Cooking again – FINALLY! Dinner 1 – Ottolenghi and Ottolenghi

So for awhile there, i didn’t have one night at home for like 3 weeks straight, so no cooking :(. Right now, my aunts and cousin are here – so same thing – but I did have two nights home last week and took advantage to host 2 dinner parties.


Dinner 1:


 

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I really wanted to make something new because i’m jealous of all the cooking you’re doing and free nights to cook have become such a luxury, so I decided to try two recipes from Ottolenghi, plus one of my own.

The guests:

I had Pascal, Chloe, Sarah, and Francesa (don’t think you know her). Very fun crowd, lots of wine.

The Menu

Crunchy Orecchiette – typically served with Pappardelle and Broccoli Rabe but I thought it worked REALLY well with orecchiette and asparagus (harder to find rabe here). This was delicious – and I think kels would really like it.

Roasted eggplant with buttermilk sauce – i know you can’t have dairy so this may be a no-go, but if you want to splurge sometime, this is the one to do it with! It’s amazing. Definitely use all the recommended olive oil (even though it seems like a lot) and make sure to cook it for a long time (if anything I shouldve left mine in for longer). Hard to find za’atar, but it’s a GREAT spice, and you’ll use a lot. In France, they don’t have buttermilk, so you buy whole milk and then add lemon (or vinegar) to make it curdle

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Simple salad with heirloom tomatoes and fried mozza: I got great tiny heirloom tomatoes (they always have them here in all colors, they’re way cheaper than in the US, and they’re incredible). I got small ones and each person had 5 different colors of tomatoes on their plate. A mix of mache and arugula, simple balsamic vinaigrette. And then I made homemade fried mozzarella: sliced buffalo mozza, dipped in flour, the egg, than herb bread crumbs, and deep fried. This was awesome. 

 

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Cooking again – FINALLY! Dinner 2

So Thursday morning I woke up and finished cleaning from the night before, and then got cooking immediately when I got home b/c I was having Alex and Mathilde over for a reunion from the carib. As you know, mathilde is IMPOSSIBLE to cook for bc she eats nothing.


 Dinner 2


 

The menu I settled on: 

Penne alla vodka with Pancetta – which you know so well

Simple salad with heirloom tomatoes and fried mozza (see previous post)

And lots of delicious italian hors d’oeuvres: green olives (yum – so into these now), marinated mushrooms, pecorino cheese, etc.

Very simple – incredibly fast and easy – and really good! Mathilde ate everything (even though she did tell me once she was done that she noticed the onions 🙂 ).

 

German dinner for one

I got home at 11:30 from band practice last week and made this simple meal for one, but it was actually great.

At the gourmet grocery stores here, they sell “Spaetzle” – a german egg pasta, which I wonder if they sell it in Whole Foods because it is a pain to make homemade (our au paires used to make it when we were little) and this grocery store version is very good. Spaetle is the best.

So i sauteed the spaetzle in 1/2 walnut oil , 1/2 butter (you can use anything), grated lots of emmenthal/swiss cheese on top (optional), and then added my new favorite perfectly fried egg. You need to make this perfectly fried egg.

This dish would also be delicious without the added dairy (e.g. cheese), if you can find the Spaetzle, and it’s so so good and easy.

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A good life

Got home at 10 from work, exhausted, so I made something fancy

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* fancy meal (Rice Krispies and Cheerios)
* fancy beverage (Brooklyn IPA)
* vampire diaries
* self manies

Life in France

The perfect fried egg

Last week, I read that starting your day with an egg is super good for you; and the I read about how to make the perfect fried egg on Food52. Both have resulted in a life changing new morning.

Instructions: heat cast iron pan (like the le crueset one) on high for one minute, add a pat of butter, and crack the egg in the pool of (now melted) butter. Pour in a small amount of water (about a half tbsp), turn to medium heat, and cover the pan for 30 seconds (or to your liking) to let the egg steam!!

When the white is set (and I usually wait a few seconds longer so yolk is still runny but needs to be cracked), slide onto a plate (it really slides!) and salt and pepper.

This one is a bit more well done that you may like, but perfect for me:

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White bean, hazelnut soup and gruyere rosemary loaf

A few weeks ago, I tried two recipes:
* a white bean, hazelnut and celery soup from Barbara Lynch’s Stir
* a rosemary gruyere loaf from Ottolenghi (his free recipe app)

I had Sarah and Chloe over (what else is new) and it was our mini holiday dinner

First – if you haven’t cooked ottolengi’s stuff before, you should definitely check it out – really awesome stuff.

The soup was pretty easy, except there are a number of accoutrements that can make it time intensive – but so delicious. The hazelnut oil really makes the soup, and instead of making homemade mini raviolis to add on top I bought these mini spaetlzle and sautéed them in the hazelnut oil, which was way easier and also delicious.

The loaf – great for a crowd, and I love dishes that you put in the oven as a last step, as it lets you get all your ducks in a row before people arrive. So I used rosemary, gruyere, and roasted tomatoes but you can definitely substitute the gruyere for something else and it will still be delicious (the recipe even suggests this).

the good
I loves the eggy-ness of the loaf, and the combo of a silky smooth soup with all the yummy stuff on top.
the bad
I strained the soup per babs’s instructions, but it was so thick that this took awhile and left me with a lot of goop that I threw away.

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