Thursday, April 14, 2011

SSC Wicked Awesome Edition: A Taste of New England

As you may have noticed, our supper clubs usually have a theme. This does not mean, however, that if you are the host you are obliged to pick a country, a holiday, or even a course (as you will see next week). As our fearless leader for the night, you get to do whatever you want, which is exactly what Laura did. She ditched the labels and just made damn good food.

I suppose you could have called our dinner New England traditional since it involved kale, white fish, succotash, and New Englander cocktails, but this was way better than the traditional fare we are used to (and the cocktails were a lot stronger!).

We did maintain some traditions, however and as always the evening was wildly inappropriate and wicked fun!

Pureed Broccoli & Roasted Garlic Canapes

Roasted Baguette
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tbsp olive oil
1/8 tsp dried crushed red pepper
16 1/2-inch-thick baguette slices

2 cups broccoli florets plus 1/2 cup peeled thinly sliced stalks (from about 8 ounces broccoli)
1 c canned cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed, drained
2 tbsps fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine garlic, oil and crushed red pepper in small custard cup. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until garlic is tender, about 35 minutes. Cool slightly. Arrange baguette slices in single layer on baking sheet. Bake until lightly toasted, about 15 minutes.

Steam broccoli florets and stalks until very tender, about 8 minutes. Rinse with cold water. Drain. Transfer to processor. Add cannellini, lemon juice and oil-and-garlic mixture. Process until smooth. Season broccoli puree with salt and pepper.

Spread broccoli puree atop toasts. Transfer canapés to platter and serve.

Laura's Succulent Succotash

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 c chopped onion
Coarse kosher salt
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 c chopped red tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 1/4 c corn kernels cut from 4 ears of corn (preferably 2 ears of white corn and 2 ears of yellow corn)
2 c fresh lima beans (from about 2 pounds pods) or 10 to 11 oz frozen lima beans or baby butter beans, thawed
3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sprinkle with coarse salt. Sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, corn, and lima beans. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until corn and lima beans are tender and tomatoes are soft, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm before continuing.

Stir in basil and serve.

Potato and Kale Cakes with Rouille

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon extra-virgin Olive oil
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper


1 1/2 pounds unpeeled russet potatoes, scrubbed, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, divided
3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup chopped onion
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 pound kale, center rib and stem cut from each leaf, leaves coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For Rouille
Whisk all ingredients in medium bowl. Season rouille to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

For Cakes
Cook potatoes in large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain; return potatoes to same saucepan. Add milk and butter. Mash potatoes (with peel) until smooth. Season with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Transfer 3 cups mashed potatoes to large bowl and cool (reserve remaining potatoes for another use).

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in large deep skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Sauté until onion softens, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Add kale and thyme. Toss until kale wilts, about 5 minutes. Add kale mixture, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg to potatoes; blend. Cool potato mixture 30 minutes.

Shape potato mixture by 1/4 cupfuls into 1/2-inch-thick patties. Arrange on rimmed baking sheet. DO AHEAD: Can be made up to 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add cakes and cook, without moving, until cakes are brown and crispy on bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully turn cakes over. Cook until brown on bottom, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer to plates. Top each cake with dollop of rouille.

Black Cod with Miso
For Miso
3/4 cups mirin
2 cups white miso paste
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

For Cod
4 black cod fillets, about 1/2 pound (230 g) each
3 cups (800 g) Nobu-style Saikyo Miso
1 stalk hajikami per serving

Miso Prep
Bring the saké and the mirin to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Boil
for 20 seconds to evaporate the alcohol.

Turn the heat down to low and add the miso paste, mixing with a wooden spoon.
When the miso has dissolved completely, turn the heat up to high again and add
the sugar, stirring constantly with the wooden spoon to ensure that the
bottom of the pan doesn’t burn. Remove from heat once the sugar is fully
dissolved. Cool to room temperature.

Cod Prep
Pat fillets thoroughly dry with paper towels. Slather the fish with Nobu-style
Saikyo Miso and place in a non-reactive dish or bowl and cover tightly with
plastic wrap. Leave to steep in refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C, gas 6). Preheat a grill or broiler. Lightly wipe
off any excess miso clinging to the fillets but don't rinse it off. Place the
fish on the grill, or in a broiler pan, and grill or broil until the surface
of the fish turns brown. Then bake for 10 to 15 minutes.

Arrange the black cod fillets on individual plates and garnish with hajikami.
Add a few extra drops of Nobu-style Saikyo Miso to each plate.

Mini Whoopie Pies with Peanut Butter Filling

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa, such as Droste
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 cup milk

Peanut Butter Filling
2/3 cup natural, creamy peanut butter
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
Fine salt

Arrange the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat
the oven to 425°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk together the flours, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer at high speed
until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the egg and milk and beat at medium speed
until incorporated. At low speed, add the flour mixture in 2 batches,
alternating with the milk, mixing until just blended.

Using a half-tablespoon measure, drop 18 generous teaspoons of batter onto
each sheet, leaving about 2 inches between cakes. Bake the 2 sheets at the
same time, 5 to 7 minutes, until springy to touch. Let cool on the sheets for
5 minutes, and transfer to racks to cool completely. Change the parchment and
repeat using the remaining batter (72 cakes in total).

Peanut Butter Filling
Cream peanut butter and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with
the paddle attachment on high speed. On low speed, mix in sugar until
combined, then beat mixture on high speed until fluffy and smooth, about 3
minutes. Add salt to taste, if desired. Use immediately.

Simply the Best Scones Ever!
This is a great recipe that I got from my mom's friend Kathy, and believe me, she's right in saying these are the best scones ever!

4 c flour
1 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 c unsalted butter
1 c vanilla yogurt, nonfat
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup white chocolate chips*
1/2 cup dried cranberries*

1 1/2 c powerderd sugar
3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract (clear is preferable, regular will make icing off white, but it tastes the same)
2 tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease 2 large cookie sheets.

In a large bowl combine all ingredients. Add white chocolate chips and cranberries after the other ingredients are well mixed.

Turn dough out on lightly floured surface. Cut into two pieces and form into balls. Pat each ball into 1/2 in circle. It will measure approx 9in across. Cut each round into 12 wedges with a pizza cutter or pairing knife. Place 2 in apart on cookie sheet.

Bake 15-20min, until golden brown. Cool.

Combine powered sugar, butter, vanilla & milk, beating until creamy. Thin with water to achieve desired drizzling consistency. Drizzle over cooled scones with fork or pastry bag with a small writing tip.

* You can replace white chocolate chips/cranberries with toffee bits, chocolate chips, walnuts, raisins or anything else you like. Lots of different combinations work well with this recipe so get creative!

Booze Pairings!

Cocktail: Phoebe’s New Englanders
2 parts Vodka
1 part soda water
1 part blueberry juice (this can be really hard to find so I used the juice from Del Monte fruit naturals, all natural blueberries.)
1 part cranberry juice
lime slices

Garnish the rim of the glass with sugar. Add ice, blueberry and cranberry juices, lime slice and vodka to glass. Pour soda water on top. Drop a couple blueberries into glass.

Wine: White
Sybille Kuntz Riesling Mosel $18

This week’s weather was sign of things to come: flip flops, beach days, and the
return of white wine. This Riesling was the perfect way to celebrate the coming
of spring and it also happened to go beautifully with our dinner! On the nose it
was an exciting bouquet of pear, apple and honey and in the mouth it was
graceful with powerful but elegant acidity. It went beautifully with the dish
because it could hold its own without overpowering the fish and its hint of
minerality was a perfect compliment to the vegetables.

Wine: Red
Erath Pinot Noir Willamette Valley $18

It only seems fitting that we had a wine made in Oregon while we noshed on food
cooked by Laura, who was also made in Oregon. This Pinot is one of my favorites
from this region. It is exactly what it should be: black cherry, vanilla and
earth. It is very versatile so you can eat it with almost anything but I have to
say, it was perfect with our dinner…

Beer: Berkshire Brewery Company Golden Spike

This local preservative free beer is shipped and stored cold so it always tastes
incredibly fresh. It was brilliant light gold in the glass with a beautiful
thick head. It smells of lemongrass and bread and it is easy drinking with great
acidity and a dry finish. It was medium bodied and very refreshing- exactly what
you want when eating fresh veggie succotash and white fish...

Christa, Rachel, Phoebe & Laura

About Laura
Laura manages consumer marketing for Sonos, a wireless music system. Her great loves are travel, music, eating and drinking – a nice pairing, don’t you think? Since she’s managed to find a job that has to do with music, all her spare time is spent traveling the world tasting local libations and looking for her next great meal. Born and raised in organic Oregon, Laura has always had a taste for fresh and local food and recently has been getting pretty good at making it on her own,thanks to her weekly vegetable delivery from Boston Organics!

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