Thursday, February 11, 2016

Cooking School 101: Making a perfect Milanese. And a Fennel Bacon and Apple Salad to serve with it.

Chile's Chicken Valdostana
 “Milanese” is god’s gift to people who love fried food but are afraid to admit it.  This easy-to-conquer technique coats meat with crunchy, crispy bread-crumbs. The meat is dipped in flour, then in egg and finally in breadcrumbs.  Originally, I tasted it as a “Cotaletta di Vitello alla Milanese”, a restaurant favorite Veal chop that eventually became so expensive; I shifted over to Pork Chops.   In Argentina, I sampled the dish with beef, its most popular form there. In Chile, a version called “Valdostana” adds melted cheese and a slice of ham. And despite everything Austrians tell you, Wiener Schnitzel, their national dish, is a variation of Milanese.

Monday, February 8, 2016

One-Pot Thai Curry Rice with Pork adapted from Molly Yeh


Molly Yeh

         More often than not, my inclination is to try any recipe that appeals to me that week. So it was with this warming dish of coconut-scented rice,  curried pork, crisp vegetables, a splash of lime juice and the crunch of peanuts. A recent issue of Food and Wine introduced me to a blogger who lives in the far reaches of northern Minnesota hard by the border of North Dakota.  Given her location, it makes all the sense in the world that she’d would be making Thai Food, doesn’t it?  In a sense it does. This is American food today. We are unrestricted by geography, our population and our supermarkets more and more diverse.  And nothing says that better than the popularity and continuing story of Molly Yeh of East Grand Forks, Minnesota, the blogger in question.  Originally from Brooklyn, Molly Yeh has embraced her new home with a vengeance.  But she certainly brought a lot of Brooklyn with her.  The first of her recipes is for Halvah-Stuffed Challah bread. But what she must truly pine for is New York’s Thai Food. So she has created a version of it using a technique that is pure Midwestern.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Beef with Broccoli, Red Pepper and Scallion Stir-Fry made with Corine's Cuisine Sauce #28

         A great stir-fry is a gift to weeknight cooks. After the initial chopping and slicing, few things cook faster or give more satisfying results.  Since this is a Chinese technique, it’s ideal for dishes like Beef with Broccoli, that Chinese takeout standby.  To the original recipe I added Red Pepper and Scallions for taste and color. Ordinarily, Beef with Broccoli relies on Oyster Sauce for its flavor. A concentrated dark brown sauce with a slightly sweet and smoky flavor, Oyster Sauce is in fact made from dried oysters.  Oyster Sauce originated in southern China where it is used as a seasoning for simply cooked vegetables and meat.  But to make today’s dish, I didn’t use Oyster Sauce.  I relied on a brand new “Tangy-Hot Asian Barbecue Sauce” from Corine’s Cuisine.  It was such a success I wanted to pass it on to you. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Roasted Garlic and Tarragon Brioche Pudding from Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully of London's NOPI Restaurant

Roasted Garlic and Tarragon Brioche Pudding with Chicken Supreme and Tarragon Peas

My Inspiration.

It was a night I wanted to cook something special just for the two of us.  I opened the pages of the book and there in front of me was an utterly attainable plate with a single crispy-skinned chicken breast, some very green peas intermingled with tarragon I could almost smell, some jus on the plate and what looked like a piece of beautifully browned loaf of bread.  I had to flip back to see the title of the recipe to know what it was.  It was described as Roasted Garlic and Tarragon Brioche Pudding.  I knew I had my dinner for two.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Marc Forgione's Crab Cakes with Smoky Onion Remoulade. And they're Gluten-Free.

Marc Forgione's Crab Cake....
Larry Forgione's Smoky Onion Remoulade
A great crab cake is not easy to find.  Many versions of this Maryland classic are purposefully stuffed with as much bread as there is crab.  Sometimes this is to compensate for the price of crab meat which will run you about $22.00 a lb. And often the additional bread is to give the cake enough heft so that it won’t fall apart. This is a particular trait of the cocktail party crab cake which of necessity has to make it in one piece from plate to palate.  Nevertheless, I love the things and despite believing that I had a perfect recipe, I could not resist trying one.  The results were smashing. The interior of the crunchy golden cake is light as air, filled with crab meat flavored with no less than four vegetables, none of which I’d ever seen in crab cake before.  And then there’s the accompanying Remoulade.  This complex mix of onion, shallots and chives packs enough heat to make it much more interesting than the usual ketchup-y mayo that’s normally passed with those cocktail crab cakes.   All in all, this recipe deserves your attention. That may very well be because its pedigree is second to none.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Creamy White Bean Gratin with Sausage and Spinach

After the Storm...
         If you watched the news anytime in the past 72 hours, you undoubtedly heard that much of the Mid-Atlantic states are under a blanket of snow so deep, Washington DC is shut down for at least another day.  Here in New York, the snowfall came within 2/10th of an inch of setting an all time record for a single storm.  New Yorkers inevitably react to any weather report predicting “Snowmaggeden” by storming the grocery stores and stripping the shelves of every loaf of bread and bottle of milk.  Last Friday was no exception.  It took me two full hours to get my supplies in. I went to three markets with lines out the doors at ten in the morning. This was fully twelve hours before the first flake was forecast to fall.  Later in the day, Andrew walked home past a line of people stretching round a block just to get into Trader Joe’s.  By that time, I was home cooking up a storm…sorry I couldn’t resist.
Bertolli's Original Recipe
One item I wanted on the menu this weekend breaks all kinds of my rules.  The number one of these is that I cook everything from scratch.  It’s not just a point of pride, it’s because I genuinely try to avoid processed foods at all costs.   The reason for today’s exception was a great shot of a cast iron skillet filled with creamy white beans in a luscious looking sauce, lovely greens interspersed between the beans and two Italian sausages nestled into this hearty dish.  It was an ad for Bertolli, the Italian foods company.  They were hawking their Garlic Alfredo pasta sauce.  It appeared in Bon Appetit way back last Spring. If there’s one thing it didn’t look like, it was Spring.  To me it speaks of Winter and warm and comforting food. The original recipe called for Broccoli Rabe.  Please feel free to use a small bunch of it after having trimmed the tough stalks.  I substituted Baby Spinach. And I used a jar of Bertolli Garlic Alfredo sauce because, after all, isn’t Bertolli a wonderful old Italian brand? Well not anymore it isn’t.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Poached Pork Roast with Garlic Parmesan Cream


My Inspiration as it appeared in Food and Wine
Last Fall, Food and Wine did a major article about roasts.  The one that immediately caught my eye was a picture of a Dutch oven in which, semi-submerged, was a pork shoulder roast swimming in cream surrounded by halved heads of garlic, a parmesan cheese rind, a couple of sage leaves and pats of butter.  I had never imagined poaching pork in the first place.  I took one look at it and thought thank god I’m not kosher.  This breaks every dietary law imaginable.  With apologies to my Jewish readers, I just had to try it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Thomas Keller's Fall from Grace...Is this recipe his redemption?

Chef Thomas Keller 

Last week the unthinkable happened. Thomas Keller is surely one of the most famous of all American chefs. His  “The French Laundry” in Yountville, CA was called "the best restaurant in the world, period" by Anthony Bourdain. Chef Keller’s other offerings sealed his place in the culinary firmament.  His Per Se, down the street from us at Columbus Circle, is considered one of the city’s top restaurants and has been since the day it opened in 2004.   Per Se also has the distinction of being at the very top of the city’s restaurant price lists.  Its nine course prix fixe is offered at $325.00.  Without wine.  Lunch is a virtual bargain: $215.00 prix fixe but that’s for only 5 courses.   You'll have to ante up to $255.00 if you want seven courses.  Well last week, The New York Times dropped a bomb.  The newspaper's Restaurant critic, Pete Wells, dropped Per Se from 4 stars to 2. And, as a friend said yesterday after reading its review, "it's amazing it got that many".
Per Se overlooks Central Park
         Phrases calling the restaurants offerings "ranging from respectably dull at best to disappointingly flat-footed at worst" were bolstered by food descriptions like "bouillon as murky and appealing as bong water", "purée that tasted like peanut butter to which something terrible had been done," and "a dismal green pulp of cooked romaine lettuce, crunchy and mushy at once".  My, my.  Surely the service made up for the kitchen. But no. "Servers sometimes give you the feeling that you work for them, and your job is to feel lucky to receive whatever you get".  At this point, I had to feel a certain twinge for Thomas Keller.  After all, the man has contributed mightily to this blog.  His 5 recipes here have garnered 23, 733 views and counting. So today, I am going to republish the most popular of all. It's for Santa Maria Tri-Tip, a roast of beef which, mercifully, sells for 6.49 a lb. But what exactly is a Tri-Tip? Read on...

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Ruth Reichl's Beef, Wine and Onion Stew From "My Kitchen Year. 136 Recipes that Saved My Life"


As promised earlier this month, this blog has not heard the last of Ruth Reichl’s latest book (Random House 2015).   Completely coincidentally, while Ruth wrote of yet another snowstorm marooning her and her husband in their upstate New York house, we here in the city had our first plunge in temperatures.   With not a snowflake in sight nor any on the horizon, this recipe called to me nonetheless.   First of all, what is more warming than stew?   And what tastes better than a stew left overnight where it develops even more flavor?  You take it out of the refrigerator then next day, peel away the layer of fat and continue slowly reheating the dish.  Andrew was away this past weekend and so I turned Sunday into a leisurely day of stew making so that I could turn Monday night, when the temperature took its nosedive, into stew night. What makes this particular stew so extraordinary?  And why isn’t it a recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon?  It sure comes darn close with its ingredient list almost identical however this is Ruth’s stew and it's well worth putting on your winter cooking list.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

White Bolognese with Pennine adapted from Amanda Hesser in The New York Times


Amanda Hesser of Food 52 and The New York Times
This terrific recipe checks off at least 3 boxes on my list. First, nothing is more comforting on a winter night than a bowl of pasta with a really great sauce.  This fits that bill perfectly.  It’s a cinch to make, easy enough for any weeknight.  Its one of those dishes that tastes better and better as you eat more of it, discovering more of its seasonings as you do. Second, it’s from Amanda Hesser, author of the most recent version of The New York Times Cookbook.  While at the Times, Ms. Hesser wrote no fewer than 750 stories and featured recipes.  That was before she even got to the cookbook.  Ms. Hesser then took off and founded, along with a partner, Merrill Stubbs, Food 52. This wildly successful food website that won a James Beard Award straight out of the gate in 2012 and the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) Award for Best Website in 2013. To say she knows her way around the kitchen doesn’t do her justice.   And finally, it’s a recipe that let me dip into its past. There I discovered a rich history as interesting as the dish itself.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Review of Ruth Reichl's "My Kitchen Year. 136 Recipes that saved my life" And Ruth's recipe for The Diva of Grilled Cheese.

Ruth Reichl is a Food writer’s food writer.  For ten years, she presided over Gourmet Magazine, building it into a repository of fascinating stories. They were must-reads for those of us who really care about the food we eat.  But as Gourmet rushed headlong into the Internet age, it suffered.  Declines in Print Ad spending were one thing. Consumers consumed by the idea of getting in and out of the kitchen in as little time as possible were another. The general dumbing down of food culture was witnessed on TV’s Food Channel. It all led to Gourmet's demise.  Oddly, when summoned back to New York from a publicity tour for her monumental Gourmet Today (2009) cookbook, Ms. Reichl knew nothing of the plans to shutter the magazine entirely.  Instead, she and her fellow staffers, some of whom had spent their entire careers at the magazine, shuffled into a conference room. There they were told that the magazine would be closed that very day. The galleys for its December issue left at the printers, would never to see the light of day. If it was viewed as a tragedy by its readers, like me, it dealt a body blow to Ms. Reichl.  It took her fully a year to recover.  This marvelous book in the result of that year of struggle.       

Monday, January 4, 2016

Chicken Breasts with Tomatoes and Capers from Pierre Franey in The New York Times

The 60 Minute Gourmet 

If your holiday has been anything like ours, I am sure you have had enough marvelously rich food to tide you over till, say, March. Between the gratins and the roasts, the puddings and cookies and cakes, the holidays encourage eating with abandon.  Well, sad to say, the party ended when we took down the Christmas tree.  And in all honesty, we welcomed a night when we ate light.  Specifically, when The New York Times resurrected this simple recipe for chicken breasts in an easy to prepare sauce, which doubles as a side dish.  There’s plenty of flavor here with shallots and garlic and tarragon mingling with ripe tomatoes and capers to give it a kick.  It’s the work of a master.  In this case it’s Pierre Franey who along with his great pal and partner, Jacques Pepin, helped introduce America to simple French home cooking.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Final Days of My Great Adventure: Why-O Why-O did I not see Milano...before now...and Sofia Minciotti's recipe for Pasta e Fagioli (and it's Gluten-Free!)

The Duomo all lit up on a Sunday night.
Sofia Minciotti's Gluten-Free Pasta e Fagioli
Italy outside the Freccia's windows
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Once I left the Viking Star in Venice, I travelled across Northern Italy by bullet train to Milano, or so I hoped.  Unfortunately, a World War II bomb was discovered at Brescia, which is right on the route. The train was re-routed and instead of the 2 ½ hours it was meant to take, it was well past noon when I arrived.    

Monday, December 28, 2015

James Beard’s Roast Beef Hash

I just wish this looked as good as it tastes
You have just landed on the most popular post ever on Chewing the Fat.  It's been read 19,245 times and counting. It is so popular in our house, that I was promptly dismissed when I suggested to Andrew that I wanted to try a new version using this Christmas' Roast Beef to make it.  Stick to the original recipe I was told, in no uncertain terms.   Now I love this recipe, truly I do, so I am reprinting it exactly as it first appeared.  But before you rush off and cook it, you might want to have a look at another hash recipe that celebrates the Fifth Birthday of Chewing the Fat. You'll find it here:  But me, I am sticking with the original recipe, because I know what's good for me. 

Joe Beef's Veal Pojarski
This week, the New York Times’ Dining Section featured a front-page article entitled “Lucky to Be a Leftover”.   In it were some remarkable ideas from people all over who made meatballs from holiday hams (no recipe on that one and boy, did I want it!), to Veal Pojarski, made from diced roasted veal, pork or beef and a specialty of those two Montreal Chefs-of-the-Moment, Joe Beef’s own Dave McMillan and Frederic Morin.  The Montrealers go all the way to sticking a roasted bone in the resultant meatball.  The thing looks phenomenally good.  But to me, the best thing to do with the gorgeous centerpiece from our Christmas Day table, our standing Rib Roast of Beef, is to make Roast Beef Hash.