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Sardines with Linguine & Thyme

Mister Sive has the post today. He has been cooking up a storm this past week and I am loving every minute of it and loving every bite.  Thanks Olivia for this tasty dish idea–soooooo good! We are up & out early headed to the city where I will be buying at the show for a few days. A fun/visual/busy time awaits! 

All cooks have a few quick sure things, those dishes that we turn to that are both simple and comforting. The following comes via our fabulous Miss Olivia, a long time Watson Kennedy family member, who is full of stories of her large Italian family, and from whom we learned this delicious, super easy meal. 

We’ve been wanting to try this for a while, and this quiet, wintry week at Hawthorne was the perfect time. Olivia suggested oregano, but the thyme at the market was looking particularly luscious, so I used that and quite enjoyed the result. This dish is all about prepping first for quick cooking and assembly! Of course, vary the following proportions to your own taste. 

1 pound linguine

1 15 oz. can of sardines in tomato sauce; put all the liquid and fish into a bowl, and gently break up the fish

3 tablespoons good tasty olive oil

2 large garlic cloves, sliced whole and very thin

5 healthy sprigs of thyme, a tablespoon or more after peeling the leaves from the stems and chopping lightly

½ cup of grated parmesan

Put a pot of water on to boil. About 2 minutes before the pasta is fully cooked, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan. Cook the garlic—this will happen fast—and take the garlic out of the oil. Place the thyme in the oil, and turn off the heat. The thyme will lightly cook and infuse the already garlic infused oil. By now you’ve probably drained the pasta; toss that first with the oil, garlic and thyme; then with the sardines and tomato sauce; finish with the grated cheese. Serve in pasta bowls with a fresh twist of salt and pepper. Enjoy!





Cooking with Kids

20160628-053824.jpg Encouraging youngsters to enjoy cooking has always been big in our household. Our nieces over the years have cooked up some pretty amazing meals with and for us, and it has been so fun to watch them get better and better at it as the years progressed. They are now grown and are all impressive cooks, with one of them a well-regarded chef in New York (I know, I am a very proud Uncle), the below photo taken last Summer with paella on the menu. When our 8 year old godson Magnus recently said to TPS that he wanted to cook a meal with him, they started planning the menu on the spot. This Sunday was the day.
Steamed clams with pesto bruschetta
Grilled shrimp
Orzo pasta with grilled cauliflower & broccoli + tomatoes
Grilled portobellos with parmesan
Flourless chocolate cake with raspberries
Blueberry & peach crisp
It was cool to watch him in the kitchen cutting, mixing and cooking away. I think when I was that age I was making peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. The rest of us chatted the afternoon away out on the deck in the sun as they cooked away and then were treated to all the above. What a special meal, what a special day.




Smoky Mustard-y Barbecue Chicken

20160607-062818.jpg As stated before, Mister Sive is the griller in the family and I am the lucky eater of all that grilled goodness. He made a crazy good chicken the other day that I really wanted him to share with all of you, so today’s post is brought to you by him.

Like a lot of guys, grilling brings out the chemist/mad scientist in me. Something about fire and experimenting with combinations: exciting!

This goal with the following idea was to get a deep smoky and intense flavor to the chicken. TKW says it worked, so this is my post for him today.

1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup molasses
4 garlic cloves, finely diced
1/3 cup mustard

These proportions are merely a starter; focus on spice, tang, sweetness or acidity to your liking. Mix all ingredients lightly with a whisk until blended.

Take a good sized whole chicken and place in a large ziploc bag. Pour the marinade in and mush until spread over the whole chicken. Partially close the bag, release the excess air, and complete the ziploc. Place in a bowl and refrigerate for 4 or so hours, flipping the bag in the bowl every hour. Take out an hour before grilling.

Prepare your grill for indirect heating (coals to the sides) and just before placing the chicken on the grill, add some water soaked smoky wood chips. (I did this twice.) Grill on medium to hot (400ish degrees) for about an hour, until internal temp is 165. After flipping a few times after a few minutes on each side (to get a good seat on the skin) I then started this bird breast side down, to capture juices and fat in the meat. For the last 30 minutes or so I cooked breast up.

Served with grilled potatoes, grilled Napa cabbage and grilled corn on the cob, it’s an ode to charcoal and Summer.

Happy grilling!



All You Need Is Love

20160109-052230.jpg Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love.
There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done.
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung.
Nothing you can say, but you can learn
How to play the game
It’s easy.
Nothing you can make that can’t be made.
No one you can save that can’t be saved.
Nothing you can do, but you can learn
How to be you in time
It’s easy.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.
Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.
There’s nothing you can know that isn’t known.
Nothing you can see that isn’t shown.
There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where
You’re meant to be
It’s easy.

I woke up humming this Beatles song. We celebrated our 28th anniversary yesterday so thoughts of love have been on my mind. There is so much of the opposite in the world, but I am determined to have love be the guiding light in my day to day, always. I know so many of you are, as well. As the song tells us, it’s easy.



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
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!



Sunday Supper Stoup

20151005-080920.jpg TPS was in the kitchen yesterday at WestWard doing the cooking, so I asked if he would be so kind to write his recipe of the above bowl. It was just so tasty I really wanted him to share it with you all.

One of our favorite traditions is making chicken stock, and we almost always have some in the freezer. When the cool air of Autumn comes on, we’re thinking of what Mr. Watson has dubbed “stoup” and nothing is a better base than homemade stock!

Stoup in the Watson Sive household is a hearty bowl of above stock, with whatever veggies and proteins we have on hand and are inspired by. It’s thicker than soup, but not quite stew. This version was inspired by kale TKW saw at the Pike Place Market on Saturday, and some sausages we had on-hand.

Defrost 2 quarts of stock and heat up while preparing fillings.

Coarsely chop one sweet onion and 1 cup of carrots.

Medium chop 3 tablespoons fresh herbs (tonight’s were the last of the oregano and thyme from our summer pots).

Julienne or tear into pieces (after cutting out the stems) one bunch of hearty kale.

Heat some olive oil in a heavy casserole or soup pot and cook up 4-6 sausages, until just barely cooked. Remove from heat and when cool chop into 1/3 inch chunks.

In the same heavy pan, add some olive oil and sauté the onions and carrots until they’re sweaty and just soft. Mid way through add the fresh herbs.

Add the stock to the onion, carrot and herb mixture and bring to low boil. Add 1 1/2 cans of drained white beans and the chopped sausage. Heat to low simmer; then add the kale and cook at a low simmer.

While the stoup is bubbling away, purée or mash the remaining 1/2 can of beans. Add to the stoup.

After 5 minutes or so turn up to a low boil and add 2 cups of dry egg noodles. Just before the noodles are done, turn off the heat and let sit for 10 minutes or so.

Ladle into a big bowl, top with some grated Parmesan, and you’re set. A medium dark beer and some crusty country bread are great accompaniments.

(A note: I find one of the tricks to good soup is to not overcook. For example, in this recipe the onions and carrots and sausage will all continue to cook in the stoup, and while you want the flavors to mix, a light touch in cooking time keeps the component flavors fresh and bright.)



Grilled Yukon Gold Potatoes with Herbs & Minced Shallot

20150610-053821.jpg Mister Sive is the griller in the family. I am the lucky eater of said grilling. This post is for all you grillers. Or for those of you like me, pass it on to your favorite grill person and then make sure you are first in line to try these. You will not be sorry. Below is my observation of what my husband put together. Again, I am the observer in this one, but the very happy diner once all is said and done.

Thinly slice Yukon gold potatoes. Put in a bowl. Add a healthy glug of extra virgin olive oil. Mix around with your hands or a spoon so all the potatoes are evenly coated with the oil. If they seem a little dry, add more. Super important that these be well well oiled. Then add a good dose of salt & pepper. Next finely chop a shallot or two, depending on the size of the shallot and how many potatoes you are cooking. Gently mix those in. Yummy already. Now finely chop fresh thyme and oregano. Gently mix those in. You will need a cast iron skillet or some skillet you feel can handle the heat of your grill. Add a small coating of oil to the skillet. Add the potatoes. Staying with these all along, turning the potatoes as they cook. They will start to brown and caramelize a bit. The herbs and the shallot will infuse them. Keep moving them around until they are your desired amount of done. He served them with steaks, but these would be awesome with just about anything. Fish, chicken, served with a cocktail before dinner or just by themselves for a snack.



Hydrangea Leaves in a Pinch

20150523-075003.jpg I could not find a peony to save my soul. Actually not A peony, but 3, and if they were white, even better. We drove around to farm stands, flower shops and grocery stores. Not a single darn peony in sight. So, Mister Sive’s birthday dinner table would have to be awash in green, and the hydrangea leaves from the yard would have to do the trick.

20150523-075327.jpg When all else fails, get resourceful and creative.

20150523-075443.jpg Hydrangea leaves are just so beautiful in their own right.

20150523-075551.jpg Mixed about with all the other variety of green things on the table, they would fit right in.

20150523-075647.jpg Doing a line dance right down the middle of the table. The peonies were not missed one bit once the festivities began. Lesson learned–when the world hands you hydrangea leaves, use them.



Grilled Napa Cabbage

20150430-062150.jpg Let me start this off by stating I do not grill. Never have. But I love when others do. My dad, my brother, dear friends, my husband–all love to grill. I guess that must be it. I have always been surrounded by those that really enjoy barbecuing. I enjoy the smokey, tasty benefits. Fine by me, I am happy to sit this culinary task out and let those that revel in it soar. This one is for you. TPS tried grilling Napa cabbage the other evening, and it rocked. He has done lettuces and other greens but never Napa cabbage. It was pretty awesome. A grilled salad course in a few minutes. Yum. Moments before falling asleep last night I asked him how he prepared & grilled it. Here is what I hazily remember, but I think I have it all down right.

Quarter one good sized Napa cabbage making sure to keep the top core intact. This keeps the piece from falling apart. Create a dressing of extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil and rice wine vinegar. Mix together and then use that to coat the 4 pieces of cabbage, making sure all is well covered. Then grill the cabbage on a super hot grill. He did it first thing when the coals were smoking hot. Stay with these as it only takes around 30 seconds to char. Repeat for the remaining two sides of the cabbage. That simple. So good.




Italian Sausage, Butternut Squash & Béchamel Lasagna

20141112-074630.jpg The question I have been asked the most often this week is what did we make for dinner when Dorie Greenspan and her husband came for a meal. We just really wanted to serve something super comforting as we knew they would be traveling a ton on her book tour and eating out mostly, so a home cooked meal might be most welcome. With the dining table ablaze with candles we dined on Mister Sive’s specialty–Italian Sausage, Butternut Squash & Béchamel Lasagna. This truly is one of my favorite things in the world to eat. That my husband makes it so sublimely only adds to my happiness. He was so kind to write out his recipe for everyone. So today, the post is courtesy of him.

Like a lot of cooks, I love the adventure of combining and mixing and meshing in new ways. About 10 years ago I was inspired by two food tales to create a new dish. One was the raving by family of a traditional Italian béchamel lasagna cooked by our (now fab professional chef) niece, the other Martha Stewart cooking a recipe of simple pasta with squash. Hmmmm, I pondered, adding to the savory sweetness of squash the creaminess of béchamel? This dish is great Fall and Winter comfort food, and as requested often, is a sure part of my maintaining domestic happiness with Mr. Watson.

What follows is a more or less double recipe from the typical lasagna; we have a 10 x 18 roasting pan with good thick bottom (to spread the heat) that’s perfect for this, rectangular and deep, as I like 5 layers of pasta. I think key is separating different flavors in different layers, so you get the overall heavenly gooey blend, but also the bursts of specific tastes in their own layer. As I’ve stated before, these measurements are targets: adjust to your taste, intrigue and market availability.
1. Although frozen squash puree is a fine choice, nothing beats a thick puree from fresh butternut squash. Skin, cube into 2” or so, steam, and puree in your food processor or food mill. Add liquid (water, veggie stock, fresh Hudson Valley apple cider was a recent choice) and blend to a medium consistency: a good amount of liquid, but not too runny.
2. At the same time roast another ½ or so of a butternut squash to TKW’s standard guide: peel, cube, dose with olive oil and salt, and roast separated on a sheet pan at 425. 1 ½ inch or so is a good size for roasting. You’ll want to cut in half again before composing the lasagna, but roasting at that size would risk drying out the squash.
3. Chop coarsely (1/3 inch) a big sweet onion, yielding maybe 2 cups or even more. Sauté in olive oil in a large saucepan and after about 2 minutes, just after they soften and starting to get golden, add 2 pounds of ground sausage. I like half sweet Italian, half hot; but choose to your taste! If you go for the milder varieties, you might add several cloves of chopped garlic to the onions and before the sausage. Make sure to break up the sausage as it cooks. Cook until just browned. Here too it’s good to add a bit of stock (chicken, vegetable, that cider, whatever inspires you) to help moisten the lasagna and spread the meat when you’re layering.
4. For the cheesiness: grate 2 pounds of mozzarella; have a 32 oz container of ricotta at room temp; and about ¼ cup or so of grated asiago or parmesan.
5. Prepare a béchamel or white sauce so you have a good 3-4 cups when finished. I add a good dose of pepper and lots of fresh sage (10ish leaves), adding a strong earthy base to the dish.

To the layering:
1. For the very bottom of the pan, spread a little bit of olive oil and some of the juices from the opinion and sausage moisture.
2. Place your first layer of noodles. (For many years I’ve used the Barilla non-cook version, which works well. Traditional cooked noodles, though more work, add a superior texture and slightly lighter flavor. This recipe uses almost 2 boxes.)
3. Spread ½ of the squash puree, ½ of the squash pieces, and then drop ½ of the ricotta in medium dollops throughout the layer. The lightness of the ricotta mixes well with the squash and yields a visible and tasty layer of yummy orange.
4. Spread another layer of noodles.
5. Spread ½ of the sausage mix, ½ of the mozzarella, and ½ of the béchamel. This layer becomes that more traditional blend of meat, cheese and sauce.
6. Repeat steps 2-5.
7. Add a final layer of noodles, and top that with the parmesan or asiago spread thinly. If all that’s not enough, you can add dabs of butter for a final hit of sweet creaminess…

Bake in a 340 degree oven for about 45 minutes, covered lightly with aluminum foil to keep in most of the moisture, but not get caught in the cheese. Take the foil off for the last 15 minutes or so, to crisp and caramelize the top a bit. Served with a hearty kale salad or some simple greens, and a hearty red wine. Eat slowly, pause, tell another story, and have seconds. Ted W insists the leftovers are even better.

As with all the best dishes, you can vary in unlimited ways. At Hawthorne for one of our dearest friend’s birthday, we used amazing local Andouille sausage from Cool Whisper Farm (Route 21C in Ghent) with lots of local cider. Awesome. Other times I’ve emphasized the sage or used more intensely flavored cheeses.