February 18 – February 24, 2019
Monday: Rotisserie Chicken Salad with Greens and Herbs
Tuesday: Fettucine with Ricotta
Wednesday: Black Bean–Chorizo Soup / Pea Toast with Mushrooms
Thursday: Dunnings meeting
Friday: Steamed Mussels with Tomatoes and Sausage
Saturday: Oakmont Country Club, guests of Hilda and Tim
Sunday: Salumi Plate from Greg, Ropa Vieja (stew of peppers and flank steak) Apple Tart (Greg’s birthday)
I have been rushing to get the last few posts out and omitting some things. In addition to the usual – commas, correct spellings, a sense of propriety, what day it is – I have also forgotten to include pictures of some of our favorite people. And, over time, because writing recipes my way* takes some time, I have left out a lot of dynamite recipes. Sometimes that’s because these recipes were slightly less awesome than the ones we’ve shared. But often it’s because I’ve got some slant to the posting that makes roasted goat more appropriate than meatloaf for that funny line from the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.
*Too many recipes – you know who I’m talking about NY Times – are in small print and bury cooking times in long paragraphs so that, just as your dinner party guests arrive you discover, as a footnote to the fifteenth paragraph that, having got to the end of the recipe, or so you thought, you must simmer it until fork tender – another 3 hours or so. My way of writing a recipe is to make that timing apparent up front, to let you know about sauces or dressings or other add-ons that may take some time, to give you notes on where to find the ingredients and what you may substitute and, above all, to tell you what to prepare before you begin cooking. How many times have you gotten your onions and garlic softened only to discover that, at this point, you need to toss in small-diced celery or carrots or, God forbid, pearl onions which you have not yet peeled.
Before we get to that omitted recipe, here are some pictures we meant to put into our posts over the last two weeks. This first took place when Barbara invited her successor to come to our house for lunch and asked me to make one of our favorite soups for the occasion. We shared with you the recipe for ‘Country Potage’ but forgot to include a photos of Jen and Henry and of Beez and young Henry. Henry doesn’t go for anything other than milk at this point in his life, but we think that this exposure to French country cooking should have a lasting cosmopolitan effect.
And last week, we told you about our delightful great niece and nephews, but didn’t have a picture to include. Here are Freddie, Jimmy and Elise with their proud grandparents on a President’s Day weekend in Florida.
Below the recipes you can find photos of a Naples sunset, and of Rusty watching the evening news with some anxiety.
We also owe you pictures of Hilda and Tim, of Lindsey and Mauri, of Julie, of Ambrose, of Gene and Sandy, of Dennis and Annie, of Katie and Dave, of the Dalai Lama and many others, including ourselves. Some day we’ll hire a good photographer and you’ll have a chance to see what a lovely group of folks we hang out with. But not the Dalai Lama – I just threw him in to wake you up.
In the meantime, you’ll have to settle for good food. Here’s a recipe that we love patched together from Julia Child’s various soups. We shared this recently with Katie and Dave, so we thought you’d like to be included. And, as an extra, here’s the apple tart we cooked for Greg’s birthday last Sunday – simple and fantastic.
CREAMY CHICKEN AND VEGETABLE SOUP
(adapted from Julia Child’s The Way to Cook)
This recipe is a combination of two of her recipes – Clear Chicken and Vegetable Soup and Onion and Rice Soup Base. We do not make our own chicken broth. The chicken broth available at the super market is not as refined as you can make your home-made but it is good and you will save yourself a half day of cooking by using it.
Timing: 40 minutes, if you can cook both of the soups at the same time
75 minutes if you cook the two soups one after the other
Ingredients: This makes about 2 ½ quarts – enough for 6 as a full meal with salad or toasts
For the Clear Chicken and Vegetable soup:
4 cups of chicken broth
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup each of matchstick julienned or fine diced or thinly sliced: onions, carrots, leeks, inner celery stalks½ cup dry white French vermouth or dry white wine
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground white pepper (we use black pepper – we like the heartier taste)
For the Onion and Rice Soup Base:
1 ½ cups of sliced onions
2 Tablespoons of butter
4 cups of chicken broth
½ cup raw white rice
Salt and Ground Pepper
Sour Cream or heavy cream to finish
To finish the combined soup:
1 cup green peas
Peeled, seeded and julienned cucumber, lightly salted
Slice and dice the vegetables – this will take some time. You want all of the pieces the same size. I think small dice works best for this, but julienne can work, too. Definitely julienne the cucumber.
Measure out the broth
Cook the Clear Chicken Soup:
Bring the broth to a simmer in a saucepan with the chicken breast, vegetables, wine and bay leaf. Add more broth, if needed, to cover the chicken. Simmer for 5 minutes. Skim if scum forms on the surface. Remove the chicken breasts and let the vegetables simmer longer as you cut the chicken into julienne. Return the chicken to the pot, remove from the heat, cover and let the chicken steep for 20 minutes. Season to taste with the salt and pepper.
Cook the Rice and Onion Soup Base:
Melt the butter over medium and sauté the onions slowly for 8 minutes until tender and translucent. Add 4 cups of chicken broth and simmer for 20 minutes (the rice should be very tender). Purée the soup in a blender, adding more liquid (water or broth) if needed until you have a smooth, creamy, lightly thickened purée.
Finish the Creamy Chicken and Vegetable Soup:
Add the puréed rice and onion base to the clear chicken and vegetable soup and stir. Toss in the peas and reheat on medium for 5 minutes. Then stir in a little sour cream or heavy cream. Adjust seasonings.
Serve with the salted cucumber as a garnish.
(adapted from Jacques Pépin, Heart and Soul in the Kitchen)
This is a very rustic galette, not at all like those beautiful pastries with the razor-thin mandolined apples and that shellac of a glaze that you can find in up-scale bakeries. It is simple to make and utterly delicious. And it looks interesting too, just not prissy.
Timing: 75 minutes, plus 20 minutes to cool
1/3 cup of sugar
1 pound regular pizza dough (you can buy this in all Italian markets – Labriola’s dough is between 1 ¼ lbs. and 1 ½ lbs. so you need to roll it out further and use another apple)
3 large Golden Delicious apples (1.5 lbs.)
4 tablespoons butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
1/3 cup apricot preserves (we used more, but only because we glazed with the liquid part of the preserves, not the pieces of apricot)
Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar on a baking sheet lined with nonstick aluminum foil.
Place the pizza dough on top and press out with your hands as thin as possible. Let this rest for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 F
Assemble the Galette:
Press the dough out further into a round shape. It will be easier to stretch after the first stretch and the 20 minute proofing. If you’re using 1 lb. of dough, you’ll have a 12-inch circle. With Labriola’s, you’ll need to press it out further.
Peel and core the apples and cut each into 8 wedges.
Starting ½-inch from the edge, arrange the apple wedges in concentric circles, pushing them gently into the dough. Dot with butter and sprinkle evenly with the remaining sugar – a little over 5 tablespoons.
Bake for 45 minutes – until nicely browned and crusty. Slide a spatula underneath to release it from the sheet and then let cool on the baking sheet. While it’s cooling, spread the apricot jam on top and on the crusty edge to glaze.
Cut into wedges and serve at room temperature. Caution: This is addictive.
Rusty Watching the evening news with some anxiety