Friday, April 25, 2008

Spicy clams are good.

A little while ago my good friend Zoe wanted me to cook a dinner party for a bunch of people. Sadly everybody cancelled but I still cooked for a few of us. I made my favorite Manila Clams with Spanish Chorizo and Dry Vermouth. It's probably one of my favorite all time dishes. It's so savory and spicy and amazing. Don't forget the bread to dip into the phenomonal juices. I almost want to shake it with some icy gin and make a martini it's so good. Okay, maybe that would be gross but I'm not lying when I say that you will want to bottle the leftover liquid and drink everyday. Of course you could change around some of the ingredients like say littleneck clams instead of Manila or linguisa instead of chorizo. Use your imagination but until then, use my delicious recipe.

Steamed Manila Clams with Spanish Chorizo

2 lbs fresh Manila Clams
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lb Spanish chorizo, sliced 1/2” thick on a bias
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 c dry vermouth
1 Tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, stemmed & chopped
kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Quickly rinse off your clams in cold water. Discard clams with broken shells.
In a medium pot with a tight fitting lid, over med heat, add your olive oil and saute the chorizo until cooked through (about 3-4 min).
Add the garlic and saute for 1 min. and then add your vermouth and bring to a simmer. As the vermouth begins to simmer add your clams and cover. Let the clams steam 5-6 min. Uncover and remove from the heat and add your parsley and season with salt and black pepper. Serve hot with a fresh baguette and some dry white wine or a martini.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Orzo Risotto with Venison Sausage

I love unusual interpretations of classic dishes. A lot of people get upset when someone messes with the food that is near and dear to their hearts and I understand that. However, if no one ever tried to innovate these dishes then we would all still be eating bland dinosaur dishes like Boiled Beef with Parsley Sauce or scary things suspended in aspic. We should definitely have a sense of history and respect the classics but by being creative and adventurous with food we can keep the arts part of the Culinary Arts relevant.

It's been done before so I'm not claiming the invention of the wheel or anything but I decided to make risotto out of orzo pasta instead of the usual rice. My own twist to it is that I tweaked the cooking method that I've seen on a few other recipes by cooking it more like an actual risotto and I've added the addition of asparagus, asiago cheese, and a local, spicy venison sausage that I purchased at Whole Foods. If you're on a diet stop reading now because just reading this recipe you will gain a couple pounds.

Orzo Risotto with Asparagus and Venison Sausage

2 cups orzo pasta
3 cups chicken stock
1 bunch fresh asparagus, hard ends removed, cut into 2" pieces
1/2 lb venison sausage, no casings
1/2 cup finely grated asiago cheese
2 tbsp high fat European style butter
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

In a pot of boiling salted water, blanch the asparagus 3 minutes.

Saute the venison sausage in a pan with a little olive oil over medium high heat until fully cooked. Season if needed.

In a large pot cover the orzo with chicken stock and cook over medium heat, adding stock as needed until just cooked through. Stir every few seconds. It should be cooked through in about 10 minutes and the remaining liquid should have a creamy consistency. Stir in the cheese, butter, asparagus, venison sausage, and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley and serve hot.

Stir in cheese, butter, salt, and pepper and serve immediately.

Friday, April 11, 2008

It's the cheesiest!

So things are starting to finally settle down with our move and all. We're all moved in and unpacked and my kitchen is starting to finally be workable. I could use a little more counter space but for now it'll have to do. Now if I could only shut up my lousy upstairs neighbors. I swear they run laps up there with metal shoes on 24 hours a day. Anyways, before I work myself up, remember when you were a kid and all you wanted to eat was hot dogs and macaroni and cheese? Well that's usually what I wanted to eat. Even today I find myself craving the best of all kid's feasts. So there is an awesome cheese maker in Pike Place Market called Beechers and they make an amazing mac n' cheese using their cheddar style Flagship cheese, penne, and fresh cream and they also make a Mexican style one with corn and spicy salsa. They are so good I could eat them every day for every meal. Now for the hot dog part I decided to have an amazingly juicy brat from Uli's Sausage who also happens to live in the market. That topped with some Mama Lils goathorn peppers and spicy German mustard and I'm set. That's right, no powdered cheese or hooves in my meal. Just good fresh and local food that reminds me of being a spoiled little brat.