a little of this and that
In hindsight, the fritter batter was too thick; it needed to be thinned out with more milk. As you can see from the ingredient list, the only flavoring for this dish comes from salt, cayenne pepper, and garlic, which left the final product lacking in taste. If I were to make these again I would add Old Bay Seasoning and green onion for flavor and color. A little zhuzhing would help make this a tastier dish.
This past Friday I made Marcella Hazan’s recipe for red clam sauce. For the recipe you’ll need one dozen little neck clams, fresh garlic, olive oil, anchovy fillets or paste, fresh parsley, canned Italian tomatoes chopped, salt, fresh pepper and spaghettini.
When I make clam sauce, I usually sauté garlic in olive oil with some red pepper flakes and canned chop clams. However, Marcella’s had a few more layers of flavors that I thought would enhance the sauce. Instead of fresh clams I opted for chopped canned and for the tomatoes I tried a brand called Mutti. It took approximately 10 minutes to prepare the sauce and another 25 minutes for it to simmer and meld the flavors together. Also, as I was using canned clams, I added those approximately five minutes before the pasta was done just to heat them through.
The sauce was delicious and fresh tasting. My husband, who dislikes anchovies, couldn’t even detect the small amount that was added to the sauce. Overall, a wonderful recipe by Marcella Hazan.
I had purchased dates for a date and nut loaf that I made for a friend. I still had some dates remaining when I came across a recipe by Yewande Komolafe of The New York Times for Pan-Seared Chicken with Harissa, Dates and Citrus. I have never used harissa before and was curious about this ingredient. Harissa is a hot chili paste made with roasted peppers, Baklouti peppers, spices such as garlic, caraway and coriander seeds, cumin, curry and olive oil. You’ll also need, navel oranges, honey, cumin, fresh garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, kosher salt, shallots, medjool dates, scallions, chicken stock, fresh lime juice, labne or full-fat plain yogurt and fresh dill.
For this recipe I opted to use bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. The orange is peeled into strips and a cup of juice is squeezed from the oranges. Next, the chicken is marinated in a mixture of harissa, honey, cumin, garlic, some olive oil, and a bit of fresh orange juice. Cooking begins by adding olive oil to a pan and caramelizing the shallots, dates and orange peel that have been seasoned with salt. Chopped scallions are added and cooked with the rest of the ingredients for one minute; all are removed to a waiting dish.
Next, the remaining olive oil is added and the chicken pieces are cooked until golden brown. The remaining liquids are added and the chicken finishes cooking. The shallot mixture is added back to the pan and cooked until tender. The dish is finished with lime juice and seasonings adjusted.
This was a scrumptious meal. The blend of flavors was delightful and not too spicy. I served the chicken with white rice. The sauce was fabulous, you could really taste all the flavors when eaten with just the rice. Did I mention this recipe takes just 40 minutes, great for weeknight meals.
Speaking of quick recipes, I babysit one day a week for my granddaughter. After a busy day with her, I like to come home to a quick meal that would take little thinking or prep. Enter Sam Sifton of The New York Times and his recipe for Pastrami-Spiced Steak with Charred Cabbage. This 35-minute recipe came together in a jiff and I recommend it to anyone that wants a home cooked meal with minimal effort. For the recipe you’ll need smoked or sweet paprika, light brown sugar, ground coriander, onion or garlic powder, kosher salt, strip steaks, mayonnaise, grape seed or neutral oil, green cabbage, garlic cloves and spicy brown or Dijon mustard.
I purchased a bag of shredded coleslaw in lieu of a head of cabbage, which made prep time that much quicker. As I was using one steak for the recipe, I prepared half the amount of seasoning. For the spice mixture, I used smoked paprika and a combination of both the garlic and onion powders. The steak is coated on all sides with the seasoning blend. In order to get a nice sear on both sides of the meat, mayonnaise is coated on one side before being placed in a non-stick skillet for cooking. Once the steak is placed in the pan, the other side is smeared with the mayo.
The cooking method for this steak is a skillet over high heat, turning the steak every 2 minutes until the internal temperature registers between 120° to 125°. Make sure you use tongs to turn the meat and grab just the outer edges to avoid scraping off any of the seasoning rub. Once the meat hits temperature, remove to a dish and keep warm. In the same pan, cook the cabbage with a little oil and garlic until charred and crisp tender. Grab a piece of steak and a bit of cabbage, dip into mustard of choice and savor the luscious flavors of the meat. What a wonderful dish. I will say, my husband thought the steak could have used a heavier hand with the seasoning, but that didn’t deter us from enjoying such a marvelous meal.
“Library at Vendue Inn,"
19 Venude Range, Charleston
“Signature Tastes oil Charleston,”
Steven W. Siler, Signature Tastes Cookbooks
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 whole eggs, beaten
1-1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup yellow onion, small dice
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1-pound cooked shrimp
1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley
Thin Spaghetti with Red Clam Sauce
“The Classic Italian Cook Book,”
By Marcella Hazan
© 1973, Alfred A. Knopf
1 dozen small littleneck clams
1-1/2 teaspoons garlic chopped fine
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped anchovy fillets pr anchovy paste
1-1/2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 cups canned Italian plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped with their juice
Freshly ground pepper, about 6 twists of the mill
Set the clams in a large basin or sink filled with cold water. Let stand for 5 minutes, then drain and refill the basin with clean water. Scrub the clams vigorously with a coarse, stiff brush or by rubbing them one again the other. When they all scrubbed, drain and fill basin again with clean water. Repeat these steps for 20-30 minutes, until you see that the water in the basin remains clear. Transfer the cleaned clams to a bowl
Pan-Seared Chicken with Harissa, Dates and Citrus
By Yewande Komolafe
The New York Times|Cooking
Time: 40 minutes
1 to 2navel oranges
¼ cup harissa
1 tablespoon honey
1teaspoon ground cumin
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed with the flat side of a knife
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 small bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (2½ to 3 pounds)
Kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal)
6 whole shallots, quartered lengthwise
1 cup pitted medjool dates, halved
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and cut into 1½-inch pieces
1 cup chicken stock, store-bought or homemade
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
¼ cup labne or full-fat plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup chopped fresh dill
Pastrami-Spiced Steak with Charred Cabbage
The New York Times, “What to Make Next Week”
February 18, 2023
Time: 35 minutes
1 teaspoon smoked or sweet paprika
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon onion or garlic powder
Kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal) and black pepper
2 (1-inch-thick) strip steaks (1½ to 2 pounds total)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
For the Cabbage
2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as grapeseed
1-pound green cabbage, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces, leaves separated
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
Spicy brown or Dijon mustard, for serving
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A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.