It feels so great to be back in my kitchen! I spent the holiday with H and her family, had a great time, and even cooked a few things. But to be back with all my tools and ingredients feels supremely comforting. Anyway, I wanted to make something delectable to celebrate the occasion and pasta+braised meat always fits that bill.
Using thinly rolled fresh pasta, you can construct a simple lasagna that is really a masterpiece of textures, with flavors tucked within many silky layers of rich egg noodles. I braised some pork with fennel, basil, and fennel pollen, layered in some blanched spinach and cheese, and experienced true bliss. Impossibly light, decidedly complex, and thoroughly comforting, this was one of my best ever. FULL POST
This is probably one of H’s favorite meals of all time. She LOVES grilled cheese and tomato soup, and for today’s first snow of the season, I decided to bring this classic pairing up a couple notches. I personally don’t really care for tomato soup, so I added some fennel to make it a little more interesting. For the sandwich, I took the best melter of all eternity, Gruyere, and paired it with my sauteed garlic spinach for a nice acidic lusciousness.
The soup was very light but deep in flavor. There was a complexity that lingered on the palate that felt supremely comforting. And the sandwich, dunked in the soup, was just perfect. I used a smoked salt and rosemary compound butter on the bread that added nice woody accents. The spinach gave it what all good grilled cheese sandwiches need – acidity. Mustard, pickles, or tomato can all accomplish this, but the texture of the spinach was just divine. Yum! FULL POST
After making some fresh saffron Pappardelle, I was eager to put something luscious over top to experience it right. This certainly fit the bill, and came together in well under an hour. Using the magic of the pressure cooker, 35 minutes transformed the shanks I had into fall-apart tender beauty that melted in the mouth while the uniquely silky texture of the fresh pasta mopped it all up. Wow. FULL POST
I finally got the pasta roller attachment for my Kitchenaid and all I can say is that I should have gotten it years ago. I have made pasta on several different manual rollers and it has always been a chore. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a chore well worth it, but it’s messy and frankly tiring to the point that I seldom did it. No more.
The roller attachment powered by 600 watts of KA torque made the whole process easier than I could have imagined – and much cleaner. No more flour all over the place and a dent in the kitchen table from clamping down the rolling machine. And most importantly, no more starting over after a slight misalignment in feeding the dough. FULL POST
A coworker gave me some black bear meat from Vermont so naturally I needed to do something epic with it. My first thought was sous vide, but there are some parasite issues with bear meat in general that made this a less than ideal option. I’ve always been a fan of game meat chili, so this seemed like the best slow, well done option.
I was going to skip the beans and needed a bit more meat to make that happen, so I added some veal shanks. I also used maple sugar as a sweetener to keep things Vermont-like. Some smoked maple cheddar and sour cream completed the theme, and I threw in some sweet soy for umami. I served it with some blueberry jalapeno cornbread that I threw together and all in all, it was delish. FULL POST
Today was a great day. I got a lovely box in the mail as a gift (from myself )with the following treasures:
Fumee de sel (fleur de sel smoked with aged chardonnay oak barrels)
Maldon smoked salt
Japanese 7 spice
Oh the places I will go! I can’t wait to . . . → Read More: Early Christmas: Splendid Spices For New Adventures
I put this meal together to celebrate H finishing her grad school finals (only 1 more semester!) and it was a smashing success. Crazy delicious and unique flavors and textures really set this apart as “one of my best ever.”
I brined the chicken in an orange blossom infused solution with some utility saffron (cheapo no flavor stuff from the Armenian market) for a gorgeous color and floral accent that penetrated deep into the meat. Orange blossom is another thing you need to experience to understand – it is so incredibly floral and bright that it is unlike anything else, even fennel pollen. The two sides were simple and perfect accompaniment for one of the best chickens I have ever made. FULL POST
I wanted to end dinner in a special way for H since she just finished her grad school finals, and this fit the bill perfectly. I don’t usually freak out over desserts, but this was totally delicious – probably because of the savory character the butter brings to the table. I torched the pears with rye for a little extra complexity… not sure if it made an actual difference but it was a lot of fun. I put some apples in the bag too but since I completely winged the recipe, times and temp, the apples turned to complete mush…but the pears were perfect!
I had some garlic shrimp at a local pub called The Independent, and the next day I bought tapas pans and decided I needed to make them myself – they were that good. This is another super simple dish that shines with proper execution. Unfortunately, they are quite often overcooked and bland. This recipe will give you a technique for tender, flavorful shrimp, every time. FULL POST
A lot of people ask me “Rob, do you cook like that every day?” It’s an interesting question, because I don’t really think of it as cooking “like that”. I just love to cook! Sometimes it’s complicated, but more often than not, it’s crazy simple. This dish is a perfect example. Super fresh, bright flavors ring . . . → Read More: Breakfast: Eggs, Chevre, Shoots, Tomatoes