Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Daisy Martinez Cookbook Review and GiveAway

I was really excited to receive a review copy of Daisy Martinez’s new cookbook: Daisy: Morning, Noon, and Night. Inspired by her travels throughout Latin American Daisy put together a collection of fairly easy, family style recipes all with a Latin flare. Since I tend to cook mostly Italian meals this is not a book I would intentionally have purchased. That being said I am extremely grateful to have had the chance to peruse the publication and try my hand at what is for me a new cuisine.

As the title suggests the book is uniquely broken down into recipes and menu ideas for particular times of day. Although some may find this to be annoying I thought it was very helpful. Her knowledge of Latino cuisine and which recipes go best together helped me to create some fabulous meals for my family and friends.

With such beautiful shots of the food on just about every page it was really hard deciding what to make. After much deliberating I decided to try the following recipes:

Faster Than Take Out Chicken in Green Sauce
String Beans with Rosemary
Stovetop Wrinkled Potatoes
Grill roasted Boneless Pork Shoulder
Asparagus with Brown Butter and Pecans

Everything was delicious and really very easy to recreate. One thing I did notice is that the recipes seemed to call for a lot of garlic and salt; two things which I feel can and should be used in moderation. Being a seasoned cook and knowing my palate I just adjusted the amounts to suit my taste. An easy fix.

I think this is a great starter book for someone looking to try their hands both at cooking and at the same time trying a new cuisine. It doesn’t require any over the top techniques or out of the ordinary ingredients and the recipes, at least that I tried, all produced solid food.

And now for the giveaway. I have 1 copy of Daisy: Morning, Noon, and Night that I would like to share with one lucky reader. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post by Monday, March 1, 2010 (midnight EST).

Or you can tweet this contest, linking back to this post, and also leaving me a comment letting me know.

Or you can facebook this contest, linking back to this post, and leaving me a comment. I will pick the winner by random, on Tuesday. Unfortunately, the book can only be shipped within the US.

Good Luck!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Winter Comfort Food in the Desert

Living in the desert we don't get a lot of blustery cold days where we can find comfort in a warm bowl of soup or stew. So when the temperatures this weekend suddenly dropped to the low 60's and it started to rain we decided to take advantage of the situation and make some veal stew. 

I found the recipe below in the January edition of La Cucina Italiana magazine.  It was easy to put together and delicious.  Exactly what we needed this weekend: comfort in a bowl. 

I'm submitting this recipe to Magazine Mondays over at Cream Puffs In Venice.


 

Veal Stew With Vegetables

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds veal stew meat, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large white onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, preferably smoked
  • 2 1/2 cups store-bought vegetable broth plus 1 cup water, heated to a simmer, or 3 1/2 cups homemade vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon unbleached all-purpose flour

Instructions

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add half of the veal and cook, turning, until browned all over, about 7 minutes. Transfer veal to a plate. Repeat with remaining oil and veal. Pour off the oil.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in pot over medium heat; add potatoes, carrots, onion, zucchini, celery, 1 teaspoon rosemary, peppercorns and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
Add veal and any accumulated juices back to pot. Add stock and water; bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to low, and gently simmer until meat is tender, about 1 hour.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer veal and vegetables to a bowl. Pour cooking liquid into a second bowl, and return pot to stove. Melt remaining tablespoon butter in pot over medium-low heat, then stir in flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Whisk in cooking liquid. Bring liquid to a low boil and cook, uncovered, whisking
occasionally, until reduced to about 2 cups, about 15 minutes.

Return vegetables and veal to pot; stir in remaining teaspoon rosemary. Heat to warm through. 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day The Food Hunter Way

My hubby and I don't "do" Valentine's Day.  It's just something we never did and I can't imagine we ever will.   So instead of celebrating this weekend with dinner at an overcrowded restaurant featuring an overpriced fixed menu we stayed at home.  We invited some friends over; opened a few good bottles of wine; cooked up a bunch of yummy appetizers; some beef cheek ravioli's and topped off the evening with molten lava cakes.

There was no mushy I love you's or flowers or heart shaped boxes of chocolates.  Just some good friends; good food; and good times.

Happy Valentine's Day!!


 




Beef Cheek Ravioli
adapted from Mario Batali; Babbo
 Extra-virgin olive oil 3 Tbsp.
White onion, diced 1
Celery stalk, diced 1/2
Beef cheeks or beef brisket, c 2 lb.
Red wine 2 cups
Fresh tomatoes, chopped 1 cup
Fresh rosemary, chopped 1 tsp.
Pasta dough 1 1/2 lb.
Kosher salt 2 Tbsp.
Unsalted butter 2 cups
Chicken Livers, Toscani recipe follows
Black truffles, sliced 2 Tbsp.
Flat-leaf parsley, chopped 1/2 cup
Pecorino-Romano cheese, grated 1/2 cup

1. Heat olive oil in skillet; sauté onion and celery over low heat
until soft but not brown. Increase heat and add beef; cook to brown.
Add wine; bring to boil, then add tomatoes and rosemary. Place,
covered, in 400F oven for 1 hour.

2. Cool, skim excess fat and purée meat in food processor.

3. Roll out dough using pasta machine on thinnest setting; cut sheets
into 4-in. squares. Place 1 Tbsp. meat filling in center of each
square; fold to create triangle.

4. Cook pasta in 6 qt. salted water.

5. In large sauté pan, heat butter over high heat until it browns. Add
Chicken Livers Toscani and cook 1 min. Add few tablespoons pasta water
to create emulsion; add truffles and cook 1 minute.

6. Add pasta to sauté pan with half of parsley and half of cheese and
gently toss. Garnish with parsley and remaining cheese.
Chicken Livers Toscani
Yield:
Chicken livers 1 lb.
Extra-virgin olive oil 7 oz.
Red onion, finely chopped 1
Capers 2 Tbsp.
Salt-packed anchovy fillets, 2
Red chile flakes 1 Tbsp.
Red wine 1 cup
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Saute chicken livers, olive oil, onion, capers, anchovies and chile
flakes. Add wine; cook until almost evaporated.

2. Process mixture in food processor; season with salt and pepper.

 
Updated: I'm submitting this to Presto Pasta night over at Mrs Ergul Passion for Life and Food
Please stop by tomorrow to see all of the great submissions.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Parlor Pizzeria

Take an old beauty parlor; add a small herb and vegetable garden; an outdoor patio with a fire pit; a bar area that has trendy high-top tables and throw in an affordable menu with lots of variety and you’ve got The Parlor Pizzeria in Central Phoenix.

Open almost a year The Parlor has been on my restaurant radar since day one. Finally last Thursday night my husband and I got a chance to check it out. We hadn’t even entered the restaurant but I instantly got a good feeling when I noticed the small garden by the door. I took it as a sign of what was to come as far as the freshness of the food and I was right. The interior of the restaurant also provided some good vibes. It has a very urban feel which I really like.

There’s a little something for everyone on the menu at The Parlor. Items include everything from appetizers, to salads, sandwiches, wood fired pizzas and pasta. There’s a separate sheet for meat and cheese plates and another one for creating your own pizza. So even though the name boasts “pizzeria” It’s possible to have a great meal without any pizza; which is exactly what we did.

We ordered a bowl of warmed olives and a mixed plate of fried calamari and shrimp to enjoy while perusing the menu. The appetizer portions were perfect…not too large but plenty big for us. Since we were having such a hard time narrowing down our dinner choices we decided to do a bit more sharing. I went with the cavatelli with duck ragu and my husband got the duck club with a side salad. Probably not the best combo for sharing but it worked.

Although both were delicious the duck club was hands down the better of the two. Sliced duck breast was layered with apple wood smoked bacon; all of which was topped with a tomato jam and just the right amount of mayonnaise. The combination was truly amazing. We both agreed next time there would be no sharing; we would each get our own duck club. Where the duck pasta fell short was with the ragu. It was flavorful but lacking in the duck department. I will say though that the fresh baby veggies were abundant and delicious.

The minute I saw the dessert menu I knew we would be getting an order of the cinnamon sugar ricotta fritters. After crème brulee these are probably my husband’s favorite dessert. We were served 6 nice sized fritters with chocolate and strawberry dipping sauces. They were yummy and hubby was happy!

If you’re look for a trendy restaurant with good food and a hip feel…The Parlor Pizzeria in Central Phoenix just might be worth checking out.

Friday, February 5, 2010

World Nutella Day

February 5th, 2010 has been designated World Nutella Day by Sara from Ms. Adventures in Italy and Michelle from Bleeding Espresso


You may recall a few months back my "affair" with Nutella...well I'm happy to report it's still going strong. We're continuing to meet every night after dinner for a little pick me up and sometimes even in the mornings.  So in honor of World Nutella Day I thought I'd do something special with my beloved Nutlella.

I grated some orange zest over him and wrapped him in some sweet pastry dough.  I warmed him up for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees and he was better than ever!



Warm, thick and rich on the inside and crispy on the outside...the affair continues.  Please don't tell my husband.