Tim’s Caponata

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1 large eggplant
2 large red bell peppers
olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper
1/2 c. olives (I like oil cured ones)
2 green onions
2 or 3 T dried currants
1 diced tomato, peeled and seeded preferably
coarsely ground fennel
small handful chopped parsley
red pepper flakes

Cross-section eggplant into 3 or 4 slices lengthwise and halve the peppers.  Cover in olive oil, garli, salt and pepper and broil or grill until the peppers are charred on the outside and the eggplant is fairly mushy all the way through.  Peal and remove their seeds.  Coarsely dice the eggplant, peppers, tomatoes and olives (I used garlic stuffed green olives and oil cured black ones) and combine with everything else.  Add more olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Let sit for a while to let the currants swell up and serve at room temperature.  This stuff is good on bread, in pasta, with seafood, on chicken, … , you name it.

Paella

1 onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
2 c. short grain rice
3.5 c. stock
good pinch of saffron
smoked paprika to taste
salt & pepper
non-oily fish, shellfish, squid, chorizo (the Spanish kind), chicken, rabbit, etc…
peas
roasted peppers (piquillos work, but are expensive)
parsley

Cook the onions in olive oil till they show some color. Add the garlic and rice and whatever meat you’re using and cook for a minute or so. Add the stock, paprika, and saffron and bring to a boil. I didn’t have a big enough pan, so I cooked it for about 15-20 minutes, checked for seasoning, and then added the seafood and peas. Cook in the oven at 450 until it’s done, about 15 minutes. Serve with some parsley.

Lasagne for one…for a week

Fresh lasagne sheets
1 c. ricotta
basil
1 egg (I used a duck egg!)
1 large eggplant
3/4 lb. ‘shrooms
2 large zucchini
2 large red peppers
6 cloves garlic
olive oil
tomato sauce
mozzerella
parmesean

Night before: roast the vegetables with some chopped up garlic and olive oil, salt & pepper in the broiler and then let it drain the night before. Feel free to mix up the veggies as you like. You want to get as much of the water content out as possible. Put a little tomato sauce at the bottom of a 12 x 9 x 2.25 in pan and lay out some of the pasta. You can layer how ever you want, but I like the ricotta (mixed with a beaten egg, some chopped basil, and salt&pepper) in the middle. Put some more sauce on top and dump the mozzarella and parmesan on top. Cook in a 400 deg oven until the cheese looks toasty. Let it sit for 15-30 minutes before cutting it up. Serve with some crusty bread since this gets kind of sloppy.

Leg of lamb with roasted corn, smashed potatoes,
and some damn fine greens

For the lamb:
1 boneless lamb leg, 4-5 lbs tressed or meshed
handful of coarsely chopped garlic
handful of coarsely chopped rosemary
1/4 c. olive oil
2 T. salt, 2 T. pepper
For the roasted corn:
1 lb. frozen corn (I like the Trader Joe’s varieties)
1 T. butter
dash half & half
For the smashed potatoes:

7 yukon gold potatoes
8 cloves of garlic
butter, half & half, salt and pepper
For the damn fine greens:

2 lbs. mustard, collards, kale, whatever you got
Few strips good bacon
1 medium red onion
3 cloves garlic
1 apple
2/3 c. dry marsala

walnuts

Coat the lamb with the rest of the stuff the day before. Cook in a preheated 400 deg. oven on a rack with the fatty side facing up for 100 minutes or until you get 135 deg. on the meat thermometer. You could deglaze the pan, but there’ll be plenty of juices as is. While the lamb is cooking, throw the potatoes and 8 cloves garlic (wrapped in foil ‘natch) for about 45 minutes. Meanwhile do the greens: cook the onions with the bacon until they are almost caramalized and throw in 3 cloves garlic and the apple. Sautee that until everything’s tender and dump the marsala in. Let that cook down about halfway and stir the greens in. Wilt for a couple minutes and then stick the cover on and cook for 45 minutes (at least). Cook down any residual liquids when done and serve with some walnuts thrown on top. Cut the potatoes up, making sure to get the skins in bite size pieces. Coarsely mash the potatoes and roasted garlic with as much butter and half & half as you like. The corn is simple: melt the butter and get it hot–the buttercream will be browning and some smoke will come up. Throw the corn in and don’t touch it for a few minutes until the kernels brown on one side. Stir around, add some cream, and wait until the frozen corn is just cooked through.

Seafood Bisque

3 small onions
2 carrots
1 large bulb fennel
2 cloves garlic
1/2 c. white wine
pint fish stock or clam juice
can of tomatoes
dash of cream
1 lb monkfish
handful of scallops
handful of lump crab

Cook half the vegetables and add the white wine. Cook until wine is almost gone and add the tomatoes and stock. I seasoned with salt, pepper, oregano, bay leaves and a healthy dash of harissa. Cook for an hour or two, puree, and fold in some cream. This part can be put aside indefinitely. About half an hour before serving, sautee the other half of the vegetables and throw in the warmed up bisque. Sautee the chopped up seafood and throw that in too. Serve with lots of crusty bread. I made some from this recipe today. I also served a salad with oil-poached beets, blue cheese, apples and walnuts that was pretty tasty.

Sunday’s chili

1 lb. ground beef (~85% lean)
1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes
1 can pinto beans
salt
6 cloves garlic
3 small onions (or one huge one)
dash oi
~1 T. ground chipotle
~3 T. chili powder
1-2 roasted peppers

Cook the chopped onions in the garlic until they’re just brown, add the beef and garlic and both types of chili powder. Break up tomatoes and peppers with your hands and stew for about an hour. Add beans about 20 minutes before serving. Cheese and sour cream are always good with this. If you’re my dad you would squeeze a lime on top and pronounce the chili: “Kentucky-style.”

Salsa Verde

1 1/2 lbs tomatillos
1 clove garlic, finely minced
handful cilantro, chopped
4-6 hot peppers (about the size of a jalapeno)
1 lime
1 tsp. sugar

Boil the tomatillos for 3 minutes and remove to ice bath. Remove seeds from peppers and lay out flat next to the top burner in oven. Broil until charred (in retrospect, you probably could do this to the tomatillos instead of boiling them…). Remove skins from the tomatillos and peppers and mix everything together. I found that the tomatillos just squirt out of their skins and you can just mash them with your fingers as they go into the bowl. (…and yes, tomatillos are very slimy and seedy–almost like poor, misunderstood okra, I’d say) Don’t forget to taste it–and the flavors will intensify a little if the salsa sits for a couple hours. This shit’s good on everything.

Spice Rub #1

toasted cumin seeds, ground
smoked paprika
kosher salt
peppercorns (Sichuan, preferable)
ground Chipotle
brown sugar

Ok: mix everything together and taste it repeatedly to make sure the proportions are to your taste. This is good with raw almonds sauteed in butter, soft shell crabs, salmon, even steak.

Spice Rub #2

Fennel seeds (whole, or coarsely ground)
rosemary or oregano (ditto)
garlic
salt & pepper
red pepper flakes
orange or lemon zest
olive oil

Shit, I just this up, but it’s probably similar to stuff I’ve made in the past on pork, maybe chicken. Most these spice mixtures are sort of impulsive.

Jerk Chicken

4 lbs chicken parts (I prefer the dark meat here)
1/2 yellow onion
4 scallions
6 cloves garlic
1 T ginger
4 habaneros
juice of 2-3 limes
shot of soy sauce
dash of salt
1 T. allspice
1 tsp. cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
a jigger of olive oil
cilantro (optional)
1-2 T. brown sugar

Blend everything (but the chicken) into a paste and smear all over the chicken, trying to get some of the paste inside the skin. !Important! Wear gloves with the habaneros and wash your hands thoroughly after you’re done. That shit’s used in pepper spray. Marinate 24 hours. I seared (ok, burned) the chicken on my little smokey joe and finished it in an oven at 400 F. If you have a more sophisticated grill

with better temperature control, by all means use that. I like this with limes and mango salsa.

Mango Salsa

1 large, ripe mango
mint, cilantro

1 clove garlic

juice of one lime
1 serrano chile
salt to taste

Dice the mango and mince up the rest–again, it’s wise to use gloves with the chile.

Mint Syrup

6 sprigs mint
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. water

Put the sugar in a vial and add the mint–stems and all. Boil the water and pour in on top. Shake until the sugar’s dissolved and let the whole thing sit for a while. This makes a very concentrate syrup that I use in conjunction with the soda water in mojitos (lime, soda, mint, rum) and juleps (mint, soda, bourbon). I like these infused syrups–something I’d like to try is a lavender syrup with some canned lychees and vodka or something else.

Fresh Ginger Shake (a.k.a. the perfect shake)

1/4 c. ginger root
milk
3 scoops vanilla ice cream

Coarsely chop the ginger and throw in a blender with the milk and let it go until the ginger is pretty finely minced. Strain out the ginger, reserving the heavily-spiced milk. Blend with the ice cream and enjoy. I’ve done this with cantaloupe, but I prefer it plain.

 

Shaved Fennel Salad

1 large bulb of fennel
Parmesan

olive oil

tarragon vinegar or lemon juice

You can actually scavenge fennel all over the city. There’s some by the physics building on the Burke. Anyway, remove its core and slice thinly against the grain of the fennel until you get to the fibrous parts. Toss with the oil, vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Add the cheese. That’s it.

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