Thursday, September 29, 2005

Currying flavor...the scent of autumn

Today, I was inspired by all of the luscious fall colors of squash in the market. The result was an aromatic vegetable curry that was full of flavor and autumn spice. Although it was easy to assemble, it did need time on top of the stove for the flavors to mellow. Start by sauteing a large onion cut into eighths in olive oil, add equal amounts of bite-sized chunks of potato and peeled squash (I used butternut squash) , saute for a couple of minutes then add 2 cups chicken boullion or broth, 1 TBS ginger, 1 TBS curry powder, large handful of raisins, a few whole cloves, 1 TBS whole cardamon pods ( or powder), two cinnamon sticks and gently stir. Cook covered over low-medium heat for 15-20 minutes, (stir occasionally to prevent sticking) add a quartered firm pear and continue simmering until squash and potatoes are tender.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Getting the Best of Broccoli

With all good intentions, I bought a microwavable bag of organic broccoli for dinner. When it came time to cook though, I couldn't bear the thought of boring broccoli and tried to think of something that would please my palate AND still be healthy...hence, this recipe which I loved....the bonus was that it was ready on the table in 4 minutes! It was's the drill—microwave the broccoli florets for 2 1/2 minutes in the bag (or in another container), combine with a handful of walnuts, baby arugula, and toss with a garlic/rice wine vinagrette.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Great Sauce for Lamb or Pork

Here's a great easy- to- make sauce for grilled lamb steak or pork tenderloin (slather lamb or pork with dijon mustard, roll in herbs de Provence for a great crust and grill)... for the sauce...crush and mince 3 cloves of garlic and saute in olive oil ( and drippings of grilled meat if you have it), add 1 cup red wine or port and reduce for 4-5 minutes. Stir in 2 Tbs catsup...(I know..I know... catsup...but believe it or not, I got this recipe when I was living in France) add some herbs de Provence and reduce for another 3-4 minutes.
Drizzle over meat and serve remainder of sauce at the table. This is great with the summer salad of grilled eggplant, mint, and tomatoes tossed with balsamic vinegar ( see archives " great summer salad")

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Lightshow Today at the Tombs of East Carbane

Today is the autumnal equinox. As you might know, it's a day when the hours of the day are equal to the hours of the night. Thousands of years ago, ancient man kept track of these events by building tombs that contained large stones carved with solar symbols—the first calendars! This morning, in Cairn T, a megalithic tomb in Loughcrew, Ireland ( above), the backstone of its chamber was illuminated by a beam of light at sunrise. The sun light shaped by the stones at the entrance, traveled down the passage and descended to the backstone while moving from left to the right illuminating the symbols (petroglyphs) carved into the stone. Two years ago, I had the priviledge of travelling to's my painting of what the backstone at Cairn T looks like today as the sun moves across its surface.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Simply Delicious Wild Cod

Fresh fish shouldn't be messed with but prepared as simply as possible to keep its flavor. Today, I bought some wild cod, dipped it in buttermilk, rolled it in panko breadcrumbs, sprinkled herbs de Provence on top, sprayed the top with olive oil, placed it on an oiled baking pan, and baked it until there was no resistance when I put a fork in it. A quick trip under the broiler to brown the top and it was ready to go...moist, flaky and crisp on the outside.

With the cod, I served a gratin of sliced potatoes and asparagus. Here's the details— steam some sliced Yukon Gold potatoes, at the last minute add some asparagus until they are both al dente. In a "buttered" (the no transfat kind) shallow baking dish, make alternate layers of potaoes, grated Parmesan Reggiano, and asparagus, pour some bechamel sauce over the layers, top with more grated Parmesan Reggiano and bake until bubbly. For a lo-cal "ersatz" bechamel...take 1cup+ of 1 % milk, whisk in a very generous TBS of flour, 2 TSP Mrs. Dash's garlic and herb blend of seasonings (great because it has no salt) and heat the mixture (stirring constantly) until it becomes thick.
Give the gratin a quick broil along with the cod, toss a salad and you've got an easy but elegant meal.
Here's another simple and delicious cod recipe ...

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The pleasures of green tomatoes...

Every September, a friend brings me kilos of green tomatoes from her garden in Maine. For many, green tomatoes left on the vine in September mark the end of the garden's tomatoes. For me, the left over green tomatoes are just the beginning of a delicious cycle of the tomato tomato chutney, green tomato jam, and best of all, fried green tomatoes... although I don't fry them anymore. Now, I bake them until they're crisp in the oven for a more heart healthy treat. Simply cut tomatoes in 1/2 inch slices, spray with olive oil on each side, coat in panko Japanese bread crumbs ( you can also use regular breadcrumbs) arrange them on a baking sheet lined with foil that has also been sprayed with olive oil, sprinkle with a blend of herbs and garlic ( Mrs. Dash is great because it contains no salt), bake in pre-heated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes and then broil until crisp on top. This is a great side dish for grilled meat or fish.
TIP: if you have many green tomatoes left over, you can also put them in a bowl with an apple and they will ripen

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Labor, food & fabulous company

What a feast...
for starters J's wonderful carmelized onion/mushroom pizza plus another smoked salmon and creme fraiche pizza...dinner was an updated 50s pasta salad (grated carrots, red/yellow grape tomatoes,green beans, black beans, corn,sliced purple scallions) with a greek yoghurt, light mayonnaise, and videlia onion relish dressing, A and J's salad with a great combination of baby spinach, sliced apple, prosciutto and goat cheese with a garlicky lemon and olive oil dressing and the grill master's spicy smoked pulled pork tenderloin, plus a fabulous grilled smoked pork tenderloin rolled with ham and rosemary in a puff pastry ...see pix...what a concept! Throw in some swimming with Lulu the lab and a crazy game of crochaos (helter skelter croquet)some cobbler and ice cream for dessert to top off a great day.