Nobu’s wonderful Asian Vinaigrette

Denver has recently gotten one of Nobu’s restaurant, Matsuhisa. This is the house vinaigrette which I am very fond of as a salad dressing or a dip for crudités. It keeps very well in the refrigerator and gets better as it ages!

3⁄4 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons water
1⁄2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 pinch sea salt
1⁄4 teaspoon mustard powder
1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 teaspoons grapeseed oil
4 teaspoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce

Combine the onion, rice vinegar, water, granulated sugar, pinch of sea salt, mustard, ground black and ground black pepper in a bowl.
Stir until the salt and mustard have dissolved.
Add the grapeseed and sesame oils and soy sauce and mix well.

Salsa Verde

We were recently in San Francisco and had dinner at Jonathan Waxman’s in Ghirardelli Square. All of our food was excellent but my nephew Alex, out ordered all of us with the signature chicken and salsa verde! It is a condiment that would go with almost anything! Chock full of herbs, capers and anchovies, it is easy to make. I did not use sage as I do not like it. I am sure you can mix up the herbs to your liking or what it available. I hope you will try this wonderful condiment!
salsa-verde-jw
1 tablespoon capers
2 anchovy fillets
3 cloves garlic (peeled, green germ removed)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
¼ cup arugula, chopped
¼ cup basil leaves, chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon tarragon leaves
1 tablespoon fresh chives
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Meanwhile, make the salsa verde. Rinse capers in cold water, then drain. Soak anchovies in cold water for 5 minutes, then pat dry and remove the bones. Using a mortar and pestle (or a small mixer if you are in a hurry), smash the capers, anchovies and garlic with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl. Add all the herbs and remaining olive oil. (The mixture should be chunky, not oily.) Season with sea salt.

Easy Caponata

From David Leibowitz’s blog-one of my favorite end of the summer dishes!
Caponata is meant to be a touch sweet, a tad vinegary. I added more than Fabrizia but since vinegars can vary in strength, you can taste and add more later in the game. The original recipe made quite a bit of caponata and and I reduced the recipe by half. (Some might say you can never have enough caponata, but because of the concentrated flavors, a little goes a long way.) It keeps very well in the refrigerator, so if you wish you can double the recipe.
Easy caponata
3 branches celery (tough outer strings removed, if necessary)
Vegetable oil (or olive oil), about 1 cup (250ml), for frying
1 pound (450g) eggplant
salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup (60g) green olives, pitted and very coarsely chopped (about in thirds)
2 tablespoons (30g) capers, rinsed and squeezed dry
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (225ml) best-quality tomato sauce
3 tablespoons (40ml) wine vinegar, red or white
1/2 tablespoon honey (or sugar)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Chopped flat-leaf parsley or mint, for serving
1. Remove the leaves from the celery branches and cut the branches into 1/2-inch (1,25cm) thick slices. Bring a medium sized pot of water to a low boil and simmer the celery until crisp-tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and rinse well in cold water. Set aside.

2. Trim the stems off eggplant and cut into 1-inch (3cm) pieces.

3. In a large, heavy-duty skillet (I used cast iron) heat 3/4-inch (2cm) of vegetable or olive oil. Cook the eggplant in batches, not crowding too many into the pan at once, turning them occasionally, until they are browned all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Season with salt, then fry the rest of the eggplant in batches, seasoning them with salt as you remove them from the oil. You’ll likely need to add more oil to the pan as you go. (I ended up using a total of 1 cup/250ml.)

4. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently until wilted and starting to turn golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the parboiled celery, olives, capers, tomato sauce, vinegar, honey, and red pepper flakes. Let come to a low boil then add the eggplant.

5. Cook the mixture at a simmer, stirring carefully so as not to mash up the eggplant pieces, for 3 to 4 minutes. Taste, and add additional salt if desired, and perhaps another splash of vinegar. Remove from heat and transfer the caponata to a large, shallow serving platter or bowl and cool.

Serving and storage: Caponata is best served the next day, so the ingredients and flavors have time to meld. Top with chopped flat leaf parsley or fresh mint. It also makes a nice topping for crostini: Pile it atop grilled bread that’s been brushed with olive oil before grilling,

Pesto

In the middle of winter, there is nothing better than finding organic basil for $3 at Trader Joes. Since basil doesn’t like to be refrigerated, I immediately made pesto! The smell takes me straight to summer basil harvests in my garden. It is so easy to make and delicious on everything!
Organic basil
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
2-4 T. cup pine nuts
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Pestojpg
Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.

If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.

Thanksgiving Menu

I love to cook the Thanksgiving meal! I have many fond memories of going to both of my grandparents and my aunts house for the holiday. We rarely have any family here but always feel so fortunate when we do!
David and Jer
Scalloped Oysters (my grandmothers recipe on this blog)
Roast Turkey
Wild Rice Pilaf with Pecans and Cranberries
Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic
Sausage Stuffing with Caramelized Onions
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Raw Cranberry Orange Relish (my absolute favorite!)
Biscuits
Pumpkin Custard
Cherry Pie
Thanksgiving 2015
Cranberry Relish
1 navel orange, quartered (remove any seeds)
12 oz. cranberries, rinsed and picked over
3/4 c. sugar, or to taste
In a food processor chop the orange and add cranberries-pulse until fine. Add sugar.
Chill at least one hour. Keeps covered and chilled for 2 weeks!

Salsa Verde

This is a delicious sauce on almost anything-fish, pork, beef or lamb! There are a zillion variations but I used a recipe from Taste. There are many recipes that vary the herbs and also add a little bread for thickening. It is the perfect sauce for anything hot off the grill! This is a sauce you should make at least one hour but not more than few hours before serving so the flavor is fresh and the color vibrant.
Salsa verde
1 clove garlic
1 1/4 c. packed parsley leaves
1/4 c. mint leaves
1 anchovy, soaked in warm water for 5 minutes, drained and patted dry
1 T. capers
1 t. dijon
1 1/2 t. white or red wine vinegar
1/3 c. olive oil
Pulse garlic in a processor, add parsley, mint, anchovy,capers, dijon and vinegar. Pulse until smooth. Add olive oil until thick and blended. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Dukkah

My mother in law discovered dukkah ages ago and has given me some but I have never made it. Traditionally it is served alongside olive oil as a dip. This is an exquisite recipe from Nom Nom Paleo cookbook. I use it on meats and vegetables before and after grilling and on salads. It is a great condiment to add to your kitchen!
Dukkah
1/3 c. hazelnuts (it is a labor of love to skin but worth it)
1/4 c. coriander seeds
2 T. cumin seeds
1/3 c. raw sesame seeds
1/4 c. shelled, roasted pistachios (I used non salted and shelled them)
Preheat to 350 degrees with the rack in the middle position. Spread hazelnuts on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet and roast for 10-15 minutes, until golden and fragrant and the skins have split. Cool 5 minutes. Use a towel to rub off the papery hazelnut skins. Toast each of the seeds separately on low heat in a skillet, about one minute or until fragrant. Toast the sesame seeds until lightly brown and reserve 1 T. Add cooled hazelnuts and pistachios to the bowl of toasted seeds. Cool slightly and grind in small batches in a clean spice grinder. Mix in reserved whole sesame seeds. Will keep covered in the refrigerator for a few months!

Caponata

A friend mentioned she was making this and my mouth started watering! I love caponata plain or on grilled meat or fish or stirred into pasta. This recipe is from Canal House but I added some fennel and pine nuts. Also at the olive bar at Whole Foods there was an olive mix with currants in it so I used that and added some capers to it.
Caponata
1-2 large eggplant, cut into 1″ cubes
2 T. kosher salt
1/2 c. white wine vinegar
1 T. sugar
1/4 c. currants or raisins
3/4 c. olive oil
3 ribs of celery, large dice
1 head of fennel, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
4 anchovy filets, chopped
4 fresh tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 c. large green olives, pitted and halved
2 T. capers
1/4 c. toasted pine nuts
1 bay leaf
Pepper
Toss the eggplant with salt and drain in a colander for one hour. Pat dry with a paper towel. Combine vinegar, sugar and currants in a small bowl until currants are plump. Pat the eggplant dry and heat 1/2 cup of olive oil in a wide pot over medium high heat. Working in batches, fry the eggplant until browned on all sides. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Add remaining 1/4 c. olive oil and sauté onion, celery and fennel until soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in the anchovies. Add the tomatoes with any juices, olives, capers, bay leaf and pine nuts. Add the egg plant. Stir in the currants and vinegar. Simmer, stirring often until juices thicken a bit, 10-15 minutes. Season with pepper. Refrigerate for at least a day and up to a week. Remove bay leaf.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

My new favorite cookbook, River Cottage Veg is chock full of fabulous recipes. The pictures are so enticing, you want to make every recipe in the book! The tomato sauce is so simple and you do not need a food mill-I used a regular sieve and just pushed each roasted tomato through it. It is a very light sauce and the texture is silky. This sauce is a base for tomato mozzarella risotto (coming tomorrow!) ratatouille, and others. I think this is the best cookbook of the year!

Roasted tomato sauce

Makes about 2 cups

3-4# ripe tomatoes, larger ones halved

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

a few sprigs of thyme and marjoram

2 T. olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay tomatoes, cut side up on a baking sheet. Scatter over the garlic and herbs and trickle the oil. Season with plenty of salt and pepper.

Roast an hour, maybe longer, until tomatoes are completely soft and pulpy and starting to crinkle and caramelize on top. Set aside to cool for 30 min. Rub the pulp through a sieve or food mil into a large bowl. Discard skins and seeds. You can simmer sauce to reduce it as necessary.

Pickled Red Onions

I like onions but find them too strong when they are raw. I have seen people pour boiling water over them to soften the bite but I think this is the perfect method for a condiment for sandwiches, salads or meats. The recipe comes from The Sprouted Kitchen. The author is a successful blogger that turned into a cookbook author. Her book is beautiful and her husband takes all of the photos.

3/4 c. apple cider vinegar

2 t. sea salt

3 T. natural cane sugar

1 dried bay leaf

4 whole cloves

1 red onion, thinly sliced

Combine vinegar, salt, sugar, bay leaf and cloves in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium high until dissolved. Add the onion, stir and remove the pan from the heat. Let onions cool at room temperature or tranfer to a glass jar and refrigerate to speed  up the process.