Monday, September 24, 2012

Fall Cooking Series at PCC

Check out this page to read about and sign up for my Fall Cooking Series, starting in October!

Thanks to Paula Thomas for this image taken in my Ceramic/Cooking class at Pottery Northwest: Flavor, Form & Function; The Art of Food Presentation

Harvest Dinner at Milbrandt Winery

Saturday, October 6th in Prosser, Washington at the Milbrandt Winery.

 Menu as Follows 
(subject to change with availability of ingredients)

Parsnip and Pear bisque, Crispy Shallots,  Arugula Emulsion
Traditions Riesling

Socca Crepe, Shaved Apple Herb Salad, Fennel Pollen Yogurt
The Estates Ancient Lakes Riesling

Heirloom Tomato Panzanella, Melon, Purple Shiso, Feta, Saba
The Estates Evergreen Chardonnay

Chili and Cumin rubbed Pork Tenderloin
Green Chili Bread Pudding
Grilled Nectarines
Sarsaparilla Gastrique

Pistachio Financiers, Grilled Figs, Mascarpone Cardamom Anglaise
The Estates Ice Riesling & Vineyard Series Mosaic

Love to play with your hands?

Consider taking my Ceramic/Cooking class that will explore Flavor Form & Function: The Art of Food Presentation Wednesdays from 6-9 pm beginning October 3 to December 5th

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pasta Fazool

This is one of those delicious soups that gets better while it sits overnight in your fridge.
All the flavors and the herbs bloom into the broth beautifully.

Now understand that all things are not exact. That is exactly what makes it such a wonderful dish.
Make it your own with your own preferences of flavors. LOVE Garlic, then add a bit more! LOVE rosemary, then adjust it accordingly. I would taste this dish as i made it to get the flavors to where i wanted them, if its not quite right another pinch of salt, grinding of black pepper, bit more fresh thyme and a squeeze of a lemon always got me there...oh, and most importantly, i finished it with dollop of butter...but don't tell the Italians that! 

When I got an order I started by sautéing bacon in a dab of butter, then added the escarole and a pinch of garlic, then added in some fresh thyme and rosemary, sautéed a bit then added chicken stock to the vegetable base we had sautéed the day before....then I add pasta and the white beans that has already been cooked. Once it was hot I then finished with a tad of butter. Of course salt and pepper is added through out the process and adjusted at then could simplified this by cooking it all at once, we wanted to have the options open for the vegetarian & vegans........if you want to pick my brain more on the nuances feel free...i was very organic about how this was made.

let's attempt to give you a real recipe here:

1 cup diced Bacon - we used Hemplers (
2 cups Yellow Onion julienned
1 cup Fennel Bulb julienned
1 cup Celery julienned
1 1/2 cup Carrot julienned
1 T Fresh Garlic minced
2 t. Fresh Thyme minced fine
2 t. Fresh Rosemary minced fine
S & P

Lemon juice
1 head of Escarole Chopped - this cooks down considerably
2-3 cups Cannellini or white beans cooked or if canned, rinsed and drained
Cooked Pasta shells
3 qts. Broth (Chicken or Veg depending on your eating habits)
Parmesan Reggiano

Now here is where it will be different depending on how you eat.
If i was making this at home i would start by sautéing the bacon in the pan before the onions to release all that yummy salty fat!

When the bacon looks about 1/2 cooked add your onions and cook for 5 minutes on medium low...then add everything else up to the lemon juice. I love to sauté my herbs in the hot fat as it releases their essential oils and it makes the whole house smell amazing….as if the bacon and onions had not already done that!

Go ahead and sauté just until you feel the garlic has been cooked enough, but do not brown it!
Then add your broth and make sure you scrape the bottom of the pot to release any bits of fond!
Now we would just bring it to a boil and then remove the veggies from the broth to cool so they did not become mushy. Once the veggies and liquid were cooled we married it back to the broth and let rest in fridge over night. I looked for translucency in the celery and a little tooth left on my carrot because we always cooked this dish again to order. This way we could preserve those wonderful textures and ensure the pasta did not turn to mush. I also never did the bacon step until it was ordered so that we could keep it veg/vegan depending on the customer.

If you are going to serve it right away then add your escarole towards the end, again, i love my textures. If you prefer it softer then add it with your broth or just before and sauté it with the other vegetable. 

Add the cooked pasta and beans at the end and more broth if necessary. I liked it loose but not too brothy... like the ratio you get with a bowl of Pho.

I LOVE butter, i use it interchangeably with oil when i am not doing things in smoking hot pans. I admit, this dish had some lovely butter as one of its flavor profiles!

FINALLY, finish your soup with a dollop of butter and garnish with FRESH Parmesan Reggiano. It makes a difference, really! Use the good stuff here please! I learned how to make a variation of this at my first restaurant job in a little place called Georgina’s Italian Kitchen on Capitol Hill in Seattle. Sadly it’s not there any more, but thank you Tony for taking that chance on me and hiring a green cook! : )