Monday, January 24, 2011

fennel & clementine salad with creamy sorrel dressing

First of all, big huge thanks to The Riverfront Times for voting Iron Stef Best Food Blog in St. Louis 2010! Holy cow! What an honor!! More on that in later post. First, I felt that, being that this may bring me some new readers, I should get this delicious salad up so that people aren't immediately confronted with my Slut's Spaghetti post. Not that I'm prude, but... First impressions and all.... :)

This is another fantastic salad for those looking to use winter produce. Clementines, those little, sweet candy of the fruit world are always around this time of year. And fennel and citrus are BFFs This salad has lots of crunch, freshness, and flavor contrasts.

Fennel & Clementine Salad with Creamy Sorrel Dressing

Slice fennel, red onion, granny smith apple, and apricots thinly. Peel and section clementines. Toss all with some fresh lemon juice. To make dressing, finely chop some fresh sorrel, about 8 leaves and about 2 Tablespoons of fennel fronds. Put in a container with a tight-fitting lid, add 2 Tablespoons heavy cream, 3 Tablespoons olive oil, 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard, a pinch of white pepper and salt, close securely and shake shake shake until combined and creamy. Serve fennel/fruit mixture on a bed of baby greens with some of the dressing drizzled on top.

Other salads that work for winter:
Turnip Poppy Seed Salad
Bruise Salad
Curried Chickpea Salad
Sesame Edamame Salad
Warm Roasted Cauliflower Salad

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

slut's spaghetti & pina colada ice cream

As I mentioned in my 2010 recap post, I went to a Nigella Lawson book signing in November and *SQUEEEEE OMG Holy eff*...met Nigella. As you can see from the bright ruby hue of my face in the photo, I was a teensy bit excited to meet her. She's amazingly gorgeous, and I love her cooking/food style. She doesn't claim to be a chef, she simply claims to be a home cook. A woman who loves food and all it's sensuality. I have a huge lady-crush on her.

The book she was signing was her newest, Nigella Kitchen. It's got a wide variety of recipes in it. Classics, quick meals, dinner party ideas, desserts, munchies. It's an all-around celebration of home cooking. Once I got over the photos (they make her look really awkward in most of them... like the photographer was a total creeper or something... it's crazy because she is so pretty and friendly... who picked these photos?!?), I delved in and selected a couple fun recipes.

Slut's Spaghetti. Yeah, that caught my eye. It's a Pasta alla puttenesca recipe. One translation of Puttenesca is "Whore's pasta," the book explains. It's made with all ingredients you would find in your pantry... jarred and canned items for people who cannot be bothered to leave their quarters every day to buy fresh ingredients. You know. Cuz they have to stay in the bedroom :)

Besides the dish's fun name, the fact that it had both capers and anchovies in it are what sealed my decision. Two of my favorite ingredients, adding to what Nigella calls "the fiery tang and robust saltiness" of the dish. Sexy stuff, no? It was so simple... I was afraid that it wouldn't have a very interesting or rich flavor... But it really did! The anchovies really added depth to the whole dish.

Slut's Spaghetti
adapted from Nigella Kitchen by Nigella Lawson

3 Tablespoons olive oil
8 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, grated
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 1/4 cup pitted black olives, sliced
3 Tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
1 lb. spaghetti

Start the water to boil the pasta. Cook the anchovies in the oil, smashing and smooshing with a wooden spoon until the anchovies are "melted." Add the garlic and crushed red pepper, and cook about a minute or so. Add the tomatoes, olives and capers, and cook for about 10 minutes until slightly thickened. Meanwhile, the pasta should be cooking. Right before the pasta is done, scoop out some of the pasta water. Drain pasta, add to sauce and toss, adding pasta water if needed to thin out sauce. and, as Nigella says "Serve in slatternly style, preferably unfiltered cigarette clamped between crimson-painted lips." ;)

Being that there are more snow forecasts this week, the Pina Colada ice cream also caught my eye... I want it to be warm again. This no-churn ice cream sounded just like summer in a bowl. And it was. Pass me a beach towel.

No-churn Pina Colada Ice Cream
adapted from Nigella Kitchen by Nigella Lawson

1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup Malibu coconut rum
generous few drops of coconut flavoring
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 cup powdered sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
sweetened coconut, toasted, to serve

Combine the pineapple juice, rum, flavoring & lime juice in a bowl. Add sugar and whisk to dissolve. In a separate bowl, whisk cream until it forms soft peaks. Slowly pour the juice mixture into the whipped cream, whisking until combined. Spread in a container with a lid, freeze. Serve with toasted coconut sprinkled on top.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

turnip poppy seed salad

Salads in the winter are a challenge. You want to use seasonal produce for fresh, crisp salads, but lots of produce isn't that great in the winter months. Turnips and apples are both available and good in the colder months. This salad combines the peppery, earthy turnip and the tart, fruity apple for a crisp, yet timely side. This would go great with some grilled wild duck breast, or a pork roast. I just had it as a healthy late-night snack to soothe my craving for crunch.

Turnip Poppy Seed Salad

2 medium turnips, peeled and cut into short matchsticks
1 granny smith apple, cored and cut into short matchsticks
Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons fresh-grated ginger
1 Tablespoon Olive oil
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
Salt & pepper

Combine the lemon, ginger, oil, vinegar, agave, poppy seeds and salt & pepper. Whisk or put in a container with a lid and shake to emulsify. Toss with turnips and apple. You can serve this right away or let it chill and marinate for awhile.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

2010 - a delicious year!

Oh man, you guys. 2010. What a year. I have seen lots of facebook and twitter posts down on 2010. I know some of my friends did not have such a great year. That makes me realize how lucky I am that my 2010 was so wonderful! As far as 2010 in Iron Stef terms... *deep breath* here goes...

The year of the Mafia

While technically we started the Food Blog Mafia in 2009, Kelly, Kelli, Annie and I were in full force in 2010. I mean, we had a professional photo shoot (thanks to the talented Corey him!) and had business cards made. Bigtime, yo. But seriously, I love these girls, and we had some fun times this year.

The photo shoot was a hoot, and Woody made us look bad ass! See the photos on his blog here.

Some of my most favoritest FBM moments happened at Kelly's house. Like making Paella for the first time. And making Pretzels. And, of course, the infamous Balut-eating videos. Wow did I catch hell for that... people reacted as if Jerad and I were Serial Killers for eating these Filipino delicacies. Well, people, I regret to inform you that they were tasty, and while they are super-gross looking, I would totally eat balut again.

My favorite Food Blog Mafia posts to write were my Made Matches series, in which I paired specific beers to specific foods. I also enjoyed talking to Linda, from Free Range Cookies, a gluten-free bakery in my little Neighborhood. She makes amazing cookies. I took the FBM's official photographer with me. He also went to Salume Beddu with Kelly... cute meat guys!

I also wrote about eating in Maryland and Washington DC. That trip was when I made the food enthusiast journey to the Mecca that is Julia Child's Kitchen at the Smithsonian. Seriously, it was like visiting the Holy Land. What an amazing moment.

The Year of the Burger

I managed to get myself involved with Andrew Veety's project, The Church of Burger. I may or may not have weaseled my way in by offering my services as a logo designer. Either way, what a great experience. For the Church of Burger, Andrew polled his blog readers about what their favorite burger in St. Louis was. Every month we went to one of the places voted in the top 12 until, in December, we went to the voters' favorite. The month I started was the month that CoB caused a ruckus in the St. Louis food/twitter scene. Read about it in Kelli's FBM post! Craziness. My official recap and favorite burger will be up on Andrew's site in the next week. Keep your eye out!

The year of the Tater Tot

I'm not sure why tater tots went by the wayside since becoming an "adult" (term used VERY loosely), but I welcomed them back into my life in 2010 with flair. There were the tater tot tacos, and the pizza pictured above.

Oh, and Hater Tot, one of my favorite recurring characters on Skank Ham. He so crazy.

The Year of Recipes

Some favorite meals from 2010:

Sushi Ceviche

Fennel Bacon Bread Pudding

Edamame Burgers with Wasabi Cole Slaw

Cock-A-Leekie Pie

Mini Pizzas with Proscuitto & Quail Egg

Cannellini Beans with Fennel and Bacon

Chipotle Shrimp Tacos with Jicama Mango Slaw

So... a good year, 2010. Oh, I have yet to write about it, but ummm... I sort of met NIGELLA BLOODY LAWSON. Yeah. My biggest girl-crush in the world, and one of my culinary heros. She was doing a book-signing in town.

She was so so gorgeous in person, and so darn sweet!! As you can see I was wearing my excitement and nervousness on my face. Beet. red. I don't think I was breathing. Way to play it cool, Iron Stef.

Happy 2011 to you all, and thanks for reading! I'm looking forward to many more food adventures in the coming year. Cheers!

Other year-in-review posts:
Daydream Believer blog 2010 in photos
2009 Iron Stef Year-In-Review
2007 Iron Stef Year-In-Review