Find Brunch Right Now

Bitches in the Kitchen: Columbus’ Feast

Save to Foursquare

My friend Brooke, as I’ve mentioned once or twice before, is an amazing cook. She’ll take any excuse to craft imaginative dishes for a dinner party. A few weeks ago, for Columbus Day, she cooked an entire dinner around Columbus (I kid you not). He was Italian, hence she made a variety of Italian dishes: fig and Gorgonzola salad, steak with Italian marinade, wild mushroom Risotto, roasted tomatoes … and for dessert, Zabaglione with fresh berries. In my food coma, I begged her for recipes. Here are her secrets, straight from the chef herself …

Photo credit: Becca Clara Love
Photo credit: Becca Clara Love

Fig and Gorgonzola Salad

Mixed greens, toasted pecans, and roasted figs

On the figs: cuts stems off, toss in olive oil, sea salt, and pepper, roast in 450 degree oven until tender and shiny. Let cool, and slice in half.

Gorgonzola dressing: whisk walnut oil, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper, and crumbled gorgonzola.

Photo credit: Becca Clara Love
Photo credit: Becca Clara Love

London Broil

Score the steak. Marinate for at least 24 hours in Italian dressing (any will do; I personally use light dressing, because it’s the spices you want, not necessarily the oil). ¬†Broil to desired temperature, and slice into thin strip against the grain.

Wild Mushroom Risotto

1-ounce dried morel mushrooms, 1/2 pound dried porcini, Baby Bella mushrooms, 4 cups chicken stock, 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, 1/2 cup chopped shallots (3 shallots), 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice, 1/2 cup dry white wine, 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

Place the dried morels in a bowl and pour 2 cups boiling water over them. Set aside for 30 minutes. Scoop the morels from the water with a slotted spoon, reserving the liquid. You should have 2 cups; if not, add water to make 2 cups. Drain the morels and rinse once more. If some of the mushrooms are large, cut into 2 or 3 pieces. Pour the mushroom liquid through a coffee filter or paper towel, discarding the gritty solids. Set the mushrooms and the liquid aside separately. Meanwhile, remove and discard the stems of the porcini and rub any dirt off the caps with a damp paper towel. Dont rinse them! Slice thickly and set aside. In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock with the 2 cups of reserved mushroom liquid and bring to a simmer. In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the pancetta and shallots over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add the morels and porcini and saute for another 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of the chicken stock mixture to the rice plus the saffron, salt, and pepper. Stir and simmer over low heat until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. Continue to add the stock mixture, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry before adding more of the stock mixture. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 25 to 30 minutes total. When done, the risotto should be thick and creamy and not at all dry. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan cheese. Serve hot in bowls with extra cheese.

Photo credit: Becca Clara Love
Photo credit: Becca Clara Love

Roasted tomatoes

Seed cherry tomatoes. Toss in olive oil, fresh garlic, salt, and pepper. Roast in 450 degree oven. Finish with with strips of fresh basil.

Photo credit: Becca Clara Love
Photo credit: Becca Clara Love

Zabaglione with fresh berries

6 large egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup Marsala, Pinch kosher salt, Fresh berries (I used blackberries and sliced strawberries)

Bring 1-inch of water to a boil in a 4-quart saucepan set over high heat. Add the egg yolks and sugar to a large glass bowl. Using an electric hand mixer on the highest speed, beat the eggs and sugar until the mixture is thick, pale yellow, and the sugar is completely dissolved, 4 to 5 minutes. Decrease the mixer speed to low and add the Marsala and salt. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and put the bowl atop the saucepan with the boiling water, making sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Beat the mixture on medium speed, until it is thick, frothy, holds a ribbon, and the temperature reaches 145 to 150 degrees F, on an instant-read thermometer. Spoon the warm mixture into custard cups or serving glasses and serve immediately or allow to cool slightly. Oh, and put some berries in there!

Photo credit: Becca Clara Love
Photo credit: Becca Clara Love

Save to Foursquare

3 thoughts on “Bitches in the Kitchen: Columbus’ Feast”

Share Your Thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You Might Also Want To Try
More Bitching
Keep In Touch
Expository Essay Prompts High School