Thursday, December 27, 2007

Hello Again!

I got lost there for a moment. I am trying to simplify my crazy new schedule. I have just taken on a couple more personal chef jobs and am finding absolutely no time to post, cook for myself, eat and enjoy food. I mean my favorite cooking holidays passed with nary a post! I catered desserts for 300 and you get nothing. They were quite delicious.

I figure I just need to implement a system and stick to it. So here it is, I am going to start listing the menus for the week, my shopping list and the recipes each day of the week. Starting next Sunday. I think.

Until then I leave you with this. I am sick and sore-throated so today is a soup & ginger tea-while-I-cook-day.

Coconut Curry Squash Soup

1- butternut squash, cut into 1" pieces
1- onion diced
2- tbsp olive oil
1- tbsp red curry paste
1- can coconut milk, regular or light, your pref.
4- cups broth, i used chicken
salt to taste

Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and cook until tender about 5 minutes. Add the curry paste and stir until fragrant about 1 minute. Add coconut milk, squash and broth. Cook until squash is tender. Cool slightly and puree soup in a blender in batches until all is smooth.

Serve soup topped with fresh cilantro.

Option: I hate cutting and peeling squash. One way around this is to roast the squash until tender and then scoop out the flesh and add to the soup. You won't need to cook the soup as long if you do this because the squash is already cooked.

I will roast and puree squashes and pumpkins in large batches and freeze the puree to just have on hand. It is great to stir into polenta, risotto, serve as a side or use for soups.

To roast squash:
Heat oven to 350°F. Quarter squash and scoop out the seeds; drizzle with 1 olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Wrap in foil, and place on baking sheet. Bake 1 hour, or until squash is soft. Cool 20 minutes, or until easy to handle.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sweets for 50

I filled 50 of these tiny boxes with Peppermint Dark Chocolate Truffles and Rosemary Scented Pinenut Tartlets. Then I gave them to my A&P classmates to celebrate the end of the long nine months of physiology hell.

I had to test recipes for a dessert buffet I am making for Portland Art Center's artist reception this Friday night. I was not super pleased with the results but they will do for classmate gifts.

I'll post the recipes when I have tweaked them more.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Pappardelle with Pancetta, Rapini, and Pine Nuts

This recipe is for my good friend Justin who is cooking for a lady friend tonight. He needed something with pork in it. This is a favorite dish of mine. It is quick, sophisticated and makes use of extraordinary ingredients in a very simple way.

I like to finish the meal with some fresh sliced pears and a glass of light-ish red wine like a pinot noir.

Pappardelle with Pancetta, Rapini, and Pine Nuts

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 garlic cloves, peeled, flattened
1 medium onion, chopped
3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 large bunch broccoli rabe (also called rapini; generous 1 pound), stems sliced 1/2 inch thick, tops cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup water

1 8.8-ounce package dried pappardelle pasta

1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus additional for serving
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until golden brown, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes. Discard garlic. Add onion, pancetta, and fennel seeds to skillet; sauté until onion is tender and pancetta begins to brown, about 8 minutes. Add dried crushed red pepper, then broccoli rabe stems and cook 4 minutes to soften slightly, stirring occasionally. Stir in broccoli rabe tops, sprinkle with salt, and add 1 cup water. Cover and cook until stems and tops are tender, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.

Add pasta to skillet with broccoli rabe and stir over low heat to combine, adding reserved cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls to moisten if necessary. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 1 cup cheese. Season to taste with salt and generous amount of pepper. Transfer to shallow bowl. Sprinkle with pine nuts and serve, passing additional cheese separately.

(recipe via bon appetit)