Saturday, September 06, 2008

Italian Homestyle Meal (at home)

Clams with Garlic and White Wine
We saw live clams at Costco and had to pick some up. Oddly, I've never cooked clams before but a quick call to my mom proved that it would be quite easy, and it was.

-5 lbs live clams
-10 scallions, chopped
-8 cloves garlic, minced
-1 cup white wine
-5 tomatoes, diced
-1 handful, chopped cilantro

Sautee the scallions, garlic and tomatoes in a bit of olive oil in a deep pot. When soft, add in the wine and bring to a boil. Add the clams and reduce to a simmer. Cover and steam for about 10 minutes, or until the clams open. Season with pepper and toss in the cilantro. Stir and serve.

Lasagna with Summer Squash Salad
Easy and tasty.
-1 lb ground beef
-1 onion, diced
-12 lasagna noodles
-2 cups ricotta
-2 handfuls basil
-10 cloves garlic
-1 cup artichoke hearts, diced
-2 cups mozzerella, shredded
-1/2 cup grated parmasan
-4 cans diced tomatoes
-2 tb Italian seasoning
-salt and pepper to taste

In a medium sauce pot, sautee 1/2 the garlic (whole cloves) and 1/2 the diced onion until beginning to color. Add the diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and cover. Simmer for about 40 minutes, until the garlic is soft, then puree. Set aside.

Boil the lasagna noodles and set aside.

Brown the beef and the rest of the diced onion together. Drain and set aside.

In the food processor place the basil and the rest of the garlic to mince. Mix this garlic and basil mixture into the ricotta and set aside.

In a lasagna pan, place 1 layer of noodles. Then spoon on some sauce and sprinkle on 1/2 of the meat mixture. Sprinkle on 1/3 of the mozzerella on top and add another layer of the noodles. Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the noodles, then evenly spread the diced artichoke hearts. Add the next layer of noodle and repeat layer 1. Then cover with the last layer of noodles, spread sauce over the top and sprinkle with the rest of the mozzerella and the parmasan. Bake, covered, for about 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese on top is bubby and browned.

Summer Squash Salad
-4 summer squash, quartered and thinlly sliced
-1 large bell pepper, thinly sliced
-5 heirloom tomatoes, cut in bite size chunks
-2 tb balsamic vinegar
-1 tb whole grain mustard
-1 tb olive oil

Mix the vinegar, mustard and oil together to form a vinaigrette. Toss the other ingredients in the vinaigrette.

Mollases Bread with Vanilla Custard and Fresh Strawberries
I loved this mollases bread as a kid. This is my mom's recipe and the earthy flavor of the mollases bread matched really well with the subtlety of the vanilla custard and the freshness of the strawberries.

Molasses Bread

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
2 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup molasses
¾ cup buttermilk
1 egg

1. Sift together all dry ingredients.
2. Add the butter, molasses, buttermilk, and egg.
3. Mix well and pour into loaf pan.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
5. Let cool before slicing.

Vanilla Custard
-4 cups heavy cream
-3/4 cup sugar
-3 tb cornstarch
-pinch salt
-10 eggs yolks

In a heavy sauce pot whisk 1/4 cup of the cream, salt, 1/4 cup of the sugar and the cornstarch together until smooth. Add the remaining cream and heat until bubbles are beginning to form around the edges of the pot. In a bowl, combine the rest of the sugar and the egg yolks. Temper the yolk mixture with the hot cream, then combine the rest of the cream and egg yolk mixtures. Heat until the mixture reaches 170 F, stirring constantly. Pour the custard into into a bowl set in a bowl of ice water, and stir frequently until cool. Then refrigerate overnight.

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Wontons! (with turkey this time)

This is our standard recipe for wontons, only this time we used ground turkey instead of ground pork in the filling. We did this not because it is better, but because we had ground turkey in the freezer. Still, they were pretty good.

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Hot Pot Soup

We made our standard hot pot for dinner, and then we made a soup by adding the rest of the broccolli, some rainbow chard, some thin noodles and an egg.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Dim Sum at Yank Sing, San Francisco, CA

We went to meet an old friend of Giao's at Yank Sing for lunch. We're not totally sure how much it came to, because our friend graciously paid for lunch.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Tasty and light.

Shrimp Dumplings
A bit more refined than har gow.

Sticky Rice with Chicken
This savory sticky rice was satisfying in a comfort food kind of way.

Pork Potstickers
These were a tad undercooked, unfortunately.

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp
How can you go wrong?

Siu Mai
Good siu mai, crappy photo.

Har Gow
Fresh tasting with lots of big shrimp chunks.

Peking Duck
Always good.

Food: 1
Decor: 1
Service: 0

Yank Sing
49 Stevenson St.
San Francisco, CA

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Monday, September 01, 2008

An All American Meal, With a Twist

This meal was our riff on meat and potatoes with salad.

Fennel Salad
Fresh and unexpected.

-1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
-1/2 onion, thinly sliced
-2 bell peppers, thinly sliced
-homemade vinaigrette

Stir all ingredients to combine.

Roasted Garlic and Horseradish Crusted Ribeye Roast
We basically used a ribeye roast and gave it the same treatment as our standing prime rib roast. The main difference was that it took a lot less time to cook because there was no bone.

Roasted Beets and Carrots
Sweet, filling and so easy.

-6 beets, peeled and cut in chunks
-4 carrots, peeled and cut in chunks
-salt and pepper to taste
-a bit of olive oil

Toss the beets and carrots with the olive oil and the salt and pepper. Spread in a 9x13 baking dish. Cover with foil and bake on 400 for about 45 mins. Uncover and continue to bake, turning occasionally until caramelized.

Plum Pie
I'm not sure why plums are not used more frequently in pies. Plums are sweet and tart and hold up well to baking.

-2 1/4 cups flour
-2 stick butter
-20 Italian plums, pitted and quartered
-1/3 cup sugar

Cut the butter into cubes and work it into the flour with your fingers until the mixture resembled cornmeal. Add water 1tb at a time until you can form the dough into a ball. Split the ball in two. Press one ball into a pie pan for the bottom crust. Pre-bake on 375 for about 10 minutes. While the crust is pre-baking, toss the quartered plums with the sugar. Roll out the other dough ball fo rthe top crust. When the bottom crust has been in the oven for about 10 minutes, take it out and pour in the plum/sugar mixture. Then place the rolled out top crust over the top and pinch the edges to secure it to the bottom crust. Poke a bunch of holes in the top crust to release steam while the pie is baking. Bake at 375 for about an hour, or until the crust is golden brown.

Serve with freshly whipped cream.

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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Another Fabulous Meal at Spruce, San Francisco, CA

We went for a nice meal with Giao's family, who were in town for labor day weekend. We'd been to Spruce once before, in it's first month, and we were quite impressed. This time, we were impressed again. Everything we had was delicious. The decor is understated, yet warm and elegant. The staff were incredibly gracious, making accommodations for Giao's 9 month old nephew with smiles on their faces.

Cheese Gougeres (gratuit)
These tasty little morsels were brought to the table to whet our appetites.

Burrata and Heirloom Tomato Salad $12
This salad was the special and it was both simple and delicious. Whenever we see burrata, we always order it. Fresh mozzerella packed in cream is just so decadent. The only small problem with this dish is that there were way too many tomatoes, compared to the burrata.

Salumi Platter $18
All of the salumi at Spruce is house-cured and it was all very good. I don't remember what everything was, but the foie gras mousse with a port gelee and the headcheese were both standouts.

Lobster with Gnocchi and Braised Fennel $40
The lobster was incredibly well cooked--it was sweet and just melted in our mouths. The gnocchi were tender and not at all gluey. This was an all around great dish.

Bavette Steak with Duck Fat Fried Potatoes and Bordelais Sauce $30
One of the things that we love about Spruce is that not only is the food amazing, it comes in large portions. This was way too much food for me, but it was very good. The steak was tender and the duck fat fried potatoes were out of this world. They were crispy and salty on the outside and creamy on the inside. Giao's 9 month old nephew couldn't stop eating them. He's a gourmet at a young age.

Carrot Cake with Marcapone Filling and Ginger Ice Cream $10
The ginger ice cream was amazing and the carrot cake was pretty good too, but almost too refined.

Selection of European Cheeses $16
Although this was a pricy cheese place, it was large and good.

Petit Fours (gratuit)
A few tasty cakes to send us on our way in good spirits.

Food: 2
Service: 2
Decor: 2

3640 Sacramento St
San Francisco, CA 94118

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Slow Food Festival, San Francisco, CA

It was a beautiful day so we decided to check out the Slow Food Festival. There were so many things to choose from, but we settled on this tasty mufaletta sandwich from Armandino's Salumi in Seattle. Armandio is Mario Batali's dad and his home cured salumi is quite delicious. This sandwich was $7 and contained about 3 kinds of salumi, along with a pesto and mozzerella cheese.

Food: 2
Service: NA
Decor: NA

Armandino's Salumi
309 3rd Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104

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