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On Its Way, Bariani EVOO & Balsamic Duo

We have a new category, as this fab duo is On Its Way, so am excited to share this all with you. These were a find at the Fancy Food show in San Francisco a few months back. I was struck by this combo as I thought it would look great out on the counter together, as well as make an awesome host/hostess gift. The quality of what is in these cool bottles is off the charts, so it hit all of my winning points for what makes it onto our shelves. Vinaigrette anyone?



 

 

Roasted Romanesco

We were excited to head to the island yesterday for a little WestWard time. No guests this week-end, so a simple chèvre stuffed chicken breast, baked potato and a little Romanesco was on the menu. It has become a favorite veg–one for the taste but I also think they look cool, slightly other-worldly. And they are green! The grocery store had quite small versions, so I bought 2. Slathered them with extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper and roasted them whole in the oven while the chicken and potatoes cooked away. I put them on a sheet pan and began to roast them whole in a 400 degree oven. Towards the end of the cooking process they were not looking as cooked/golden as I wanted, so I split them in half, putting the core side down on the baking sheet, where I let them cook away for another 15 minutes. Just the right amount of time to give them that golden hue I was going for. 



 

 

Lemon, White Wine & Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Lemons, white wine & extra virgin olive oil–3 things we always have on hand.  If you do, you can whip up a dinner in no time.  Add a few other items on hand, and an even tastier meal awaits.  Use the trio as a marinade to cook chicken or fish in. The last few weeks and right on up to Christmas we have been entering full-on holiday/retail mode, where the shops take up every waking moment. It is so fun but also a tad overwhelming if you don’t stay organized, well fed and super rested.  We do a crazy amount of take-out during this time.  Uber Eats has become our new friend.  But sometimes we just want something homecooked, plus I miss being in the kitchen.  This is where lemons, white wine and extra virgin olive oil come into play.  Last night they were the base for skinless chicken thighs while cauliflower and mini potatoes roasted away in the oven.  

In a baking dish pour olive oil and spread it around so the entire bottom is lightly coated then add chicken. Again, this could be for any cut of chicken pieces.  I use this also for white fish, like halibut.  Then juice fresh lemons and pour over the meat.  Take a yummy drinkable white wine and do the same, pouring a bit over the chicken, then drizzle olive oil over the top too. Salt & pepper liberally.  The chicken should now be sitting in a little bath of liquid but not be fully submerged.  At this point it all could go into a 400 degree oven to cook and be really quite wonderful as the juices keep things tender & moist and reduce down and become a sauce for the meat.  But this is also where you can get a little creative.  It is also a great time to clean out some things from your fridge.  We had a shallot so I chopped that up. Ditto with a handful of pitted olives. It all went in nestled up next to the chicken to add more flavor.  Garlic, thyme, really a host of herbs would be tasty.  Use what you have.  But the trio is what gets the whole thing started.  Use that as a base, add to it, don’t add to it, but in less than an hour you will be sitting at a lovely meal.  Light a few candles, and you are all set!



 

 

Ted’s Tip No. 53

20160120-063724.jpg A beautiful bottle of extra virgin olive oil makes a great host/hostess gift in place of a bottle of wine. Just think of how many times you will be remembered when it is being enjoyed.



 

 

Root Vegetable LOVE

20160111-090503.jpg It is that time of year when root vegetables are the star. This is my super, super easy ‘roast them all in one pan’ recipe that I do often in Winter because it is so hearty & satisfying. Last night I plunked a chicken to roast on top of all the below to make it a one pan Sunday supper. But these roasted root vegetables are also so good served with a piece of fish, a fried egg, or just as they are as a vegetarian option with a salad. Ease is the key with this. I just wipe down the outside of the veg with a damp towel to make sure they are clean. I leave the skin on them all. Here goes.

Turn the oven on to 400 while you start chopping. Turnips, rutabaga, parsnips, sweet potatoes, and Yukon gold potatoes are my favorites. Use the ones you like or can find. Cut all the above into similar sized pieces so they cook evenly. I aim for 2 bite sized pieces. Add all to a baking pan. Give a healthy smattering of extra virgin olive oil over the the whole lot. As well as a good amount of salt & pepper. Either with your hands or a big spoon, mix all around to make sure everything is coated with the trio. Put pan into oven. Check every 15 minutes, stirring things around to avoid sticking or burning. At the 45 minute mark check for doneness. An hour is what I always plan on, but it will vary depending on the size of the cut-up veg. Truly, this could not be easier. The sweetness and heartiness of the root vegetables make this a go-to time and again during the chilly months.

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Ottolenghi Inpired Yukon Gold Potatoes

20160104-065643.jpg I become more and more of a fan of London based chef & cookbook author, Yotam Ottolenghi. We sell the heck out of his wildly successful books, with folks raving to me things they have tried from his recipes. The above potatoes inspired by Ottolenghi. Ordinary potatoes that become visually appealing and even tastier due to a few tweaks. I made them the other evening with filet mignon for New Year’s Eve dinner, the below a week ago for a simple week-night supper. These can be dressed up or casual, which I always love. I think they would be awesome as an appetizer too, served with green goddess dip. Here is what I did for an easy chicken breast meal during the week to spiff it up a bit.

Yukon gold potatoes are the way to go for this. Choose medium to smaller sized, trying to pick ones that are of a similar size. Oven to 400, my cooking sweet spot. Using a sharp knife for this, cut a little piece of the spud off the bottom, so the potato sits flat in the baking process. Next, slice up the potato being careful not to cut all the way to the bottom as you want the entire thing to stay intact. Do this with all the potatoes. Then lightly pour extra virgin olive oil over them all, that are sitting on a baking sheet ready for the oven. With your hands massage the oil over the entire potato so it is covered entirely with extra virgin olive oil, including the flat bottom so it does not stick and burn. Add pinches of salt & pepper over all. OK, here is where I added a bit of extra flavor, which you don’t have to do if you are cooking these without anything else. At the half hour point, I ladled over with a spoon some of the juices that had collected from the roasting chicken breasts that were right next to the potatoes. This reminds me so much of the potatoes placed under rotisserie chickens in Paris that cook in the drippings as the chickens rotate away. Those juices mixed with the EVOO are kind of magical stuff and it really helped to brown the potatoes and add a bit of extra flavor. When I cooked them solo, I added a teeny tiny bit of butter at the 30 minute mark. The butter melting down into the slits and adding more tastiness and helping them to brown. You can pass on this too, just ladle any extra oil that is on the pan at the half hour mark to give them a little extra brown. By minute 45, these little gems should be ready. Timing depends on the potato size, so check along the way by giving one a little squeeze to see if it is soft, which means it is done. They just look so cool and taste amazing.

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P.S. I am experiencing some technical difficulties with my WordPress app on my phone when I am writing my blog post each morning. Typically I am able to go back and make edits after it posts. But when I have done it this week, it is posting to the next day. So I am not able to make edits without messing up the post. Please forgive any typos, which I generally catch after I read it after it is up on my site, but currently am not able to go back and change. Anywho, boring technical stuff. Have a glorious Monday/week and have fun making the potatoes if they make it into your repertoire.



 

 

An Onion Melange

20151218-042513.jpg I asked Mister Sive to step in on this one as he created an amazing onion dish that I really wanted to share with you all. A really yummy side dish perfect any time of the year.

From TPS:
This past Thanksgiving was the first we’ve hosted in quite a while. Like many, I love to cook holiday meals, especially combining old favorites and new explorations. This year I was inspired by the fab variety of onions at Sosio’s vegetables in the Pike Place Market, and my memories of Mom’s creamed onions. But, I thought, let’s do something different… Here goes.

1 large red onion
1 large sweet white onion
1 large shallot
a good handful of cipollini onions
a good handful of white pearl onions
extra virgin olive oil
butter
balsamic
fresh thyme
chicken stock (any stock will do, actually)

For the base, cut the large red and white onions in half, and then in 1/3 inch wide strips. Cut the shallots smaller, but not diced. Melt your favorite combination of a few tablespoons of butter and olive oil in a pan, and sauté the onions until just cooked through, maybe 3-5 minutes on medium to high heat. Towards the end, add a few good dashes of balsamic, and cook a minute or so, until the balsamic has infused the onions and the mixture starts to caramelize. Take off the heat, and with a rubber spatula, transfer to a low wide porcelain dish so that it’s an inch or so thick.

In the same sauté pan, add a bit more olive oil and/or butter, and flash cook a teaspoon of the thyme. Add the cipollini and pearl onions (starting with the larger ones) and cook until just browned. Add 1/2 a cup or so of stock, enough to cover the onions maybe half-way, and cook on high heat until the onions are cooked through and the stock has reduced by at least a half. Add another 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of chopped thyme to ensure each of the whole onions has some good herb coverage, and then distribute the whole onions and any liquid over the bed of the balsamic glazed onions.

Cover with foil, put in the fridge until ready, and then pop in a 375 oven for 20 minutes or so to heat through. Take off the foil 1/2 way through. (Microwave would be okay, but I like the further caramelization that happens with oven re-heating.)

This dish is rich in earthy and herbal tones. Along with the punch of the onions it’s a great side with any roast, turkey, chicken, and I think pork especially.

Happy Holidays from the Other Ted!



 

 

Rosemary Infused Yukon Gold Potatoes with Sweet Onions

20150915-071420.jpg Rosemary is such a long lasting, versatile herb to use in so many things and in so many ways. This week-end our big buckets of rosemary were shouting to be used. Sunday supper was going to be chicken on the grill. But it was also a bit of a rainy day, so we decided to cook everything else inside. This is where this big sheet pan of goodness comes in. Incredibly easy but should be in everyone’s cookery arsenal for that very reason. Top it with an egg and it is great for breakfast or nestle the mixture next to a piece of chicken or a pork chop. Here goes.

Oven to the magic number of 400 to preheat while you chop. Cut up Yukon gold potatoes into small pieces, then scatter onto a baking sheet. I like to quarter smaller ones, so I sort through the bin and try and choose similar sized spuds. Next, slice up a sweet onion like a Vidalia or a Walla Walla. Mix in amongst the potatoes. Next, chop quite fine a bunch of rosemary. Make it rain over the mixture. Then do the same with a super healthy amount of fresh cracked black pepper. Then salt. Over the entire lot, drizzle extra virgin olive oil. Either with your hands or a spoon, mix all together so the oil is coating the mixture. Then into the hot oven it goes. Move around with a metal spatula or wooden spoon every 10 minutes or so to avoid sticking which also ensures even roasting. Done is when potatoes are nice and brown. Truly, so simple, but you will go back to this time and again when making meals. Enjoy!

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A Mustard Jar Vinaigrette

20150716-061057.jpg This is what you whip up when you have that pesky jar of mustard sitting in your fridge and there is still mustard in it. But not enough mustard to really do anything major with, but enough still left that you can’t bring yourself to toss it. This is the easiest thing in the world to do, with things you have a bit extra of. Take one lemon and quarter it. Squeeze the heck out of those slices over a cup or small bowl, making sure seeds do not enter the liquid produced. Add that lemony gold to the waiting jar of mustard. Then peel one good sized clove of garlic, smashing it just a tad with the back of the knife. Add the whole smushed garlic to the jar. Then add a few generous pinches of salt and a few cracks of the pepper grinder into the lemony mustard mixture. Almost there. Told you this was incredibly easy. Lastly add the best extra virgin olive oil you have around, about then again as much as the liquid in the jar. Typically twice as much oil to acid is a good vinaigrette ratio. Just eyeball it, and no huge deal if you add a tad more or less. Slip the lid back on. Check twice to make sure it is on nice and tight. Yes, I have made this error and it is not pretty. Now, shake, shake, shake that bottle. If music is playing in the background while you are doing this, even better. Done. You just made a really tasty lemony garlicky vinaigrette. Pour right out of the bottle over greens of your choosing, making sure to leave the garlic clove in the bottle. Any remaining will last in the fridge quite nicely. With the garlic continuing to infuse even more. Add a little more of all the above to the bottle and you can make another round with any leftover.



 

 

Roasted Ramps & Romanesco

20150707-062726.jpg This time of year the produce is so abundant & varied, it is nice to mix it up and use things that you don’t see all year at the grocer. That is where ramps and Romanesco come in. Both have a fairly short span at the market for availability, so roasting some up to toss with pasta and a bit of Parm for a simple meal was on our list. Ramps, if you are unfamiliar, are a wild onion. They are sometimes referred to as wild leeks. They taste like a mixture of garlic and onion. The Romanesco, is an edible flower bud of the species Brassica oleracea. First documented in Italy, it is chartreuse in color. Which you know I love. You see it listed sometimes as broccoli, other times as cauliflower. Either way, it is just delicious roasted.

You know the drill. Heat oven to the sweet spot of 400 degrees. Break up florets from the Romanesco, scattering onto a baking sheet. Then cut up the ramps. I just used the middle of the stalk for this, not using the bulb. We like them larger in size to roast, but then cut them into smaller pieces before we toss with the pasta and cheese. They are powerful little bites. Add the ramps to the baking sheet. Douse all with a healthy amount of extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. With your hands or a big spoon, mix all around so everything is thoroughly coated. Don’t be stingy with the olive oil as it plays a part in the overall flavor when mixed with the pasta. Put the now beyond glorious pan into the oven and let roast away for 10 minutes. Shake the pan to move things around. Another 10 minutes and check if starting to brown and caramelize. If not, shake and move around again and check after another 10 minutes. So much depends on the size of things. When done, mix this goodness with your favorite pasta you cooked while all this was roasting away. Dust with Parmesan. Mix. Dust again. Done. Beyond simple. So good.