Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Penne All'Arrabbiata

The weather in Portland, Oregon still trying to decide if it is going to allow Spring to rear its head. I am aching for some sunshine and tonight's dinner really needed to be kicked up a notch to get me out of my funk. A lot of foods are familiar or provide comfort, but tonight's meal I wanted something that would give me an endorphin hit. What better to provide that than a Roman pasta sauce that takes Olive Oil, Garlic, Pepper flakes, Plum Tomatoes and little Parsley to a new level. A big fat splash of Olive Oil into a hot pan along with a handful of Red Pepper Flakes (1+ teaspoon ). Cook the peppers in the oil for a minute then add 4-5 cloves of Garlic, a large can of imported Italian Plum Tomatoes and cook for 20 minutes.
In case your aren't fluent in Italian, the name of this dish basically means "angry or enraged".....so it is going to be more than a little spicy-hey, at least I warned you.
These peasant sauces are so simple and so spectacular. If I owned a restaurant this dish would be on my permanent rotation.
Pair this with any wine that is red, rustic and Italian-Mangia!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Paella Valencia

Man, I sometimes forget how awesome this single pan meal can be. Last weekend I had some time to play around in the kitchen so I dug out my Paella pan and went to work.
The biggest hurdle for this dish is the prep it takes to throw it together just before you are ready to serve. That said, this is a dish that you can prep for in stages and the final presentation is spectacular.
The variations of meats and seafood you can throw into this are almost endless. I did a bastardized version of Paella Valencia.
Start with a soffritto of peppers, cilantro, onions, tomatoes and garlic. Brown your sausage and chicken and set aside. I took the soffritto, and four cups of rice and heated the mix in the Paella pan until it was starting to toast. Add six cups of broth and then layer in the chicken and sausage. Place this in a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes then add the mussels, clams and shrimp and return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Pull the Paella pan and place on a gas burner and crank the heat up high for a couple of minutes. This will produce the the dish with a toasty brown carmelized rice on the bottom of the pan that the Spanish call socarrot. Toss the pan with some chopped green olives and some parsley just before you pour a Rioja and sit down for dinner.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lewis & Clark

Cedar Plank Roasted Wild Salmon

Some things are just meant to go together....like: Basil & Tomatoes, Peanut butter & Jelly, Hotdogs & Mustard, French Fries & Ketchup. In the Pacific Northwest the combination that goes together like Lewis & Clark is that of Roasted Salmon & Pinot Noir.

If you want to be even more specific you can add that the Salmon needs to be roasted on a Cedar or Alder Plank over an open fire (Weber is fine). The fresh Salmon is best when just seasoned with Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper and cooked for 12-15 minutes. The wood plank adds fantastic aromatic spice note to the dish. The Sineann Pinot Noir with its primal earthy nose and tart huckleberry/blueberry palate was a perfect foil for this succulent dish.

While I am pretty sure the Corp of Discovery wasn't having this for dinner while looking for the Northwest Passage, I am certain that they would have been happy to trade boiled venison and camas roots for what I had for dinner.
What Lewis & Clark wished they had for dinner

Sineann 2005 Resonance Vineyard Pinot Noir