Saturday, October 15, 2011

Dutch Oven Apple Crisp: Revs 2, FC Dallas 0

A few weeks ago, the Asphalt Kitchen joined forces with Paperblog Princess to ring in early fall at Gillette Stadium. In order to properly meld our individual blog endeavors, we had two very strict cooking requirements:
1. Cooked on the grill
2. Made in a Le Creuset

I'm a sucker for pretty much any baked fruit, but apple crisp is on top of my favorite desserts list. And so we were decided. It would probably take a really long time to cook apple crisp entirely on the grill, especially considering we couldn't close the grill lid with the Le Creuset sitting atop it. So we thought it most wise to cook the crisp about three quarters of the way at home in the oven and then finish it off on the grill top at the stadium. 

The best baking apples have a good sweet-tart balance and crisp flesh that won't break down as it cooks. We used golden delicious (but Honeycrisps are my favorite!)

I apologize whole-heartedly to whomever I have stolen this recipe from. You see, I wrote the ingredients down years ago from a recipe without noting the source. I have since been unable to find said recipe, but continue to follow it nonetheless.

Apple Crisp
Stolen from somewhere on the internet!
For the filling:
  6 cups tart apples, cored and chopped into 1 inch chunks*
  1 teaspoon lemon zest
  Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
For the topping:
  1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  1/4 cup granulated sugar
  1/4 cup light brown sugar
  1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  1/8 teaspoon salt
  6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
  1/3 cup rolled oats
  1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. In medium-size dutch oven (or a lightly greased baking pan, if you're skipping the grill), toss the apples with lemon juice, zest, and three tablespoons of granulated sugar.
2. Combine topping ingredients (flour, remaining granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, butter, oats and walnuts) in a bowl. Use your fingers to mix together until you have a crumbly mixture and you can't see chunks of butter.
3. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown on top.
4. When ready to eat, transfer dutch oven to grill top and heat for an additional 10 minutes, or until bubbly and heated through.
5. Best served with vanilla ice cream. Guess who forgot to bring the ice cream? Yeah, I did.

*Some folks peel their apples, but I prefer to leave the skins on when I bake them. Just a matter of preference.

Steph enjoys some apple crisp, sans ice cream 

To complement our apple crisp, we cooked up pretty much everything we had in our farm share. Steph made delicious roasted root veggies and peppers: 

Which we heated on the camping stove while grilling some corn:

The finished meal.

All right, time for me to get cooking for the last home game of the Revs worst season ever! I'll try to get it posted before next season starts...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Grilled Caprese Lasagna: Revs 2, Red Bulls 2

In the span of one week, three friends independently e-mailed me the same Food Network recipe for lasagna on the grill. I've never received specific tailgating requests or recommendations (aside from Joe requesting Mocha Icebox Cake for every home Revs game). So, in the spirit of listening when folks advise me to do something, I tried it.

And you know what? It turned out to be, hands down, the best meal I've made on the grill all year.

I'll admit I was skeptical about the practicality of making lasagna on the grill. In the oven lasagna can take upwards of an hour to cook. Although there is significant prep work in chopping, mixing, and assembling the lasagna for this recipe, the method of cooking is actually fairly straightforward. Essentially, you steam individual-sized lasagnas in packets of foil using a small amount of water. No-boil lasagna noodles, while strange in concept, are really convenient here.

I attribute the success of this lasagna to using very fresh produce (thanks to Farmer Dave's). Because the filling has only a handful of ingredients, flavorful tomatoes and basil truly made the dish.
really, really tasty tomatoes from Farmer Dave's
Grilled Caprese Lasagna
adapted from Food Network

  1 1-lb ball fresh mozzarella, halved and thinly sliced
  1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  2 pinches of red pepper flakes (or more, to taste)
  Kosher salt
  3 cloves garlic, grated
  1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
  3/4 cup crushed tomatoes
  12 no-boil lasagna noodles
  5 oz baby spinach
  1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  About 2 cups water, divided

1. At home: Combine mozzarella, parmesan, red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2/3 of the garlic in a bowl; drizzle with olive oil and toss. In a separate container, season the sliced tomatoes with salt and pepper. In a third bowl, mix the crushed tomatoes, remaining garlic, a pinch of salt, and tablespoon of olive oil in a bowl.  
2. At the game: Preheat grill to medium. Lay out four double-layer sheets of foil. Drizzle each with olive oil, top with one noodle and sprinkle each noodle with a tablespoon of water. Layer some spinach, sliced tomatoes, and mozzarella mixture among the noodles. Repeat with another layer of noodle, water, spinach, tomatoes, and mozzarella mixture. Top each stack off with a third noodle, one tablespoon of water and a drizzle of olive oil. Close the foil and crimp edges tightly to make flat packets.

3. Grill the packets, covered, about 10 minutes per side. Let rest five minutes. Open the packets and cut the lasagna in half (if you intend to share. Or leave it and eat the whole damn thing yourself, as I did.) Top with the crushed tomato mixture, ricotta, and basil.

Goes well with late summer corn!

Asphalt Kitchen model, Joe, enjoying an ear of grilled corn

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Good Old Fashioned Grilled Cheese: Revs 2, Chivas USA 3.

I really should have posted about this two weeks ago. I know. But summer is waning, so I've been trying to spend as little time as possible seated at a computer. Sorry...

Anyways. Grilled cheese is pretty straightforward. Even on a camping grill.

It is also Chris's younger brother, Michael's, favorite food. Naturally, it was an ideal choice for Michael's first ever MLS game and tailgate.

Chris and Michael enjoying pre-game festivities

My grandmother has taught me how to make Weight Watchers microwaved grilled cheese on no fewer than twenty occasions. No offense to Grandma (or to Weight Watchers), but I think Weight Watchers grilled cheese is rubbish. In my opinion, the secret of excellent grilled cheese is fourfold:

1. Use really good bread (in our case, Nashoba Brook Bakery rosemary garlic bread).
2. Choose a cheese that has good stretching properties (in our case, muenster. I am also fond of swiss).
3. Use BUTTER. You're eating a grilled cheese. You're not fooling anyone into thinking it's health food. You may as well be generous with the butter.
4. Do not cook it in a microwave.

I also always use whole grain mustard on my grilled cheese, but I don't think that's an essential ingredient. Some people just don't like mustard. I happen to be a little obsessed with it.

As for the game: Chris and Michael got bumped up to the President's Club, where they enjoyed sideline seats!

At the beginning of the game, Michael pointed to Revs player Diego Fagundez's name in the game program, demanding of Chris "1995?!" (presumably in disbelief). For those who can't do math, that makes Diego sixteen years old. To our surprise, Diego made his professional soccer debut that night. To our delight, he drew a penalty and scored a goal. Go, Diego, go indeed. So this is what it feels like to be excited about something. The Revs lost, but somehow it still felt promising.

Diego prepares to enter the game. Yes, his hair is for real.
Unfortunately, the excitement was short-lived. If you follow the Revs, you know this by our two most recent results. If you don't follow the Revs, well, they're having a tough time finishing the job these days.

But we're still having a good time in the parking lot.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Farm Share Smörgåsbord: Revs 1, Manchester United 4

Yes, this post is two weeks late. No, I do not have an excuse. Other than the fact that while I've NOT been posting, the Revs have, for the most part, NOT been losing. We won't count the rock bottom loss to the Union.

In hindsight: The game vs. Man U was a pain in the ass to get to. I am accustomed to there being no traffic en route to Gillette Stadium In The Middle Of Nowhere. Mostly because the game allegedly drew three times this season's average attendance. In spite of the crappy traffic, I welcome casual and fairweather soccer fans to Gillette, because, hey, if you'll make the trip all the way to Foxborough for a soccer game, you're all right in my book.

We made two dishes for this game, both inspired by the contents of our farm share. And both adapted from one of my go-to cookbooks: Vegetarian Food for Friends by Jane Noraika. I forgot my camera day-of-game, so you're limited to these two sad iPhone photos. But the cookbook has lovely photos of both dishes.

Recipe 1:
Zucchini and Patty Pans
infused with mint and balsamic vinegar
adapted from Jane Noraika, Vegetarian Food for Friends

  1 lb. yellow and green baby patty pan squashes, cut in half (or whatever squashes you have on hand, really)
  1/3 cup olive oil
  2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  3/4 cup pine nuts lightly toasted in a dry skillet
  1 handful fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  3 zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/8 inch slices
  sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Put the patty pans on a preheated grill or stove-top grill pan. Cook on each side about 5 minutes or until tender, turning over when starting to brown.
2. When cooked transfer to a long serving dish. Pour over the oil and vinegar and sprinkle with pine nuts, mint, salt and pepper.
3. Cook the sliced zucchini on the grill for just 1-2 minutes per side. Add to the patty pan mixture and turn to coat. Cover and marinate for about 2 hours in the refrigerator, then serve.

*In case you're wondering, this is what patty pan squashes look like:

Patty Pan Squash

Recipe 2:
Lemon, Fennel, and Scallions
on grilled dill polenta
adapted from Jane Noraika, Vegetarian Food for Friends

   3 tablespoons unsalted butter
   1 tablespoon olive oil
   1 1/2 cups polenta
   1 1/2 oz. fresh parmesan cheese, grated
   handful fresh dill, coarsely chopped
   se salt and freshly ground black pepper
   2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
   3 tablespoons olive oil
   2 garlic cloves, crushed
   2 bulbs fennel, sliced
   sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
   8 scallions
   1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
   1 tablespoon olive oil
   sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
   1 1/2 oz fresh parmesan cheese, grated
   grated zest of 1/2 unwaxed lemon
   sea salt

You'll also need
   A jelly roll pan, 12x10 inches, lightly greased
   A cookie cutter or glass, 3 1/2 inches in diameter

1. To make polenta, melt the butter and oil in medium saucepan. Add 5 cups water and bring to a boil. Pour in polenta in a steady stream, beating all the time. Continue to cook according to package direction, until the grainy texture has disappeared. Stir in the parmesan, dill, salt and pepper. Spoon into the prepared jelly roll pan, then let cool until firm
2. To marinate the fennel, put the vinegar, oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well. Add the fennel and seta aside to develop the flavors.
3. Out scallions, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper in a separate bowl and set aside to marinate.
4. Cut out rounds of polenta with the cookie cutter or glass. Cook on a preheated grill for about 4 minutes each side, until browned.
5. Add the fennel to the grill. Cook for 5-10  minutes until browned on both sides and tender. While the fennel is cooking, add the scallions and cook for 2-3 minutes until lightly blackened.
6. Serve the polenta piled high with fennel and scallions and sprinkle them with parmesan, lemon zest, and sea salt. Pour any remaining marinate juices over the top.

I'd like to point out that both of these dishes were pretty easy and crowd-pleasing. And convenient to the contents of our share!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Left Coast Veggie Sandwich: USA 2, Mexico 4

I am not cut out for cross-country flying. A full week after arriving home in Boston from a whirlwind tour of LA and Seattle, I swear I still feel jet lagged. Despite my lasting grogginess and the fact that both teams I support lost their matches, the trip was wholly worthwhile.

We kidnapped my high school pal, Kristina, from her home in Santa Monica and whisked her off to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena for her very first USMNT cap. It was to be a friendly little outing to watch the USA play Mexico in the finals of the Gold Cup. Not! I'm not sure Kristina was fully aware of what we were getting her into, but she sure was a great sport. Even after she got hit in the back with a projectile cup of lemonade in the stadium.

The AO tailgate was small in numbers. But it certainly did not lack energy!

On to the food:

Apparently it is frowned upon if you bring a grill in your carry-on airline luggage these days. We left the grill at home and settled on making a cold dish for the big game. This worked out in our favor, as the Rose Bowl parking lot was a balmy 89 degrees with blazing sunshine.

So we wanted something cold. And, since we lacked both time and the amenities of our home kitchen, we wanted something pretty straightforward. Being on the west coast and all, it was only right to include avocado in our dish. Chris LOVES mustard, so there needed to be mustard, too.

What we ended up with was a tomato, avocado and very sharp cheddar cheese sandwich with micro greens and honey spice mustard on sourdough bread. Did you know that Sierra Nevada makes mustard? It's a novelty item, for sure. But it was delicious!

Yet again, the food was yummy. The game was crummy. We didn't have time to wallow in self pity over the devastating loss, though. A mere 6 hours after returning to our host home following the game, Chris and I were back at the airport preparing to fly off to Seattle, where we would ultimately watch the Revs lose to the Sounders. And develop an all consuming envy of the rewarding atmosphere Sounders fans enjoy.

thanks for the support banner, ECS.

It was almost eery how happy all the Sounders fans seemed. I've grown accustomed to Foxboro, where many people stand cross-armed and frowning. Where the pleading cheers of dedicated, albeit frustrated, supporters echo off of empty seats around the stadium. But not in Seattle. Even as the Revs took a 1-0 lead, fans were smiling. Children were cheering. The entire stadium joined in to a booming "Seattle!"..."Sounders!" call and response. A few folks jeered us, the lone Revs-jersey-wearers in our section, and then quickly added, "Welcome to Seattle, it's great that you made the trip."

Maybe someday, New England...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Family-sized Farm Share for One.

This was the first week of our CSA share from Farmer Dave's. We're technically splitting the share with our friend, The Paperblog Princess. But she's jetsetting right now, leaving us to kill off the share ourselves.

Chris picked up the first major armload of veggies on Wednesday and promptly flew off to Dayton for a wedding. And so, a family-sized share of veggies quickly became a farm share for one.

Never in my life have I eaten so many variations of lettuce, spinach, bok choy and kale in one week. This photo shows what was left after I made a sizable salad for a potluck dinner on Thursday:

Well, aside from the asparagus. That I just had leftover in my refrigerator already. Needless to say, I felt pretty obligated to create veggie-heavy dishes for all soccer viewing events this weekend. 

First up was the Revs v. Fire tailgate in Foxboro on Saturday. I cooked only for myself, so the dishes were small. My favorite of the night was a green bean and sugar snap pea salad with pickled red onions, inspired (as I often am) by Smitten Kitchen:

Slightly less successful (if only because it tasted really, really green) was braised bok choy with garlic and peanuts:

good and healthy, but pretty bitter...

 The veggiefest continued on Sunday as I hosted my friend Jill to watch USA v. Jamaica on Univision. We enjoyed a strawberry, avocado and fried almond salad with lots of greens:

 Along with a summer beet salad:

I am proud to say that with a little help, I ate my way through 80% of our farm share. Now we just have to figure out to do with next week's share while we're off in LA and Seattle...

As an aside, I am pretty sure these are pea tendrils, but someone correct me if I am wrong:

What, exactly, does one make with pea tendrils?
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