Old Faithful Restaurant Of The Week: Clyde Common

downloadWhile it may be attached to Ace Hotel, Clyde Common is far from the chicken Caesar salad fare you might see at a hotel restaurant. It’s no secret that their infamous cocktail program is fantastic. But I will admit it’s their tender handmade pastas, ever- changing with seasonal vegetables like nettles and fiddlehead ferns, that keep me coming back.

Drink This: Barrel-Aged Negroni. Small and mighty, this fuschia-hued beverage may look Sex and the City but is bitter, smooth and and anything but sweet.

To Start: Order the Squid Ink Fideos for the table. The base of the dish is small pasta circles, sautéed risotto-style, which is then covered in a jet-black squid ink sauce studded with seafood and sausage. This dish is complex and decadent, yet completely cream-less. I’ve been told that one of the key ingredients to its complexity is a tomato pepper jam.

For Dinner: Any of the house-made pastas (get the bigger size). Recent menu options have been paparadelle with crab and roe and fettuccine with poached egg and pickled ramps. But you can’t really go wrong here.

Tip: If you happen to make it in for happy hour (daily 3-6 pm) grab the burger for a mere $6. It’s one of my favorites in town; always perfectly pink inside and incredibly juicy.

Find regular menu changes at their hours here.

Melissa Clark’s Spicy Calamari With Israeli Couscous

I’m not one for posting other’s recipes unless I somehow riff on them. But tonight I am singing the praises from my apartment that smells like lemon, garlic, butter and the sea—and I only have NY Times writer Melissa Clark to thank.

Her book, Cook This Now was just released in October, and it’s everything I like in a cookbook. The recipes are fast (which is nice for after-work preparation), flavorful, and even a little healthy (yes, Ms. Clark I noticed all those whole wheat ingredients!). Each chapter is separated by month, so you cook with what’s in season. Even though this recipe is from the February chapter, it shouldn’t be missed at any time of the year.

Since copyright issues are sticky, I’ll just give you the basics and implore you to go out and buy her book. I’d offer to lend you mine, but I’m already making 3 recipes from it this week…I don’t think it’s going anywhere soon. This recipe reminds me why I love seafood-it’s light but not dull, and almost demands to be washed down with a glass of crisp white wine. The (kind of) recipe:

Cook Israeli couscous according to the package (I like Bob\’s Red Mill) and toss with  a little olive oil. Heat more olive oil in the largest pan you have, and throw in a pound or so of cut calamari, red pepper flakes, parsley, basil, garlic and butter. Toss until opaque, about 4 minutes. Finish with an abundance of lemon. Hide the leftovers from your dining partner.

Porter-Soaked Refried Beans

* Adapted from Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook *

I’m not a big recipe repeater. My dinner cravings vary week to week, so I don’t often cook something more than once. Then, a few weeks ago, I had some leftover pinto beans from a pot I’d made, so I set out to make Mark Bittman’s Refried Beans recipe I’d been meaning to try. With what I had in my fridge (bell peppers, dark beer and half an onion), I cooked up my own version. The result was a flavorful—a combination of warm spices, rich beer and the smooth texture that defines the best kind of refried beans (in my eyes). And without overselling it, I’ll just say that I made a pot of pintos this week just so I could use the leftovers for this recipe.

Ingredients:

¼ olive oil

4 cups cooked pinto beans

1 bell pepper, chopped

½ an onion, chopped

1 tablespoon of cumin

½ tablespoon of chili powder

¼ teaspoon of cayenne

kosher salt and freshly-cracked pepper

¼ cup of dark beer (such as a stout or porter), more as needed

Method:

Warm the olive oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan or skillet.

When the olive oil is hot, add the beans. Mash the beans with a potato masher or fork until they’re broken down and about 75% smooth, about 4-5 minutes.

Add the bell pepper and onion and stir thoroughly. Add the spices and the salt and pepper. Raise the heat slightly to medium high. Keep mashing the mixture until the vegetables have softened, about 5 more minutes.

As the mixture becomes dry, add the beer to achieve your desired consistency (I enjoy my refried beans pretty smooth).

Taste your beans, and adjust the spices to your preferences. Remove from heat, and serve.

Serving suggestions: Tucked in burritos, along side brown rice, with cilantro, Dabbed with salsa next to eggs for breakfast. Tonight, I piled them in homemade tortillas, topped with chard, cilantro pesto and hot sauce.

Kale Pesto

find my original article here

It’s impressive what a little blending can do for a vegetable. Kale—the almost-always-

Photo by Karl Kuchs

in-season green with healthful qualities but not always an exciting flavor profile—happens to fall under this category. In this recipe, the green is cooked quickly, then drained and blended with walnuts and hard cheese for something vibrant and flavorful. Not bad for a vegetable with a color that usually says, “meh.” Try this sauce tossed with whole-wheat pasta, drizzled over vegetables or as a spread for crostini. Feel free to substitute the walnuts for whatever you have on hand (almonds, pine nuts, etc.).

Ingredients

  • 1 large bundle of kale stems torn and discarded, any variety
  • 1 oz. walnuts
  • 1 tsp. of crushed red pepper flakes, more to taste
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 oz. parmesan (not grated)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Preparation

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Salt the water and add the kale. Boil the kale for 2–3 minutes or until slightly wilted. Drain and let cool.

While the kale cools, bring a small skillet to medium-low heat. Add the walnuts and red pepper flakes. Let the walnuts toast for around 5–7 minutes or until slightly browned. Remove from heat.

Drop the garlic clove into the food processor or blender. When it’s chopped, turn off the machine and add walnuts/red pepper flake mixture, salt and parmesan. Pulse until the mixture is chopped evenly.

When the kale is cooled, squeeze it with your hands to release as much liquid as possible. Add the kale to the food processor.

Then, with the machine running, drizzle in the oil until the mixture is a thick sauce, about one more minute. Taste the mixture for seasoning, adjusting salt as needed.

Scrape the pesto into a small bowl, and use on pasta, vegetables or crostini. Drizzle leftover pesto with olive oil and cover; it will stay good for 1–2 weeks. Serves 2–4 people, depending on usage.

Herbed Angel Hair With Green Garlic

see my original recipe  here

One of the benefits of living in Portland is having access to an

Photo by Karl Kuchs

array of farmers markets—we have one in almost every section of the city! And as spring trickles in slowly, so do interesting products at the market. Green garlic is one item that has appeared recently. While it may look like a bundle of scallions, the fresh herb is all garlic. Cook them as you would a leek or shallot by slicing them thin crosswise, or get creative and shave them into pasta or with other shaved vegetables (like asparagus). If you can’t find green garlic, regular garlic can be substituted—just use one minced clove and cook it about two minutes longer than the recipe states.

This pasta dish is simple enough to serve as a side dish next to vegetables or a protein, but has enough of its own flavor to stand on its own as a light herby lunch. I used fresh cappellini (also known as angel hair), but dried pasta would work just as well.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces of angel hair or  cappellini pasta, fresh or dried
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 2 stalks of green garlic, chopped crosswise
  • 1/4 cup of chopped mixed herbs (such as chives, parsley, mint or basil)
  • 1/4 cup Parmegiano-Reggiano, grated

Preparation

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Place a small or medium skillet over medium-low heat. When the skillet is hot, drop in the butter and swirl with a spatula. When the butter begins to melt, about three minutes, add the green garlic and toss. Let the garlic cook for another minute, then add in the rest of the herbs. Bring the skillet to a low heat.

Once you’ve brought the skillet to low heat, add the pasta to the saucepan of boiling water. Cook for 6–10 minutes, watching carefully since thin pasta cooks rather quickly.

After pasta is cooked and drained, toss with the herb butter and dust with the grated Parmesan. Serves 1–2 people.

Blades of Grass Asparagus Salad

See my original recipe here

photo by Karl Kuchs

With the recent arrival of the farmers market in my neighborhood, I know many will be taking home green stalks of asparagus to roast away in the oven, as we all seem to do every spring. However, why not update the classic dish?

Shaving asparagus changes the texture to thin whispers of freshness that look beautiful in the bowl. To shave them, simply hold each asparagus by its woody end and use a vegetable peeler to shave strands away from your body. The textures will vary, but shoot for thicker stalks in this recipe since they give the opportunity for more salad. As for the fennel in this recipe, you can use a vegetable peeler as well—though you’d want to shave towards your body instead—or simply slice thinly with a knife or mandoline. This salad is a great light lunch or one can serve it under scallops or chicken breast for a pretty spring dinner.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of walnuts
  • 1/2 bundle of asparagus
  • 1/4 of a bulb of fennel
  • 2 tablespoons of mixed minced herbs (chives, parsley
  • and mint are a nice combination)
  • 1 teaspoon fennel fronds
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Preparation

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place walnuts on a baking sheet and let them toast while you prepare the other ingredients.

Shave the asparagus stalks and add to a bowl. Thinly slice or shave the fennel and add to the same bowl.

In a small cup or bowl, add the herbs and fennel fronds. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking with a fork until the mixture is well combined. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.

Remove the walnuts from the oven after 6–8 minutes, or when warm and slightly toasted.

Add the walnuts to the salad and toss in the dressing with tongs. Serves 1–2 people.

How to you like to cook your asparagus?

Chard Ricotta Dumplings With Egg Noodles

Check out my original recipe here

Photo by Karl Kuchs

 

 

By now, you’ve likely heard of the Meatless Monday campaign. It’s the decision that everyone from Oprah to Michael Pollan has decided to take on, where a meatless dinner is eaten once a week for health and environmental benefits. Perhaps you’d like to try out the idea but have a hard time thinking of a meal without the traditional plate of big protein, small grain and small vegetable.

Whether or not you care about this way of eating or you’re just trying to enjoy more vegetables, this recipe is a quick way to add some green to your meal: Simply wrap a large leafy green around a filling, and serve it over noodles (or rice, if you prefer). The meal takes minutes to prepare and can easily be tweaked to your preferences; freshly chopped parsley or cilantro would be a nice addition to the ricotta, or perhaps beans and salsa for a Mexican-style dinner.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of ricotta
  • 1 tablespoon of chives
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon zest (Meyer if you can find it)
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 leaves of any kind of chard (or other sturdy greens like kale)
  • 8 oz whole-wheat egg noodles
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan
  • Finishing salt (or regular salt if that’s what you have)
  • Pepper

Method

Place the ricotta in a small bowl. Chop the chives and place them in the bowl along with the zest, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to your liking. Mix and set the bowl aside.

Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt and make your noodles according to the package directions. When the noodles are done, use a slotted spoon to remove them into a strainer (save the boiling water).

Then, put one leaf into the boiling water. Count to 60 and remove with tongs, laying it flat on a clean workspace. Repeat this process with all of the leaves (if you used a big saucepan, you may be able to do two at once). Once all the leaves are cool, make your dumplings.

To make a dumpling, take one leaf and lay it flat on a cutting board. Put one-quarter cup of the ricotta mixture in the center. Bring up the bottom part of the leaf and hold secure with one hand. Then, fold in the right and left sides towards the middle. Roll the bottom upwards until all of the ricotta is covered (do this the same way you would roll a burrito).

Repeat this process with all the leaves until you have four dumplings. Dress the hot pasta with butter and Parmesan, and top with two dumplings per person. Serve with the remaining chard sautéed in garlic and olive oil, or a salad topped with vinegar.