Live to Eat - Michael Psilakis

Live to Eat: Cooking the Mediterranean Way by Michael Psilakis delivers simple strategies for cooking mindfully in his new title. Focusing on the proven health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, he shares delicious recipes for the whole family.

The Michelin star Greek-American chef's first cookbook How to Roast a Lamb is a favorite here at my house. The ravioli with four cheeses and crispy shallots, brown butter & sage are incredible and I need to make them again. That book and his new one can provide a world of flavorful choices for mealtime. 

In Live to Eat, Psilakis states that having seven staples at the ready will provide an endless supply of meals. Those staples are Greek yogurt, garden vegetables and fruits, sweet and sour peppers and onions, roasted tomatoes, garlic confit, tomato sauce and red wine vinaigrette. With those staples in our arsenal we can whip up any of the dishes in this book with a few store bought ingredients such as a protein. Each of the magnificent seven are highlighted at the beginning of a section with background and the basic recipe for said ingredient followed by an index of all the recipes in the book that contain that staple.  

Live to Eat is a vibrant, delicious culinary course for Mediterranean cooking that is approachable for any level cook and can help eliminate the guess work associated with feeding our families on hectic weeknights. The chef wrote this book to share how he and his wife cook for their two children to ensure they are eating balanced, healthy meals.

Special thanks to Little, Brown for sharing the following recipes with our readers. Be sure to head over to our contest page to enter our giveaway for five copies of this book.

Littleneck Clams in Garlic Broth
Serves 4
 
I'm not sure which  is more satisfying about  this  dish, eating the tender clams or sopping up the insanely flavorful broth.  I like to stir in Israeli couscous, orzo, or fregola (a Sardinian pasta that  looks like tiny, rough pebbles) for a hearty  dish.  Or, you can skip the pasta and serve simply with a whole grain baguette for soaking up the broth. Mussels are a fine substitute; just add a pinch of chile flakes for heat.
 
Canola oil for the pan
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
5 ½ dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed, any cracked or open cIams discarded
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup Garlic Puree (below), plus more if needed
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black  pepper
Juice of 2 lemons
1 1/3 cups cooked Israeli couscous, orzo, or fregola
¼ cup chopped scallions
¼ cup chopped  mixed  fresh  herbs
(parsley, mint, dill)
 
Slick a high-sided skillet with canola oil, add the sliced garlic, and sauté over medium heat until soft and fragrant.  Add the clams and shuffle them around the skillet for a minute or so. Add the wine, stir in the garlic puree, and season with salt and pepper.  Cook until the clams open up;  if the liquid reduces by more than  half before the clams  open, cover the pan until the remaining clams open.
 
Adjust the flavor of the broth with some lemon juice, additional garlic puree, and saIt and pepper to suit your taste.  Discard any clams that have not opened. Stir in the couscous, scallions, and herbs and squeeze additional lemon juice over to taste. Serve hot.
 
Garlic Confit
Makes about 3 cups cloves / 5 cups with oil
 
Confited garlic is nothing more than the peeled cloves slow cooked in a bath of seasoned oil. This strips the raw cloves of their acidity, removes their sharp heat, and concentrates their sweetness. Use these soft cloves anytime butter or garlic is called for in a savory recipe, and especially if raw garlic is too harsh for you.
Garlic confit will last forever (okay, a month) as long as you put it in a clean jar, refrigerate it, and refrain from double dipping. If the spoonful of confit touches other food, don't put that same spoon back into the jar for more. This calls for 2 cups total of oil. If it isn't enough to cover the garlic cloves completely, add more. To freeze, first puree the cloves (see Garlic Puree, see below) and store in 3-tablespoon portions in small resealable plastic bags. Let thaw before using.
 
3 cups peeled garlic cloves
1 fresh bay leaf or 2 dried
8 to 10 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1½ teaspoons black peppercorns
1 cup canola oil
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
 
Preheat the oven to 300°F.

Place garlic cloves, bay leaf,  thyme, salt, and peppercorns in a heavy-bottomed, oven-proof pot. Pour the canola and olive oils over to cover. Cover, transfer to the oven, and bake until the garlic cloves are pale gold and tender (you should be able to smash them with the back of a spoon), about 50  minutes. Cool to room temperature.
 
Transfer the cloves and oil to a clean, wide- mouthed resealable jar.

Garlic Puree
Makes 1 cup
 
This is simply the smooth, spreadable version of garlic confit. Use it with abandon. Use twice as much as you think you should. Use it instead of mayonnaise on your favorite sandwich. Eat it straight off a spoon (but don't double dip!), standing in front of the fridge.
 
Ingredients: 

1 cup Garlic Confit (above)

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic cloves only to the bowl of a food processor (a mini-processor is ideal) and process until smooth. Alternatively, mash the cloves with the side of a knife. Store as for Garlic Confit.

2 Comments

  • Lavnder  on  2/9/2017 at 11:36 AM

    LOVE garlic items and clams, so this will be great

  • glennieglennie  on  3/13/2017 at 6:52 PM

    Holy yum! Those clams!

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