Wednesday, March 30, 2011

a pizza for the end of march...

... with caramelized onions and roasted radicchio. Sweet, bitter, a little salty and completely impromptu. I love it when a weeknight dinner comes off with little effort and still feels a bit sophisticated. Caramelized Onion and Roasted Radicchio Pizza Preheat the broiler. Caramelize the 2 small yellow onions*. Roast a small head of radicchio* while the onions are cooking. Set both aside, turn the oven down to 450. Spread a small ball of pizza dough onto a pizza pan, baking sheet, or piece of parchment paper (if transporting dough directly to a pizza stone). Drizzle the dough with a little olive oil and scatter a minced clove of garlic over the surface. Now grate on a little provolone - just a tablespoon or two. Top this with onions and the radicchio. Bake in the hot oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the edges of the crust are beginning to brown nicely. Remove, add a few curls of Parmesan (I use a vegetable peeler), slice and nibble with a glass of wine and a green salad. *To caramelize the onions: Peel and trim two small yellow onions. Cut them in half and slice the halves into thin half-moons. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, a 1/2 teaspoon of lemon thyme (regular thyme, or whatever you like), and season them with a pinch of coarse salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cover the pan and leave undisturbed for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to cook until the onions are beautifully browned and sweet - about 20 minutes more - adding a spoonful of water every so often when the onions begin to stick to break up the browned bits. *To roast the radicchio: Preheat the broiler. Remove any wilted outer leaves from the head, trim the stem end, but don't remove it completely. Slice the head into small wedges - about 1 - 1 1/2 inches thick. Toss the wedges with a good drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and ground pepper. Spread them onto a baking sheet in a single layer and place under the broiler for about 4 to 5 minutes, watching all the while, until they begin to wilt and caramelize.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

rainy day

April showers seem to have come a couple of weeks early. A few days of chilly drizzle this week - excellent weather for watching a British murder mystery or two (maybe three), or sinking into a comfy spot with a good read (finished this one and waiting on this one).
I'll leave you for the weekend with a sunny shot from last Sunday.
Sip a Gingino and think warm and sunny thoughts. Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

sunday dinner

We've been practicing the art of the Sunday dinner around here for the past few weeks. Embracing the pace of the day (or at least, the pace we try to allow) - slow, calm, at ease, and un-fettered - I've been making it a priority to put together a well-composed (but not too fussy - the point is to enjoy the time in the kitchen), sit-down dinner for the two of us to bring Sunday to it's gentle close. With all the turbulence and distressing news these days, it's important to pause and take in something nourishing, comforting and just plain nice.
No idea yet what the pantry will yield this week, but that's part of the fun - taking some time to leaf through magazines or re-discover old favorites on the cookbook shelf (Molly's Pamplemousse in hand, perhaps). That Zuni Roast Chicken served us well back in February (and made an encore last week) - there's a reason it's so well-loved.
Been eyeing these too:
*Saveur's recipe for Butter Chicken or Heidi's Coconut Red Lentil Soup for something lighter
*making good on that note to use more radicchio, this risotto might be a winner, served with a green salad (I think I made this once before with good results)
*I quite like perusing this book right now too, so maybe something will come of that

This little bit of time in the kitchen on Sunday seems to provide great jumping-off points for the rest of the week too. The Zuni recipe gave us chicken stock for the freezer (or a soup) and chicken for sandwiches, not to mention leftover greens (we used arugula and frisee in the bread salad) for salads - the starting points for three meals or more, easily for us. Nothing makes me happier than getting the most from a beautiful meal.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

jasmine, radicchio and lemon panna cotta

First this sweet little bloom

that popped out with several other brave souls at some point when I wasn't looking. As did the chives that I snipped and tossed into a nice cold weather salad for Sunday dinner.
(After which I made a note to remember to do more with radicchio - far under-used in my kitchen, I realize)

Even with that 'surprise' bit of snow this Monday and all the rain heading our way, signs of spring are emerging and I'm smitten.

I love peeking at these photos of vintage linen (something about spring coming and airing out fresh laundry on the line, I suppose).

This panna cotta was (is still) amazing - bright, light and redolent of sunny days. (I did use regular lemons though, as Meyers can be hard to come by here sometimes, and I might add a little more sugar next time even though I like tart sweets...)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

this week

This week I've been...Looking at lemons (so sunny and cheerful) and
Making some baklava (from Tessa Kiros' lovely book Falling Cloudberries - beautiful little individual parcels filled with apricots, pistachios and almonds and drenched in a seductive syrup of honey, lemon and Vietnamese cinnamon (the best, for sure)) - and sharing them at a Mediterranean themed dinner party.
Also - taking advantage of the first few days warm enough to pass up thick, woolen socks! Spring is surely right around the corner...

Here are a few things I've been particularly enjoying in general this week:

My Life in France (such a great read and positively transporting)
Kusmi Troika tea (I like it a little sweet, and very strong on chilly, wet early spring mornings...)
You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger (Woody Allen - makes me laugh, every time)

Have a great weekend!