Thursday, September 29, 2011

Chicken with Herb Pistou

Ferry Building Farmer's Market
Recently, I made BA's cover recipe, "roast chicken with herb pistou and farro with roasted squash" - I just dumbed it down a little so that I could actually make it. I will preface this recipe by saying that it was a success, in my opinion (not all of my cooking endeavors are, but I try to spare you the ones that turn out terribly and aren't worth repeating). I will share my version below and give you a link to the BA-version here.

Dahlias at the market

I combined a few tablespoons olive oil, a couple cloves of finely chopped garlic, chopped parsley, thyme, cilantro, the zest of a lemon and salt and cracked pepper. I popped the chicken in a large glass container (I used two legs and a breast of chicken) and doused it with the marinade. Away that went into the fridge while I got started on the rest of the meal.
For the farro: I skipped the "sauteeing" step and tossed my diced acorn squash with a little olive oil, salt and pepper before throwing it into a 375 degree oven for about a half hour. *Note: I would be using onion in this recipe but I was happily sharing this meal with someone who doesn't get along well with onions :).
From here on out I more or less followed the recipe:
- Toast farro in oil coated iron skillet
- Remove farro and set aside
- Warm two - three cups chicken stock with two cups of water in a pot
-Sautee garlic, add a bit of white wine
- Return farro to the pan 
- Add in the stock in 1/2-cup increments, waiting until the liquid is absorbed before adding the next ladle-ful

For the pistou: I am not always a big pesto fan, so I went light on the oil in my version of the pistou
I blanched 1 cup parsley, 3/4 cup cilantro and 3/4 cup basil. Plunge the herbs into a bath of ice-water so that they retain their lovely green color. While my herbs were cooling off I chopped up a very small amount of garlic which I threw into a blender with my herbs (squeezed dry) and 3/4 ice water. Once the herbs were blended, I slowly drizzled in one tablespoon olive oil with blender running. Pistou finished!

To finish the chicken, I heated up a little oil in my cast iron skillet, poured off the marinade and threw the chicken in. I browned the chicken on the stove top and once golden I threw it into a 350 degree oven for 20 or 25 mins. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Story of a Make-Shift Pie

I had some beautiful plums. Well, they called them apricots, but they sure tasted like plums.
I also had some mascarpone.
I didn't have a rolling pin, nor did I have pie weights (or dried beans) . . . so, I used a wine bottle and farro.
For the filling, I whipped the mascarpone with some sugar, a drop of vanilla, and the zest of one lime.

I topped it off with the sliced "apricots" (plums). It was highly edible.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Porchetta on a Foggy Beach Day

In celebration of the opening of the Local Butcher Shop in Berkeley - and the arrival of my new issue of Bon Appetit - I set out to make my very first porchetta. I called the Local Butcher Shop, before heading across the bridge, to see if they had skin-on pork belly. Music to my ears - they had two whole pigs in the walk-in and would be happy to supply me with a belly.
Stinson Beach
After securing my beautiful pork belly (which Aaron, one of the proprietors, kindly scored for me - belly skin is tough!) and the loin, I set about making the rub. I toasted the fennel and red pepper flakes and then let that cool. I added the toasted spices to the fresh sage, rosemary and garlic and then, due to my lack of anything resembling a spice blender, I went to work with my makeshift pestle (a wine bottle). 
 When it came time to assemble, I got slightly confused (its says to score the flesh but I always thought one should score the skin so that's what I did) but forged on. Once the belly was ready to go I salted both pieces of pork and then shmeared my spice mixture all over the flesh-side of the belly. I added in one thinly sliced orange and then attempted to wrestle the meat into submission - rolling and wrapping twine (definitely helpful to have an extra set of hands) until it mildly resembled the neat roll pictured in the magazine.
More Stinson

One of my favorite, irresistable, pairings is apples and pork. Luckily, Gravenstein season has just begun so we roughly chopped some apples, potatoes and sweet potatoes to throw in the bottom of the pain and reap the benefits of the drippings of pork fat.
Gravenstein Apples
After letting my piggie sit in the fridge for 24 hours, I took it out, let it warm up and then popped it in the oven as directed - high heat at first, dropping the temp to 300 for the final ~2 hours. When we sat down to eat this labor of love I made a conscious decision not to eat the fat - my resolve waned rapidly and I devoured all the wonderful belly-ness.
For the full recipe from Bon Appetit click here.

For a pork-centric article from the NY Times click here.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Blueberry Picking and a Summer Meal

A quick ode to the meals of long summer nights. I love lazing outside as the sun sets and the nights cool off to reasonably comfortable temperatures. I love throwing together the kind of meal that uses some of the plethora of summer ingredients that are ripe and then add in a little grilled meat, for good measure. 

Blueberry picking near Santa Barbara
We made a summer tomato salad with a mix of big heirloom tomatoes and sugary sun golds (my favorite, hands down) from the garden. I added some fresh basil, sea salt, pepper, a few shakes of red wine vinegar and a light drizzle of olive oil. I tossed in an entire (indulging) ball of burrata, cut into chunks. This is one of my favorite dishes of all time and I look forward to summer each year thinking specifically about getting to eat burrata with sweet, ripe tomatoes.

For my grilled meat (I didn't get a good photo because it was too dark by the time it was ready to slice) we made a tri-tip with a chipotle rub (recipe care of Bon Appetit). Some fresh white corn from the local corn-stand rounded out a perfect warm summer meal.