March 17, 2005
Dinner last night
Shawna was with us and what could be better than a vegetarian cookfest with Joelle and Marshall leading the way and Sarah photographing everything. We made:
- Celery root, fennel, and fava beans: Could not be simpler. Warm a little olive oil (preferably the olive oil on top of the salted lemons), add a little sliced garlic, and throw in chunks of peeled celery root, fresh fennel, and chopped salted lemons, with a little water and black pepper. If using fresh fava beans, add them at this time. No salt needed since the lemon is salty. If using frozen fava beans (I got lovely bright green ones in Chinatown), add after 20 minutes. Simmer on medium heat so that the liquid will reduce and the celery root thickens the mixture. Prepare this dish with fresh artichokes if you have them. An Algerian Jewish speciality for Passover.
- Roasted beets and carrots: Peel and dice beets (1/2 inch dice). Scrape and roll cut thin carrots into small pieces but larger than the beets, which take longer to cook. Place in a shallow pan in a single layer, with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Roast 30 minutes at 450, tossing once. If not tender, cook a little longer. The dry heat concentrates the flavors. Serve with a little pomegranate molasses, salt, pepper, and fresh coriander.
- Bitter melon: Marshall is fussy about this, very precise, and the result was delicious. I found four small, pale, slender bitter melons in Chinatown. Slice in the length, scrape out the seeds, and slice thinly (3/8 inch slices) to form half moons. Heat a little oil, gently saute a little garlic, toss in the bitter melon, add a little sesame oil and a little hot chili oil (or a little crushed chili), and a tsp of fermented black beans, plus a little light soy. Cook till just barely cooked, so the bitter melon remains bright green and crisp. Delicacy is the key. This lot, pale green and small, was not particularly bitter. Marshall and I had it all to ourselves and we ate the whole thing.
- Swiss chard and chick peas: Joelle says that this dish, plus her cumin carrots and her cardoons, is what made Marshall fall in love with her. Thinly slice the stalks and saute with garlic in a little olive oil. Roll up the leaves and finely slice them. Add to the pan and saute till just cooked through, but still bright green. Add cooked, drained chick peas, salt, and pepper.
- Fresh shitake and oyster mushrooms: Wash, slice, and saute in a little olive oil. Cover to release moisture. Then uncover to reduce a little. Add salt and pepper.
- Black longevity rice: Fragrant and dramatic.
- Roasted cauliflower: Break up into small florets, toss in a little olive oil, and roast at 450F uncovered till done, but still firm and browned, about 25 minutes. Do a little broiling toward the end if more browning needed.
- Salted lemons: Wash organic lemons and dry them. Cut three quarters down, from the bottom, in quarters. Fill the cracks with 1 tsp kosher salt. Press down into a jar to release the juice. Add lemon juice to cover. Seal jar. After about a week, lemons are ready to use. Cover with olive oil and refrigerate. Will age, cure, and change, always delicious no matter at what stage.
Posted by BKG at March 17, 2005 10:47 AM
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