Monday, July 21, 2008

Back to the week before we went to Europe.

I got really behind with posting during the week before we left for Europe so I am going to start where I left off and t

Despite my excitement with graduating and moving on from Bastyr, I am sad that my good friends Ashley and Amy left Seattle to do internships. Amy will be in Boston, which is fairly close to Northampton, MA....but Ashley is going to New Orleans and then back to Colorado permanently. More excuses to travel to visit friends!

We had one last board game night before everyone left.

My favorite way to relax and deal with stress is to cook. I must have been stressed because the week before we left I went crazy!

To finish our fava bean harvest and the bacon that Ben picked up at the farmers market I made

Fettuccine with Fresh Fava Beans and Pancetta (from by Emeril
2 pounds fresh fava beans, in their shells
1 pound dried fettuccine
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 pound thinly sliced pancetta, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 head escarole, torn into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for passing if desired

Shell the fava beans and blanch in boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Drain and, when cool enough to handle, slip off the tough outer skin of the beans. Discard skins and reserve beans on the side.

Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the fettuccine, stirring often, until al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and pancetta and cook until the onion is soft and the pancetta begins to crisp, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the favas and escarole to the pancetta and cook until the beans are tender, about 5 minutes. When the pasta is al dente, drain, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta, reserved cooking liquid, and heavy cream to the fava mixture and cook, tossing to mix thoroughly, until everything is heated through. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with 2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano and serve immediately. Pass the extra grated cheese at the table.

I was shocked at how good this tasted. Not only because I've never liked bacon before, but because it was crazy how good it made an otherwise bland recipe taste. A vegan version of this would have required a lot more creative flavorings for a similar result, which seems to be the case in general especially for tofu scramble when compared to an egg scramble. Eggs are full of flavor on their own and taste good with just salt, pepper, some onion and vegetables. A tofu scramble needs lots of garlic, onion, spices, soy sauce to taste good. I still love tofu scramble and would happily order it at any breakfast restaurant with poor quality eggs.

We were lucky to have Amy as our housesitter while we went to Europe and had fun making dinner together a few times. One night we made fish tacos with beer battered cod. It was perfect and not as time consuming as it seems, although deep frying is a skill that takes some practice.

The batter was from Coastal Living

Vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup Mexican beer
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

Pour oil to depth of 1 1/2 inches into a deep skillet or Dutch oven; heat to 360°.

Combine flour and next 3 ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk in 1 cup beer and hot sauce. Drain fish, discarding marinade. Coat fish in batter. Cook fish in batches about 4 minutes or until done. Drain on paper towels.

The white sauce adapted from

1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup milk
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Mix all ingredients together.

Serve fish on corn tortillas with shredded cabbage, fresh tomatoes and white sauce. We also had Spanish rice, sliced avocado and lime garnish.

I finally make a scone that tastes good! Ben picked a bunch of strawberries from the garden and I couldn't think of anything better to do with them than make scones. I spent at least an hour searching for recipes that sounded good. This excellent recipe combined with a technique a learned for incorporating soft fruit into dough resulted in scones that I was excited to share with friends.

Strawberry Scones

Serve with a dollop of clotted cream (and a cup of tea, of course) for an elegant afternoon snack. For tender scones, avoid overhandling the dough.

2 large eggs
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting work surface

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
2/3 cup strawberries, hulled and chopped

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat 1 egg with 1 tablespoon cream in small bowl. Set aside. Whisk remaining egg, remaining 1/4 cup cream, buttermilk, and vanilla together in medium bowl.

2. Pulse flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in food processor until blended. Add butter and pulse into flour until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about ten 1-second pulses. Transfer mixture to large bowl and make well in center. Add buttermilk mixture and stir until batter forms moist clumps. Carefully stir in strawberries. (instead of stirring in the strawberries I split the dough into two balls and rolled them out to about 1/2 inch each and then put the strawberries between the two, and pressed down gently)

3. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead gently until dough comes together and is smooth, about 10 seconds. Pat dough into 7-inch circle about 1 inch thick. Using sharp knife, cut circle into 8 wedges. With pastry brush, remove excess flour from wedges. Transfer wedges to prepared baking sheet, brush tops with egg and cream glaze, and sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

4. Bake until lightly browned and toothpick inserted in center of scones comes out with a few crumbs attached, about 15 minutes. Transfer scones to wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Cooled scones can be stored in airtight container for up to 2 days.)

Yields: 8 servings

by Jennifer A. Wickes

I have always loved vegan Reuben sandwiches and now that I eat cheese I though I would try one with portabella mushrooms. There isn't really a recipe. I just sliced the mushrooms into 1/2 inch slices and coated them in chopped garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper and then baked them at 350 for 10 minutes or so. To made the dressing I mixed equal amounts of ketchup, mustard and mayonaisse and some pickle relish. I smothered the bread in the sauce, piled up the mushrooms, sauerkraut and swiss cheese on top and baked until the cheese melted.

Amy I and walked to our new Lake City farmers market, while she was staying with us. It has so many more vendors and was packed with people. I am soo excited to be living in a neighborhood with such a great weekly market.

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