recipe goodness :: baked eggs in spicy tomato sauce

Baked Eggs in Spicy Tomato SauceIf you know me well, you know how much I love to #putaneggonit. Pretty much any dish can be made better with a gooey yolk coating whatever was lucky enough to be blessed with it. So with a container of grandma’s leftover sauce in the freezer and a new carton of eggs in the fridge, I added one additional ingredient to make this one-pan dinner a keeper: spice. You could call this your lazy evening meal, but I bet it would impress any dinner guest too.

Baked Eggs in Spicy Tomato Sauce
Serves 2-3

32 oz Grandma DiLaura’s Tomato Sauce
2 fresh chorizo sausage links {optional — meat version}
1-2 teaspoons red chili flakes {optional — add instead of chorizo for vegetarian}
1 tablespoon olive oil {if using chili flakes}
1 large egg per person

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. If making a meat version: remove chorizo from casings and break up in little pieces. Heat pan to medium heat on stove and cook chorizo until no longer raw, 2-3 minutes. Drain excess oil from pan.
  3. If making vegetarian version: heat a tablespoon of olive oil in pan on medium heat and add chili flakes. Cook 1 minute to release the fragrance of the chili flakes.
  4. Add sauce to a small baking dish with enough volume to fit 40oz+ so sauce doesn’t overflow while cooking. Stir in chorizo {meat version} or chili flakes {vegetarian version} and put dish in preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  5. Once sauce starts to get a deep red with brown, bubbly edges, remove the pan from the oven. Crack eggs into small separate bowls for each one. Gently pour each egg on top of the sauce, spacing each one out. They’ll start to run and look like floating continents — that’s the beauty of it!
  6. Place pan back in the oven and cook for about 5 minutes or until the white is firm when touched with a utensil and no longer raw.
  7. Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly and serve in a bowl with a spoon and crusty bread to sop up all the goodness. Or over rice!
A Rainy Sunday Meal

A Rainy Sunday Meal

#putaneggonit
Cumin & Dill Dijon Egg Salad with Radish Sprouts
Egg on Egg Salad {Introducing Bottarga}
Secret DiLaura Family Frittata with Sweet Italian Sausage
How To Cook The Perfect Sunny Side-Up Egg
How to Cook the Perfect 8.5 Minute Egg
How to Cook the Perfect Poached Egg {with Ramp Butter!}
Inside-Out Scotch Eggs w/ Ground Lamb, Harissa Yolk & Panko Gremolata
Julia Child’s Rolled French Omelet

 

 

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recipe goodness :: really crisp roasted sweet potatoes with gochujang

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gochujang

 

It’s been a long time since I’ve put pen to paper, but it’s about time the blog hiatus comes to an end. The other night, with no particularly inspired meal plan in my mind, I made something blog-worthy. The kind of dish that syncs beautifully with one central ingredient and several well-chosen partners.

I had a sweet potato from the farmers’ market that had been sitting on the shelf for several weeks and was starting to stare back at me with a few eyes. I remembered a ridiculously good crispy roasted potato recipe {courtesy of Nigella Lawson} I had made for New Year’s Eve and wondered if I could apply the same technique to a more tender sweet potato with similar results. Granted those were roasted in duck fat, but the secret sauce was really in the technique. It’s good to be back sharing — enjoy!

Sliced and ready to parboil

Crisp Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gochujang
1 large sweet potato, scrubbed
olive oil for drizzling
1 teaspoon coarse gray salt
1 teaspoon Izak N. 37 (or a blend of sweet chili pepper, cumin, garlic powder)
Gochujang for serving

  1. Scrub the potato and slice it into 1/4-inch thick circles. Because this guy was a fatty, I quartered each round.
  2. Preheat dry baking sheet in 450 degree oven
  3. Parboil the potatoes for about 5 minutes to warm them up and start breaking down the starch — this will help them start crisping as soon as they hit the hot oven.
  4. Once tender enough that a paring knife would easily pierce the potato {about 5 minutes}, drain the goods and throw them back into the empty pot. Add a generous drizzle of olive oil, coarse gray salt and one of my favorite sweet chili spices, Izak N.37 from La Boîte {or mix equal amounts 1/3 tsp each of sweet chili pepper, cumin, garlic powder}.
  5. And now the fun part. Put the lid of the pot on and hold tightly, shaking vigorously to take out all work week frustrations. The process of doing this roughs up the surface, which will allow for more surface area to release the moisture trapped in a potato and also creates more edges that will get good and crisp during roasting. Win, win.
  6. Once everything is nice and beat up, pull the preheated sheet pan out of the oven and drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of oil and swirl around to coat the pan.
  7. Toss the coated potatoes on the pan {be careful as the oil may splatter} and throw in the oven for 10 minutes.
  8. Rotate the pan 180 degrees after 10 minutes and roast for another 10 minutes.
  9. Remove pan from the oven and use tongs or a spatula to flip each potato over to roast the other side. Toss the pan back in the oven for another 10 minutes {less if getting too dark too or more if desired darkness is taking longer}.
  10. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with a nice flake salt — I love Jacobsen Salt — and serve with a side of Korean Gochujang {a tangy flavor combination of vinegar and fermented chile paste} or your favorite dipping condiment.

Roasted sweet potatoes

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gochujang

Some Like it Hot:
Homemade Spicy Pickled Carrots
Homemade Spicy Carrot Kimchi! & Apple Chutney!
Spicy Tomato-Meyer Lemon Stewed Chick Peas
Some Like it HOT Pollo alla Diavola
Lime-Red Chili Grilled Swordfish

 

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recipe goodness :: how to make homemade butter

How to Make Homemade Butter

Homemade Butter

Butter is something that is easy to take for granted. Whether to cook with or butter your toast, that lovely yellow cream is something we use almost daily. Yet rarely do we think of it as something we can make ourselves. But man is it easy. And really, really good when you do. Buy the best, local heavy cream you can find, plug in your electric beaters and start schmearing.

Homemade Butter

1 pint heavy cream {I use Grazin’ Angus Acres grass-fed}
Flaky salt to taste {Jacobsen Sea Salt or Maldon}

Optional add-ins: Honey, Thyme, Sage, Rosemary, Orange  or Lemon Zest, Whatever your heart desires

  1. Pour cream in a metal bowl and beat with electric beaters on high until the cream becomes solid and separates from the buttermilk {will become a bright yellow}.
  2. Pour into a cheesecloth-lined strainer with a bowl underneath to catch the liquid and place in the fridge for an hour to allow more of the buttermilk to separate.
  3. On a clean surface or cutting board, press with cold hands or a flexible dough scraper to knead the butter and remove more buttermilk. This is also the time to mix in any flavors if making flavored butter. Sprinkle salt to taste and then form into a ball, roll into a log or press into a container to store if you don’t eat it all right away.
Beat cream until it separates and looks like this

Beat cream until it separates and looks like this

And then strain and knead until it looks like this

And then strain and knead until it looks like this

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A Whole Lotta Goodness @Everything Whole is New Again

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On a lazy Sunday afternoon two friends hatched a plan to trade one’s newly bottled homebrew for the other’s freshly caught stream trout. And they drank and they ate and they said it was good. So good, in fact, that they decided to share these fine things with 8 unsuspecting guests who knew not that they would be asked to eat frog legs and fish eyes, but who simply signed up for a dinner celebrating all whole foods. Everything Whole is New Again was on the calendar and the seats were full.

And so for the past six weeks, I was brewing, fermenting and bottling a 4 gallon batch of Yerba Mate Wheat, while Keith grabbed his fishing pole — and  frog net — and stockpiled our bounty. The rest of the menu was filled in with local, seasonal fare, a lot of handmade goodness, and, as always, an abundance of chilled beverages.

The Menu {use of hands encouraged}:

Local Market Bounty
w/  Bagna Cauda

Brown Butter Pond-Caught Frog Legs
Caught by Keith Gibson, Ghent, NY

w/ Yerba Mate Wheat Homebrew, NY

Balsamic-Drizzled Watermelon Steak
Topped with Feta, Rooftop Mint and Pistachios

 w/ 2012 Reichsrat von Buhl Pinot Noir Rose, Germany

Homemade Wheat and Spent Grain Bread
w/ Homemade Grass-Fed Milk Ricotta 
and Hand-Churned Salted Butter

Grilled Stream-Caught Wild Trout
w/ Lemon Butter and Green Garlic
Caught by Keith Gibson, Ghent, NY

w/ 2010 Blanck Pinot Gris, Alsace

Market Blueberry-Lemon Tart

w/ Banfi Sparkling Rose Regale, Italy

While the rain clouds loomed overhead, I poured the beer and tried to add a little brightness to the evening with an array of colorful market veggies — purple carrots and zebra heirloom tomatoes, oh my!

A Yerba Mate Wheat is born

A Yerba Mate Wheat is born

Local Market Bounty w/ Bagna Cauda

Local Market Bounty w/ Bagna Cauda

Remember that fancy side burner on the new grill? Well it got used. Keith’s prized frog legs, caught in upstate New York, did a little al fresco dance in a hot pan with a generous amount of butter and garlic scapes. The 8.ate@eight crew looked suspiciously over my shoulder as the delightful smell of brown butter wafted in their direction. All were good sports and took a tentatively tiny sampling on their plates. And then they tasted them. And quickly the platter was passed around the table for seconds leaving nothing but a pile of happily cleaned bones. It’s hard not to like something cooked in butter, but these little guys were beautifully browned and crispy on the outside and tender {dare I say like chicken} on the inside.

Brown Butter Pond-Caught Frog Legs

Brown Butter Pond-Caught Frog Legs

And because it was 90 and humid and we couldn’t rely solely on chilled wine to keep us from sweating, it was time for one of my absolute favorite summer salads. I discovered this genius whole preparation of a “watermelon steak” from the Umami Mart blog and then adjusted for a combination of flavors that I think were made to go together — a little salty feta to counter the sweet melon, the pistachios add a crunch to each bite that would otherwise dissolve in your mouth, a drizzle of aged balsamic for a touch of acidity and a sprinkling of fresh mint because mint and watermelon belong together.

Watermelon-Feta Steak

Watermelon-Feta Steak

Ok and now it’s going to start to sound ridiculous. While I heated the BBQ to grill our other Keith-caught prize — the main event, the stream-caught wild trout — I brought out the homemade bread {which used spent grain from our beer and sage-rosemary-thyme from the rooftop garden}, served with homemade butter and homemade ricotta. Amazingly, it was the homemade butter that threw people for a loop — seemingly difficult to many, I had to explain it’s really just overwhipped whipped cream. The key is excellent ingredients — I used Keith’s 100% grass-fed heavy cream from his farm, Grazin’ Angus Acres {@Union Square greenmarket on Saturday, @79th st greenmarket on Sunday}, and deliciously flaky Jacobsen Sea Salt from Portland.

Whole Wheat & Spent Grain Bread + Two Best Friends: Butter & RIcotta

Whole Wheat & Spent Grain Bread + Two Best Friends: Butter & RIcotta

And now the drum roll…an early morning trip to the market to pick up the prized trout

Our man Keith and one lucky fish

Our man Keith and one lucky fish

Please, please notice the amazing pink flesh shining through the beautiful skin. These fish are beauts! So happy together…

So happy together

So happy together

Even happier with some fresh garlic scapes.

Even happier with some fresh garlic scapes

Even happier with some fresh garlic scapes

A peek inside — pretty in pink! Simple seasonings — lemon, butter, garlic scapes and scallions.

A sneak peek

A sneak peek

Dinner is served

Dinner is served

Nothing but the bones remained. Even a dare to eat the eyeballs was met openly and with great confidence {perhaps this had something to do with the amount of wine that had been consumed.}

And we're done

And we’re done

Oh, and dessert. The simplest celebration of sweet seasonal blueberries in a savory tart shell.

Sara Moulton's Blueberry Lemon Tart

Sara Moulton’s Blueberry Lemon Tart

Thanks!

Thanks to Keith Gibson for wading through the stream and ponds to put dinner on the table. And for also raising amazing grass-fed everything that makes everything taste the way nature intended. Thanks to Ryan and Angela for helping with the brew process and storing a whole lotta beer at your apartment. Thanks to Allison and Kristin for all the help clearing our many empty dishes — and washing them {best roommates ever}! Thanks to Kristin for also snapping some pics while I was worrying about the rain. And I of course want to thank everyone who grabbed a seat at the table — it was lovely to have you all!

I’m ruminating on some future  events for the fall and winter, so stay tuned. If you aren’t on the dinner distribution list, email me at 8ateateight@gmail.com to be added. See you at the table!

Read About Past 8.ate@eight Dinners:
Boozy Robert Burns Night w/ The Tippling Bros. & Highland Park Scotch
A+ 8.ate@eight Back to School Nite
8.ate@eight Went Whole Hog and Hog Wild @ the Big Southern BBQ
Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink!
Silencing of the Spring Lambs was Lambtastic!

The crew

The crew

8 Ate at Eight 2013-9

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Announcing 8.ate@eight dinner #6 | Everything Whole is New Again | @7.13.13.8:00pm

Sometimes the simplest things in life are the things worth remembering. The beauty of a whole tomato, fresh off the vine. A newly baked loaf of bread, its sweet aroma expanding to the walls and seeping through cracked doors to the neighbors delight. A whole fish presented with pride by the very hands that caught it on a lazy day off. To celebrate nature’s bounty and that food doesn’t need to be fancy to be memorable, this 8.ate@eight gathering will highlight each bite in its uncut form. Use of hands encouraged.

Read About Past 8.ate@eight Dinners:
Boozy Robert Burns Night w/ The Tippling Bros. & Highland Park Scotch
A+ 8.ate@eight Back to School Nite
8.ate@eight Went Whole Hog and Hog Wild @ the Big Southern BBQ
Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink!
Silencing of the Spring Lambs was Lambtastic!

Reservation policy is first come, first serve. When I reach 8 guests, the list is closed for the evening. Please feel free to invite guests or forward to friends. A mixed crowd is encouraged!

8.ate@eight #6: Everything Whole is New Again
Saturday, July 13th, 2013, 8:00pm
4-course dinner menu — use of hands encouraged

RSVP HERE!: 8ateATeight@gmail.com

Enjoy and hope to see you at the table!

Christina

Whole Foods

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The Way to a Girl’s Heart: Beer-Bartered Trout

Prized Trout

Prized Trout

So this is how the story goes: girl buys new shiny grill, shiny grill needs its maiden voyage, girl craves something that can’t be bought — a friendly barter is made, as is a meal worthy of brag.

I look forward to each Sunday when I roll out of bed, hair disheveled, tote bags hung on the crook of my elbow, and meander a few blocks to the farmers’ market. The only thing on my agenda is to say hi to my friends, the farmers — everyone should  be friends with local farmers, they wake up at 4am to feed you. That’s a good friend.

But this particular day was different. I was hanging out with Keith at Grazin’ Angus Acres — eyeing their grass-fed beef and stocking up on  $10 / dozen golden eggs. Conversation turns to the things that fill empty hours — I was telling him about my new  brewing project {remember: brew beer, make friends} and he was telling me about his day of fishing for stream trout that was planned for Monday. Mmmm, beer. Mmmm, fresh trout. Boom: light bulb. “What would you say to a friendly barter?” he proposes. The genius plan: meet back at the market the following Sunday with two tradable treasures that would be mutually appreciated.

A Fine Finned Friend

A Fine Finned Friend

And so came home a fine finned friend — a beaut, as they say.

Grilled Stream Trout

1 whole trout, gutted and cleaned
2 green garlic stems, chopped
1 lemon sliced
4-5 pats of butter
salt and pepper to taste

With nothing more than a little butter, green garlic and lemon stuffed inside and blanketing the fiddy, I wrapped this guy in a foil pouch, threw him on the grill at a steady 350° {yes, the new grill has a gauge!} and cooked him until his clear-as-day eyes turned white — about 20 minutes.

Poach Pouch

Poach Pouch

Voila — maiden voyage success and a meal to remeber!

Grilled Trout

Grilled Trout

Oh, and the best part? A dare to eat the eye. I rarely turn away from a good challenge. Thank goodness for bread and a cold beer.

Eye see you

Eye see you

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Do This!: Get $10 Towards Lusty Kitchen Provisions by Food52

$10 Provisions by Food52 Credit

I’ve been working on preparing for the launch of Food52′s new shop, Provisions, for the past year. Foraging for lusty items that any cook would want to get their hands on.  We’re not launched yet, but soon friends, very soon. Until then, we’re sharing a $10 credit with those of you trendsetters who want to be in-the-know early. Follow this link, enter your email and the credit will be waiting for you when we open our doors — Christmas comes early!

Remember: a memorable meal isn’t just about what’s on the plate, it’s about the plate too.

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Do This!: Brew Beer, Make Friends

 

Home brew

Home brew

I’m a girl who likes  projects. But even the idea of brewing my own beer intimidated me. Until I became the proud owner of a Brooklyn Brew Shop beer kit after an auction to raise money for Hurricane Sandy relief. With a Saturday to kill and my cousin Angela and her fiance Ryan here to provide moral support {and expert home-brewer guidance} we got to work.

The tools

The tools

The kit comes with almost everything you need to get started, but I did have to have my own funnel and large fine-mesh strainer on hand. Oh, and the grapefruit peel and honey for the grapefruit honey ale. I was a little perplexed that these two key ingredients where not provided in some dried or packaged form, but since I was still in my citruspalooza mode, I happened to have grapefruit on hand so got over the disappointment quickly. Step 1: sanitize all the equipment with the  sanitizer provided in the kit and then get work.

The Mash

The Mash

The Mash 

  1. Heat 2 quarts (1.9 liters) of water to 160°F.
  2. Add grain (This is called “mashing in.” Take note of jargon. Or don’t).
  3. Mix gently with spoon or spatula until mash has consistency of oatmeal. Add water if too dry or hot. Temperature will drop to ~150°F (66°C).
  4. Cook for 60 minutes at 144-152°F (63-68°C). Stir every 10 minutes, and use your thermometer to take temperature readings from multiple locations.
  5. You likely don’t need to apply heat constantly. Get it up to temperature, then turn the heat off. Monitor, stir, and adjust accordingly to keep in range.
  6. After 60 minutes, heat to 170°F (77°C) while stirring constantly (“Mashing Out”).
The Sparge

The Sparge

The Sparge 

  1. Heat additional 4 quarts (3.8 liters) of water to 170°F (77°C).
  2. Set up your “lauter tun” (a strainer over a pot).
  3. Carefully add the hot grain mash to the strainer, collecting the liquid that passes through.
  4. This liquid is called “wort” (pronounced “wert”). It will be your beer.
  5. Slowly and evenly pour 170°F (77°C) water over the mash to extract the grain’s sugars.
  6. You want to collect 5 quarts (4.75 liters) of wort. You will lose about 20% to evaporation later on, so you want to start with a bit more than you’ll end with.
  7. Re-circulate wort through grain once.

 

The Boil

The Boil

The Boil 

  1. In a pot, heat wort until it boils.
  2. Keep boiling until you’ve hit the “hot break” (Wort will foam – you may need to reduce heat slightly so it doesn’t boil over.)
  3. Stir occasionally. All you want is a light boil – too hot and you lose fermentable sugars and volume.
  4. The boil will last 60 minutes. Start your timer and add in the rest of the ingredients at these times: Add Columbus Hops at start of boil.
  5. Add 1/2 Cascade Hops 30 minutes into boil.
  6. Add remaining Cascade Hops and Grapefruit Peels 55 minutes into boil.
  7. At 60 minutes turn off heat. Dissolve 1/4 cup Honey and Candi Sugar.
  8. Twenty percent of the wort will have evaporated in this step leaving you with 1 gallon (3.8 liters) of wort. If your boil was a bit high, the surface area of your pot extra large, or you brewed on a really hot day, you may have less than the full amount. Don’t worry – you just reduced your beer a bit too much, but you can add more water in the next step.
The Fermentation

The Fermentation

Fermentation 

  1. Place brew pot in an ice bath until it cools to 70°F (21°C).
  2. Once cooled, place strainer over funnel and pour your beer into the glass fermenter. Yeast needs oxygen. The strainer helps aerate your wort and clarify your beer (as well as catch any sediment from going into the fermenter). Add tap water to bring wort up to 1 Gallon mark if level is low.
  3. “Pitch” yeast. (Toss the whole packet in.)
  4. Shake aggressively. You’re basically waking up the yeast and getting more air into the wort.
  5. Attach sanitized screw-top stopper to bottle. Slide rubber tubing no more than 1” (2.5 cm) into the stopper and place the other end in small bowl of sanitizer. You’ve just made a “blow-off tube”. It allows CO2 to escape.
  6. Let sit for two or three days or until vigorous bubbling subsides. This is when fermentation is highest. You may notice bubbles and foam at the top of the beer. After bubbling calms down, clean tubing and ready your airlock.
  7. Sanitize, then re-assemble airlock, filling up to line with sanitizer.
  8. Insert airlock into hole in stopper.
  9. Keep in a dark place for two weeks without disturbing other than to show off to friends. (If beer is still bubbling, leave sitting until it stops.)
  10. In the meantime, drink beer with self-closing swing tops, or ask for empties at a bar that has some. If you have a bottle capper and caps, you can save two six packs of non-twistoff beers instead.
Bottling

Bottling

Two Weeks Later: Bottling 

  1. Thoroughly rinse bottles with water, removing any sediment.
  2. Mix remaining sanitizer with water.
  3. Fill each bottle with a little sanitizer and shake. Empty after two minutes, rinse with cold water and dry upside down.
  4. Dissolve 3 tablespoons honey with 1/2 cup water. Pour into a sanitized pot. You will be siphoning your beer into the same pot in the next steps. Carbonation comes from adding sugar when bottling, so if you filled your jug with less than the full gallon in the last step, use less honey when bottling. Using the full amount can result in your beer being over-carbonated.
  5. Siphoning (It all happens pretty fast. You may want to practice on a pot of water a few times.) To see it in action first, watch the How to Bottle video at brooklynbrewshop.com/instructions.
    1. Attach open tubing clamp to tubing.
    2. Fill tubing with sanitizer.
    3. Attach sanitized tubing to the short curved end of your sanitized racking cane. Attach the black tip to the other end – it will help prevent sediment from getting sucked up. It will probably be a snug fit, but you can get it on there.
    4. Pinch tubing clamp closed.
    5. Remove screw-cap stopper and place racking cane into jug, just above the sediment at the bottom (“trub”).
    6. Lower end of tubing not connected to racking cane into sink. Suction will force beer up and through the racking cane and tubing. Open tubing clamp, let sanitizer flow into sink until beer just starts to flow out of the tubing, then clamp shut. Open clamp on tubing, allowing beer to flow into pot with sugar solution. Tilt jug when beer level is getting low, but be careful in not sucking up the trub.
  6. Siphon beer from pot into bottles, pinching tube clamp to stop flow after each bottle.
  7. Close bottles.
  8. Store in a dark place for 2 weeks.

Two Weeks Later: Enjoying and Making Friends

  1. Put beers in the fridge the night before you drink them.
  2. Drink. Share with friends if you’re the sharing type. Or barter for fresh river trout {more on that later}

MORE SCRATCH PROJECTS {get back to your roots}

CHEESEHomemade Fresh Mozzarella
CHEESEHomemade Ricotta
BREAD101: How to Make Bakery Quality Bread @Home
MUSTARD & PRETZELSHomemade Soft Pretzels and Mustard

PICKLESHomemade Spicy Pickled Carrots
KIMCHIHomemade Spicy Carrot Kimchi! & Apple Chutney!

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Memorial Day Recipe Round-Up

IT WOULDN’T BE A BBQ WITHOUT BOOZE 

Alton Brown’s Bourbon Mint Julep
Bottle of Baron {Refreshing “Island Cocktail” a la Tippling Bros.}

Fresh Lime-Margarita Marinated Watermelon
Kickin’ Ancho Chili Fresh Citrus Margarita
Pink Fizzy Lemonade Cocktails Beat the Heat
Smokey Margarita {a la Tippling Bros.}

Stand-Out Spanish Sangria
Summer Strawberry Chilled Chamomile Tea {non-alcoholic}
Spritzy Sunday Morning Citrus Cocktail {non-alcoholic}

SNACK’EMS {makes happy hour happier}

Avocado & Tropical Fruit Salsa {also good as an entree side}
Creole Roasted Fresh Corn-Tomato Salsa
Fresh Lime-Margarita Marinated Watermelon{double duty bites}
Inside-Out Scotch Eggs w/ Ground Lamb, Harissa Yolk & Panko Gremolata

Peppers Padron at Home
Rosemary, Truffle and Parmesan Chips or Fries
Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus
Union Square Bar Roasted Rosemary Nuts

SALADS 

Orzo, Spinach & Feta Summer Salad
Spinach, Strawberry & Halloumi Salad
Tomato, Basil & Feta Salad
The Ultimate Summer Slaw

PIZZA & BREADS {d’oh! why didn’t i try this yet}

Creative Crowd-Pleasing BBQ’d Pizzas
Red Chili-Lime Cornbread Muffins
Za’atar-Pecorino Toasted Crostini

FOR THE GRILL 

Bison, a Better Burger Worth Biting Into
Sesame Ginger Lime-Poached Cod
Pistachio-Encrusted Spring Lamb w/ Pickled Red Onions & Cumin Yogurt Sauce
Whole-Grain Mustard & Rosemary Pork Chops

DESSERT {life is short, eat it first}

Alton Brown’s Bourbon Banana’s Foster w/ Bourbon Ice Cream
Banana Puddin’ Chocolate Cups
 {bottom of post}
Julia Child’s Chocolate Mousse
Violet’s Lemon Cheesecake with BBQ’d Summer Berries{bottom of post}

Creole Roasted Corn-Tomato Salsa and Chips

Creole Roasted Corn-Tomato Salsa and Chips


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MSP Best: Wise Acre — Gas Up on Good Eats

Wise Acre

Wise Acre

I was in Minneapolis last week for my Goddaughter Audrey’s 1st birthday. I left 70 degrees and sunny in NYC for 40 degrees and snowy in Minneapolis — in May — it’s been a long winter in the land of lakes. So when the  clouds cleared on Sunday and the mercury leapt to a warming 65, we did what any wise person would do — we left the party cleanup behind and headed to brunch.

Converted gas station

Converted gas station

When you first pull up to Wise Acre you may think you’re stopping by to fill-up on gas. This charming farm to table destination resides in an old converted gas station where large garage doors provide a flood of natural light, and a wall of climbing plants softens the otherwise industrial space.

The menu features a few good reasons to get out of bed and promotes a wise philosophy of food sourcing: the shortest distance between the earth, the hand and the mouth.   Ingredients come from Tangletown Gardens’ 100 acre farm in rural Plato, MN where Scottish Highland Cattle, Berkshire and Large Black hogs, and free range chickens, ducks and turkeys live stress-free, hormone-free lives with plenty of room to roam. And the masters behind the stove spin these fine ingredients into memorable dishes like a Fried Egg, Ham & Cheddar Sandwich with stone ground mustard, homemade pickles, farm potatoes and homemade ketchup . Also a hit — the CSA Hash, with farm vegetables, egg & herb scramble, cottage bacon, herb aioli and toast.

Wise Acre Brunch

Wise Acre Brunch

The service was true to midwestern reputation — if our waiter wasn’t working so hard, I’m confident he would have pulled up a chair and become a new friend. I wish I could transport Wise Acre back to New York with me — it would easily go head to head with any of my local favorites. So the next time you’re passing through MSP, make a pit stop at Wise Acre, brunch ’til the cows come home and thank me later.

Charlie Brunching

Charlie Brunching

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Do This! Kosher for Passover and Brooklyn Bound

Kehilath Yakov Matzoh Bakery

Kehilath Yakov Matzo Bakery

Most of the people I know are preparing for Easter. Pulling out baskets, polishing their patent leather and froofing their Sunday frills. But there is another important holiday approaching — one less sugary and pastel-colored — Passover. Even after living in NYC for 12 years, I realized I don’t know a lot about Passover traditions, so asked my friend Avi to lead me into the traditional Jewish neighborhoods of Flatbush and South Williamsburg, Brooklyn for a peek at and bite of Passover preparations.

 First Stop: The Pickles Guys

With pretty much everything pickled from cucumbers to watermelon {yes, watermelon!}, and freshly grated horseradish that will clear the worst sinus congestion, The Pickle Guys is your stop for the ultimate condiment spread. For those who don’t want to jump a train for the full Jewish tour, you can also find an outpost on the Lower East Side.

Keep Hands Out of Barrels

Please Keep Hands Out of Barrels

New pickles, 1/2 sours, 3/4 sours, full sours, hot new pickles, hot sour pickles -- something for everyone

New pickles, 1/2 sours, 3/4 sours, full sours, hot new pickles, hot sour pickles — something for everyone

The spoils

The spoils

Next Up: Eichlers — the Barnes and Noble of Judaica stores

An essential stop for bestsellers like The Easy-Shmeezy Guide to Yiddish and the essential cooking reference, Kosher by Design — Teens and 20-Somethings. Cooking for the Next Generation. I pretty sure Julia Child had this on her bookshelf.

Easy-Shmeezy

Easy-Shmeezy

Please buy this for me

Please buy this for me

And then to the Whole Foods of Kosher Food — Pomegranate.

An entire aisle dedicated to Matzoh! I’m told Shatzer Hand Shmura Matzohs are the best and so that’s what made its way home with me. And here’s an exciting secret I learned while browsing the Kosher aisles: for those of you that like Coca-Cola made the European way with sugar, instead of our American corn syrup version, corn products cannot be consumed during Passover, so you can get your hands on the real Coke for a limited time if you visit a Kosher specialty store. Look for this yellow bottle cap. Ahhhh!

Matzoh!

Matzoh!

Matzoh spoils

Matzoh spoils

Lunch break: David’s Restaurant

Flatbush is home to more middle eastern Jews, so I felt right at home ordering a platter of some darn good falafel, hummus, babaganoush and fluffy warm pita. Great stop to recharge and I’m told the Yemenite Soup is not to be missed — sadly, it was not going to be ready for another hour so we did miss this. Just another reason to go back.

David's Falafel

David’s Falafel

Subway ride to South Williamsburg >> Kehilath Yakov Matzo Bakery

South Williamsburg is a much stricter Orthodox Jewish community — think Payot, long black coats and hats — so I had to try to dress the part with a long dress, tights and covered arms. Regardless of how respectfully I dressed, I was clearly an outsider.

To say I felt like I was intruding on Santa’s Elves on Christmas Eve would be an understatement. This Matzoh bakery was executing at full-steam with 47 men each handling a specific task. It was Henry Ford’s assembly line of Matzoh {see first photo of this post}. The water guy, the mixer, the divider, the rollers, the transporters, the hole-punchers, the bakers. A process that must be completed in 18 minutes according to the Torah and that follows strict guidelines of cleanliness — and apparently does not include a woman standing in the corner overseeing this. Word to the wise, don’t show up a week before Passover and expect a tour with a smile. It was not well-received that I wanted a peek into the inner workings of the Matzoh process. But what few glimpses I did capture {and the brief explanation Avi was able to coerce one of the workers into sharing} were fascinating — and helped me to understand why these provisions cost $25/lb. This is not your ordinary grocery store-matzoh.

The Matzoh Inspection

The Matzoh Inspection Rack

 

Matzoh Man

Matzoh Man

Final Stop: Gottlieb Restaurant

It was a long, but memorable day. One that could only be capped off by a refreshing Dr. Brown’s cream soda, a plate of cholent and some noodle kugel. If you’re looking for an authentic kosher Jewish deli, this is your place. Forget about Carnegie or Stage Door. Hop on a train {arms and legs covered} and come here. Do it all.

Gottliebs Deli

Gottliebs Deli

 

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recipe goodness :: {gluten-free} grapefruit olive oil pound cake

Grapefruit Olive Oil Cake

Grapefruit Olive Oil Cake

I’ve been on a bit of a bit of a citrus overload lately — not in a “I’ve had too much” overload, but in a “I can’t get enough” overload. So when two things happened at work — 1) I had to test Cup4Cup’s gluten-free flour as a potential product to sell in the Food52 Shop and 2) a co-worker came in raving about Smitten Kitchen’s Grapefruit Olive Oil Cake — I had just one more excuse to zest and lovingly squeeze one of nature’s winter gems. Before you run away after reading the word “gluten-free,” know that this recipe originally called for all-purpose flour, but worked beautifully with Cup4Cup’s gluten-free flour during this ingredient test. Win win for all the celiacs and non-celiacs in the world! Dessert is served.

Cake Time

Cake Time

Grapefruit Olive Oil Pound Cake
Slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Cake
Butter and flour for the pan
2 TBS freshly grated grapefruit zest
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (95 grams) raw or turbinado sugar
1/2 cup (120 ml) olive oil
2 large eggs, at room temp
1 1/2 cups (190 grams) gluten-free Cup4Cup flour {or all-purpose}
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 TBS (30 ml) grapefruit juice
1/3 cup (80 ml) buttermilk or plain yogurt

Syrup
2 TBS granulated sugar
1/3 cup (80 ml) grapefruit juice

Glaze
1 cup (120 grams) confectioners’ sugar
2 TBS (30 ml) grapefruit juice
pint of salt

  1. Heat oven to 350°. Butter and flour 9 x 5″ loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl rub grapefruit zest into the sugars with your fingertips to release the oils. Whisk in the oil until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, and whisk until combined. Scrape down the bowl.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a second bowl.
  4. In a liquid measuring cup combine grapefruit juice and buttermilk or yogurt.
  5. Add flour and liquid mixtures, alternating between them, to the oil-sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour.
  6. Spread the batter in pan, smooth the top and rap on the pan to release any air bubbles. Bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.
  7. Make grapefruit syrup — combine 2 tablespoons sugar with 1/3 cup grapefruit juice in a small sauce pan, and cook over low heat until sugar dissolves.
  8. When cake is finished, let it cool 10 minutes in the pan before inverting on a cooling rack set over a tray. Poke holes in the cake with a skewer or toothpick, then brush or spoon syrup over the cake. Let the cake cool completely while it absorbs the syrup.
  9. Make glaze — combine confectioners sugar, salt and grapefruit juice in a bowl, whisking until smooth. Pour glaze over the top of the cooled cake, and allow glaze to drizzle decoratively down the sides.
Grapefruit - Oh my God - glazing step by step

Grapefruit – Oh my God – glazing step by step

Dinner’s Done:
Alton Brown’s Bourbon Banana’s Foster w/ Bourbon Ice Cream
Banana Puddin’ Chocolate Cups
 {bottom of post}

Grandma Dilaura’s Lemon Madeleines
Honey-Vanilla Pound Cake with Red Bud Flowers
Julia Child’s Chocolate Mousse
Millionaire’s Shortbread Worth a Billion Bucks
Perfect Pear Cranberry Pie
Violet’s Lemon Cheesecake with BBQ’d Summer Berries {bottom of post}

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welcome to citrus-palooza

Citrus-palooza

Citrus-palooza

Welcome to citrus-palooza — a random tasting of commonly and more uncommonly known mainstream-citrus cousins and hybrids. The place where mandarins and tangerines mate to create the charmingly named, Pixie, and where intimidatingly named Sumo Oranges win over hearts {mine} and beat the competition handsomely.

Sage-Meyer Lemon Bread

Sage-Meyer Lemon Bread

To prepare for the pucker playoffs, we needed something to cleanse the palate — whole wheat bread with sage and meyer lemon zest sounded like a good fit. And to slather: lemon-sardine butter.

Sardine Butter

Sardine Butter

And now for the line-up:

Citrus Spread

Citrus Spread

Suggested order for tasting {sweet to tart}:

  1. Pixie Tangerine. What: cross between a king mandarin and kincy tangerine. Peel: light orange and easy to peel. Inside: Sweet, seedless, lower acidy makes this lady great for snacking. 
  2. Sumo Orange. What: cross between a mandarin and a california navel orange. Peel: thick and knobby with a top knot like a sumo wrestlers makes it extremely easy to peel. Inside: intensely sweet {in a good way} with no seeds. It took 30 years to develop in Japan, and its flavor lives up to the expectation that such a long training period will outshine the citrus competition.
  3. Murcott. What: cross between a tangerine and a sweet orange. Peel: smooth, deep orange and easy to peel. Inside: Sweet, but slightly tart. Similar in taste to a clementine. Deep orange in color with no seeds.
  4. Pomelo. What: native to southeast Asia, it is a hybrid of a grapefruit and orange. Peel: thick, smooth pale yellow peel with a thick spongy wall. Inside: Pale pink (lighter than a pink grapefruit) and very mild in flavor. Lacks the excitement of a grapefruit’s flavor.
  5. Meyer Lemon. What: cross between a lemon and an orage. Peel: smooth, deep yellow with orange hue, edible. Inside: pale yellow, milder tartness than a regular lemon.
  6. Kumquat. What: native to Asia-Pacific, trees can grow up to thousands of kumquats a year. Peel: thin, orange and edible. Inside: tart like a lemon, with a great burst of flavor. Great snacks or on salads.
  7. Mandarinquat. What: cross between a kumquat and a mandarin. Peel: oval shaped with knobby end. Inside: Lots of seeds, bright orange, and tart! Great for a margarita?!

And the winner is…

Citrus-palooza line-up

Citrus-palooza line-up

The Sumo Orange. Easy to peel and full of sweet, sweet flavor with the added bonus of no seeds and big slices means we can’t really think of a reason why you wouldn’t eat these all day long. Run to your closest Whole Foods or specialty market and get a grip on one of these prized treats. Citrus season is coming to a close and you don’t want to miss this show.

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recipe goodness :: spent grain raisin bran beer muffins

Spent Grain Raisin Bran Beer Muffins

Spent Grain Raisin Bran Beer Muffins

With no major plans on the weekend calendar, the kitchen was beckoning to be dirtied. It felt like the right time to break open my Brooklyn Brew Shop beer making kit and start the 4-week project {more on that later}. What I didn’t realize is that I was going to get way more out of this project than 12 bottles of suds. After simmering your “mash” for an hour you strain everything through a sieve, leaving behind a protein and vitamin-rich hearty grain that has completed its job in the brew, but is still ripe for a second life — beer baked goods anyone?

Before figuring out what you’ll do with your newfound pot of grain gold, you can store this spent grain in the fridge “wet” for a few days before it starts to get funky or you can spread it out on a baking sheet and dry it completely in the oven to store in an airtight container for later. Set your temp to warm-200° and bake 4-5 hours or until no moisture remains to the touch, stirring periodically to dry evenly.

My experiment: a spin on Raisin Bran muffins.  The result: better than mom used to make {sorry mom}. The muffins have a great hearty whole grain depth, while maintaining a moistness thanks to the buttermilk. And, of course, every thing’s better with beer.

Filling muffins

Filling muffins

Spent Grain Raisin Bran Beer Muffins

Makes 20-22 | 375° for 15-20 mins

8oz (weight) wet spent grain
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup melted butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cups granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups of raisins
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups buttermilk
demerara sugar for sprinkling on top {optional}

  1. In a large bowl mix together spent grain, flour, salt, sugars, cinnamon, baking soda and raisins.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together butter, eggs, vanilla extract and buttermilk.
  3. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. If you plan on baking the muffins right away, allow to sit on the counter for 15 minutes before baking to let the grain and flour absorb the buttermilk.
  4. Using an ice cream scoop with a thumb release, fill each cup. Sprinkle tops with a spoonful of demerara sugar {optional}.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Let rest in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to cooling rack.
    Enjoy at least one while warm, with melted butter!

Beer, Bread and Buttermilk:
Breadmaking 101: How to Make Bakery Quality Bread @Home
Grandma Dilaura’s Panettone

Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits
Royal British Cranberry-Almond Breakfast Scones
Irish Steak & Guinness Puff Pastry Pie

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recipe goodness :: the best focaccia i’ve ever had, toppings optional

The Best Focaccia I've Ever Had

Take a bite

I took a breadmaking class with Matthew Tilden of SCRATCHbread a few years ago and learned what is quite possibly the best focaccia recipe I’ve ever had. The inside has a spongy spring that makes focaccia the type of bread you want to sop up whatever needs sopping. But the difference in his recipe is that the lovely springy inside is enrobed in a crackly crust that seems to be missing from too many other oily focaccia phantoms.

I love when focaccia is permeated with other delicious treasures. Inspired by the suitcase of meyer lemons I just toted back from San Fran and a meyer lemon focaccia recipe we just published on Food52, I decided a weekend project was calling my name. This SCRATCHbread recipe was asking for some sweet lemon love.

Thinly slice, sprinkle with coarse salt and let drain to remove some moisture.

Thinly slice, sprinkle with coarse salt and let drain to remove some moisture.

SCRATCHbread Focaccia (3-3.5 hours total; 3 cake pans)

2 lbs. – all purpose Unbleached Unbromated Flour (preferably organic)
8 oz – “oo” Fancy Durum Flour
1.5 lbs. Water (warm 90-100 degrees)
1 oz – compressed “brick” yeast
1 oz – Sea Salt (coarse grey)
1 TBS – Honey
Olive Oil (lots!)
Toppings — whatever your heart desires (in this recipe I used one meyer lemon, one red onion, fresh thyme, whole grain mustard, cracked black pepper and coarse salt)

Prepare yeast, honey and ground salt

Prepare yeast, honey and ground salt

  1. 1. Mix and dissolve yeast, honey & salt (crush salt with mortar and pestle if using coarse grains) with warm water. Set Aside. Make sure water is warm, not hot or you will kill the yeast.

Focaccia dough steps

  1. In a large bowl (or mixer, but we used our hands) add flour and then water mixture, incorporate into shaggy mass.
    1. If using a mixer, continue mixing with dough hook until dough comes together and begins pulling away from the sides, about 1.5 minutes. Add about 2T of olive oil to lather and let it mix in for about 20 seconds.
    2. If using your hands, scrape dough onto a clean surface and practice the slam and flip method! Take the dough, slam it down hard, it will spread out, take one end and fold it over the other end, grab the dough at the end closest to you and slam it down again (it will be sticky and that’s ok). Repeat this process for 1-2 minutes until the dough comes together and the gluten has some toughness to it (if you were to pull on the dough it fights back.) Form into a smooth round ball and pour about 2T of olive oil over the dough ball, massaging all over.
  2. Pour ~2T of olive oil in a clean bowl to “grease” sides. Put the olive oil lathered dough in bowl and cover with saran wrap or a clean towel. Let rise until doubled, about 1 hr 30 minutes in an 80-90 degree environment (you can put near a heater of turn your oven on and set bowl on a chair near the oven vent.)
  3. Once dough is doubled in size and super fluffy, pour onto a clean dry surface and fold over itself into a tight mass. Begin beating the living crap out of the dough. Punch it, elbow it, release all frustrations as you are basically giving it life by pulverizing it. So consider this a good deed to the dough. You can repeat the slam and flip method. Once the mass has had its way, let the beaten mass rest for about 15 minutes. Before dividing into desired shapes/pans. (We used a knife to cut this amount into thirds and made 3 pans.)
  4. I recommend a heavy non-stick cake pan (square or round) because you can take advantage of the rising capabilities and add more toppings, which is always nice.
  5. Coat the pan in olive oil and add third of dough to each pan. Massage with your finger tips, using a “piano finger motion” to form crevasses and spread the dough. Pour MORE olive oil over the dough to coat and collect in yummy olive oil pools in the crevasses. This is sort of the secret for super sexy focaccia goodness. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes in the pan.
  6. Piano finger-in the toppings

    Left: Meyer lemon-thyme. Right: Red onion-meyer lemon-coarse mustard

    You will notice after about 30 minutes, the dough has taken a fluffier approach to its existence and at that point you add the toppings you desire – get creative, but here are a few suggestions! His secret was the coarse black pepper (gave it a really good bite!) And very coarse salt (for that salty goodness) If you use onion, cut them up earlier and toss with coarse salt to remove some of the moisture – toppings with moisture can prevent the focaccia from crisping nicely. I also like to do different combinations in different pans to have lots of options.

    1. Rosemary, grey salt (coarse), more olive oil!
    2. Thinly sliced meyer lemon, red onion quarters, fresh thyme, coarse grey salt, more olive oil!
    3. Crushed garlic, rosemary, thyme, coarsely ground black pepper & salt, more OO
    4. Whole grain mustard, speck, coarsely ground black pepper and salt, more OO
  7. Add your toppings and MORE OLIVE OIL!! Massage into the dough, again using the piano finger method. This will get the flavors and ingredients mixed in and attached nice and good to the dough. Anything that might burn or turn bitter should be added after you take out of the oven (fresh basil, lemon zest, etc.)
  8. Really make a point to pool the olive oil, as this will provide a very moist rich dough once cooked as well as give you the desired crust considering you don’t have a seriously hot wood burning oven.
  9. Bake 425 degrees for about 35-50 minutes (mine took 35), rotating half way. Make sure to take it to a really nice dark golden brown. It’s ok if the toppings start to slightly char – adds to the flavor! When done, immediately and CAREFULLY remove the hot sexy bread mass onto a cooling rack from the pan (pull it out with a knife or fork on one of the sides) so that the crust will become crusty! Let it cool to room temperature so you don’t burn your mouth and let the moisture set. Fight back the crowds.
Crispy Focaccia Goodness

Crispy Focaccia Goodness

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Do This!: Italian Cooking Classes in Tuscany. Jet-Set to Villa Life: Eat, Drink and Be Italian!

6-Day All-Inclusive Tuscan Getaway at Villa Campestri

6-Day All-Inclusive Tuscan Getaway at Villa Campestri

Have you ever dreamed of jetting off to Italy, lounging in a Tuscan villa, inhaling the perfume of olive groves, all while sipping on a nice glass of chianti? Oh, and spending your days learning the art of Tuscan cooking and then eating your accomplishments under the Tuscan sun. Well, dream no longer. Writer, Historian and Food Authority Nancy Harmon Jenkins has planned two great trips this Spring.

Immerse Yourself in a 6-Day All-Inclusive Tuscan Cooking and Tasting Experience
March 25-31: with Chef Michele Forgione
(Montreal’s Osteria Venti)

or
April 22-28: with Chef Sara Jenkins
(NYC’s Porchetta, Porsena)
and World Famous Butcher, Dario Cecchini

Dario Cecchini Video

Learn to make pasta, focaccie and other Tuscan Specialties

Learn to make pasta, focaccie and other Tuscan Specialties

The All-Inclusive Scoop:

  • 6 nights accommodation at Villa Campestri Olive Oil Resort
  • Week-long olive oil immersion focused on learning how to choose and use olive oil, harvest, production and cooking techniques, and the creation of flavor profiles
  • 3 structured extra-virgin olive oil tastings based on both excellent and defective olive oils
  • 4 cooking classes, focused on using olive oils in cooking and traditional, seasonal Tuscan cuisine with Nancy Harmon Jenkins and the Villa Campestri chef
  • Special demo and cooking class with Chef Michele Forgione (March) or Chef Sara Jenkins (April)
  • Visits to: Tuscan farmers market, cheese producer, grist mill, winery, and other related activities
  • Tuscan wine tasting with noted wine authority Burton Anderson
  • 5 lunches and 6 dinners (with vino), including two lunches at select local restaurants, one at a noted winery, and a final gala dinner at Villa Campestri
  • Transfer services within the tour itinerary
  • Guided visit to Scarperia, a town reknown for its handmade knives (its twin town is Laguiole, France!)

See Photos of Food52′s October Trip to Villa Campestri

All you need to do is get there! Pack your bags and buon viaggio!

Book March 25-31: with Chef Michele Forgione 
or
Book April 22-28: with Chef Sara Jenkins 

This Could Be All Yours!

This Could Be All Yours!…and a Nice Glass of Chianti

Or Bring Italy Home:
Homemade Fresh Mozzarella
Homemade Ricotta
Secret DiLaura Family Frittata with Sweet Italian Sausage
Homemade Gnocchi and Sauce: Channeling My Italian Grandmother
Grandma’s Italian Wedding Chicken Soup

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recipe goodness :: ardith mae fennel & goat ragout

Ardith Mae Goat Ragout

Ardith Mae Goat Ragout

Like goat cheese? Then you should keep reading. For some reason goat meat is not a commonly consumed fork and knife option on American dinner plates — but we sure do love goat cheese. But you can’t enjoy the goat cheese without the goat, and in order to have a thriving goat dairy you need both females and males. And since males can’t produce milk, they are virtually useless after they’ve done their job creating a family — so where does all that goat meat go? Never really thought about it much did you? I’m pretty sure it’s not at your local grocery store.

You may be surprised to learn that goat is the most widely consumed meat in the world. The flavor of goat is delicate and grassy, and in my option, almost sweet. So when Shereen, the fabulous farmer behind Ardith Mae Goat Cheeseoffered to send me home with a few packages of sweet and spicy ground goat, I jumped at the chance to try something that had previously never entered my freezer.

Armed with fresh fennel, carrots, onion and celery from the farmer’s market, I decided to chuck it all in a pot, simmer it with some diced tomatoes and create a goat ragout. The result was outstanding. OUTSTANDING. Scooped on top of some fresh pasta and topped off with a dollop of — what else — fresh goat chevre, this dish was made with no prior knowledge of what in the world to do with goat and is now a crowd favorite with the few lucky ducks who joined the table. I challenge you to explore the world of goat meat — it is truly an underappreciated wonder in our American diet. If you want to read more about the No Goat Left Behind initiative watch a great video HERE.

Chop, Saute, Simmer

Chop, Saute, Simmer, Scoop

Ardith Mae Fennel & Goat Ragout

1lb ground goat meat
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk chopped
1 bulb fennel, chopped — frawns reserved
6 cremini mushrooms, chopped
2-3 TBS olive oil
2 28oz cans diced San Marzano Tomatoes
1 TBS tomato paste.
1 can water
Salt and pepper to taste

1-2 lbs pasta of choice to serve 6-12
1 package fresh goat’s milk chevre {I love Ardith Mae in NY}

  1. Wash and chop all vegetables. Set aside. Chop 1-2 Tablespoons of fennel frawns and save for serving.
  2. Crumble and lightly brown goat meat in a large le creuset or sauce pan. Remove meat from pot and set aside.
  3. Add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and all the chopped vegetables — cook until tender and caramelized. Add tomato paste and stir pot thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add both cans of tomatoes and one can of water. Bring to a simmer and add meat back to the pot.
  5. Simmer 1-2 hours until sauce has thickened. Taste and add additional salt and pepper, as desired.
  6. Scoop on top of pasta with several dollops of fresh chevre and fennel frawns sprinkled across top. Extra sauce freezes really well for a midweek meal.

Other Meaty Goodness:
Bison, a Better Burger Worth Biting Into
Braised Grass-Fed Beef Brisket and Polenta
Irish Steak & Guinness Puff Pastry Pie

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recipe goodness :: grandma dilaura’s veal scaloppine

Grandma DiLaura's Veal Scallopine

Grandma DiLaura’s Veal Scaloppine

I always loved when my grandma made this dish for dinner, but I didn’t realize it left a big impression on people who weren’t part of our immediate family. A few weeks ago I got a request from my dad’s childhood friend, Skip, to publish this recipe. I’ve never met Skip, but I imagine him tagging along behind the younger version of my dad after a few hours of neighborhood baseball. Of course my grandma would have made enough food to feed 17 people, so it was no big deal that Skip would have been asked to pull up a chair and join for dinner — after removing his baseball cap, washing his hands and calling his mother to ask permission, of course.  So this one’s for you Skip!

Vito my Veal Butcher

Vito my Veal Butcher

Step one: find the best butcher in the neighborhood. Preferably one with an old school butcher block, guys in white coats with metal mallets and a man named Vito. For this adventure, we headed up to the best kept Italian secret, Arthur Avenue, and did just that. Ask Vito to get to work hand-slicing each cutlet and pounding it until it’s paper thin and doubled in size. Note to you veal haters out there, you can use chicken but grandma might yell at you.

Veal Assembly

Grandma DiLaura’s Veal Scaloppine

1-2 veal {or chicken} cutlets per person depending on the size
1 plate of flour, seasoned with salt & pepper
2-3 eggs, beaten and seasoned with s&p
1 dish of panko {or regular} breadcrumbs, seasoned with salt & pepper
Vegetable Oil for frying
Salt to season
Lemon wedges
Fresh parsley, chopped

  1. Have your butcher pound each cutlet {or do it yourself if you want to work harder} until 1/4 inch thick and even.
  2. Line up three dishes — one with enough flour to coat both sides of each cutlet, one with beaten eggs and one with enough breadcrumbs to coat both sides of each cutlet. Season each dish with salt and pepper. Note, you can always add more, so start with what looks like just enough.
  3. Work with one cutlet at a time. Designate one hand the dry hand and one hand the wet hand to keep from getting gooey hands. Using the dry hand, add to flour and coat both sides. Shake off excess flour and then add to the egg dish. Picking up with the wet hand, let excess egg drip off and add to the breadcrumbs. Coat both sides using the dry hand and then place on a baking sheet. Repeat to coat each of the cutlets, placing a layer of plastic wrap or waxed paper between each layer of cutlets on the baking sheet.
  4. Using a large, deep skillet pour ~1/2 inch of oil in the pan and bring to medium-high heat. Test when the oil is ready by dropping a bread crumb into the oil at which point you should see bubbles form around the edges as they start sizzling.
  5. Being careful not to over crowd the pan, add 2-3 cutlets at a time and cook until golden brown on one side, ~2-3 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until golden brown, ~2-3 more minutes depending on how high your heat is and how thick each piece is.
  6. Remove from oil and place on a plate or baking sheet lined with paper towel to absorb excess oil. Sprinkle with flaky maldon salt to taste.
  7. Cook remaining cutlets, adding additional oil to the pan and adjusting the temperature as needed.
  8. Serve on a platter with lemon wedges and chopped fresh parsley sprinkled over the top…and a big jug of red wine.
Mangia!

Mangia!

Grandma is the Best Cook in the World:
Secret DiLaura Family Frittata with Sweet Italian Sausage
Grandma’s Italian Wedding Chicken Soup
Homemade Gnocchi and Sauce: Channeling My Italian Grandmother
Violet’s Lemon Cheesecake 

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recipe goodness :: grandma dilaura’s panettone

Grandma DiLaura's Panettone

Grandma DiLaura’s Panettone (Photo by James Ransom for Food52)

We don’t deviate much from the past when it comes to the DiLaura Christmas morning menu. Since my earliest memories of Santa Claus and pink bikes with baskets, Christmas morning always starts with a buttered slice of my Grandma DiLaura’s toasted panettone. The smell of sweet anise wafting from downstairs is a sign that ‘ole St. Nick has done his job.

Our recipe dates back to the late 1800s Florence, where my grandmother’s sister’s mother-in-law was an award-winning baker. Of course the story goes that she never used a recipe and no one has ever been able to make it as good since.

While my grandma was smart enough to write down the measurements for this edible heirloom, there were some parts of her recipe that did not get recorded. My grandma had a special heavy wooden chair that lived in the basement 364 days of the year. On panettone-making day, the chair was ceremoniously brought up to the kitchen where she placed a huge stockpot atop the seat and got to work mixing all of the ingredients with her special oversized wooden spoon.

A Cut Above the Rest

A Cut Above the Rest

After my parents married, my mom began helping on the big day and made the mistake of suggesting it might be easier to mix the large batch, of what is quite sticky dough, with her hands. To which my grandma promptly replied, “Oh no, honey you can’t do that, you have to use the spoon.” Deviate she did not.

My grandmother has since passed on, but my mom has heroically carried on the tradition of making our annual panettone. Our recipe is different from many you’ll find in stores, which often include candied fruit. We prefer a mix of dark and golden raisins with pine nuts, but of course you could make it however you prefer. After all, my mom ditched the wooden spoon and has been hand-mixing since taking over the panettone helm.

This recipe makes about 16 pounds of bread, which my mom breaks up into four large 2 1/4 pound loaves and four smaller 1 3/4 pound loaves. She gives everyone in the family a loaf and also freezes a few. You could easily cut the recipe in half, but your friends and neighbors will thank you if you don’t!

Grandma DiLaura’s Panettone

Makes 16 pounds of bread (about 8 loaves)

5 cups whole milk
4 cups sugar, plus 1/4 cup for yeast
1 pound unsalted butter
1/4 cup shortening (or use all butter)
1 teaspoon anise oil (if you can’t find oil, substitute 4 teaspoons anise extract)
9 packets non-instant yeast
5 pounds all-purpose flour, plus 5 cups (plus 4-5 more cups for kneading)
6 teaspoons salt
8 large eggs
15 ounces golden raisins (soaked in hot water to plump if dry)
30 ounces dark raisins (soaked in hot water to plump if dry)
1/2 pound pine nuts
1 egg yolk, plus 1 tablespoon water for brushing tops

  1. In a medium saucepan, scald milk with 4 cups sugar, stirring often. Then add butter and shortening (or all butter), and melt, stirring often.
  2. Remove from the stove and add anise oil or extract to milk/butter/sugar mixture. Let cool slightly.
  3. Dissolve yeast and 1/4 cup sugar in enough warm water to cover (1 1/2 to 2 cups) and let double in volume.
  4. In a large bowl, mix 5lbs plus 5 cups flour and salt. Add raisins and pine nuts.
  5. Add slightly cooled milk to flour mixture. Add eggs and mix together with large wooden spoon. Add yeast mixture and mix well. Grease your hands and mix and knead for about 5 to 10 minutes in the bowl (adding 4 to 5 cups flour as needed). Dough will be very sticky.
  6. Grease sides of bowl, cover with greased plastic wrap and several towels, and let dough rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until doubled.
  7. Grease loaf pans — we use four large (9 5/8 x 5 1/4 x 2 3/4) and four small (8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 5/8). Lightly squeeze to release any air bubbles and shape dough and put in pans. Cover with greased plastic wrap and towels and let rise for 1 1/2 hours.
  8. Bake at 350 F for about 20 minutes.
  9. If using multiple oven racks, rotate loaves, then lower oven to 325 F and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until top is a medium golden color.
  10. After bread is baked, brush tops with egg yolk and water mixture and return to oven for about 5 minutes.

What Else Did Grandma Whip Up?
Grandma DiLaura’s Lemon Madeleines
Secret DiLaura Family Frittata with Sweet Italian Sausage

Grandma’s Italian Wedding Chicken Soup
Homemade Gnocchi and Sauce: Channeling My Italian Grandmother
Violet’s Lemon Cheesecake

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‘Tis the Season Party Recipe Roundup

'Tis the season!

‘Tis the season!

Everyone can use a little help when it comes to holiday entertaining. Easy, but memorable recipes that deserve a place at any party we may be throwing with our nearest and dearest friends and family. Here are a few ideas to help get you through the nibbles and dribbles.

GREAT HOST GIFTS {with the most!}

Cinnamon Sugar & Dark Cocoa Almonds
Homemade Spicy Carrot Kimchi! & Apple Chutney!
Homemade Spicy Pickled Carrots
Union Square Bar Roasted Rosemary Nuts

DRINKS {cheers!}

Autumn Manhattan {Herby Garnished Classic a la Tippling Bros.}
Fireside Sparks {Champagne Cocktail a la Tippling Bros.}
Smokey Margarita {a la Tippling Bros.}

Spritzy Sunday Morning Citrus Cocktail {non-alcoholic}

SNACK’EMS {makes happy hour happier}

Cinnamon Sugar & Dark Cocoa Almonds
Flaky Cheese Straws, As Easy As Being Barefoot

Homemade Ricotta and Melted Leeks
Inside-Out Scotch Eggs w/ Ground Lamb, Harissa Yolk & Panko Gremolata
Mini Wild Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie w/ Scotch! {bottom of post}
Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus
Union Square Bar Roasted Rosemary Nuts
Za’atar-Pecorino Toasted Crostini

SEASONAL SIDES

Bursting Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta-Orange Reduction
Crispy Cayenne Roasted Potatoes
Mini Wild Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie w/ Scotch! {bottom of post}

Roasted Cauliflower with Gremolata Breadcrumbs
Community Grains Lazy Sunday Red Flint Polenta Integrale
Farro Salad with Steamed Kale and Roasted Pinenuts

SEASONAL SWEETS {life is short, eat it first}

Honey-Vanilla Pound Cake
Julia Child’s Chocolate Mousse
Millionaire’s Shortbread Worth a Billion Bucks
Perfect Pear Cranberry Pie
Violet’s Lemon Cheesecake 

 

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recipe goodness :: grandma dilaura’s lemon madeleines

 

Grandma's Lemon Madeleines

Grandma’s Madeleines

Santa called, he wants a new kind of cookie this year. Yes, we all love sugar cutouts and peanut butter cookies with chocolate kisses —  don’t get me wrong, I love the tradition of knowing those festive favorites will be stacked high on the Christmas table too. But this year everything old is new again, so I’m rethinking the cookie plate.

These lemony Madeleines weren’t necessarily a Christmas tradition in our house, but they were ceremoniously revealed after many Sunday dinners at Grandma’s. After a heaping bowl of gnocchi or a big Sunday roast, she’d shuffle over to her cookie tins {which were never empty} and arrange these delicate little shell-shaped cookies {which might as well be referred to as mini cakes for their delicate sponge} on a plate to await the blessing of decorative powdered sugar. They were divine. Pretty, perfect little pillows of lemony goodness. These will always remind me of my grandma and have become a new tradition in my own kitchen — parting gifts for dinner guests or just comforting treats to accompany a steaming cup of weekend coffee. And so for something that evokes those cherished memories, it seems only fitting that they join the joyous Christmas cookie tray. Enjoy!

Madeleine Tray

Madeleine Tray

Grandma DiLaura Lemon Madeleines

Makes 36 Large or 48 Mini | 350°

3/4 Cup Butter, melted and slightly cooled, plus more for brushing pans
3 Large Eggs
2/3 Cup Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1.25 Cups Cake or All-Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
Zest of 1 Lemon
1/3 Cup Shredded Coconut (optional)

  1. In a large bowl, mixer on high, beat eggs until light.
  2. Gradually add vanilla and sugar and continue beating until volume has increased about 4x and is pale and fluffy. Add melted butter.
  3. Sift dry ingredients together and fold with spatula into mixture.
  4. Fold lemon zest and/or coconut.
  5. Brush Madeleine molds with melted butter and scoop mixture into each shell filling about halfway —  careful not to overfill as they will rise like a cake.
  6. Bake 8-10 minutes for Large Madeleines and 6-8 minutes for Mini Madeleine trays until cake is firm to the touch and light gold in color.
  7. Remove from trays and let cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.
  8. Right before serving sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Mini Madeleines

Mini Madeleines

Other Grandma Favorites:
Secret DiLaura Family Frittata with Sweet Italian Sausage
Grandma’s Italian Wedding Chicken Soup
Homemade Gnocchi and Sauce: Channeling My Italian Grandmother
Violet’s Lemon Cheesecake

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A Cook’s Holiday Gift Guide

We could all use a little help when it comes to our holiday hit lists — so much to buy, so little time. The last thing we want to be faced with is last minute purchases that just don’t feel right for the recipient. Hopefully the ideas below help stuff those stockings, stress-free. ‘Tis the season!

Exclusive Discounts on Perfect Presents for The…

  1. Cookware Maven: Handmade Vintage Copper Cookware and Bakeware
  2. Art Appreciator: Favorite Recipes Converted to Beautiful Illustrations
  3. Hungry Mind: Remedy Quarterly Subscription
  4. Party Host: Smartly-Shaped Charcuterie, Cheese and Chopping Boards
  5. Everyday Cook: Black Walnut Trencher Board
  6. Ultimate Entertainer: Fermin Spanish Iberico Charcuterie
  7. Urban Farmer — Adults & Kids!: Oyster Mushroom Growing Kits
  8. Cook Who Has Everything: Adopt a Truffle Tree and Adopt an Olive Tree
  9. Cocktail Connoisseur: Japanese Yarai Crystal Mixing Glass, Barspoon and Spherical Ice Tray
  10. Cooking Scientist: Modernist Cuisine at Home Cookbook
  11. Bountiful Baker: Organic Vanilla Bean Paste
  12. Eye for Design: Handmade Heirloom Housewares

A Cook's Holiday Gift Guide

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Last Minute Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup

Looking for a little last minute Thanksgiving Feast inspiration?

While You Wait for the Bird
Autumn Manhattan {Herby Garnished Classic a la Tippling Bros.}
Fireside Sparks {Champagne Cocktail a la Tippling Bros.}
Homemade Ricotta and Melted Leeks
Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus
Za’atar-Pecorino Toasted Crostini

spiced sweet potato hummus

spiced sweet potato hummus

The Pilgrims Ate Soup
Best Butternut Squash and Green Apple Soup
Wild Child Broccoflower and Celery Root Soup

The Best Butternut Squash Soup

Sides Tom Will Love
Bursting Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta-Orange Reduction
Crispy Cayenne Roasted Potatoes
Roasted Cauliflower with Gremolata Breadcrumbs
Farro Salad with Steamed Kale and Roasted Pinenuts
Italian Sausage & Chard Stuffin’ Muffins
Flaky Cheese Straws, As Easy As Being Barefoot

Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta-Orange Reduction

Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta-Orange Reduction

The Grand Finale
Perfect Pear Cranberry Pie

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Set Your Thanksgiving Table Apart…

Just a few of my favorite food finds sourced for Food52 — you won’t find these handmade, artisanal items on Amazon. It’s a year to support artisans, small businesses, the people doing something with their own two hands. Whether you’re buying for your own kitchen or as a gift, you’ll appreciate the quality and story behind each item below.

With Napkins that Make Your Fork Look Cozy and Table Handsome (Save $20)

IceMilk Heirloomed Collection

IceMilk Heirloomed Collection

With Eric Ripert’s Favorite Spice Blends — An Out of the Ordinary Host Gift (Save $43)

La Boite Fall Spice Blends

Eric Ripert’s Favorite Spice Blends

With a Hello! w/ Personalized Holiday Cards from Hello!Lucky (40% off)

Hello!Lucky

With Pure Vanilla Bean Paste — Your Cookies, Whipped Cream, Pies and Guests will Thank You ($11 off)

Organic Vanilla

Organic Vanilla Paste and Extract

With Your Own Home-Grown Mushrooms — the Gift that Keeps on Giving and Keeps Kids Entertained (32% Off!)

Grow Your Own Oyster Mushrooms

Grow Your Own Oyster Mushrooms

With Handcrafted Neutral Bowls and Platters that Make Your Recipes Shine ($40 off and with Free Gifts!)

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Giving Thanks this Thanksgiving

SunriseThe last few days living in NYC have been surreal. After a Saturday evening of Halloween celebrations, we all retreated to our apartments to prepare for Sandy’s visit. We had been through this the year before, with a resulting impact far less severe than all the warnings — so, many questioned how seriously to take this round.

Regardless, we brought our plants in from the terrace. We made a heaping bowl of pasta that would last for days should we lose power. We filled bottles and our largest pots with water. We did our laundry and our dishes. We turned on a movie and we hunkered down, waiting.

As the wind blew stronger outside with each hour and sirens screamed in the distance, the breaking to-the-second reports came pouring in on twitter — 12 foot ocean swells in lower manhattan, 3+ feet of water in friend’s lobbies, cars gliding down streets that had become rivers, a wave of power outages from the Battery to midtown and then friends signing off from social media to conserve battery life…

We wouldn’t know how lucky we were to be on higher ground on the Upper West Side until the next day. I woke up to the sun peeking through the clouds, brightly colored fall leaves gently blowing on their branches and even a broom still standing upright on the roof next door. As I checked my fully powered computer, it was apparent just how horrendous Sandy had been to so many others.

Many family and friends have called to check in on me — and I feel guilty that I can answer my phone and say we’re fine and in the middle of baking cookies. While we are safe and just patiently waiting for regular routines to resume, we know this will take a longer time than just when the lights come back on for many.

This year, more than ever, is a year to give thanks. To spend a little extra time around the holiday table with the people you love. To slowly enjoy the meal that took hours, even days to prepare. To start new traditions and celebrate old. To simmer, roast and bake with your own two hands — to share more than just a plate of food with your guests. And if you’re able to help those in need through donations, time or meals, I encourage you do that too.

Sunset

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