Tag Archives: Dinner

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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Fall in Love with Sardines, Save Dinner

Bela Sardines. Photo by James Ransom for Food52

Bela Sardines. Photo by James Ransom for Food52

When I was a wee little one, I remember my dad coming in from an afternoon tending to his garden and popping open a can of sardines for lunch. Curious about these little guys, I was not. Usually his offer to share a bite was met with a prompt and firm “ewwwww, no.”

It’s taken me 30 years to question why these cans of conveniently packed, flavorful little fiddies get such a bum rap. I don’t think twice when cranking a can of tuna open to save the day when I have nothing in the fridge for lunch. I recently read an article by Nicholas Day on Food52 speaking the praises of sardines – in his case because it conveniently saves dinner in a pinch for his own children. He feeds his kids sardines? This made me take pause. Well why not.

And then I was contacted by BELA Sardines to see if their cans of fresh-packed {within 8 hours of being caught and never frozen} Portuguese sardines would be something we would be interested in selling in the Food52 shop. We popped a few cans open at the office, broke out the crackers and started snacking. They were good — really, really good. Each is slightly smoked and packed in either Portuguese extra virgin olive oil or tomato sauce {4 flavors to choose from}. Beyond just the flavor, there are other reasons to love these little guys — they’re low-mercury, sustainably caught, and full of healthy fats. They are a pantry staple everyone should pile high.

I’m a convert. To be perfectly honest, I would be happy opening a can of these, pouring a nice glass of wine and calling that alone a mid-week meal. But it doesn’t take much to use them in a slightly more creative way, with still minimal effort, and have a dish to be proud of. Go ahead, give sardines a chance — you may be surprised by a new love.

Need a Little Inspiration?
Linguine with Sardines, Fennel & Tomato
Sardines, Avocado and Radish Salad with Upland Cress
Sardine Butter

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recipe goodness :: lime-red chili grilled swordfish

Lime-Red Chili Swordfish

Lime-Red Chili Swordfish

The beautiful thing about swordfish is the heartiness of the meat. It’s the perfect grilling fish for someone whose worried about their filet falling through the cracks. And it’s just begging to be topped with a heaping spoonful of some lovely fresh salsa you whipped up — like the smooth spicy tomatillo blend or the bright avocado & peach salsa. I like to marinate it with a little olive oil and the juice of a lime with some red chili and fresh cilantro {or parsley for cilantro haters} just to add a little love to the fish itself. And if you don’t have time for a salsa topper, the marinated fish alone will please a crowd.

 

Grilled Swordfish with Tomatillo Salsa

Grilled Swordfish with Tomatillo Salsa

Lime-Red Chili Grilled Swordfish

6-8oz fillet per person
1 lime, zested and juiced
Drizzle of olive oil
1/2 red chili chopped
2 sprigs cilantro or parsley chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Lay the swordfish in a small casserole dish with sides.
  2. Juice, zest, drizzle all the marinade ingredients over the top and turn each fillet to coat.
  3. Cover and let it all hang out in the fridge for as little as 15 minutes or 2-3 hours if you have the time.
  4. Heat a grill to medium heat and cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook for an additional 3-4 or until the fish is cooked through.
  5. Serve as is or with a fresh tomatillo or avocado & peach salsa topper.

Swim with the Fiddies:
Introducing grilled blowfish
Julia Child’s Fillet of Sole Meuniere
Sesame Ginger Lime-Poached Cod
Spicy Balsamic and Fennel Fish Stew

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recipe goodness :: mastering julia child’s fillet of sole meuniere #jc100

Julia Child's Sole Meuniere

Julia Child’s Sole Meuniere

Filet of Sole Meuniere was Julia’s first-ever meal in France.  She described the sole as “a morsel of perfection” and “the most exciting meal” of her life.  It was this simple preparation of sole that inspired  Julia’s 40-year love affair with food and the start of a cooking revolution in America. The dish takes less than ten minutes to prepare and since the filets go for a swim in clarified butter, there is no shortage of rich “French” flavor. Pour yourself a nice glass of chablis and take a petit voyage to France for dinner.

“There is no substitute for the taste of butter in good cooking…” — Julia Child

Sole Meuniere

Fillet of Sole Meunière

Serves 6

6 skinless, boneless sole or other thin fillets
Salt and fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup of flour or so for a plate
4 tablespoons clarified butter
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
4-6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 lemon cut into wedges

  1. Dry the fish, remove and bones, score, trim and lay flat on wax paper.
  2. Dust the fillets with salt and pepper. Just before sauteing drop each fillet into the flour to coat each side, shaking off any excess.
  3. Set the frying pan over high heat and film with 1/16 inch of clarified butter. When the butter is very hot, but not browning, rapidly lay each fillet side by side leaving a little space between each (don’t overcrowd).
  4. Saute 1-2 minutes on both sides, turning carefully so as to not break the fillet. The fish is done when just springy. Immediately remove from the pan to a platter or plates.
  5. Sprinkle each fillet generously with parsley.
  6. Wipe the pan completely clean, set over high heat and melt with new butter until bubbling.
  7. Pour over fillets — the parsley will bubble up nicely. Season with salt, serve with lemon wedges immediately.

Bon appetit!
recipe goodness :: mastering the art of julia child’s salade nicoise
recipe goodness :: mastering julia child’s rolled french omelet
recipe goodness :: mastering the art of julia child’s chocolate mousse
Do This!: Celebrate Julia Child’s 100th Birthday 

Excerpted from The Way to Cook by Julia Child. Copyright © 1989 by Julia Child. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.

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recipe goodness :: introducing grilled blowfish

Marinated Blowfish

Marinated Blowfish

Flounder, Cod, Scallops — all usual suspects you would expect to see on an early summer grill. Sometimes it takes a little convincing to get out of the mainstream grill mentality, which is why I love shopping at the local greenmarket. The benefit of strolling stand to stand is that you have the opportunity to chat it up with the experts whose daily job it is to harvest and catch the very food you put on your plate. Last weekend my friendly fishmonger Warren from American Seafood convinced me that the thing to make that night was his freshly caught blowfish. Woah, aren’t those the second most poisonous vertebrates in the world? I thought Warren was my friend. In fact, the northern puffer that we catch locally is not toxic, unlike its blowfish counterparts swimming through asian waters. So fear not, this delectable catch is a catch!

With newly found finned friend in hand, I came home, tossed them in a bowl with a generous drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of a lime and a few chopped scallions, leaving it all to marinate until dinner time. After a few minutes on the grill, we had ourselves a beautiful Spring supper that looked almost like a butterflied shrimp {they have a hard tail that stays on}, but was light and flaky like any good filet.

Grilled Blowfish

Grilled Blowfish

Grilled Blowfish

2 small blowfish per person.
Drizzle of olive oil
1 lime zested and juiced
salt and pepper to taste
Extra lime, olive oil and flaky salt for serving

  1. Toss everything in a casserole dish or bowl, coating the fish evenly and place in the fridge until ready to prepare (1-4 hours).
  2. Heat the grill to low and cook 4-5 minutes on either side, until flesh is no longer translucent and flakes easily from the bone.
  3. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil, a squeeze of lime and flaky salt.

Springtime Treats
Summer Strawberry Chilled Chamomile Tea {non-alcoholic}
Spinach, Strawberry & Halloumi Salad
Violet-Radish Spring Salad with Secret Lemon-Garlic Dressing

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8.ate@eight Deliciously Different Valentine’s Day Gift and Dinner Ideas

♥ Text Me ♥ Recipe 4 Love ♥ Table 4 Two ♥ Be Mine ♥ Cool Cat

You’ve found that special someone who likes long walks on the beach too, but you’re late to the game planning Valentine’s Day? Never fear, if you’re in need of some good inspiration to show your love, here a list of a few of my favorite ideas — whether you’re looking for a romantic night in, a unique meal out or a gift of food that is the way to your love’s heart.

♥ Labor of  Love With Your Own Hands ♥

Cocktail Kick-Off: Fireside Sparks {Champagne Cocktail a la Tippling Bros.}
When In Doubt, Roast a Chicken: Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken
When in Doubt, Roast a Hot and Spicy Chicken: Some Like it HOT Pollo alla Diavola
Spice it Up: Crispy Cayenne Roasted Potatoes
Bourbon and Flames to Heat Things Up: Alton Brown’s Bourbon Banana’s Foster
Bedtime Snack: Cinnamon Sugar & Dark Cocoa Almonds
Breakfast in Bed:
How To Cook The Perfect Sunny Side-Up Egg w/ Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits

More 8.ate@eight Recipes HERE

♥ Wine & Dine ♥

10s Across the Board: The Art of Eating {and Drinking} Well @ L’Artusi
An Aphrodisiac’s Evening: Lovin’ Me Some Oysters @Mermaid Oyster Bar
Interactive Eating: Love, Love Shabu Shabu: Fun to Say and Eat
Butt. ‘Nough Said: Momofuku That Pork Butt is Good!
Slurping is Sexy: NYC Ramen Wars: Ippudo vs. momofuku noodle bar
Smoked Meat is Sexier: 18 Meat Dishes for Men & BBQ Heaven @Fette Sau
Cozy and Romantic: August in April
Single and Looking for Love: Wilfie & Nell: Not Your Grandpa’s Watering Hole

More 8.ate@eight Favor8 Restaurants HERE

♥ Gifts A Dozen Times Better Than Roses ♥

Take a Kick-Ass Specialty Class: Sign-Up for an Underground Sidetour 
Ice Cream Gram:
Send Your Valentine an Ice Cream Gram from Milkmade
A Gift to Warm the Soul: Blue Bottle Coffee Brews One Brilliant Cup at a Time
Artisanal Meats, Cheeses & Chocolates! Artisanal Specialty Foods Digested

♥ Text Me ♥ Recipe 4 Love ♥ Table 4 Two ♥ Be Mine ♥ Cool Cat

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recipe goodness :: spicy balsamic and fennel fish stew

Spicy Balsamic and Fennel Fish Stew

Spicy Balsamic and Fennel Fish Stew

When most people think of stews, they think of hours of braising meat and heavy, fill-your-belly bowls of wintry goodness. Can a stew be made quickly and with a lightness that still satisfies the desire for deep flavor complexity? The answer is yes. Enter the fish stew.

This recent creation received a table full of ooohs and aaahs and pleas for seconds, so next time you’re looking for an inspired mid-week meal, visit your local fishmonger and produce-stand and stew it up. Why is this such a praise-worthy recipe? The combination of subtle spice {which you can add to if you prefer more} with the sweet balsamic and fennel really hits on all those taste buds and takes the mild fish to a new level. Bonus: the fish only takes 3-4 minutes to cook and is added at the end, so you can easily make the base of the sauce ahead of time, leave in a covered pot, and reheat just prior to dinner, bringing a great meal together in a matter of minutes. Dare I say it’s healthy too? Nah, who really cares about that.

Spicy Balsamic and Fennel Fish Stew

Serves 8 | 40-50 minutes total time

1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1/2 fennel bulb, diced, frawns reserved
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
3/4 can of water
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
2 lbs flounder, skin and bones removed {or other white fish}
2 cups rice {I used brown for more flavor}
Aged balsamic for drizzling
Fennel frawns for garnish

  1. Dice all your veg, setting aside the garlic to add later. Heat oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium heat and add carrots, celery, fennel, red onion, cooking 10-15 minutes until tender and not brown {lower heat or add more oil if starts to brown}.
  2. Prepare your rice according to package instructions in a separate pot.
  3. After the veg cooks for 10-15 minutes, add garlic and a little more oil if pot is dry. Cook 2-3 minutes to release the garlic fragrance.
  4. Add white wine and let simmer 3-5 minutes. Turn heat to high and add the diced tomatoes and fill the can 3/4 full with water to add as well.
  5. Season with anchovy paste, cayenne, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for 20-30 minutes uncovered, reducing the amount of liquid by about 1/4. Once the sauce is thicker, taste and add additional seasoning as desired. Note: you can make the sauce ahead of time up until this point and reheat prior to adding the fish, making this a quick meal that can be prepared in minutes.
  6. Slice each fish filet into 2-inch wide strips. Season with salt and pepper and add to the simmering sauce. Fish will cook fairly quickly, so check a piece after 3-4 minutes to make sure it is firm and no longer translucent in the middle.
  7. Add a generous scoop of rice to the bottom of a bowl, top with fish stew, drizzle lightly with aged balsamic and top with chopped fennel frawns. Enjoy!
Home-Tested, 8.ate@eight Approved

Chock Full of Flavorful Veg

Fish Stew

Wintry Wonders:
Best Butternut Squash and Green Apple Soup
Grandma’s Italian Wedding Chicken Soup
Wild Child Broccoflower and Celery Root Soup

Braised Grass-Fed Beef Brisket and Polenta
Irish Steak & Guinness Puff Pastry Pie

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recipe goodness :: some like it HOT pollo alla diavola

Chilling Out in the Garlic-Pepper Marinade

It’s HOT HOT HOT out!  And while some may like to hunker down in their A/C-chilled apartments or seek refuge in the comfort of a restaurant where someone else slaves over a hot stove, I like to turn up the heat by firing up the grill and making one of the best pollo alla diavola recipes I have ever had. It takes a little time and effort {which can all be done comfortably while your window unit pumps out cold air} — but by putting in the time and TLC to brine and marinate, you will get the most juicy, flavor-packed chicken you can ask for. So stock your fridge with a few cold ones, and get to work!

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Pollo Alla Diavola

Recipe Courtesy of ASacasa
Serves: 2 hungry lads or 4 peckish birds

Pollo alla diavola is traditionally grilled over wood embers, but the chicken may also be grilled over a charcoal or gas fire, or broiled in an oven.

Herb Vinegar Marinade

  • ½ cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil (add later)

Chicken and Brine

  • 4 medium garlic cloves
  • 3 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 3 to 3 ½-pound chicken
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 4 quarts cold water (16 cups)

Garlic-Pepper Oil

  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 teaspoons piment d’ Espelette or Aleppo pepper, or 4 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup olive oil
Directions:
  1. In a small jar, combine the white wine vinegar with the dried oregano, sage and rosemary. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 2 days {Standing optional, but can be made ahead and chilled for 2 weeks.}
  2. Using kitchen shears, remove the wing tips and the backbones from the chickens. Set the chickens on a large rimmed baking sheet, skin side up, and press down firmly on the breastbones to flatten them so that the legs face the breasts. Score each breast, drumstick, thigh and wing halfway to the bone in two places per part.
  3. Combine garlic heads, bay leaves, and salt in quart-size zipper-lock bag; press out air and seal bag. Using rubber mallet or meat pounder, pound mixture until garlic cloves are crushed; transfer mixture to large container or stockpot and stir in 4 quarts cold water until salt is dissolved. Immerse chicken in brine for about 2 hours.
  4. Take out the chickens and allow to dry. Strain the herb-infused vinegar into a small bowl and stir in the olive oil. Drizzle all but 2 tablespoons of the vinegar-oil mixture over both sides of the chickens and rub the mixture into the meat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. Heat garlic, black pepper, pepper flakes, and oil in small saucepan over medium heat until garlic is fragrant and sizzling and mixture registers about 200 degrees on instant-read thermometer. Rub the seasoning all over the chickens. Let the seasoned chickens stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  6. Oven Option: Preheat the oven to 425°.: Roast the chickens in the upper third of the oven, skin side up, basting both chickens with the remaining vinegar-oil mixture half way through, until the chicken is just cooked, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°, about 45 minutes. Preheat the broiler. Pour the pan juices into a small saucepan. Broil the chickens about 4 inches from the heat, rotating the pan, until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes. Carve the chickens. Reheat the pan juices and serve with the chicken.
  7. Grill Option: Cook skin side up, basting and flipping half-way through, but be careful not to catch the grill on fire with the oils, which could overcook the outside of the chicken before the inside is done. Cook approximately 20 minutes on the BBQ or until internal temp is 165°.

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Vinegar Hill House is a Sweet Spot for Supper

Vinegar Hill Specialty Cocktail: blanco tequila, curacao, lime, grenadine

Vinegar Hill Specialty Cocktail: blanco tequila, curacao, lime, grenadine

 Vinegar Hill is not a Brooklyn neighborhood you hear much about — perhaps because it only stretches for about six blocks and is neighbored by the more buzz-worthy DUMBO. But if you have thus far overlooked this charming area, I suggest you take a stroll through this historical corner {and more strongly suggest you don’t wear cobblestone-unfriendly heals when you do.} The neighborhood feels a bit like you have traveled back in time with Federal style homes, quiet sleepy brick-laid streets and a few storefront gems that sit happily on a mostly residential row and look like places you could buy an antique musket from the Battle of Vinegar Hill during Irish Rebellion of 1798 {and now you know where the hood got its name.}

But my first trip to Vinegar Hill was not prompted by an historical expedition. Rather, it was to grab dinner at the equally as charming and most definitely delicious Vinegar Hill House. The copper-topped bar and copper-haired-bearded bartender was a quick conduit to a warming-first impression. The cocktail menu is simple in length, but lists an inspired concoction of choices. After a brief chat with said bearded bartender, he pleasantly described  his affinity for Despues del Ensueno {pictured above} — delightful on that humid summer eve.

The dinner menu did not disappoint either. Special app of the night: house-cured ham. It was so good I ate it too quickly to take a picture — professional mishap #1. We also sampled the farmstead cheese & salumi platter with homemade crackers and a pickled quail egg. With duck pate rounding out the selection, this clearly was not just another cheese platter and we were better for it.

Vinegar Hill Cast Iron Chicken

Vinegar Hill Cast Iron Chicken

Feeling old-world New York, I could not resist the Cast Iron Chicken. It comes straight out of the brick oven piping hot with the danger of searing your arm if you mistakenly touch the pan as you gleefully dig into the juicy, buttered bird — professional mishap #2. But it was well-worth the lasting burn mark. If you want to go for a safer eating option, try the Mezze Maniche — a shorter version of the always popular rigatoni that is stopped with a lovely pork ragu.

Vinegar Hill Mezze Maniche with Pork Ragu

Vinegar Hill Mezze Maniche with Pork Ragu

The Skim: Getting out of the city slog doesn’t have to mean you need to travel to the Hamptons. Spend the summer visiting some of New York’s less-trafficked neighborhoods to digest a little historical charm and a fantastic meal for the evening. Vinegar Hill House is only a short walk from the river, so it also lends itself to being a great place to start the night before a NYC skyline stroll along the Brooklyn waterfront or before attending a bargemusic concert under the great Brooklyn Bridge.

Map: 72 Hudson Avenue, Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn
Reservations: Taken for 4+ Sun-Mon; 6+ Sat/Sun Brunch
Phone: 718-522-1018

Other Favorite Brooklyn Haunts:
Under the Bridge, Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory Treat {Post-VHH Dessert!}
18 Favorite Meat Dishes for Men & Barbeque Heaven @Fette Sau
Rustic Space Features Really Good Wood-Burning Oven Pizza @Roberta’s
Blue Bottle Coffee Brews One Brilliant Cup at a Time
A Better Brooklyn Breakfast @ Dizzy’s Finer Diner 

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This Week’s food52 Wildcard Winner: Grandma DiLaura’s Ricotta Gnocchi

Grandma's Ricotta Gnocchi

Photo: Sarah Shatz

My Grandma’s Ricotta Gnocchi just won this week’s food52 wildcard prize for the best ricotta recipe. If you haven’t made it yet, it’s time to buy some fresh, creamy ricotta and give this recipe a whirl.

Homemade Gnocchi: Channeling My Italian Grandmother with Food52

Pair that with a lovely homemade loaf of bread {it’s easy, I swear!}

Breadmaking 101: How to Make Bakery Quality Bread @Home

Looking for other inspiring home-cooked meals? There are endless amazing recipes to choose from on food52. If you’re feeling really adventurous you can whip up your best recipe with horseradish this week and see if you might just take home a prize and some bragging rights. I feel an evening of killer bloody marys coming on…

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recipe goodness :: irish steak & guinness puff pastry pie

Steak and Guinness Pie

I love this pie. It’s a hearty marriage of delicious veg, slow-cooked tender brisket and buttery, flaky pastry, resulting in a rich, soul-warming pie plate of goodness. And frankly, any thing with Guinness is good and good for ya. So if you’re looking for a little inspiration to channel your inner-Irish for St. Patrick’s day ♣, look no further, your luck has led you to this perfect pie.

Steak, Guinness and Cheese Pie with Puff Pastry 

Recipe Adapted from Jamie Oliver

Serves 4-6 | 3.5 hours | 375ºF

1 large vidalia or sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 fennel bulb, chopped
6 cremini mushrooms, quartered
2 tablespoons butter
2 pounds stewing beef, cut into cubes
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed and chopped
salt and pepper
1 pint Guinness
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup Gouda or other favorite melting cheese, shredded
1 pound store-bought Dufour puff pastry dough
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup frozen or fresh peas

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large dutch oven on the stove, heat olive oil on low heat. Add the onions until they become translucent and lightly caramelized.
  2. Turn the heat to high and add the rest of the vegetables (except peas) with the butter. Cook for two minutes until fragrant, then add the beef, herbs, salt and pepper. Sear beef for 3-4 minutes, then pour in the Guinness, flour and add just enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer, cover the pan with a lid and place in the preheated over for 1.5 hours.
  3. Give the stew a stir and let cook for another hour, until tender and thick. If stew is still liquidy after an hour, continue cooking until reduced.
  4. Remove from heat, stir in half the cheese, taste and season as needed. Let cool slightly.
    Cut 1/3 of the pastry from the block. Using a floured surface, roll both pieces out evenly with a floured rolling pin to the thickness of a silver dollar.
  5. Butter a pie dish, then line with the larger sheet, leaving the edges hanging over the side. Pour the stew into your lined dish, add the peas, then sprinkle over the remaining cheese. Brush the edges of the pastry with a little beaten egg.
  6. Cut the other rolled piece of pastry to fit the top of the pie dish and crisscross lightly with a sharp knife, being careful not to cut all the way through. Place it over the top of the pie and fold the overhanging pastry onto the pastry top, rolling to make the edges.
  7. Brush the top with beaten egg, then bake the pie on the lowest oven rack for 45 minutes, until pastry is cooked and golden.

Mmmm Guinness Pie

More St. Pat’s Inspiration:
Wilfie & Nell: Not Your Grandpa’s Watering Hole
Water of Life Whisky Wednesday With The Macallan

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Homemade Gnocchi: Channeling My Italian Grandmother with Food52

Some of my first memories of food involve going to my Grandma’s house on Sundays for a meal with all the cousins. Sometimes it was a roast, sometimes she was cooking the handmade pasta that she dried on a rack in the basement, but on my favorite Sundays, Grandma was making her Homemade Ricotta Gnocchi.

She originally made this recipe with potatoes, which make for a heavier, denser gnocchi. In fact, we used to call them belly bombs {although I think that had more to do with the fact that she gave us very generous second and third helpings}. Eventually Grandma realized it was so much easier to make gnocchi with fresh ricotta cheese and these potato pillows and our bellies were lighter for it.

I credit my love and respect for hand-prepared food to these memories. I believe strongly that a good meal is a great meal when shared with friends and family — it’s why I started my blog and supper club in the first place. So when Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs asked me to film a recipe in the food52 kitchen, I knew Grandma’s Ricotta Gnocchi was the recipe to share. I hope you enjoy the simplicity of this traditional meal. Go on, channel your inner Italian Grandmother, and give it a try — I’d love to hear your stories, so leave me a comment if you do. Buon Appetito!

Grandma's Ricotta Gnocchi

Grandma DiLaura’s Ricotta Gnocchi

Serves 4 | Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

1 lb fresh ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra for serving
grated fresh nutmeg to taste
2 cups of flour, sifted, plus extra for rolling dough

  1. Add egg to ricotta cheese and oil and mix thoroughly.
  2. Add grated parmesan cheese to mixture and sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg to taste.
  3. Add sifted flour a little at a time and continue to mix thoroughly.
  4. Dump onto generously floured surface and work with hands to bring together into a smooth ball. Keep adding flour until dough no longer sticks to your hands as you gently knead it.
  5. Cut off slices of dough like cutting a loaf of bread and roll into ropes thumb size thick by spreading hands and fingers and rolling from center out to each edge of the rope.
  6. Line one rope parallel to another and cut 2 at a time into 1-inch pieces.
  7. Roll each gnocchi off the back of a fork to make imprints to help hold the sauce.
  8. Put gnocchi pieces on a lightly floured or non-stick baking sheet so they don’t stick together and put tray in the freezer while making the rest of batch.
  9. If not cooking immediately, let gnocchi freeze completely on baking sheet before transferring to ziplock bags or containers and keep in freezer until ready to make.
  10. When ready to prepare, bring large stockpot of generously salted water to a boil.
  11. Add gnocchi and gently stir once with a wooden spoon to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pot. As gnocchi rise to the top {a sign they are done cooking} scoop them out with a mesh strainer or a bamboo wire skimmer and immediately place in serving bowl shaking off excess water.
  12. Continuously scoop some sauce on top of each layer of gnocchi as they are placed in the bowl to eliminate the need to stir them with sauce in the end and risk damaging or smashing the pasta.Generously grate parmesan over the top and serve.

TIP: Gnocchi can be made ahead and completely frozen until dropped into water for cooking. Great for pulling a meal out mid-week without having to worry about defrosting. I always double this recipe when I make it and save some for later!

Grandma DiLaura’s Tomato and Meat Sauce

12-14 servings | 2-3 hours

1 28oz can tomato sauce
3 12oz cans of tomato paste
8 cups of water {fill each can used}
1 lb. of browned ground beef
2 teaspoons dried basil
salt & pepper taste
1 medium size yellow onion, peeled
1 teaspoon of baking soda

  1. In a large pot add the tomato sauce and paste. Fill each can used with water and add to the sauce with basil and salt & pepper and stir.
  2. Brown the ground beef, drain off the fat and set aside.
  3. Bring the pot to a boil on medium-high heat and then turn down to a slow simmer {caution: if you let the sauce boil too long it will burn}. Cook 2-3 hours until thick, stirring occasionally.
  4. After 1 hour, add browned ground beef and whole peeled onion.
  5. In last hour of cooking add 1 teaspoon baking soda to eliminate some acidity and stir.
  6. When ready to serve remove whole onion and cut in half or quarters to serve.

TIP: Sauce freezes well in small containers to pull out for mid-week dinner.

My Mom, Aunt Marilyn and Grandma DiLaura Making Gnocchi {Love the 70s!)

Read More About 8.ate@eight’s Supper Club:
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!

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8.ate@eight Cupid Just in Time with Valentine’s Day Gift and Dinner Ideas

♥ Text Me ♥ Recipe 4 Love ♥ Table 4 Two ♥ Be Mine ♥ Cool Cat

You’ve found that special someone who likes long walks on the beach too, but you’re late to the game planning Valentine’s Day? Never fear, if you’re in need of some good inspiration to show your love, here a list of a few of my favorite ideas — whether you’re looking for a romantic night in, a unique meal out or a gift of food that is the way to your love’s heart.

♥ Labor of  Love With Your Own Hands ♥

Cocktail Kick-Off: Fireside Sparks {Champagne Cocktail a la Tippling Bros.}
When In Doubt, Roast a Chicken: Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken
Spice it Up: Crispy Cayenne Roasted Potatoes
Bourbon and Flames to Heat Things Up: Alton Brown’s Bourbon Banana’s Foster
Bedtime Snack: Cinnamon Sugar & Dark Cocoa Almonds
Breakfast in Bed:
How To Cook The Perfect Sunny Side-Up Egg w/ Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits

More 8.ate@eight Recipes HERE

♥ Wine & Dine ♥

10s Across the Board: The Art of Eating {and Drinking} Well @ L’Artusi
An Aphrodisiac’s Evening: Lovin’ Me Some Oysters @Mermaid Oyster Bar
Interactive Eating: Love, Love Shabu Shabu: Fun to Say and Eat
Butt. ‘Nough Said: Momofuku That Pork Butt is Good!
Slurping is Sexy: NYC Ramen Wars: Ippudo vs. momofuku noodle bar
Smoked Meat is Sexier: 18 Meat Dishes for Men & BBQ Heaven @Fette Sau
Cozy and Romantic: August in April
Single and Looking for Love: Wilfie & Nell: Not Your Grandpa’s Watering Hole

More 8.ate@eight Favor8 Restaurants HERE

♥ Gifts A Dozen Times Better Than Roses ♥

Ice Cream Gram: Send Your Valentine an Ice Cream Gram from Milkmade
A Gift to Warm the Soul: Blue Bottle Coffee Brews One Brilliant Cup at a Time
Artisanal Meats, Cheeses & Chocolates! Artisanal Specialty Foods Digested
Cheese & Wine Classes: Do This!: Artisanal Premium Cheese & Wine Classes

♥ Text Me ♥ Recipe 4 Love ♥ Table 4 Two ♥ Be Mine ♥ Cool Cat

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8.ate@eight is Filming with Food52 Today

After working with food52 co-founders, Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs on whipping up lots of mean excel spreadsheets, we decided it was time to direct some of that energy to the kitchen — a place we all love to work.

For those of you who don’t know food52, the company grew out of the insight that some of the best recipes come from home cooks. Each week they host a contest focused on one ingredient, allowing talented home cooks to show their stuff. The food52 team then vets the recipes and presents the best selections for the community to vote on, choosing a winner that will be published in an annual cookbook. How brilliant is that!

So this week they’ve asked me to come by their kitchen and film a video about my favorite food: My Grandma DiLaura’s homemade gnocchi. Stay tuned for more photos, videos and the secret family recipe! In the meantime, think about adding your own favorite recipe to this week’s contest, with the potential to be published in a cookbook and win a whole slew of prizes from Williams-Sonoma, Viking, OXO and TinyPrints. And you thought Christmas was in December.

Your Best Recipe with Citrus & Olives – BOOK 2 — WEEK 24

SUBMIT BEFORE 12am ET 02/11/11

Photo: Sarah Shatz

Winter citrus is at its finest, and most welcome, right about now. And when you add salty, briny olives — well, that’s practically a dance party. For this contest, pair them in any way you like, just make sure that both co-starring ingredients shine through mightily.

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recipe goodness :: braised grass-fed beef brisket and polenta

Braised Grass-fed Brisket and Polenta

It’s Superbowl weekend and you’re looking for an alternative to just another bowl of chili? Why not delight your pigskin party pals with a warm, rich bowl of polenta and braised brisket. The best thing about this dish is you can throw it all in a pot and let it cook for a few hours {or make the day before!}, while you enjoy the TV ads and a few brews. Of course, this dish is perfect for any cold winter night and doesn’t have to be saved for the big game — the bonus is it gets better with age, so leftovers are supreme.

Braised Brisket

Braised Grass-Fed Beef Brisket and Polenta

Serves 8-10 | Preheat Oven 350º

5-6 pounds grass fed brisket {I love Grazin’ Acres}
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 bottle red wine
14 ounces fire-roasted whole tomatoes and juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 large sprig rosemary, leaves chopped
2 bay leaves
water
polenta
parmesan for grating

Braised Brisket Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Soak dried mushrooms in 2 cups boiling water.
  2. Cut round piece of parchment with a quarter-sized hole in the middle to fit inside the pot on top of your ingredients before putting into the oven. This will prevent the sauce from cooking down too much.
  3. Season brisket well with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large, heavy pot (I used a 7.5-qt. enameled cast iron dutch oven) over medium heat until shimmering. Brown brisket for 2-3 minutes per side, then set aside. Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of accumulated fat from pot {using grass-fed beef, which is leaner may not leave much excess fat}, then sauté onion, carrots and celery until soft. Add garlic and stir until fragrant.
  4. Create a hot spot in the pot by moving vegetables aside and leaving about a 3-inch radius bare. Add tomato paste to the hot spot and stir vigorously until caramelized, then stir into the vegetables. Add red wine to deglaze and cook until liquid is reduced by half. Add tomatoes, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, mushrooms and soaking liquid (minus the last 1/4 inch to keep sediment out of your dish), plus herbs.
  5. Add brisket to pot, fat side up and fill with water until brisket is nearly covered. Bring liquid to a boil, then cover with the round parchment paper and tight fitting lid and braise in oven for at least 3 hours or until brisket is fall-apart tender.
  6. Remove brisket from liquid and set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove bay leaves and discard. While brisket is cooling, skim fat off surface and then purée the braising liquid with an immersion blender until thick and set over medium-low heat to reduce if the sauce seems thin. When brisket has cooled down, discard large pieces of fat, then shred the beef and return it to the pot.
  7. Brisket can either be served immediately or refrigerated overnight. The next day, remove additional fat from the surface before reheating.
  8. When serving, cook polenta per package instructions.
  9. Add polenta to serving dish, topped with braised brisket and grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Adapted from Minimally Invasive for food52.com

And a Side Of…:
Red Chili-Lime Cornbread Muffins
Rosemary, Truffle and Parmesan Chips or Fries
Roasted Cauliflower with Gremolata Breadcrumbs
Autumn Manhattan {Herby Garnished Classic a la Tippling Bros.}

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How to Cook the Perfect 8.5 Minute Egg

The other night I was at a loss for what to make for dinner. As I’m walking home from work my friend asked “what’s in your fridge — I love this game!?” I took a mental inventory — some homemade panettone that my mother made for Christmas, the last remaining eggs from a local farm that were a gift from a friend, some leftover rice and carrots. Hmmm — not very inspirational. Nothing screamed dinner to me, but she suggested making breakfast for dinner with her favorite 8.5 minute egg technique that will produce something between a hard-boiled and soft-boiled egg — a little bit gooey {just how I like them}, but still firm. Add a little salt and pepper and you have the perfect 8.5 minute egg. And dinner.

As someone who loves eggs, this preparation completely changed my life {dramatic, I know!} But I love nothing more than showcasing the lovely golden yolk that is the product of a well-raised hen. In my book, that previously only involved making the perfect sunnyside up egg — hard boil, scramble, omelet it and you lose the gooey yolk that I love so much. So if you’re looking for a little egg inspiration for breakfast, lunch or dinner, give the 8.5 minute egg technique a try — it won’t disappoint.

How to Cook the Perfect 8.5 Minute Egg

1-2 Eggs per person
Salt and pepper

1. Bring enough water to boil that will cover the eggs {but don’t add to the pot yet}.
2. When the water is at a rolling boil, gently place the eggs into the boiling water and cook for EXACTLY 8.5 minutes.
3. After 8.5 minutes, run cold water over eggs to stop the cooking process.
4. Once cool, peel the shell off each egg, cut in half in a bowl or plate to showcase the golden center, sprinkle with salt and pepper and enjoy!

Crack Open More on Eggs:
recipe goodness :: secret dilaura family frittata with sweet italian sausage
recipe goodness :: how to cook the perfect sunny side-up egg
Greenmarket: Put Smarter, Cheaper & More Scrumptious Food on Your Table
Michael Pollan Agreed With Me, $8 Eggs Are A Good Idea
The Art of Brunching Well @ L’Artusi
A Better Brooklyn Breakfast @ Dizzy’s Finer Diner

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