21 May, 2010  |   1 Comment

Themed Potlucks: Macho Food

Bocce continues to be awesome.
Justin, Boccissmo

You want to start a local league, don’t you?
(Yeah, I thought so.)

We were playing the team Boccissmo.
Tonight’s potluck theme was “Macho.”

We feasted on Double Downs.
Double Down

And Man Casserole.
Man Casserole

But James and I brought Mussels.
They’re macho, right?

I’d never made Mussels and was a little scared. But the fish monger guy totally helped me out – and they turned out tastytastic.

Mussels and Sausage

Macho Mussles Recipe

6 sausage links cut
1 large (28oz) can Roma tomatoes
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 shallots
5 cloves garlic
1/2 cup white wine
2 pound mussels
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Salt and Pepper

Brown sausage in hot cast iron pan, set aside.
Drain tomatoes and chop. Chop shallots. Mince garlic. Chop parsley.
Heat olive oil in large skillet, add chopped shallots.

Heat oil over medium high heat or until shiny.
Put chopped shallots in pan, cook for 2 minutes, add garlic, add salt and pepper. Add wine, cook for three minutes.


Add mussels. Cover skillet with aluminum foil and take a deep breath. Steam for 3 minutes. Add sausage and tomatoes. Toss. Cook until most of the mussels open.


Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve with grilled bread.

14 May, 2010  |   Comment

Recipe: Subtlety Snouts

As I mentioned, this week’s Themed Potluck for bocce was Medieval Times.

I have to admit that researching Medieval foods was the most fun I’ve had by myself in some time.


The peasants, the kings and the nursemaids, all with their pocketfuls (used like a cup measurement) and their counting houses.

Most interestingly, I learned about Entrements and Subtleties.

Did you know that Entrements and Subtleties are foods served at the end of courses?

Subtleties were derived from an older meaning of the word “subtle,” meaning clever or surprising. Subtleties started out as porridge served between courses and grew into a sort of wacky presentation of food.

The apple in the mouth of the beast, Subtlety.
It was to mimic the look of the animal in the, er, wild.

Sing a song of sixpence?
Four and twenty black birds baked in a pie was a real thing, yo.

The Challenge:
I wanted to come up with something that represented an animal, could be served at the end of a course, was fairly surprising and was suitable for bocce consumption.

The Solution:
Subtlety Snouts

Subtlety Snouts

They’re sausage wrapped with puff pastry in the shape of a pig snout. They’re thyme-scented deliciousness dipped in Dijon mustard.

1/2 pound pork sausage
1/2 package puff pastry (I used Pepperidge Farm)
3 sprigs thyme
1 egg white, beaten
Salt and Pepper

Let the puff pastry thaw on the counter.

While you’re doing that, remove the thyme leaves from the sprig and chop. Mix the thyme with your pork sausage. Roll the pork sausage into 1 inch balls. Brown the pork sausage on top of your stove.

After your puff pastry’s thawed, dust your surface with flour and roll the puff pastry to roughly a 1/4″ thickness or about 16 inches long and 10 inches wide.

Cut the puff pastry the long way down the middle.
Cut the puff pastry across, into 1 1/2 to 2 inch pieces.

Puff Slices

Roll the sausage ball with the puff pastry one way, then take another piece and roll around the other way. You can see it in the image above, in the lower left corner.

Just wrap one piece north and south on the globe of thyme sausage and then wrap another piece east and west.

Cover all the sausage balls with the puff pastry.

Brush the puff pastry with the egg white and put in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400

1 August, 2007  |   Comment

Cheese Quesadillas and Avocado Relish Recipe

August 1 was bocce night.

Kevin measures

In the summer, since we don’t play on our usual team, there aren’t focused nightly food themes like there are during the spring and fall seasons. However, bocce folks bring amazing wine, it’s good to put a more substantial snack in your tumtum hole before quaffing.

On bocce night, I add the higher maintenance demand that the food no longer ONLY fills me up, it also needs to be quick, tasty and easily portable. Thusly, these cheese quesadillas which fried right up in 15 minutes before leaving for bocce.

But snacking on cheese quesadillas on their own is sort of 6 years old, so I served these with some salsa and avocado relish. The embarrassingly simple recipes are below.

James made the avocado relish while I fried up the quesadillas. To save time, I fried them in two pans at once. I’d made the salsa the night before. And damn, no leftovers.

Cheese Quesadillas

20 10 inch flour tortillas
4 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese
1/2 stick of butter
Vegetable oil
Kosher salt and pepper

Make tortilla sandwiches with a wee handful of cheese in the middle of each tortilla. On the top of one tortilla, spread the cheese to about 1 inch from the edge. Top with another tortilla. Instant quesadilla beginnings. Do this until all your flour tortillas are gone or you’ve snacked all your cheese away.

Pull the heaviest sauté pan or cast iron pan on the stove and fire up to medium high. Put 1 pat of butter and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in the pan until the butter barely begins to brown.

Toss your first tortilla sandwich into the pan and don’t step away. Around 1-2 minutes later or when the outside looks lightly browned, flip the quesadilla over for one more toasting. Roughly 30 seconds later, pull out the pan and set on a large cutting board where you sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. In the pan, place the butter and vegetable oil if the pan needs it. Toast the next quesadilla, and so on.

Whew. But you already knew how to make a quesadilla. Onto my salsa recipe.

Fresh HJ Salsa Recipe

3 large vine ripened, local tomatoes, deseeded and chopped small
1/2 bunch chopped cilantro
1 finely chopped jalapeno pepper, discard seeds and membrane
1/2 finely chopped red onion
1/2 lime’s worth of lime juice
8 dashes Tabasco sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Stir it together and let sit for a minute. Feel free to drain it a little if too much juice collects at the bottom.

Avocado Relish

2 avocados, diced
1/2 lime’s worth of lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

Stir all together, serve immediately.

16 June, 2007  |   3 Comments

Spinach dip

Lifted straight outta Gourmet magazine.
(And found on Epicurious.com)

Really, there ain’t no other spinach dip.
3/4 pound spinach (about 1 bunch), coarse stems discarded and the leaves
washed well and drained
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup peeled, seeded, and finely chopped cucumber
1/2 cup finely chopped radish
1/4 cup minced onion
2 scallions, minced
1 large garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon or 1/4 teaspoon dried, crumbled
1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar, or to taste
2 scallions, minced
pita toasts or raw veggies

In a large heavy saucepan cook the spinach in the water clinging to the leaves, covered, over moderate heat, stirring once or twice, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it is wilted, refresh it under cold water, and drain it well in a colander. Squeeze the spinach dry by handfuls and chop it fine. In a bowl stir together well the spinach, the yogurt, the mayonnaise, the cucumber, the radish, the onion, the scallions, the garlic paste, the tarragon, the vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the dip with the pita toasts or raw veggies.

5 June, 2007  |   4 Comments

Pimm's Cup Recipes

pimms.jpgMmmm, Pimm’s Cup.
Refreshing and just novel enough, with not too much alcohol, it’s perfect for cool early summer evenings, and hot late summer nights.

I’ve read that the ORIGINAL Pimm’s Cup recipe goes like this:
One slice of orange or lemon or apple or cucumber per person and one sprig of mint and add to two parts lemonade to one part Pimm’s.

My Pimm’s Cup recipe is made of:
One lengthwise sliced cucumber, one sprig mint, two parts ginger ale and one part Pimm’s.

I’ve also read of Emeril’s Pimm’s Cup:
1 1/2 ounces Pimm’s
1 1/2 ounces Sweet and Sour Mix
Splash of 7-Up Soda
1 slice cucumber (sliced lengthwise)

It’s worth the investment.
You look classier already.
Serve with dainty cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off and your pals will goggle (in a good way).
I love me some Pimm’s Cup, and so will you.