Tag Archives: butter

Food Matters Project #15: Bruschetta

With summer just around the corner, I try to find recipes which are easy to make and can be enjoyed outside with friends.  Our condo porch is rather small, but we do like to have friends over on the roof of our building.  It’s nice to enjoy many evenings with a bottle of wine, some finger foods and great conversations.

This weeks Food Matters Project definitely gave me some more ideas!  Laura, from Chef Laura at Home chose this weeks recipe from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook.  She chose Bruschetta, Rethought- Mark Bittman provided some new ideas for bruschetta.  This definitely allows us to be a little creative!  Laura made a Simple Bruschetta, if you’d like to check out other ideas look at the comments here.

Many of us imagine a tomato salad on a piece of bread when we think of bruschetta (which is on the menu of every Italian restaurant in the US).  Although that is one form of bruschetta, there is more to it than tomatoes.  It is an Italian antipasto with a variety of toppings, such as: red pepper, tomato, vegetables, beans, cheese, cured meats or tomatoes.  One of these tops a piece of bread which was rubbed with garlic and olive oil.

On Saturday, Sam and I played tennis in the early afternoon and sat on our roof snacking and enjoying Pimm’s.  It was a wonderful afternoon- so relaxing!  We did not grill our bread since it was fresh out of the oven (recipe will follow later this week!).  This is a great meal to improvise to what you have on hand, or what you’re in the mood to make.

Green Bruschetta
Inspired from: The Food Matters Cookbook (pg 175)

I could not find fava beans in the grocery story, but had some lima beans in our freezer.  Edamame or peas would also work.

1 cup lima beans
3 tbsp pecorino cheese
1/2 cup lima bean cooking liquid
1 bunch of asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

In a small saucepan, cook lima beans until they are well done.  Save some of the liquid while draining, and put them into a food processor.  Add the pecorino cheese and liquid, puree.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil, then add the asparagus.  Cook for about 2-3 minutes, then drain and cool with cold water.

Mix the pureed lima beans, asparagus and lemon juice.  Add salt and pepper, stir well to combine all of the ingredients together.  Serve with some bread or crackers.


Mushroomy Bruschetta
Inspired by: A Couple Cooks

There is nothing tastier in life than onions, mushrooms and butter.  This was delicious.  I think we’ll try to remake this as a pasta sauce! 

2 tbsp butter
1/4 large onion, chopped finely
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp thyme, finely chopped
1 tbsp oregano, finely chopped
4 oz herbed goat cheese (ex: Vermont Creamery Herb Chèvre)
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Allow 1 tbsp of butter to melt in a saucepan.  Then add the onions, allow them to cook until translucent and slightly creamy.  Then add the garlic, cook for about 3 minutes.  Then add the mushrooms, 1 tbsp of butter, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper.  Cook them until they are soft, about 5 minutes.  Then add in the goat cheese, stir until the cheese is part of the sauce.

Feel free to dip some bread into the sauce, and top your bread piece with the mushrooms.

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Christmas Cookies: Pecan Snowballs

As I promised…Christmas cookies!!!

Sam and I are excited to spend our Christmas on a little vacation- we’ll show you some photos after we come back- not make you too jealous!  But we spent tonight (Friday) with some of Sam’s family.

It’s always enjoyable to spend time with friends and family, especially at this time of the year.  We are very grateful to be surrounded by many wonderful people on both sides of our families, and enjoy seeing each and every one of them.

Last night we tried to make some cookies for tonight, unfortunately they didn’t turn out well (but we’ll be trying them again soon, I’m not discouraged!).  Since we ran out of eggs and I still wanted to make some holiday cookies, I was trying to find some recipes that did not require eggs.  We ended up trying out two of them, I think both were a hit tonight.

Below is the first one- a little snowball.  This is a great quick recipe which can be eaten at any time of the year, not just during the Christmas.  But they definitely look very festive on beautiful red plates!

Pecan Snowballs
Adapted from: The Kitchn

1 cup of butter, room temperature
3/4 cup of powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp water
2 cups flour
1 cup finely chopped pecans (can be chopped in a food processor)
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 325°F.

In a mixing bowl, cream the softened butter and 1/4 cup of powdered sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy (about 3 minutes) with a stand/electric mixer.  Then add the vanilla and water, keep mixing the mixture.

In a small bowl, blend together flour, pecans and salt.  While the butter/sugar mixture is being blended, slowly add the flour/pecan mixture.  Once the dough is well incorporated, roll pieces of dough into marble-sized balls.

Place each of the balls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 20 minutes, or once the bottoms of each ball are slightly brown.  When the cookies are baked, allow them to cool for about 5-10 minutes.

In a shallow dish distribute powdered sugar at the bottom.  Take each ball and roll it around the powdered sugar, it should be sticking to the pecan ball.  Take a bite and enjoy with some hot chocolate or egg nog!

Clams and Linguine with White Wine Sauce

I know there hasn’t been a post on this blog in a week!  We have been cooking, but we’ve been having problems with the photography.  Our little space is fairly dark, especially now that summer is coming to an end, so until we have some new camera equipment (on the way!), it’s difficult to show off the appetizing food.  Until then, try out one of Sam’s newest recipes. 

I have to say that I’m super proud of this one.  I thought it up all on my own and it turned out great on the first try!  The subtle sweet flavor of the clams with the rich white wine sauce over pasta is absolutely delicious.  For those of you who might be a little timid about cooking seafood, this is definitely a good one to try; it’s really easy!

Clams and Linguine with White Wine Sauce

5 lbs, littleneck clams (should be about 50 clams)
¼ lbs pork belly, cubed (you can substitute with bacon, just not the maple kind)
½ bulb of fennel, chopped
8 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lbs dried linguine
1 bottle of dry white wine, room temperature (chardonnay would work great)
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese (please don’t use that powdered stuff)
½ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
¼ tsp crushed red pepper

First, rinse the clams in a colander under cool water.  Check to make sure that they are all firmly closed in their shells.  If you find any that are open or have cracked shells, throw them away.  Once they’re clean, set aside.

In a deep saucepan melt 2 tablespoons each of butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Then add the pork fat and cook until it begins to render a bit.  Now is a good time to start your boiling your pasta.  Next add the fennel and sauté until it becomes translucent.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, you do not want it to burn.

Now add the clams, white wine, 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and a pinch or crushed red pepper.  Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes until all of the clams have opened their shells.  When the clams are done, remove them with a slotted spoon and add them to the strained, cooked pasta in a large pot and cover to keep warm.

Uncover the white wine mixture and cook on high heat until it reduces by half.  Add ½ cup heavy cream and continue to cook until the mixture again reduces by about half.  Add the flour and whisk briskly for 1 minute.  Pour the mixture and the grated Parmesan over the pasta and clams and mix together thoroughly.

Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with a sliced baguette.  Enjoy!

Review: Birch & Barley

Last Saturday we went to dinner at Birch & Barley with our friend B*.  All of us were excited to try this new place.  It opened up in the fall of 2009, and it’s been on our list to check out.  I wish we had tried it sooner!  I think it might be one of my top restaurants in DC.

So the next time you’re around Logan Circle, definitely check this place out!

To start out our dinner we began with a Butcher’s Board:

It consisted of fresh and cured charcuterie, fresh bread, mustard and butter.  The start was not only delicious, but it was so beautifully presented.

Next, came the entrees.  The waiter asked if we would like tasting plates so we could share the food amongst ourselves- it was a great idea!

Sam had the roasted loin of lamb with braised lamb belly, fava beans, bulgur wheat and garlic scapes.

I noticed there was a prosciutto wrapped veal strip loin, and I had to have it!  With it there was barley, peas, artichokes and cippolini onions.

Lastly, B* had the honey glazed duck breast leg confit with the gorgeous wild rice, brandied cherries and radishes.

After such a delicious dinner, we just had to try the desserts- they had to be just as good, right?  (and they were!)

Sam got the house-spun sorbets, which included the following flavors: buttermilk, banana, creamsicle, rhubarb and a mix of exotic flavors.

I have a weak spot when it comes to hazelnut, so the ganache had to be mine.  It was topped with the homemade sorbet and shaved chocolate.

Lastly, B* ordered the strawberry shortcake.  It was an olive oil cake, with strawberries, balsamic and whipped mascarpone.

Wasn’t this delicious?!?  I hope you all make a reservation as soon as possible.  And if you’re visiting DC, definitely add this restaurant as part of your visit.

Tart Cherry Pie

This past Thursday, while I was wandering through our Farmer’s Market, I saw these cherries.

There was a sign right next to them, saying that this was their last week at the market…so I bought some!  Once I got home, we gave these a try- and they were sour.  Yikes!  Sam suggested doing a pie with them.  I’m not nuts about cherry pies because they are always so sweet, so at first I was a bit hesitant about the idea.  He promised that when he’d make the pie, it wouldn’t be so sweet.  So we gave it a try.

It turned out delicious- and the nice red color was perfect for the 4th of July weekend!  Hope you all had fantastic BBQ’s, pies and fireworks!

Tart Cherry Pie

1/2 lb tart cherries, pitted
2 cups of flour
1 1/2 sticks of butter, cold & diced
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 pinches of salt
1/4 cup of ice water

Filling:  In a mixing bowl, combine cherries, 1/4 brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 cup of flour.  Fold together and set aside in the refrigerator to macerate.

Topping: Add the following ingredients into the food processor: 1/2 cup of flour, 1/2 stick of butter, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and a pinch of salt.  Pulse the food processor until the mixture becomes crumbly.  Gently place mixture into a bowl, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Crust: In a food processor, add 1 cup of flour, 1 stick of butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and a pinch of salt.  Turn on the food processor, and slowly add the water.  Stop the food processor when the dough becomes a ball.  Remove from food processor, and wrap the ball in saran wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Turn on the oven to 350°F.  When the dough is cold, place the dough on a well-floured board and roll out until approximately 1/8 inch thick.  Gently fold the dough in half, and transfer to a greased pie tin.  Unfold the dough, and cut away the excess from the edges.

Pour the filling into the pie, ensuring that it’s evenly distributed.  Top the filling with the topping (crumbly dough mixture) and place in a preheated oven for 30-40 minutes.  Take out from the oven when the crust is a gold brown color.