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Roasted Sun Gold Cherry Tomato Sauce

8 Sep

Dinner last night… and one of the best iterations of the dish yet this summer.  Love this sauce and I will be oh so sad to see it go as fall comes blowing in.   At least one more week, though, as I just ordered more Sun Golds from the CSA… yay!

Roasted Sun Gold Cherry Tomato Sauce with Whole Wheat Linguini

This recipe is one where I don’t measure or use exact oven temperatures or cook for exact amounts of time.  I generally start off slow and low, and then continually up the oven temperature as the tomatoes are starting to get soft for a bit of caramelization and to better release the juices for a saucier sauce.  If left too long on low, the tomatoes dry out, which is great if you want oven-dried tomatoes for preserving, but not great if you’re expecting to have a pasta sauce at the end.  I’ve tried to estimate the amounts, temperatures, and times, but I’ll be honest — each time it’s slightly different, both in technique and outcome.  But each time is also delicious, so I’m not too worried about it, nor should you be.

  • 3 pints of Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1/2 head of garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • a few sprigs of savory or thyme
  • salt
  • pepper
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 – 3/4 pound of Whole Wheat Linguini
  • Parmesan or Romano, about 1/2 – 3/4 cup grated
  1. Preheat Oven to 300 degrees.  While the oven is preheating, coarsely chop some garlic cloves, pluck a few herb stems, and then toss it all together with the tomatoes into the roasting pan, and coat with olive oil.  Add a few pinches of salt (2-3), a pinch of sugar, and finish with a few twists of pepper from the grinder.  Once the oven is heated, add the pan to the oven.
  2. Stir the tomatoes every 10 minutes or so, and after about 30-45 minutes (once the tomatoes are soft and about to burst), turn up the oven temperature to 400 or 425 degrees.
  3. At this point, start heating up the water for the pasta.  Continue stirring the tomatoes occasionally, too.
  4. Once the water is boiling (make sure to add enough salt to the water so that it tastes salty), add the pasta and cook until not quite al dente.  You want to stop before it’s at that point, as the noodles will finish cooking in the sauce.
  5. While the pasta is cooking, grate the cheese.
  6. Just before the pasta is done, remove the tomatoes from the oven, and place on the stove top.  At this point, the tomatoes should have burst, released all of their juices, and become sauce-like in consistency.  There is still definition to the tomatoes, but only somewhat.  If you have a roasting pan that can be placed on the burners, you can do so on low, but it should be hot enough that it is not necessary if you cannot.
  7. Drain the pasta, reserving at least 1/2 cup of pasta water, and toss the pasta with the sauce in the roasting pan.  Add enough of the water so that the sauce thickens (the starch in the pasta water will help with that) and more easily coats the pasta.  At this point, you can add the majority of the grated cheese and toss until it is melted into the sauce.  You want to reserve some to top the pasta on the plate.
  8. Plate, serve, and enjoy.
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Seared Sea Scallops with Sauteed Pea Shoots

22 Mar

One of my favorite things about getting vegetables from a CSA is that you often get things that you’ve never cooked with before and probably would never have picked up on your own from the grocery store. And that you then use as inspiration for an entire meal. That was the case with the Black Spanish Radish, which I turned into a delicious fresh vegetable slaw with yellow carrots, red onions, and cabbage, and which in turn was a perfect foil for a rich, creamy, Panko-Crusted Macaroni and Cheese. Same for the Watermelon Radishes, that become a multicolor garnish for some fabulous fish tacos.

And that is the case now, with the Pea Shoots. Once I had them in hand, I knew that they had to be showcased somehow. After playing around with a few ideas, this is what I came up with: Seared Sea Scallops with Sautéed Pea Shoots, Garlic Chips, Beer-Butter Sauce, and a Pea Shoot Gremolata.

Seared Sea Scallops with Sauteed Pea Shoots

Seared Sea Scallops with Sauteed Pea Shoots (serves 2)

  • 5-6 sea scallops, dry packed
  • 6 oz. pea shoots
  • 5 cloves garlic, 2 minced and three thinly sliced
  • 1 medium lemon, zested, about 1 tablespoon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup beer
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

First, combine the lemon zest, the 2 minced garlic cloves, and one tablespoon of minced pea shoots for the gremolata, and set aside. Next, take the sea scallops and after making sure that the tough ligament is removed, season them with salt and freshly ground pepper. In one medium skillet, add about a tablespoon of olive oil, and heat it on medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the 3 cloves of thinly sliced garlic. Cook until crisp and browned, about 2 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving the oil in the skillet. At the same time, on another burner set to medium-high, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Once that is melted and bubbling, and the pan is fully heated, add the scallops. Once a good golden sear has developed, after about only 40 (to maximum 60) seconds, flip the scallop, and repeat the process. Scallops cook quite quickly, and you don’t want to overcook them. Really, once that golden sear is present, and they wiggle just a bit less, you are set. Once done, remove the scallops from the pan, and set aside. Quickly, in the still hot pan, de-glaze with some beer, I used Red Stripe as that was what I was currently imbibing, and quickly reduce the sauce. At the same time, add the rest of the pea shoots to the skillet that you cooked the garlic in with the reserved oil. Stir the pea shoots in the oil, and once wilted, after about a minute, remove from the heat. This whole process goes by in just a few minutes, so this is a fast, quick, and very easy meal. To assemble the dish, place the wilted pea shoots on the plate, topped with the garlic chips strewn about. Then, place a scallop (or two) in the middle, and drizzle the beer-butter reduction on top. Lastly, place a small mound of the pea shoot gremolata on top of the scallops as a garnish. And a delicious dinner is served. In about 15 minutes.

Potato Latkes

14 Mar

I made these Latkes for the first time a few weeks ago, and I’ve been craving them ever since.  Creamy, crispy, salty, savory, starchy, sweet – they fulfill so many cravings.   Especially when combined with homemade applesauce.  If you haven’t given them a try before, you really should!  While they might take some time, you can also make a large batch all at once, and freeze the remainder for brunch(es) some other day!  

 

Potato Latke Mix

Potato Latke Mix

 

From my CSA with Star Hollow Farm, I had a 2 lb. bag of mixed potatoes, as well as onions and fresh free-range eggs (and the apples for the applesauce!), so I was able to make the Latkes almost completely with local ingredients; something I have really been trying to do more of lately.  Even better, the mixed bag of potatoes yielded multi-colored and beautiful latkes, something that definitely wouldn’t have happened if I had just been buying a giant bag of potatoes from the store!  As I found, you can definitely use any potatoes at hand. 

 

The Final Product

The Final Product

 

As you can see from the recipe below, they are really quite simple.  Of course, if you had a food-processor, and not just a box grater, it *might* be a little easier.  These latkes are inspired by Sassy Radish’s post on Latkes (itself inspired from Martha Stewart) that was featured on Bon Appetit’s Blog Envy back in December.   And, if you haven’t checked out her site, which I found from that post, I highly recommend it!

Potato Latkes

  • 2 lbs. of mixed potatoes, peeled
  • 2 onions, small to medium, skin removed, but left whole
  • 4 T of white whole wheat flour
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 2 T of kosher salt
  • canola oil, for frying
  • applesauce, optional topping*
  • sour cream, optional topping

First, fill a large bowl with icy water.  Next, grate all the potatoes into this bowl, using the coarsest grade on your grater.  Personally, I found it went fairly quickly to have one person peeling the potatoes, while another person grated them.  The time it took to peel one potato was almost identical to the time it took to grate it.  Well, if you’re slow like me and my oh so handy helper boyfriend.  

Once all the potatoes are grated, remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and place them in another bowl lined with a thin kitchen towel.  Using the cloth, squeeze the remaining liquid out of the potatoes, and add it to the liquid that you just took the potatoes out of.  I used a tea cloth, which worked splendidly.  You’ll want to reserve the liquid from the potatoes, and let it sit until the sediment, aka potato starch, separates out. The starch helps to bind the potatoes and onions all together during frying.  

While this is separating, grate the onions, also coarsely, and add them to the grated potatoes you’ve removed from the towel and placed in that second bowl.  Oh, and make sure to grate the onions from the root end towards the far end.  Otherwise, as you go through, the onion would start to fall apart as you cut through each layer.  The onions will be almost liquid from the grating, which is how you want them.  This way, they’ll cook fully while you’re frying the latkes, and they more fully infuse the potatoes with onion flavor.  If they were in larger pieces, you’d probably end up with uncooked onion bits amidst delicious creamy/crunchy potato goodness.  

At this point, the potato starch should be separated, and you can just drain the liquid off the top.  The potato starch will just stay on the bottom of the bowl, and you can add that to the potato and onion mixture.  After that, add in the salt, flour, and eggs, mixing well to combine.  

Now, pre-heat your skillet, and once heated, add the oil.  I only used enough to fully coat the bottom of the skillet.  As always, make sure it’s fully heated (to the point where you can’t hold your hand an inch over the skillet for more than two seconds) before adding in the latke mixture.  Depending on the size of latke that you prefer, add anywhere from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of the mix to the skillet for each latke.  Personally, I found that I prefer my latkes to be thinner and crunchier, so I added less mix for each, and made sure to spread it out thinly.  If you like yours thicker (and creamier in the center at the end), add closer to 1/2 cup, and don’t flatten it out as much.  For thinner, crisper latkes, you’ll need to fry it about 3-4 minutes per side, and I found it to be closer to 5-6 minutes per side for the thicker latkes.  

Once done, place the latkes on a paper-towel lined baking sheet or on a wire drying rack over a baking sheet, in order to drain off any excess oil.  If you’re feeding a crowd and will need to keep the latkes warm for serving, heat the oven to 300 degrees, placing the latkes on a baking sheet in your pre-heated oven to keep warm after they’ve drained.  Or if, like me, you’re really making a whole batch in order to have some for leftovers, you can keep them out on the paper-toweled baking rack and let them cool off.  I wait until I’m on my last few batches to start eating, as that way I can enjoy them without having to jump up every few seconds.  

To serve, latkes can be garnished with either sour cream or applesauce.  Or both!  They are also delicious plain, of course.  

If any are leftover, let them cool and then wrap them individually in plastic wrap.  Place the individually wrapped latkes in a Ziploc, and place them in the freezer.  To re-heat, just pre-heat the oven to 35o degrees, and place the still frozen latkes on a baking sheet and bake them for about 10 minutes.  If you want them even crispier than that should render them, just fry them as before at this point!

*For the homemade applesauce, I just peeled and diced 4 apples (1 gala, 1 macintosh, 2 honey crisps), and then simmered them on low with about 1-2 cups of water and a tablespoon of sugar until softened and combined.

Weekly CSA Haul

28 Feb

I recently joined a fabulous CSA through Star Hollow Farms… and am loving it!  Every Wednesday, I go on-line, pick what vegetables, greens, herbs, free-range eggs, fruit, homemade cheese, etc., that I want, and place an order.  Then, on Saturday morning, I go pick it up!  Easy as can be, and everything so far, even in the dead of winter, has been delicious.  And, even from the root vegetable stocks, I’ve been able to try all sorts of new and interesting vegetables.  Last week, for instance, I got a ginormous Black Spanish Radish… about the size of three softballs put together!  Here’s a picture of this week’s haul….

 

CSA Haul... and a curious Schrodinger.

CSA Haul... and a curious Schrodinger.

Carrots, parsnips, white potatoes, soft neck garlic, pink lady apples, stayman apples, free-range eggs, basil, baby spinach, boston bibb lettuce, white sweet potatoes, and onions.