Fennel-Carrot Soup with Ginger

Fennel-Carrot Soup with Ginger-1

After the complexities of the Blue Zone, we thought some simple pressure-cooker* recipes would make a welcome change of pace.  Fennel-Carrot Soup with Ginger is the first of 4 or 5 PC posts (vote with your comments!).   If you don’t own a pressure cooker, no worries, all of the recipes work the old-fashioned way; they just take a little longer.  

Affogato Corretto

Affogato Corretto TGF -2

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single espresso in possession of a good head of crema must be in want of a shot of grappa.  This shot of grappa “corrects” the espresso, resulting in an espresso corretto.  It is also a truth universally acknowledged that a single espresso in possession of a good scoop of ice cream (which combination is known as an affogato) must be in want of a shot of grappa. This “correction” brings forth an affogato corretto.  As a different writer, bearded and burley, might have observed, it’s a damn fine way to drink a damn fine espresso.

Lamb Steaks with Herbs and Caramelized Garlic

Truth be told, we eat more red meat as as a flavoring in a pasta sauce or a stir-fry than we do as the straight-up center of attention. However, Lamb Steaks with Herbs and Caramelized Garlic make a great indulgence, especially with the Puglian wrinkle of using olive oil scented with rosemary, sage and thyme instead of a butter sauce.  The aroma of lemon, herbs and olive oil is a Proustian ticket to the sun-drenched Adriatic coast of your choice–and you’ll definitely want some bread to mop everything up.

Grilled Figs with Crème Fraîche and Chestnut Honey

Grilled Figs with Creme Fraiche and Chestnut Honey.  What??!!  Two desserts in a row, what are Ken and Jody coming to?   Nothing spectacular–the blog reflects what we eat, and during August we eat a lot from the grill, including dessert.  I tumbled on to grilling figs one hot summer night when we were already planning on cheese and fruit for dessert and I had both figs and grill at the ready.  Hmm, I wonder what these would taste like?  Depends on how you feel about intense little packets of sweetness crusted with bits of caramelized fig sugar.  You will find no dessert with as high a ratio of taste to ease as this week’s recipe.

Grilled Lamb Blade Chops with Hot Mint Chutney

Nobody hates lamb blade chops.  People either love them, or they’ve never heard of them.  Viewed from a diner’s perspective, lamb blade chops are to loin chops as  pork ribs are to pork loin.  There’s fat, gristle, a bit of bone, and you need to work a bit more to get the good stuff.  The reward is heaps of flavor.  If you fall into the never-heard-of-’em group, then this week’s Grilled Lamb Blade Chops with Hot Mint Chutney is your opportunity to step-away from the fancy-dress dinner party of loin chops, leave your champagne flute of civilisation on the veranda, and stride across the lawn through the baffled croquet players as you peel off your tuxedo and enter the forest.

Grilled Mussels with Coconut Curry Broth

Grilled Mussels with Coconut Curry Broth–what more is there to say?  Last summer we did a piece about grilling clams.  Mussels–and oysters–work the same way.  You pop them on a hot grill and wait.  When they open, they’re done.  We’re talking about very lightly grilled seafood here.  As you can see from the pictures, Jody first made the coconut curry broth.  Then we grilled the mussels (no, really, we grilled the mussels).  If you’re deft with a pair of tongs you can get the mussels off the grill and into the coconut broth with minimal loss of mussel juice. Toss the mussels with the herbs and the coconut broth and Bob’s your uncle.

Wilted Green Salad with Fresh Chickpeas, Feta and Greek Yogurt

Craig Claiborne, the late pioneer of food journalism for the New York Times once wrote a New Year’s Day column that included the line, “Blessed indeed is the household whose refrigerator contains an overlooked tin of caviar.”  Yes, well.  For most of us, caviar times may be gone, but that only means the return of our salad days.  Substitute chickpeas for caviar and you’re halfway to Wilted Green Salad with Fresh Chickpeas, Feta and Greek Yogurt.

Roasted Asparagus with Pistachio-Basil Pesto

We eat A LOT of asparagus. I see it on sale, buy an armful, steam it lightly, then use it to fill out other things–steel-cut oats and an egg, a lunch salad with cannelloni beans, a way to gussy up a croque monsieur so I don’t feel like Lonely Guy eating grilled cheese in an empty house. But Roasted Asparagus with Pistachio Pesto is something else altogether. You set this platter in front of friends who aren’t afraid of getting a little messy when everyone’s standing around in the kitchen with a beer (my preference with asparagus, by the way)* or glass of wine, carrying on while you cook. Serious finger food.