Category: Lunch

Alyce’s Tortellini Salad Goes to Denver, but Misses Olivia’s Birthday

Alyce’s Tortellini Salad Goes to Denver, but Misses Olivia’s Birthday

IMG_7688

Summer comes and this tortellini salad comes with it.  Just ask my family.
Full of tender cheese-filled tortellini and lots of chunky vegetables, it’s held together with a brisk mustard vinaigrette and lots of thin slices of sopressata or hard salami.  If I’m going to a family event or a church picnic, I make a big bowl of this salad and bring it along.  In Minnesota, it goes in the cooler and makes its way up north to celebrate Joe’s and Olivia’s birthdays. The original recipe was, I think, from the COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE years ago, but it has changed quite a bit over time.

I missed Olivia’s birthday this year, but made the salad anyway.  See you soon, I hope!

Here in Colorado, it travels up I-25 to Denver for a family afternoon by the pool after a visit to a museum.

This year, Bill made a big hunk of brisket he smoked overnight.  Sean brewed some beer and I made (of course) the tortellini salad.  Occasionally it morphs just a bit; originally it didn’t have many vegetables.  I had to amend that.  The resulting salad is fine for a whole meal, but it’s also a total one-dish side for any barbequed meat.  You know how pasta salad can be pale, insipid, and less than interesting?  Perhaps only filling?  Easily left on the plate at picnics?  That is what this pasta salad is not.   

Nope, we don’t want to get out of the pool. Even for lunch.
This is either Cosmo or Gizmo tending bar.  Whichever one, he got no tortellini salad.
The unveiling of the smoked meat!

TORTELLINI SALAD FOR OLIVIA’S BIRTHDAY, BILL’S BRISKET, or YOUR SUMMER BASH
serves 12

18-20 oz. fresh cheese tortellini (find in refrigerator case)
2 small zucchini, cut into matchstick size pieces
1 small yellow squash, ditto
1 red sweet pepper, ditto
1 yellow sweet pepper, ditto
1 green or orange sweet pepper, ditto
1/4 c minced red onion
1/4# hard salami, cut into 1/4″ slices  (I like sopressata for this.)
1/3 c  each fresh basil and parsley, chopped (keep out 1 T for garnish)
1/2 t dried oregano or Herbes de Provence
1/2 c freshly-grated Parmesan cheese (keep out 2T for top of dish)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3T red wine vinegar
2T Dijon mustard
1/3 c Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt; Freshly-ground Pepper;1/8 t crushed red pepper
Cherry Tomatoes for garnish

In 8 qt. stock pot, bring 5-6 qts. well-salted water to boil. Add fresh tortellini and cook about 8 min or according to package directions.
Meantime, make dressing: In large bowl (or in food processor), whisk together red wine vinegar, garlic and Dijon mustard. Slowly pour in olive oil and whisk until emulsified (creamy and satiny). Add salt and peppers; stir well. Set dressing aside.
Drain tortellini while still a tad al dente and, while hot in colander, add all zucchini and yellow squash. Stir gently to let heat of pasta cook the squash just a tad. Allow pasta and squash to cool, stirring periodically.
Add sliced peppers, salami, all but 2 tablespoons parmesan all but 1 tablespoon fresh basil, and the oregano or Herbes de Provence.  Stir gently; tortellini can fall apart easily. Drizzle most of dressing onto salad and combine. (Save some dressing to add right before serving)
Refrigerate until needed or overnight. To serve, add extra dressing and taste salad for seasoning. Add salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with reserved basil or parsley, Parmesan cheese, and cherry tomatoes.  (If refrigerated overnight, you’ll definitely need to re-season.)

Note:  If you have any other vegetables, add them. This version has some fresh, minced broccoli as well as some diced carrots.

Note:  For vegetarian or vegan option, skip salami and, for vegan, use pasta made without eggs and leave off Parmesan.

{printable recipe}

Aunt Carolyn relaxing after lunch.

Sing a new song; make an old tortellini salad,
Alyce

The Blog is on Vacation, but Make This 10-minute Salmon Supper

The Blog is on Vacation, but Make This 10-minute Salmon Supper

Out of sight, out of mind.

The blog is on vacation.
So are the the puppies.
Dave, too.

But until we all return, why don’t you make a 10-minute Salmon Supper I made for myself last night? I made enough for two meals, so I didn’t have to cook tonight.  There are still enough green beans for my lunch tomorrow.


I write two very fun food blogs and I rarely blog the same recipe on both; today I am.  On Dinner Place, I’ve been occasionally experimenting with recipes that are more photos than text.  See what you think.

grilled salmon with  balsamic-honey sauce and green beans vinaigrette serves 2-3

Here’s how:

Cook oiled and salt + peppered salmon (2-8oz portions Copper River Salmon here), skin-side up, over medium-high heat on a grill or skillet for 4 minutes.  Turn and cook until firm, but still moist– another 2-4 minutes  for 3/4″ thick fish.    Remove and let rest 2 minutes.  Thicker or larger fish will take a bit longer.

Meanwhile, cook clipped package of haricots verts in microwave @ full power 2-3 minutes.
 Make vinaigrette for beans:  Whisk together in a medium bowl 1T white wine vinegar with 1/4 t each salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, Dijon-style mustard.  Then whisk in 2T olive oil, 1 T at a time until thickened or emulsified.
Pour the beans carefully (HOT) into bowl and toss w/ vinaigrette.  Grate a bit of lemon zest on top.   Taste and re-season if necessary.

Make the sauce for the fish like this:  In a small bowl, mix well together 2T balsamic vinegar and 2t honey with a good pinch of black pepper.  Another sauce I like is fig jam mixed with balsamic vinegar– about 2T jam to 1T balsamic, with some crushed red pepper and a pinch of salt.

To serve:  Place a piece of cooked fish on each plate and drizzle with the sauce. Add the green beans and serve hot.

Wrap well the second piece of fish (if not using) and store in frig; keeps one day.  Store beans in the bowl, covered, and refrigerated.  Use within 2-3 days.

 Wine? I typically like Oregon Pinot Noir with salmon, but this prep calls for a bit bigger wine, so go with an Australian Shiraz or a California Cab.

two-dog kitchen and around the ‘hood

Tucker loves to watch the neighbors come to and from The Wine Thief and The Ale Jail.  Gabby is more into, “Where’s the ball or what’s Mom doing?”

Below:  my south garden.  Summer in St. Paul!

yellow roses

columbines like it here

my favorite color rose

When I come back, I’ll be ready to get into the next group-blogging adventure:

Can’t wait to cook for you, but meantime read this article on summer cookbooks….

Sing a new song,
Alyce

Toasted Israeli Couscous Primavera–All from Trader Joe’s

Toasted Israeli Couscous Primavera–All from Trader Joe’s

Welcome spring!

If you shop Trader Joe’s, you might know Israeli couscous–a bit more like round orzo than couscous.  Maybe you buy it?  And if you live in the metro D.C. area or read papers online, you might have read a recipe from the Washington Post a few weeks ago for a Toasted Israeli Couscous Primavera.  I do not live in the D.C. area, though I did for years; these days my traveling husband occasionally brings me a WP home to Saint Paul.  I’m always glad to get it because it was the first paper away from Chicago to which I became really attached.   And as a food blogger, I like seeing what’s going on somewhere else food-wise.   If  you’re a regular reader, you know I rarely blog a recipe from a newspaper.  Until recently when I jumped on board the fun 50 Women Game-Changers in Food blogging adventure, I  blogged almost exclusively original recipes. This one’s yummy, though, and I wanted it on my own site–if only for my own self!  You can, and I did, buy everything you need to make this recipe at any Trader Joe’s.

I don’t know how you feel about Trader Joe’s.  People praise it to the highest heavens and you would have thought our lives were being saved from the plague if you listened to the around-town chat before the store opened on its tight corner with underground parking.   I was in grad school at St. Thomas that summer, and even I heard about it.   And this is a city with fine, locally-owned groceries we can walk to in nearly every neighborhood.  The beauty of Saint Paul!

So I’m of mixed emotions over what’s there–inside Trader Joe’s, I mean.  First off, I’m not drinking that wine not no-how.  Not even in Sangria.  I mean, have you tasted it?   I’d rather drink Coke and be sober.   Secondly, the produce (even though you can get cool things like fresh English peas) looks a little sad, a bit used, and not real green in both its meanings.  I mean, why wrap Italian parsley up on paper plates and in plastic?  The other thing is I have the sense (with no reason, I think) that some of this food might be processed in ways I wouldn’t like or in China maybe.   I feel like a snob.  And guess I am.  I repeat:  I have no basis for these feelings or ideas.  I even looked on the boxes of a few things I bought.  The Israeli couscous, for instance, says “Made in Israel.”  Duh.  The canned salmon is wild from Alaska.  Huh.

The chef is always right.  This sign is right by my main prep space.  Just cookin’.

But I go.  Once in a while.  I’ll only go at very specified times.  Like 10am on Tuesday.  If you try and shop at our Trader Joe’s in the afternoon, evening, or on the weekends, you just can’t get in and out of the parking lot or nearby streets.  The location, albeit the only one they could obtain in our city, is crowded, crowded.   While I’m there, I grab up stuff like sparkling pink lemonade in beautiful liter bottles, peanut-butter stuff pretzel chunks that are addictive, boxes of 100-calorie each scrumptious Belgian milk chocolate, and maybe even a plant or two.  Sometimes a little cheese, though I feel guilty not buying it at our local cheese shop, St. Paul Cheese, which is all of four blocks from my house.

Just because I should, I did a little digging and, if you’d like, you can read a professional review–a bit dated– of Trader Joe’s here.  It’s all good.  Nothing to substantiate my weird, stuck up feelings.
Well,  now that that’s off my chest…I can go on about the recipe.  Right?

I tape upcoming recipes on the door.
Things I’m testing or things I’d like to make sometime go up.  The couscous was up for a while before I got to it.

A wonderfully simple all-in-one spring side dish (or summer-add whatever vegetables), we enjoyed this as a foil to a rosemary-roasted pork loin drizzled with homemade barbeque sauce for our second annual “Lilacs are Blooming” dinner party.  (A leek soup with a bit of bacon was the first course that night, but that’s another blog.)  Appearing and tasting something like  risotto, this is much easier; the couscous is cooked in only 10 minutes and the entire dish in about 15–no long-lived ladling and stirring.     My notes or changes are in red.   Try this:

toasted israeli couscous primavera  courtesy WP/Stephanie Witt Sedgwick
  4 main-dish servings; 6 side-dish servings

2T olive oil, divided
2/3 c chopped scallions (1 bunch, white and light green parts)  I used ramps
1 1/2 cups dried Israeli couscous
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 3/4 cups no-salt added or homemade chicken broth, heated just to boiling
Finely grated zest and freshly squeezed juice from 1 lemon (2t zest, 2T juice)
8 oz asparagus, woody ends trimmed, cut into 1″ pieces
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted, or blanched fresh peas
2 oz baby spinach leaves
Aleppo pepper to taste
2T fresh parsley, chopped

  1. Heat 1 T of the oil in a 2-3 qt over medium heat.  Add the sallions; cook 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, until just softened.
  2. Add the couscous and season with salt and pepper to taste; stir to combine.  Add the hot broth, lemon zest and juice.
  3. Bring to a boil and add asparagus and peas; cover.  Cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat so the broth is barely bubbling at the edges, until the liquid has been absorbed and the couscous is cooked through.
  4. Combine the spinach, the parsley and the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large serving bowl.  Add the cooked couscous and vegetables and stir until the spinach has wilted.  
  5. Dust with aleppo pepper.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  Serve immediately.

Author’s Notes:  Couscous cooks quickly, and when it’s done, it will stick to the pan.   Keep a close eye on it, and stir every few minutes.  After cooking, the couscou will clump together if you let the dish sit too long.  Serve immediately, or add more oil if you plan to make the dish ahead of time.  Vegetable broth can be substituted for the chicken broth if desired.

My notes:  I didn’t add more oil, but I did add more broth to keep the dish moist.  I made it  right before our guests arrived for dinner, turned it off, and reheated it for serving.  It was tender,  moist, quite warm, and was not over-cooked even though I had kept it covered.

Made Derby pies for a friend’s Derby party…

Congratulations to Poor Man’s Feast--the blogging winner for the James Beard Awards!  Give a shout-out!

Sing a new song,
Alyce

50 Women Game-Changers in Food – #46 – Gael Greene – Corn Soup with Sautéed Scallops and Bacon

50 Women Game-Changers in Food – #46 – Gael Greene – Corn Soup with Sautéed Scallops and Bacon

“Do you sing, too?” I asked, tickling his tweed elbow.

I have a good friend who is fond of this phrase:  “She was born with the words, ‘Please peel me a grape,’ on her lips.”   That could very well have been said about spicy bon vivant Gael Greene (1933-  ), this week’s  number 46 on Gourmet Live’s List of 50 Women Game-Changers in Food.  Greene, the 40-year New York Magazine restaurant critic and columnist, novelist, and philanthropist from Detroit, is best known for her erotic encounters with food, as well as with the likes of Clint Eastwood and Elvis Presley.   Want details?  It’s all (probably not) chronicled in Greene’s memoir, the infamous Insatiable : Tales from a Life of Delicious Excess (Grand Central, 2007.)  And while I promise I’m not telling tales out of school, you can listen to her own description of Presley as appetizer here.

Lest we consider the ground-breaking critic light-weight or even shallow,  life-long achiever  Greene (still writing, appearing on “Top Chef,” and tweeting as I blog)  has also spent a sizable portion of her adult life making sure New York’s elderly poor had food come weekends and holidays: 

Marcia Stein: Citymeals began in 1981 when Gael Greene and Jim Beard, the founders, read that homebound elderly New Yorkers only got meals from the city Monday through Friday, and not on holidays. They were going very long periods of time without food. Especially over the holidays: at times when other people were over-eating, these people were alone and starving.

Gael and Jim called their friends in the industry; Gael called the city government and wrote about it. She was just as good at describing their situation as she is at describing food, and it made people aware. Checks started coming in, but you can’t just send a check to the government or the Department for the Aging. We had to create an organization that was a not-for-profit so we could receive the checks we were getting. So Citymeals started as a public/private partnership with the city’s meal delivery program.

We started feeding 6,000 homebound elderly, but the number has grown over time. Now we are feeding 18,000 every weekend and holiday.

We receive about 50,000 contributions a year to Citymeals. It’s a cause that New Yorkers have embraced. Six dollars a day can save a person’s life.

Read the entire interview with Marcia Stein, Executive Director of Citymeals-on-Wheels on starchefs.com

But after you get your fill reading and listening — more by scrolling down– do a little cooking with Gael and try her

Corn Soup with Sautéed Scallops and Bacon  serves 4

  • 6 ears corn
  • 4 cups water (reserve water after the corn has cooked)
  • 2 tsp olive oil for vegetables
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced                                        
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Clam broth, to taste
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 6 large sea scallops, quartered       
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper  
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro or basil
  • Cook corn in four cups of water. Remove corn, strain water of corn silk, and reserve cooking water.
    Cut kernels from cobs and reserve the corn. Return cobs to cooking water, simmer till water reduces   to half. Then remove cobs and reserve water.
    Scrape cobs with dull knife to extract all the corn milk and reserve this liquid.
    Sauté onions, garlic, and jalapeño in olive oil in nonstick skillet. Don’t let them brown.
    Add reserved corn kernels and corn milk to vegetables, then toss and cook on low heat for 2 minutes. Puree half of this mix in a blender or food processor.
    Add puree and remaining corn-vegetable mix to reduced corn water. Then add lime juice and clam broth, to taste.
    Cook bacon until crisp, drain, and cut into ribbons.
    Sauté scallop quarters quickly in bacon fat till slightly browned. Don’t overcook.
    Reheat soup. Add scallops and bacon to mixture in the corn water. Season with ground pepper and salt, to taste. Add more lime or clam juice if necessary.
    Serve in bowls with minced cilantro or basil sprinkled on top

    A little bacon garnish might not go amiss.  A nice grind of black pepper, too.

    While this soup is perfectly suited to late summer when the corn is as high as an elephant’s eye, I managed to snare a few fresh? ears from our local grocer, who had Fed-exxed a little out of Florida.  If you can’t find any corn,  I think you could use vegetable broth (along with the clam broth) and frozen (cooked) corn kernels.  You won’t have the same soup, but I think it would be tasty.  Corn cooking tip here, though I just bring the water to boil, drop the corn in, let it come up to a boil again, and cover it for 10 minutes or so.  The other great way is to microwave it or grill it right in the husks.  Easy and maybe the tastiest version, but not possible for this recipe.

    I did pepper and sugar – 1/2 tsp each- the corn-cooking water for this soup.  Oh, summer…hurry up!

    My best sous and lunchtime taste tester.

    At first taste, my excellent taster wondered what all the shouting was about.  By the second taste, he was hooked.  The subtle heat left a gentle warm buzz in the mouth and the corn and scallops provided good contrast in texture.   I had one small bowl leftover that I ran over to Paul, the owner of our two-doors down wine and beer shop,  The Wine Thief and Ale Jail.  Love living in the city do I.

    The Wine Thief and The Ale Jail

     I chose this recipe because I adored the idea of a mostly healthy  (ok, there’s bacon) seafood soup that used only 6 scallops for four servings.  I calculated about five bucks per serving, which is a less-expensive way to splurge on a little scallop action.   The soup sounded like a luscious and light warm-weather meal that could easily be made outdoors utilizing a grill with a side burner.  It might also serve as a small first-course offering for a special dinner.  I liked a sip of a great big California Chardonnay with this soup.

    Here’ s a review one cook left on epicurious fyi:
    I followed this recipe exactly. I was surprised that the color was not as bright as I had expected (sort of a dull yellow), and the texture was, well, corny. Pureeing the corn mixture did not make it creamy at all, as I could still feel the fibers of the corn kernels in my mouth. I decided to puree all of it, and then strain it, which yielded a something I would describe as a corn broth, great for poaching fish in or serving in shot glasses with some crispy shallots or scallops right on top. 

    by A Cook from Miami Beach, Fl on 07/10/06

    Fyi I pureed three-quarters of the corn.

    Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/reviews/Corn-Soup-with-Sauteed-Scallops-and-Bacon-234219#ixzz1tok3W1g5

    Want more Gael Greene?
    • Read  epicurious.com
    • Check out a NYT article about Gael here.
    • Visit Gael’s personal website, Insatiable Critic, here.
    • Follow Gael on twitter for a daily hoot.
    **
    If you liked this, you might also like my one-pan meal:
    I write with a tasty group of bloggers!  Please take some time and visit
    Cook with a – band – on,
    Alyce
    No Reservations (Valentine’s Day at Home)

    No Reservations (Valentine’s Day at Home)

    Alyce’s Tuna with Marinara and Spinach with Onions*

     
    To get you in the mood, kick off with Van Morrison’s “Moondance.”  
    Or, if you’d rather, “Someone Like You.”
              Note: If you right click on the song title, you can open youtube in another window and keep the music playing…………………………………
                        
    If you’d rather just order pizza (I know you!) and watch a movie, stop here and look at the best movies of 2011 and call for delivery.   Wow, that was a short blog!   But…if you’re in the mood for food at home, read on.

    Since everyone and their mother is now a food or wine writer, it’s a bit crazy to see just how many articles there are about cooking for Valentine’s Day or drinking for Valentine’s Day.   “I Wine You to Wine Me,” is out from Wine Spectator.  Phew.   The desserts, the bubblies…  It’s all somewhat odd, eh?  Because the word has always been that one goes OUT for Valentine’s Day–something I’ve seldom done.  Why?  Too crowded, too expensive, and rushed food.  Enough reasons?  I will admit, however, that if you have children of any age in the house, going out looks better and better.  Who wants to be searing a great piece of salmon while your loved one lights the candles only to be confronted with a dirty diaper, a bloody nose, a soccer practice, or a boyfriend crisis?
     

    The only kids now at home sleep under the table!


     Because I’m a faithful person and because my (adult) children know I love them madly, I’ll admit I’ve been thrilled to cook at home on Valentine’s Day in the years since they left.  THANK YOU, GOD! And, truthfully, we were broke for a lot of years before that, so I cooked for a bunch of those, too.  Not only that, I  have always made Dave one of his favorite desserts for his Valentine’s Day present.   (What do you get a guy for Valentine’s Day??)  For us, it’s a bit simple. While embarrassing to admit, I cook better food than most restaurants serve (as do many people) and I can afford the wine in my cellar (or on my counter) because I bought it myself and it’s paid for.  So, the food and wine are both better…   I’ve saved a heap of money (even the loveliest filet at the butcher is $15 per in St. Paul), I can hear everything Dave says, and dinner can–and occasionally does–take all evening.   No one is standing at the entrance to the room eyeing our plates to see when we’ll be done.  No server is bringing dessert before I’ve finished my dinner.  If there’s any clanking in the kitchen, Dave and I are doing it.  And, in St. Paul, no doors are opening letting in the Arctic Circle.

    I often plan a meal complete with music (you can get “Sarah Vaughn for Lovers,”  “Ella Fitzgerald for Lovers” or just put on Van Morrison’s “Moondance” and be done) and it may start in one room–maybe the kitchen– with a tiny appetizer and a sparkler, later moving into dining room for soup, main course, and salad–and end in the living room with cheese and dessert.  A spot of port.  While that’s possible in a restaurant, it’s not probable.   You don’t have to do all those things, of course; but they’re fun!

    So if you can pawn off the kids elsewhere or pay them to stay upstairs… or if you have no kids… dream up something scrumptious and cook at home.  Leave the dishes rinsed in the sink for the next morning.

    First,  you’ll have to decide about the gift dessert— I don’t know what I’m making Dave this year, but here are some of my favorites on More Time:

    Hazelnut-Chocolate Cake

    Apple pie...a great gift for Valentine’s Day

    Chocolate-Chip Oatmeal Cookies (good anytime)

     Lemon Scented Pear-Almond Crostata – Yes!

    There are directions for making this crostata with apples, too, if you like.

    One of my all-time favorite desserts is Brandied Fig Vanilla Pudding from Epicurious.  Almost done before you begin, this silky pudding is simple, subtle, supple, and topped with a bit of fig preserves mixed with a spoonful of brandy.  Sometimes I offer a tish of hot fudge and berries in placeof the figs, depending on the season.   Made on the stove in a few minutes, it can be done ahead or at the last minute.  It’s great warm if you’re running late!  One note:  Brandied Fig Vanilla Pudding is gorgeous in nice, heavy crystal on-the-rocks tumblers; you can see the pudding and the shining golden fig layer at top through the sparkling glass.

     Thing is, I think you can often cook as well as the folks in the restaurants, too.  You can cook to your own tastes and take your time.  You can make the dessert today and just serve a salad and steak tomorrow.   I mean, most of us work on Valentine’s Day, right?
     

    Needn’t be a complex salad to be good.  In fact, the opposite is true.

    Just for fun, I’ve looked around at a few available menus to see what exactly IS a romantic menu?  I’m not sure I know; so here are a couple I’ve seen around the net lately:

    This one, off the Epicurious site, is called:

                                            ROMANTIC DINNER

    • Peach Royale
    • Smoked Salmon with Crispy Shallots and Dilled Cream
    • Seared Duck Breast with Cherries and Port Sauce
    • Penne with Hazelnut Gremolata and Roasted Broccolini
    • Sliced Strawberries with Grand Marnier Zabaglione
    OR…you might like…
    CLAUDIA FLEMING AND GARY HAYDEN’S VALENTINE’S MENU FOR TWO:
    • Flatbread with Fingerling Potatoes, Shitake Mushrooms, and Truffle Oil
    • Spice-Coated Rack of Lamb for Two with Arugula, Avocado, and Blood Orange Salad
    • Almond Cakes with Chocolate Passion-Fruit Sauce 

    Other options are:

    THOUGH NATURALLY  ONE OF MY FAVORITES IS..

    Yum.
    LAMB CHOPS AND ROASTED VEGETABLES FOR TWO  right here from More Time.  (pictured at top)
                               If you do make the lamb chops, you are wide open for both wine and dessert.  While a typical pairing for lamb is Cabernet Sauvignon, I like Syrah or Pinot Noir (California and Oregon, respectively, though I love CRISTOM Syrah, which is Oregon) with this meal to meet up and ring with with the sweet tones in the root vegetables.  In the post, there’s a simple bread pudding, but you might remember I just blogged another bread pudding that’s to die for.  Don’t want to make dessert?  Pick up two kinds of gelato or sorbet (I like Pistachio gelato with Raspberry sorbet) and some tiny Scots shortbread cookies or feast on a bit of the chocolate you bought.  Don’t skimp on the coffee; make sure it’s lovely.  It’s Valentine’s Day and it’s all in the details (and the laughter.)

    OR

    TUNA MARINARA WITH SAUTEED SPINACH AND ONIONS…(top photo)

    While I’m just realizing this, one of my favorite meals to serve Dave or company, isn’t on the blog; the marinara, however, is on my other blog, Dinner Place, as is tuna with spinach and onions.
    I think you can figure out how to put it all together from the photo; don’t forget Parmesan at the table. 

    Whatever you do, enjoy. 

    two-dog kitchen and around the ‘hood

    Last Friday Night’s Table

    The other lovers.

    On my kitchen window

    Tucker–thinks he’s hiding.

    Sing a new song on Valentine’s Day….
    Alyce

    Women Game-Changers in Food- #33-Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer-Meatballs with Mint and Parsley

    Women Game-Changers in Food- #33-Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer-Meatballs with Mint and Parsley

    What if you wanted beautifully written recipes, tastefully conceived, and perfectly photographed–all from home cooks–for home cooks? What if you wanted those cooks to have worked professionally (catering, restaurants, magazines) and to have traveled the world so they could bring the best dishes back to you?

    Order book here

    Enter Canal House Cooking, La Dolce Vita,  #7  in a series of self-published  volumes from a multi-talented duo who have worked at food, cooking, and food writing/photography most of their lives.  After leaving behind the corporate publishing/food world in order to spend more time at or near their homes in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Melissa Hamilton (above, right) and Christopher Hirsheimer (above, left; she’s a she) began cooking together daily in a warehouse and keeping a record of it.   Out of that commitment comes this lovely, popular series of books that is their gift to those of us in the home-cooking “business.”   An article from WSJ tells the story more thoroughly here.

    To really get to know these women a little more, watch an enchanting tiny video about them and their food in Italy (basis for the most recent book)….Here.
     

    And, when you’re done reading and watching, it’s time to cook with Melissa, Christopher, and me….
    So that you can spend more time at the table (who are you inviting?),  we’re making:

    meatballs with mint and parsley    makes 24

      (Often served with broccoli rabe sautéed with garlic and red pepper flakes)
    1 pound ground pork
    1 pound ground veal
    ¼ pound prosciutto,  finely chopped
    1 cup fresh whole milk ricotta (in the book or David Lebovitz’ version)
    1 cup grated pecorino*
    2 eggs
    ¼ cup packed finely chopped fresh mint leaves
    ¼ cup packed finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
     ½ whole nutmeg, grated
     Pepper
     ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
     ½ cup white wine
    ¾ cup heavy cream,
     optional salt
       1. Mix together the pork, veal, prosciutto, ricotta, pecorino, eggs, mint, parsley, nutmeg, and pepper in a large mixing bowl.
       2.  Use a large soup spoon and scoop up about 2 ounces of the meat into your hand and roll into a ball.   
       3.  Make all the meatballs the same size so they will cook evenly. As you make them, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. You can do this a few hours ahead, cover with plastic, and refrigerate until you are ready to cook them.
       4.  Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the meatballs in batches, about 15 minutes per batch, using two forks to delicately turn them over so that they brown on all sides. Add more oil if needed. Transfer cooked meatballs to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm.
       5,  Increase the heat to high and deglaze the skillet with the wine, stirring with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the skillet. Add the cream, if using, and cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens.
    *Pecorino Romano is, most likely, the pecorino (hard, often gratable sheep’s cheese) available in most American grocery stores.  Milder and less expensive than Parmesan, it’s a happy addition to pasta or salads.

    Cook’s Note: I made one meatball first and cooked it to test the seasoning; I had gone easy on the black pepper and had not added any salt at all.  My thought was to maintain the freshness/lightness of the meatball so that the herbs weren’t overwhelmed.  On tasting, I did add a bit more pepper and about 1/2 tsp kosher salt.  The rest of the batch was perfect.  You could do anything you typically do with meatballs with these, but I do think they’re special and complete all on their own.  I served them with broccolini sautéed in olive oil with crushed red peppers and slices of garlic thrown in the last 2-3 minutes.  We started with a little very simple green salad.

    Here’s a bit of the easy journey in photographs:

                           More info if you’re interested……………

    Just for fun, here’s a sample from the Canal House #7 book and their “on location work:”

    We rented a farmhouse in Tuscany — a remote, rustic old stucco and stone house at the end of a gravel road, deep in the folds of vine-covered hills. It had a stone terrace with a long table for dinners outside, a grape arbor, and apple and fig trees loaded with fruit in the garden. There was no phone, TV or Internet service, just a record player and shelves and shelves of books. It had a spare, simple kitchen with a classic waist-high fireplace with a grill. It was all we had hoped for. It was our Casa Canale for a month.

    Back in the states, Melissa and Christopher are eating lunch together every day as they take a break from cooking, working, and writing.  Read their blog that chronicles those noon-time meals. 

    Listen to their interview on edible radio.

    Want to cook more food from Canal House?  You can do it if you…. 
    Check out our team of great bloggers writing about 50 Women Game-Changers in Food

    Sue – The View from Great Island   
    Taryn – Have Kitchen Will Feed
    Susan –
    The Spice Garden              
    Heather – girlichef
    Miranda of
    Mangoes and Chutney 
     Mary – One Perfect Bite
    Barbara –
    Movable Feasts              
    Jeanette – Healthy Living
    Linda –
    Ciao Chow Linda              
    Linda A – There and Back Again
    Martha –
    Lines from Linderhof       
    Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits,
    Veronica –
    My Catholic Kitchen     
    Annie Lovely Things
    Nancy –
    Picadillo                        
    Claudia – Journey of an Italian Cook

    Val – More Than Burnt Toast       
    Joanne –
    Eats Well With Others
    ~~~~~~~~~ 

    If you liked this, you might like my Bacon-Caprese Salad with Fresh Cheese.

    Make your own cheese!

    or my subsequent post on Meatball Subs:

    Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the ‘Hood return soon…Woof from Gab and Tuck.

    Sing  new song; dream a new dream,
    Alyce

    Food photos:  copyright Alyce Morgan, 2012.  Recipe, book and author photos courtesy Canal House. 

    Ricotta, Chive, and Prosciutto Omelette-Donna Hay-50 Women Game-Changers in Food-#31

    Ricotta, Chive, and Prosciutto Omelette-Donna Hay-50 Women Game-Changers in Food-#31

     

     Lydia Walshin (The Perfect Pantry) often has great recipe links on fb.  One day, she linked to a recipe for Stir-Fried Rice with Mushrooms from Jeanette’s Healthy Living.  Jeanette’s recipe came from the famous Chinese cook and cookbook author, Barbara Tropp, of whom I’m very fond.  The post title indicated the recipe was part of the 50 Women Game-Changers in Food blogging effort.  Each week, bloggers from all over the country feature the recipes of one of the 50 Women Game-Changers from the Gourmet Live List published last May.  I had to get in on this thing and here I am the very next week, blogging down-under Donna Hay’s recipe for Ricotta, Chive, and Prosciutto Omelettes.  Thanks, fellow food bloggers, for the warm welcome.  I’m thrilled to be participating!
     

    Donna Hay is Australia’s premier food editor and cookbook writer who began at the young age of 19 as a writer and food stylist.   By 25, she was the food editor for marie claire.  Since then, she’s published 18 award-winning cookbooks and now is the editor of the bi-monthly donna hay magazine with a circulation of nearly 400,000.  Donna also has a popular weekly food column in the Sunday editions of News Limited newspapers around Australia and The New Zealand Herald, reaching over seven million people each week. She is a regular contributor to UK’s leading lifestyle magazine, Living etc.  Click here for a list of Donna’s recipes and menus and here for the magazine’s ipad app.

    Before I began this blogging adventure, I had downloaded the magazine app for my ipad, which I keep in the kitchen unless I’m traveling.  The easy-to-use format of this beautiful app sold me as much as did the pictures that told such clear stories.  While looking at food photos, the reader can click and choose between reading the recipe (including photo, ingredients list, and story/directions) and cook mode, which with just a push of the finger takes you from the first bit of instructions to the last, page by page.  Right now, from what I can see, there are just a couple of issues available free.  Keep an eye out for more.

    My ipad with the donna hay mag at center. Screensaver: Colorado kitchen!
    While not a great photo, you get the idea of how fun this is to use.

    Let’s cook… 

    In the pan with the egg ring.  Watch carefully to avoid burning.

    This very quick, light meal consists of a souffle omelet (one in which the eggs are separated and the whites are whipped to peaks before the yolks are gently folded back in) with a tiny taste of salad –the spinach–and a bit of salty Italian ham for garnish and kick.  Two eggs truly make two servings here. If you’re on South Beach, this will cook with just a bit of adjustment.

     ricotta, chive, and prosciutto omelettes by donna hay

    Just add Chardonnay.

                                                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Next up: #32  Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian

    The gorgeous, intelligent locavores of the magazine world, Ryder and Topalian’s Edible series now numbers 60 editions, from Allegheny to WOW (southeast Michigan). And, despite the handicap of being free print mags, they actually make money!  (courtesy Gourmet Live)

    Check out how the other bloggers are honoring the 50 Women Game-Changers:


    Sue – The View from Great Island   
    Taryn – Have Kitchen Will Feed
    Susan –
    The Spice Garden              
    Heather – girlichef
    Miranda of
    Mangoes and Chutney 
     Mary – One Perfect Bite
    Barbara –
    Movable Feasts              
    Jeanette – Healthy Living
    Linda –
    Ciao Chow Linda              
    Linda A – There and Back Again
    Martha –
    Lines from Linderhof       
    Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits,
    Veronica –
    My Catholic Kitchen     
    Annie Lovely Things
    Nancy –
    Picadillo                        
    Claudia – Journey of an Italian Cook

    Val – More Than Burnt Toast       
    Joanne – Eats Well With Others

    If you liked this recipe, you might like:

    Herb-Spinach Egg White Omelet on the Dinner Place blog

     

    How to make an omelet

    Sing a new song, cook a new recipe….

    Alyce  
    All photos  by Alyce Morgan, copyright 2012-unless otherwise noted or obvious.
    Donna Hay photo courtesy donna hay magazine.
    Shrimp Cobb or Starting Over in the St. Paul Kitchen

    Shrimp Cobb or Starting Over in the St. Paul Kitchen

    Food-Salads-Shrimp Cobb

     

    After a busy season of church, family, and travel, I’m back.  I missed blogging, but simply couldn’t find a good way to do it with pictures from my ipad, which is what I take away from home. First blog must be about how we came home…

    Continue reading “Shrimp Cobb or Starting Over in the St. Paul Kitchen”