Monday, August 30, 2010

Avgolemono Soup ( Greek Egg Lemon Soup)

Avgolemono Soup
( Greek Egg Lemon Soup)
6 servings
This is our interpretation of a soup we first enjoyed at "The Greek Streak" restaurant in Price, Utah and, subsequently, in many other Greek restaurants around the country.  While its a quick and easy soup be sure to adhere to the directions on "tempering" the eggs; if the broth is too hot or you don't pour them in slowly you'll end up with lemon flavoured, Greek egg drop soup instead of a smooth Avgolemono Soup.
 2 quarts chicken broth
2/3 cup orzo
3 eggs
Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
1.  Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in the orzo, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until pasta is done. Turn off the heat, keeping the pan in its place.
2.  Place the eggs in a clean bowl and beat just well mixed. Continuing to beat, gradually add the lemon juice.
3.  When the broth cools to about 160 degrees F temper the beaten eggs by slowly adding about 3 cups of the hot chicken broth them, beating as you add the broth in a very thin stream.
4.  Using a large fork, vigorously stir the orzo and remaining hot broth in an S pattern while quickly pouring all of the egg/lemon mixture into the saucepan.
5.  Keep the pan warm over very low heat, and stir in an S pattern until the soup thickens slightly and the froth is broken down. Serve hot.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Spezzatino Rosso Italiano

Spezzatino Rosso Italiano
(Italian Red Stew)
serves 4 to 6
This is one of those meals that my mom would  make on  a  regular basis and which we, her kids,  never paid much attention to the recipe  for . . .  it was just always there.   When we were older and asked for a recipe, as with so many dishes  from an Italian-American kitchen  she would say "un po 'di questo e un po 'di quel" (a little  of this and a little of that).   This is my interpretation  of her non-recipe,  I  hope it does her honour.
1 pound beef stew meat
5 medium red potatoes, sliced into quarters and then each quarter in halves or thirds depending on the size of the potatoes 
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled  and chopped
1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut into  8 wedges
1 large celery stalk, cut into 1/4-inch crescents
1 cup baby carrots, cut into 1-inch  pieces
3/4 cup pitted, whole Kalamata olives
8 white mushrooms, quartered
1 cup beef broth
1 cup red wine
1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes (San Marzano if you can find  them), roughly crushed by hand
4 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1.  Combine the flour, cayenne, black pepper, and the salt  in a large (1 gallon) re-sealable  bag, massage to evenly distribute the ingredients.  Add the stew meat and shake/massage to evenly coat the  meat.
2.  In a medium sized pot bring 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil to the ripple stage over medium high heat, add the stew meat from plastic bag and brown the meat thoroughly.
3.  When beef is  thoroughly browned, add the beef broth stirring  to incorporate the beef "bits" sticking  to the bottom  of the pot (deglazing).
4.  Stir in the tomatoes and the red wine.
5.  Add the onion, garlic, carrots, potatoes, and celery.  Stir to distribute. 
6.  Reduce the heat to achieve an even simmer, cover and continue cooking until the potatoes begin to soften, about 1 1/2 hours.
7.  Continue cooking  for an additional 1/2 hour until the carrots and potatoes are cooked through, add the mushrooms in  the last 15 minutes before serving.
8.  Correct seasoning and serve accompanied by grated Parmesan and crusty Italian or French bread.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Farfalle alla Caprese (Farfalle with Tomatoes and Basil)

Farfalle alla Caprese
(Farfalle with Tomatoes and Basil)
serves 4 to 6
Farfalle alla Caprese is a light summertime supper dish from the Southern Italian Island of Capri which  marries the bright flavours of sun-ripened Roma tomatoes with the bite of fresh garlic, the sweet taste of basil, and the mellow flavour of extra-virgin olive oil.
1 pound Farfalle

3 large firm Roma tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice
4 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1 pound fresh mozzarella ball, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
20 small fresh basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon coarse Kosher or sea salt (or to taste)
1.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  When the water comes to a rolling boil toss in the Farfalle and cook per package instructions until al dente, about 10 minutes.
2.  Meanwhile while the Farfalle is cooking, begin the sauce.  In a large bowl combine the olive oil, the garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, the diced tomatoes and the diced mozzarella.
3.  When the pasta reaches the al dente stage reserve 1/2 cup of the hot, pasta water and drain the pasta.  Add it to the bowl with the other ingredients and toss to thoroughly combine.   Add 1/4 cup of the hot, reserved pasta cooking water and continue tossing.  The pasta should look rather "tight" and the mozzarella should begin to melt (if it hasn't add a little more of the reserved hot water but not too much, this pasta should be rather "tight").  Garnish by distributing the basil leaves over the pasta, adjust seasoning, and serve immediately.

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