Monday, October 29, 2007

Mmmmmmmm....fried red tomatoes

fried tomatoes
Originally uploaded by ericjhwilson

Mom use to make them... but I don't know if she still does. Do you, mom?
While we're waiting for her answer-- here's what you do. Choose firm red beef steak or other type of tomatoes-- garden or farm market fresh from the vine. Slice into thick wheels. Dredge with flour and salt & pepper-- pressing genty to coat. Then fry 'em up in a heavy skillet with olive oil (hmmm-- I really should buy stock in olive oil) until soft on the inside, and crispy brown on the outside. Serve warm or cold. Very yummy over salad. Or just by themselves!

Now that I think about it. Mom now makes oven roasted tomatoes instead. Same idea... but sans the flour.

Variation: You can add all sorts of sprinkles before cooking-- dried basil, oregano, or parmesan... or perhaps spice them up a bit with some red pepper flakes.


porcini risotto
Originally uploaded by clairish
I did it!!! After years of saying I was going to, I finally made risotto. A yummy Italian comfort food which, according to the professionals, cannot be rushed. The Italians say "...the risotto does not wait for the guests, but rather the guests wait for the risotto." Well, for goodness sakes, let's NOT rush the rice.

Now the kids know why I was screaming for them to come down for dinner-- the RISOTTO was READY. And I wasn't about to upset the risotto. Pah-lease. Touchy-touchy.

Well risotto wasn't nearly as tricky (or touchy) to make as I thought. But I do have some suggestions:

*Use a wooden spoon- as opposed to metal or plastic
*Use quality cookware. Avoid using an aluminum saucepan
*Stir, stir, stir...
*Toast the rice before cooking. Add rice to dry saucepan and "toast" 4 min. just to warm the rice- do not brown!!
*Heat ALL liquids (including wine) before adding.
* Think about using Vialone nano variety of rice- said to be creamier.

Recipe for Leeky Parmesan Risotto:

4 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Tablespoon unsalted butter
2 medium size leeks white part only (dice)
1 garlic clove (minced)
1 1/2 cup Vialone nano rice OR Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine- Chardonnay or Pinot Blanc
1/2 teaspoon celtic sea salt plus a little more
1/4 teaspoon coursely ground black pepper
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan plus extra for topping off

Simmer broth in a saucepan. Warm wine in a separate pan. Toast rice as above.

In a medium saucepan melt 1 T. butter with 1 T. olive oil-- add diced leeks and garlic. Saute until transparent-- 5 min. Add toasted rice, stir and cook over medium about four min. Add wine and simmer until the wine is absorbed stirring frequently- about 5 min. Add 1/2 cup of warm broth at a time to the rice, stir. Do not add more broth until the last addition is absorbed. Repeat this process by adding a 1/2 cup at a time for 20-30 min. until the rice is firm but not crunchy. Add remaining melted butter and olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir gently. Stir in Parmesan. Let risotto rest on plate or bowl for a minute-- loosen with a fork to release the steam... then the rest is up to you. Buon Appetito!!

4 servings.

Working at the Happy Factory

Working at the Happy Factory
Originally uploaded by utahgha

The Happy Factory!! Surely, one of the best ideas I have heard in a long-long time. An extraordinary organization! Wood scraps are turned into glorious wooden toys for children in need. Cars, trucks and all things that zooooommm!
Their motto: "We may not be able to make a toy for every child in the world who needs one, but we're going to try!"

Friday, October 26, 2007

Stealing Santa Fe...

Santa Fe sunset
Originally uploaded by Brawn
A multi-layered five day journey... is done-- as told by this southwest sunset. (Fine artists and photographers galore try to convey the depth and breath of such a setting sun, and they do come as close as humanly possible... yet, it's one of those-- "you have to see it to believe it...")

We're home from the fiery southwest USA. Santa Fe- where dining, architecture, fine arts, world class shopping... and rabbit brush combined to conjure up a dream trip for four women (from three generations.)

Dinners at Tulip and Pasqual were the evening highlights (aside from that sinking sun.)

Pasquals: A plate of gourment french fries, spinach feta soup, warm brie, maytag bleu on romaine, wild king salmon with a rustic avocado sauce, heirloom tomatoes with pesto, pinon ice cream with caramel.
Note: Paquals delivers a coffee drink to the table that resembles the rich sandstone-brown layers of a southwest sunset just past dusk.)

Tulip: Chile corn bread, spinach salad with Colorado peaches, tuna with sobe noodles and smoked mushrooms, tiramasu with lemon ginger marscapone.

A must eat: dark chocolate bon bon with caramel and red Hawaiian sea salt on top- available at Todos Santos Chocolatier.

Our vote for Best Bakery? Sage Bakehouse-- hands down... actually our hands were up begging for more!

We return to Colorado with art... and earrings.

As the "leaving New Mexico" signs says....hasta la vista!

Sunflowers... gotta love 'em!!

During the months of August, Sept, and Oct., I fill Italian crocks with thick stalks of sunflowers. They like it best on the long farm style dining table-- never a lonely place with all the kids passing through.

I raise my glass to these extraordinary blooms!!