A mother-daughter conversation on food and cooking (mostly)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pois Chiches

I'm sharing this recipe partly because I'm in love with the French name for chickpeas--pois chiche--and partly because it's so easy and a nice change. I use canned garbanzos often because they're versatile and nutritious. Think of this as French bean salad. It's from Mereille Johnston's Cuisine of the Sun.

Pois Chiches Marines

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 slivered onion
2 teaspoons thyme
1 clove garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
Juice of 1 lemon
1 can chickpeas, drained

Saute the onions, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper in the olive oil for 5 minutes. Add the wine and lemon juice and simmer 5 minutes. Then add the chickpeas, bring to a boil, and simmer 5 more minutes. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bittman Slaw

I don't know why I get so annoyed with Mark Bittman's writing style, but I do, so in an attempt at being a nicer person I'm directing you to his article in the NY Times about 101 Simple Salads.

This is #20, with the substitution of carrots for radishes. I love Chinese cabbage but I forget that it exists until I go the the 17th Street Market where the Asian vegetables are so beautiful. This was refreshing and unusual.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cooking Frenzy

I got fired up today and made granola, blueberry jam, and an Italian supper of salmon, fettucine with peas and saffron, and yellow peppers with mint.

I think this is happening because I'm happy to be home after being away for four of the last six weeks; and also because I've started a regimen of piano practice for a September program, and I love to alternate practice with cooking, just like I did when you were a baby.

The granola was a Joy of Cooking recipe with no sugar or salt, just toasted oatmeal with nuts and dried fruits. I'm looking forward to it for breakfast tomorrow with yogurt.

Blueberries are one dollar a pint now. We've stuffed in all the fresh ones we can eat, so I made a small batch of microwave jam.

In this hot summer weather I turn to Mediterranean recipes. My current favorites are Viana La Place's Verdura and Mireille Johnstons's Cuisine of the Sun.

The pasta was real Italian fettucine, so good after the whole wheat and rice pastas I've been trying to use. Saffron, peas, and green onions were delicious together, garnished with fresh basil. This was also a Viana La Place recipe.

Here is La Place's yellow pepper recipe. I couldn't handle her advice to garnish the peppers with raw garlic, so I added the garlic to the skillet for a few minutes at the end of the cooking time.

Fried Yellow Peppers with Mint
2 fat yellow or orange bell peppers
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Trim the peppers and sliver them lengthwise. Heat the olive oil until very hot and add the peppers, stirring until they have brown spots. Reduce heat, add salt, and cook covered until they are tender. A minute or so before they are done, stir in the garlic.

Off heat, add the vinegar, check seasoning, and stir in the mint. Serve at room temperature.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Picado de Repollo

I made this Cabbage Relish from my favorite Gabilondo Mexican Family Cooking to accompany a lunch burrito, and also because I had a half cabbage languishing in my vegetable bin. It is the perfect foil for Mexican food, and is supposed to ripen and keep well in the refrigerator--but I think we'll eat it all before that happens.

Picado de Repollo
1/2 cabbage
2 fresh jalapenos
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh ground pepper

Grate the cabbage, jalapenos, and garlic in food processor. Toss with the remaining ingredients.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

My Pizza Method

Here's how I do pizza: I start the dough in the bread machine about two hours before serving time (this was 2/3 whole wheat and 1/3 third unbleached flour) and let it rise until puffy.

I preheat the oven and the pizza stone at 450 degrees for a long time, at least 20 minutes before baking; roll out the dough into a rough circle and then fit it to my perforated pizza pan. I don't let it rise again at this point, although I know some people do.

I brush the dough with olive oil, and then put a layer of shredded cheese, then various toppings--this had fresh tomatoes and herbs chopped together with garlic, and then anchovies, olives, and jalapenos.

I bake the pizza in the pan set on top of the hot stone for 8 minutes, then slide it off onto the bare st0ne to finish for about 8 more minutes. I find this method eliminates any disastrous transfer from a peel to oven, especially if the dough is sticky.

Kidney Bean and Celery Salad

This is an absurdly refreshing dish for summer--no cooking, and it uses ingredients I usually have around the house. It's from an old Sunset Mexican cookbook and I don't believe for one minute in its authenticity.

I have kept coming back to it over the years, though. It's not overly sweet like other bean salads.

Kidney Bean and Celery Salad

1 can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 stalks celery, finely diced
2 green onions, sliced, or ¼ cup finely chopped red or yellow onion
½ cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons pickle relish or chopped sweet pickles
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper

Mix and chill.