Sunday, January 31, 2010

For the Love of Food

On January 26 we celebrated the love of food in honor of a wonderful friend. Here are some of the photos of the family and friends who gathered together to celebrate and share.

In San Francisco:

In Marin:

In San Diego:

photo coming soon!

Friday, January 29, 2010

For Uncle Gregory

A school project this week involved describing good character traits, one of which was listening to people. Of all the people who surround Rafa, he named his uncle as the one who is the best listener. But he doesn't call him his uncle, he calls him his godfather. Which is true, but it still surprised me.

I never realized, either, that his godfather had such long eyelashes.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lemon and Soup Season Together

It's been blustery and rainy around here for a long stretch. Real soup weather if there ever was. At the same time, we have a bumper crop of lemons on our old lemon tree, so it was fun to try to combine the two.

Avgolemono Soup is a creamy, homey, lemony soup that was perfect to warm us in the cold weather and a good use of some of the lemons. This recipe is a combination of two recipes from the Silver Palate cookbooks. In one recipe they called for greens, and since we had some spinach, and it's always a good idea to eat spinach, I added it.

Avgolemono Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade
1 handful of rice
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
2 cups of baby spinach

In a large soup pot, saute onion in olive oil for 5-7 minutes. Stir in rice and spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes. As spinach wilts, add chicken broth and simmer for 20 minutes until rice is softened.

Meanwhile, beat egg yolks with lemon juice. After broth has simmered for 15-20 minutes, slowly add 1/2 cup of broth to egg mixture to temper eggs. Whisk tempered egg mixture back into hot broth, taking care not to bring it to boiling.

I served this hot, but you can also serve it cold. Salt and pepper to taste, although we found that it didn't need any salt or pepper, it was that flavorful!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Coq au Champagne

Check out the Royal Foodie Joust this month. The ingredients are champagne, orange, and mushrooms. This is my submission:

Coq au Champagne

8 ounces lardons or cubed pancetta
white parts only of 2 large leeks, thinly sliced
1 large shallot, peeled and chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, roughly chopped
10 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
zest and juice of 1 orange
1 bottle sparkling wine (I used Mumm Napa Brut)
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

Saute pancetta, leeks, shallots, and mushrooms in 2 T olive oil until softened, about 10 minutes. Add chicken pieces, orange zest and juice, and wine to pan and bring to a boil. Partially cover, turn heat to low, and simmer for 1 hour.

For best results, cool, and refrigerate overnight. Reheat gently over low heat, sprinkle with parsley before serving with rice or noodles or nice crusty bread.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Cinnamon-Sesame Ice Cream

Every year we get a big box of goodies delivered to the door from Spain, and this year was no different. The Christmas season is a traditional time for baking of special sweets and candies, and my mother-in-law does her shopping for us, packs it all up in a big box, and ships it off to us, and a week or two later we enjoy marzipans, turron, polverones, and my favorite, mantecados.

Mantecados are crumbly cookies flavored with cinnamon and sesame, and they contain 7 million calories per cookie. Since I usually have a significant calorie deficit racked up toward the end of December, I can take in as many mantecado-calories as I want with impunity. Right, in my dreams. Anyway, we went through the mantecados pretty fast, and by New Year's Eve they were all gone. What to do except make up an ice cream recipe that would taste like mantecados with my fancy new ice cream maker?

If you've cooked with sesame oil, you know that it is very fragrant and a little dash goes a long way. So this is a cinnamon-flavored ice cream recipe with just a dash of sesame oil. It may sound strange to you, but the hint of sesame off-sets the cinnamon and sugar beautifully. It's one of my favorite combinations. This would be a wonderful dessert after a paella, or a meal of moroccan flavors.

Cinnamon-Sesame Ice Cream

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1-1/2 cups whole milk

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until smooth. Pour immediately into ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer instructions, usually 20-30 minutes. Pack ice cream into a freezable container if you are not going to serve it right away, and store in the freezer. Obviously.