Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snapper with orange-fennel salsa, lemony quinoa and salad

On my usual Saturday morning grocery excursion I noticed them back in season: blood oranges. Ooo!! Then I remembered I had half a fennel bulb in the fridge leftover from a Mario Batali recipe last week and instantly put this on the menu.

Suffice to say I made mimosas out of most of the blood oranges, but you only need a couple for this recipe. And of course, you can use regular old oranges as I do most of the time. But aren't they cool?? I found this recipe on a few years ago after receiving a fennel bulb in my farm share one week and having absolutely no idea what to do with it. It's one of the only recipes I follow to the letter - I wouldn't even know where to begin on improving it, it's pretty much perfect. It's quite elegant too, making it great for company, especially since you can have your salsa and sides ready to go and all you have to do at the last minute is grill your pretty fish.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lentil soup

Earlier this week, I embarked upon the last year of my twenties. I am tickled to say my husband has perfected his gift-selecting skills rather early in this marriage: a set of adorable little measuring cups, a pretty top from Anthropologie, box of fancy chocolates, and the "How to Cook Everything" and "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian" box set by culinary authority (and no-knead bread perfecter) Mark Bittman. As the titles suggest, these are some formidable cookbooks. Considering we are all in the middle of soup season, I figured that would be a good place to start.

Oh, lentils. Is there anything you can't do? They're full of protein, fiber, iron, vitamins and minerals, not to mention quick to cook and cheap as hell - a "superfood" in every possible way. These are standard brown Spanish Pardina lentils, but I'm sure you could use whatever kind you have on hand (if you use the cute little green French ones, be wary of overcooking them).

Friday, January 14, 2011

Eggs in tomato sauce

While on vacation last week I read "The Man Who Ate Everything" by the venerable Mr. Jeffrey Steingarten, longstanding food critic for Vogue magazine (and occasional Iron Chef America judge). He devotes the entire first chapter to an 11 month period in his life when he was obsessed with baking le pain au levain naturel, a naturally leavened bread from France. And I mean obsessed - every week or two he would have giant 50lb bags of freshly milled flour shipped from California to his New York City apartment just for making bread.

Anyway, according to Jeffrey (yes, we're on a first-name basis now), there are two kinds of people in the world: those who can survive happily on bread alone, and those who also require meat, vegetables, and dairy. I used to think I would be placed firmly in the latter group, but now that I've started baking my own bread, I think I might belong in the former.