Monday, January 17, 2011

Little Luxuries

Luxuries can be flashy, big, bright stars that burn hard and fast. A thing that provides immediate gratification and then leaves you with that empty feeling, wanting more. But they can also be simple. A small gesture of kindness, a beautiful flower, making something wonderful from nothing. Those are my luxuries of choice, so for this weekend I give you a few of my favorites, the ones that are still bringing a smile to my lips, even after they are gone.
Yellow Roses of Texas
I made some Saffron Honey Bread this weekend. Deciding to be a little creative I broke the dough into 2 loaves, rolled them out, topped one with Spicy Za'atar and the other with the Premium and then braided them together. To recreate this on your own, just use the Pizza Bianca recipe, but substitute the sugar with honey, and add a pinch of crushed saffron to the dough.
Roasted Pepitas, which are just hulled pumpkin seeds, with just a pinch of sea salt. Roasted for 8-10 minutes at 400, they're an easy and delicious snack for a movie night, and don't get stuck in your teeth the same un-sexy way that popcorn does.
Finally, saving the best for last, these are a bit more than a small luxury, but so easy to make. Clams oreganata are a special dish, for personal reasons, so it's only fitting on a night of luxuries that I make them. They're so easy to make though, and so delicious to eat, it's perfect for a date night with a special someone.
Clams Oreganata
1/2 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed and rinsed in water with a pinch of flour
1/2 c. breadcrumbs
1 clove garlic minced
1 Tbl. fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 Tbl. parsley, chopped
2 Tbl. butter melted
1/4- 1/3 c. chicken stock

1. Preheat oven to 450. Melt butter with 1/2 Tbl. oregano and 1/2 clove of garlic. Mix together breadcrumbs, remaining oregano, garlic, parsley, and chicken stock. Mixture should be quite wet. Add in 1/2 the melted butter mixture.

2. Place unopened clams on baking dish and put in the oven for 2-3 minutes to open. Using a butter knife, pry the clams open and pull away completely from the shell. Discard top shell and put clam back in the bottom. Press the breadcrumb mixture into the shell over the clam and make sure edges are well secured.

3. Set oven to broil. Put about 1/2 c of water into the bottom of the baking sheet to keep the clams moist (just so there's a small amount on the bottom, shouldn't come close to the top of the clam shell). Broil for 5-6 minute until breadcrumbs are brown and crispy. Remove and top with remaining butter mixture.

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