Sunday, October 26, 2008

iberian colcannon

Let's face it, I'm predictable. As soon as the thermometer drops below 40, I break out the potatoes. There are so many heart-(and soul)- warming dishes that are based off of (or include) potatoes -- creamy chowders, shepherd's pie, New England boiled dinner, and my favorite -- colcannon!

Colcannon is a delicious Irish concoction of mashed potatoes, boiled cabbage or kale, butter, salt & pepper. It can also include leeks, ham or bacon, but mine's always got ham.

I usually make it pretty standard, the way I learned from Tyler Florence -- boiled mashed potatoes, mixed with cream or half&half, butter, boiled cabbage and bits of ham. It usually looks like this.

Just the other day, I thought I might branch out and use some other ingredients I had on hand. I boiled some local purple potatoes (from River Berry Farm) along with some green lacinato kale, then fork-mashed them with half&half, butter, salt & pepper. Then I threw in some shredded imported Spanish Serrano ham. This ham has got a completely different texture than boiled ham -- it's sliced thin and is very waxy to the touch. The result -- a delicious mix of healthfood (kale) and satisfaction (salty ham!!).

I challenge you to make your own version of colcannon -- try different greens or different ways of preparing the ham... Hey, you could even make it with a different kind of meat. Check out a few different recipes here, here, and here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

golden corncakes

Years ago, my mother charmed her way into getting this restaurant recipe for Fishmonger Corncakes. They are delicious -- need I say more?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Night Out :: The Bearded Frog

For my birthday dinner this year, my boy took me to The Bearded Frog in Shelburne, VT. For starters, we ordered the graham cracker crusted calamari, which comes on a bed of greens and drizzled with two delicious sauces: a "lime & chive emulsion" and a dark, mysterious second sauce ($8, and 8 well-spent dollars at that). My boy had the perfectly-cooked pork chop, marinated in buttermilk, the served atop two large cheddar and bacon hashbrowns and topped with "apple & orange marmalade" ($20). I opted for the roasted duck breast, which is served with a mushroom bread pudding (a schmancier way to get good old stuffing on the plate -- the size of the bread pudding was a little too large in my opinion, but nonetheless decadent), haricot vert (skinny green beans) and a cherry purée ($23). Interestingly enough, I had ordered a glass of tempranillo (Spanish red wine -- $10 for the glass) which had a hint of cherries. The wine went perfectly with my food. =) To round out the meal, my boy ordered a slice of the flourless chocolate cake ($7 and accompanied by a delicious strawberry sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream) and I ordered the pumpkin pie tart (also $7, topped with cranberry sorbet and served over a swirl of wine reduction). All in all, the service left a little to be desired (either they were a bit understaffed, or we got the young-adult treatment) and there was more time between courses than we had hoped. However, the deliciousness of the food made up for it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

moroccan-inspired mini lamb-ball soup

Last year for Christmas, my parents gave me Casa Moro, the second cookbook from Moro Restaurant in London, UK. I was flipping through meat recipes, trying to get inspired (I had a package of ground lamb that was begging to be cooked). I came upon a dish of lamb seasoned with (what we Americans typically consider to be) sweet spices. This is what I love most about Middle Eastern and North African dishes -- the combination of the sweet and the savory.

My interest in this type of cuisine was sparked by this post on Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbooks. The combination of savory flavors with the fresh sweetness (and pucker) of pomegranate was just sooo intriguing! I can't describe to you how much I love cold salads, especially ones that are laced with so many different textures.

Anyway -- back to my lamb! I started by sautéing onions and garlic in a little olive oil, then adding vegetable stock and bringing the whole pot to a boil. I mixed some milk-soaked bread, diced garlic, chopped parsley and spices (including smoked paprika, black pepper, cumin, cinnamon, and allspice) into the lamb and then made bite-sized meatballs. Once the broth came to a boil, I tossed in my mini meatballs and some chopped kale. As the pot bubbled away, the spicy flavors from the meatballs infused into the stock, creating a delicate broth.

This soup is light, but packed with flavor!
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