Monday, November 30, 2009

A Fool In Love (With Pasta)

Another fine recipe that I can now cook a bit faster as I now own...a zester. Trust me folks, nothing makes your citrus-friendly chef happier than possessing one, and for this recipe it's pretty much mandatory. Why? You'll see! This comes from the fine book Dude Food, by Brooks, Bosker and Darmon.

To start with, you will need two lemons (three if you dare), some white wine, some gruyere cheese, some creme fraiche (though cream cheese w/some single cream, double cream, half & half, etc. is fine), some mushrooms and some linguine/tagliatelle/long pasta.

Firstly, get out that zester and zest two lemons. (I did this by chef's knife before.) Place zest in saucepan and with about one-third cup of wine get it to a nice simmer, enough so you boil the alcohol off. At the same time, slice up your mushrooms and saute them - you can almost never have too many mushrooms, so be generous. Take one of the zested lemons and get the juice out (watching out for seeds of course) and set it aside.

Make the pasta according to instructions and once it is ready for the lemon zest/wine mixture, pour it in there and get to mixing it up; then add your cheese and creme fraiche and continue to mix, using the lemon juice to loosen things up. Once that is done, serve with the mushrooms on top and don't forget a nice sharp salad to go with this lemony richness.

Good Eats!

Eggs Carbonara

If you like the idea of one-pan cooking, then this is an excellent meal (for morning or night) with which to use said pan. It takes a bit of work up front, to be sure, but that is chopping up various ingredients, for which you only need a sturdy board and a good knife. It comes from the lively bon vivant Bob Blumer, one of my favorite chefs and a Canadian to boot. This is from his fine book Off The Eaten Path. Here goes:

Eggs Carbonara

Get some eggs - how many depends clearly on who you are serving (I would say two eggs per person). Also have on hand some olive oil, butter, salt and pepper, milk, pancetta, parmasean, scallions, parsley or cilantro, garlic and avocado.

Now get out the chopping board! But before doing that, crack the eggs into your mixing bowl and add the salt and pepper (reasonable amounts), the cheese (as much as you'd like; again, make it proportional to the eggs) and milk. This is just like making scrambled eggs, so if you are familiar with that, this is just an intense variation on that recipe.

The pancetta (or thickly sliced bacon, sliced into lardons) should go in the pan first. As it cooks, mince your garlic, dice your avocado and finely chop your scallions. The jalapeno or serrano chili is optional, though if you do include it you should remove the seeds. The parsley/cilantro you can pretty much just pinch off from the stems by hand and roughly chop.

Once the pancetta is done, remove it from the pan and drain it on a towel - Bob says you should drain the pan of fat and then add your olive oil for the garlic, scallions and pepper to fry in, but I like pancetta fat so I left that in and just added the olive oil. Do this for two minutes.

Then put the pancetta back into this mix, also adding the avocado and greenery of your choice.

Once these have all married in the pan, happily swapping flavors, pour in the eggs and make them as wet/dry as you wish.

You should feel free to add/subtract anything from this recipe, as you like - I didn't put the peppers in and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Bon Appetit!