January 30, 2013

Crunchy Papardelle

Photograph by Britta Lokting.
This recipe is an easier one from Yotam's book, Plenty and great for a Sunday night dinner. It is also a nice way to eat your vegetables (I normally am not very fond of broccoli).

1/4 cup olive oils
3 1/2 cup button mushroom, halved
7 tbsp white wine
1 bay leaf
3 thyme sprigs
1/2 tsp sugar
2/3 heavy cream
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 tbsp chopped parsley
3 tbsp panko
1 bunch broccolini, leaves removed and cut into 2 1/2 inch-long pieces.
9 oz. dried papardelle

To make:
  • Bring a small and large pot of water to a boil.
  • Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a saucepan and sautee the mushrooms until they start to color.
  • Add the wine, bay leaf, thyme, and sugar.
  • Boil and reduce by 2/3 liquids.
  • Add the cream and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Mix together the lemon zest, garlic, and parsley in a bowl.
  • In a pan, toast the panko until golden.
  • Blanch the brocollini in a small pot of water for 2 minutes and drain.
  • Add the pasta to the large pot of boilding water.
  • When the pasta is just ready, add the broccolini to the cream sauce and reheat.
  • Reserve some of the cooking liquid from the papardelle.
  • Add the paperdelle to the cream sauce, and half the parsley mix.
  • Add the cooking liquid if the sauce seems dry.
  • Stir the rest of the parsley mix into the panko and sprinkle over the pasta.

January 23, 2013

Kale Caesar with Rye Croutons and Farro

Photograph by Britta Lokting.
For anyone that truly knows me, knows I am obsessed with kale. And caesar salads. So naturally when I came across this in the February issue of Food & Wine, I had to make it. Now, you are probably thinking about how healthy kale is, but how unhealthy caesar dressing can be with high cholesterol from egg yolks. But no fear here! This dressing is made (almost entirely) of tofu. Yes, tofu. Some of you may have already exited out of this page (I'm not a huge tofu fan myself). For those of you who are still reading, when I told my dad this (a big risk considering he is quite the meat lover), he not only thought I was lying, but kept on eating! He truly couldn't believe it. I am proud to say that this salad was the main attraction at dinner. (Sorry, mom). 

1/2 cup farro
Olive Oil
Rye bread cut into 1 inch cubes. (Use store-bought croutons to save time) 
8 oz red or green kale, stems discarded and leaves torn
12 oz Tuscan kale, stems discarded and leaves shredded
6 oz of silken tofu, drained
5 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
1/2 teaspoon finely grated garlic
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
Parmesan cheese 

To make:
  • Boil a saucepan of water and cook the farro until tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain and set aside. 
  • (If using store-bought croutons, skip this step). Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add the bread and cook until golden and crispy. Season with salt and transfer to a plate. 
  • In a large bowl, toss the kale. 
  • In a food processor, puree the tofu, anchovies, garlic, and mustard. With the machine on, drizzle in the grapeseed or canola oil and two tablespoons of water. *I recommend adding more water, as the dressing turned out a little too thick). 
  • Add two tablespoons of parmesan and puree. Season with salt and pepper. 
  • Toss the dressing with the kale.
  • Transfer to plates and top with the faro, parmesan, and salt and pepper. 

January 22, 2013

Bun Fun

I have been experimenting more and more with my hair lately, especially after buying a curling wand (big steps!). It's usually either down, pulled back casually, or on occasion blow-dried and straightened. But that's it. My newest feat is to perfect the messy bun (ironic). Unfortunately, it is near impossible to grow my hair long and my buns end up looking like little nubs. My co-workers have been doing sock buns lately, but I think my hair is even too short for that...Alas, I may just have to admire others' from afar. Or create a way to make the messy bun doable for the short-haired girl. I will post my findings once found.

January 18, 2013

Jerusalem cookbook

I bought my mom Jerusalem for Christmas, as we love his first vegetarian cookbook Plenty (This latest one includes meat, which makes me drool over the lamb dishes. I am still a pescatarian though). We recently have been cooking many of our meals from Jerusalem as they are challenging, unique, and authentically ethnic. Unfortunately, I have not blogged about every dish, including his spicy tilapia and stuffed eggplant. I highly recommend anyone who likes a challenge, and access to odd and hard-to-find spices, to buy this book immediately. I will say though, Yotam's first book, Plenty, is much more demanding and time-consuming. Jerusalem is a bit more tuned to the general consumer and average chef. Yotam has also been featured in Food & Wine. 

Also, the pictures are beautiful. And mouth-watering.

January 16, 2013

Bitter-Greens Salad with Melted Cheese

Photograph by Britta Lokting.
This recipe is from the February 2013 edition of Food & Wine. We decided to make it because it is from the latest restaurant of Stumptown Coffee's Duane Sorenson, called Ava Grene's, located here in Portland. It was a simple salad, but good. However, I would adjust a few things for next time, such as heating the salad longer in the oven; it wasn't quite warm enough and the cheese was only semi-melted. Additionally, I would use less radicchio and more arugula than what is called for. Mixing in some field greens could be nice too.

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large head of radicchio cored and coarsely shredded
5 oz baby arugula
4 oz semi-hard Italian cheese, such as Crucolo or pecorino (We used parmesan).
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted
Balsamic vinegar for drizzling

To make:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Toast the hazelnuts.
Meanwhile in a large bowl, whisk the red wine vinegar with the olive oil and salt and pepper.
Add the radicchio and arugula to the dressing and toss well.
Put the salad in an oven-proof plates and top with the grated cheese.
Arrange the plates on trays and place in the oven for 1 minute.
Sprinkle the toasted hazelnuts on top.
Drizzle the balsamic vinegar on top and serve warm.

January 14, 2013

Cod Cakes in Tomato Sauce

Photograph by Britta Lokting.
The picture doesn't look like much, but a fair amount of work went into making these little cakes. The key is refrigerating them for 30 minutes before searing. If this step is skipped, the cakes will be too soft and will fall apart. Once I got the hang of flipping the cakes (it took 2 or 3 guinea pigs), the pace quickened up and it wasn't so time consuming. We also didn't actually use cod, but halibut, which worked fine. You could also use hake or pollock. 

3 slices of white bread, crusts removed
1 1/3 cod skinned and de-boned.
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves crushed
1 oz parsley chopped
1 oz cilantro choped
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 large eggs beaten
4 tbsp olive oil

Tomato sauce:
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1 medium onion chopped
1/2 cup white wine
one 14 oz can of tomatoes
1 red chile, seeded & finely chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp mint leaves, coarsely chopped
salt & pepper

To make the tomato sauce:
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the spices and onion for 10 minutes.
Add the wine and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, chile, garlic, sugar, salt and some pepper.
Simmer for 15 minutes until thick and set aside.

To make the cakes:
Place the bread in a food processor and blitz.
Chop the fish finely and place in a bowl with the bread crumbs, and everything else except the olive oil.
Mix together and use your hands to shape them into cakes.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Heat half the olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat, and sear for 3 minutes on each side.
Place the cakes in the tomato sauce.
Add water to cover them, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Sprinkle with the mint and serve.

January 10, 2013

Heel Slump

Lately, every time I have tried to wear my (sky) high heels, the ones that were second nature to me in college, my toes have screamed out in agony. I have a few theories. First, when I come home to Portland, I don't dress up as much as I do elsewhere - probably something to do with being too comfortable in my hometown. As this is the longest I have lived at home since I left for school, I believe my feet have completely lost their tolerance to anything higher than 3 inches.

My second theory is the weather. The rainy, winter months in Portland are unmotivating. I wake up to grey skies and want to wear nothing but boots. Both of these hypotheses cause me to wear more flats (i.e. boots), and less heels. And while I love all boots (and all shoes for that matter), I have resolved to make more of an effort to change up my footwear. Looking at these pictures below will hopefully inspire me to be more proactive.

But I probably won't attempt these few crazy ones...although I do think they're pretty funny.

January 8, 2013

Baked Mushroom Appetizers

Photograph by Britta Lokting
These appetizers are so simple and so delicious. They turned out succulent and juicy. The trick is to use lots and lots of butter. :) Only a few household ingredients are needed.

12 Crimini Mushrooms
Thyme twigs
Salt & Pepper

To make:
Cut the stems off the mushrooms and score the tops.
Place in a well-buttered baking pan.
Brush butter on top of the scored tops.
Place thyme twigs around the pan.
Salt & pepper well (add any other spices you might desire).
Bake for 20 minutes, flipping the mushrooms over halfway through.

January 6, 2013

Wine Tasting at Ardiri

Today, my co-workers and I went wine tasting at Ardiri in the Chalalem Mountains in Oregon. Located on rolling hills, the view from the winery is beautiful, and was especially mystical on this foggy day. 
The tasting room had a number of fire pits to eat, drink and relax around. I would love to go back in the summer, and even try to do a tour of different wineries in the area. It was a great  and new way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon. 

Ardiri Winery. 

The 2009 Pinot Noir from Ardiri - my favorite.

All photographs taken by Britta Lokting.

January 4, 2013

Red Wine Spaghetti with Walnuts and Parsley

Photograph taken by Britta Lokting.
I've never cooked pasta in wine before. It gave the spaghetti a soft purple color and a sweet taste. This dish is easy and doesn't require many ingredients. For next time however, I would add at least double the amount of red pepper flakes (I like a lot of spice) and more of the reserved wine liquid; it was a tad dry. It's important not to cook down the liquid too much in the skillet; we left the pasta cooking while making a salad and I think that added to the dryness. 

5 cups water
3 1/4 cups red wine
3/4 pound spaghetti
1/4 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced,
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup walnuts toasted and chopped
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt & pepper

To make:
In a sauce pan, combine the water with 3 cups of red wine. Add salt and boil.
Cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain and reserve 1/4 cup of cooking liquid.
In a skillet, heat two tablespoons of olive oil. Add garlic, crushed red peppers and salt. Cook for one minute.
Add the remaining 1/4 cup red wine and the reserved cooking liquid and bring to a simmer.
Stir in the drained spaghetti and cook until liquid is nearly absorbed.
Add chopped parsley, walnuts, 1/2 cup of grated cheese and two tablespoons of olive oil. Toss.
Season with salt and pepper. Serve with grated cheese on top.

January 3, 2013

New Years in PDX

PDX was once again graced with Dave's presence this past week. We kept ourselves busy doing classic Portland activities, like going to Powell's and the Japanese Gardens. But the week was also filled with new discoveries, mainly food-related of course, such as Yama Sushi, brunch at Roost (which was our favorite), Pine State Biscuits, and the Bunk Sandwiches food cart (conveniently located outside the bar on New Year's Eve). We hiked near the Audubon Society, which I haven't done since grade school, and got to meet a raven and an owl. We also saw Lily, the new baby elephant at The Oregon Zoo, cheered on the Blazers at the Rose Garden and heard the funky soul music of Reva Devito (who I thought was great :)  Happy New Years everyone!
View of Mt. Hood from the Japanese Gardens. 
Japanese Gardens

Zen Garden

Cheers! 2013 :)
Our own little Portland ball dropping.

Diners, Drive-ins and Dives stop: Pine State Biscuits
Biscuits with Mushroom Gravy.
Mountain Man 

Balch Creek
Educational Owl!
Bowling in Style at Grand Central Bowl.

All photographs taken by Britta Lokting.

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