A friend of mine went out of town, leaving her little tomato vines to me. Here we are, in to November, and because it has been an incredibly mild Fall so far, there are still lots of deliciously sweet Cherry Tomatoes growing on her vines. Lots and lots. So I decided to make a dish that I usually only get to make in the summer because it requires sweet, vine-ripened tomatoes: Linguine with Roasted Clams & Tomatoes.
The tomatoesI have made this on my kettle Weber, stove-top and in the oven, and it comes out great any of these ways, although using the Weber adds that extra flavor that only a grill can. I decided on oven roasting this day.
Preheat oven to 400°. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Place a roasting pan or large oven proof skillet on the stove top and heat to medium high. Add the olive oil, pancetta, garlic, basil and chili flakes, stirring until the pancetta has rendered, about 5 minutes. Pour in the wine then add the tomatoes and clams. Season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 12-15 minutes.Place the linguine in the pot and cook until al dente. Drain and place in serving bowl or rimmed platter, then drizzle with olive oil. Take the clam and tomato mixture out of the oven, discard any unopened clams, then pour over the linguine.
Aaron and I enjoy cooking the game he brings home, together, and these meatballs are one of our favorite “team” dinners. He makes the meatballs, I make the sauce. It’s perfect.
For the sauce:
For the meatballs:
*Ground Elk or beef can be used in place of the Venison, and domestic pork sausage can be used instead of the wild pig sausage.
Heat a large, nonreactive skillet over medium-high heat, then add the Olive Oil. When the oil is hot, add the Onions, stirring until they soften, then add the Garlic, Oregano and Basil. When the Garlic has softened, stir in the Tomato Paste, then add the Tomato Sauce, Diced Tomatoes and Salt & Pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, thoroughly combine all of the ingredients for the meatballs. Begin forming 2” meatballs, (coating your hands with Olive Oil beforehand helps to keep the meat from sticking to them), then place them on a sheet pan. You should have about a dozen meatballs. (We doubled the recipe this day because we were taking a dozen to a friend, more on that later).
When the sauce is done simmering, place the meatballs in the sauce, raising the heat back up to medium-high, and adding about ¼ cup of the Stock or Water. Cook for 15 minutes, allowing them to brown. Turn the meatballs over, covering them with sauce, and cook for another 15 minutes. Add a little more of the Stock or Water, just enough to keep the sauce from getting dry, as needed.
Plate and garnish with Parsley and Parmigiano
We took a dozen of these lovelies to my friend, Nancy, who is recovering from an injury, and she wrote about them in her newspaper column here.
I must admit, I had never before made Macaroni & Cheese. I’ve always enjoyed it, but it was never a dish that I wanted to prepare myself. Well that all changed when my
hero fellow blogger over at The Mac and Cheese Files posted photos of “Grown-Up Mac & Cheese”, from the “sexy” food blog, Carnal Dish. Now there was a Mac I wanted to make! Oh sure, there were a few different cheeses in the recipe, but it was some of the other ingredients that spoke to me, Rosemary, Thyme, Basil, Cayenne and Scallions, that suggested a depth of flavor that was interesting. Oh, there was Bacon too! Click here for the recipe.
I did change one thing though, the main cheese. I replaced Cabot New York Extra Sharp White with Fiscalini Farmstead Vintage Bandage Wrapped Cheddar, a cheddar that has won the Gold Medal four years running at the World Cheese Awards in the UK, and in 2012, was named one of the top 16 cheeses in the world. Yes, it’s that good. (Have I ever mentioned that I am employed as a cheese monger? That’s right, I get paid for it!). You can read more about Fiscalini cheeses here.
The result was delicious, and I’ll be making it again … and again.
Elk season opened in Arizona on Friday the 13th this year, for bowhunters, and a few hours into it, Aaron shot this bull, a 6x7 that measured 365, (a bad-luck day for this Elk, to be sure). Aaron is not a trophy hunter though, it’s all about the hunt … and the meat. That’s where I come in.
We went to the butcher to decide how we wanted the Elk processed. The back straps and filets were cut into 3-4 pounds pieces, (they are my favorite thing to make for company!). The rest was cut into steaks, roasts, and ground into burger, sausage, salami and pepper sticks. Good thing we bought a new freezer, this Elk filled it up.
There’s a bit of a chill in the air now, and it inspired me to pull out my dutch oven and slow cook an Elk roast.
When I came home from work seven hours later, I took the roast out of the oven, made some buttermilk biscuits, and sat down and ate. I forgot to take a pic of the finished product, but you can get an idea here: http://ewrightson.tumblr.com/post/26697804385/game-on Obviously, I’ll be making some more of the same dishes I’ve blogged about before, and I look forward to trying some new ones. Here are some pics featuring some of our 2011 Elk:
Elk Burger stuffed with Bleu d’Auvergne and topped with Caramelized Onions.
Elk and Tomato Pasta Sauce…
That’s it it for now. I’ll add new pics as I have them.
This dinner features three of my favorite things, each of which I’ve blogged about; pears, Gorgonzola and venison. So when a friend saw the below photo on my Instagram feed and asked me how I made it, I said I’d write it down.
For the Venison:
Adjust the racks of your oven so that the Venison can be placed in the lower 3rd. Preheat oven to 400°
Rub the Worcestershire sauce all over the Venison and let sit a minute. Sprinkle with salt, then the herb rub. Crust meat with the pepper and let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes.
Place a cast iron skillet on your stove top and turn heat up to high/medium high. When the pan is hot, add a little peanut or canola oil, no olive oil, then place the Venison in and sear for about 4 minutes. Turn the backstrap over and place in the oven for 7-10 minutes, depending on its size and desired doneness.
Remove from the oven and place on a meat board or plate, where the juices can accumulate, and allow to rest, loosely covered with foil, while you make the pan sauce.
For the Pan Sauce and Pears: