It’s raining cats and dogs here in northern California. After several years of drought, we really need the rain. But we are not used to staying inside—it’s California after all where the sun always shines. I enjoy the rain, but I don’t like the wind. Being forced to stay inside, I cleaned out some old drawers and sorted through old cards and photos. It was easy to throw away most of them. Just as it was easy to say goodbye to 2022. My guest room is almost ready for my niece and her family from Germany. I can’t wait to see them, especially my 18-month-old little grandniece. She is pure sunshine and has a special place in my heart.
It was my turn this month to host our book club meeting, and since it was also my girlfriend’s birthday, she asked me if I would make duck confit. I was happy to oblige, especially as we have known each other for over 30 years. I doubled the recipe, so I and had four duck legs left the next day. I decided to make one of my favorite old standby recipes. It turns the duck legs into a rustic country peasant dish, hardy and--perfect for a rainy day and a country girl like me. The only thing I don’t like about this recipe is the smell of cooking cabbage.
Like so many of my recipes, this is an old one from Gourmet magazine. You do not need to follow the recipe exactly, so you can use less or more cabbage or duck legs. I added some red peppers that I had in my fridge. I also added some jellied duck stock from cooking the legs. I cut the amount of noodles to 9 ounces, even though the original recipe called for one pound. For the pasta, I used fusilli noodles. The original recipe called for campanelle (bell shaped pasta) or garganelli. And please, do not skip turning the skin into cracklings. It’s ten times better than bacon, trust me. You can also buy confit duck legs if they are available.
Recipe for Pasta with Duck Confit and Cabbbage
4 confit duck legs (about 8 ounces)
2 large white onions (about four cups)
1 (1 ½ -lb) savory cabbage (about 8 cups)
1 red pepper (optional)
¼ cup dry white wine
9 ounces fusilli pasta
1 TBS butter
2 TBS chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Heat oil in a large frying pan and sear the duck legs skin down until some of the fat is rendered and the skin is golden (6-8) minutes. When the duck legs are cool enough to handle, remove the skin and scrape off any visible fat. Return the skin to the frying pan and cook over moderate heat, occasionally pressing down on the skin until the fat is rendered and the skin has turned into golden crisp cracklings (about 5 minutes). Drain the cracklings on a paper towel and tear into small pieces. Pull duck meat from the legs into roughly ¼-inch-thick pieces.
Reserve 2-3 TBS of duck fat in the frying pan. Peel and halve the onions, then cut them into ¼ inch thick slices (about 4 cups). Sauté them in the duck fat, stirring occasionally until they are golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Clean and chop the red pepper into 2-inch pieces, and then add it to the onion, cooking the mixture for several minutes. In the meantime, clean and core the cabbage and cut it into 2-inch pieces. Add the cabbage and ½ tsp salt to the onions, stirring and turning for about 5 minutes, until it begins to wilt. Add the wine and cook until evaporated for about 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and simmer (covered) for about 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The cabbage should be very tender. While the cabbage simmers, cook the pasta. Drain the pasta, reserving 2 cups of pasta water. Stir the cabbage mixture with the pasta either in the pasta pot or frying pan (depending on the size of your frying pan). Add the butter and shredded duck with the cracklings, and some pasta water if the pasta looks dry. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the parsley. This dish tastes just as good the next day.
Recipe from Gourmet magazine
Prepared by the Sunnycovechef.com
It has been six months since I last posted. My blog's face lift took longer than planned. It is still not finished so please bear with me. All your wonderful comments are archived in my old blog but I hope that one day I will be able to retrieve them and put them back on this new version of my blog.
As cooking is my passion, it also sparks my interest in food magazines. I miss Gourmet, but there are still some other good ones around, one of them being Food & Wine. I always find something that interests me in this magazine. This years January issue had one recipe that caught my attention and I knew I had to try it. The recipe was kale and artichoke stuffed pasta shells. The author, Anne Taylor Pittman, wrote a wonderful introduction describing her love for spinach-artichoke dip when she was a high school student. With that in mind, she created this dish.
I changed the recipe a bit and used Swiss chard instead of kale, because I still had some in my garden. Feel free to use spinach or kale. I think all of these greens will work just fine. Another reason why I like this recipe is because it hides vegetables in the stuffing and that’s a good way to feed them to my husband. I made some changes the second time by increasing the number of pasta shells from 16 to 20. Figure about 3 shells per serving, 4-5 if you don’t serve a protein with it. The first time I used 1 tsp of Sriracha instead Calabrian Chile sauce. If you don’t like heat, you can omit the hot sauce. Do not omit the crushed fennel seed, as it adds extra flavor to the sauce and it is good for your digestion. I served these stuffed pasta shells with either a duck breast, sage & prosciutto chicken saltimbocca, or a steak. It’s a perfectly fine as a vegetarian dish by itself. I microwaved the leftover shells the next day, and they were delicious.
recipe for Jumbo shells stuffed with Swiss chard and Artichokes
This recipe makes about 8 servings
Use a 13 x 9-inch baking dish or two smaller ones
16-20 uncooked jumbo shells (about 7 ounces)
2 cups or more of marinara sauce
1 tsp Calabrian Chile sauce or Sriracha sauce
1 tsp fennel seeds
¼ cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic
About 5-6 cups Swiss chard, kale, or spinach
1 (12-oz) marinated artichoke hearts
1 can (15.5 -oz) cannelloni beans
1 (5.2-oz.) Boursin cheese
4 oz. shredded provolone or Swiss cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a large kettle of water to boil, season with 3 TBS of salt. Pasta water has to taste like ocean water. Add the shells to the boiling water and cook for about 9 minutes, stirring occasionally. You don’t want the shells fully cooked because you will bake them once they are stuffed. Drain the shells and rinse them with cold water. Spread the shells on a paper towel to prevent them from sticking together. Then cool them.
Spray the baking dish with oil. Coarsely grind the fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle. Mix the marinara sauce with the fennel and hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the sauce in the baking dish. I added more sauce than the original recipe called for.
Filling and finishing the dish
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Chop the garlic very fine. Wash the chard, removing the stems, and chop it coarsely. Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a large frying pan with a lid. Add the garlic and sauté it for 30 seconds. Add the chard and stir, adding ¼ cup of water. Cover and cook for a few minutes until the chard is tender. Add the coarsely chopped artichoke hearts and heat uncovered for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and cool the mixture.
Rinse and drain the beans, mix them with the Boursin cheese and 2 TBS of olive oil in a food processor and process until smooth. Stir the bean and vegetable mixture together until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
Carefully spoon the bean and cheese mixture into the shells and arrange them in the baking dish with the tomato sauce. Sprinkle the cheese over the shells and bake uncovered in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes. The cheese needs to melt and sauce should be bubbling. Increase the heat to a high broil, and broil until cheese begins to brown.
Here is a link to the original recipe
Recipe by Ann Taylor Pittman in Food & Wine
Posted by ©Sunnycovechef.com
click on the photo to link to the post
Here is a little secret, I never made bolognese sauce before, I never looked at a recipe for bolognese sauce but here I am, in the middle of the corona crisis. I am quarantined and trips to the store to get necessary ingredients are not an option.
However, I am well stocked and as I enjoy my morning coffee I think of the ingredients that are available to me to make bolognese sauce. I pull the vegetables out of the fridge and select some that need to be used pretty soon. I find a handful of shiitake mushrooms, a beautiful looking fennel bulb and some garlic. Beside the onion, carrots, celery, zucchini I find some very tired mini peppers in the back of my refrigerator. There are a few leftover shiitake mushrooms from last weeks barley soup. Then I remember my Italian friend telling me that she uses two different kinds of meat when making her bolognese. I use some pieces of prosciutto and the leftover meat from last night’s short ribs. I have some overripe tomatoes that are not good for anything else and pull out a can of tomato sauce. That should do it.
But let’s not forget the pasta. I was given several boxes of dried pasta from an on-line store in Virginia. The pasta was outstanding and I will order some more. We had two delicious dinners, slurping the pasta being coated by the rich sauce. I served my lemon caesar salad with it and a nice glass of wine.
These days I have only one tester, my husband . He can be a picky eater, he doesn’t like vegetables and could live on steak and potatoes for the rest of his life. I love sneaking in some vegetables and this is a good way. Of course you could substitute different vegetables and use different meat like leftover pot roast or beef stew. Or, leave out the meat entirely and make a vegan sauce. The possibilities are endless.
This recipe made four generous meals with about 2 cups of leftover sauce that I put in the freezer. I added 2 TBS of my frozen pesto to the sauce. You could substitute different vegetables and use different meat like leftover pot roast or beef stew. Or, leave out the meat entirely and make a vegan sauce. The possibilities are endless.
Usually I test my recipes several times before I post them. This recipe was such a big hit during Oscar night that I am going to post the first iteration. There are many versions of this sauce that are delicious but for once I am going to stop adjusting and just post as it is. The sauce has a strong tomato taste seasoned with Italian herbs. If you like these flavors this sauce is for you
Every Sunday I walk to our little farmer’s market around the corner and get whatever looks good. I haven't made a lot of pasta lately but when I went to the market this week I decided to splurge and make pasta with tomato sauce. I bought ground pork from a young farmer who raises pigs on a nearby farm. The meat was outstanding and I will get it again. I decided to get fresh pasta shells for my sauce and some crusty bread. Instead of a salad we had artichokes from the market. The sauce was easy to make while watching all the beautiful people on the red carpet. Tara had never seen the Oscars before and also enjoyed watching them while finishing her homework assignment.
This sauce could easily be vegetarian if your prepare it without the meat. Substitute regular spaghetti or any other pasta you like. All the vegetables should be finely diced
Lasagne with Butternut Squash and Hazelnuts
This vegetarian lasagna is a dish with an incredible combination of flavors.
When I first came to this country many years ago, I left a family, a home, a scholarship, and many friends behind in Germany. There were times when I just wanted to go home and I knew it I could because of my grandfather. My grandfather was a wonderful man who I loved dearly. Two world wars had taken his only son, his wife and several of his brothers. His gentle soul poured all the love he had into me when I was born. We all lived together in one large farmhouse. As a baby, he carried me when he thought I was not comfortable. As I grew up, he took me everywhere, holding my hand. I have a picture of the two of us all dressed up going to a garden show. There is this giant of a man in riding boots and little me holding his hand and smiling. He never learned to drive a car, but he took his horse and carriage to the neighboring town to deliver eggs to his customers. I came along whenever I could. These were old-fashioned grocery stores and some private customers.
I remember getting the best dill pickles or candy from his customers. He was an extremely proud man: when he said something, it meant something. Many evenings I went to a woman who sold beer and beverages in our village and got him one bottle of beer. Yes, kids in Germany were allowed to carry alcohol. That same woman also had a machine to seal cans of cooked meat and vegetables. The only time he got mad at me was when he saw me in a very short mini-dress. He didn’t like that at all. I can just imagine how sad he was when I immigrated to the United States. He went to a travel agent and asked her how much a return ticket from the States to Germany would cost. He gave me enough money to return to Germany if I had to. He gave me some other money too, but this amount he said I should always keep in case I wanted to come home. And my grandfather did not have a lot of money. So, I kept that money for a long time, and when I was really homesick, I knew I could go home whenever I wanted to.
Recently, I had a wonderful visit from my niece and her boyfriend and both of them got to choose their favorite food. My niece chose butternut squash lasagna and her boyfriend picked meatloaf. We had such a good time together, and I hated to see them go. We remembered stories from my mother, how she encouraged my niece, who was her granddaughter. I made this lasagna several times for parties (and my vegetarian friends) and it always gets rave reviews. The recipe is from an old issue of Gourmet Magazine.
This is a delicious lasagna with a white sauce, where all the flavors come together nicely and create a memorable meal. It takes some time and work but you can make it ahead of time and it is well worth the effort. I serve my lasagna with a nice salad and a seasonal vegetable like roasted asparagus or brussels sprouts.
Pappardelle with Fava Bean Leaf Pesto , Fava Beans, Salmon and Shiitake Mushrooms
When I did my weekly shopping at the farmer's market, I came upon a treasure I had never used before—fava leaves. I adore and love fava beans, but I don't like hulling and peeling them. A real pain in the tush. Preparing fava beans is a lot of work, but you do end up with a wonderful spring treat. Fava beans (also known as broad beans) are the king of all beans. Their flavor is smoother, sweeter and richer than most other beans.
When I spotted some fava bean leaves in a bag, my cooking antenna went up. "What do you do with them?" I asked. " Pesto" was the answer. That bag of leaves went in my basket faster than a dog chasing a cat.
A chance to produce the taste of fava beans without all the work . Here I had lived all my life without knowing that you could make pasta out of fava bean leaves! I made the pesto and it was delicious.
The dark green, shiny pesto had a tinge of bitterness with a nutty flavor similar to arugula. I played with it all week. I had it on all my sandwiches and on my leftover veggies, and potatoes.
I used some of the pesto to make my pasta dish using Mike's pasta. An ode to Mike and his delicious fresh-made pasta that is light, smooth and to me, the perfect pasta. It is made in Santa Cruz and delivered fresh to several local grocery stores. I fell in love with Mike's pasta many years ago when there was little fresh pasta available. Many a night when I came home from work thinking of making dinner, I would stop and get some of his tasty raviolis. I would cook them and add some tomato sauce or some garlic and butter. Within 20 minutes a mushroom, sweet potato, cheese, or tofu ravioli would smoothly slide down my throat delighting my senses. My family and I would enjoy a great meal. What more can you ask for? I use his fettuccine pasta for my seafood pasta. Mike's pasta has kept the same quality over the years. Nobody talked him into adding stuff, so his pasta would have a longer shelf life. He didn't go public or franchise his business, no sireee, he just kept making perfect fresh pasta. Thank you, Mike, from the bottom of my heart for the many good meals. Disclaimer: I don't know Mike and I'm not getting paid or anything . But I might go visit him one of these days.
I took my last ½ cup of fava bean pesto to the cabin. We needed to remove potential fire material around the cabin. But it snowed and there was no work to be done outside. Instead we lit a cozy fire and enjoyed the winter scenery. I had brought up some pappardelle from Mike, some fava beans and shiitake mushrooms from the Farmer's Market. I had splurged and bought some local wild king salmon that was caught in our bay. This is such a treat but it is becoming very expensive. I prepared a wonderful spring meal in a winter wonderland. We opened a bottle of crisp white burgundy, which was a perfect complement to the meal.
This is a dish where you can substitute basil pesto for the fava leaf pesto. Some roasted pine nuts would be a great addition. Instead of fava beans you can use a cup of edamame beans or peas.
This is my signature dish. The presentation is lovely. I frequently prepare it for my friends and family, who always seem to enjoy it. I cook it differently according to the season. In the spring, I use asparagus. In the winter, I use sun-dried tomatoes from Trader Joe's. But right now, I have some wonderful tasting tomatoes from Robert's garden. You can make this with shrimp only and it will be just as good. Omit the seafood and you have a vegetarian entree. I use my homemade pesto when preparing this dish.c. At this point , my cooking is much better than my photography. You get the picture. I assemble everything on one plate. My husband broke my antique round serving plate one evening when washing the dishes, so all I have now are oval dishes. I have to tell you, he always cleans up my mess and washes the dishes after a meal. Bless his heart! I wouldn't do half the cooking if I had to clean up by myself.
It is important that everything is prepped ahead of time. The scallops and shrimp need to be dry. Heat the oil and butter in the frying pan until sizzling hot before you put the scallops in. Do not touch the scallops before you flip them over.
WELCOME TO SUNNY COVE CHEF
Thank you for visiting my blog. My two passions are cooking and traveling. Traveling exposes me to a wide variety of food and experiences. I walk around cities looking for markets, restaurants, bakeries, shops, you name it, and if it is related to food you will find me there, tasting, smelling, talking to vendors, and having a great time.