Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bring us some figgy pudding

I really enjoyed the quick profile of Christmas Pudding on CBS Sunday Morning today. Long mysterious to many of us stateside, puddings are beloved by the British, especially during the holiday season. I may even have to try Nigella's recipe!

Click here to view the entire segment.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Apple Picking

Autumn is the most wonderful time of year in the northeast. It's still warm, but not too humid; the leaves have just started to change. It is also, the perfect time to go apple picking. So off a group of urbanites went to the New York countryside, Warwick Valley, to be precise, to eat delicious food, drink delicious cider and, of course, pick too many apples.

I'd been to Warwick once before, on my infamous deer meat procuring adventure, and their bakery which churns out pizzas, sandwiches and salads is truly top notch. Little did I know that it would be such a scene, though: live music, every family within 10 miles picnicking and carousing. It was a veritable fall fest.

Our group's favorite fruits of the day were Jonagolds, the rightfully well-known cross between Jonathan and Golden Delicious, and the less lovely, but perfectly crunchy and tart, Golden Russets. Both good to eat and use in baking, though the skin of the Golden Russet is a little potato-y.

A great way to preserve your apples if, like me, you brought back far too many bushels to your tiny apartment, is making my favorite cranberry applesauce and freezing it in batches.

Chunky Spiced Applesauce
Adapted from Cooking Light

10 cups cubed peeled apples (about 3 lbs)
1/2 lemon
2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup water or apple cider
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of grated nutmeg
optional pinch of ginger or allspice, or cloves

1. Placed apple in a large bowl; cover with cold water. Squeeze juice from lemon half into bowl; lace lemon half in bowl. Set aside.

2. Combine cranberries and remaining ingredients in a Dutch over; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cook 3 minutes or until cranberries pop.

3. Drain apple; discard lemon. Add apple to pan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until apple is soft. Uncover, bring to a boil, and cook 15 minutes. Mash apple mixture with a potato masher. Pour into serving dish; cover and chill at least 2 hours. Once completely cool, sauce freezes well.

Btw, I'd recommend picking up/borrowing from your local library a copy of Michael Pollan's "The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World" The first chapter lays out the story of the apple in America: how and why it became ubiquitous and associated with health rather than intoxication. Quick and interesting read.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday at Ruth Reichl's House

There's a delectable little tidbit in today's New York Times. Their regular article "Sunday Routine" features Ruth Reichl, one of my favorite memoirists/recipe authors/restaurant reviewers and, of course, editor of the sadly departed Gourmet magazine. It's a great quick read that may inspire you to start making your own daily bread, or just long to be a guest at her Columbia County retreat.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Freshest Fish in Venice

When in Venice last month, my husband and I were up for a lunchtime adventure, and, Rough Guide in hand, went searching the Dorsoduro for Do Farai. Hiding on a tiny street behind Ca' Rezzonico, Do Farai was empty save for some locals sipping espresso at the bar. A good sign!

It was hot. Really hot. So we ordered some cold white wine and the house specialty, carpaccio of sea bass. Little did we know the theatrical experience we were about the experience.

The fish appears, recently caught!

Presented and Gutted.


All that's left. Hopefully this will go into a soup!

The carpaccio slicing begins. Super thin.

Tossed with salt, pepper, prosecco, fresh squeezed lemon and olive oil. Curing before our eyes!

Quite a presentation. The whole process took ten minutes and was admirably professional with lots of care and little waste. The proud proprietor even brought us Prosecco as an accompaniment "because it's the best with this." The essence of Venetian cuisine: seafood: simple and fresh. Delicious and memorable!!

Do Farai Calle Cappeller 3278 near Ca' Rezzonico

Friday, May 21, 2010

Save your leftover coffee!

A few months ago, in a fit of frugality, I started pouring whatever morning coffee was left in the pot into a pitcher in the fridge. By Sunday enough had been collected for two large, Leslie-sized, servings of iced coffee. I had no idea how much coffee I was pouring out! Of course, coffee isn't incredibly expensive, still, every bit counts, especially these days. Turning your leftover coffee into iced coffee is a great way to have a cool caffeine delivery system on a hot summer day and to waste none of that amazing brown stuff!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Trout with Herbs

Trout is a perfect dish for spring. It's light, tasty and usually super cheap, especially if you can find brook trout. Plus, you can use whatever herbs are currently going to waste in the fridge. I've been seeing whole trout at Fairway lately. Have someone at the fish counter fillet it for you if, like me, your fish butchering skills are not exactly professional.

Trout with Herbs
Adapted from Cooking Light

4 6-ounce trout fillets
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon oil -olive or canola
1 1/2 cups mixed fresh herbs (any combo of chopped fresh chives, tarragon, parsley, dill, oregano, cilantro)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt

Score skin side of fish. Sprinkle fish with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add fish, skin side down, to pan; cook 4 minutes or until skin is crisp and fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Combine herbs, juice, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl; toss gently to coat. Serve salad over fish.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Do I Dare Believe My Eyes?


Two of my most favorite things. All in one cutie bottle. The heavens have opened!

Let the rhubarb manhattans commence.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cilantro: It loves me, it loves me not.

Love cilantro? Hate it with a passion? Few people fall in between. A charming article in today's New York Times Dining section examines why cilantro aversion exists and suggests a possible cure...immersion.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Passover Rolls !?!

I know what you're thinking. "How can a roll (read: leavened?) be kosher for passover (read: unleavened)?" And, "I guess you could make them, but they must taste baaad." Well, the dough for these rolls is made kind of like a gougere so it doesn't need yeast, but still bakes up fluffy -thanks to a generous amount of eggs. They're definitely tasty enough to deserve a place at your seder table, or make them post-seder to use up extra matzo meal from your matzo ball soup. One cooled, they keep frozen up to one month!

Herbed Passover Rolls
Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine
Makes 12-14

1 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups matzo meal
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheet with silpat. Combine water, oil, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Ad matzo meal stirring well with a spatula until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan (about 30 seconds.) Remove from heat and transfer dough to stand mixture fitted with paddle attachment. Let cool about 5 minutes. Start beating a low speed. Add eggs one at a time, beating until fully incorporated. Stir in chives and thyme. Use water or cooking spray to keep fingers moist and un-sticky and shape dough into 12-14 mounds. Place mounds on silpat and bake for 55 minutes or until browned and crisp. Cool on a wire rack.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dogfish Head + Batali = Awesomeness

I'm pretty excited about this news! NYC is always in need of more rooftop options in the sweltering summertime and I can't wait to taste what the alchemists at Dogfish Head come up with. Can they beat my current beer obsession, Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA? We shall see!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Entire Bag of Chips = 5 million calories

Interesting article in the New York Times over the weekend about cracking the serving size code on packaged foods. Seeing how counter-intuitive and frustrating labels, I'd say it's about time that serving size represented the amount an actual full sized human consumes in a sitting. The Obama administration has been vocal in its support for healthy local eating, so fingers crossed that the FDA can get this overhaul done.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Super Bowl Treats from the Today Show

Check out my buddy, Chef Edwin Bellanco (of New York City's Morrell Wine Bar and Cafe) cooking up Super Bowl treats on the Today Show.

Way to go, Ed! Clevelanders Represent!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Lentil Soup with Spicy Sausage

This is a delicious one pot meal for winter. It makes A LOT of hearty soup and keeps wonderfully in the refrigerator so you can enjoy leftovers all week long as the snow falls outside. If you cannot finish the entire pot in your first sitting (and unless you have 8 friends to help you, or that many stomachs you won't ) make sure to place the spinach in each individual bowl instead of in the entire pot or the leaves will wilt too much.

Lentil Soup with Spicy Sausage

Adapted from Bon Appetit

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound hot turkey sausage
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled, chopped
2 large parsnips, peeled, chopped
2 large celery stalks, chopped
2 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning blend (or a combination of any suitable dried herbs you have on hand: sage, oregano, basil)
1 pound lentils
3 quarts low-salt chicken broth
1 5 ounce package spinach leaves

Heat oil in dutch oven over medium high heat. Remove sausage from casings in small bits and cook until browned, stirring occasionally. Add onion, carrots, parsnips, celery and herbs. Cook until onion is translucent and vegetables begin to soften, stirring often. Add lentils; stir to coat. Add broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

If serving entire soup immediately, add spinach to dutch oven and stir in before ladling into bowl. If not, add spinach to each bowl and stir in to each serving.

Eat and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Breakfast for Dinner: Tomato Poached Eggs

I found inspiration for this dish from a recipe in my "to-make" file one night when I wanted to use only items I had in the fridge and pantry. It's simple, rustic and will warm you up on these cold winter nights!

Tomato Poached Eggs
4 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup sliced green onions (yellow onions would be fine here too)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 28 oz can (or 2 14.5 oz cans) whole plum tomatoes, undrained and coarsely chopped
4 large eggs
4 thick slices of crusty bread
1/2 cup of hard cheese (pecornio or parmesan)
optional (if you have it) : 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Add onions and garlic to the oil, cook 3 minutes or until fragrant. Stir in 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and tomatoes. Bring to boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Reduce heat to low. Crack one egg at a time over tomato mixture, spacing about 1 inch apart. Sprinkle eggs with remaining salt and pepper. Cover pan and cook 5 minutes or until eggs are cooked to desired doneness.

Place one slice of bread in each of 4 bowls. Spoon about 3/4 cup of sauce over each serving. Top each with one egg, approximately 2 tablespoons grated cheese and 1 1/2 teaspoons basil.

Eat and enjoy!