Friday, May 22, 2009

Shallot-Tarragon Jam

What I'm making this weekend...should be delicious on hot panini sandwiches. This is from Chow:

In this jam, shallot pairs with tarragon to create an instant appetizer spread that’s great on roasted turkey or spooned over a log of fresh goat cheese.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 pounds shallots, peeled, halved, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons white wine–tarragon vinegar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped tarragon
  1. Heat oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. When butter foams, add shallots and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are softened and just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Season with freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Stir in 4 tablespoons of the vinegar and the sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are completely soft and caramelized and the jam is thick and syrupy, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar. Allow jam to cool for 20 minutes. Stir in chopped tarragon.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bittersweet Success with Agrodolce Peppers

This is one of the trustiest kickin' Italian side dishes. It adds a real pop of color and who doesn't love red bell peppers? The tangy/sweet/sour combination is a real winner. Serve with a crisp white wine.

Sweet and Sour Bell Peppers (serves 4)

3 Tb Olive Oil
4 Bell Peppers, sliced how you like to eat 'em (I prefer 1 x 1 cubes)
1 c Vinegar (I mix about 2 parts white, 2 parts apple cider, and 1 part balsamic. The balsamic gives a great color and packs great flavor, but 1 c of it is too strong, and pricey.)
2 Tb Sugar

Heat the oil in a pan, add the bell peppers and cook over low heat for about 15 minutes. This ensures they cook through, but more importantly, sweats them a bit so they leave all their delicious juices in the pan. After 15 minutes, add salt, which helps pull out even more of their juice.

This is where the magic happens: use tongs to lift the pep's out of the pan. Put them in the serving dish, but you're not done yet!

Add the vinegar into the pan juices, stir in the sugar, and heat over medium to med-high. Stir and watch the vinegar evaporate--the acidic part cooks off, and the fruit solids are left behind to mingle with the sugar and pepper juices. Let the mixture bubble and keep stirring till the mix becomes syrupy and the vinegar is almost completely evaporated.

Now, add the peppers back into the pan and cook for 2 more minutes.

Eat 'em up!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Easy Italian for Londoners Trying to Cook

Yummy Pasta with Italian Tuna Red Sauce
(Do you like tuna? its a great, easy, cheap, healthy protein, so you should learn to like it if you dont already, mmmk? I cant stand it raw or in tuna salad, so this is essentially the only way I eat it.)

Pasta, rigatoni, penne, or bow tie (about 2 servings)
Pasta sauce, any kind
1/2 onion, red, white, or yellow, chopped
Garlic if you want
Olive Oil
1 Can of Tuna
Black olives if you want
French bread for dippin and eatin

Start the pasta water. When it boils, throw in pasta and set the timer. Meanwhile, start the sauce:

Add about 1 Tb olive oil to a pan, heat it up over medium and throw in the onions. Let those babies soften a few minutes, and then add minced garlic if you want. When the onions/garlic are soft, and slightly browned, add the can of tuna. I like to brown the tuna a bit, so I let it rest in the pan and get crispy, on medium, about 3-5 minutes. When the tuna looks good (not fishy anymore) add capers, as many as you like. Toss in some chopped black olives if you roll like that. When all of that is warmed up and looking good, add in the pasta sauce. (You could additionally--or instead--add plain crushed tomatoes..if you do, add oregano, thyme, basil, salt, and pepper.) Stir in tomatoes well, cover, and simmer over low heat, about 5-10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Toss sauce with pasta, douse in fresh Parm, crack vino, make out with boyfriend before this dish destroys yo breaf. Eat.