Leek, Sun-Dried Tomato, and Goat Cheese Frittata

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By Alaina Sullivan

The frittata is an egg dish long-championed for its versatility and quick-to-fix prowess. Essentially scrambled eggs poured over a cast of fixings (think vegetables, meat, cheese), a frittata is an easy and complete meal—and a great way to use forlorn veggies in the back of your fridge. Unlike an omelet, it doesn’t require the dexterity of folding the mixture onto itself – it is content to lay flat and slowly immobilize its fillings (here, leeks, sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, and an impromptu scattering of pumpkin seeds) as the eggs set around them. Transferring the skillet from stovetop to broiler in the final minutes of cooking creates a unique, puffy egg dish with a deliciously browned top. Recipe from Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express.

 

Leek, Sun-Dried Tomato, and Goat Cheese Frittata

Cook the chopped white of two leeks with a handful of dried tomatoes (about 1 cup) in two tablespoons of butter (or olive oil); until softened; do not brown. Whisk together four eggs and some salt and pepper (and a splash of milk if you like) and pour over the leeks. Sprinkle with a handful of crumbled goat cheese (about 2-3 oz). Cover the pan and continue cooking until the eggs are set. Remove the pan from the heat, and put it under the broiler to brown for a minute before serving.

 

Posted in Recipes

Barley Risotto

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By Alaina Sullivan

Traditional risotto calls for Arborio rice or one of its short-grained cousins; I decided to try it with barley. Risotto-style barley has a more toothsome bite than the rice-based versions, but the process is the same—a ritual of stirring, adding liquid, more stirring, adding more liquid until the consistency turns rich and creamy. The cooking process requires a bit of a watchful eye – a few too many minutes on the stovetop and the grain might get overcooked (you want it to retain a slight crunch). I prepared the barley according to the directions for “Simple Risotto” How to Cook Everything. I folded in a trio of cooked mushrooms (cremini, shitake and portabella), added fresh thyme to complement their earthiness, and finished off the dish with grated manchego to give it that classic creaminess.

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Posted in Italian

Sesame Shrimp Toasts

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By Alaina Sullivan

Departing slightly from the traditional dim sum version, this shrimp toast is made up of thick shrimp paste baked (not fried) on top of crusty bread. Scallions, soy sauce and sesame oil provide the classic Chinese flavors (I added some garlic and ginger for good measure.) Sesame seeds, scattered over the top, toast in the hot oven until fragrant and crunchy.

The moisture from the shrimp paste will inevitably leech into the bread as it cooks, so it is important that you pre-toast the bread initially to avoid an overly soggy middle. However, part of the magic of the dish is how some of the juices seep through, forming a delicious glue that fuses the shrimp and the toast into one perfect bite. Recipe from Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express.  

Sesame Shrimp Toasts

Heat the oven to 475 degrees F. Slice a baguette in half lengthwise, put the halves face up on a baking sheet, and set them in the oven while it heats. Put shrimp (about 20) in a food processor with some butter, scallions, soy sauce (about 2 tsp), a few drops of sesame oil (about 1/2 tsp), and a pinch each of sugar and salt. Pulse until the mixture forms a chunky paste. Smear the shrimp past all over the bread and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake until the shrimp paste is pink and cooked through and the bread is crisp, about 10-15 minutes. Cool a bit, then cut up and serve with a salad.

 

Posted in Chinese, Recipes

Broiled Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnuts

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By Alaina Sullivan

Broiling Brussels sprouts evades the risk of turning them mushy by quickly rendering the sprouts crisp and charred. Simply dressed in olive oil, salt and pepper, it takes less than five minutes under the intense direct heat for the sprouts’ edges to crisp up (keep a close eye so they don’t burn). The high heat heightens the spicy-pungent flavor of the sprouts and makes for caramelized leaves that are slightly sweet.

Brussels sprouts have an inherent nutty quality as well, which makes chopped nuts a natural pairing. Hazelnuts work beautifully (in this batch I used walnuts). If you fancy a meaty component, fry some type of fatty pork – bacon, chorizo, pancetta, prosciutto – chop it up and toss with the nuts and sprouts in the final minutes of broiling. You’ll get an intensely savory melding of flavors, at once nutty, meaty, smoky and brightened at the very end with fresh lemon juice and parsley. Recipe from Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express.

Broiled Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnuts

Heat the broiler. Trim about a pound of Brussels sprouts and pulse in a food processor—or use a knife—to chop them up a bit. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with two tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss. Broil the sprouts for about five minutes, until browning on the edges. Meanwhile pulse a handful of hazelnuts (or chop them). Shake the pan to flip the sprouts, add the nuts and broil for another three minutes. Sprinkle with freshly squeezed lemon juice and plenty of fresh parsley.

 

Posted in Produce, Recipes

Curried Coconut-Butternut Squash Soup

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By Alaina Sullivan

Squash soups typically rely on a blender to give them a luxuriously creamy consistency, yet this version achieves richness without being pureed to a pulp. Small cubes of butternut squash are cooked in a milky-sweet broth, and they hold their shape all through cooking. The soup becomes creamy by way of coconut milk, which contributes a rich flavor without weighing it down. Curry, cinnamon and cumin spike the broth just enough to accent the squash without masking its natural flavor. The curry and coconut shine together as they usually do, but it’s the cinnamon that brings a warm, unexpected undertone to the dish. 

It’s a soup that sits in limbo somewhere between creamy and brothy, sort of the best of both worlds. Garnish with fresh cilantro or mint. Recipe from Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express.

Curried Coconut-Butternut Squash Soup

Cook two cups of chopped squash in a few tablespoons of vegetable oil, along with a diced onion, a teaspoon of cumin, a half teaspoon of cinnamon, and a teaspoon of curry powder (or more to taste). Cook the vegetables and spices until the onion is soft, about three minutes. Add five cups of chicken broth or water and a cup of coconut milk; bring to a boil and cook for about six minutes or until the squash is tender and easily pierced with a knife. Serve the soup topped with fresh cilantro and crusty bread or a scoop of rice.

 

Posted in Indian, Recipes

Lavender-Thyme Braised Chicken

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By Alaina Sullivan

Take away the skin and bones of a chicken breast and you’ve got a protein that is notoriously prone to becoming dry and flavorless. A quick braise can remedy that, especially when you do it with wine.

A wine braise renders chicken cutlets moist, tender and inebriated with a unique bright flavor. Riesling does the job here: It’s sweet and floral, and pairs well with fresh lavender, which you can use in both sweet and savory dishes. Here crushed lavender buds swim with twigs of thyme in the braising liquid, giving the chicken a rustic, woody flavor. Recipe from Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express.

Lavender-Thyme Braised Chicken

Season chicken cutlets with salt and pepper, then sear them in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil on both sides until brown, about four minutes total; set aside. Add a tablespoon more of olive oil or butter to the pan, along with some minced garlic, a tablespoon of crushed lavender flowers (or a tablespoon of finely minced fresh rosemary), and a teaspoon of fresh thyme; cook for about a minute. Add a half cup (or more) of Riesling and deglaze the pan. Add the chicken, cover; and continue cooking until it’s done, another four minutes or so. Spoon the sauce over the chicken.  

 

Posted in Recipes

3 Sandwiches You Might Want to Eat This Fall

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By Alaina Sullivan

Recipes from Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express

1) Kale + Prosciutto + Goat Cheese  — Crunchy, leafy, chewy and creamy — the range of textures makes each bite interesting, with the optional roasted red peppers adding a welcome touch of sweetness.

Kale and Prosciutto Sandwich

Roll four leaves of kale and slice them into half-inch ribbons. Cook in olive oil until wilted and softened; season with fresh lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Toast slices of sourdough or other good-quality bread; spread the toasts with goat cheese and a heaping spoonful of kale; top with a slice of prosciutto.

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Posted in Recipes

Flatbread Pizza with Figs, Goat Cheese, and Balsamic

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By Alaina Sullivan

There is nothing quite like a fresh fig. It’s delicate and sweet, with dark, chewy skin encasing a pulpy flesh that swims with tiny seeds. Fresh figs are best with simple, bold flavor pairings, and using them as a pizza topping is a genius way to savor the last of the season’s crop. Here, fig crescents are spread across a flatbread crust and baked at high heat until their flesh oozes out, warm and sweet. Dabs of creamy goat cheese melt alongside, the tang a pretty perfect complement to the figs. A splash of balsamic is the final touch. Sometimes only something this simple can be so insanely delicious. Recipe from Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express.

Flatbread Pizza with Figs, Goat Cheese, and Balsamic

Slice a couple of handfuls of figs into quarters. Brush olive oil on lavash or other flatbread and dot generously with goat cheese; spread the figs evenly on top of the cheese. Bake in a 450 degree oven until the cheese melts and the figs soften. Drizzle with a tiny bit of balsamic and serve.  

 

Posted in Italian, Recipes

Root Vegetable Stir-Fry

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By Alaina Sullivan

Roots are the gemstones of the vegetable clan. Unearthed from the soil they appear knobby and inedible, but pare away the tough exterior and you’ll uncover valuable flesh.

Grating transforms the roots from dense to delicate and readies them for a quick skillet stir-fry. Celeriac flesh shreds easily; sweet potato takes a little more elbow grease. With the beets, I opted to thinly slice rather than shred them to change up the texture a bit. I worked in three batches so that every ingredient would have a cheek against the hot skillet. As the beets cooked to an al dente tender-crisp, the shredded potatoes and celeriac became browned and soft.

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Posted in Produce, Recipes

Zucchini and Garlic Fusilli with Pistachios

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By Alaina Sullivan

Zucchini’s mildness makes it an ideal canvas for more aggressive flavors. Simply sautéing it with minced garlic catapults it from delicate to edgy – the recipe calls loosely for “some minced garlic,” and I added enough to stave off an entire swarm of vampires.

With “fragrant” mentioned twice in the recipe sketch, the smells are reason enough to cook this dish – the twin aromas of sautéing garlic and toasting pistachios wafting up from neighboring pans are incredible. Toasting the nuts is a step worth taking – it releases their natural oils, intensifying both flavor and crunch.

The zucchini is tossed with al dente fusilli, sprinkled with the pistachios, and served with parmesan and lots of black pepper. It’s a pretty perfect pasta to start out the fall.   Recipe from Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express.

Zucchini and Garlic Fusilli with Pistachios

Boil salted water for the fusilli and cook it; meanwhile, slice two zucchinis into thin disks. Toast a handful of pistachios in a dry pan until just fragrant and turning golden; set aside. Cook some minced garlic in a couple tablespoons of olive oil until fragrant, add the zucchini slices and two tablespoons water, season with salt and pepper, and cook until soft. Drain the pasta, reserving the cooking water. Toss the zucchini and garlic mixture with the pasta, adding more olive oil and water if needed; add the toasted nuts and serve with grated Parmesan cheese and plenty of freshly ground pepper. 

 

Posted in Italian, Recipes