Good Bite: Decadent Pasta Recipes

My latest video about decadent pasta recipes with my very good friends Elise and Diane is now online at Good Bite. Or you can watch it here below. I must tell you how fun it is working with my friends and maybe one day they will let me make a video with David Lebovitz. Ok, on second thought maybe not. Check it out below.

And here’s how to make it thanks to the ever-so-adorable Aarti Sequeira. I love this woman!

Summer Fest!

tomatoes-ten-ways

summerfest-badgeYes Yes and YES!  We’re on Week 4 of our Summer Fest and can I tell you how jazzed I am to be featuring tomatoes? I’ve written so much about them before so I won’t tell you how I’m a freak for them, alrighty? For me it’s just not summer without them.

I think the biggest attraction I have with summer tomatoes, heirlooms to be specific, is that there’s not a lot that needs to be done to them. They’re excellent as is and with minimal prep. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with them because you certainly can. Here are ten of my favorite things to do with summer tomatoes.

1) Sliced and drizzled with olive oil, sea salt, maybe some shavings of really awesome Pecorino? Hell to the yes.

2) In a Roasted Tomato Bloody Mary.

3) Chopped with garlic, olive oil, basil and shallots for bruschetta.

4) Sliced and SLATHERED with mayo on really good bread. I SAID SLATHERED.

5) Made into a nice chilly sorbet!

6) Pop them in my mouth like there’s no tomorrow (provided they are the lil ones).

7) Grated and tossed with pasta, olive oil and lemon juice for a quick no-cook sauce.

8)  Chopped in a bowl and sprinkled with nuoc mam (this makes my eyes roll back into my head I’m telling you).

9) Heirloom & Fennel Soup that’s raw and chilly and perfect on a hot day.

10) Look at them and weep tears of happiness.

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This is the last week of Summer Fest and I can’t thank you everyone enough for the participation! I’ve been so inspired with all the amazing ideas for using all these amazing fruits and vegetables that summer brings us. Leave your suggestions in the comments and make sure to check out what our other Summer Fest Hosts have been doing with tomatoes!

• Margaret’s making Quick Tomato Sauce, Ever So Slowly

• White On Rice Couple are doing Tomato Jam and Preserves with an entire cast of cute kids and Sierra, my girlfriend.

• Paige gives us her Curried Carrot & Tomato Soup and I can taste that marvelous combo already

• Jaden and her delicious Caprese Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

• Marilyn’s — wait for it, wait — Upside Down Tomato Bread. I think I just saw Heaven.

• Shauna makes a mouthwatering Smoked Tomato Salsa

Food Styling Classes

Food-Styling-Class-Intro

Ok, this is something I’m truly excited about and hope you will be too! I’ve teamed up with my dear friends Denise Vivaldo and Cindie Flannigan, Food Styling Veterans, and created our first Food Styling Class and Photography Workshop to be held at my photography studio in downtown Long Beach, California.

This weekend event, held November 7 & 8, 2009 is geared towards food writers and bloggers and is split between food styling techniques on day 1 and photography on the 2nd day.

This is from the release:

On Saturday we concentrate on using professional styling techniques to:

  • cook for the camera
  • plate food to show it at its best
  • garnish effectively
  • use only edible styling methods
  • hold and refresh food

On Sunday we focus on digital photography and how to improve your photos through:

  • camera angle and selective focus
  • shooting with available light
  • the use of fill cards and reflectors
  • when to supplement available light
  • the use of props

Many of you have taken Denise’s class in the past and it’s always such a great time. On occasion I’ll show up, speak a little bit about food photography and art direction and blogging, but for this I’ll be there the entire time as well as leading Sunday’s photo activities. I’m so very excited to meet everyone and discuss the art of food photography and styling.  It’s for all levels and for those that find themselves needing to not only write about food but how to photograph it as well. Plus it will be a heck of a lot of fun!

Head over to Denise’s blog to read more about it and click here to download more information about the class. If you have any questions please feel free to leave it in the comments section or send me an email!

Green Goddess A La Mateo

Verde-Goddess-Blog

In case you’re wondering who Mateo is, that’s me. That’s my name in Spanish, a title only used at home by my grandparents and when I did something terribly wrong as a child. I’m sure you can hear it now: “MATEOOOOOOOOOO!”  For some reason it has more zing that just “oh Matt, quit falling out of 2 story windows and take off your sister’s dresses while you’re at it!”

With that out of the way I can proceed to this snappy little dressing and dip I have been calling Diosa Verde. Diosa Verde is nothing more than a literal translation of “Green Goddess”, that tangy creamy dip of yesterday that has been back in vogue for the past few years. But this isn’t just a literally translation of the recipe, no sirreee, but Green Goddess with a Mexican twist.

Gardens are in full swing, vegetables are at their summer peak and I wanted something a bit different for crudité. I had this idea for latinizing the dip when I kept dipping carrots and celery into Crema Mexicana I kept tucked away in the fridge. With its super thick consistency, Crema Mexicana is perfect to have on hand for topping just about anything that would use sour cream or even creme fraiche: on baked potatoes, in sauces, tacos, you catch my drift. My mind began to think of Green Goddess dressing made with it but I didn’t stop there. I added a pickled jalapeño (the vinegar would give it more tang), some chopped cilantro and voila! My dressing is still cool and creamy with those herby notes Green Goddess is known for but with a slight twist. Now I can’t wait to make another batch and use it in other dishes.

Matt’s Green Goddess Dressingsmall-veggies
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup crema mexicana
1 tablespoon tarragon vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
zest of 1/2 lime
2 green onions, roughly chopped, both green and white part of the onion
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 pickled jalapeño pepper, seeded
salt and pepper to taste

Put all the ingredients in blender and puree on high for about 1 minute, pour in bowl and refrigerate for  2 hours or up to 3 days. Best served cold or room temperature.

For the veggies: use whatcha like! I serve raw green beans, little carrots, celery, radishes, endive leaves, cauliflower, cucumbers, asparagus, yellow or red bellpeppers, etc.

Summer Fest 2009: Beans and Greens Week

beets-summer-fest

No, your eyes are not deceiving you and no, my calender is just fine, thankyouverymuch. This is Week 3 of Summer Fest and it’s all about Greens & Beans. So what on earth are root veggies doing here? I’m so glad you asked!

summerfest-badgeNow I’m sure our wonderful and delightful creator, Margaret Roach, will eventually make her way to a week of Root Vegetables like Turnips and Rutabagas but beets do grow year round and I couldn’t help myself with this recipe that just screams fall to me. I couldn’t wait for one of my all time favorite things to eat which just happen to be only part of the story here.

I love beets. Pickled beets, roasted beets, beet slaw, borscht, juiced beets, you catch my drift? And to me the best thing about beets happens to be the greens attached to those crimson, strain-your-hands-and-fingertip beets.  And since beets are growing and I always seem to walk away with a bunch when I visit our best friends Todd & Diane I’ve been able to indulge myself with the sauteed greens on a regular basis, not to mention those delicious oven-roasted beets.

Preparing beet greens is very similar to other sturdy leafy greens like mustard and dandelion greens. Rinse well, cook low and slow so that the heat can break down the leaves, leaving them soft and silky. I’m not one to enjoy overlooked mushy greens (think blah! bland! spinach!) so I always keep an eye on my beet greens and chards but I’ve noticed it’s ok to err on the side of time. Underdone and they just seem too bitter for me.

This recipe originally appeared during my guest stint on Design*Sponge. If I had to pick 5 of my all time recipe favorites this would certainly be on the list. It’s high adaptable, can be made with pancetta or bacon (or not!), and can even be made completely vegan. I would probably eat this everyday if I had my druthers.

beets-overhead

Sauteed Beet Greens with Pancetta & Sundried Tomatoes

1 pound beet greens
1 1/4 inch slice of pancetta, diced into small cubes
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
1 large garlic clove, minced

3/4 cup of water
1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons of cider vinegar, or to taste

After removing the beets, wash the greens in cold water. Drain and repeat until all the grit and dirt is gone. Remove the long stems and chop into half-inch pieces and set aside. Tear or cut the leaves into 2-inch pieces and set aside.

In a large saucepan, cook the diced pancetta over medium heat until brown and then remove from pan. Saute the beet stems in the pancetta grease until slightly tender and then add the shallots and dried tomatoes. Cook for another 2 minutes, stir in the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Returned the cooked pancetta to the pan and then add water and scrape up any bits left in the pan. Stir in the pepper flakes, add sugar and cook until boiling. Reduce heat and add the remaining greens and cover and simmer for about 8 minutes. Splash with vinegar and serve over polenta. I’m leaving that part up to you, but I always add a generous serving of mascarpone to mine.

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Summer Fest Green and Beans Posts from your hosts:

No wasting allowed! A delicious summer salad recipe from White On Rice Couple

Margaret from the House Of A Way To Garden is scoring 10’s across the board with her Beans & Greens fierce realness! (if anyone gets my Paris Is Burning reference here then you win a very special prize)

Jaden’s delicious stir-fry is making me hungry right now

Sometimes with Farrah Hair, wings and all, and sometimes not: Shauna Shows Us Salad

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HOW OUR CROSS-BLOG SUMMER FEST WORKS:

Summer Fest 2009 is a four-week, cross-blog celebration co-created (alphabetically listed) by A Way to Garden, Matt Armendariz of Mattbites, Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen, and Todd and Diane of White on Rice Couple, with guest appearances from Shauna and Daniel Ahern of Gluten-Free Girl, Simmer Till Done’s Marilyn Pollack Naron, and Paige Smith Orloff of The Sister Project.  And from you—that’s critical. Your contributions are desired, and needed.

THE 2009 SCHEDULE (next week is the finale!)

  • Tuesday, August 18: TOMATO WEEK. How do you like them love apples?

HOW YOU CAN JOIN IN:

So now it’s your turn: Have a recipe or tip that fits any of our weekly themes? Starting Tuesday July 28, you can contribute in various ways, big or small. It’s up to you: Contribute a whole post, a comment—whatever you wish. It’s meant to be fun, viral, fluid. No pressure, just delicious. The possibilities:

Simply leave your tip or recipe or favorite links in the comments below a Summer Fest post on Margaret’s blog at A Way To Garden, and then go visit the collaborators and do the same.

The cross-blog event idea works best when you leave your recipe or favorite links (whether to your own blog or someone else’s) at all the host blogs. That way, they are likely to be seen by the widest audience. Everyone benefits, and some pretty great dialog starts simmering.

Or think bigger: Publish entire entire posts of your own, if you wish, and grab the juicy Summer Fest 2009 tomato badge (illustrated by Matt Armendariz of Mattbites).

Get in on the fun: Come comment, link to things from your own archives or the archives of your favorite blogs, post entire recipe in comments or on your blog.

Summer Fest Week 2: Fruits From Trees!

This is week two in our amazingly fun Summer Fest! Thanks to everyone who left comments, all your amazing suggestions and tips have been so priceless! For more on how this all works visit my post last week here and remember to leave comments here and on your blog as well as the other hosts. And feel free to grab the Summer Fest icon, I made it for you!

Picture 1One of the world’s greatest rap songs ever written happens to include a micro-ode to summer’s most delightful gems:

“Take a Peach
Take  a Plum
Take A Piece Of Bubble Gum
No Peach
No Plum
No Piece Of…
Supersonic”

–JJ Fad’s Supersonic, 1988.

While I do love bubblegum and Supersonic, I just happen to love peaches and plums a wee bit more. And as part of Summer Fest 2009 we’re talking about stone fruit–all those delicious summer peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, as well as the recent hybrids like angelcots and pluots and all the other ots.

summerfest-badgeI am blessed with a mini-grove of fruit trees planted by Adam’s grandmother back in the late 1950s. The nectarine and apricot trees hang out all year long, keep the giant orange tree company until their summer shift begins. They clock in, put on some leaves, and get to work churning out buds and later fat ripe fruit that I can barely keep up with. When we are up to our eyeballs in stone fruit (I’m sure it’s a ploy to distract us), they quickly sneak off, clock out and take an 11-month break. Heck, they deserve it.

Because of the abundance they produce I’ve been able to indulge in a variety of stone fruit recipes. I’ve made cobblers, cakes, ice creams, sorbets, salsas, marinades, just about anything that I felt was in line with my skill level. Some were successes (cobblers and ice creams) while others were failures (a few salsas just never got the balance right). But if I need to use a large amount of nectarines or apricots I can think of nothing better than cobblers. Or even ice cream which never really lasts that long at my home anyway. And I know what you’re thinking right now, you want to tell me about canning and preserving. Go ahead, I’ll let you. But I’ve never canned a thing in my life and the thought is quite daunting.

Maybe next year?

mattbites_apricots

Like last year I’ve made a few cobblers as well as my pal David’s Apricot Ice Cream. And I love this ice cream. Creamy, rich, with that slight tang (is that what it is?) of the apricots. And just so you know, this ice cream makes amazing milkshakes.

mattbites_apricot_ice_creamDavid says if you’re lucky enough to find a bounty of fresh summer apricots then you must take advantage of them–their season is far too short. Next year I’m inviting you over and you can have as many as you want!

Apricot Ice Cream from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

1 pound squishy-ripe fresh apricots (10 to 16, depending on size)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
3 drops almond extract
a few drops freshly squeezed lemon juice

Slice open the apricots and remove the pits, then cut each apricot into sixths. Cook the apricot pieces with the water in a covered medium, nonreactive saucepan over medium heat until tender, about 8 minutes, and stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar until dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.

Once cool, purée the apricots and any liquid in a blender or food processor until smooth. Taste a big spoonful; if there are any small fibers, press the mixture through a mesh strainer to remove them. Stir in the cream, almond extract, and lemon juice.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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Other Summer Fest Posts:

Jaden’s amazing salad recipe with a few of my personal favorite ingredients

Margaret’s Clafoutis, another favorite of mine that is usually gone in about 6 minutes

Todd & Diane’s Peach Cooler which makes me ask “Where’s The Booze?”

Marilyn creates a Ginger Peach Pandowdy and you’ll want to check it out!

Stephanie from Wasabimon’s does a blog swap with Charmian and the result? A Peach Ice Cream Recipe that looks amazing! And the other half of the swap is here!

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Other stone fruit posts from matt:

Peach and Raspberry Cobbler

Cobblerfornia Dreamin’