Thursday, December 8, 2016

If you bake nothing else this season, bake these: Apple Pie Bars

As you may imagine, Andrew goes all out every Holiday season with baked goods that are not only extraordinarily good, they cover all kinds of desserts. For Thanksgiving just past, he made Apple Pie Bars, two pies, Blueberry and Chocolate Cream, and a Ginger Spice Cake. (He also whipped up about 48 gougères on Thanksgiving morning.) But it was the Apple Pie Bars that got everyone’s attention.  Here is something as American as...Apple Pie.  There’s a walnut studded oatmeal streusel-like topping that covers a Granny Smith filling atop a crisp buttery shortbread crust.  It’s an American Classic made into individual squares of apple goodness that just beg for a scoop of ice cream…although I caught our children and grandchild unable to resist this treat long enough to get out the ice cream scoop.

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Ultimate Inexpensive Dinner Party Dish: Sheet Pan Lemon Chicken with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Martha Stewart: Sheet Pan Expert
For some time I’ve been intrigued by the concept of the Sheet Pan dinner. Basically all the ingredients—protein, vegetables, herbs and spices--are cooked on one large sheet pan.  Martha Stewart seems to be an expert in this regard.  She frequently posts all kinds of options. There seems to be no end to what ingredients she’s managed to load onto one of these workhorse’s of the kitchen.  From Fish to Pork to Rib Eye, there’s no stopping Martha.   So I decided to cook one myself.  I adapted a recipe of mine for Lemon Chicken.  I added fingerling potatoes to the mix so in the end all I had to add to dinner were some sautéed green beans.   What I discovered was one of the best and most economical ways to entertain ever.  I honestly don’t think this dinner cost more $30.  And we fed 14 people with it and there were leftovers!  This is ideal for people on a budget, for recent grads who are neophytes in the kitchen and for people who just want to have a lot or people over without breaking the bank this holiday season. It all comes together in an hour and fifteen minutes.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Cuisine on the World's # 1 Cruise Line

To All our Readers.  The Daily has just published my story of my latest Viking Adventure. I hope you like it!  There's even a recipe for Chef Mauboussin's Mahi Mahi that follows.   Enjoy!

Cuisine on the World’s No. 1 Cruise Line


Staff Writer

Chef Anthony Mauboussin, Culinary Director of Viking Cruises, has a lot on his plate, including 42 new dishes this year alone.

Chef Anthony Mauboussin in Viking Star's Demo Kitchen
The cruise world has seen Viking Cruises take over top honors, first with Viking River Cruises popularized by Downton Abbey, and now with Viking Cruise’s two spanking-new, ocean-going ships Viking Star and Viking Sea. They’ve outscored every other line, including the top-rated Crystal Cruises, with passengers consistently praising everything from the design of the ships themselves to the culinary output on board. The dining experience’s high marks are a salute to the excellence of Viking’s galleys and certainly to the range of its menus.

The job of feeding some 350,000 passengers a year falls on the able shoulders of chef Anthony Mauboussin. The young French chef already presides over the 59 River Cruise ships’ kitchens, and will now expand his reach to include the newest additions of the company’s fleet – two 930-passenger ocean liners. As Viking’s ocean fleet continues to grow, Mauboussin is tasked with developing recipes that are unique to the ports of call for each ship. North American favorites like Beef Wellington and the Chairman's Poached Salmon run on a 14-day rotation, but every destination is represented by three fresh menu items: an appetizer, main course, and dessert. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Fennel-Crusted Pork Chops with Shallots and Fingerling Potatoes


The One-Skillet Dinner is a favorite of whoever draws kitchen clean-up.  And whoever is doing the cooking isn’t unhappy about it either.  Every ingredient that goes into the one pot flavors all the others.  Here we have a simple bone-in Pork Chop, a blank canvas of ‘the other white meat’.   Anise-flavored fennel, some smoky Spanish paprika and garlic come together in a quick 30-minute marinade for the pork.  As it cooks, the pork releases some of its juices and, along with the fennel crust, gives great flavor to both the Shallots and Fingerling Potatoes that are added to the pot .  When you serve the dish, all the flavors meld together and your simple pork chop has become a taste that was altogether new to us.   It’s a perfect thing to serve in the run-up to Christmas when time is at a minimum.  And one of its featured elements, fennel, is one of the most nutritious things you can eat.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Cornbread and Sausage Dressing

A. O Scott
In this month's Food and Wine, A.O. Scott, who normally writes movie reviews for The New York Times, took it upon himself to cast a critical eye at Thanksgiving.  The man's premise is that the Thanksgiving table is a breeding ground for good manners, "also known as lying".  Specifically, in his family the lies revolved around his Grandfather's Oyster Stuffing.  Apparently this particular stuffing set the standard for particularly dreadful. "A quivering pale mass on the edge of my plate", is how he describes it.  Then one Thanksgiving, his grandfather, who was actually quite a good home cook, showed up with homemade Cornbread Stuffing made to include his own homemade sausages.   Needless to say, it was greeted with great whoops of pleasure, quickly stifled because to love Grandpa's Cornbread Stuffing was to not love his Oyster version. Mr. Scott's story had a certain resonance in our house.   Many years ago, Andrew had brought to the table his Mother's recipe for Cornbread Dressing.  His mother’s Cornbread recipe was the standard that all others had to live up to. And it was delicious, an old southern family favorite from her native Alabama. However when I came on the scene, I insisted on the addition of sausage because that was always in our family version. So we ended up with a blended version. But it still lacked something.  Color for instance.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Steak Tostadas with Cashew Salsa and Red Cabbage Slaw


Taco Tuesday could easily be replaced by these Tostadas, which still keep a South of the Border flavor but add a crunch and cashews to the mix.  It’s from Bon Appetit and it makes a great weeknight change-up.  The tostada is a great discovery.  Easy to make, they take a corn tortilla and a little vegetable oil and crisp up in about a minute. The end result is a perfect ‘plate’ to load with flavor. A red cabbage slaw with scallions tops the tostada and then comes slices of steak.  I’ve used Hanger steak and New York strip both of which came through with great beef flavor.  More slaw is added then more steak and finally the whole thing is drizzled with the Cashew Salsa.  Bon Appetit labelled the Salsa ‘Cashew’ however considerably more red Fresno chiles go into the garlic and cider vinegar base.  Perhaps Fresnos, being one of the hotter of peppers, would scare people off but the cook is in control here.  You can make this as spicy or not as you wish.  This is a perfect way to take off for Mexico any night of the week.  And you may find that once you cook tostados, there’s no end to what you can top them with. First, what exactly is a tostada?

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Parmesan Crusted Rack of Lamb

Of all the things that you can rely on when you want to make dinner special, the rack of Lamb should be high on your list.  It’s astonishingly easy to cook and requires very little effort.  That’s especially true with this method of cooking from the New York Times Cookbook.  Basically, you sear the lamb in a cast iron skillet, slather the rack with mustard and top it with an aromatic and flavorful herb and parmesan breadcrumb mixture.  Into the oven it goes where it cooks for about 20 to 25 minutes and emerges as a perfect dinner party dish even if that dinner party is only for two.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Weeknight Chicken Pot Pie


Searching for a title this post proved to be quite a challenge.  I could have called it Chicken Pot Pie with 3 startling ingredients. Or Chicken and Sausage Pot Pie. Or Chicken Pot Pie with Butternut Squash.  But in the end, having discovered that I could make this exceptional version of one of my favorite comfort foods and have it on the table in a little over an hour, I stuck with a really pared down name.  I am sure it doesn’t do complete justice to this creamy, vegetable-rich, tender chicken and sweet sausage-filled pie.  I just hope that there are enough Chicken Pot Pie fans who will understand its allure.   If not, perhaps I can up the ante by telling you that you can go ahead and buy Pillsbury Pie Crusts or Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets and cut even more time off the preparation.  And I should add that you make the filling in a cast-iron skillet that goes straight from stovetop to the oven which eliminates a lot of clean-up.  However, I draw the line with Bon Appetit's advice that you can use  Rotisserie Chicken because you’d miss what the sweet sausage does when cooked with the chicken.   And then there’s the matter of the third surprise ingredient….sauerkraut.  Yes, sauerkraut in a chicken pot pie. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Cauliflower Two Ways: Cauliflower Steaks with Herb Salsa Verde and Indian Spiced Cauliflower


Cauliflower Steak with Herb Salsa Verde
Indian Spiced Cauliflower
It’s Cauliflower season here and great heads of the vegetable are stacked high in our supermarkets and on our On-street vegetable stands.   If you remember Cauliflower as a somewhat tasteless vegetable, you’re likely familiar with the boiled preparation of the dish. This is truly a darned shame. Boiling reduces the levels of every good thing in Cauliflower and there are a lot of them.   Cauliflower is full of vitamins C, B and K but it’s low in calories, fat, and carbohydrates. The longer the cauliflower is boiled the fewer cauliflower compounds remain.  Fortunately, today’s recipes call for roasting and stove-top grilling.   The first is a recipe from Alex Guarneschelli of Food Network fame. Here, cauliflower is sliced clear through into ½ slabs and sautéed. But the real star is the salsa verde. With its fresh herbs, capers and cornichons, it gives the Cauliflower Steaks a whallop of flavor.   This is another very quick dish to prepare. It comes together in under 30 minutes.  The second recipe for Indian Spiced Cauliflower is even simpler.  Here the cauliflower is broken down into florets and roasted in the oven with a variety of Indian spices. But my friend Kristi, who shared it with me, was very excited about one of particular ingredient…

Monday, October 31, 2016

Chicken Arrabiata


I confess to being a tomato junkie.  I adore the fruit, and yes, botanically it is a fruit.   Nothing made me happier than the arrival of great little tiny tomatoes variously called ‘cherry’, ‘grape’ and most recently, ‘heirloom mixtures’.   They arrived in this country from southeast Asia as recently as the 1990s.  While ‘tomatoes on the vine’ used to be the only out-of-season tomatoes that even came close to the real thing, the oval shaped grape tomatoes and their round cherry counterparts have a higher sugar content. I prize their sweetness and use them often. When this recipe for Chicken Arrabiata, that spicy, almost fiery Italian tomato sauce appeared, I had to try it. It takes under an hour from start to finish.  And in the end you’re left with a richly fulfilling and extraordinarily flavorful chicken.  It’s a great dish for a chilly weeknight.  You can serve it with rice or a side of pasta but served with crusty bread and a salad, it makes an easy and satisfying dinner.  And while you make it, you can read about it…

Thursday, October 27, 2016

A Cold Weather Soup from the Hottest Restaurant in Puerto Rico...White Bean Soup from Marmalade in Old San Juan

Color abounds in Old San Juan
Old San Juan is quite a surprise.  For those of you who may have missed it, it’s the second oldest city in the Americas dating back to 1521.  It’s filled with history and vividly colored buildings on blue cobblestoned streets. One of the main drags is Calle Fortaleza, at one end of which is the Governor’s Mansion, La Fortaleza.  The stately building is the oldest continuously occupied Governor’s Mansion in the U.S, of which Puerto Rico has been a part since The Spanish-American War in 1898.  Fortaleza Street itself is lined with Souvenir Shops, Jewelry stores and Art Galleries.  

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Ana's Salmon Pasta with Capers, Lemon and Dill

Chewing the Fat has been on a brief hiatus as I have been traveling gathering material for some new travel pieces for The Daily Meal. Pardon my absence but I think it will be rewarded with some new food ideas for you that will be appear here in the next few weeks.  In the meantime, today’s recipe will reward you with a simple evening meal that is perfect for a Piscatorian Monday.  It’s a lovely creamy mix of fresh salmon, dill and lemon that’s a perfect companion to your favorite ‘short’ pasta and it comes together in no time. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Ottolenghi's Mixed Mushrooms with Cinnamon and Lemon


         My passion for mushrooms only grows stronger in the fall. And I am always on the lookout for new ways to prepare my favorite fungus.  I was very excited to see a recipe that paired mushrooms I’d never even imagined combining with mushrooms—Cinnamon and Lemon.  Those two ingredients give an intense flavor to the mushrooms.  Even more unusual, the technique for cooking them adds an actual ‘crunchy’ texture to the dish unlike anything I’ve ever had before.   It was a huge hit with my guests when I served it as a side dish.  Considering its creators, I shouldn’t have been so surprised.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Steak Hache, an homage to Joe Allen’s Chopped Steak

       Our favorite restaurants often share one thing in common.  We go there without ever having to look at the menu.  We know the moment we walk in the door what we are going to order.  There’s the linguine  with clam sauce at West Bank Cafe (407 W. 42nd St., New York, NY 10036 at Ninth AvenueTel: 212 695 6909).  The steak frites at Bistro Cassis (225 Columbus Ave, New York, NY, 10023 Tel: 212 579 3966).  And at Joe Allen (326 West 46th St. New York, NY Tel: 212 581 6464), we inevitably order the Chopped Steak.  This delicious charred-on-the-outside, rare-on-the-inside piece of great American beef is one of my favorite dishes on earth.  And it isn’t even on the menu.  

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Lemon Lemon Loaf, a Lemon Pound Cake from “Baked” And a reminiscence about Sara Lee

        There’s something amazingly satisfying about a simple pound cake.  Especially when it’s perfectly made, as were these by Andrew.  The ‘crumb’ of the cake gives it a richness and depth of flavor that’s unlike any other cake.  Infused with lemon flavor and enriched with sour cream, this cake then is glazed with a lemon-y icing.  It’s a delight that we never grow tired of.  And it always brings back memories for me of my Advertising years because, at one time, I worked on the Sara Lee Bakery account and at one time, Sara Lee made a pretty mean pound cake.  That, unfortunately, was before the Butter Police and the accountants got in the way and Sara Lee’s cakes no longer cut it.  You only had to ask Sara Lee herself.  Yes, there was a real Sara Lee.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Tomato, Garlic and Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Who can resist tomatoes that look like this?
After I made these golden-seared chicken breasts with their moist center of plump ripe tomatoes, melted cheese and pungent garlic sauce, I wondered if I could call this an original recipe.  But when, exactly, is a recipe an original?  This is a hard question to answer because there don’t seem to be any hard and fast rules. Interestingly, copyright laws don’t give a lot of help here. From what I have read, while most cookbooks are themselves copyrighted, the individual recipes can’t be. The theory is that recipes are in the “public domain”.  This relies on the idea that several people can, at any time, come up with the same thing—ingredients and cooking techniques being pretty well universal. What copywriting a cookbook does is to bar copying every recipe out of that cookbook, in the same order, and then trying to make money out of your purloined manuscript.  But how then do people win Recipe contests?  Aren’t they all variations on something else someone else has done?  That’s factually correct. People who win things like the Pillsbury Bake-Off generally do so by adapting a recipe, changing up its key flavors but keeping the cooking method pretty much one that’s tried and true.  The starting point for this recipe was one in Gourmet but the ingredients differed from the cheese to the tomatoes to the spinach I served with it.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Joanne Chang's Famous Banana Bread

         We were having a house guest we knew started each day with a banana.  So I dutifully brought a bunch of bananas home from the supermarket.  I am not one to strip corn or pull apart bunches of bananas in any grocery store and so I arrived home with 6 bananas that cost all of about 60 cents.  The houseguest stayed only one night and Andrew was quick to point we had a lot of bananas on hand. They slowly browned on the kitchen counter.  Brown bananas are an invitation to make Banana Bread.  And since they were a regular part of tea with my Canadian mother, I knew the bread couldn’t have been all that hard to make since my mother considered any time spent in the kitchen was time away from doing absolutely anything else.  You name it and she would have rather done it than step foot in her kitchen. But she was also a paragon of thrift so no ripe banana would have gone unused. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Meatless Monday Perfected: A Virgin Patty Melt

My Meaty Patty Melt, the recipe is linked here.
         From my very first taste of a Patty Melt, I was hooked.  Cheese-y, Onion-y, Buttery and of course Meaty, the earthy odor of Rye bread rises from the crisp package of ingredients that seem meant for each other. I was smitten at a Friendly’s Restaurant in Rhode Island when I went there for College.  And for years I’ve made pilgrimages to Friendly’s for just that one dish.  A couple of years ago, Friendly’s collapsed and closed all but a few of its restaurants. I almost collapsed with it.  Fortunately, I was able to find a local substitute at a restaurant called Little Estia  (1615 Sag Harbor Turnpike, Sag Harbor NY 11963 Tel:(631) 725-1045.  It’s called a Freddy Melt and while it’s light on the caramelized onions essential to a Patty Melt, it will do in pinch.  And there’s always the option of making one at home…see  My fierce devotion to the Patty Melt drew me to Sam Sifton’s recent Sunday Times Magazine article called “Patty Party”.  There, next to the left of my pride and joy sat a second sandwich, described by Sifton as ‘its modern vegetarian cousin’.  I couldn’t wait to get into the kitchen to try it.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Gemelli with Broccolini, Sriracha and Sweet Sausage

         There are times when all I crave for dinner is a big bowl of pasta and the infinite possibilities it presents.  First of all there are the almost unlimited varieties of pasta spanning all shapes and sizes and textures.  From tiny orzo all the way through to sheets of lasagna, your options are wide open.   Equally limitless, there is almost nothing you cannot make into a sauce, as this recipe proves.  It combines the familiar – sweet Italian Sausage, Broccolini, Garlic and Reggiano Parmigiano—with an adventurous use of completely un-Italian Sriracha Hot Sauce and Smoked Paprika.  The result is an intensely flavorful sauce -- not overly spicy just richer and more interesting. These ingredients may be completely out of context with Italian Pasta, but they add a layer of flavor that lifts the dish from everyday to extraordinary. And pasta with Sriracha and Smoked Paprika make for a great guessing game at the dinner table. Ah, the joy of pasta!  

Monday, September 12, 2016

Thomas Keller's Vinaigrette and Two Great Ways to use it: In Mixed Vegetable Salad and a Layered Chicken Salad in a Mason Jar.

Chef Keller in the Vegetable Garden
For years I’ve relied on Julia Child’s “Screw Top Jar” method for making a basic vinaigrette which I’ve enhanced with Dijon mustard and a little Garlic.  It’s a good salad dressing and I like to keep it on hand at all times.  But herein lies the problem. Inevitably I refrigerate the dressing and when I need to serve it, I find it congealed and unusable.  I then put it in the microwave which does swift work to liquefy the dressing.  But it also serves to heat it which means it needs time to cool.  A vicious cycle if there ever was one.  So the minute I saw Thomas Keller’s recipe for his Vinaigrette in Food and Wine Magazine, I was hooked.  

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Best Cookie Ever for the Classic: Andrew bakes Dorie Greenspan's Beurre et Sel Jammers for the Hampton Classic

The Best Cookie Ever for the Classic
The Best Table from #TheBridgehamptonFlorist no matter who won.
           As long-time readers know, the Hampton Classic Horse Show is unofficially the last blast of summer, a big party under huge tents that marks the end of the social season out here.   It’s traditionally one of the biggest celebrity draws of the year.  But this year, there was an unwelcome visitor, Hurricane Hermine.  The $300,000 Grand Prix was quickly re-scheduled for an earlier start.  While the sun
shone brilliantly and the wind was more a welcome breeze, apparently a lot of people “didn’t get the memo”.  A large segment of our summer population left town imagining that if they waited any longer, they’d have a hard slog in the storm.  So Classic standbys like the inimitable Joy Marks, famous for changing outfits mid-show, were nowhere to be found.  Matt Lauer was delivering his son to Boarding School. Mayor Giuliani, who is persona-non-grata out here this season, wisely stayed away.   In fact the only truly bold-faced name we saw was Brooke Shields.  They really missed a lot.