Friday, April 29, 2016

Fresh Asparagus Salad with Buratta, Pancetta, Pine Nuts, Raisins and Bread Crumbs and Tiny Tomatoes

The creamy rich Burrata Cheese is completely hidden under the Asparagus

The Bounty of the Comfort Family Farm on
Lumber Lane in Bridgehampton starts
with their first Asparagus crop of the season.
         The first Asparagus of the season is about to make its appearance after our long, cold Spring. I was driving along past one of the farm stands we go to all summer, when I saw the first spears standing totally alone on what is usually a cart laden with produce. As you can see in this Fall picture, the Comfort Family’s farm grows all kinds of good things. But there are few things in life I look forward to more than the arrival of those first tender shoots of asparagus.  The delicious flavor of the vegetable is matched by the glorious green color it takes on when cooked.  We’ll have plenty of it for the next month. And then it will disappear until next Spring.  I’ll buy it in the off-season but those spears will pale when compared to the delicious fresh flavor of the local stuff.  Now, how to make it a whole meal?  A complete dinner for two?  It was actually very easy.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Jacques Pépin's Poulet a la Crème (Chicken in Cream Sauce)


I have expressed my affection for Jacques Pépin and his latest cookbook “Heart and Soul in the Kitchen” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2015).  This book is filled with recipes that are more at home at home than they are in restaurants.  One of his dishes is such a favorite of mine that I’ve made it several times now: It’s his recipe for Chicken in Cream Sauce.  It is the best of French country food, an amazingly satisfying dish combining heavy cream and mushrooms and wine with fork-tender chicken.  It’s a triumph of simple cooking requiring nothing more than browning the chicken and making the sauce all in one pan and in all of about 30 minutes. Its genesis was in Chef Pépin’s mother’s kitchen in the town of Bourg-en-Bresse. And if you know anything about French chickens that name should ring a bell.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

New York Strip Steaks with Tyler Florence's Mushroom Sauce and Ina Garten's Cornmeal-Crusted Onion Rings

Tyler Florence
        Friday night has been Steak night at our house for a long time. New York Strip is right up there with our favorites.  It’s easy to cook on the stove top and the chewier texture of the steak appeals to the meat-eater extinct.  You can be a purist and simply salt and pepper the steak vigorously, put it into a very hot pan with a tablespoon of peanut oil and one of butter and you’ve got a beautiful steak in about 8 minutes.  But occasionally we like to try it with a sauce to give it another dimension.  This mushroom sauce is both easy and delicious, a take on
Ina Garten
one we saw Tyler Florence making on Tyler’s Ultimate, his terrific show on  the Cooking Channel. And along with it, nothing goes better than Ina Garten’s Cornmeal Crusted Onion Rings and some simple sautéed spinach.  So on to the recipes.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Fresh Fettucine with Sausage, Asparagus and Mushrooms


     A great bowl of pasta is one of my favorite comfort dishes.  I must admit that this particular variation hits the mark. The fresh asparagus and mushrooms seem made for each other and for the Italian hot sausage I combined them with. There’s cheese too—two kinds that bring the zip of Parmesan together with the sweetness of Fontina.  Both cheeses melt into the pan sauce.  And the couple of tablespoons of butter stirred into the sauce added a rich smoothness that I found irresistible. But there is one other ingredient that sets this dish apart: Fresh Pasta.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Lemon-Roasted Salmon with Asparagus, Kale and Potatoes

Monday, April 11, 2016

Seared Lamb Chops with Anchovies, Capers and Sage

Melissa Clark, Creator of great, simple recipes
         For a quick dinner with a little bit of panache, a lamb chop is just the ticket.  I’m particularly fond of Costco’s loin lamb chops that have been perfectly trimmed. Two or three of these at a sitting are a fine meal and quite budget friendly.  The last time I did the math, each individual chop cost $1.75.  Not bad at all.  The only problem I have had is that try as I might, I’ve never cracked the code to make them anything but a simply grilled lamb chop.  I’ve soaked them in Worcestershire sauce but that’s about it.  So I was pleased to come across this Melissa Clark take on lamb chops.  Ms. Clark of the New York Times is a particular favorite of mine. She is a genius at uncomplicated, almost fast, food.  And this recipe comes together in about 35 minutes always a plus when you’re pressed for time.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Perfect Date Night Recipe: Seared Duck with Date Jus and Cheese Ravioli with Piave Sauce


         I realize that most people take ‘date night’ to mean an escape from cooking as well as the kids.  But once in a while, a great meal can turn any night into date night.  And this one is flawless. It combines the luxury of duck breast with the sweet and entirely unexpected flavor of a date jus. (Yes, I know, the other kind of date). On the same plate, pillows of cheese ravioli are sauced with a sublimely rich and tart cheese sauce using the Italian cheese, Piave.
Chinon from the Loire Valley
Your cooking skills can be fairly rudimentary.  As long as you’ve got a grip on how to sear meat on the stovetop, and literally, boil water for the Ravioli, you’ve got it made. I would even go so far as to say that this is the perfect dish for anyone—man or woman— to cook and gain instant cooking credibility with whomever he or she is trying to impress.  It’s also blessedly simple and its timing includes includes oven time and resting time so the required 1hr 15 minutes can be punctuated by sips of a great red wine.  Food and Wine, where this recipe was found, recommends Chinon, a ‘fresh and supple red wine’ made with a Cabernet Franc or Breton grape in the Loire Valley of France.

Monday, April 4, 2016

From The Daily Meal: In Search of Nice's Socca, the World's First Gluten-Free Pancake

Gluten-free pancakes are now widely available, but we went to France to find the original
Staff Writer
Spoiler Alert: We found the Socca.

Socca pancakes, made with chickpea flour, may have been the world’s first gluten-free pancakes. Although the recipe started out life in Genoa, Italy — and can still be found all along Italy’s Ligurian coast — the French city of Nice later pinched it, and is now famous for them… but finding the treat isn’t exactly an easy task.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Pasta alla Puttanesca with (or without) Shrimp

I am making a concerted effort to put some great vegetarian recipes together for all kinds of reasons—health, being eco-friendly and just giving us all more options for terrific meals.  And this recipe, which came out of  “Fine Cooking” magazine a couple of years ago, is a fantastic discovery.  You can satisfy your vegetarian eaters with its spicy full-on flavor and/or you can take it to another level by adding some sweet and tender shrimp in the last few minutes.  So one dish can be served two ways—at the same seating.  It’s perfect for families where increasingly there’s a vegetarian at the table. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Where to Eat in Barcelona on a Sunday Night.

Find yourself in Barcelona on Sunday and everything’s closed? Here’s an insider tip
Staff Writer
Where to Eat in Barcelona on a Sunday Night
Monte Mathews
Just a sample of the cuisine Etapes has to offer....Lamb Parmentiere on a bed of Pommes de Terres Puree
Who knew Barcelona’s finest restaurants all shut up tight on Sunday nights? Or for that matter, Mondays too? If you’ve made plans to be in the Catalan capital and they include either of those nights, you can rule out visits to any of the four restaurants Ferran Adrià (of the late-elBulli) has opened with his brother Albert (with two more on the way). Still, you’ve saved yourselves a trip to Paral-lel, the suburb where the brothers have set up shops. Of course, you can still find endless places that trade in Tapas for tourists, but if you want to eat something more than the fantastically-fried patates bravas, or a jamon sandwich, and wish for a real dinner beautifully presented and served, your options may be limited. Within those options, however, one shines brightly in the heart of hotel country: Etapes.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

A gorgeous addition to any Easter Table....Andrew decks out Ina Garten's Coconut Cupcakes and Chewing the Fat celebrates our One Millionth reader!

Coconut Cupcakes that Andrew eggified for Easter!

  In the run-up to Easter, we’ve had snow, sun and cold temperatures earlier this week that feel more like winter than spring. It's warmed up at last and here's how we celebrated. And, after Andrew added jelly beans, they clearly make for an Easter filled with color.  We're also celebrating what we consider to be quite an achievement.  Someone reading this will be the 1,500,000th reader of Chewing the Fat! That's right 1.5 Million people have read Chewing the Fat. Thank you so much and I look forward to keep entertaining you and feeding you delicious things to eat.  So let's celebrate with these coconut-lovers cupcakes. For those who observe Lent, it’s time for a little indulgence.  Andrew made this Ina Garten recipe for an Easter party last year and they were a huge hit.  But you must love coconut:  There’s coconut in the cake and coconut on top.  And I think you’ll agree, he’s really got the recipe down pat —they look just like their picture.   So without further ado, here’s the recipe:

Monday, March 21, 2016

20 Great Things to Eat and Drink in St. Barthelemy F.W.I

New this year:  Lunch on the Beach at Le Toiny.  You can now bask in the sun before, during or after lunch.

We're just back from our annual visit to St. Barthelemy or St. Barth or St. Bart's depending on who you talk to.   It was our 25 th visit to this speck of an island, a mere ten minute flight from neighboring St. Maarten.  We once made the huge mistake, when the Euro was at its height, of going to neighboring Nevis.

On Nevis, we discovered, there were no decent public beaches, no great restaurants, and worse, not even a passable grocery store.  About the only thing Nevis had going for it was that on a clear day you could see St. Barth off in the distance.  How vividly I remember quickly writing our agent, Bethany Ludwick of, begging her to find us a place on St. Barth for the following year. And this was literally on the plane used to escape Nevis, with its mediocre food and barking dogs that are used to scare off that other bane of our existence on Nevis: its marauding howler monkeys.  (It didn't come as much of a surprise to hear that this year Wimco had pulled out of Nevis altogether.) But I digress.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Where to Eat at La Boqueria Market in Barcelona

We visit three tiny eateries that made huge first impressions

Staff Writer
Where to Eat at La Boqueria Market in Barcelona
Monte Mathews
Hungry bellies enter here.

Barcelona is a very food-centric town, and one that entertains 7.5 million tourists annually, in addition to the usual population of 1.6 million residents. It makes perfect sense that smack in the middle of the Old City (Cuitat Vella) is the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, more commonly known as La Boqueria. Its earliest incarnation, in the thirteenth century, was as a pig market, but it wasn’t until centuries later (in 1826, to be exact) that the market was legally recognized. From there it grew in phases. The metal roof that still shelters the structure today was installed way back in 1914.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Sautéed Salmon with Creamy Leeks and Tomatoes


         Salmon is truly a lifesaver for harried weeknight cooks.  Now I suppose that means most of us, most of the week. But there’s another great plus to cooking salmon.  That is when you need something to start cooking only when the last family member walks in the door. This entire dinner took all of 20 minutes to put together.  It relies on sautéing the fish on the stove top, at the same time that you make a creamy-rich ‘sauce’ of the leeks.    The fish takes all of 4 minutes to cook if you like your salmon medium rare, 2 minutes more for well-done fish.   Once the fish is done, the ripe ‘tomatoes on the vine’ take a swim in lemon juice in the fish pan.  I served the fish on a bed of baby spinach that was sautéed in a non-stick pan at the same time as the fish.  What you end up with is the delicate sweetness of salmon, creamy-rich leeks and tart red tomatoes combined in a dish that’s as appealingly colorful as it is great tasting.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The World's Fastest Pasta Sauce? Chorizo "Bolognese" with Buffalo Mozzarella adapted from Donna Hay

     A classic Bolognese sauce takes hours on the stove where the sweetness of tomatoes, onions, celery and carrots blend with beef, and pork to come together in one of Italy’s most treasured sauces.  In Italian American houses, it is called “Sunday Sauce” because the bulk of the day is spent creating family versions of Bolognese. The sauce is then served over perfectly cooked pasta where it is topped with the tart taste of grated Parmesan cheese.  So when I came across a recipe that claimed you could have a version of Bolognese on the table in 15 minutes…15 minutes!, to say the least, I was intrigued. What I ended up with in this cheater’s “Bolognese”, was a supremely rich, aromatic and slightly spicy sauce complemented by the extra creaminess of Buffalo Mozzarella. The Buffalo in question is a Water Buffalo and the cheese produced from its milk makes plain old Mozzarella amazingly bland in comparison.  This is a perfect meal for a weeknight and especially perfect given a staggering statistic I read recently: the average American is now spending all of 27 minutes a day preparing the food we eat.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Definitely not your Mother's Tuna Casserole with Dill and Potato Chips from Andy Baraghani in Bon Appetit


Andy Baraghani of Bon Appetit
Yes, I really did cook this.  I know, I know, I know.  But there was something almost primal in its appeal.  Oddly, I didn’t grow up anywhere near a Tuna casserole.   It might have been grounds for divorce in our family. But what intrigued me about Bon Appetit’s return to this 50s classic was that they made no attempt to cover up its roots  The author of the piece, a man named Andy Baraghani, went full bore on how he had revisited the recipe and basically re-invented it.  What he came up with is a terrific dish: luscious and crispy, salty and full of flavor, creamy-rich in cheese, filled with mushrooms, leeks and onions and chunks of the best tuna, it is simply delicious. It will amaze you with its great taste.  But let’s face it: since your mother or grandmother made it, we’ve all become foodies. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Maple Syrup Pie a la Quebecoise

In Spring, Quebec taps its sugar maples.
As a lot of my readers know, I am from the province of Quebec in Canada.  Even though I have lived my entire adult life in the States, I still revere my Canadian roots and I am very proud of my home country and all that it stands for.  My hometown, Montreal, is one of the world’s great places to eat.  But today’s recipe is for an item you likely won’t find in too many restaurants.  Where you will find it is on the tables of Quebecois homes because if there’s one item that is universally loved in Quebec, it is our Maple Syrup. And from that maple syrup comes a pie that is as much a part of winter in Quebec as snow. Its crust is the simplest possible: just four ingredients –flour, butter, salt and water.  Once it’s in place in the pie dish, the filling of pure maple syrup, beaten eggs and butter, cream, and a little flour and salt is poured over the crust.  It perfumes the house and once out of the oven, the one to two hour wait for the pie to cool is sheer torture.   Finally, you are rewarded with this decadent winter treat that is best appreciated with a large scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream to blunt the intense sweetness of the pie.  Not everyone thinks it needs this addition; our friend Jim took one bite and pronounced the pie as good as eating pancakes and maple syrup. But I’d go for the Ice Cream.

Monday, February 22, 2016

My review of Viking Star and her Food has just appeared on The Daily Meal. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Red-Wine Braised Duck Legs from John Ash in Fine Cooking Magazine

John Ash, Chef, Author and Teacher 

         Let’s face it: You can only eat so much chicken, so many ways. Well how about Duck instead?   Dark, rich, tender meat with a crackly, crisp skin, duck is often thought of as a restaurant item (think Peking Duck) or saved for a special occasion.  But after this foray into cooking duck, thanks to Fine Cooking Magazine and a writer named John Ash, I very well may indulge my passion for the bird more often than I have been doing. You can also find duck more readily than ever as more supermarkets than ever stock it.  The truth is, as Mr. Ash points out, if you can cook chicken, you can cook duck.  And today’s recipe is simplicity itself: You simply braise duck legs in a rich, sweet wine sauce filled with dried fruit and lots of garlic. When the duck is fork tender, you brighten the sauce with capers and lemon juice.  While Fine Cooking served theirs on a bed of Polenta, ours was made of creamy-rich mashed potatoes. The potatoes were from Long Island and once upon a time, the duck would have been too.

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.