Graeter’s Great ‘Scream — Midwest Team Takes On NYC

Graeter's 'Scream

Selection of Graeter’s ‘Scream

Graeter’s Ice Cream is not entirely new to me. My sister-in-law in grew up in Cincinnati, home to this fourth-generation family-owned churner, and has been speaking the praises of Graeter’s for years.  But until recently native fans had to rely on mail order if they  hoped to find their favorite treat outside of the midwest and I could only sample their scoops on return trips home to Michigan. Good news for NYers {and me}: last week I received an email announcing these infamous midwest-made pints are taking on the NYC artisanal food scene and will be available in all D’Agostino stores.

This announcement also offered to ship a few fan favs my way for a taste test. I, of course, didn’t want to be rude and decline such a thoughtful offer. And so arrived four frozen flavs — Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip, Mint Chocolate Chip and the Ohio State-inspired Buckeye Blitz {chocolate-peanut butter ice cream chock full of peanut butter cookie dough}.

Graeter's Famous Massive Chocolate Chips

Graeter’s Famous Massive Chocolate Chips

The verdict of the taste test? As a Notre Dame alum, you’ll never hear me speaking the praises of the Ohio State Buckeyes, but in this non-football face-off, the Buckeye Blitz outperformed the rest of the competition in my book. You’ll never hear me turn down anything with peanut butter. The good news is the win was not a landslide — every single pint exceeded expectations. What really set these scoops apart was not some off the wall flavor combination like bacon and bourbon {which seems to be what all the new fangled ice cream kids are making these days}, but the simple quality of good ingredients. It only takes one bite of their massive — and I mean MASSIVE — chocolate chunks to know exactly what I mean. They aren’t hard, break-your-teeth, frozen bits of pseudo-chocolate — they’re soft, gooey, pieces of fudgey heaven. And this is coming from a girl who is not a chocolate addict.

It’s nice to see hometown heros moving to the big city. And while I’ve lived here for over 10 years, and have some favorite frozen finds, I am 100% cheering for this new line-up — the sampling won’t end after these pints are empty.

More ‘Scream Teams:
SF Best: Bi-Rite Ice Cream Done Right
I Scream, You Scream For MilkMade Handcrafted Ice Cream
Victory Garden: A Victorious Frozen Yogurt Twist
Goat Town’s Non-*Goat* ‘Scream

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SF Best: Flock to State Bird Provisions

State Bird Provisions

State Bird Provisions

The genius thing about state bird provions–San Francisco’s hottest new eatery–is their dim sum-style delivery of california cuisine. The open kitchen continually sends out trays and rolling carts of freshly prepared goodness to an intimate dining room of not more than 20 tables. With constant curiosity and the fear of missing something good, I practically gave myself whiplash everytime the cart rolled by. There is a short menu of house “commandables” — items that can always be ordered — but most of what you will see changes frequently and is not written down, adding an element of entertainment and excitement. When they pull up to your table, I dare you to look the waiter in the eye and turn them away after they reveal the newest dish.

Loading Up the Dim Sum Cart

Loading Up the Dim Sum Cart

We ordered one if everything on the menu….because that’s what you do after you get in line at 4:30pm and still wait two hours until you score a table…and it’s also what you do when you lack the ability to say no to someone’s face. Genius. And now for the highlights…

Garlic Bread with Burrata

Garlic Bread with Burrata

It’s a like a state fair treat for adults: garlic bread with burrata.  — warm doughy goodness, rubbed in salt, plenty of pepper and garlicy oil and topped with a heaping dollop of creamy, gooey burrata. A must.

Sweet Corn & Garlic Chive "Shortstack" Pancakes with Mt. Tam

Sweet Corn & Garlic Chive “Shortstack” Pancakes with Mt. Tam

Demand the Commandables: sweet corn & garlic chive “shortstack” pancakes with a Mt. Tam cheese ooze. Heaven. I know why they have earned a spot on the short list of permanent menu items.

Guinea Hen Dumplings with Aromatic Broth

Guinea Hen Dumplings with Aromatic Broth

I’ll take a whole bowl: Shitake Mushrooms and Guinea Hen Dumplings with Preserved Lemon and an Aromatic Broth.

The namesake: the CA State Bird

The namesake: the CA State Bird

The namesake: CA State Bird with Provisions — crispy quail with sliced pecorino was a finger lickin’ good upgrade.

Buttermilk cracker with roasted chanterelles and pecorino

Buttermilk cracker with roasted chanterelles and pecorino

Do try this at home:  buttermilk cracker with roasted chanterelles and pecorino — a rich, earthy spread that would make any happy hour happier.

King salmon 7-min deviled egg with pickled radish and horseradish creme fraiche

King salmon 7-min deviled egg with pickled radish and horseradish creme fraiche

Favorite of the night: king salmon 7-min deviled egg with pickled radish and horseradish creme fraiche — a slightly gooey egg served as the bed for sweet salmon, peppery creme fraiche and refreshingly crunchy radish strips. Everything was right in this bowl.

Sweetbread polpette with fig jam

Sweetbread polpette with fig jam

A fitting dish to enjoy with Chris Cosentino sitting two tables away: sweetbread polpette with fig jam — these sweet, rich bites were not your grandma’s meatballs. Another serious contender for favorite dish.

Duck liver and almond biscuits

Duck liver and almond biscuits

Just when you thought you couldn’t eat anymore: Duck liver and almond biscuits — our bellies were full, our curiosities were sated and then this rolled by. The almond biscuit was more like a sweet mini breakfast muffin and served as the perfect vehicle for the rich duck liver mousse. We called this dessert and gladly welcomed one more dish to round.

The Skim: I would stand in line everyday for this place. The novelty of the dim sum-style delivery provided continuous anticipation for a stream of surprises. And with a menu that constantly changes, the surprises will never die. If you plan ahead you *can* actually get a reservation, but if you decide to show up on a whim, plan to get there by 4:30 for a table around 6:30/7pm. The good news is there are plenty of local watering holes with the same amount of charm and a convenient text notification system that does not tether you to the restaurant walls. Only other advice, go hungry or with the confident conviction to turn away your waiter.

Map: 1529 Fillmore, SF, California
Reservations: Taken! 
Phone: 415.795.1272

Other Places to Leave Your Hungry Heart:
Gone Fish. ‘in Sausalito
SF Best: Bi-Rite Ice Cream Done Right
SF Best: Nopa
SF Best: RoliRoti Rolls Out Revolutionary Rotisserie
SF Best: Cookin’, a Shop of Discord and Recycled Gourmet Appurtences
SF Best: Rosamunde Serves Serious Sausage Selection

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Banish the January Blues in Mexico — Join Legendary Writer Betty Fussell For A Food Writing & Cooking Immersion

ingredients for squashflower soup

ingredients for squashflower soup

There’s not much going on in January except cold weather and post-holiday blues. To me, this sounds like the perfect time to jump on a jet plane and escape to Tepoztlan Mexico for a week of honing culinary skills with local women and perfecting your food writing with legendary journalist and writer Betty Fussell.

squashflower tamales

squashflower tamales

Start your day rapping words with Betty and end it wrapping squash flower tamales {and then eat them, of course!}

making tortillas in the market

making tortillas in the market

Learn the art of making your sentences sizzle and then throw your hand-pressed tortillas on the grill — you’ll never buy the ChiChi’s package again.

Margarita

Margarita

Master the mix your sentence ingredients and then shake up a Mexican cocktail {or two or three} that will put the frozen margarita machine to shame.

The Scoop:

  • January 4-13, 2013 — 9 nights, 8 days in legendary Tepotzlan, Mexico
  • Exclusive to an intimate 10-person group
  • All breakfasts at your hotel, plus 7 workshop lunches and 5 dinners
  • 5 morning writing workshops with Betty Fussell
  • 2 hands-on cooking workshops with village women
  • Market tours and participation in the village fiestas, including the famous Three Kings Day celebration
  • Opening sunset reception and closing banquet
  • Airport transfers between Mexico City and Tepoztlán
  • Guides, cultural events and health insurance for your entire trip

Ready, Set, Book

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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 :: homemade soft pretzels and mustard from scratch

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Fall is the time for wooly sweaters, weekend projects and Oktoberfest. Instead of a typical apple pie pastime, I had my taste buds set on a rather adventurous experiment of making homemade soft pretzels and from-scratch mustard. After grabbing several generously sized bags of mustard powder and whole mustard seeds at Kalustyans, the idea of making my own mustard swelled into making four different kinds — it is my favorite secret ingredient, after all. It also didn’t hurt that my cousin and her beer-brewing fiance were in for the adventure and came bearing homemade suds and the same amount of experimental exuberance.

The result? After tasting a piping hot pretzel from my own oven, dare I say I’ll never buy a pretzel from the corner cart again. As for the mustard — four may have been excessive, but it revealed a few standout favorites which I’ve included below. Each of these Oktoberfest treats was made with relative ease, but you may want to consider making the mustard ahead of time as it will continue to mellow out each day — and at first taste, you {and your nasal passages} will quickly understand why mustard plaster was a treatment for pleurisy back in the day.

Homemade Mustards

Homemade Mustards (left to right clockwise: coarse rosemary, brown sugar, red wine)

Homemade Soft Pretzels
Recipe From the Fresh Loaf Makes 6 large pretzels — you might as well double it!

1 teaspoon instant yeast {or bread starter}
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2-3 cups all-purpose unbleached or bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm milk (approximately 110 degrees, which is 1 minute in my microwave)

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix together until it forms a ball. I start with 2 cups of the flour and mix it together until it forms something like a thick batter, then add more flour a handful at a time until it’ll form a nice ball that I can knead by hand.
  2. Either use an electric mixer to mix the dough for 5 minutes or remove it from the bowl and knead it by hand for 5 to 10 minutes until the dough begins to get smooth and satiny.
  3. Return the ball of dough to a clean, greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set it aside to rise until it has doubled in size, approximately an hour.
  4. Before shaping, start preheating the oven to 425 degrees and bring a large, wide pot of water to a boil.
  5. Roll and rest the pretzel dough

    Roll and rest the pretzel dough

  6. Cut the dough into 6 pieces. Roll each one into a short log, cover with a towel, and let the dough relax for 5 to 10 minutes. After it has relaxed you should be able to roll it out and stretch again fairly easily.
  7. Let them relax again and give each a third roll and stretch session until about 15 inches long and about as big around as your index finger. They’ll nearly double in width while baking, so it is ok to roll them out quite thin.
  8. Place a rope of dough on the work surface in front of you. Take each end in a hand, loop the dough away from you, and bring the ends back toward your stomach, crossing them about an inch above the rope. Apply a little bit of pressure to make the loops stick together, but not too much because you don’t want then to flatten out.
  9. Dunk each of the pretzels into the boiling water for 5 seconds, then place them onto a baking sheet and sprinkle with coarse salt immediately while wet (I use the kosher stuff that is easy to find at the grocery store).
  10. Place the baking sheets into the oven. It took around 15 minutes for my pretzels to get golden and brown. Remove from the oven and eat immediately.
Homemade Fig Mustard

Homemade Fig Mustard

Fig and Port Grainy Mustard (slightly sweet)

½ Tablespoons Brown Mustard Seeds
1½ Tablespoons Yellow Mustard Seeds
½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 ¼ Cup Mustard Powder (not Coleman’s)
1½ Tablespoons Cider Vinegar
1/4 Cup Tawny Port
3 Tablespoons Chilled Fig Simple Syrup (recipe below)

4 Fresh Figs
½ Cup Granulated Sugar
½ Cup Water

  1. Add figs, sugar and water to a small saucepan.
  2. Over medium high heat, stir until sugar dissolves. Continue cooking a few minutes longer until figs become very soft.
  3. Mash the figs into the syrup and keep stirring. Once the figs are well mashed and fully incorporated into the mixture, remove from heat. Pour contents of saucepan through a strainer and remove the large bits of fig.
  4. The syrup that’s left is the fig simple syrup. You can use the fig bits in oatmeal, ice cream or just eat them. You will have syrup left over after making the mustard.
  1. Grind the mustard seeds in a spice or coffee grinder for a few seconds, or in a mortar and pestle. You should leave them pretty chunky (near whole) because you want this to be a grainy mustard…but you could grind them to whatever consistency you like.
  2. Pour the ground mustard seeds into a bowl and add the salt and mustard powder.
  3. Add in the vinegar, port and simple syrup and stir well. Once everything is thoroughly mixed, pour everything into a glass jar (with a lid) and refrigerate.
  4. Wait at least 12 hours before using.
  5. Mustard made this way will last several months if refrigerated in a sealed jar. This recipe makes 1/2 – 3/4 cups of mustard.

Brown Sugar Mustard (#1 crowd fav)

1 cup dry mustard
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp salt
dash cayenne
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil

Coarse Rosemary Honey Mustard (a standard whole grain)

½ Tablespoons Brown Mustard Seeds
1½ Tablespoons Yellow Mustard Seeds
½ Teaspoon Rosemary Salt
¾ cup mustard powder
¼-1/2 cup champagne vinegar
2 tbsp honey

Coarse-Ground Red Wine Mustard (packs a red vinegar punch)

1/4 cup white or brown mustard seeds
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4-1/2 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup dry mustard
2 tsps salt
1/4 tsp allspice
2 tbsps cold water

  1. For any of the recipes above, place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor.
  2. Process for 30 seconds, scrape down the sides and process for 30 seconds more.
  3. Add additional liquid if to thick as mustard powder & seeds will absorb more of the liquid.
  4. Put in an airtight container and let stand at room temperature overnight or up to 1-2 days more. The mustard will mellow out in heat over time. Once it reaches desired mildness store in the fridge.

Favorite Dishes with Mustard:
Cumin & Dill Dijon Egg Salad with Radish Sprouts
Roasted Dijon Chicken Salad w/ Dried Cranberries & Sunflower Seeds
Whole-Grain Mustard & Rosemary Pork Chops

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recipe goodness :: community grains lazy sunday red flint polenta integrale

A Lazy Polenta

A Lazy Polenta

Well, by the sound of that title it sure does sound like I made something super fancy doesn’t it? Truth is Polenta integrale is the traditional Italian term for ‘whole milled’, meaning the whole corn kernel is coarse-milled together with nothing sifted out, offering a beautiful, rustic texture and hearty, full-flavor that lends itself as the perfect accompaniment to traditional ragús & savory braises, or just butter and cheese.

It just so happens that we’re selling this polenta {quite honestly the best I’ve ever had} in the Food52 Shop. Near extinct, this rare variety of corn was re-discovered in 2000 near the town of Trento in northern Italy. Lucky for us, it is currently in very limited production in the United States.  Here’s the kind of thing you can always have in your pantry and make a lazy, but outstanding Sunday supper out of just about anything you can throw in or on top of it. Polenta is your leftovers friend. And with this whole milled rustic version you’ll transport yourself to nonna’s table with a few stirs of a pot.

Rustic Polenta Integrale

Rustic Polenta Integrale

Lazy Sunday Polenta Integrale
Serves 2-3

1 cup polenta integrale
4 cups water
1 tablespoon butter {optional}
Salt to taste

Toppings or flavor inspiration: 

Rosemary, thyme or any fresh herb, chopped
Chopped red chili for a small kick
Sauteed mushrooms or grated truffles
Sauteed scallion
Leftover pasta sauce or ragu
Leftover grilled vegetables
Dollop of ricotta or goat cheese {let’s be honest, this is a must!}
Grilled or pan seared sausage
A poached egg!
Anything your heart desires

  1. Bring water and polenta to a gentle simmer in a heavy bottomed pot.
  2. Simmer on low for an hour, stirring regularly to prevent sticking on bottom of pot. Add herbs or red chili at this time, if desired. Go read a book.
  3. After an hour cover with a lid and turn heat off to allow polenta to absorb water. Go reorganize your closet.
  4. Add a pat of butter and kosher salt to taste. Stir and bring to a slow simmer to reheat. The consistency should be perfect, but if it’s too thick, add a bit of water to make it easy to stir, but still thick and hearty.
  5. Scoop into a bowl, top with cheese and anything you feel like eating.

Nonna-Worthy:
Homemade Gnocchi and Sauce: Channeling My Italian Grandmother
Homemade Ricotta
How to Cook the Perfect Poached Egg 
Braised Grass-Fed Beef Brisket and Polenta

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recipe goodness :: heidi swanson’s harissa spinach chop salad

A few good ingredients

A few good ingredients

I know a few people who would rather leave the lettuce eating to the rabbits. But they like cooked greens — spinach, collards, amaranth greens will all be happily stabbed with a fork and consumed. I also know a few vegetarians who roll their eyes when people suggest all they eat are salads. So when I came across Heidi Swanson’s {a well-known vegetarian cookbook author} recipe for a warm spinach chop, with hard-boiled eggs, garlic, almonds and harissa, not only did my mouth begin to water, but I felt like I discovered a solution to a salad that’s not just another salad.

Everything on this ingredient list I usually have on hand, except the spinach — so it’s an easy last minute menu saver if you can get your hands on some fresh cooking greens. And with the spice of the harissa, the crunch of the almonds, the tartness of the lemon and the substance of the egg, you’ll find this chop combines complex flavors and doesn’t leave you feeling like a peckish rabbit.

Heidi Swanson's Spinach Chop

Heidi Swanson’s Spinach Chop

Heidi Swanson’s Spinach Chop

1 lb. spinach {or other good cooking green — kale, collards}
1 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs. harissa
4 large hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup slivered or whole almonds, toasted
Scant 1/2 tsp. fine-grain sea salt
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon

  1. Remove any tough spinach stems. Add ½-inch water to a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Add spinach and stir constantly until the spinach collapses entirely, about a minute. Drain spinach and run cold water over it until cool. Spin-dry very well in a salad spinner, or press-dry in a clean kitchen towel.
  3. Finely chop the spinach. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the garlic and cook for about a minute, without letting it brown. Remove pan from heat and stir in harissa and spinach. Add eggs, almonds, salt, and lemon zest and stir again gently to combine well.
  4. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Stab-Worthy Salads:
Julia Child’s Salade Nicoise
Lime-Kissed Peach and Corn Summer Salad
Orzo, Spinach & Feta Summer Salad
Spinach, Strawberry & Halloumi Salad
Tomato, Basil & Feta Salad
The Ultimate Summer Slaw

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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 :: grilled zucchini & summer squash pesto “pasta”

Grilled Zucchini & Summer Squash Pesto Pasta

Grilled Zucchini & Summer Squash Pesto Pasta

Summer is a time of agricultural abundance. A stroll through the weekend farmers’ markets is like a rainbow connection — ruby tomatoes, sunshine orange nectarines, golden summer squash, enviously green zucchini, deep purple eggplant. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to take your booty home and make a stellar meal. I’m a proponent of grilling just about anything {I’ve even been known to grill berries} — a little olive oil, salt and pepper is all you need and you can focus on the complexities of your wine paring, not your meal planning.

However, after making a large batch of basil-walnut pesto, I fell compelled to use that precious pairing before it went bad. A likely partner: pasta. But with the mercury rising to high 90s for much of July, a heavy meal was the last thing that appealed to my cravings. Enter zucchini & squash “pasta.” A few swipes of across my mandolin created thin, long strips that mimicked a tagliatelle noodle. Grilling only required enough time to make the squash tender and add some flame flavor. Once done, everything was tossed with the bright herby pesto, a handful of pine nuts for texture and we had ourselves a bowlful of fork twisting goodness.

Grilled Zucchini and Summer Squash

Grilled Zucchini and Summer Squash

Grilled Zucchini & Summer Squash Pesto Pasta

1 zucchini per person
1 summer squash per person
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
~1 tablespoon pesto per person
~1 tablespoon pine nuts per person

Pesto {makes ~1 cup}:
1 large bunch of basil, leaves only, washed and dried
1-2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup walnuts or pine nuts {pine nuts are expensive, so walnuts are a nice sub}
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
A few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

  1. In a food processor add all the ingredients for the pesto and whiz until blended. Taste and add more garlic, nuts or olive oil to your liking and desired consistency.
  2. Pour pesto into an air tight container and cover with a thin layer of olive oil to protect from the air. Cover and store in the fridge or freezer if not immediately using.
  3. Remove the stem from the squash and zucchini and slice thinly lengthwise using a mandolin or sharp knife. Lay on a large baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Grill 1-2 minutes on each side until slightly tender and shows grill marks.
  5. Toss in a bowl with pesto and top with pine nuts.

Grilled Goodness:
Gourmet Grilled White Truffle Corn
Grilled Thyme-Cumin Vegetable Kabobs

Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken
Some Like it HOT Pollo alla Diavola
Bison, a Better Burger Worth Biting Into

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Labor Day Recipe Roundup

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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recipe goodness :: traditional tomatillo tops salsa notions

Traditional Tomatillo Tops Salsa Notions

Traditional Tomatillo Tops Salsa Notions

Each week’s trip the greenmarket feels like a treasure hunt. But despite the many visits I’ve made over the years, I’m still discovering new items that I’ve never cooked with before. This week’s experiment: tomatillos. Luckily my produce stand is manned with friends of Mexican descent, who are more than willing to share their traditional preparation secrets to create a tomatillo salsa that will top any prior notions of what makes salsa good.

First: peel thin outer skin and cook 3 minutes in boiling water until color changes to a darker green.

Side by Side Tomatillos

Side by Side Fresh and Cooked Tomatillos

Second: Toss in the tomatoes and cook for 2 more minutes. Drain. Whiz. Salsa!

Salsafied

Salsafied

Traditional Tomatillo Salsa

4 tomatillos
~2 cups mixed yellow, red and black grape tomatoes
2 stems of cilantro, washed and finely chopped
1/2-1 red chilli {depending on heat pref}
1 scallion or 1/4 medium red onion
salt to taste

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil with 4-5 inches of water
  2. Peel tomatillo and add for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook for 2-3 more minutes until tender.
  3. Drain and blend thoroughly with onion, red chili and salt to taste.
  4. Mix in chopped cilantro by hand.
  5. Chill or serve immediately as a salsa or topping to fresh grilled fish.

Salsafied:
Creole Roasted Fresh Corn-Tomato Salsa
Avocado & Tropical Fruit Salsa 
Introducing grilled blowfish

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NYC Best: Num Num, Num Pang

num pang spread

num pang spread

Num num num num — ‘nough said. Num Pang is a Cambodian sandwich shop in NYC and is the Cambodian term for bread or sandwich. A midweek lunch excursion took me from our flatiron office down to their union square outpost for one of the better lunch discoveries I’ve had in a long time. Their menu lists several mainstay made to order options, as well as a few special seasonals.

All the sandwiches are served with cucumber, pickled carrots, cilantro and chili mayo on freshly baked bread. My choice? The grilled khmer sausage with asian slaw, a cup of greenmarket gazpacho soup and a blood orange lemonade to wash it all down. I probably don’t need to provide much of a detailed explanation for you to read that list and need more convincing of its deliciousness — the perfect combinations of fresh ingredients, married together with Cambodian seasonings for 15 minutes of simple eating enjoyment. My only advice: go early and midweek to avoid the lines.

Map: 140 East 41st or 21 East 12th Street
Reservations: Not Taken
Delivery: Yes!
Phone: 212-255-3271

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recipe goodness :: balsamic-drizzled watermelon steak topped with feta, mint and pistachios

Watermelon-Feta Steak

Watermelon-Feta Steak

Every now and then something brilliant hits you over the head and you wish you discovered that genius trick first, patented it and retired to easy living on the shores of a remote caribbean island. I often struggle with slicing the unwieldy watermelon — do I cut it in half first, then slice it into easy-gripping triangles? Do I chop it into neat little cubes for easy bites that don’t require a fork and knife? Is there a *right* way to slice that big bertha? I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know that thanks to my brother’s brilliant find, I recently discovered the simplest plan of attack that, in my opinion, is the most beautiful as well. Simple circles. The result is like cutting into a juicy steak, only sweeter. Doesn’t that plate just make you swoon for summer?!

Simple Slicing

Simple Slicing

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

Serves a watermelon sized party {all ingredients optional}

1 Seedless Watermelon
1/2-1 lb fresh goat’s milk feta  {NYC: Ardith Mae at the greenmarket is the best!}
1 bunch fresh mint, chopped
1/2-1 cup shelled pistachios, chopped
Good aged balsamic for drizzling
Maldon salt to taste

  1. Place the watermelon on its side — if it is more round in shape, slice a thin edge off the rind to create a flat surface that you can lay on the cutting board to avoid rolling.
  2. With a large chef’s knife slice into 1-inch thick circles and set aside.
  3. Lay each circle flat and take a small paring knife to slice around the circle where the melon meets the rind.
  4. Place each melon circle in the center of a plate, top with crumbled feta, chopped mint, chopped pistachios and a drizzle of balsamic. Add flaky salt to taste, if desired {will bring out the sweetness of the melon}.

More Summer Stars:
Fresh Lime-Margarita Marinated Watermelon
Pink Fizzy Lemonade Cocktails Beat the Heat
Avocado & Tropical Fruit Salsa 
Creole Roasted Fresh Corn-Tomato Salsa
Lime-Kissed Peach and Corn Summer Salad
The Ultimate Summer Slaw

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Happy 100th Birthday Julia Child!

VIDEO: What Makes a Good Chef,
According to {Auto-Tuned} Julia Child:

Watch and thank me later. Bring on the roasted potatoes…

What Makes a Good Chef

Julia Child Birthday Tributes:
recipe goodness :: mastering the art of julia child’s salade nicoise #jc100
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 

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Do This:! Fragrance Meets Food with Aftelier’s Chef’s Essences

Aftelier Chef's Essences

Aftelier Chef’s Essences

You may have been to a bar recently where the mixologist sprayed a scent of some mysterious fragrance on the edge of your glass, and wondered if that’s how he got away with charging you $16 dollars for your drink. But you weren’t complaining as you downed that fancy cocktail speaking the praises of unexpected flavors and promptly ordered another. Adding fragrance to food and drinks is nothing new to the culinary elite, but since Mandy Aftel started her own line of essential oils after writing the book Aroma with Michelin-starred chef, Daniel Patterson, you can now add a dash of blood orange to your own vodka on the rocks or a drop of pink peppercorn to your vanilla ice cream. Sound crazy? Perhaps, but Mandy’s process of extracting the natural oils from these ingredients creates a softer, almost floral flavor that you can impart without pulling out your pepper mill or pulverizing a celery stalk into your bloody mary.

Pink Peppercorn meets Ice Cream

Pink Peppercorn meets Ice Cream (photo courtesy of Food52)

The oils are potent as they are completely extracted from the original ingredient, unlike most synthetic flavorings — Mandy recommends adding a drop or two to a teaspoon before adding to your dish to avoid the blunder of more pouring out and overpowering your creation {with 150 drops per bottle, these will last a long time.} Your first inclination may be to wonder why need a pink pepper oil when you can just grind pink peppercorns — would you do that into a chilled vodka, neat? Or why you would need blood orange when you can just squeeze the bright citrus yourself — would you do that over ice cream? These oils allow you to experiment with flavors and add an unexpected fragrance to a dish or cocktail that will put you on the level of any michelin-starred chef. Finish soups, create cocktails, a dash over fruit and my favorite, ice cream {I was serious when I suggested pink peppercorn — the hands down winner in our ice cream test session.}

Want to start playing with your food fragrance? Save $20 on the Food52 starter set HERE or select from any of her 50 essences. 

 

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Do This!: Saturday Snacking @Smorgusburg

Smorgusburg

Smorgusburg

People were surprised to learn that I had never been to Smorgusburg, a brooklyn flea food market on the Williamsburg waterfront. Frankly, after going last weekend, I’m a little surprised myself that it took me so long to spend a Saturday strolling the riverfront space that houses 100+ artisanal food stands. If you’ve got hankering for something you’ll probably find it at Smorgusburg — everything from fried anchovies to slow-roasted brisket can be had for a a few dollars and a brief wait in line. The later in the day you go the longer the lines, so my advice: showup at 11am when the stands open, do a full strolling scope before jumping in, mentally map your action plan and bring a friend who is willing to go halvesies with you so you can try as many things as you can stomach.

Cemitas Mexican Sandwiches

Cemitas Mexican Sandwiches

Cemitas caught our attention right away. Hola! Burrito Sunrise — eggs, beans, tator tots {yes tator tots!}, chipotle crema, and your choice of bacon or chorizo {or sans either for a veggie-friendly option}. This is no small snack, so either feed your hangover with a Cemita sammie or you’re definitely gonna want to split this guy — unless you want to be down for the count and knock yourself out of of the game for the rest of the day.

Cemita Burrito and Sammie

Cemita Burrito and Sammie

Moving on. Caffeine. Blue Bottle Coffee with NO line? Must stop here pronto. If you’re not already familiar with Blue Bottle Coffee, this beanery is a San Francisco transplant where on any given day you could easily wait 30 minutes for a made to order, single drip cup of joe. And why do we wait? Cause we’re suckers — but the coffee lives up to expectations.

Blue Bottle Coffee

Blue Bottle Coffee

Sunday Gravy

Sunday Gravy

Sit. Relax on one of the riverside benches. Share. Smile. This is some good Saturday living.  No time to digest — round two. Our choice, a roasted veggie with chevre bruschetta from Sunday Gravy. If we didn’t just have the breakfast burrito that frittata with roasted veggies was also looking awfully tasty. And the eggplant parmesan with paper thin layers of eggplant married with sauce and parm and laid to relax on a nice hunk of sesame Italian bread was a thing of beauty {mental note: next time}.

Sunday Gravy Goodness

Sunday Gravy Goodness

The grand finale: Mighty Quinn’s braised brisket. As we wandered around early on in the day we were advised that Quinn’s is the crowd favorite, usually drawing lines down the block. With that information, a line 30-people deep didn’t seem so bad. With one man carving, another assembling and a third taking money the line moved swiftly and the prized sandwich worth waiting for was quickly in my hands —  a soft bun, stacked high with tender brisket, dressed in barbecue sauce, pickled onions and a few crispy pickles.

Mighty Quinns Braised Brisket Sandwich

Mighty Quinns Braised Brisket Sandwich

On our way out we grabbed a Blue Marble Ice Cream cone — because why not, this excursion was meant for eating.

Blue Marble Ice Cream

Blue Marble Ice Cream

And snapped this shot of a grass-squatting offender. Smorgusburg success. If you fall into the camp of “haven’t been there yet” I suggest you get thee to the ‘burg.

Illiteracy in America

Illiteracy in America

More Brooklyn Excursions:
NYC Best: yes yes to Pok Pok
Do This!: Foraging for Food is F’ing Fun {in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park with Leda}
Do This!: Brooklyn’s Depressingly Awesome Industry City Distillery Creates Handcrafted Vodka
NYC Best: Brooklyn’s Frej Should Be Your New Dining Kinfolk
Blue Bottle Coffee Brews One Brilliant Cup at a Time

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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 :: more minted peas please!

peas

spring peas

There is something remarkably relaxing about shelling peas. It feels like I should be sitting under a big 200-year old oak tree, sipping lemonade while the biscuits bake in the oven. Sure, they are a bit of work, but as you snap each pod releasing the perfect pea pearls into your lapped bowl with a tink tink tink, there is a feeling reaped treasure. The beauty of these bright green gems is the hard work ends there. A little steam, olive oil and salt & pepper and you have a complete dish.

Pea Shelling Sunday

Pea Shelling Sunday

Steamed Spring Peas

2 lbs of peas in their pod {look for big fat pods}
1/4 cup water
salt & pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
olive oil for drizzling

  1. Pour a glass of lemonade or wine and pop a squat with a large bowl in your lap.
  2. Patiently shell each pod letting the peas collect in the bowl {and saving the pods for stock?}
  3. In a 7-10″ pan add peas, water, salt and pepper and cover tightly with a lid.
  4. Heat to a simmer and then remove from heat and let rest with the lid on 10-15 minutes until tender.
  5. Drain any excess water, scoop into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and season with chopped mint, more flake salt & pepper as needed.

It’s the Simple Things:
Homemade Ricotta
How To Cook The Perfect Sunny Side-Up Egg
Spritzy Sunday Morning Citrus Cocktail 
Barcelona Balsamic Chick Pea Salad
How to Love a Radish

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recipe goodness :: egg on egg salad {introducing bottarga}

egg on egg salad sandwich

egg on egg salad sandwich

Ok this is a totally spectacular way to amp up an otherwise standard mid-week lunch. Egg salad: meet your new friend bottarga, also known as poor man’s caviar. Stop. Keep reading. This is not caviar. Bottarga is a delicacy beloved by those salty Italians, but has been finding its way more recently onto U.S. restaurant menus. Shaved over pasta, pizza and yes, even eggs, this salt-cured, sun-dried mullet roe is the perfect way to add the saltiness of the sea to a dish with very little effort. It comes pressed into a hard form that can be swiped along your microplane to finish a dish like a fine pecorino or can be slid along a mandolin for more decadent paper-thin slices that become a central addition to your plate. Lucky for us there is now an American-produced Cortez bottarga that you can get your hands on from Anna Maria Fish Company.

Egg on egg means business. With a little creamy mayo and peppery dijon to bind the this salad together, all I did was toss in a few radish leaves {no you should not throw those out when you buy radishes — they have amazing flavor!} and green scallions for color and a contrasting herby flavor. Then zested some salty bottarga over top to make this standard lunch truck sammie a true stand-out.

The goods

The egg on egg goods {bottarga lower left}

Egg on Egg Salad

Serves 1

2-3 hard boiled eggs, peeled and  roughly chopped
1/2 tablespoon mayo
1 teaspoon dijon
1/2 small scallion diced {or 2-3 chives}
4-5 radish leaves, washed and julienned
Pepper to taste
Bottarga for grating
Good crusty bread

  1. Roughly chop your eggs. I often remove one of the yolks to cut back on the dry bits.
  2. Toss everything, except the bottarga in a bowl, reserving some scallions for topping later.
  3. Add more of anything you desire, then serve in a bowl or on top of a toasted piece of bread.
  4. Sprinkle with some scallions for giggles and then grate your bottarga across the top, adding as much or as little as your salty italian desires.
  5. Sit down and be amazed by your revamped american favorite.

Other Ways to Jazz Standards:
Blueberry, Lemon & Coconut Pancakes
Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits
Cumin & Dill Dijon Egg Salad with Radish Sprouts
Creole Roasted Fresh Corn-Tomato Salsa

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Father’s Day Foodie Gift Roundup

WINE-LOVER:
Award Winning Wines Any Dad Would Love {38% Off + $10 Gift Card}

EXCLUSIVE SUMMER WINE DUO FROM A 2012 WINEMAKER OF THE YEAR

EXCLUSIVE SUMMER WINE DUO FROM A 2012 WINEMAKER OF THE YEAR

GRILL-MASTER:
Add Some SFMade Artisanal Grill Goods to Your Grill-Master Arsenal! {30% Off + Free Shipping}

30% OFF S&S BRAND'S SFMADE BBQ SAUCE & SPICE RUB

30% OFF S&S BRAND’S SFMADE BBQ SAUCE & SPICE RUB

BATALI’S BEST FRIEND:
Italian Specialities You Won’t Find Stateside — Antipasto and Sweet Torrone {36% Off includes shipping}

36% OFF ITALIAN SPECIALTIES FROM GUSTIAMO, MARIO BATALI'S FAVORITE ONLINE SHOP

36% OFF ITALIAN SPECIALTIES FROM GUSTIAMO, MARIO BATALI’S FAVORITE ONLINE SHOP

SUNDAY BREAKFAST MASTER:
Straight from the Catskills — Maple Syrup, Honey Duo + Highly Sought-After Honeycomb {30%+ includes shipping}

30%+ OFF CATSKILL PROVISIONS RAW HONEY & MAPLE SYRUP COLLECTIONS

30%+ OFF CATSKILL PROVISIONS RAW HONEY & MAPLE SYRUP COLLECTIONS

THE DAD WHO HAS EVERYTHING:
A Tuscan Cooking Getaway with Chef Sam Hayward

ALL-INCLUSIVE TUSCAN COOKING GETAWAY WITH CHEF SAM HAYWARD AND WRITER NANCY HARMON JENKINS

ALL-INCLUSIVE TUSCAN COOKING GETAWAY WITH CHEF SAM HAYWARD

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NYC Best: yes yes to Pok Pok

Pok Pok

Pok Pok

When you think of thai food, if all you know is pad thai, then it’s time to be schooled in the ways of Pok Pok, New York’s latest west coast transplant to open up in thriving Red Hook. With a small front dining area, there is almost always a wait an hour+ long, but now that Summer is upon us, the back garden has been converted into an expanded dining area and a place to grab a refreshing jelly beer or a cocktail from the long list of thai-infused mixers.

Dining is family style, and while the table is set with utensils, you’re encouraged to try things like grilled meat, skewers and sticky rice by using your hands — there are no rules here, only napkins and wet wipes. The menu is long and reads like a traveling recap throughout Thailand. Use your wait-time to salivate over and narrow your choices, zeroing in on 2-3 plates per person {advice: bring more friends, try more goodness}.

Yam Samun Phrai

Yam Samun Phrai

Yam Samum Phrai {it’s everything you want in a salad — crunchy texture and refreshing citrusy herbal bites. Hands down one of the best dishes} — northern thai herbal salad with carrot, parsnip, white tumeric, betel leaf, basil, lime leaf, lemongrass, sawtooth, fried shallots, cashews, peanuts, sesame seeds, dried shrimp, ground pork, and thai chilies in a mild coconut milk dressing.

Pok Pok Ribs and Half Bird

Pok Pok Ribs and Half Bird

Sii Khrong Muu Yaang {ribs that kick Texas BBQ’s butt. yes, really! probably my second favorite dish} — Carlton farms baby back ribs marinated in whisky, soy, honey, ginger and thai spices. Slow roasted and served with two spice dipping sauces.

Kai Yang {signature house specialty: half bird with a kick} — Charcoal rotisserie roasted natural game hen stuffed with lemongrass, garlic, pepper and cilantro served with spicy sweet and sour and tamarind dipping sauces.

Pok Pok Thai Sausage

Pok Pok Thai Sausage

Sai Ua Samun Phrai {holy moly this sausage is so good — no, no this was my favorite!} — Chiang Mai sausage with herbs. Burmese curry powder and aromatics. Charcoal grilled and served with Naam Phrik Num {spicy green chile dip!} Khaep Muu {Thai pork rinds} and steamed crudites {how civilized}.

Da Chom’s Laap Meuang {mouth is on fire, thank God for sticky rice and the cooling plate of herbs that were completely foreign to me, but had me munching like a panda bear}. This dish was learned from Da Chom, Andy Ricker’s friend’s father from a small Thai village. At age 84 he still makes this for his family. Northern Thai spicy hand-minced pork salad with aromatics {the panda herbs that ranged in flavors from fish to lemon — yes, fascinatingly fishy herbs}, herbs, cracklings and crispy fried shallots and garlic. {bottom two plates in image below}.

Pok Pok spread

Pok Pok Spread {Da Chom’s Dish Lower Right Two Plates}

The Skim: If you’re not afraid to travel for good food, then all you need is a subway card to Red Hook — as far as Pok Pok is concerned, it’s as good as a plane ticket to Thailand. We were in love with every single dish we ordered, so get adventurous and order what moves you. And be ready to wash everything down with a few quenching cocktails or suds — these dishes are not for the mild tastebuds. Loved it so much, it’s going on my Favor8 list.


8.ate@eight Favor8
Seal of Approval

Map127 Columbia Street, Brooklyn, NY
Phone: (718) 923-9322
Reservations: Not Taken {but a delightful garden awaits} 

Outside the Pad Thai:
NYC Best: Tasty Times Square Thai @ Pongsri
NYC Best: Summer Sausage & Other Seriously Good Eats @ Summerstage

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recipe goodness :: honey-vanilla pound cake with red bud flowers

honey vanilla pound cake with red bud flowers

After my foraging tour with Leda Meredith, I came back with a handful of edible pink red bud flowers just asking to be made into a sweet dessert. With a little inspiration from Ina Garten’s Back to Basics, her honey vanilla pound cake sounded like the perfect vehicle for my foraged find. This is one of the best pound cakes I’ve ever had — I’ll credit the honey for that. Add this one to the rotation.

Honey Vanilla Pound Cake with Red Bud Flowers
Makes one 8-inch loaf | Slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa’s Back to Basics

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 cups sifted cake flower
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup fresh edible flowers {optional}

  1. Allow butter to sit at room temperature for about 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease the bottom of an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper, then grease and flour the pan.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until light.
  4. Meanwhile, put the eggs, honey, vanilla, and lemon zest in a glass measuring cup but do not combine.
  5. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the egg mixture, one egg at a time, scraping down the bowl and allowing each egg to become incorporated before adding the next egg.
  6. Sift together the flower, salt and baking powder. With the mixer on low speed, add it slowly to the batter until just combined.
  7. Finish mixing the batter with a rubber spatula and fold in flowers {if adding}. Pour into the prepared pan. Smooth the top.
  8. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Cool for 15 minutes, turn out onto a baking rack and cool completely.
  10. Top with fresh flowers {optional}.

Getting Wild in the Kitchen:
Violet-Radish Spring Salad with Secret Lemon-Garlic Dressing
Wild pokeweed {or Aspargus} and field garlic breakfast tart
   

Homemade Spicy Carrot Kimchi! & Apple Chutney!

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recipe goodness :: mastering the art of julia child’s salade nicoise #jc100

Julia Child's Salad Nicoise

Julia Child’s Salad Nicoise

This is exactly the type of recipe that you are not meant to follow to a T. A big bowl of fresh ingredient goodness is all that matters. No green beans at the market yet? Asparagus makes for a lovely substitution. Not feelin’ the canned tuna? A beautiful bright tuna filet from my friendly fishmonger Warren at American Seafood was a first class upgrade. And with green garlic in season, I opted for those sweet stalks instead of scallions. I was not really feelin’ the five-page recipe laying out the original steps for Julia’s masterpiece. Really? For a salad? So I skimmed through her instructions and general flavor combinations, made a trip to the greenmarket, did a bit of chopping and doused everything in lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper. The result was a bountiful bowl full of beauty that was both healthy and hearty and will definitely be repeated again. soon. This is the perfect summer evening meal {which a chilled glass of wine of course}.

Julia Child's Salad Nicoise

Julia Child’s Salad Nicoise

“A bountiful arrangement in a bowl or platter is so handsome to behold that I think it a cruel shame to toss everything together in a big mess.”
— Julia Child

Julia Child’s Salade Niçoise {slightly modified}

Serves 2-4 | Link to the original recipe HERE

1 head boston bibb lettuce, washed and dried
1/4 bunch fresh asparagus {or 1 pound green beans} trimmed, cut into 3-inch pieces
1/4 pint grape tomatoes, halved {or 1-2 whole tomatoes cut into wedges}
3/4-1 lb tuna filet grilled and sliced {or 8-10oz  oil packed tuna, drained and flaked)
2-4 hard boiled eggs, halved
1 can flat anchovies packed in oil, drained {optional}
1/4 cup black nicoise-type olives {optional}

Dressing:
1-2 tablespoons capers
1/4 cup minced parsley
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 as much olive oil as lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Potatoes:
4 small new potatoes sliced into circles
1 stem green garlic or scallion, finely diced
1/4 cup potato-cooking water
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2-3 tablespoons fresh parsley
2-3 tablespoons olive oil

  1. Rinse and dry all the vegetables. Add the lettuce to a large bowl while you prepare the rest.
  2. Add eggs to a medium pot and cover with water by 1-inch. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to a low simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, remove eggs and cool.
  3. Bring water back up to a boil and add sliced potatoes until just slightly tender when you pierce with a fork. Reserve 1/4 cup of the starchy water, then drain and immediately toss in a bowl with vinegar, scallion/garlic, parsley, olive oil and cooking water. Season with salt and pepper and let potatoes absorb the liquid as they cool.
  4. Bring a medium pot of water back to a boil and add the 3-inch pieces of asparagus {or green beans} to the boiling water, cover and cook 1-2 minutes until bright green, but still firm. Drain and immediately run cold water over or add to an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
  5. Mix the dressing. Pour a little over the cut tomatoes in a small bowl and set aside. Pour a little over the asparagus in a small bowl and set aside. Pour the rest over the lettuce and toss to coat.
  6. Heat your grill to high.
  7. Coat your tuna with olive oil, salt and a generous amount of coarse black pepper on both sides. Cook 3-5 minutes on each side, just until the outer edges turn white and the center is still a light pink for medium rare. Remove from heat and let rest.
  8. Assemble the salad by channeling your inner Julia, creating sections of the seasoned potatoes, tomatoes, asparagus {or green beans}, the egg halves and olives. Sprinkled the anchovies over the salad. Slice the tuna and arrange in the center of the bowl.
  9. Bon Appetit!

More Juuuuuuuulia:
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 :: mastering julia child’s rolled french omelet #jc100

Julia Child's Rolled Omelet

Julia Child’s Rolled Omelet

“A good french omelet is a smooth gently swelling, golden oval that is tender and creamy inside” — Julia Child 

Julia Child has a very particular way to make an omelet. Through perfected pan tilt technique she promises a light fluffy interior with a beautifully browned exterior, all rolled up into a marvelous breakfast package. I didn’t have her leaning over my shoulder to tell me if I mastered her method correctly, but in the end it tasted and looked good, so that’s all that matters.

 

Julia Child's French Omelet

Julia Child’s French Omelet

Julia Child’s Rolled French Omelet

7″ non-stick pan
2-3 eggs per omelet
Big pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
1 tablespoon butter
Garnish or filling, as desired

  1.  Proper way to beat eggs: Just before melting the butter in a pan, break the eggs into a mixing bowl and add the salt and pepper. With a table fork, beat the eggs only enough to blend the whites and yolks thoroughly, about 30 sec.
  2. Place the butter in the pan and set over very high heat. As the butter melts tilt the pan in all directions to film the sides. When it starts to foam and is at the point of coloring {indicating the pan is the right temperature}, pour in the eggs.
  3. Let the eggs settle in the pan 2-3 seconds to form a film of coagulated egg in the bottom of the pan.
  4. Grasp the pan handle with both hands and immediately begin jerking vigorously back and forth at a 20 degree angle over the heat.
  5. It is the sharp pull of the pan that throws the eggs over the far lip of the pan then back over the bottom surface of the omelet. After several jerks the omelet will start to thicken.
  6. A filling should go in at this point if desired.
  7. Then increase the angle of the pan to 45 degrees, which will force the egg mass to roll over itself with each jerk of the pan.
  8. As soon as the omelet has shaped up, hold it in the angle of the pan for 2-3 seconds to brown up, but no longer. The center of the omelet should remain soft and creamy.
  9. Turn the omelet onto a plate with the pan slightly off center so it rolls into the middle of your plate.
  10. Garnish with maldon salt, a pat of butter {if you want to stay true to Julia} and some fresh herbs.

Mastering the Art of Julia Child
recipe goodness :: mastering the art of julia child’s chocolate mousse
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recipe goodness :: grilled green garlic

Grilled Spring Garlic

Grilled Green Garlic

Springtime brings lots of treasures that are here for a blink of an eye and then gone from our flourishing greenmarkets. Ramps, strawberries, asparagus — just some of the items that get loaded into our resuable shopping bags as we lust over these edible signs of the outdoor dining season. One of my favorite flash finds is green garlic {also known as spring garlic or new garlic}. These long green shoots look a lot like scallions, but are the beginnings of the larger garlic bulb we have come to be more familiar with. When the farmers trim these stalks it makes way for those bulbs to continue growing throughout the season and brings us a mild sweet garlic treat as a bonus. My favorite thing to do is toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper and throw them on the high rack of the grill to slow roast for 10-15 minutes until perfectly tender. They are mild enough to be eaten on their own, but make a killer topping for crostini slathered in ricotta, grilled pizzas, a nice juicy steak or even eggs.

Grilled Green Garlic

1-2 bunches spring garlic
olive oil
salt & pepper

  1. Trim roots and dark green fiberous leaves from garlic stems and slice in half lengthwise.
  2. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper to coat.
  3. Place on the top rack of the grill with the heat on low and roast until tender and starts to brown.
  4. Serve whole or dice into smaller pieces as a topping.

Green Goddess 
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Violet-Radish Spring Salad with Secret Lemon-Garlic Dressing

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