Tag Archives: Olive oil

Asparugus with Sauce Gribiche

Asparagus Lobster & Gribiche

What began as a quest for Chicken Chili ingredients last Sunday, turned into a lobster feast for two. I guess you could say that Brian and I celebrated Valentine’s Day a few days early this year. I have the scars to prove it. I managed to burn my hand on scalding water (my fault) and I also pierced my finger with one of the claws on our large lobster (the lobster’s fault). Breaking apart a lobster is a messy business, there’s no way around it. The sweet meat inside however, is worth the labor.

Asparagus with Gribiche

Thankfully, I managed to cook our asparagus without any unfortunate bodily harm. We served our asparagus with sauce gribiche. Sauce gribiche is possibly one of my favorite sauces of all time, although it is really more like a vinaigrette. It is a classic French sauce that is traditionally made with chopped eggs, cornichons, herbs, and capers.

Hard Boiled Eggs Gribiche

I first had sauce gribiche on our trip to France a few years ago at a well-known bistro in the 11th Arrondissement, Bistro Paul Bert. The sauce was served on beautifully steamed Spring Asparagus and I instantly fell in love. It’s tangy and lively, and it’s so simple to make at the last minute because you probably have most of the ingredients in your refrigerator or cupboard already.

The method is simple.  Whisk together shallot, vinegar (red, white, or sherry vinegar), good extra virgin olive oil, a touch of Dijon mustard, plenty of salt and freshly ground pepper (seasoning is key to a good vinaigrette). Then add chopped hard-boiled eggs and herbs (I enjoy parsley, tarragon, chives and chervil in this sauce). I did not use cornichons or capers in this version, but you could add those as well. And that’s it! I typically serve asparagus with sauce gribiche as a starter, but it can also be a simple side dish. And don’t stop there, because this sauce also goes well with fish and grilled meat.

Asparagus

Shallots

 

 

Happy Cooking,
Pippa

Asparagus with Sauce Gribiche
Serves 4

  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (I probably used at least a 1/2 teaspoon of coarse kosher salt)
  • 2 large hard-boiled eggs, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup of minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 pounds of fresh asparagus, woody ends cut off at the bottom

For the sauce:

  1. Place the shallot, vinegars, mustard and olive oil in a small mixing bowl and whisk well until the mixture is emulsified.
  2. Add salt and pepper and season to taste.
  3. Add the hard boiled egg and parsley and whisk lightly.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperate for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to develop, or refrigerate and use within 2 days. Bring back to room temperature before serving.

For the steamed asparagus:

  1. Please a steamer basket in a large, wide saucepan filled with about 1 inch of water. Cover and bring the water to a boil.
  2. When the water comes to a boil, place the asparagus in the steamer basket, cover with a lid and cook for approximately 4 to 7 minutes, or until the asparagus is tender but retains a bit of crispness. Take the pot off the heat and remove the lid.
  3. Remove the asparagus from the steamer basket and serve on a plate drizzled with gribiche sauce.

Gina de Palma’s Almond Olive Cake

I actually never meant to blog about this cake. It came about in part because of boredom, in part because I hadn’t baked anything in quite a long time, and in part because Brian has developed quite the predilection for almond cakes ever since he sampled a piece (actually probably more like 4 or 5 pieces) of buttery almond cake at our neighborhood Italian grocery store a year ago.

As I perused my cookbooks, old magazines, the Internet, and various other sources of inspiration this weekend, I came across Gina de Palma’s recipe for an almond cake that is made with olive oil instead of butter. Gina de Palma is the pastry chef at Babbo, one of our favorite Italian restaurants in New York City (just thinking about it makes me salivate, especially the thought of their mint love letter ravioli…).  The desserts at Babbo are also worth ordering and definitely worth the extra calories (and that is on top of the thousands of calories that you already consumed eating the beef cheek ravioli, which arrive at the table plump and oozing with rich meat, squab liver and the essence of black truffles. These are also worth getting by the way.) Oh, and I probably should have mentioned that Babbo isn’t your typical red-sauce Italian restaurant—it’s a rare treat that can only be enjoyed after painstakingly hitting the redial button on your phone for 45 minutes (exactly 30 days prior to the day that you want to reserve a table) in hopes that you will eventually get through to the reservationist, who will most likely offer you two equally dismal times of 5:30pm or 10:30pm (take the 5:30pm table, just trust me).

Enough about Babbo, let’s move on to this cake, which is truly one of the best cakes that I have ever made, and that is saying a lot. It’s everything that a cake should be—moist, sweet but not too sweet, tender, and most importantly, delicious.  In fact, I am warning you, once you start eating this cake you may not be able to stop. It took a massive effort for me to restrain myself from taking a second slice.

This cake would be great even without the glaze, but I implore you to make it. The brown butter adds wonderful depth and nuttiness to the glaze, and it compliments the citrusy cake beautifully. The slivers of almond also contribute great textural contrast.

I barely adapted this recipe, so all of the credit should go to Gina de Palma. However, I did make a few minor modifications, which you may or may not want to follow. To begin with, I increased the amount of vanilla extract to a half-teaspoon and the amount of almond extract to a scant full teaspoon. I also ran out of fresh orange juice (I only had one orange), so I add the juice of half a lemon and some skim milk until I reached the full half-cup of liquid that the recipe called for.

Now, on to the recipe because you should really make this immediately, or at least in the near future and I don’t want to delay you any longer.

Happy Cooking,
Pippa

Almond Olive Oil Cake
Serves 6 to 8
Adapted slightly from pastry chef Gina de Palma of Babbo via Serious Eats

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup orange juice (or juice of 1 medium orange, juice of ½ a lemon, and ¼ cup milk—or enough liquid to equal ½ cup)
  • Zest of ½ medium orange
  • Zest of 1 lemon

For the glaze:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • A few drops of lemon juice
  • ½ cup sliced blanched almonds, toasted and cooled

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place rack in the middle of the oven.
  2. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan or a springform pan and reserve for later.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk lightly until the yolks are broken up completely. Add the sugar and whisk briskly for approximately 30 seconds. Slowly add the olive oil and whisk until all of the ingredients are combined and the mixture begins to thicken slightly. Whisk in the orange juice (and lemon juice and milk if using), zest, and extracts.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and whisk lightly until the batter is smooth and homogenous.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a cake taster inserted into the thickest part of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Allow cake to cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes and then carefully invert the cake out of the pan and allow to cool completely on the rack.
  8. While the cake is cooling, heat a small saucepan (not non-stick if possible) over medium heat. Add the butter and swirl the butter around in the pan, carefully, until the solids begin to turn a light tan/golden color (do not overcook). Remove the pan from the heat. The solids will continue to darken slightly as the butter cools.
  9. While the butter is cooling, whisk together the confectioners sugar and milk in a medium sized bowl. Add the cooled butter slowly, whisking continuously until the glaze is smooth.
  10. Add a few drops of lemon juice, taste, and add more as necessary to balance the sweetness of the glaze. Stir in the toasted and cooled slivered almonds.
  11. When the cake has cooled, place it on a large serving plate and spread the glaze on the top and sides of the cake. (The glaze may be a touch liquidy, which is fine, just allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides of the cake). Allow the glaze to cool and harden.
  12. Serve the cake either on its own, or with slightly sweetened whipped cream or berries.

Turkish Borek Meat Filling

Happy New Year! 2011 has been an eventful and fun year, but I am even more excited for 2012.  I ended the year with a great recipe that I want to share with you, and it was inspired by my recent trip to Turkey. Brian and I ate our weight in eggplant and yogurt during our trip (thankfully two of my favorite foods), but we were also were lucky enough to try many traditional Turkish meze, including borek. Cigar borek are thin cigar-shaped pastries made with phyllo dough and stuffed with either meat or cheese. We tried both types in Turkey, but I was particularly enamored with the meat borek, which were filled with wonderful spices and herbs. In fact, they were so flavorful that I often could only identify a few of the spices that the meat had been cooked with. Upon my return to New York, I immediately began searching the Internet and cookbooks, hoping to find the secret to Turkish borek. As luck would have it, I found a wonderful cookbook at work (I am lucky enough to work for a food magazine that has an entire library of cookbooks!) with exactly what I was looking for. A few weeks later I was invited to a housewarming party and decided to test out the recipe that I had found. I made meat borek, but substituted the phyllo dough for puff pastry in the absence of the former. I slightly (okay, massively) overestimated how much filling I needed, and ended up with an entire quart of leftover meat. Absolutely horrified at the idea of wasting it, but not keen on eating small hors d’oeuvres for dinner, I decided to “repurpose” it (a scary term, as repurposing can often have quite negative outcomes in the kitchen!). For our Sunday dinner, I made moussaka, another Mediterranean dish that is traditionally made by layering eggplant (what else!), lamb, béchamel sauce, and potatoes in a casserole dish. Okay, I simplified that a wee bit, but that is the gist of it anyway.

My moussaka was surprisingly made with an olive oil-based béchamel sauce that I found in Jeannette Seaver’s cookbook, My New Mediterranean Cookbook. I was delighted to discover that it tasted great, and will certainly use it in the future. I also cheated a bit by cooking diced eggplant in canned tomatoes instead of thinly slicing the eggplant and broiling it, which would have taken far too long. After I had made each component of the moussaka, I carefully layered thinly sliced potatoes, the eggplant mixture, leftover borek filling, and béchamel in a casserole dish and baked it for 35 minutes. My only complaint is that the leftovers didn’t last long!

I am leaving you with the recipe that I adapted to make my borek and moussaka.  It is so good that I will likely bore my friends by serving it at every cocktail party and potluck dinner from here on out. There are so many ways in which this spiced meat mixture could be used, including in lasagna, meatballs, turnovers, etc. etc. If you find a creative way of using it, please let me know, as it is already one of my favorite recipes for 2012!

Happy Cooking,
Pippa

Turkish Borek Meat Filling

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ½ yellow or red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • a tiny pinch of ground clove
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 lb. minced beef or lamb (I actually used beef, but lamb is more popular in Turkey)
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • ¼ cup dried currants
  • ½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine the onion, jalapeño, garlic and bell pepper in a good processor and pulse until the mixture is almost a paste but still slightly chunky.
  2. Heat olive oil in a wide sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and pepper mixture and sauté until the mixture begins to brown slightly.
  3. Add the cumin, oregano, cinnamon, clove, paprika, and tomato paste and continue to cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until very fragrant.
  4. Add the beef, currants and pine nuts and cook for an additional 20-25 minutes over low heat.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and add all of the chopped parsley.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Allow to cool and refrigerate, or use in lasagna, moussaka, phyllo cigars, etc.

Pasta Salad for Hurricane Irene

This weekend, as the East Coast waited for Hurricane Irene to arrive, I whipped together this pasta salad.  I was in the Philadelphia area this weekend, away from the hustle and bustle of New York City, and happy that I had access to a backyard and a grill.  Friday’s weather was gorgeous, so I made the most of the brief hours that remained before the rain came pouring down to grill some chicken and make this side dish.

I am not the biggest fan of traditional pasta salad, mainly because I dislike mayonnaise in almost anything except for tuna salad.  This pasta salad is still creamy, due to the incorporation of goat’s milk cheese, but it is lighter, and in my opinion, more befitting of a nice summer evening.  My favorite thing about this pasta is the way that the raw corn bursts in your mouth as you take a bite.  It’s also easy to prepare, and can be made in the time that it takes to heat the grill and cook some chicken or steak.  I will definitely be making this again, although hopefully not on the eve of another hurricane!

Happy Cooking,
Pippa

Summer Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese, Sweet Corn, and Scallions

Serves 5

Ingredients:

  • 1-pound box of macaroni-shaped pasta
  • 1  bunch of scallions (green parts only), sliced thinly
  • Kernels from 2 ears of fresh corn (or 1.5 cups of frozen corn)
  • 4oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Instructions:

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the macaroni according to the instructions on the box.
  2. While the water is coming to a boil and the pasta is cooking, slice the scallions, crumble the goat cheese, and remove the kernels from the 2 ears of corn.
  3. When the pasta is al dente, drain the pasta in a colander and add it to a large mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
  4. Add the scallions, goat cheese, and raw corn to the pasta and toss everything together.  Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve immediately or allow the pasta to cool and serve at room temperature.

Longing for Panzanella Salad

Every summer I look forward to that brief window of time during which tomatoes are at their peak, fully-ripened by the sun, juicy and flavorful.  The ones that I am talking about ooze when you slice into them, releasing their flavorful juices all over your cutting board. Summer tomatoes are nothing like their winter counterparts, who are deceptively red yet have little to no flavor.  Growing up, my favorite way to enjoy summer tomatoes was with fresh mozzarella and basil from the garden. Now, I eagerly anticipate the day that I can make my first Panzanella salad of the summer.

Panzanella salad is a traditional Tuscan peasant dish that employs leftover bread and fresh tomatoes as its base.  In my version, I marinade tomatoes in garlic, torn basil, chopped garlic, thin slivers of red onion, good extra-virgin olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, and a generous amount of salt and fresh ground black pepper.  I let the tomatoes marinade for at least 30 minutes, and sometimes longer, allowing the tomatoes to macerate and the garlic and basil flavors to fully develop.  The remaining ingredients are at the discretion of the cook, but I typically add baby arugula, slices of cucumber, and a generous handful of shaved ricotta salata cheese.  All of these ingredients, along with toasted/stale bread, and some more olive oil and vinegar, is added at the end, about 10-15 minutes before sitting down to eat.  Although it sounds like a homey salad, it tastes revelatory.  The tomato juices and olive oil bleed into the cubes of bread, softening them just slightly so that they are at the same time both soft and crunchy in your mouth.  The sweetness of the tomatoes is counteracted by the saltiness of the ricotta salata and the peppery arugula, and the flavors of the garlic and basil linger in your mouth at the end.  It makes me salivate just writing about it.

Funnily enough, I was recently in Charleston, South Carolina for a wedding and was lucky enough to score a table at Husk restaurant (recently named by Bon Apetit magazine as the Best New Restaurant in America).  The menu changes nightly, and on the night that we went, the chef was making “Fried Cornbread “Panzanella” Salad with Grilled VA Lamb Heart and Sungold Tomato Puree“.  It was surprising and delicious, and I loved the chef’s use of leftover cornbread. It reminded me that there are so many ways to play with Panzanella—you could add artichokes, shaved fennel, fresh shell beans, or even grilled shrimp.

QuestionHave you ever made Panzanella salad, or ordered it at a restaurant? If so, what are your favorite ingredients to include?

Happy Cooking,
Pippa



Summer Panzanella Salad
Serves 5

The key to making a good Panzanella salad is to allow the tomatoes enough time to marinade (always at room temperature, not in the fridge!) and to restrain yourself from adding the bread too early, so as to avoid soggy bread. Ricotta salata is a dry Italian, sheep’s-milk cheese that is tangy and salty. Its flavor is somewhat similar to feta, but I recommend using shaved Parmesan cheese as an alternative if you can’t find ricotta salata)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1b. tomatoes (heirloom or vine-ripened), cut into 1-inch cubes, juices reserved
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • 1/2 of a red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 loaf of country-style bread or baguette cut in cubes (either allowed to sit out to dry, or toasted in the oven at 300F until hard but not colored, approx. 10-15 minutes)
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil, torn into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (this is the time to break out the good stuff!)
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and then cut into thin slices
  • 12oz. baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup shaved ricotta salata cheese (if you can’t find ricotta salata, use shaved Parmesan cheese)

Instructions:

  1. Combine the tomatoes and their juices, the garlic, basil, red onion, olive oil, and vinegar in a large bowl and toss everything together.
  2. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.  Allow the tomatoes to marinade for approximately 30 minutes, or up to 1 hour.
  3. 10-15 minutes before serving the salad, add the bread, arugula, cucumber, and cheese to the bowl and toss everything together, adding a few more splashes of olive and vinegar as necessary. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Let stand for 10-14 minutes and serve.