Tag Archives: cooking

Last Night’s Mission District Menu

  • Improvised salad: baby romaine, radishes, and avocado with Meyer lemon vinaigrette (Meyer lemon juice, salt, pepper, sugar, good olive oil*)
  • Minted asparagus with red onion (the original recipe, for green beans here)
  • Sashimi-grade tuna steaks (what other grade would we consider?) dusted ever so lightly with wasabi powder and soy, sprinkled with black sesame seeds and seared in a grill pan
  • Tomatoes vinaigrette, minus the oregano, recipe here.
  • Some crusty country sort of loaf courtesy of Tartine (really wonderful)
  • Xarmant Txakolina, my favorite white wine.  Produced in the Basque country.  I buy mine at Paul Marcus.  It would be a great public service if everyone was granted a case each May.  Honestly, it’s so amazing.  Transportive.  More information here.  

Eclectic and charming, as was the company.  A good night in San Francisco.  I might have to make a habit of it.  But who wouldn’t love San Francisco when perched at the peak of Dolores Park in a courtyard-facing pied-à-terre?

Welcome to the Best Coast DF!

*to be all Barefoot Contessa about it

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Friday Indulgence

Courtesy of my new favorite food blog Lottie + Doof (SOOTHE!):

Warm Strawberry Crumb Cake

strawberry

photo by Lottie + Doof

So, I admit, I don’t read blogs that much.  I mean, I read some blogs, but the Internet is a brilliant place for pictures.  And I especially don’t carefully read blogs that feature lots of big pretty pictures.  But, this admission aside, I actually read the text that accompanies this beautiful picture and recipe, and think it’s hysterical.  Recommended reading; if you are actually reading this text, and are not completely distracted by the above picture.  Lottie + Doof make the reading easy with clean design and simple font.*  Perhaps it was because these two were MFA candidates in a past life?  Props.  

*there are tons of great blogs out there that I can barely stand to look at much less decipher the words in terribly small illegible fonts.  Boo!

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Great Grandmother’s (Maternal Side) Mayonnaise Recipe

As taught to my mother in the 50’s by Eddie, an extraordinary woman who worked for the family and who had learned the recipe from Great Grandmother…and I quote my mother [my input in brackets]:

Now you must understand that when Eddie was teaching me to cook, or rather I should say I was hanging around the kitchen while she cooked,
hoping I might fathom the mysteries of all that delicious food she served us;  when I asked her, after she had put something in the oven, “When will it be done?” her reply was invariably  “When its cooked.” [do you see why it took me so long to learn how to write short sentences being that I was raised by a Memphisonian mother?]

So I will give you the amounts and it may take your own intuition to get the mayonaise to the point where Eddie would exclaim the concoction to be “Just right.” [this is the case with most family recipes, including recipes from the paternal Yankee side]

1 egg yolk
1 lemon
1 dollop of mustard [you must intuit “dollop”]
salt and pepper
2 cloves of garlic pressed  (if desired)
1 bottle of olive oil [you must intuit how big this bottle is–but here I will give you a hint–perhaps 12, but that is only derived from my own intuition, and therefore is not exact]
1 teaspoon paprika
lots of elbow grease [there are probably electric tools that can take the place of this, but it won’t taste as good and won’t be as much fun or memorable]

First you take a nice size mixing bowl and one small bowl.

Crack the egg on the lip of the small bowl and separate the white from the yolk by tossing the yolk from one half of the egg shell to the
other and letting the white fall into the small bowl.  Either keep the white for another more virtuous day or discard.

Put only the yolk in the large mixing bowl.

Squeeze the lemon and add only the juice (no seeds) to the egg yolk.

Add the mustard to the egg and lemon juice.  I use Dijon,  post-life in France but Eddie used Colman’s powdered mustard [since 1814, but new and improved website with audio] after adding water as directed.

Salt and pepper  and paprika to taste.

Post life in France [the first time this phrase was written I edited it; after having read it twice I left it in],  I started adding the garlic at this point.

Take a fork or a wire whisk and make an emulsion of the above ingredients.

Take a deep breath.  This is the crucial step.

Add the olive oil in a steady,  slow stream;  all the while whisking all the ingredients to form a stronger emulsion. This will happen
gradually.  Much elbow grease will be expended.  You might notice a little bit of olive oil off to the side of your bowl;  hurry there and
bind it with the emulsion.  You want to stop adding the oil when the mixture reaches saturation.  It will not be the consistency of a store-bought mayonaise,  but you do want it to come to a peak when you lift the whisk.

If you go  too far and add too much oil the mixture will separate and you will have  a nice dressing but no mayonaise.  To quote Elizabeth David “Start again,  this time more circumspectly.

Sprinkle the mayonaise with paprika.

You may serve it directly or cover and chill for later but not terribly much later!

“Mmmm just right”

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Last Night’s Dinner

We at A Rockridge Life have been going hard on cutting down on red meat in 2009.  Chicken dinners abound.  I’ve been pretty good at getting creative with chicken breasts…and yet…it’s chicken breast night after night.  So we’re moving onto fish.  For some reason, cooking fish as a casual weeknight thing is intimidating to me.  I guess I just haven’t done it enough to have that level of comfort.  But like Madonna says, why do it if it’s not a challenge?  

So last night I started the epicurious.com searching.  I wasn’t down to spend a lot of time either.  I wanted something simple and delicious with minimal prep.  I found:

Grilled Tuna and Peppers with Caper Vinaigrette

What I love about this recipe: it’s easy, requires minimal dishes for prep, the vinaigrette is easy and contains ingredients normally already in stock in the ARL kitchen.  It’s also totally delicious.  

My modifications: I forewent the peppers, since frankly I didn’t know what an “Italian fry pepper” is and wasn’t in the mood to do research and try to find them at the grocer.  I used my Le Creuset grill pan–one of the best things in my kitchen–instead of the grill outside because I was too lazy to prep and wait for the coals to heat.  I served the tuna on a plate with a bed of arugula and simple brown rice.  I made a little extra vinaigrette to accommodate a semblance of “sauce” for the rice and arugula.  It was all totally delicious, totally healthy, and ready in MINUTES–literally.  Amazing.

The Le Creuset grill pan (I own one in the “bone” color):

le-creusetA picture of the plate:

tuna

And, because arugula is such a big part of ARL, the sound commonly known as “Arugula!” a/k/a “Old Car Horn:”

Arugula! / Old Car Horn

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Guapissima!

This marks the second in a thrilling series of recipes by Begonia Colomar.  

Gemelli Pasta in Old Fashioned Basque Style Tomato Sauce, Sauteed Beet Leaves, Button Mushrooms, and Chorizo 

Serves 2 (lovers)

Old Fashioned Basque Style Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:  

6 fresh ripe plum tomatoes cut into fourths

1 small yellow onion /chopped

 3 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp brown sugar (for this recipe, I recommend the extra sweetness)

1 garlic clove

1 tsp salt, or to taste

Preparation:  

Heat oil, then add onions and cook at medium high heat until clarified and golden.  Then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add the tomatoes, salt, and sugar and bring to a boil.  After the sauce has reached boiling, reduce the heat to low let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent from sticking.

Sauteed Beet Leaves, Button Mushrooms, and Chorizo

 

Ingredients:

1 tbsp raw pine nuts

1 shallot / finely chopped

1 garlic clove / minced

10 button mushrooms / brushed clean and thinly sliced

1 bunch beet greens with stems / well washed and cut roughly into large pieces

3 tbsp olive oil

1 three-inch piece of Spanish chorizo/ halved and cut in thin slices

1  stem fresh thyme

pinch salt

Preparation:

Remove thyme leaves from stem and set aside.

Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat.  Add pine nuts and brown for 10 seconds.  Remove the pine nuts and set aside.  Leave remaining oil in pan.

Reheat the oil over a high flame.  Add shallots and allow to brown for 1 minute.  Add  garlic and cook for one minute, then add mushrooms and saute over high heat for 2 more minutes.  Finally, add chorizo and stir, allowing flavors to mingle for one minute before adding beet greens, salt, and thyme leaves.  Cook until the greens turn dark and reduce in size ( 3 – 5 minutes).

Gemelli

Ingredients:

Gemelli pasta 

1 stem fresh thyme

olive oil

salt

Preparation:

Remove thyme from the stem and set aside.

Bring water to a boil.  Add plenty of salt and a bit of olive oil to the boiling water.  Then add gemelli and boil, until al dente.

Drain well.  Sprinkle with the thyme and a bit of olive oil (this will keep the noodles loose and firm).  Set aside.

To Serve:

Warm a large serving bowl.  Add the gemelli, tomato sauce, toasted pine nuts and green and toss thoroughly.

Sprinkle with fresh Romano or parmigiana cheese and serve immediately.

This is a hearty winter pasta that will pair well with a robust red Merlot or Chianti.

Buono Appetito!

gemelli

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A Real Treat

Begonia Colomar has agreed to contribute her culinary talents to A Rockridge Life.  Ms. Colomar was raised in the Basque country of Spain.  Her nuanced palate, which she cultivated in the Spanish countryside of her childhood, is obvious in the impeccable flavors she is able conjure with fresh, everyday ingredients.  We can’t all sit down at her table each night, but we may now strive to replicate such an experience in our own homes through her thoughtful recipes.  Without further ado, I present Ms. Colomar:

Galloping Flavours: Braised Pork Chop with Saffron Chorizo Orzo and  Onion Marmalade

by Begonia Colomar

Serves 2 (lovers)

Ingredients:  

two 1″ cut  Pork Chops

For the Rub:  

1   tsp  whole coriander

1/2 tsp  whole white pepper

1/4 tsp  whole fenugreek

1/4 tsp  whole cumin

1/2 tsp  smoked paprika

Preparation:  

Bring pork chops to room temp approximately 20 minutes prior to braising.  Generously salt them (Maldon is highly recommended).  Combine the herbs and spices and then grind them.  A spare or carefully cleaned coffee grinder can be used for this purpose.  A mortar and pestle works too but requires more elbow grease.  Pat the pork chops generously on both sides with the herb and spice rub.  Set the pork chops aside and keep at room temperature while preparing the marmalade.  

For the Onion Marmalade:

3 yellow onions /peeled,halved and sliced

1 shallot /peeled,halved and sliced

3 tbsp brown sugar

pinch freshly ground pepper

pinch salt

1/4 tsp dried tarragon

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Preparation:

Heat oil and butter in a skillet.  Add the onions, brown sugar, salt, and pepper.  Cook on very high heat while stirring frequently for 5 minutes.  Add tarragon and continue to cook on high heat for an additional 5 minutes.  Do not allow onions to boil or burn. 

For the Orzo:

1 cup orzo

1/2 yellow onion /minced

1/2 leek/minced

1 garlic clove /minced

1/4 tsp Spanish saffron threads

3 cups vegetable stock

3 large whole sage leaves

2 inch cube Spanish chorizo halved and thinly sliced

1 tsp salt

olive oil

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 375.

Add a bit of olive oil, just enough to barely coat the pan (approximately 1/2 tbsp) to an oven-proof frying pan. Heat the oil until you see smoke forming.

Add the pork chops and sear 2 minutes per side on high heat.  Cover the pan with an oven-proof lid or tin foil and place in the oven.  Let the pork chops cook in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes.

While the pork chops are in the oven, heat the oil for the orzo in a medium size pot.  Add onions and leeks and cook on medium high heat until caramel color, then add garlic.  Add the orzo and saffron to the mix and stir constantly for approximately 2 minutes.

Add the stock and salt and let simmer at medium high heat for 10 -12 minutes or until the orzo has absorbed the stock and has a creamy texture. 

While the orzo is cooking remove the pork chops from the oven and let sit, still covered for 5 minutes before serving.

Keep stirring the orzo.  When the stock has been completely absorbed, add the sage and chorizo.  Turn off the heat, and serve the orzo very hot.  

Place the pork chops atop the hot orzo, and spoon the onion marmalade on the side.

This meal will pair deliciously with a full-bodied Chardonnay.

Buen Apetito!!

begoniarecipepic

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