Sunday, July 24, 2011

Another day in paradise (with quails, morels, and garlic scapes)

The kitchen renovations aren't quite done yet, but the Speakeasy Kitchen has been back up and running for weeks. Not surprisingly, after 5 months without a functioning kitchen, I enthusiastically went back to cooking, but had forgotten to blog about meal after meal (in part because the computer on which I blog has not yet been reinstalled in the kitchen).

Then came the weekend at J&M's cabin. You may remember this place. Perched on a hill at 9200 ft elevation, and surrounded by beautiful vistas, it's the perfect place to work up an appetite and then cook up a storm. In preparation for the trip, I acquired some quail and morels from Gilt Taste, threw them into a cooler with some locally-sourced heavy cream and garlic scapes, and made the ascent to paradise.
On this particular trip, we drove up through Eleven Mile Canyon, and went for a quick hike. J calls it "The Stairmaster Trail." It was a short but steep climb to some beautiful views.

After a dip and a brief nap on a rock in Eleven Mile River, we headed back to the cabin to make some dinner. M quickly rolled out some fettuccini. He is the master of all things dough and can whip up fettuccini for four in less time than anyone I know. It is M's fault that I cannot eat pasta out of a box anymore. He makes it look so easy (and makes it so tasty) that there is no reason -- not even time savings -- why anyone wouldn't just roll out their own pasta.
While M worked on the fettuccini, I cut up the morels and garlic scapes and made a cream sauce.
J kept busy by keeping our glasses full with pink champagne (ok, technically, it was from the Alsace region... whatever) and zesting the lemon for the quail, which I lightly pan-fried.
Once again, a delicious meal shared with great friends after a lovely day of fun in the sun. I can tell you how I made the meal, but remember that this meal is best shared with friends so you'll have to figure out that part on your own.

Pasta (this is my recipe -- not sure what M did, but there are lots of recipes out there so mess around with them however you like)
Serves 4-6
1 c semolina flour
1-1/2 c unbleached white flour
1/2 tsp fine salt
3 large eggs
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp water

Mix the flours and salt together in the Kitchenaid mixer. Add the liquids and mix until the dough comes together with all ingredients well-blended. Add water 1 tsp at a time if it's too dry and won't hold together, or flour 1 tbsp at a time if it's too sticky. Then pull the dough out and knead it for a few minutes, pulling the dough out, folding it over on itself and flattening it out again. Cover with saran wrap (especially if you're in an arid climate) and let rest for 20 minutes. Then cut the dough up into 8 equal pieces, roll each piece into a ball, and flatten it out a bit so you can roll it through the pasta maker on the thickest setting. Fold into thirds and re-roll. Repeat 2 more times, then continue to roll, adjusting the roller to thinner settings until you reach your desired thickness. Then cut. Repeat for the remaining 7 pieces of dough. Toss finished pasta lightly with semolina so it doesn't stick to itself before you can cook it. Boil in a large pot of salted water for 1-2 minutes.

Morels and Garlic Scapes in Cream Sauce
3/4 lb morels, cleaned and cut into roughly equal sized pieces
10 garlic scapes, cut into 1" lengths
4 tbsp minced chives
1/4 c rose wine
4 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp flour
1 c heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Saute scapes in 2 tbsp butter with a pinch of salt for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute till tender. Add wine and reduce for 5 minutes. Remove and set aside the scapes, mushrooms, and liquid. Heat remaining butter in the pan and add flour, stirring quickly and constantly, to make a roux. Add cream, then scapes and mushrooms along with any fluid that accumulated while they sat. Toss in chives, bring to a simmer, and let simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pan-fried Quail
6 semi-boneless quail, rinsed and patted dry
2 tbsp olive oil
grated zest of 1 lemon
coarse salt
freshly cracked pepper

Season both sides of the quail with salt, pepper and lemon zest. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Place the quail in the pan and let sit undisturbed for 3-4 minutes and when the quail skin is nicely browned, turn the quail over and let sit for another 3 minutes, or till nicely browned. Remove from the stove and tent with foil for 5 minutes.


  1. Great post, even better food. Thanks SE!

  2. Yay for lawyers returning to the blogosphere! And really, I'd eat pretty much anything in such a gorgeous location. Sounds like you guys had a great time! :)

  3. Somehow I saw this post while looking for a-line skirt patterns. Next thing I know I'll be buying a new car off Etsy. Anyhow...great reminder of some fun days.


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