Oatmeal Crème Brûlée, not just for Sundaes | oatmeal creme brûlée

 Food Memoir, Leftovers, nutrient rich  Comments Off on Oatmeal Crème Brûlée, not just for Sundaes | oatmeal creme brûlée
May 282017
 
oatmeal sundae made w/oatmeal creme brûlée
oatmeal sundae and the NYSunday Times

oatmeal sundae

I guess I’ve always had a ‘thing’ for oatmeal’. Certainly not as a kid tho.

For my birthday many moons ago I hosted, an Oatmeal Sundae ™, party at The Pink Pony which unfortunately no longer exists but was truly a very special space. The famed owner Lucien, let me set up my own pots on hot plates and served well over 2 dozen friends in his bowls & silverware in the back, library, screening room area. I had steal cut oatmeal made with water & one batch with milk & many toppings – the usual suspects, yogurt, honey, toasted walnuts, bananas, & berries. I swear, a few of my friends still talk about this to this day and will most likely love seeing that I’ve written about it here.

I made oatmeal the first season of Recipe$ 4 $urvival when it was on MNN. To that porridge I added peanut butter & raisins to the mix. One of the calls I got in response to this episode went something like this, “We were going to have pizza but now we’re having oatmeal in our house instead.” Recipe$ 4 Survival was a huge hit on MNN for a good long while, maintaining an unprecedented prime-time slot. Here’s a link to the youtube compilation I put together of a few greatest hits episodes.

But then, just last weekend when I was pursuing the breakfast menu where my extended family were gathering for one last meal following  my nieces Bat Mitzvah celebration the Oatmeal Creme Brûlée jumped off the page/screen at me.  I texted to my bro that unfortunately I would not make it to breakfast but I’d be making Oatmeal Creme Brûlée in my house. So this is exactly what I did the other night.

I halved the recipe I picked to springboard from.

Ingredients:

Milk, 2 Eggs, Sugar, Cornstarch, Butter & soaked Steel Cut Oatmeal

What I did: 

While I warmed 1 C of milk I mixed the egg white of 1 egg & 1 full egg with 1/4 a C sugar, 1 T of corn starch

The milk is warmed just until you see steam then tempered this into the eggs, sugar & cornstarch mixture. Mix well. I did this with a whisk in about the time you can read this, never mind having to pull out some crazy equipment.

Pour the tempered milk & egg mixture back into a sauce-pot & warm over a minimum flame until thick & bubbling, stir in a pad of butter, I used 1 T.  Mix well until you have crème. Pour into another bowl & cover with plastic wrap directly on the crėme & set aside.

Make the oatmeal:

I brought 1/2C of milk & 1/2C of water to a boil, added cinnamon – because I have it, a dash of salt and 1 cup plus a bit more of steel cut oats I rehydrated the night before. You’ll have oatmeal in under or about 5 minutes.

The recipe I ‘made my own’ called for layering the oatmeal, then berries, then the creme into ramekins & baking them off. I was having none of that. I pour the entire batch of creme right into the warm perfectly cooked steel cut oatmeal. Mixed well and served topped with sliced banana & toasted walnuts.

 

 

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Super NUTritious Nut Loaf | nut loaf

 Food Memoir, health supportive, nutrient rich  Comments Off on Super NUTritious Nut Loaf | nut loaf
Apr 282017
 

image

Nut loaf

A friend who bought a half dozen bottles of Salt of D Earth as holiday gifts wrote to say, “how the RhODy blend really pulled her nut loaf together.”  I wrote back immediately saying, “NUT LOAF, what do you mean nut loaf? How have I never heard of a nut loaf? You’ve gotta talk me through this one.” Within minutes she texted back saying that she’s never used a recipe to make a nut loaf & she’s been making them for years but she did include a link for a recipe in her text none the less.

I checked the recipe in the link knowing full well I too would be ‘Making it my own”.

I hemmed & hawed about whether or not this nut loaf could really constitute being a true Recipe 4 Survival since a majority of the ingredients are not basic staples and some of them are quite expensive, for instance organic nuts.  I knew I’d love it, I wanted to make something I’ve never tried before and the play on words that a nut loaf is NUTritious made it all worthwhile.

Now that I’ve made it, nut loaf is a perfect recipe for survival. So here’s the rough math: the ingredients used to make a 9″ loaf cost about $18. At least 10 hearty slices can be had from the 9″ loaf which I know would suffice a family of 4 with left overs, so YES, nut loaf is a Recipe 4 Survival.  A slice, pan-seared makes a killer sandwich – especially since I used up my ancho chili infused maple syrup roasted butternut squash like a jam on the toast.  It freezes & reheats really well and it’s so NUTritious! IMG_8885

The ingredient’s & quantities called for seemed like overkill to me and I could tell what they were calling for and the final product would be very forgiving short of picking up mushrooms & cottage cheese I made my first nutloaf with basic staples I have at home.

If you happen to have left over or cooked rice, putting a nut loaf together takes almost no time at all. Let’s say 20-30 mins prep & 50-60 mins baking time.

Here’s what I did to make my nut loaf.

Preheat the oven to 350°

2 – 3 Cs cooked (short grain) brown rice – 1 cup of short grain brown rice yielded .

2 Portabello Mushroom tops & 1 stem – chopped.

2 dents of Garlic – minced or diced

1/2 large Onion – diced

sherry – splash/1/4 cup.

1 C Almonds – toasted & 1 C Walnuts – toasted

3 or 4 eggs – beaten

1 C – cottage or pot/farmer’s cheese

1 C Grated cheese – Cheddar or Smoke Gouda

(Pecans, Brazil nuts, cashews – whatever your fancy. I used nuts that are staple ingredients for me and I believe everyone should too)

I cooked 1 cup of short grain brown rice which I let toast lightly in the pan I sautéd the mushrooms in  then I added two cups of water, let that come to a boil for 5 mins. Turn the heat down, put a top on the pan and let the rice steam for a good 20 mins.

I pulsed to a fine chop 2 Portabello mushroom tops & 1 stem in my small food processor then cooked them off in a heavy bottomed pan with just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, 2 good sized dents of garlic roughly chopped  & 1/2 an onion diced.  I added various pinches of dry herbs, primarily thyme & sage which probably equal about a teaspoon each.  When the mushroom liquid evaporated I splashed in some sherry – a staple for me and let that cook off. Turn off the heat & let the mushroom mixture cool in a bowl.

Next I toasted the nuts, 1 C of  almonds & 1 C of walnuts I toasted each separately, a handful at a time in a small saute pan over a medium heat. This takes no time at all, just until you smell the aroma of the nuts by wafting the air over the pan. I tossed those into small food processor and pulsed.

In a large bowl combine the nuts & the cooked rice    IMG_8874

In another bowl beat 4 eggs, & 1 cottage or pot/farmer’s cheese. The recipe called for 5 eggs & 1 Cup of the pot/farmer’s cheese. Believe me, if I hadn’t been able to get the freshest most beautiful farmer’s cheese, I would have left it out. Season with Salt of D Earth or S & P.

Add the egg & cottage cheese and the sautéd mushrooms to the nut & rice mixture and stir to incorporate well.  This is when I added about a 1/4# of grated smoked Gouda & handful of dried cranberries.  I think apple chunks would work nicely in the mix. Maybe in place of a cup of nuts?  There’s sO much one can do to make this dish their own it’s NUTS.

Pour the mixture into a greased 9″ Pyrex loaf dish IMG_8877and decorated the top of the loaf. I used slices of apple. IMG_8881 Sliced mushrooms, a sprig of thyme, would look beautiful. I slid this into the preheated oven and let it cook for 50 minutes, turned the heat off & left the loaf in the oven another good 10 minutes.

Nut loaf is so great on so many levels. It travels well. It’s a great pot luck dish for a party, it’s filling and again, oh so NUTritious. The first time I made the nut loaf  it was so well received I scored big time as it took center field on the grazing table at a Superbowl party amongst a huge pot of vegetarian chili, cheesy nachos, traditional toppings, 2 different bowls of guacamole  & various dipping chips.

You too will score big time with this one. YUM.

 

 

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Mushroom Barley Soup – Oh My | mushroom barley soup

 Food Memoir, health supportive, nutrient rich  Comments Off on Mushroom Barley Soup – Oh My | mushroom barley soup
Apr 042017
 

snowmanformushbarley

Snow Day and Mushroom Barley soup go together well

I strategically made my way to the last car of the subway so that when I would emerge from being underground I’d be only a few yards from the entrance to the Whole Foods on Bowery & Houston.  Gathering the ingredients for my first ever, mushroom barley soup was all that was on my mind the entire subway ride but for some reason it was the carrots that were the standout ingredient for me.  I picked a perfect carrot for my soup from a heap of fantastic organic carrots & a handful each of: shiitake, cremini & button mushrooms. Then I was on to the bulk grain area to procure the barley. Being that this was the first time I was making mushroom barley soup, I was thrilled to find organic barley among the plethora of plastic silos filled with various rices, grains, beans, granola, etc.  that I did not know to look for pearl barley vs the barley that I happily watched fill the bag in the palm of my hand. At the cash register I declare the contents of the bag as hulled barley since I’d forgotten to weigh & price it at the bulk grains area.

The hulled barley took much longer to cook than pearl barley would which was a bit disappointing and reminded me of wild rice , which has never been a favorite of mine. One of my friends really liked the soup and liked the ‘snap’ of the very whole barley. Talk about a whole meal in a bowl. I toasted a thick slice of a good sour dough bread and rubbed that with a fresh garlic clove. I had this with pineapple juice & a splash of ginger beer  Very nutritional and comforting.

Here’s what I did to make the soup:

Ingredients:

1 – 2 Cs – mushroom stock/broth

1/2 # sliced mushrooms

1/2 a lg onion

2 Ts flour

1 C barley

4 – 6 Cs – veg broth

Baguette slices toasted & rubbed w/a garlic clove

What I did to make this: 

I brought at least about 6 cups of water to a boil in my kettle

I pencil cut the carrot. Very organic shape, quick & easy.

Sliced the stems of the shiitake and a fewmushrmstockpot of the button mushrooms and brought that to a simmer in about 2 cups of water and let that reduce over a medium to high flame or heat.

Then I methodically sliced the mushrooms.

Diced the medium sized onion.

Added the boiling water to a bowl with one all vegetarian bullion cube in it. Stir that around to make the broth.

Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a heavy bottomed pot. Add the carrots & onions and stir well and cook for about 5 mins to soften these ingredients. I find this is best done with a top on between the ‘stirs’. Then add about a cup of dried barley and the 2 Ts of flour. Mix well to coat all ingredients in the pot. Lower the heat. Top on.

Strain the mushroom broth over a bowl and add this to the pot of veg, barley & flour mixture. msuhrmbarleypot

Then add another 2 or 3 cups of the broth. Stir well, lower the heat, Salt of D.Earth to taste, top on. Simmer. Stir occasionally. This soup took over an hour to cook before the barley was soft enough to serve & eat.

Most likely I’ll try this ‘recipe’ with pearl barley to see if it may cook in less time and to see how it tastes but I’m happy with another happy accident because I think working with the ‘hulled barley’ which has not been polished added a very earthy, hearty element to the dish. Pretty nice for a dish many expect to find & relish having short-ribs, flanken or brisket in.

Try it, you’ll like it!

 

 

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Feb 062017
 

I came across a picture of Pappa al Pomodoro on instagram about a month ago and it’s been branded in my mind since.

Only a few ingredients were noted in the brief instagram post that went into the dish 1. unsalted Tuscan bread 2. a particular tomato paste da/from Italy, some basil, fantastic green olive oil & oh strips of Parmesan that appeared semi melted one deduces from the heat of the zuppa/soup. This lead me to scroll over no less than 6 different recipes, a google translation for Pappa al Ppmodoro since I just wasn’t having it being called Tuscan bread Soup when not one of these three words, Tuscan, bread or soup is in the title of dish & recipe. Oh Pappa translates as baby food, al – to the, and Pomodor – is tomato of course

Between Ina Garten, Bon Appetite and a few other’s I felt there was just too much going on in their recipes for Pappa al Pomodoro  for what I wanted to do to make this so I went at it – making it MY OWN! It is sO GREAT. EASY & fun to make in no time, plus, 4 basic, staple ingredients. A perfect recipe4survival.

First I went at, half a stale, Balthazar baguette, with a serrated knife cutting on a cutting board, cutting it into irregular cubes – paying no mind to removing the crust.

Then I brought at least 4 cs of water to a boil in my kettle to pour onto a veg bullion cube in a mixing bowl.

I diced up 1/2 a lg onion, a bit of carrot and sliced up a good sized garlic dent. I got these vegis cooking in a heavy bottomed pot with enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot & a good pinch of Salt of D Earth over a medium flame. I put a top on the pot to help the vegis sweat. Once they were at the desired tenderness I tossed the stale bread cubes into the pot and tossed to coat everything uniformly.

With the bread nicely coated with the oil & vegis I added 3 cups of the vegetable broth to the pot, covered it, stirred it frequently and turned the heat way down.  At this stage you’ll wanna stay around the pot to stir it occasionally.

Once all the broth is absorbed and the bread has softened I poured a 25 oz bottle of Union Market’s tomato basil ‘sauce’  into the ‘mix’/the pot. I stirred a pinch of dried red chili flakes in, some oregano and a bit more Salt of D Earth and I let this simmer over a low eat for a good 10 minutes.

This is when I also put a 4 minute egg. I ate one bowl plane, straight away with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan, Pappalpomodoro1the second bowl I had with the soft boiled egg. pappalpomodoro2Then I got down to writing this piece.

Killer meal on a cold night with a cold crisp Sauvignon Blanc.

 

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Nov 272016
 

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Imagine, if you wish, how many food -blogs, chef & restaurant newsletters, foodie magazines and the sorts that I get on any given day – suffice to say,  “A LOT” and I peruse pretty much all of them, but then when something catches my eye, say in the subject line or when I scroll down through the pictures, then I zero in and clap on. Such was the case when I read the Lucky Peach subject line: What You Need to Know About the Trendiest Beer, Squash, and Opening a Restaurant. All I saw was: What You Need to Know About Squash then I scrolled down through the email until I stopped at this picture & recipe:  img_0252Fettuccine with Butternut Squash and Red Poblano Crema. So I clapped onto this glorious looking dish, pictured in a pot just like my favorite pot. My initial impetus to go to the farmers market was because I was going make a soup, I now call my November #1 soup and red pablanos which I learned can only be had about two weeks a year so I was out the door and off to the Union Square Farmers Market like a shot. 

I picked up a batch of the Falls bounty to make my November #1 soup. This consisted of everything pictured here sans the top of the butternut squash.   img_1470  To make the November #1 soup I tossed the whole delicata squash and the bulb/bottom half of the butternut squash, (because it’s the neck part that is used to make the fettuccine and red Pablano dish) in the oven after pricking the skin randomly w/a fork and rubbing it w/a drizzle of olive oil. After about a half hour of cooking time in a 375 degree oven slice it in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and return to the oven cut side down on a parchment or aluminum foil lined tray.img_1496 While this is baking prepare the other vegetables, peel & dice the carrot & an onion, peel and core the apple. Cut the sunchokes in half lengthwise then across into medium chunks.img_1479   img_1489

Get a heavy bottom pot hot . Coat the bottom w/oil and a pinch of salt. I added the carrots and onions to braise. img_1485I put water up to boil in my kettle – about 5 cups. Once you feel the veg are braised enough, say 5-7 mins or so, stirring pretty consistently, toss in a bullion cube, the apple, sunchokes and 4-5 cups of hot water. When I was digging around in my ‘spice cabinet’ for the bullion cube I came across a piece of a dried ancho chili, so this made it into ‘the soup’. Stir and bring the flame/heat down to a simmer.  Remove the squash from the oven and scrape the pulp into the soup. Mix occasionally and cook off for about 40 mins until the sunchokes are tender. Blend – you’ve got soup.

It was nightmare Wednesday the 9th that I made my first batch of my all time favorite dish, SpecialD now – Rick Bayless’ Fettuccine with Butternut Squash and Red Poblano Crema 

img_1568

First things first- roast the peppers and 3 or 4 garlic cloves in their skin. You’ll have to shake the pan under the flame or turn them over to thoroughly char the pepper’s skins. While this is cooking prepare the neck of the butternut squash into1/8″ planks img_1571

img_1573 img_1575

Then into ribbons.

By the time you’re done with this the peppers and garlic should be ready to be removed from the oven. When they’re cool enough to handle, remove the skin and seeds. img_1581 Cut the best looking pepper into ribbons, these will be used as a garnish. Coursely chop the two other peppers and toss them into a food processor with the roasted garlic dents.  Season to taste with S&P.  Then you add about a cup of Mexican crema which can easily be substituted w/sour cream or creme fraiche. img_1585

Cook the butternut squash ribbons off in well salted water for about 4 minutes. Pour the red poblano creme sauce into a pan over a medium flame/temperature. With a slotted spoon or tongs add the cooked off squash to the crime sauce and add 8 oz of fettuccine to the boiling salted water. I used fresh pasta which cooked off in about 5 – 8 minutes. Always reserve at least a cup of cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the creme sauce & mix in the roasted pepper ribbons and about a 1/4 cup of Parmesan.

img_1586 Top with finely chopped cilantro- if you have it. Dish out, eat up!. Who ever doesn’t think this is the most Dlicious meal, dish, food, sustenance, cibo,  they’ve eaten in a long time, ya gotta let me know.

After making the Butternut Fettuccine for a second time I roughly chopped up the leftover bottom, cleaned out the seeds and steamed that off.  While this steamed off I tossed a can of Trader Joe’s smoked trout and a dollop of olive oil mayo w/a grated apple which I slathered onto a toasted baguette wedge and ate w/the steamed butternut squash chunks.

Last but certainly not least I whipped up probably the best Butternut squash (& leek) risotto I’ve ever made.  Back at ya with that very simple recipe.  

The best Pot Luck dish – Sweet potato salad – | The best pot luck dish

 Food Memoir, health supportive, nutrient rich, Recipe for survival  Comments Off on The best Pot Luck dish – Sweet potato salad – | The best pot luck dish
Sep 092016
 
Sweet potato and haricot vert/green bean salad

Sweet potato and haricot vert/green bean saladIMG_2552

The first time I made this sweet potato salad was for a college reunion, pot-luck dinner party, cook-out for a group of about 15 friends, former roommates, their spouses, significant others, all of whom short of 1 or 2 of the wives are mad ass foodies. The dish is so colorful, with varied textures, wonderfully bright & earthy flavors as well, it’s sweet & savory, smooth & crunchy, easy to prepare & it travels well so it’s my go to dish when the invite to go to pot luck party comes my way and I’m going the Storytellers Pot Luck Picnic this Sunday in Brooklyn Bridge Park. This is also a staple dish when I’m on charter.

The recipe I first stumbled upon dresses the warm sweet potato salad with a bit of thinned out whole milk Greek yogurt. Typically I served the salad both ways, one bowl with just the vinaigrette, the other dressed with the plain yogurt.

Ingredients:

3 pounds sweet potatoes, cut into 1” chunks

½ pound haricot vert cut to 1″ pieces, then quickly blanched
Salt – for the boiling water
1 T raw or coconut sugar
1 shallot, minced
½ cup golden balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons of spicy mustard
¼ cup olive oil
a handful of chiffonade basil leaves
Black pepper, to taste (I like a lot)
¾ cup of Greek yogurt

WHAT TO DO

While you bringing water to a boil to blanch the haricot vert prepare the shallot vinaigrette in to which the blanched haricot vert will marinate.  In a bowl, mix the finely minced shallots, vinegar, spicy mustard into which you’ll slowly drizzle in the olive oil & whisk until the dressing is well emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste, stir in the basil leaves.

Blanch the haricot vert – very quickly which helps to enhance their color as well as bringing a bit of subtlety to their bite.  Add the haricot vert to the dressing and let it marinate in a bowl w/a tea towel on top.

Prepping hericot vert & shallots for the vinaigrette marinade

Prepping hericot vert & shallots for the vinaigrette marinade

Put the cubed sweet potatoes in a large pot of cold water.  Bring the water to a boil. As the water heats up add enough salt to make the water taste almost salty then the Tablespoon of sugar. Once the water comes to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook the potatoes cook until tender, about 8 minutes. This technique for cooking potatoes that keep there shape is fail proof.

drained boiled sweet potatoes

drained boiled sweet potatoes

When the potatoes are tender, drain them from the water and put in a large bowl. While still hot, fold in the green beans vinaigrette. The longer the potatoes marinate in the dressing – the better.

IMG_2550

warm potatoes with haricot vert vinaigrette

Before serving, fold in the yogurt and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper & paprika. IMG_2552

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Apr 212016
 

Passovernutloaf

In preparation for Passover I went through my refrigerator & cupboards to search & Dstroy all neglected, forgotten, leftover ingredients taking up space only to realize they would all be perfect to make a nutloaf with.

Here’s what I scavenged: 1 Portabello mushroom which a friend gave me since she signed up for one of those meal delivery plans & can’t stand mushrooms. A red onion that needed to go to good use & I had 1/2 a plastic bag of faro & some cooked off oatmeal that would have gone right down the toilet had I not used it in this dish. I can see this being a stretch for some folk but it really worked. The nut loaf cooked beautifully and was very moist. This goes to show how forgiving this ‘recipe’ is.  I had 1/2 a dozen eggs so using three rather than the called for 5 was a no brainer and I had a heel of smoked gouda that had seen better days.  The only thing(s) I purchased was a 2nd Portabello mushroom & some gorgeous farmers cheese which had I remembered I had the cooked oatmeal I would have forgone this ingredient.

If you have cooked rice, or any grain for that matter, putting a nut loaf together takes almost no time at all. Let’s say 20-30 mins prep & 40 – 50 mins baking time.

Here’s what I did to make this nut loaf.

Preheat the oven to 350°

2 – 3 Cs of a cooked grain –  faro, short grain brown rice, quinoa, cous-cous, oatmeal, …

1/2 large Onion – diced

2 dents of Garlic – minced or diced

2 Portabello Mushroom tops & 1 stem – chopped or pulsed.

sherry – splash – 1/4 cup.

1 C slivered Almonds – toasted

3 eggs – beaten

1 C – farmer’s cheese

1 C or more of cheese – Smoke Gouda, Gruyere, or cheddar – grated

1/2 apple –  grated

I used nuts that are staple ingredients for me and I believe everyone should too. I have 1/2 a bag of  walnuts but I’m going to use them in the beet, apple & orange salad I bring to my cousin’s Sedar.

I cooked off about a cup of the faro which is completely painless. It cooks in boiling water in under 30 minutes.

Then I quickly diced 1/2 of the red onion, pulsed each of the Portabello mushroom tops & stem in my small food processor then cooked them off in a heavy bottomed pan with just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, 2 good sized dents of garlic roughly chopped  & 1/2 an onion diced.  I added various pinches of dry herbs, primarily thyme & sage which probably equal about a teaspoon each.  When the mushroom liquid evaporated I splashed in some sherry – a staple for me and let that cook off. Turn off the heat & let the mushroom mixture cool in a bowl. The recipe calls for lots of herbs to be added to the sautéd mushrooms.

Next I toasted the nuts, 1 C of  almonds. This takes no time at all, just until you smell the aroma of the nuts by wafting the air over the pan. I tossed those into small food processor and pulsed.

In a large bowl combine the nuts & whatever cooked grain you’re using  IMG_8874

In another bowl beat 3 eggs to which the farmer’s cheese,cottage or pot cheese will be mixed into. If I hadn’t been able to get the freshest most beautiful farmer’s cheese I would have left it out. Season with Salt of D Earth or S & P.

Add sauteed mushrooms to the nut & rice mixture and stir to incorporate well, then the egg & cottage cheese.  This is when I added the smoked Gouda & the grated apple. Mix well. Only because I have flat leaf parsley around from having made anchovy butter toast for my cheese souffle I roughly chopped about 1/4 cup of flat leaf parsley and mixed that in at the very end then poured the mixture into a greased 9″ Pyrex loaf dish IMG_8877 I slid this into the preheated 350° oven and let it cook for 40 minutes, turned the heat off & left the loaf in the oven another good 10 minutes.

Nut loaf is so great on so many levels. It travels well. It’s a great pot luck dish for a party, it’s filling and again, oh so NUTritious. I blanched a handful of string beans and ate 2 almost piping hot slices in a bowl never taking the time to plate the dish and take a snap for a blog entry – GREAT – NOT…

So the following day I cut out of work & came home and served myself the beautiful dish you see uptop, the nut loaf with steamed corn & Ceres pear juice. Now here’s a funny one for ya; I am not a ketchup person but I remembered I picked up a bottle of Rhode Island’s own Cowboy sauce which is more a BBQ sauce than a ketchup and poured that on. Oh My God – again, I ate this so fast I could have choked.

I can’t speak more highly of this dish. A true new specialD!

 

There’s sO much one can do to make this dish their own it’s NUTS.

 

 

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President’s Day, Greenbacks and Oysters Rockefeller

 Food Memoir, How to, nutrient rich  Comments Off on President’s Day, Greenbacks and Oysters Rockefeller
Feb 162016
 

 I love this entry & recipe. I first posted it last year on President’s day.oysters finishe dish

 

I’m sure you’re all wondering, ‘ How can Oysters Rockefeller be a Recipe 4 Survival?’  I’m not going to labor over the point but on some level, Oysters Rockefeller is a perfect recipe for survival. Short of only a few ingredients that are not staples the benefits of the vitamins & minerals intake balance it all out in my book. The dish is quite reasonable to prepare, whether you’re up to shucking your own oysters or if you’re not, oysters can be opened painlessly by par boiling them.

I was an oyster shucker for an Open Oyster party at The Diamond in Greenpoint. Obsessed with these Fisher Island oysters, I asked if I could take a dozen home with me.  My request was obliged kindly .

I got the iDea to make Oysters Rockefeller because I have creamed spinach & butter in the freezer from my crepe making caper last week it was Presidents Day, an R month and I had 9 unshucked oysters in the vegetable crisper draw in the fridge.

So I began my research into Oysters Rockefeller.  Thanks to Wikipedia I learned that the closest anyone can get to a recipes which of course is top secret and may even have been taken to the grave is that there is no spinach in Antoine’s Oyster Rockefeller. Antoine’s Restaurant,  where the dish was developed after the craze for escargot waned. Its said that there are 18 ingredients in Antoine’s recipe. Legend has it that a patron exclaimed with delight after eating this dish, “Why, this is as rich as Rockefeller!”

Seeing that Pernod, Herbsaint or Absinthe is a traditional ingredient in the recipe I was out the door like a bolt to get a bottle of Pernod which I love anyway and can’t imagine why Absinthe has been absent in my cupboard. I picked up a more reasonably priced bottle of Absinthe, Absinthe ordinaire liqueur.  With this bottle in hand I then trucked down to the Essex Street Market to get a bunch of Italian flat leaf parsley, scallion, watercress.  Breadcrumbs, garlic  & capers are staples to me.

So that’s it.   A stick of butter warmed while I was out getting the liquor & the greens.  Immediately upon getting home, out came my compact Cuisinart. I roughly chopped half of each bunch of the greens, parsley, watercress & scallions. I added this to the warmed stick of butter I broke down into 4 pieces in the Cuisinart. Then I added 3 minced garlic cloves, 2 Ts, capers, & 2 Ts of the Absinthe to make a compound butter. I was so excited I completely forgot to add the breadcrumbs nor did I top them with Parmesan which is not called for in the closest I think I could get to a traditional recipe – even tho I have it.  Tarragon & celery are believed to be in the original recipe. I neglected to use these ingredients but if I had easy access to tarragon, believe me, I’d use it. I’d also use fennel in place of celery but let me tell you – by making a compound butter with basic greens like I did and OH, and a splash of an absinthe, anise flavored liquor – I believe you can feel confident saying you made Oysters Rockefeller.

With the compound butter made I preheated the oven to 375 and set up to shuck and prep the oysters.

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I spread a bed of Kosher salt in an oven proof pan with then gently placed the freshly shucked oysters topped with the compound butter into the oven for 7 minutes.

Place the hot out of the oven oysters on a plate w/rock or kosher salt, if you have it, or forego any of that but remember a few lemon wedges. A cold bubbly drink always works.

Remember, eating oysters is good for the environment!

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Super NUTritious Loaf

 Food Memoir, health supportive, nutrient rich  Comments Off on Super NUTritious Loaf
Nov 122015
 

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The weather lately has me thinking about a NUT LOAF folks and I think you should be too.

Even tho this is a REpost if you will The synchronicity surrounding the first time I made a nut loaf was ‘NUTS’ was so much fun, I’m leaving a bit of that commentary here.

A friend who bought a bunch of Salt of D Earth around the holidays wrote to say how the RhODy blend really pulled her nut loaf together.  I wrote back immediately saying, “NUT LOAF, what do you mean nut loaf? How have I never heard of a nut loaf? You’ve gotta talk me through this one.” Within minutes she texted me a link for a recipe with a quick note that she’s never really used a recipe to make a nut loaf & she’s been making them for years.

I checked the recipe in the link knowing full well I too would be ‘Making it my own”.

I hemmed & hawed about whether or not this nut loaf could really constitute being a true Recipe 4 Survival since a majority of the ingredients are not basic staples and some of them are quite expensive, for instance organic nuts.  I knew I’d love it, I wanted to make something I’ve never tried before and the play on words that a nut loaf is NUTritious made it all worthwhile.

Now that I’ve made it, nut loaf is a perfect recipe for survival. So here’s the rough math: the ingredients used to make a 9″ loaf cost about $18. At least 10 hearty slices can be had from the 9″ loaf which I know would suffice a family of 4 with left overs, so YES, nut loaf is a Recipe 4 Survival.  A slice, pan-seared makes a killer sandwich – especially since I used up my ancho chili infused maple syrup roasted butternut squash like a jam on the toast.  It freezes & reheats really well and it’s so NUTritious! IMG_8885

The ingredient’s & quantities called for seemed like overkill to me and I could tell what they were calling for and the final product would be very forgiving short of picking up mushrooms & cottage cheese I made my first nutloaf with basic staples I have at home.

If you happen to have left over or cooked rice, putting a nut loaf together takes almost no time at all. Let’s say 20-30 mins prep & 50-60 mins baking time.

Here’s what I did to make my nut loaf.

Preheat the oven to 350°

2 – 3 Cs cooked (short grain) brown rice – 1 cup of short grain brown rice yielded .

2 Portabello Mushroom tops & 1 stem – chopped.

2 dents of Garlic – minced or diced

1/2 large Onion – diced

sherry – splash/1/4 cup.

1 C Almonds – toasted & 1 C Walnuts – toasted

4 eggs – beaten

1 C – cottage or pot/farmer’s cheese

1 C Grated cheese – Cheddar or Smoke Gouda

(Pecans, Brazil nuts, cashews – whatever your fancy. I used nuts that are staple ingredients for me and I believe everyone should too)

I cooked 1 cup of short grain brown rice which I let toast lightly in the pan I sautéd the mushrooms in  then I added two cups of water, let that come to a boil for 5 mins. Turn the heat down, put a top on the pan and let the rice steam for a good 20 mins.

I pulsed to a fine chop 2 Portabello mushroom tops & 1 stem in my small food processor then cooked them off in a heavy bottomed pan with just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, 2 good sized dents of garlic roughly chopped  & 1/2 an onion diced.  I added various pinches of dry herbs, primarily thyme & sage which probably equal about a teaspoon each.  When the mushroom liquid evaporated I splashed in some sherry – a staple for me and let that cook off. Turn off the heat & let the mushroom mixture cool in a bowl.

Next I toasted the nuts, 1 C of  almonds & 1 C of walnuts I toasted each separately, a handful at a time in a small saute pan over a medium heat. This takes no time at all, just until you smell the aroma of the nuts by wafting the air over the pan. I tossed those into small food processor and pulsed.

In a large bowl combine the nuts & the cooked rice    IMG_8874

In another bowl beat 4 eggs, & 1 cottage or pot/farmer’s cheese. The recipe called for 5 eggs & 1 Cup of the pot/farmer’s cheese. Believe me, if I hadn’t been able to get the freshest most beautiful farmer’s cheese, I would have left it out. Season with Salt of D Earth or S & P.

Add the egg & cottage cheese and the sautéd mushrooms to the nut & rice mixture and stir to incorporate well.  This is when I added about a 1/4# of grated smoked Gouda & handful of dried cranberries.  I think apple chunks would work nicely in the mix. Maybe in place of a cup of nuts?  There’s sO much one can do to make this dish their own it’s NUTS.

Pour the mixture into a greased 9″ Pyrex loaf dish IMG_8877and decorated the top of the loaf. I used slices of apple. IMG_8881 Sliced mushrooms, a sprig of thyme, would look beautiful. I slid this into the preheated oven and let it cook for 50 minutes, turned the heat off & left the loaf in the oven another good 10 minutes.

Nut loaf is so great on so many levels. It travels well. It’s a great pot luck dish for a party, it’s filling and again, oh so NUTritious. The first time I made the nut loaf  it was so well received I scored big time as it took center field on the grazing table at a Superbowl party amongst a huge pot of vegetarian chili, cheesy nachos, traditional toppings, 2 different bowls of guacamole  & various dipping chips.

You too will score big time with this one. YUM.

 

 

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Oct 062015
 

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It was in the dark of night at the end of a cul de sac way off the Polpis road that cash was exchanged and a bushel of 5th bend oysters were handed over out of an ice filled commercial cooler from the back of a pick-up truck.

I was hired to help with the food for my friend’s twin sisters 50th birthday party & in celebration of a successful summer run of Air B&B rentals at their home in ‘Sconset on Nantucket.

My friend is into performance & casting. I was cast as oyster shucker & food prep person. The menu was easy, various lobster salads, oysters, Sayle’s clam chowder, various typical party beverages & two bakery supplied birthday cakes, 1 carrot cake the other a vanilla layer cake.

While deep into the process of cleaning the oyster shells of the thin layer of silt still on them it became known to me that my friend’s mom’s 92 year old newly wed husband, not being a New Englander may be willing to try cooked oysters. He had no intention of trying them, never mind enjoying them raw.  This got my wheels turning. In no time at all I prepared a compound butter of finely minced garlic & chives, oregano & parsley and from the huge bag of beautiful fresh sage leaves I plucked a few dozen from the stems and prepared them as a fizzled leaf as garnish for the top – once the oysters were roasted off.

New Street Oysters

Ingredients:

1 stick of butter – room temperature

2-3 Ts of garlic – chives, oregano & parsley – minced

2 dozen or more shucked oysters

Kosher salt

24 sage leaves

2 Ts butter

What to do

I had a stick of butter sitting out to warm since I got up in the morning. I minced the garlic & herbs.

Blend the butter, garlic and herbs in a Cuisinart or similar style blender or by hand with a wooden spoon.  Transfer blended butter to a bowl to get the butter back to a firm state.

Washed & shucked 2 dozen oysters – refrigerate

Melt 2 Ts of butter in a pan and heat til it bubbles. Add a few good sized sage leaves at a time until they frizzle on both sides. Remove w/tongs or a fork. Dry on paper towel

20 minutes before service preheat the oven to 500.

Remove the shucked oysters from the -frige. Add about a teaspoon of the chilled compound butter to each oyster.

Arrange the oysters on a salt covered baking tray.

Get the tray in the oven. It should be no more than 5 minutes before the edges of the oysters curl. Remove them from the oven. If you have a Pernod, a drop of that would be great on each oyster. I did not do that for this service but will for any new New Street oysters I make in the future.

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I had 4 plates of the roasted oysters placed on tables around the yard. New Street Oysters

We set up a table where I did shuck oysters and a had a good flow of interest. I also prepared a traditional mignonette sauce & lemon wedges. Fifth Bend oysters I must say are Dlectable. The oyster holds its shape beautifully. They maintain the cold and salty liquor not too salty, very clear, you also get a quick mineral shot on the back end.

I prepared lobster salad 3 ways and thinned out clam chowder base from Sayle’s with their clam broth. Killer. The crock pot of this was refilled a number of times before running out. We cooked off 14 lobsters for the party & had 6 the following night which we grilled for immediate friends and family who were lucky enough to enjoy the island a few more days. Grilled lobster is by far the most sublime way to enjoy lobster. I’ll share the lobster salad recipes under separate cover

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