.

7. Sprinkle the side of the pork chop with 1 tablespoon of shredded parmesan and flip to create a parmesan crust on the pork chop. Cook for 2 minutes.

8. Sprinkle the other side of the pork chop with 1 tablespoon of shredded parmesan and flip to create a parmesan crust on the pork chop. Cook for 2 minutes or until the pork is cooked through.

P.S. How to cook the pork, a vegetable and starch in 30 minutes?
1. Put water on high to boil for pasta or 5 min rice. If you are cooking for one or two, you will only need a medium saucepan.
2. Prepare the pork-chops through step 5.
3. Prepare frozen vegetables according to the package in the microwave (for quick dinners, frozen works the best).
4. Flip the pork (step 6).
5. When the water boils, prepare the rice or pasta according to the instructions on the box.
6. Finish pork.
7. Drain starch.
8. Put everything on a plate and season as you desire.
9. Does this make sense? I just wanted to give you an idea of how to multi-task in order to eat quickly.