Friday, December 18, 2020

Broccoli with fried shallots and olives



My father always combed the food pages of the New York Times and clipped recipes for my mom to try.  I have copies of some of those recipes, most notably, the Dutch baby pancake known and revered by Times readers as David Eyre's Pancake [my post is here, the recipe is here]  And I have recipe clippings of my own, from the many years when the Sunday Times appeared on our doorstep each week.  The Wild Mushroom and Green Peppercorn Meatloaf has been a family favorite for at least a quarter of a century.

These days we don't subscribe to the newspaper but I follow the Cooking Section and several of the Times food writers on social media.  The recipes and food articles are behind the New York Times paywall, so I clicked sparingly to use my monthly allotment of free recipes.  Then I realized that the Times offers an annual subscription to their recipes on the New York Times Cooking site - also available as an app. 

I was delighted when Santa brought me a subscription for Christmas last year!  And I have loved discovering new recipes as well as exploring ones from their extensive archives.  In fact, I enjoyed the gift so much that I requested a renewal for Christmas this year.

This week my friends in the "Good Friends Good Food" blog group are all cooking a "holiday green vegetable."  The theme was chosen by yours truly, and even though I have been rather spotty in my group participation, I was happy to get in the kitchen with my fresh-from-the-farm-box broccoli and a recipe that the New York Times had recommended for Thanksgiving.

 n.o.e.'s notes:

Here is the recipe from The New York Times Cooking site.  (It is behind a paywall, but I think you can access several free recipes/articles from the Times each month.)  It's a Melissa Clark recipe, and her food is reliably tasty.

- The recipe has you fry shallots in olive oil for the topping, and the blanched broccoli is combined with olives and sliced garlic, and tossed with the shallot oil and optional sherry vinegar (to brighten the flavor, as Melissa Clark says).

 - I made 1/2 recipe, but used the full amount of oil and almost the full amount of shallots, because extra fried shallots is always a good idea.  At the end, I only used half of the oil to toss with the broccoli.

- I steamed rather than blanched my broccoli.

- The comments on the online recipe were helpful, including a suggestion to add a sliced almonds, browning them with the olives and garlic. 

 - I did toss with the optional sherry vinegar at the end, and would do that again.

the verdict:

We really loved this recipe!  It had a lot of depth of flavor, earthy from the olives, slightly sweet and toasty from the shallots, crunchy from the almonds.  I can see it at as a side dish at a holiday dinner where the main is a simple roast.  But maybe not if there are a lots of competing sauces and flavors on the plate from multiple dishes.

You can see other green vegetable posts from the bloggers of GFGF by visiting their blogs: Kayte, Peggy, Margaret,  Ulrike, Donna, Ellen

Friday, October 9, 2020

Tomato and Cheese Cobbler

I thought about it briefly, and decided there's no graceful way to explain an 8 year absence in posting to this blog, so I'm not even going to try.  

Recently some of my longtime blogging friends have started a project to cook with seasonal ingredients and post biweekly.  The group is called Good Friends Good Food, and every two weeks on a Friday the group posts recipes featuring that week's ingredient.  They invited me to join them, and I thought I'd give it a go. 

This week's ingredient is tomatoes.

Isn't summer produce the best? I know that it's now technically autumn, but I want to savor the summer flavors as long as my farm box has them available.  And here in the southern US the gardens are still going strong.

One of my favorite recipes for beautifully ripe tomatoes is this recipe for Tomato and Cheese Cobbler from Epicurious.  Tomatoes, cheddar cheese, thyme, and black pepper make for a great combination of flavors.  The dish is a wonderful side for simply grilled or roasted meat, and with a green vegetable or salad you have a beautiful meal.  This recipe has earned a spot in the regular rotation of summer cooking at our house.

n.o.e. notes:

- This recipe is perfect if you have a bounty of tomatoes to use.  

- Once you drain a little excess moisture from the tomatoes, the assembly is a snap.  

- You can make the biscuits ahead of time, keep them cold in the fridge, and pop them on top just before you bake the cobbler.  

- I made a gluten-free version of the biscuits by using King Arthur Flour's Measure for Measure flour.

- I used my biscuit/scones butter trick: I freeze the stick of butter and then grate it frozen and add to the dry ingredients.  It keeps the butter cold and helps prevent over-handling of the dough. 

- You can use a round biscuit/cookie cutter or a straight sided drinking glass to cut the biscuits.  The secret to tall biscuits is to NOT twist the cutter - just use a straight up and down motion.  If you twist, you will seal the edges and the biscuits will not rise to their true and rightful height.

- I love making this dish in a cast iron skillet

- While the recipe definitely tastes best right from the oven, we are always happy to have it as leftovers.


Here are links to the other tomato posts from the Good Friends, Good Food group:

Kayte’s Taco Tomatoes

Margaret’s Tomato, Sausage & Eggplant Soup

Donna's Air Fryer Grilled Tomatoes

Peggy’s Tomato Pie

Ulrike’s Baked Aubergine with Pasta and Tomatoes