Big Sur Dinner

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Just cooked a feast in beautiful Big Sur at Caroline and Werner’s getaway (Big Sur Getaway).  We had such a good time, and I can’t stop thinking about how well everything turned out, and how warm and gracious all the guests were.  Such a good time.

Also, thank you to photographers Jamie Street + Michelle Pullman who took shots of the event.  Pictures to come.  Visit Rad+ In Love  for their wedding photography.

Menu:

• Cumin Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Heirloom Carrots
• Grilled Dandelion Greens and Braised Leeks
• Radicchio, Fennel and Arugula Salad. Mustard Anchovy Vin. Pecorino Romano
• Farro Salad. Melted leeks, Wild Mushrooms and Delicata Squash
• Garbanzo Bean Ragout Braised in Red Wine, San Marzano Tomatoes and Herbs
• Fettucini tossed in an Olive Tapenade w/ Broccolini and fresh Early Girl Tomatoes
• Jicama Apple and Cucumber Salad w/ Fresh Garden Herbs
• Oven Pickled Yellow Beets Parfumed w/ cloves and topped w/ Goat Cheese
• Sumac and Pomegranate Mollasses Leg of Lamb w/ Charmoula and Lamb Jus
• Pound Cake w/ Meyer Lemon Curd and Whipped Cream

Chicken and Clams

Nothing goes together like chicken and clams.  Nevermind…

Surf and turf they call it.  Long associated with stained red lobster claws and tails, a hunk of juicy aged steak butter and potatoes.  Nothing says steak house like good ol’ drawn butter a bib and meat.   I like the flavor that clams and other seafood creatures lend to land critters when thrown together in a pot.  Just when I thought I was cooking for two, I then found out that I would be welcoming a third, so I decided to head down to my local seafood monger and bought some clams.   As I tasted the broth I knew that clams would be a great addition, not only would it stretch my meal but it would also give the braise additional broth when the clams open.

There is a heavy Italian influence here.  The kitchen staples to work, aromatics to start with and creating an inviting and aromatic dish.  This recipe allows the avid home cook to gain access to cooking a basic and delicious nonchalant dinner.  From this simple dish you can add olives, lemons, different meats,  different herbs.  Allow yourself to experiment with other root vegetables, as well as spices,  as well as using canned verses fresh tomatoes.

The marjoram and fresh herbs in this dish as well as the freshness of the tiny plum tomatoes sweeten and freshen the braise.  Instead of a braise it becomes a juicy stew, and thus is lighter than a thick and unctuous sauce.   Served over rice, or over pasta, maybe cous-cous, and even polenta it creates a delicious dinner for a mildly breezy summer night.

My pantry needs, Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, Lemons, Onions, Garlic, eggs, herbs, and canned tomatoes.  If I have that I can make and create a dinner in no time.  .

Chicken and Clam Stew w/Plum Tomatoes and Herbs over fresh Tagliarini
Serves 2-4
 
3-4 Chicken Legs
12-16 Manila Clams
1 C. Red Wine
1/4 C. Red Wine Vinegar
1 Medium Yellow Onion
1 C. Carrots
3 Cloves Garlic
1 T Each – Marjoram, Oregano, Thyme
Capers
1 1/2 C. Plum or Cherry Tomatoes
Olive Oil 
Salt 
 
You will need a pot that could go from stovetop to oven.   Salt and pepper chicken, let sit, pay dry.  Heat pan, add Olive Oil.  Add chicken and brown well.  
Remove chicken when skin side is well seared and browned.  Remove some fat from pan.  Add a bit more olive oil, and add onions and garlic and salt.  After about 4 minutes, add red wine, vinegar scrape pan.  Add herbs, carrots, tomatoes and 1 C. of water-cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes till tomatoes blister and pop.   Assist the popping by puncturing the tomatoes with a fork if needed.  Add Chicken, capers continue to cook for another 20 in a 375° oven. Take out of oven and add clams, place back into oven for another 10 min or so just enough until the clams pop open.  
 
Place atop fresh pasta and drizzle with some young olive oil. Yum.
 
 
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