April, 2010

The Power of Deglazing

Before my first stint in a professional kitchen I had no idea what it meant to “deglaze” a pan.  This is one little trick that transforms mediocre meals into vastly tastier cooking.  Here’s a quick video with a good explanation on how to deglaze.

P.S. I started writing this post on June 7, 2004 and figured it was about time to finish it…

Our Backyard

Here are some pictures of the views from our backyard today. Click to enlarge…

A Week of Artichokes!

A couple weekends ago on a trip to the mercato (farmer’s market), I ran into a Sardinian guy selling artichokes at the can’t-be-beat price of €7,00 for 20 artichokes (that’s about .46 american cents each).  The only stipulation was that you had to buy twenty – or ten for €5,00, but why get 10 when you can get 20 for €2,00 more?!?  Needless to say, we were eating artichokes all week – and loving every minute of it.  Here’s what we made:

Artichoke Pasta

Pasta with artichokes

Orecchiette with sundried tomates, toasted pinenuts, basil, capers, olives, mozzarella

Directions:  toast pinenuts in a dry frying pan, swirling frequently.  Add a little oil, garlic, onion and sweat till transparent.  Add finely sliced artichokes, chopped sundried tomatoes, olives, capers and a couple ladles of pasta water.  Cook on low till desired consistency and artichokes have cooked through.  Add more olive oil if sauce seems dry.  Stir sauce into cooked, drained pasta and add diced mozzarella.

Artichoke Risotto

Slice artichokes finely and cook in a pan with garlic, onion, and olive oil, adding a cup or two of stock or water as onion starts to brown.  You can use whatever kind of rice you prefer and either prepare it separately, or add it to the artichokes and cover with stock or water until rice is cooked.  Serve with plenty of grated cheese.

Pan Roasted Artichokes

Prepare as above, adding pinenuts and olives if desired and serve as a vegetable side dish.

Steamed Artichokes with Hollandaise Sauce

Steamed Artichokes with Hollandaise Sauce

Steam whole artichokes, almost covered with salted water in a large pot for 30-40 minutes or until soft.  Meanwhile, prepare hollandaise sauce.  I know that seems like a lot of butter, but trust me, it’s worth it!  I like my hollandaise extra lemony.  The real fun of this dish is in how  it’s eaten:  Dip artichokes leaves in sauce and scrape the meat off each leaf with your teeth.  To die for!!

Cold Artichoke Salad

Hard boil eggs and separate the yolks.  Slice raw artichokes on a mandolin, add crumbled egg yolks, flakes of parmigiano (parmesan cheese), dress with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Happy Easter

Here are some of the eggs I colored this year – couldn’t find any white eggs, but the brown eggs actually worked just fine, and they have neat dark specks that white eggs don’t have. I also blew the insides out of three eggs and made Christmas ornaments out of them. The red didn’t come out in the picture below, it’s really an awesome red and I painted it with clear nailpolish to make it shiny.