Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Goat cheese, caramelized onion, and summer squash calzone

It's finally cooled down in Boston, so it's safe to turn on the oven again. As if on cue, my old college friend Randalle just turned out a goat cheese and summer squash pizza, which sounds delicious. What better homage can I pay than to steal this idea, mangle it until it's nearly unrecognizable, and backlink?

Anyway, I'm going to make a calzone.

Slow-rise olive oil bread

Since my mother introduced me to Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, I've really been digging breadcraft. The method used in that book is simple: mix a wet dough, let it rise slowly to develop the wheat gluten naturally, then store it in the refrigerator until you're ready to bake, at which point you just tear off a lump, form it, and bake it on a stone. The result is a gorgeous peasant loaf.

It's a ridiculously easy technique that can be applied to all sorts of breads. Buy the book. For now, though, I'm going to give a recipe for my current favorite dough, which is also the crux of my calzones.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Wheatberry salad with pan-roasted corn, blueberries, and gorgonzola vinaigrette

It's still hot. We need more salads. Also, I still have wheatberries, and my CSA box came in today with fresh corn, lovely plump blueberries, and some sort of weird squash. I suppose we'd better get to business.

Berries and vinaigrette are a seriously winning combination. Let's make that thing.

Potato-and-radish 'Caesar' salad

It's getting pretty bloody hot in Boston, which makes quick cold dishes like salads very appealing. A man can only eat so many lettuce salads, however. Potatoes are much more my style.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Homemade spiced cocktail cherries

No Manhattan is complete without a cocktail cherry and a splash of syrup, but those awful corn-syrup-cured pickled things you find on grocery-store shelves are singularly unappetizing. What's a snobbish grad student with too much time on his hands to do?

Make his own, of course!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wheatberry salad with roasted fennel and honey-citrus vinaigrette

It's hot in Boston. At least, it's hot enough to be hot in a city where no one has air conditioners. This is not weather for making a hot dinner.

Let's make a salad of things.

Yes. Let's make a salad.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Two-potato tortilla with kale and smoked paprika

The Spanish language has a peculiar history. The post-Columbian development of Latin culture in Central America gave us two widly divergent and culturally rich enclaves of a single language, developing in parallel for the last five hundred years. It's small wonder, then, that sometimes the vocabulary gets confused. In Latin cultures, 'tortilla' is the familiar corn— or wheat-flour-based griddle flatbread. In continental Spain, however, 'tortilla' is more likely to denote a sort of omelette, made from potatoes and vegetables, bound with eggs, and cooked on both sides in a large, flat pan. It looks like this:

and it's awesome. The potatoes layer nicely and the seasoned egg mixture binds it all up into something almost like a dense, hearty quiche:

Let's make one!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pasta with shaved fresh fennel, garlic scape pesto, and zucchini

Every Wednesday we get a new CSA box, and that first night it's always a challenge to come up with something to make without going to the grocery store to augment our pantry supplies. This week, we still had most of a bunch of garlic scapes (previously featured in tuna au poivre), and gained a lovely bulb of fennel and some zucchini. I was already starving by the time Janet arrived with the vegetables, so I needed something quick and simple. These sorts of vegetables just scream 'pasta' to me, so this is what we came up with.

It really came together very nicely — the slight heat and grassy greenness of the garlic are nicely balanced by the sweetness of the fennel, and the zucchini adds just enough tooth to make the texture interesting. Be sure to get a tasty and interesting extruded pasta (we used trottole) and this will make a lovely early-summer dinner.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Caramelized onion, kale, and cannellini stew

My fiancée and I have an arrangement—she does all the dishes, but I have to do all the meal-picking. I have to pick even when I don't want to pick. I have to pick even when I've got no idea what to make. I even have to pick when there's nothing in the house to eat except kale, onions, and miscellaneous cans. Of course, the last isn't so bad—when you've only got three things, put them together in a pot and make stew!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tuna steaks au poivre with french onion sauce and garlic scapes

After a weekend at a bed and breakfast in New Hampshire where we learned how to make a true French onion soup, my fiancée and I stopped at a seafood shack nearby, where deliciously fresh tuna steaks were on offer. Tuna steak and French onion soup seem like unlikely mates, but I was in the mood for a classic sauce a poivre, and the rich savoriness of the soup seemed like it might just work as a replacement for the more conventional veal demi-glace base. A quick glance through our selections from this week's CSA box turned up some lovely garlic scapes — and here are the results!