Thursday, February 23, 2006

Things that make you go mmmmmm.

The pleasure of having a well stocked pantry means that you're sort of padding yourself for success. In this case, I had a jar of marinated artichokes, a wedge of parmesan, and a handful of walnuts.

Artichoke Pesto

¾ jar of drained marinated artichokes in oil
2" x 1" of parmesan reggiano or perhaps 3 T of grated parmesan
½ c walnuts*

optional: lemon

Makes about one cup. Keep leftovers refridgerated.

In a small food processor, place all ingredients in at once and chop into small pieces. Feel free to taste as you go.

Artichoke pesto is a delicious and unconventional condiment which you can serve with bread. In this instance I dabbed it on top of a poached egg which perched on a toasted wedge of olive sour dough bread.

I love poached eggs for breakfast.

*Keep your walnuts in airtight containers in the refrigerator because they have oils that deteriorate which diminishes the flavor.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

spiced pears and snow

Last night I tried to think of something that would taste cosy on a chilly night.

Only one third of the pear cake is shown because my girlfriends and I already ate the other two-thirds.

This pear cake has the spongey dense texture of a carrot cake.

Spiced Layered Pear Cake

1/2 c pecans finely chopped in food processor (becomes crumbly pecan flour)
2-3 large Bosc pears thinly sliced
2 c all purpose flour
3/4 c of unsalted butter (1 and 1/2 sticks) melted
1 c white sugar
1/4 c dark brown sugar
2 t cinnamon
2 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 F

Thinly slice the pears, paint them with a little butter and lightly coat in dark brown sugar and finely cut pecan flour. Combine flour, salt, baking soda and white sugar in a large mixing bowl. Lighty beat the eggs and combine them to the melted butter in a separate bowl, and add the vanilla. Make a well in the combined dry ingredient bowl and add liquid mixture in, stirring until completely combined.

In a loaf pan, cover bottom with pear slices then add one thin layer of cake batter, repeat layers until the top and end on a pear layer.

Bake for 1 hour. At around 45 minutes, check the middle by using a fork to see if it comes out clean.

Enjoy ...

Saturday, February 04, 2006

raita of my heart

I was too hungry.

I intended to make some sort of Cuban styled rubbed pork with the pork tenderloin center chops I had bought, but hunger overcame me so I threw together something from a spice rub I already had.

This meal cooks up pretty quickly -- in about 30-40 minutes.

Harissa Rubbed Pork Chop with Red Potato Wedges with Zucchini and Goat Cheese

3 pork chops
3 T harissa* (please figure out how spicy your harissa paste is and increase or decrease accordingly)
2 T olive oil

5 large red potatoes
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t paprika
cracked black pepper
1/4 t salt
1 t olive oil

1/2 small zucchini large diced

2 oz. soft goat cheese


1/2 c plain yogurt (try to find one without pectin in it)
1/4 t salt
1/4 t crushed cumin seeds
1/2 cucumber small diced
cracked black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 F

In a large bowl toss potato wedges and zucchini with salt, cinnamon, paprika, black pepper and olive oil. On a baking pan lay down aluminum foil and put potato and zucchini mixture on the aluminum foil. Crumble goat cheese onto the vegetables. Try not to allow the goat cheese to rest on the foil or pan because it will bake too quickly.

Bake for at least 30 minutes, or for as long as you can bear. The zucchini is usually ready a little before the potatoes, and I would be lying if I didn't say that I didn't stand in front of the oven snatching pieces of zucchini and melted goat cheese to eat.

Prepare the raita by mixing everything in a small bowl.

Combine the harissa paste and olive oil in a bowl and coat the pork chops with the mixture. Sprinkle chops with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

When the potatoes and zucchini are ten minutes away from finishing heat a large skillet to medium high. Do not crowd the chops. Saute for around 8 minutes total. My chops were very thin so they finished up fast. For optimal browning, only flip the chops once.

I guess Carribean tastes will have to wait for my next dish ...