HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Pappardelle with Braised Chicken and Figs Adapted from Chef Kyle Bailey in Food and Wine Magazine

   

         Who isn’t always looking for fresh, new ways to cook that workhorse of the kitchen, the skinless chicken thigh?  That’s why I was intrigued by a recipe in October’s Food and Wine Magazine that was said to be “Spanish-inspired pasta”.  First of all, although no authority on Spanish cuisine, I had to wonder about pasta being authentic to Spain.  And the research I did backed me up.  There is really only one ‘pasta’ that is cooked with any frequency in Spain.  And wouldn’t you know it’s used in making Fideuá, which is very similar to paella only Fideuá substitutes a noodle about the size of spaghetti for the rice in every other paella.  There’s a interesting piece of folk history about how this substitution of noodles for rice happened. According to what I read, Fideuá was first created by a cook onboard a fishing boat.  Joan Batiste Pascual, better known as Zabalo, made many a meal of paella.  The skipper of the vessel he worked on in 1915 loved rice and would always eat so much of it that the crew never got their fair share.  So in order to stop the skipper from eating everyone else’s portion, Zabalo decided to substitute pasta for rice.  Unfortunately for the rest of the fisherman, his plan didn't go too well.  The captain devoured the pasta with as much gusto as he did rice so Zabolo’s plan was thwarted.  But he is still a hometown hero.  His village, Safor, holds a Fideuá cooking competition each year.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Cottage Pie with a hand from Tamasin Day-Lewis in Saveur Magazine

        
Growing up in Canada, the Sunday Roast was a tradition in our house.  An enormous piece of beef would appear on the dinner table and our extended family would dig in.  And it was almost always beef because my parents had no great affection for lamb or, heaven forbid, pork which could cause a disease called "Trichinosis", the very sound of which sent shivers up our spines.  So beef it was. In the week after the roast, my mother would make Shepherd’s Pie, which is what she always called it.  This is a really old English recipe.  The first time it was printed was in an anonymous writer’s cookbook in 1737 called “The Whole Duty of a Woman”. (Can you imagine the response that title would arouse today? )  Shepherd’s Pie has evolved since then. In the Victorian era, the hand-cranked meat grinder was introduced so that turning the leftover roast into minced meat was infinitely easier. Mixed with onions and, sometimes, leftover vegetables, the filling was then topped with mashed potatoes and reheated in the oven.  I loved it.  And it was a good thing because it was a weekly staple in our house for years and years.  But when Andrew and I got together he cringed at the very thought of Shepherd’s Pie.  Apparently when he was in school in England, in his own words, ‘you can just imagine how badly it could be made’.   But having already made hash with some leftover prime rib, I still had leftovers. I decided to prove him wrong.  But first I had to correct something wrong about my mother’s Shepherd’s Pie.