First off, because the chef is my friend's husband, ALL RECIPES ARE THE PROPERTY OF TAOS COOKING SCHOOL (www.cookingstudiotaos.com) and can not be reprinted for sale. Don't send this in to your church cookbook, in other words. (Oooh, and they have this gorgeous spread in Taos where you can go for a week and have cooking classes everyday. And there's a spa close by. Sounds like the best vacation, or the best vacation EVER?)
The main dish:
Polpette in a Light Tomato Sauce (enough for eight - can be stored)
3/4 # ground beef (15% fat content, no more)
3/4 # ground pork
1/2 C finely mined red bell pepper
3/4 C evap. milk
2 ribs celery, fine dice
1 medium onion mined fine (1 1/2 C)
8 large cloves of garlic
1 1/2 C toasted bread crumbs
1 tsp. crushed red chiles (or to taste)
1/2 t thyme (or a handful if fresh)
1/4 C olice oil
8-10 Roma tomatoes (X the bottom, boil 30 seconds, peel skin)
garlic, finely mined (we used 8 cloves, yum)
salt/pepper/cayenne to taste
1/5 OZ Vodka (hello)
1 C whole milk or heavy cream
1. Saute the finely chopped onions, garlic, celery, and red pepper together in butter for 4-5 minutes - Do not overcook!
2. Add the spices and continue to saute for another minute. Add the evap. milk and allow it to mix thoroughly with the other ingredients and reduce slightly. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Will be added to the meat.
3. In a medium bowl, mix together the beef and pork. Add the cooled vegetable mixture and mix all thoroughly, then add the bread crumbs. Watch the consistency so it's not too dry, or they won't form patties. Too wet and they'll fall apart.
4. Form the patties like making tortillas (note: this was the fun part: flinging meat.) Slap the ball (golf ball size) from palm to palm to make them bind, the flatten into a 2 inch oval, about an inch or 2 in thickness. Flat ovals cook more evenly than meat balls. Lay the formed patties on an oiled cookie sheet until ready to cook.
5. In a hot skillet (pref. raw steel) heat combo of oil and butter, sear the meat patties on each side. Remove from heat and place on a serving dish with the light tomato sauce.
1. Peel and dice the Roma tomatoes. In olive oil, saute the garlic and tomatoes until the tomatoes break down (begin to liquefy.) Add the spices and continue to saute.
2. Add the vodka (flame on!) and deglaze slightly. (note: swirl the pan to get the crumbly bits off the bottom - no fan to keep the flames from shooting up, haha) Taste for doneness. Serve with polpettes on top.
Make sure the polpettes are just GOLDEN, not burnt. This was utterly delicious, and the lack of egg as a binder made the patties surprisingly light tasting.
Risotto with Chicken and Butternut Squash (enough for eight as a side)
2 C Aborio or Carnaroli risotto
Olive oil (about 1/2 C)
1 boneless skinless chicken breast (both lobes), cubed
1 T garlic, chopped
1 C onion, chopped
1/2 C Parmesan
6 C chicken (or if veggie, veg.) stock
1 butternut squash (check stem for greenness to determine freshness)
4 T butter, but into small pieces
1 C dry white wine
(cut the squash in half, then quarters. Two quarters get little pats of butter on them, then bake in 400 degree oven until fork tender, then pureed and set aside. Takes 40 minutes to bake, so prep the other stuff while baking. The remaining half gets cut into small dice, then sauteed in oil and butter until soft, then set aside.)
1. Saute the cubed chicken in olive oil until it's golden, then remove (do in small batches, don't turn the chicken until the one side is brown so it's seared - you want it still pink inside)
2. Saute the onion and garlic in butter until they are just soft, stirring constantly
3. Add the rice and 1 T butter to the above and heat thoroughly (this toasts the rice and opens the kernal for a) flavor and b) faster cooking)
4. Deglaze with the white wine and continue cooking, stirring often, until almost dry
5. start with additions of stock, adding by ladle about 1 1.5 C at a time, keep adding, stirring and cooking until rice is half done.
6. Stir in the butternut squash (both) and reduce heat to very low. Taste for doneness and then stir in Parmesan and butter and serve.
I would eat this every single day. The best risotto dish I've ever had, and it's the butternut squash that made it unbelievably creamy. Can do without the chicken if wanting only veggie friendly. <3 U Jess.
Carciofi (for eight)
4 Large artichokes (or 8 small)
1/3 C olive oil (we used SO MUCH olive oil, holy crap)
1 T dried oregano leaves (4 to 5 stems if fresh)
1 heaping T of Kosher sea salt
1 t. thyme
1 t. crushed red chiles
1. Trim the leaves of the artichokes (I'd not ever cooked artichokes before, so this was hacking off the top and snipping the tips of the lower leaves) and cut off the stems at the bottom
2. In a HUGE pot, fill halfway with water. Add all ingredients minus the 'chokes and bring to a rolling boil.
3. Slip the artichokes in UPSIDE DOWN and place a heave plate or a glass bowl (what we used) over them to keep them in the water. Slow the heat to a simmer, and cook for almost 45 minutes. (Don't over cook, or they'll fall apart.)
4. Drain the 'chokes and hold them with a lower to remove the center leaves and choke (usually purple in color.) With a spoon GENTLY scrape the last of the choke from the heart, leaving that intact. (my favorite part!)
5. Cut them in half if large and serve with dipping sauce of your choice. (note: we ran out of time to make the aioli sauce, but with the addition of seasoning in the cooking water, I didn't think it needed anything.)
Arugala and Basil Salad
1/2 # of arugala
20 basil leaves (no stems - too bitter)
1/2 C pine nuts, toasted (or sunflower seeds! I liked that taste as well - we made two versions)
juice of two lemons
1 oz/ vinegar (white distilled)
1/2 C olive oil (maybe less - taste it)
1 small shallot
1. toast the pine nuts, if needed
2. mix the basil and arugala in salad bowl Mince the shallot finely and toss in processor or blender.
3. In a bowl, whisk together the lemon, vinegar, SOME oil, and salt. - add to processor/blender. (note about blenders: take twice as long to chop so really let it run for a while)
4. Process the dressing, taste - adjust oil/salt as needed. (We only used about a 1/4 C of oil, and had some left over. Will keep for a week, refrigerated.)
5. Dress the salad right before eating, add nuts at the end.
Very fresh and cleansing on the palate. The lemon is strong, but pleasant. The basil was FABULOUS as a salad green.
Dessert: Risotto Dolce (what I made - HOLY MOTHER, SO DELICIOUS.)
1 C Italian rice
1 T butter
1 vanilla bean
1/2 gallon of milk (min. 2%)
1 1/4 C sugar
1 oz. vanilla extract (about a tsp. and a splash more)
tiny pinch of salt
1. In a deep (3-4 qt. pot) melt the butter and toast the rice. Stir to toast them all. (note: do not leave this dish. You need to stir almost the whole time. Bonus: can be made ahead of time by two days, max.)
2. Slowly add all the milk while stirring, along with the split vanilla bean. Bring to a boil, then immediately turn down to simmer, do not stop stirring (I made this with a woman who kept stopping to talk to people, and I gently nudged her out of the way to take over the stirring after the milk boiled over the side twice. She'd never cooked with milk before, wtf? IT WILL BURN, PEOPLE.)
3. Continue stirring (see?!) and when the rice is almost cooked (taste for doneness) beat the eggs, sugar, extract in a bowl. Temper the egg mix (add a ladle of the hot milk to the eggs - STIRRING CONSTANTLY to heat them up before mixing the eggs into the simmer mix. We all know this, right? Otherwise you get scrambled eggs.) then add to the simmering rice/milk, stirring constantly.
4. Pull out the vanilla bean, let cool slightly. Taste the mix for doneness - should be slightly chewy, but soft. Remove from heat. Scrape the beans from the pod and mix them in, pour into ramekins (8 - 10) or a SHALLOW baking dish, cover and refrigerate. Sprinkle the tops with sugar before serving and torch them to carmelize, like a brulee.
I wanted to bathe in this. The vanilla flavor so delicate, but perfect. Chewy and delicious. It still felt light after eating all the food we had, not like if you had a heavy dessert. I'm going to the store later today to get the ingredients to make this again. I can't stress enough how flavorful everything was.
He's coming back in 6 weeks to host an Indian themed class, and another class on Spanish cooking. I'll be going to both. YUM.
Last night Mr. S and I got a copy of the Police's Synchronicity tour on DVD, cranked the stereo and rocked out. That may be one of my all-time favorite albums EVER. Also, all the shots of Stuart Copeland in small white shorts with arms that are too pretty by half wasn't too shabby, either. I cannot express how hot I find drummers. MY GOODNESS. The arms! The rhythm! The short shorts so their legs can work! UNGH. Not to mention that Stuart uses a jazz hold - the traditional drumming style that rockers don't use - so he tapes his hands up and can do that WHILE PLAYING. Like, tape one hand and play with the other. WHAT?! He's a bad ass. What's funny is how my husband is a total fangirl about him, too, ahahahaha. Watch that second vid I linked and TRY and tell me that he's not FREAKING AWESOME. (And they're HAULING ASS through those songs, too!) Okay, I'm done nerding out on music now. :D
(And I need a drumming icon. I need an animated shot of Copeland being badass. *gets on finding something asap*)
[ETA] spikendru just sent me a cute Cinco de Mayo card (thank you!) and I forgot to post my margarita recipe for those of you that want to celebrate appropriately today! (Pinata in the shape of George Bush is up to you.) Under the cut!
First and most importantly is the tequila. (NO. JOSE CUERVO. He is NOT a friend of yours. Anything with a worm is RIGHT OUT, people. Ewww.) I prefer Milagro, but if you can't find that, Silver Herradura es muy excellente, I like silver tequilas over Anejo (triple distilled and gold) for the mellower taste. But then, I drink tequila straight, so...
Made By The Glass (and I use big ol' drinking glasses):
1 1/2 jiggers of tequila
1/2 jigger Cointreau (or Triple Sec)
limeade (seriously - just make a pitcher and keep it in the fridge)
Squeeze of half a lime and a little bit of orange, if you want to make it FABULOUS.
Shake gently and guzzle.
I think to make a pitcher it's like... 1 1/2 C tequila, 3/4 C Cointreau (or Triple Sec), three limes, a half of a large orange (squeeze the juice only) and a ready to go frozen tube of limeade and two fills of water. Does that make sense? You know those frozen juices? They say to make it with 4 containers, I say only 2 to 2 1/2, depending on how limey you like it tasting.)
Bueno Cinco de Mayo, ay yi yi!!