Our Favorite Fall Salad

Our Favorite

When the fall weather turns cool and crisp and the days get shorter and darker, we sometimes slip into a blue mood.  We crave sunshine and brightness.   A crisp, balanced salad with tangy-sweet fall flavors is just what the doctor ordered!

We developed this salad to celebrate the the flavors and textures we love — crunchy and aromatic fennel — honey-sweet persimmons — juicy-tart pomegranate seeds — earthy walnuts — and velvety mâche leaves, all tied together with a bright and tangy vinaigrette.

Persimmon and Fennel Salad | Dear Martini

A composed salad is a salad in which each component is seasoned  and dressed individually and then artfully arranged.  It’s an excellent choice for a leisurely lunch.  Take it to the the next level with some grilled shrimp or soft dollops of goat cheese and it becomes a quick and easy dinner.

The Dear Martini method of building the composed salad is also mirrored in our Bite-Sized Technique videos:  you can actually watch a video for each component needed for this salad!  Click on the blue links to jump to each technique video — we promise you’ll learn something awesome!

 

Persimmon, Fennel, and Mâche Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette 

Serves 4

¼ cup white balsamic vinegar

½  teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon minced shallot

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

¾  cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 fuyu persimmons, peeled and sliced

½ fennel bulb and fronds, bulb thinly sliced and fronds chopped

4 cups mâche lettuce

¼ cup pomegranate seeds

1/3 cup toasted walnuts

To make the vinaigrette:  In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, thyme, and shallot with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Slowly whisk in olive oil and continue whisking until dressing is emulsified. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Just before you are ready to serve, season and dress with vinaigrette each of the salad ingredients in separate bowls and then arrange on a platter or individual plates.

 

How to Make a Composed Salad recipe video thumbnail

 

Fennel Fanatics

 

Everything you need to know about fennel | Dear MartiniBack in our days teaching at Draeger’s Cooking School, we bonded over our love for fennel.  We used to joke that one day we would create a cooking class entitled, “I Love Fennel.”  It was a silly idea, but it was certainly a class we would take ourselves.

Fennel bulb top shot Dear MartiniWhy do we love fennel so much?  It’s versatile, available year round (we are so lucky to live in California), and it goes well with the California/Mediterranean style of cuisine we enjoy. We roast fennel with meats, shave it for salads, braise it or cook it in soups, and even throw it on the grill.  It’s sweet, licorice flavor is subtle enough to compliment pork, chicken and fish and goes beautifully into hearty dishes like ratatouille, our Thanksgiving stuffing, or a comforting soup.  When raw, it’s crunchy texture lends well to slaws and salads; in fact, one of our favorite salads of all is a simple combination of shaved fennel, shredded carrot and dried cranberries.

If you are new to fennel, we suggest you start off with this delicious soup.  It’s a hearty soup perfect for cooler months and we hope will inspire you to add fennel to your other favorite recipes.

Be sure to click on the blue links to watch our bite-sized technique videos.  And let us know what you think!

bean soup

Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup

Serves 4 to 6

 

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

½ yellow onion, diced

1 carrot, peeled and diced

2 stalks celery, diced

½ bulb fennel, cored and diced

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 15-ounce can white beans (or cannellini beans), drained and rinsed

3 cups chicken stock, or vegetable stock

1 Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind (optional)

3 cups (1 bunch) Tuscan Kale, chopped

2 tablespoons shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish

In a medium-sized soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium flame and add the onion, carrot, celery, fennel and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper and toss around to coat with oil.  Cover and let the vegetable become soft and tender, but not browned, for about 7 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Uncover and add the pepper flakes and beans and toss to coat.  Cook until the beans are hot, about 2 more minutes.  Pour in the stock and bring to a boil.

Lower the heat to simmer and add the Parmigiano rind, if using.  Simmer for 15 minutes, covered.  Uncover and add the kale. Stir to combine the ingredients and simmer, covered, for another 8 minutes, or until the kale is soft and tender.  Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.

Ladle into warmed soup bowls, top with cheese and serve hot.

Fennel_Bulb_Dear_Martini

 

ch-ch-ch-Ultimate Cherry Pie

How to Make a Cherry Pie with Dear Martini

What’s the secret to making the ultimate ch-ch-ch-cherry pie?  Use fresh sweet summer cherries. Some folks think you need sour cherries (which we seldom find fresh and are usually packed in syrup) to make a good cherry pie, but we think you’re missing out on some really great pies by sticking with canned cherries.  When cherries are in season we use whatever looks the best at the market– everything  from Bing to Queen Ann cherries.

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No one wants to spend their 4th of July in the kitchen, so here are a couple of ways to make it easier:

  • Make the dough as early as tomorrow and refrigerate tightly wrapped in plastic wrap. While the dough rests in the fridge the water is absorbed in the dough and the butter firms up.  A properly rested and chilled dough relaxes,  making it easier to roll out.
  • Buy an inexpensive cherry pitter.  A cherry pitter makes the process go much faster!  If the thought of pitting fresh cherries makes you want to poke your eye out, you can use pitted frozen cherries or bottled cherries (which are great for pie making during the winter as well.)  Thaw the cherries completely and use no more than about 1/4 cup of the collected juice.

ch-ch-ch-Ultimate Cherry Pie

Makes one 9-inch lattice topped pie

1 recipe Basic Pie Dough (see below)

5 cups sweet fresh cherries, pitted

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon Kirsch cherry liqueur (optional)

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

3 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

1 large egg

2  teaspoons heavy cream or whole milk

Garnish:  Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Roll out half the pie dough on a lightly floured work surface with a floured rolling pin into a 12-inch round.  Brush off excess flour; roll dough around rolling pin, and place it over your prepared pie pan.  Press the dough into the pan and trim the edges so that the dough hangs over the pie pan by about 1-inch.  Refrigerate while you make the filling.  

In a large bowl, add the cherries, sugar, salt, almond, kirsch, lemon juice, and cornstarch.  Toss the filling ingredients with the cherries until coated .  Set cherries aside while you roll out the top dough.

Roll out the remaining dough to a 12-inch diameter circle.  With a pastry cutter or a knife cut at least eighteen 1/2 -inch strips.  Place strips on a parchment lined sheet pan and refrigerate. Cut out stars or decorations using a cookie cutter from the remaining dough scraps and refrigerate.

Spoon cherry filling into the pie shell.  Dot with butter. 

Lay strips horizontally across the pie and give the pie a quarter turn.  Fold back every other strip starting with the first strip.  Place a strip horizontally next to the folded strips and unfold the folded strips.  Repeat the process starting with the 2nd strip folding back every other strip.  Repeat folding, adding strips,  and unfolding strips to weave a lattice pattern.  Trim the lattice and fold the edge under or over and crimp the edge.    Refrigerate the pie for 30 minutes.

In a small bowl whisk the egg and cream together to make an egg wash. Brush pie with egg wash and bake for 15 minutes at 425°F. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake approximately 35 to 45 minutes more until crust is golden brown and filling bubbles.  Remove pie from the oven and cool COMPLETELY (at least 2 hours) before serving.  Serve with pie with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

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Basic Pie Dough

Makes one 9-inch double-crust pie shell

Want an easy way to remember our recipe without having to look it up again?  3 + 2 + 1!  3 parts flour  2 parts butter 1 part ice water.

2 sticks (½ pound) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and frozen for 15 minutes

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

½  teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

½ cup ice water

Place the flour in a large mixing bowl, add the chilled butter and toss to coat the butter with flour.  Quickly rub the butter with the flour between your fingers to make flat pieces of butter. Take care not to overwork  the butter – you want to work each piece, but should still have pea-sized lumps of the butter in the flour.  Sprinkle in the salt and sugar and toss with your fingers to mix.  Add the water and using a plastic scraper and a quick a folding motion, mix the dough just until it begins to clump together.   The dough will look sandy and lumpy at this point and that’s okay.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface dusted with flour and gently pat out the dough into a flat disk about an 1-inch thick.  Fold the dough in on itself until the dough just begins to hold together and is no longer sandy on the edges.  Once the dough begins to come together, fold dough in half, turn it a quarter-turn and pat it out flat again to an inch thick.  Repeat this process 4 to 5 more times.  Butter will still be visible in the dough — it’s these pieces of butter that result in a flaky dough!  Divide the dough in half and flatten each piece into a disk one more time and wrap them in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to an hour before rolling out.

How to Make Pie Dough YT Tumbnail How to Roll and Fit Pie Dough YT Thumbnail

 

We dare you not to lick your plate!

We dare you not to lick your plate!

 

Healthy Eating is a SNAP!

San Mateo County FairHealthy Eating is a SNAP! We are proud to partner with the San Mateo County Fair to show how easy it can be to eat healthy.  Check out the video and then head on over to the fair website to see what’s happening at the fair: http://www.sanmateocountyfair.com/

Never been to a fair?  Here’s what you can expect: Pig races (need we say more?), petting zoo, homegrown exhibits and demos, live music– there is something for everyone!  

Be sure to stop by and say hi to Chef Terri (she’s the social media maven for the fair) and Chef Mia who will be demoing and sharing some delicious recipes in the Culinary Arts building: 

June 7th, Sat. 4:30 – 5:30 pm  English Pea and Homemade Ricotta Tartines

June 9th, Mon. 1:00 – 2:00 pm  Chilled English Pea and Leek Soup with Creme Fraiche and Chervil

June 11th, Wed. 7:00 – 8:00 pm  Spring Panzanella Salad with Asparagus, English Peas, and Fava Beans

Meet you at the fair June 7th – 15th, 2014!

 

Our Favorite Roast Chicken Dinner

Our Favorite Roast Chicken |via Dear Martini Blog Mmmmm, Our Favorite Roast Chicken Dinner has crispy skin, tender and moist meat, with plenty of roasted vegetables to go along with it.  Sound delicious so far?  But, who has time to wait for a chicken to roast ?  Enter the Rock Cornish game hen!

Game hens are just the right size for two servings and small enough that you can roast 2 of them easily in an average-size roasting pan.  To speed up the roasting time the first thing we do is spatchcock the hen.  Yep spatchcock, a word that can bring about raised eyebrows, sideways looks or even stifled giggles.  Spatchcock is the technique of removing the backbone from a chicken and flattening it like a book.

How to Spatchcock | via Dear Martini blog

Spatchcock’s etymology is believed to have originated in Ireland, where “dispatching the cock” was the phrase used to describe having to cook the bird by taking its spine out and laying it flat to cook.  One can only deduce that the abbreviated “spatch” and “cock” were married together to form a new word.

Why in the world would anyone spatchcock a bird?  The answer is simple:  THE BIRD COOKS FASTER!  The bird will cook faster and more evenly if it’s relatively the same thickness — of course, some parts of the bird are thicker than others; but imagine how long you normally wait for the bird to cook all the way through when you roast it whole.  Spatchcocking works great on all poultry — game hens, chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese…

How to Roast a Chicken or Game Hen | Dear Martini

Flattening the bird creates more surface area – which results in more crispy skin and a bird that’s well seasoned on both sides.

The Benefits:

  • Cooks faster than a trussed up whole bird
  • Cooks more evenly – more crispy skin!
  • Allows more room in the oven to roast other side dishes like vegetables and potatoes
  • The spine and wing tips can be placed in a large ziplock bag and tossed into the freezer.  Collect enough and you’ve got the makings for some awesome chicken stock.

Once the bird is spatchcocked, you can then proceed to either roast it in the oven, grill it over your outdoor grill or press it in your panini machine (see:  http://paninihappy.com/spatchcock-game-hen/ Our good friend and author of Panini Happy wrote a blog post about this method a few months back).

We enjoy placing the bird directly on top of some potatoes or other root vegetables —  killing 2 birds with one stone (so to speak).  As the bird roasts, the vegetables are seasoned and flavored with the juices and get crispy at the bottom of the pan.  It’s totally a win-win! Believe us:  once you’ve spatchcocked, you’ll never go back!

Our Favorite Roast Chicken

Serves 2

Plan ahead to spatchcock and season the bird overnight or the morning before you plan to roast the bird.  This allows time for the seasoning to really penetrate and the salt to do it’s magic and tenderize the meat.  For crispy skin don’t cover the seasoned bird with plastic wrap… refrigerating the hen uncovered will allow the skin to dry out.  If you’re a crispy skin fanatic (like we are) wait to oil the bird until just before you roast it too!  

1 Cornish Game Hen (defrosted if frozen)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2-3 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil

6 red potatoes, halved

Special equipment:  Poultry shears 

Preheat the oven to 400℉.

On a cutting board, place the hen breast-side down. Use the poultry shears to cut along one side of the backbone from the tail to the neck.  Cut along the other side and remove the backbone.  Set aside.  Open up the hen and flip it back over so it’s breast-side up again.  Use your palms to press down on the breast bone to flatten.  Use the poultry shears to snip off the wing tips at the joint.  Set it aside with the backbone for making stock later.

Sprinkle the hen with salt and pepper and rub all over both sides with vegetable oil.  Rest bird at room temperature for 20 minutes or refrigerate overnight uncovered.  

Arrange the halved potatoes in the bottom of a shallow pan large enough to hold the hen and potatoes; season with salt, pepper, and drizzle with oil.   Transfer the hen to the pan and place it directly on top of the potatoes.   Roast for 45 minutes, rotating once during cooking.  The internal cooked temperature of the bird should be 165℉ when an instant-read thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the breast. Remove from the oven and let the bird rest, tented with foil for 5-10 minutes.

To serve, cut the bird in half, lengthwise and serve each person a half.  Divide the potatoes and garnish with a mojo verde sauce or gremolata.

Cook’s Notes:  

You can muscle through spatchcocking with ordinary scissors or a knife, but it’s a whole lot easier with an inexpensive pair of poultry shears. 

Be careful not to overcook the bird…. we usually take an internal temperature after 30 minutes to determine how far along we are in the roasting process.

The potatoes should be done at the same time as the chicken, but the potatoes underneath the bird won’t have browned.  Remove the bird from the oven to rest and leave the potatoes in for an additional 5-10 minutes.

Roast Chicken Dinner via Dear Martini blog

 

 

Great Gremolata!

How to Make Gremolata via Dear Martini

Gremolata is the classic garnish for Ossobuco Milanese the braised Milanese veal shank dish.  It’s an Italian condiment that’s traditionally made with minced garlic, lemon zest, and minced parsley. Think of it as a condiment that’s also a garnish.

Gremolata recipe and video via www.dearmartini.wordpress.com

 

Don’t let the simple ingredients fool you… The tangy zest and refreshing parsley when combined with the bite of raw garlic enhances just about everything you pair it. We don’t think it should be reserved for just ossobuco and use it often to brighten up the flavors of boring weeknight meals.

Lemon zest, parsley and garlic are the classic gremolata ingredients | via Dear Martini blog

Gremolata is great with:

Rich meaty dishes

Grilled or roasted chicken and fish

Soups and stews

Steamed or roasted vegetables

Gremolata

Serves 4

A classic gremolata calls for garlic, lemon, and parsley.  We added orange zest to ours to personalize it, but that’s optional.  Italian cooks are legendary for adding secret ingredients to personalize a classic sauce and turn it into their signature sauce.  Try adding a teaspoon of chopped capers, a pinch of cayenne, or  anchovy paste for variety or come up with your own twist. 

1 lemon, zested

1 orange, zested

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix the zest, garlic, and parsley in a small bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.   Garnish your dish with gremolata just before serving for the freshest flavor.

Cook’s notes:

Don’t skip washing and drying citrus (we use a paper towel to dry.)  When using citrus for zest it is important to start with clean fruit.  Washing the fruit removes dust and the wax used to keep the fruit looking shiny and fresh.  If you can afford organic fruit even better.

Don’t discard your naked zest fruit…save them to use for juice.  naked fruit stored in your fridge will last for several days.

Gremolata can be covered and stored in the fridge for up to 1 day.

Need some help?  Click on the thumbnail to jump to the video:

microplane lemon mince garlic thumbnail mince parsley

Gremolata recipe and video via www.dearmartini.wordpress.com

 

 

Mojo Verde Sauce

Mojo Verde Sauce Recipe via Dear Martini

Mojo verde or green sauce is a simple and easy to make sauce from the Canary Islands.  You’ll find mojo verde and variations in Spain, Cuba, and throughout the Caribbean.  Start with  fresh and tangy lime juice, a handful of herbal cilantro, a couple of garlic cloves, a little chile for heat (you decide how spicy you want it), and throw it all in the blender and your done.  Seriously, that’s it.  This week, get your mojo working…sauce that is!

Mojo Verde

Serves 4

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (approximately 3 limes)

4 cloves garlic, peeled

1/2 cup cilantro leaves

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and finely ground

Pinch of red pepper flakes or 1 serrano chile minced (to taste!)

Pinch of salt and pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (or to taste)

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.

*Kitchen Notes:  If you love the bright green sauce in the photos and video — make and serve the sauce immediately after making.  Mojo verde has a tends to darken in color the longer it sits.

Need ideas for what to put it on?

We love mojo for its versatility…mojo can be used as a sauce, condiment, marinade, even salad dressing, and it practically goes with everything.  Here are some of our favorite ways to use it:

  • Drizzled on an avocado
  • Perfect for grilled Chicken
  • Serve with everything fish and shellfish
  • Garnish lamb chops
  • As a marinade for pork that tends to dry out
  • As a dip for vegetables
  • Potatoes, potatoes, potatoes

Mojo Verde Sauce with Roasted Game Hens | Dear Martini

Don’t have a blender?  Just mince everything up and stir together!  Hit the thumbnail to jump to the video!

mince garlic thumbnail Chop Cilantro Thumbnail jalapeno thumbnail spice blend toast how grind spices thubnail