If you can find good fresh scallops, this recipe is a delicious way to prepare them. This will serve two.
1 bunch of asparagus
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 T butter
2 T olive oil
Optional: dash of white wine
“The Cooking Part”
Finely chop the shallots and garlic and put into a bowl with the juice of the lemons. Add some salt and pepper and toss. (If you want, add a dash of white wine.)
Meanwhile set the (salted!) pasta water to boil.
Rinse the asparagus and chop off the rough bottom ends. Soak a paper towel in 1/4 cup of water, salt the asparagus spears lightly, wrap them in the paper towel, and place the bundle, seam side down, on a microwaveable plate. Place the pasta into the boiling water.
Microwave the asparagus business for three minutes on high or until the spears are tender but still crisp.
Once the asparagus is done, remove it from the microwave and cut the spears into inch-long pieces. Toss the pieces in with the shallot/garlic/lemon mixture.
Then melt the butter and heat the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat. Rinse the scallops and pat them dry with a paper towel; once the oil/butter are smoking, place them into the pan and salt and pepper lightly.
Cook the scallops for 1 minute, then turn them over. NOTE: they will not yet be done on the first side. This is expected. While the scallops cook on the second side, drain the pasta, then return to the pot. Now (after about two minutes) toss the shallot/lemon/garlic/asparagus into the pan with the scallops. After about thirty seconds, turn the scallops over for another minute and thirty seconds onto the first side.
Place the pasta into bowls and spoon the shallots, lemon, garlic, and asparagus over it, then top with the scallops. Enjoy!
2 large cloves (or 3-4 small or medium cloves)
2 pinches of sugar
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
1-2 Tbsp. cream (optional)
white wine/red wine/Sherry/Marsala/Madeira
salt and pepper
“The Cooking Part”
Chop the shallot and garlic. Then in a saucepan over medium heat, sauté the shallot in oil until soft, or for about 3-5 minutes.
Then add the garlic and sugar and continue to sauté until fragrant, or for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Pour “1 schlup” - the amount you get when you briefly pass the bottle over the saucepan and then stop pouring - of the wine into the saucepan. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
Then add the tomatoes and all of the juice into the pot; follow this up with half a can of water. Simmer for at least 10 minutes.
Return the now blended soup to the stove and simmer until the liquid has the desired consistency, then add the cream if desired, stir in, remove from heat and serve.
post on this blog…eventually with my backlog of recipes to share with the world.
“Hallo! Why so many cups? Why cucumber sandwiches? Why such reckless extravagance in one so young? Who is coming to tea?”
- Jack, The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde
Cucumber sandwiches exist in many variants across Britain and the U.S.; the British versions, which originated in Edwardian times and peaked in popularity in the Victorian Era, are beyond dainty: “authentic” recipes call for white, crustless bread to be sliced so thinly that light shines through, topped with the thinnest possible layer of butter, and placed around a central layer of cucumber seasoned with a dash of salt and lemon juice, assembled just before serving so the bread doesn’t have the chance to soak up any cucumber juice that might moisten the hands of the guests.
More modern versions (like this one) are a bit easier to prepare, and are far less delicate in taste, which means that they can be served as part of a buffet next to other foods without seeming bland. They can also be prepared as much as two days beforehand and then refrigerated, unlike the original British recipes, which lose their taste and texture if left for more than two or three hours.
1 loaf of not too spongy white or wheat bread with soft crust
1-2 large cucumbers
1/2 bunch of dill
1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese
3/4 cup (6 oz) of mayonnaise
1-2 cups of apple cider vinegar
optional: 1-2 cloves of garlic, worcestershire sauce
“The Cooking Part”
Set the cream cheese out to soften.
Wash the cucumbers. Then drag a fork along the length of cucumber, furrowing the skin in parallel lines all around the cucumber. (If you want to get really fancy, do it in wavy patterns, but this is not essential, because any pretty patterns are going to be destroyed by the next step anyway.)
Slice the cucumbers thinly — the slices should be no wider than the tip of a fork tine.
Then bathe the cucumbers in a dish with the apple cider vinegar, stirring occasionally to make sure all cucumber slices get exposed to the vinegar. (They can soak for up to a few hours, if you feel like going for a walk or something.)
Meanwhile, wash and chop the dill, and, if the bread is not yet sliced, slice the bread. The slices should not be very thin — normal width or just a hair thinner works much better, actually.
Now return to the cream cheese. If it hasn’t softened by now, help it along a little, then put it into a bowl and start mashing it with a fork, gradually adding in the mayonnaise until the mixture reaches a uniform texture that is pleasantly spreadable but firmer than the mayonnaise. If need be, cautiouslyadd water and/or a dash of apple cider vinegar. Now mix in the dill and (if you like that sort of thing) the garlic and worcestershire - if you prefer a garlic-free or vegetarian version, just add a bit of salt and pepper to taste after you add the dill.
Now spread the mixture fairly thinly onto two slices of bread, then place a layer of cucumber from the bath (make sure to get most of the vinegar off!) onto one of the slices, and close with the remaining slice. Slice as you see fit; you can remove the crusts or leave them on, depending on your preference.
Tip: if you have extra cucumbers in vinegar left over, these make an excellent preparation for a cucumber salad! Chop up a shallot or two and add to the cucumbers, let them sit for a while, then drain the vinegar into a bowl. Keep as much as you need to make a dressing, discard the rest. Add in one or two pinches of sugar, and about a third as much of a mild oil as you have vinegar. Add some salt, whisk until emulsified loosely, and pour over the cucumbers and shallots, then chop some more dill and add it into the mix. Serve.
Another deceptively lengthy recipe! This is simple, delicious, and quick; there are really only 5-10 minutes of actually doing things, the rest is waiting - and even that you don’t do for long!
1 bunch of green asparagus (~1 lb.)
1/3 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup olive oil
1 TBSP Dijon mustard
salt & pepper to taste
The Cooking Part
Preheat an oven to 400 degrees; line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, and a healthy dose of salt in a bowl and whisk to create a smooth, tangy, slightly salty emulsion.
Rinse the asparagus and cut off the ends, then spread evenly across the lined baking sheet.
Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the asparagus in the dressing; you should wind up using no more than a third.
Roast the asparagus in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness and desired texture; half-way through, turn the spears over and re-coat with some more of the dressing (you will now have about a third of the original mixture left).
Once the asparagus is done, take the baking sheet out and let the asparagus cool and drain for 2-5 minutes on a paper towel.
Transfer the asparagus to a serving dish, re-whisk the remaining dressing and drizzle over the asparagus. Season with ground pepper.
Presently - maybe about two or a little after - I thought I would take a look round and see that all was right down the Brixton Road. It was precious dirty and lonely. Not a soul did I meet all the way down, though a cab or two went past me. I was a-strollin’ down, thinkin’ between ourselves how uncommon handy a four of gin hot would be, when suddenly the glint of a light caught my eye in the window of that same house.
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet, 1887.
The Hot Totty is now pretty much the standard of warm alcoholic beverages, but in the Victorian era, middle and lower class Brits would often warm themselves with a “four of gin hot,” or fourpence worth of gin with hot water and lemon. The gin back then was often home distilled and most likely quite a bit sweeter, which accounts for the sugar in this recipe. It’s lovely if you like gin and need something to warm you up - there’s no need to use very expensive gin either: any decent strong variety will do.
2 teaspoons (or more, to taste) of sugar
1/4-1/3 cup of gin
The Mixing Part
Pour the gin into a mug; squeeze the lemon into the gin.
Then add the hot water; spoon the sugar in and stir to dissolve.
If you like, you can also add about an inch of chopped ginger to the gin and lemon before pouring in the hot water, in which case let the entire business steep for a minute or two before drinking. You can also add a dash of Angostura bitters, if you like that sort of thing.
This recipe looks way more complicated than it is. Really. Promise. I just like hearing myself talk … or I suppose reading myself write? Anyway. This is really simple and delicious and can be made in very little time.
1 bunch of chard
1/4 - 1/3 of an onion
1/4 cup (or more) fortified wine, such as Madeira, Marsala, or Sherry
1/3 - 1/2 cup (or more) heavy cream
butter or oil
salt and pepper, to taste
*In a pinch, you can use a strong, dry white wine.
The Cooking Part
Wash the chard and remove the stems; chop them like you would celery. Slice the leaves lengthwise, then cut the strips into approximately one-inch squares. Mince the onion.
In a pan with a lid or a saucepan with a lid, melt a pat of butter or heat a dollop of oil over medium heat.
Put the chard stems into the pan and sauté for 2-4 minutes, then add the onion, and continue to sauté until the onion is soft and translucent but not brown. (The onion will become slightly red in color if you are using colorful chard.)
Now add the wine - it should hiss/sizzle/steam; add the chard leaves as the mixture calms down and cover the entire business with a lid.
Let the chard leaves steam for 5-7 minutes, then remove the lid and add the cream.
Simmer the whole business until the cream has thickened to your liking.
One of my roommates refers to this as “the soup” - it’s a nice, comforting, warm, starchy, make-you-feel-at-home kind of recipe, and it keeps well in the fridge. The fancy version makes a slight difference in taste, but both are delicious, so most of the time I just go the labor-saving route. Eat your heart out.
4 large baking/Russet potatoes
1 or 2 medium-to-large carrots
1/3 -1/2 of a large onion
broth - any kind really, at least 4 cups, probably more
1-2 bay leaves
at least 4 slices of bacon
1-2 cups milk
some grated parmesan, to season
worcestershire, if so desired
two bulbs of garlic (fancy version) OR 4-5 cloves of garlic
*** Fancy version.***
This will make a mess and take probably about 2 hours all told.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Cut the heads off the bulbs of garlic, and remove as much of the papery layer as you can while still maintaining the integrity of the bulbs. Drizzle the exposed garlic with olive oil and roast in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If garlic begins to singe, reapply olive oil. Remove and let cool. Then let cool some more. (Seriously - they retain heat like nobody’s business.) Once cooled, remove the individual cloves and squeeze the garlic paste into a bowl.
“The Cooking Part”
Peel and chop carrots, potatoes, and onion and place in a pot with the bay leaf/leaves, peppercorns and the whole cloves of garlic. (Fancy version: instead of the whole cloves, add the garlic paste.) Barely cover the whole business with broth, bring to a boil, and leave to simmer covered at least until the carrots are squishable, or longer if you like.
In the mean time, fry up or microwave the bacon until it is crispy. You want it to be a little crispier than you would usually have for breakfast. A little burnt is fine too. Place on paper towels, then crumble, crush, or chop.
Check on the vegetables, stir, add more broth if necessary. (Some of the broth will be absorbed, and that’s fine, just add more if it looks like things are going to start sticking or burning.)
Once they are done to your satisfaction, remove the bay leaves/leaf and blend until you like the consistency. It will be thicker than you expect; about the consistency of thick mashed potatoes.
After blending, return to medium heat and stir in milk. Return to a simmer, then add cheese, salt (or not, depending on the broth you’re using), pepper and (if you like that sort of thing) Worcestershire. If it is thicker than you’d like it to be, add more milk or broth in about quarter cups. Once it has reached a texture you like, add the bacon.
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway (1964)
(It is rainy and cold here today - comforting soup recipe coming tomorrow.)