Sunday, December 19, 2010

twelve days of christmas

on the 12th day of Christmas, my food love gave to thee:

mistletoe for kisses

new headshots for my business...

espresso bark for Fort Worth Foodie...

sparkling ornaments for-the-tree!

milk punch to give cheer...

a bright winter issue to share...

open house snacks to inhale...

a cocktail table packed with pleasure...

an old fashioned for good measures...

and a partridge in a pear tree!

Merry Christmas to all from Linguine and Dirty Martinis.


Monday, November 29, 2010

jams, jellies and sweets galore

My Austin Thanksgiving in numbers this year:

42 famished guests

25 pounds of Becca's
(my grandmother)
famous cornbread dressing

10 delicious desserts (cakes, pies, trifles, cookies and tarts)

3 beautifully set tables of 10 (the others had to find a spot)

3 roasted turkeys, 1 ham

a never-ending Longhorn/Aggie fued

...and a partridge in a pear tree

Amongst the chaos, the spread was mouthwatering and bountiful. Our contributions to the meal included:

Truffle Roasted Turkey

[Seriously the best turkey I've ever had in my life. No chopping, no basting, no guess work. Pull turkey out at 150 degrees to allow for carry-over cooking. Thanks, Ina.]

Roasted Brussels and Rutabaga with a Hazelnut Brown Butter

[There is nothing better than caramelized brussels sprouts to me. Sweet, tangy roasted rutabaga and hazelnut brown butter were icing on the cake.]

Roasted Cauliflower with Gruyere, Capers and an Anchovy Vinaigrette

[Some of my favorite flavors wrapped up in one gratin dish.]

Sweet Potatoes with Ginger, Orange and Clove

[Baked sweet potatoes are baked, peeled then sliced and layered with fresh ginger, orange peel, cinnamon, clove, a sprinkling of marshmallows and a touch of turbinado.]

After a short drive, we placed our dishes amongst an already-full table of:

Turkey, Ham
Scratch-Made Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Corn Pudding
Cornbread Stuffing
Green Bean Casserole
Pecan and Brown Sugar Sweet Potatoes
Cranberry Orange Sauce
Waldorf Salad
Yeast Rolls
Potato Rolls

And don't forget about dessert....

My contribution:

Fresh Cranberry Tart with a Maker's Mark Glaze

[buttery, tart and full bodied] accompany the table of sweets bursting with:

Apple Pie
Chocolate Pecan Pie
Pecan Pie
Pumpkin Pie
Apple Crumb Pie
Chocolate Kahlua Trifle
Autumn Cookies
Banana Cake with Pecans
As a result of my oversized meal finished with sweets, coffee and wine...I fell in a turkey trance quite quickly.

After a cooking day of rest, I pulled out my baking sheets, parchment, saucepans and more to create a dozen Linguine and Dirty Martinis Homemade for the Holidays gifts.

This first treat is oh-so-simple. We had extra fresh cranberries leftover from Thanksgiving along with several bright lemons. Voila!

Cranberry Lemon Jam
yields approximately 6 cups

2 cups fresh cranberries
rind of 2 lemons, thinly sliced
2.5 cups sugar
3 cups water

Reduce all ingredients in a medium saucepan until reduced by half-- approximately 1 hour. Let cool completely then package in jars or chill and serve.

After I packaged this bright and tart jam, I simmered plump blackberries with sliced jalapeno, black pepper, sugar and water to create the perfect topping for cocktail party treats:

Blackberry and Jalapeno Compote

This amethyst-hued delight has a kick of hot pepper that packs a punch. Not for the faint of taste buds!

Next treat to create are holiday staples: Spiced Nuts. These are a sweet and spicy version given depth with an enhancement of nutmeg and fresh rosemary.

Rosemary Spiced Mixed Nuts

yields 1.5 cups

3 T light corn syrup
1.5 T sugar
3/4 t kosher salt
1/4 t fresh ground pepper
1/8 t cayenne
1/8 t ground nutmeg
1 t fresh rosemary, minced
1.5 cups mixed roasted and salted nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients thoroughly in a bowl. Spread into a greased baking sheet in an even layer. Bake approximately 8 minutes until coating is bubbly and nuts are golden.

Spread mixture atop parchment paper in an even layer and let cool completely. Before packaging or serving, break up cooled nuts with hands to separate.

If saving treats for your own use, add cheeses, fruit and vino for a cocktail party in a flash!


Sunday, November 7, 2010

wedding bells & one-pot meals

What a pleasure it was to cook for a crew of gorgeous, successful young women celebrating the upcoming wedding of their dear friend, Sarah.

I arrived in the charming home of one of her cheery bridesmaids, Kacey, and immediately set to work in preparation of my Linguine and Dirty Martinis Risotto 101 demo.
Gals sipping wine always seem to love
cheese, fruit and carbs
so my appetizer combination seemed like a natural choice.
As guests arrived, hors d'oeuvres and libations awaited including my new favorite appetizer for a crowd:

Savory Bleu Cheese Cheesecake with a Rosemary Pecan Crust

serves 16 appetizer portions
3/4 c pecans, toasted and salted
2/3 c breadcrumbs
3 T butter, melted
4 eggs, room temperature
1 lb cream cheese, room temperature
1 T fresh rosemary, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb bleu cheese, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap the bottom of 8-inch springform pan with foil. Set aside.

In a food processor, grind pecans, breadcrumbs and butter to form a fine crumble. Press in an even layer into greased springform pan. With a handheld or stand mixer, beat cream cheese, garlic and rosemary until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Delicately fold in bleu cheese with a spatula then transfer mixture and spread evenly atop pecan crust.

Bake approximately 40 minutes until slightly brown and set completely. Transfer to cool completely on a rack before releasing springform. Serve at room temperature with fig compote. Can be made and chilled 1 day ahead.

Fig Black Pepper Compote

1 c apple juice
1 c water
1/2 c sugar
1 bay leaf
1 c dried figs, halved
1 c dried currants
zest of 1 orange
1 T fresh-cracked pepper

Reduce all ingredients over medium high heat approximately 30 minutes until reduced by half. Let cool and serve room temperature atop cheesecake.

After guests snacked on assorted cheese preparations, I began the risotto and vinaigrette demo:

Spinach, Fennel and Bosc Pear Salad

This salad is sweet, bitter and anise-ridden with a thick, slightly-spiced vinaigrette perfect for the holidays.

Toss fresh spinach, sliced bosc pears and julienned fennel. Serve with Maple Mustard Vinaigrette and garnish with fennel fronds.

Maple Mustard Vinaigrette

3 T mustard
1/2 c pure maple syrup
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t fresh rosemary, minced
zest of one lemon
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together all ingredients except olive oil. Slowly drizzle in olive oil, whisking frequently, until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.
Winter Squash, Pancetta and Sage Risotto

Although I was a bit immersed in my cooking to recall a "formal" recipe, this wintry risotto takes a traditional base of aromatics, arborio and white wine with vegetable stock and is amplified with sweet and smoky additions.

During my "stir-time", I made sure to season arborio mixture with liberal salt and pepper and fresh, minced sage. After all stock was added and risotto reached al dente, I stirred in roasted acorn squash, crisp-rendered pancetta, whole butter and fine parmesan cheese.

Sheer comfort in one bowl.

For desserts to share over gift-giving, I decided on an array of hand-held glossy cakes that would lend well to chocolate cravings.

Cocoa and Lavender Salt Cakes
with Ganache and Edible Flowers

I added just enough
unsweetened, fine cocoa powder
along with
a sprinkling of dried lavender salt
to substitute for kosher salt.

After a
swirl of bittersweet ganache

and the careful placement of
delicate edible flowers,

the delightful cakes were ready to shine!


Thursday, November 4, 2010

homemade for the holidays

In a seasonal rut?
Go Homemade for the Holidays with Linguine and Dirty Martinis!

Cross everyone off your holiday list in three simple steps:

visit my website to view the homemade for the holidays menu including:

[jams, jellies, compotes and pickled delights]
my personal picks:
lemon + lime curd
fig + black pepper compote
spiced blueberry jam + star anise

[candies, chocolate and barks]
my personal picks:
dark chocolate truffles + fleur de sel
milk chocolate bark + crushed peppermint

[sweet and salty baked treats]
my personal picks:
pecorino cheese straws
vanilla + almonds + flaxseed granola
triple ginger cookies + lemon glaze

email to set up a complimentary consultation and secure your spot.


made-from-scratch treats will be prepared, packaged and decorated in your home kitchen just in time for holiday cheer!
Beautiful letterpress tags compliments of Lauren with Blue Eye Brown Eye will also be available for clients if desired. [photo compliments of Blue Eye Brown Eye]

Look for Linguine and Dirty Martinis Homemade for the Holidays goodies available for purchase this December at Walter Kaufmann Chef's Holiday Pantry benefitting Tarrant Area Food Bank.

More details to come!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

a photo stage & sugared sage

I was recently given a marvelous opportunity to be part of a luxe publication promoting female entrepreneurs nationwide!
This December, the first CRAVE Fort Worth guide will be unveiled full of fearless female business women all over the area. I am honored to be among many of these ladies I have admired for years.
In preparation for my Linguine and Dirty Martinis photo spread, the fabulous photographer, Kari Crowe, arrived to my tiny shoebox apartment to photograph some of my food styling efforts.
To prepare my menu, I focused on texture, color, taste and the types of dishes that truly define Linguine and Dirty Martinis. Below are personal pictures from the shoot. Professional shots to come!

These cocktails are bright, bold and have a subtle kick of my favorite autumn herb. I served these in chic, vintage martini glasses with a ribbon of plum. Highball glasses would be beautiful as well.

Berry and Sugared Sage Martinis

yields approximately 4 martinis
1/2 c fresh blueberries and/or blackberries
1 c sugar plus 1/2 c to sugar sage
1 c water
8 fresh sage leaves
1 bottle off-dry champagne

Mix 4 sage leaves in a container with 1/2 c sugar. Let sit for sugar to adhere.

Simmer berries, water, 1 c sugar and 4 sage leaves over medium heat approximately 30 minutes until thickened. Let cool then chill completely in refrigerator.

To mix cocktail, mix one part chilled berry syrup with two parts champagne. Garnish with a sugared sage and berry skewer.

While simmering this tangy simple syrup, I also simmered a bold mixture of aromatics perfect to shine in a photo. These aromatics are ideal for a spiced cocktail or to naturally fragrance your abode with an intense, spicy scent.

To mix, combine:

2 c apple cider
2 c water
1 c brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
3 star anise
citrus rind
citrus slices
1 sliced red jalapeno for a fiery addition!

Simmer and enjoy!
The following appetizer is simply beautiful. Assembly-only preparation creates intense ease.

Blood Orange, Goat Cheese, Prosciutto Baguette and Pistachios

Delicately layer:

baguette (I used prosciutto black pepper baguette)
with goat cheese,
fresh thyme,
a segment of blood orange
and chopped, toasted pistachios.

Drizzle with fine honey (I used lavender honey).

This salad is elegant and refined. For the shoot, I served the salad chilled but a warmed version would be a perfect rustic alternative for chilly autumn evenings.
Sausage and Fennel Salad with Dried Cherries, Pecans and a Warm Rosemary Vinaigrette

Serves 2.

juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/2 T fresh rosemary, minced
1/4 c fine olive oil
salt and fresh-cracked pepper to taste
2 links organic turkey sausage, browned and sliced on the bias
1 fennel bulb, sliced thin
1 celery stalk, sliced on the bias
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/4 cup red onion, sliced thin
2 T dried cherries
2 T walnuts, toasted and chopped

Combine lemon, rosemary, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in olive oil to emulsify. Toss with warm sausage then toss with fennel, celery, red onion and parsley. Garnish with toasted pecans and dried cherries.

Fig and Plum Tart

For this tart delicacy, perfect for breakfast, dessert or an afternoon snack, I chose glossy, bright plums and plump, green figs for a color contrast.
For crust:

1.5 c AP flour
1 stick unsalted butter, cubed and cold
1 t salt
8 T ice water

Fruit filling:
4 plums, sliced uniformly
3 figs, sliced uniformly
2 T turbinado sugar
1 egg, whisked and thinned with 1 T water
1/2 c apricot preserves, heated and thinned with 1 T lemon juice

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. With fingertips, cut in butter into dry mixture until butter is pea shaped.

One tablespoon at a time, add cold water until a homogenous dough forms. Knead dough several times, careful not to overwork, and form into a flat disk. Cover with plastic wrap and chill one hour.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush flour onto a cool, dry surface. Roll out chilled disk into a larger circle-- about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer dough circle to a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Chill on sheet for 5 minutes to firm up dough.
To assemble tart, arrange plums in a decorative pattern leaving a 1/2 inch outside border to later fold over. Finish with scattered fig slices. Carefully fold over edges to seal tart around fruit. Add your egg wash-- brush whisked egg mixture atop crust. Finish by sprinkling crust with turbinado.

Bake approximately 45 minutes until pastry is golden brown. While tart is cooling, brush tops of fruit and crust with heated apricot preserved to add sheen and sweetness. Cut into wedges and serve.

Speaking of tarts....along with candies, compotes and jams galore, please keep posted for upcoming news from Linguine and Dirty Martinis:
In a seasonal rut?

go Homemade for the Holidays
with Linguine and Dirty Martinis!

Delicious details coming soon...


love in the windy city

I've been on a blogging hiatus for
perfectly wonderful reasons the past weeks.

leaving on a jet plane to free my troubles

30 degree drop in a blink of an eye

rich coffee in the mornings and warming wine in the afternoons

high arches, blown glass, illuminated ceilings

benedicts, brandades, confits, sous vides

bright florals, leaves and streets

macarons, flans, empanadas and panna cottas

sea urchins, belugas, penguins and king crabs

Chicago was love at first sight.