Don’t cry for me, Knit Think readers The truth is, I have not lost it… Boy, y'all are really bad at guessing who the guest chairman would be. Most of you obsessed over dead foodies. But c'mon--the real Iron Chef chairman? Is an actor.
Don’t cry for me, Knit Think readers
The truth is, I have not lost it…
Boy, y'all are really bad at guessing who the guest chairman would be. Most of you obsessed over dead foodies. But c'mon--the real Iron Chef chairman? Is an actor.
As is the special guest chairman this week. In fact, long before Reagan, Schwarzenegger, Franken, and Fred Grandy, she made the leap from entertainment to politics.
Why? you might ask. Be patient. All shall be revealed, with just a touch of tyranny.
First, let's talk about the week's CSA box (and by the way, if you'd like to know more about the fine young folks--and I do mean young--that fill our boxes with such exceptional goodies, read about them here). We got salad mix, hot banana pepper, sweet corn, collard greens, fresh onions, garlic, cucumbers, summer squash, cherry tomatoes, purple and green beans, and fresh basil. In addition, Miss T. and I purchased nice big red tomatoes.
That's a pretty rich haul, yes? And varied. This was a box designed not to lead to boredom.
When the goods are at their peak, simplicity is in order. A simple caprese sandwich with sliced tomato, basil, fresh mozzarella, olive oil, salt and pepper, and capers. Nummy.
Bacon, smoked turkey, tomato and lettuce sandwich (also? avocado) with boiled sweet corn. Simple and perfect.
This is a recipe from Lynne Rossetto Kasper's The Italian Country Table. It's so easy--you dice tomatoes (regular and cherry), toss them with chopped fresh basil, olive oil, salt and pepper, in a bowl you've rubbed with a split clove of garlic. Let it all site for a while, then add hot pasta, which "cooks" the tomatoes. With the wonderful tomatoes we get this time of year, this is one of my favorite summer dishes.
Rosemary Trout with Cherry Tomato Sauce. Mixed results here; the trout was about the easiest thing ever (open a fillet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, stick in a sprig of rosemary, fold closed, pan fry) and very tasty. The cherry tomatoes were tossed with shallots, balsamic vinegar, and rosemary, then served on the side. It wasn't bad, but here's the thing: when the cherry tomatoes are as flavorful and delicious as these are, it seems like overkill to douse them in other strong-flavored ingredients. Better to save this recipe for the tomatoes of winter, and use the lovely summer versions to stand alone next to the trout.
On the other hand, when you have something mild like a cucumber, this is a good way to use it. Our CSA newsletter had a recipe for cucumber salsa: feta cheese, black pepper, onion, lemon juice, cucumbers, and cilantro. Holy cow. Fabulous. Especially served on pita bread with lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and kalamata olives.
Then there are rainy days when comfort food rules. Take some hamburger (or ground turkey), brown it with diced onion and minced garlic, add some crushed red pepper, salt, pepper, and oregano; add in some diced summer squash and tomatoes; cook 'til done. Utterly satisfying, especially with biscuits. Yes, they're square biscuits. Taste as good as the round ones.
Alrighty then--can you see the key ingredient here? Why, yes--it's bacon. I steamed green and purple beans and collard greens, then sauteed them with garlic and bacon. A little splash of lemon juice finished 'er off. This was so good I almost wept. And I'm not usually a fan of collard greens.
OK. I sense that, in spite of all this food pron, y'all are getting restless and wanting to know: why Evita??
The story has roots way back last fall, when my good friend Antay decided to take a trip (not the first one, that lucky git) to Argentina. Having a
obsessive slight interest in Evita, I begged pleaded threatened bodily harm mentioned in passing that it might be fun to have an artifact from the Evita Peron Museum. And he's such a dear that he picked up on my subtle hint and brought me this:
An Evita apron! Isn't it darling?
This might even top my Birds Barbie.
Anyway, once we started Iron Chefettes, I realized that Evita was just calling out to be a chairman. And the apron needed to be worn. And I needed to try and look like Evita. (Teens 1 & 2 will tell you that I already channel her dictatorial side all too often.) Problem, though--her classic look was hair severely pulled back into a chignon. I simply don't have enough hair. What to do, what to do...Fortunately, the bakery dept. at Cub Foods came through for me.
That works as a stand-in chignon, right? Especially when attached to my neck with some DPNs and a bit of yarn:
Very Evita-esque! The only remaining stumbling block was--what to cook? I pulled this book off the shelf:
--and started studying it. My first thought was beef, because Argentine beef is supposed to be the best in the world (in fact, my friend has said he could never be a vegetarian now, knowing there is beef like that somewhere in the world). But then I remembered an anecdote from a biography of Evita. For those of you not familiar with her, she and her husband ran Argentina with an iron fist and a deadly hatred of the country's aristocracy. While Mr. Peron was of the "arrest them prison them kill them" mode of dictatorial leadership, Evita had more style and imagination. One of her targets was an upper-crust gathering spot, the Jockey Club. Eva wanted it closed. She was First Lady; she and hubby could have closed it, or burned it, or stormed it with soldiers. But is that what she did?
Why, no. Instead, she took advantage of the hot Argentine summer (remember, this was mid-20th century, long before good sources of A/C), and opened an open-air fish market across the street.
Think about that.
No matter your opinion of her, she gets major snaps on that one. Brilliant, really.
I realized then--it had to be fish. No good tribute to Evita and my glorious apron would be right without seafood. And so, I give you: Salmon Pie (recipe below).
(OK, I cheated and used store-bought pie crust. Sue me. At least I didn't resort to canned salmon.)
You saute up a filling made of chopped onion, diced tomatoes, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, dill and wine.
Then you start layering up your pie crust, with the tomato mixture, cooked salmon, hard-boiled egg slices, and olives with pimiento.
Cover with more pie crust, bake, and --
Heaven in a pan. Wow. Evita. Maybe you are a saint after all.
(That's me, gettin' all Evita with it.) I was a little nervous about serving the Knit Think household such an exotic dish. There was wailing and gnashing of teeth when I announced that dinner was a pie--without sugar. Before trying it, I was definitely considered a tyrant. But it was a hit. Some people even ate seconds. And leftovers the next day.
So thank you, Evita. Your guest chairman run was, I feel, a winning tactic in the ongoing Iron Chefettes battle. Just--umm--you know, I don't really want to have my corpse handled like yours was. No offense. (Seriously, go read that link, and you'll see one reason I find Evita so interesting.)
Salmon Pie (Empanada Gallega)
2 cups sifted flour
¾ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shortening
1 egg yolk, beaten
3 tablespoons ice water
2 cups chopped onion
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons minced parsley
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
¼ cup dry white wine
1 ½ pounds salmon fillets, lightly poached and cut in 1 ½ inch strips (or canned salmon)
¼ cup pimiento-stuffed green olives, sliced crosswise
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced crosswise
Sift the flour and salt together. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture looks like coarse sand. Mix in the eg yolk and water with a fork. Form the dough into a ball and chil for 2 hours.
In a skillet, sauté the onions in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil until they are soft. Add the tomatoes, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, dill and wine. Cook over high heat until the liquid is reduced by half. Correct seasonings and cool.
Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Roll out a little over half the dough and line a lightly oiled 10-inch pie pan with it. Layer the filling starting with half the onion mixture. Top the onions with half the salmon strips followed by half the egg slices and half the olive slices. Repeat the layering with the remaining ingredients. Roll out the remaining dough and cover the layered mixture. Seal the pastry edges and cut a small hole in the center of the top crust the size of a finger. Brush the top with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and bake the pie in the center of the oven for 25 minutes or until the pastry is brown. Cool and cut into wedges to serve.