Thursday, February 25, 2010

Chimichurri Anonymous

Hello, my name is Teryll (this is the part where you reply, "Hi Teryll") and I'm a chimichurri-holic. So a girlfriend and I were introduced to Argentina's "pride and joy", chimichurri, a few months ago at an Argentinian restaurant in Valencia. While other friends enjoyed this fresh and savory sauce, the two of us went "gaga" for it. It's safe to say it has become our "drug of choice", and a healthy alternative, at that. Served over roasted chicken, grilled steak or fish, roasted potatoes, and a variety of other veggies, this sauce is easy to make and extremely versatile. Chimichurri is made with parsley, oregano, red chile pepper flakes, garlic, salt and olive oil.

Last week my brother, Benjamin came over for dinner and I introduced him to chimichurri for the very first time. I drizzled (okay, I'll confess I doused) my roasted chicken and roasted potatoes with it. In fact, the sauteed swiss chard didn't seem to complain swimming in a mini pool of the chimichurri goodness.

Traditional Chimichurri (Adapted from Michelle Bernstein's Recipe at Food & Wine)

1/4 c. roughly chopped flat leaf parsley

3 tbs. red wine vinegar

2 large garlic cloves, minced (Michelle's version calls for 4, and I think it was over the top, start with 2 and if you feel the need for more garlic, add more)

2 tbs. oregano leaves

2 tsp. red chile pepper flakes

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil

In a food processor, combine and process the parsley, vinegar, garlic, oregano, chili pepper flakes until finely chopped or smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to a bowl and pour olive oil over it, stir to combine. Let sit for 20 minutes before serving. You can make the chimichurri ahead and keep in the fridge, just bring it to room temperature before serving.

Now I know its urealistic to think I want to get off of chimichurri, hardly the case. This sauce is not only easy to make and delicious, it's also a healthy alternative to those pesky, hip-hugging cream sauces (of course they have their place in this world too). In the meantime, don't be surprised to find my soon-to-be bestselling book, "1001 Ways to Use Chimichurri", I'm working on it as we speak.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Two weekends ago marked the beginning of naking treats in my very own kitchen. In the midst of running errands and figuring out window treatments for my new pad, I made my go-to recipe for Gateau Au Chocolat (imagine me saying it with a faux French accent, oui oui). Just another fancy name, but this dense and rich flourless chocolate cake remains a staple in my repertoire. You can jazz it up with a dusting of confectioner's sugar, drizzle some caramel sauce or top it off with fresh raspberries. Either way you're guaranteed to make friends for life, at least that's been my experience.

Gateau Au Chocolat

  • 12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped (use a serrated knife)
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 5 1/3 oz. unsalted butter
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 1/3 c. flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 inch cake pan and cut a piece of parchment paper to fit inside the pan. Butter the top of the parchment paper. Set aside.

In a double boiler, over simmering water, melt together the sugar, butter and chocolate. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Whisk egg yolks into the chocolate mixture. Then whisk the flour in the chocolate mixture.

Using a handheld mixer or standup mixer, beat egg whites until they form firm peaks. Whisk 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Slowly fold the remaining egg whites into the batter until fully incorporated. Patience is a virture in this case. Be careful not to overmix but be sure there are no traces of white streaks in the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the cake is springy and firm, 30-40 minutes (depending on your oven, mine leans towards the 30 minute mark). Cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes before unmolding.

A couple of weeks ago, I ran across one of Amy Karol's blog posts on Angry Chicken. She featured various concoctions, including this one for Chai Concentrate (which was featured in one of her local Oregonian newspapers). I'm a big fan of chai tea, in fact, do I dare to admit that it's probably my favorite? I don't want to make any other tea leaves cry now. This simple concotion makes a lovely housewarming gift or party favor. Unlike many brands of pre-made chai, this one includes the milk and sweetener. Assembly required and a mug of your favorite black tea.

Chai Concentrate (Makes 1 1/2 c., enough for 28 cups of chai)

  • 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Empty condensed milk into glass jar or plastic container with tight fitting lid. Stir in the sugar and spices. Store in refrigerator for 6 months.

To use: Brew a cup of strong black tea, such as Assam, then add two heaping teaspoons of concentrate or to your liking. Stir well until concentrate has fully melted.

Being that it was a three day weekend (President's Day), I spent Monday afternoon doing some serious damage at IKEA with a girlfriend. Does anyone know of any IKEA Anonymous meetings in my area?!?! I mean really, that place is like kitchen crack! Before we took off for a day of fun in the sun, I mariniate some lamb shanks I recently purchased from McCalls Meat & Fish Co. in Los Feliz. I pulled a recipe for Braised Lamb Shanks with Green Olives and Apricots from Food Network (pretty sure it was a Tyler Florence recipe). Sorry to say I forgot to take an "a la finished" photo, but trust me when I say that lamb was tender, delicate and robust with flavor. Unlike a lot of lamb shanks I've eaten in my day, these were fairly mellow and worthy of converting you non-lamb eating foodies out there. Stay tuned, I will be posting some more foodie adventures this week!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Meet Me in Los Feliz.

Hear, hear, ladies and gents, it's official, I'm a Los Feliz girl. How did I spend my Super Bowl Sunday? Why moving, of course and four hours of uninterrupted unpacking too. Got the most important room practically finished, my fabulous kitchen (pictured above). With stainless steel countertops, a gas stove, original 1947 sink and black and white tiled floors, there's no stopping me now. And that my friends, is a "good thing" (to quote the domesticated queen, Martha Stewart).

I spent my first night in my apartment sitting on my bed (by candlelight), munching on sushi from Gelson's and watching the first disc of Sons of Anarchy on my laptop. I was one "sore" gal last night and after popping two Tylenol PM's,fell into a sweet slumber at 9:30pm.

One of the few errands I enjoy is grocery shopping, call me a nerd, but it's true. I like strolling up and down the aisles, scoping out the day's deals and perusing new pantry items. Tonight I will visit my local Trader Joe's and Whole Foods to stock up on some essentials. I will also (sometime this week) be visiting a new butcher shop that opened in Los Feliz a few weeks ago called McCalls Meat & Fish Co.

The next few weeks will be an adventure - exploring my new neighborhood and foodie joints, making new friends, and filling my apartment with great vintage finds. Cheers!