Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Broiled okra and shishitos

The gchat conversation between me and Lester as I was leaving the office this evening:

me: what are you thinking for dinner?
Lester: not sure
we have quite a few things but I am short of ideas
could do something with the okra and shishitos, or eggplants
me: yeah let's do the broiled okra + shishitos :)
Lester: okey dokey
me: and maybe something with the polenta to go with it?
Lester: exactly what I was thinking
me: maybe with garbanzos?
Lester: again... exactly what I was thinking
me: so you do have ideas :)
Lester: roast garbanzos and baked polenta
me: yep
Lester: I'll get the oven on

That's pretty much the recipe, but I'll spell it out anyway. Toss garbanzos and polenta slices in olive oil, and bake at 400 for 15-25 minutes until starting to brown. Toss whole okra and shishito (or padron) peppers in olive oil, and broil for 8-10 minutes. Sprinkle everything with sea salt and eat.

The okra and shishitos were inspired by an appetizer we had at Pizzaiolo on Friday, as part of my "hooray I've finally submitted a paper!" dinner. They baked theirs in the wood-fired oven, but other than that their results and ours were pretty much the same: totally simple, and totally delicious. I expect nothing less from Pizzaiolo, of course, because pretty much everything about that place makes me happy. (Great coffee and internet in the morning, great dinner and cocktails at night!) But it's nice to see that you can get almost identical results without the fancy oven, so there's really no reason not to do this all the time while the ingredients are in season.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Empanadas with pepper sauce

I made this pepper sauce a couple days ago, tossed in a can of black beans, served it over fried polenta rounds, and topped it with grated cheddar and avocado slices. That's a good meal.

So good, I had to make the sauce again. And then I had to make some finger food to go with it to take to John&Christina's martini science party. I found this empanada dough that has a bit of polenta in it, since the sauce went so well with polenta before. It makes empanadas that are pretty crunchy, but also a little bit soft and a little bit flaky.

800g bread flour
200g polenta
2/3 c olive oil
1 stick butter, melted
2/3 c dry white wine
1 t sugar
~2/3 c hot water
semolina for dusting
1 egg, beaten

Mix everything except the water in a bowl. Knead in the water a little bit at a time, adding just enough to make the dough hold together. Cover and let rest while you make the filling and sauce (an hour or two). When you're ready to form the empanadas, preheat the oven to 425F and line baking sheets with parchment. Chop the dough into 64 pieces (just keep subdividing). Roll each dough bit into a 3" round (the size of the dumpling maker), fill it with about a tablespoon of filling, and pinch it closed with the dumpling maker. Brush with egg and bake for 15-20 min until golden.

4 cloves garlic, minced
canola oil
2 carrots
1 lb red cabbage
1 can black beans
5 green onions, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
1/2 t each coriander, cumin, and oregano
8 oz grated cheddar+gruyere

Grate the carrots and cabbage (eg in the food processor). Saute the garlic over medium-low heat, then add the carrots, cabbage, and black beans. Cook, covered, until soft, adding the green onions and spices partway through. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Grate the cheese (you don't even have to wash the food processor first) and stir it into the veggies. Adjust the spices, remembering that the empanadas will be dipped in the sauce.

canola oil
1 medium red onion
2 jalapeno and/or aji lucento peppers
1 unidentified, medium-spicy purple pepper
1 green poblano pepper
1 medium red bell pepper
4 assorted tomatoes

Chop everything into small dice, and heat some oil over medium heat. Saute the onion, then add the spicy peppers, then the sweet peppers, then the tomatoes, sauteing for 5 min between each addition. Simmer, uncovered, until the tomato juice is reduced to a nice thick sauce. Add a dash of salt; it shouldn't need anything else. Blend if you're using it as a dipping sauce, or don't bother if you're just glopping it on something.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A week of food in Seattle: James and Margo's wedding edition

I bet you want that wedding cake post, right? Well, turns out I was far too busy making the cakes to take pictures of them too. I'll post something as soon as I get the official-wedding-photographer photos from Elise and Jrd, I promise. In the meantime, here's what I did the rest of the week—thanks everyone for a great trip!
  • padron peppers from Pike Place for a tapas dinner at SarahS and Brandon's
  • pho at Pho Than Bros before borrowing hours at Michelle's
  • coffee and editing at Trabant, Stumptown, and Solstice throughout the week
  • pretty good bagel and very good lentil soup at Eltana
  • grilled fajitas at DavidS and Cat's with Jill
  • lunch at Google Fremont with DavidS
  • lovely night out: aged la biciclette in a tiny bottle and fun bathrooms at Canon, dinner at one of those Ethiopian places by 12th and Jefferson, and blues dancing at Waid's with Brandi, Peter, SarahS, William, DavidP, Jones, and Sabo
  • ramen at Samurai Noodle with Lester before I scooted off to a belly dance class
  • pies and pints at Pies and Pints with a crowd of wabis
  • morning coffee with Lester at Anchored Ship, which is adorable in the best Seattle way
  • fantastic dinner of oysters (best was Eagle Rock), smoked trout, smelt, salad, goat cheese & figs, and doughnut-like fried rhubarb with SarahS and Lester (who chose the best cocktail, the mustache ride) at The Walrus and the Carpenter after day 1 of cakemaking
  • delicious veggie shawarma at Petra with SarahO before strolling back along the Elliot Bay Trail to finish day 2 of cakemaking
  • a wonderful wedding! (with wonderful catering by James's aunt)
  • dinner with Marcus, Gaby, and Lester at Tamarind Tree squeezed in after a day of post-wedding hangouts
  • surprisingly good salmon pesto sandwich at Madison Diner while showing Lester around Bainbridge Island
  • nachos at College Inn Pub with lots of folks before heading off to the airport