Thursday, March 11, 2010

A vacuumed dog

My 10 and 6 year old have just made gnocchi without my help.   My advice to you, if you are crazy enough to allow such a thing and happen to have a black lab who will not dare step away from an area where food might fall...keep the dust buster ready!   I just had to vacuum my dog.   Really.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

One pan, one knife and one cutting board!

Elegant dinners which are easy to prepare are heaven in my opinion.   While I will not shy away from complex preparations for a weekend meal or when breaking bread with close friends, on a busy weeknight simplicity is my best friend.   This meal is simple to prepare and reminds me of the first night a dear friend shared it with me over several glasses of wine and warm conversation.   Thank you Kerry!

Cod prepared with potatoes, fennel, basil and tomatoes.    As the title suggests preparation requires one pan, one knife and one cutting board.

Play with the ingredients as you wish.   Tonight I am using...

2 pounds of cod (some for my picky eater to have tomorrow while the rest of us enjoy zuppa di baccala)
4 good sized potatoes
1 bulb of fennel
cherry tomatoes
white wine

Swirl a bit of olive oil in the bottom of your pan.   Peel, slice and layer the potatoes with the sliced fennel on top.   Add the basil generously throughout.   Place the cod on top of the potatoes and fennel, sprinkle with salt and pepper.   Add the cherry tomatoes and a glass of white wine.    Cover, cook over low-medium heat until the potatoes are soft.

Yumminess ensues.   Eat up!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rainy in Boston

A cold rainy day in Boston calls for something warm and homemade for the children when they return from school.   Clementines which were consumed with relish in December are now being left in the bowl in lieu of other more exciting fruits.  What to do with the last few Clementines?  A brief internet search turned up so many delicious options I was hungry before I started!    I decided on a Clementine torte,  recipe and link to follow.

"Around the turn of the 20th century a French Priest, named Pere Clement, living in Algeria, crossed a bitter orange (Seville) with a Mandarin. The result was a sweet yet tangy, slightly flattened, easy to peel orange which became known as the Clementine. Clementines are often called the 'Christmas' orange, as its harvest time corresponds with the holiday season."  Stephanie Jaworski

Clementine Torte:
1 pound (454 grams) Clementines (4 to 6 depending on size)
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups (250 grams) almond meal or ground almonds

Place the Clementines in a saucepan and cover with cold water.   Bring to a boil and then simmer the Clementines for about two hours.   Drain and let the oranges cool completely.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven.   Butter and line a 9 inch springform pan with parchment paper.   Set aside.

Once the Clementines are completely cooled, slice in half, and remove any seeds.   Place the Clemenine halves (skins and all) in your food processor, along with the eggs and process until thoroughly blended.   Add the vanilla extract and process until incorporated.   In a separate large bowl, whisk together the sugar, baking powder, salt and ground almonds.    Add the orange mixture to the almond mixture and whisk or stir to combine.   Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean (you may want to cover the cake with aluminum foil about halfway through baking to prevent over browning).  Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.   Once it has completely cooled, remove the side of the springform pan.  

This cake is best after it has been allowed to sit for a few days.   Serve with a dollop of softly whipped cream.

Makes one -9 inch torte.