What I’ve been cooking: Spring 2013

May 12, 2013 at 2:17 pm (Alice Medrich, Beans, Cruciferous rich, Dark leafy greens, Indian, Italian, Menus, Quick weeknight recipe, soup, Website / blog)

I can’t believe it, but I haven’t posted a proper recipe to this blog since Spring 2013.  At this point my list of recipes to blog about has grown so long that I have despaired of ever posting them all.  So instead I decided to just do one quick smorgasbord post.

I’ve recently tried two recipes from my mom’s blog.  The first was her attempt to recreate the excellent refried beans that we enjoyed at Gracias Madre in San Francisco.  We used pinto beans, but otherwise followed her recipe.  The refries were ultimately just a tad too smooth for my taste, but the flavor was excellent.  Derek loved the intense roasted garlic and smoky chipotle flavor.  Next time I think I’ll try doubling the recipe, and withholding a bit of the beans to mash in at the end for more texture.  Derek’s rating: A-

The other recipe I tried from my mom’s blog was for her creamy broccoli and tahini soup.  The recipe mentions tomatoes in the instructions but not in the ingredient list, so we left them out.  We weren’t as excited about the soup as we were about the beans.  It tasted fine, but the leftovers sat in the fridge for several days.  The broccoli had become a little wan looking, and somehow the soup just didn’t call out to be eaten.  Derek’s rating: B-

I am very excited to have found a regular source of broccoli rabe at Apero, a small, very fancy Italian shop near my house.  We celebrated by trying out this Smitten Kitchen recipe for pasta with garlicky broccoli raab.  I think Derek ended up using about 1.5 pounds of broccoli raab, but it still wasn’t that much.  Next time I think he suggested using a full 2 pounds.  I believe he also cut back on the olive oil a bit and used more than five cloves of garlic (a total of 36g of peeled cloves).  We enjoyed the pasta.  It was simple but a nice showcase for our lovely rapini.

My friend Frank sent me a similar recipe for tagliatelle with swiss chard, which was posted by Angela Hartnett in the Guardian.  Again, it was simple, but tasty, especially with the addition of a few squeezes of lemon juice.  Derek said he’d definitely make it again.

Yesterday I made a small pot of Madhur Jaffrey’s aduki bean curry.   I followed the recipe except that I didn’t have any coriander and I halved the oil.  It came out pretty well, but I thought 3 tablespoons of lemon juice was too much.  I felt like all the acid masked the curry flavors, but Derek loved it.

I’ve been making a lot of braised fennel lately, but my versions are usually quite simple.  I was quite curious to try this much more involved recipe for braised fennel wedges with caramelized onions, saffron and tomato.  It’s from Deborah Madison’s new Vegetable Literacy cookbook, which has been getting all kinds of raves from foodie types.  The fennel is covered in a soupy tomato and caramelized onion sauce and seasoned with fennel seeds, saffron, thyme, and capers.   Unfortunately, though, both Derek and I much preferred my simpler recipes to this one.  I think one of the things I like about braised fennel is the purity of the fennel flavor, and here there was so many other things going on that the fennel itself almost seemed like an afterthought.  I was also disappointed to not be able to taste the saffron at all, despite putting in an enormous pinch.

Another big cooking adventure I had a few weeks ago was trying my hand at making bagels.  The text for this one is longer, so I’m going to write about it in a separate post.


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