29 September 2007

Do I have Something in My Teeth?

My friend JZ makes this appetizer that is amazingly delicious in its simplicity. I'll call it kale toasts because I have no idea what he calls it and that's basically what it is. Please ignore the poor photography and unphotogenic nature of this item because I promise it's tasty. Great as an appetizer or as a side to meats or bean soups. Particularly fun at parties because it's pretty much impossible not to end up with green stuff between your teeth.

Here's how to make it:
-Slice up some hearty, crusty bread and prepare it for toasting in the oven (say at 350 degrees F) or toaster
-wash the grime off of a big bunch of kale and pull the leafy parts off the thick stem
-put the kale in a pot with water and a steamer and steam it up a few minutes until it's bright green and tender (maybe 5 minutes, max?)
-meanwhile, pop a clove of garlic into the food processor and whirl it around with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
-when the kale is ready, remove from steamer and let cool enough to where you can squeeze most of the water out of it with your hands
-plop the kale into the food processor with the oil and garlic and whiz around until it's all ground up into a spreadable consistency
-toss in some salt (1 teaspoon or to taste), pepper, and some italian parsley for added pep and whirl around again
-pull your toast out of the oven and spread the kale mixture on top
-garnish with Parmesan cheese (optional)

For those of you who are particularly sensitive to raw garlic, here's a less-explosive option to try:
-saute 1 chopped clove of garlic in a little olive oil
-add the washed kale and a little water and saute and then cover to steam until kale is tender.
-pour off all excess liquid and add to food processor along with another glug of oil, salt, and parsley
-blend and spread

26 September 2007

Mr. Gorilla's Favorite Banana Bread

If your'e ever feeling bored or blue- the smell of banana bread in the oven will lift your spirits! There are so many recipes for this tried and true favorite, here's one more to add to your recipe books that will make you go bananas.

1 1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. softened butter
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. (4 T) sour cream or buttermilk
1 c. mashed banana
1 1/2 c. flour (mixture of wheat and white)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt

Cream butter and sugar.
Add beaten eggs.
Lightly beat eggs and dissolve in soda and sour cream/buttermilk. Beat well.
Add banana, flour, salt, and vanilla. Mix well.
Butter and flour pan.
Bake at moderate temperature (~350) until golden.

17 September 2007

Eichardt's chef

Hi y'all!

I'm back from new Zealand after a wonderful working trip!

I just happened to stay at this hotel in Queenstown and meet the chef, by chance, in the hallway. He cooked a great breakfast for me, but I don't have the recipe yet. I found on the internet this one instead: he promotes it, it sounds tasty!!! His name is Varick Neilson.

I post it then!

Varick’s Famous Crabcakes

2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 Medium red bell pepper-cored seeded and diced
1 Medium yellow bell pepper-cored seeded and diced
1 Medium onion-diced
2 Cups of cream
1 Jalapeno pepper
4 Tablespoons of chopped chives
4 Tablespoons of chopped dill
4 Tablespoons of Italian parsley
4 Sprigs of fresh thyme
1 Tablespoon of salt
½ Tablespoon of cayenne
2 Eggs lightly beaten
2 Cups of breadcrumbs
2 Cups of ground almonds
½ kg of fresh crab meat
½ kg of fresh fish-cheap white fish
1/4 kg of surimi-flaked

  1. Heat the oil. Sautee the peppers and onion for approx 10 minutes until the onion is translucent, then cool.
  2. Heat the cream and Jalapeno, and reduce until one cup remains. Cool and add too onion mixture. Stir in herbs, salt and cayenne. Mix in fresh fish and surimi. Stir in eggs plus one cup of the breadcrumbs and 1 cup of the almonds. Gently fold in crabmeat-The mixture will be lumpy. Correct seasoning to taste.
  3. Combine remaining breadcrumbs and ground almonds. Make cakes (1 tablespoon = approx 45grms). Dip both sides of each cake in the mixture and coat well. Place on tray and refrigerate until needed. Pan fry both sides and bake in oven for 5 minutes at 400F.

13 September 2007

Quinoa & Mango Salad

So I've been diggin' on the quinoa lately. It's grainy crunchiness just drives me wild. I whipped up this recipe with stuff I had on hand, and it turned out fabulously. Serves 2-3 people. P.S. My personal food-photographer and husband is out of town, so I actually took this picture myself!

2 cups dry quinoa, rinsed thoroughly
1 ripe-but-not-mushy mango, cut into small chunks
1/2 diced red onion or onion type vegetable (chives, green onions, scallions, etc etc)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 handful cashews (I didn't have any, but I think they'd go well)
for the dressing:
1/4 cup yogurt
1 bunch fresh mint, diced
juice from 1 or 2 limes
soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil (or less)
salt and pepper

Cook the quinoa following the instructions on the box. It is very important to rinse it first and even soak it for 15 min if you have the time, because this gets rid of the bitterness. Set cooked quinoa aside to cool. Mix the next 4 ingredients in with the cooked, cooled quinoa.
Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing with a fork and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Toss dressing over quinoa salad, mix well, throw it all in the fridge for a while and enjoy!

07 September 2007

Alabama Slammer

Not sure why all my favorite drinks have place names (Colorado Bulldog, Alabama Slammer, Manhattan, etc.) Anyway, this was one of my dad's favorite drinks. It's a real ass-kicker, so you've been warned!

Alabama Slammer

  • 2 parts Southern Comfort
  • 1 part Amaretto
  • 1 part Sloe gin
  • Splash of orange juice (sour mix is okay too)
Combine all ingredients and shake. Serve in a glass over ice.

Serves 1

Colorado Bulldog

We need to post our best recipes, and we need drinks, the CWA webmistress says. As someone of Irish/Italian descent, I feel a moral imperative to redress this situation. I present, the Colorado Bulldog! My brother Vinnie was a server/bartender for many years, and introduced me to this drink. It's basically a White Russian plus cola.

Colorado Bulldog

  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1 oz coffee liqueur
  • half and half or milk
  • splash of cola
Combine vodka, coffee liqueur, and dairy product in a glass over ice, and stir. Add splash of cola on top, and you've got a Colorado Bulldog!

Serves 1

Note: if you are ordering this in a bar, describe all the necessary ingredients! I speak from personal experience.

04 September 2007

Chilled Avocado-Cucumber Soup

I made this last night for Emilio's going-away-to-New-Zealand-dinner. I'm as green as this soup with envy but we never skip an occasion for a celebratory dinner, so we cracked open some champagne and had a private dinner party. This is a great, fresh, summery soup. There are many different versions of this recipe, most commonly flavored with cilantro. Due to difficulty of locating cilantro here, I improvised with mint and basil which gave it an unexpected and refreshing flavor.

soup ingredients:
* 4 cucumbers, peeled, diced and de-seeded
* 2 avocados, pitted and diced (save some for garnish, if desired)
* 1/4 cup coarsely chopped italian parsley
* 1 green onion, coarsely chopped
* 1 clove garlic, crushed
* lime juice from 2 limes or more, to taste
* 1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
* 1 cup cold water
* salt & pepper
* 1/2 cup diced red tomato to garnish
for the mint-basil oil:
* fresh mint leaves (about 2 tablespoons, finely diced)
* fresh basil leaves (about 2 tablespoons, finely diced)
* salt & pepper
* 1/2 cup high quality extra-virgin olive oil

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a food processor, and process until smooth. Add the yogurt and continue processing, then begin slowly pouring in the water while processing until you reach the desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Whisk together the ingredients for the mint-basil oil.
Spoon the soup in to bowls and drizzle with the oil. Garnish with tomato, avocado and a slice of lime, if desired.

03 September 2007

Ligurian Memories

I know I haven't posted anything recently, but don't think I've abandoned you! I've simply been on vacation. I spent two weeks in Moneglia on the Ligurian coast with Emilio's family... And what a two weeks it was. What daily culinary bombardment! The garden was in full production, offering up zucchini for our sauces, their flowers to stuff with cheese or anchovies, tomatoes for salads and sauces and everything else. Basil for pesto which in turn topped pastas, crostini, and one fabulous night, pesto lasagna. Lettuces, green beans, sage, oregano, rosemary, parsley, thyme are all nestled cosily on that hillside under a canopy of olive trees.
I promise to post anecdotes and recipes as I recall and perfect them, but right now I'm too busy trying to readjust to the oh so real world of work and city life!