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Sour Cherry Caipirinha

July 5, 2012
Sour Cherry Caipirinha

Caipirinhas are the Brazilian national cocktail, and are made by crushing limes with sugar, and then mixing them with cachaca, a liquor derived from sugar cane.  I crave them every once in a while, both because of my frightening addiction to highly acidic foods, as well as their refreshing nature.  The other day I thought I would make a sour cherry version, with early Summer's fleeting tart fruit.  I have a very captive audience these days, since my grandparents are visiting, and they have long enjoyed being KC guinea pigs.  There is nothing complicated about the recipe.  I just followed our basic Caipirinha Cocktail, and after crushing the limes with the sugar, I added a few pitted sour cherries, and crushed them slightly.  At the end, I garnished the cocktail with a cherry as well.  The result is a beautiful cocktail with fuschia traces, that leaves you with some sweet and sour cherries at the end.  Enjoy!

Twice is Nice: Smoked Trout and Leek Pasta with Garlic Crumbs

September 22, 2011
The recipe we started out with.

It's been a busy summer for Sophia and I but we're happy to finally be back with our Twice is Nice posts! This week we made a recipe that Sophia found in a magazine- (I'm actually not sure which one, see photo to the left.)... I love smoked trout and I love leeks so of course I was excited to try this recipe. EMMA'S PREPARATION NOTES: I thought this dish was the perfect venue for my new favorite pasta shape: orecchiette. Orecchiete has a heartiness to it because the pasta is a little thicker, and it holds sauces well. I was imagining this dish along the same comfort food lines as tuna noodle casserole, except better.  I roasted the leeks in a low oven for a while until they became soft and sweet- to roast the leeks I tossed them in a little olive oil and salt, and added them to a baking pan with 1/2 in of water- they cook for about 30 minutes at 350.  I had a house full of hungry people so I will admit that I was a bit scattered as I prepared this dish, which led to two critical mistakes that I will not repeat. One is that I mixed the garlic crumbs into the creamy sauce so their crispiness was kind of diminished.  The other is that I forgot to add dill.  Neither of these mistakes were deal breakers- the pasta was still so delicious (especially the roasted leeks and lemon zest...), but I just knew that it would have been more delicious if I paid slightly more attention to the details. Ah well... I will revel in an excuse for making it again soon.    SOPHIA'S PREPARATION NOTES: Rigatoni is my favorite pasta shape.  When I saw this recipe I started
to drool.  I love smoked trout, which you can find at the Union Square
greenmarket, and thought this looked really great.  I used whole wheat
rigatoni, which always gives the dish a nice, rustic texture.  I traded
in bread crumbs for panko, mostly because the breadcrumbs at the market
were all herbed and buttered, and I wanted something with a bit of
crunch.  I loved the end result, because panko has a nice lightness to
it, and doesn't seem  to absorb as much oil as bread does.  When I was
cooking the leeks, I got distracted and they started to get too brown.
 I hastily opened a jar of preserved lemon (my favorite ingredient) and
poured in a lug or so to deglaze the pan.  It added a nice bitter, briny
flavor to the dish, which really complimented the fresh dill.  Dill was
invented for fish and brine, which makes me wonder why there were no
capers in the recipe.  If I hadn't put the preserved lemon brine in
there, I would suggest adding some capers.  One other note is that I
used creme fraiche instead of sour cream.  I think Creme Fraiche is Sour
Cream's snobby uncle who lives in Paris, and always use it in lieu of
creams.  I would have also used labne.  I think this dish will become a
staple in my repertoire, because it has all of the right flavors and
textures, plus it is unique enough to stand out when served to company.   

Cooking like it's 1700 BC

April 3, 2011

Last weekend my mom and I hosted a fundraiser for the film I'm making about Iraqi farmers in our barn in Oregon. She donated 20% of the weekend’s rug sales to the project, and I
cooked up an interpretative Babylonian Feast.  Nawal Nasrallah (you may remember her from Season Four, when we
cooked up some delicious Iraqi cuisine…) wrote about ancient Iraqi cuisine in her cookbook Delights from the Garden of Eden. Using her descriptions as a guide, I tried my hand at three dishes, talked about in a tablet from 1700 BCE. The first, and most ambituous, was a savory bird pie- the meat was cooked in milk and mashed up leeks, garlics and onions. To make the crust I soaked barley flour in milk, and added the leek/onion puree.  I also made sweet and sour beet stew (honey and vinegar) and turnip stew (with lots of herb). To supplement the dishes talked about in the tablet I also made bulgur, freekeh, and an herb and chickpea salad.   In college I remember some friends from my ancient Greek class and I started a short-lived "Classics Club," one of our only activities was a Roman movie night, along with a traditional Roman dish: green beens cooked in fresh coriander, cumin and lemon (it's still one of my favorite ways to eat green beens).  There is something so thrilling to me about cooking from ancient documents, it could be my nerdy side coming out in full-force, but on a practical level I like it because it inspires new flavor combinations and cooking techniques.  The night before the feast we had a power outage, and I was half hoping I would have to cook the whole meal over a fire, but alas-- the electricity came back on...


Twice is Nice: Curried Lentils

March 7, 2011
Curried Lentils

Curried LentilsCurried Lentils

Sophia's Notes: Lately I have been obsessed with curry. Curry this and curry that. I sprinkle it on everything and crave it all the time. For our latest Twice is Nice, we decided to do a looser interpretation, and both of us just made our own version of Curried Lentils. I had envisioned some loose soupy lentils in a rich curry broth. Since I have been very into Thai food lately, I thought I would use a coconut broth. I was going to have some friends over that night, and then serve the soupy lentils over brown rice. Once I started cooking, however, my habits took over, and I got distracted and ended up making rice with lentils in the same pot. It was only after I had put the lid over the whole thing that I remembered my original intention. I used coconut oil and coconut cream to sweat shallots, ginger, scallions, and garlic. I then added Vadouvan Curry, the type of curry they use in France. I tossed in the brown rice and then added some vegetables: carrots, eggplant, and red pepper. I cooked everything in a vegan broth for 30 minutes, before adding the lentils and coconut water and cooking it more for another 20 minutes. I would have cooked the rice for only 20 minutes knowing how mushy it got in the end. Finally, I tossed in some freshly chopped cilantro and served it with goat milk yogurt for those who wanted it. I kind of wished that I had made the soupy version of the lentils, because I love having a clean rice to balance out the curry flavor, but it was still delicious. I definitely love the combination of curry with coconut milk, and almost can never resist making it that way.

Emma's Notes: We were a bit low on lentils, so I mixed mine with yellow split peas, I also added a parsnip.  The curry I usedwas a little yellow curry mix that I got in Tanzania last year. It is really nice and has a bit of spice to it and is coarsely ground.... It was an adventure poaching the egg, I think it was my first time actually.  We also ate the eggs and lentils with steamed kale, which was a good combination! I will definitely make this again... and explore other poached egg possibilities.

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