Monday, December 28, 2009

Two hams gone wrong…and two recipes that could have saved them…Cuban Pernil and Pigeon Peas and RIce

Ingrid Hoffman's Recipe for Cuban Pernil uses a Fresh Ham as its start off point.

Much to my absolute horror, my dear friend, Ann Legette in Greensboro, NC, sent me the following email yesterday…
“Hello Darling,
It was so fun to have a funny story to share at Christmas lunch with the extended Legette family – about cooking my first ham, “Monte’s Ham.” I have a feeling all I will need to share with you is my dear friend and next door neighbor’s comment (who slipped in the kitchen door as I was carving the ham) and you will know exactly where I went wrong…
“Honey, that’s not a ham, that’s a turkey!”

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Ultimate Cranberry Citrus Relish

Jill Clark and I have been cooking together since she was in Dr. Denton’s. We’ve had so many great holidays together that The Making of the Cranberry Sauce is an annual event. And it’s taken place all over the map—even in Hong Kong. Several years ago, Jill moved to Dublin, met a wonderful man and we all went there to celebrate Thanksgiving. Finding the cranberries alone was a terrific challenge, just the first of many.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Review of da Umberto, a Tuscan Classic in Chelsea

You have to be doing something right when you set up shop in 1987, in what was then an unfashionable part of town, and keep people packing your restaurant for the next 22 years. But it’s a love it or hate it kind of place as I discovered this week.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Blackened Swordfish with Fresh Tomato Chutney

A recent dinner was so good that I didn’t want it to go unnoticed. And it was another excellent way of beating the clock this hectic time of year. In no time at all, you have something satisfying and truly special that’s good enough for company and a terrific treat for everyone.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Osso Buco, the Perfect Dinner Party Fare for right now.

What’s wonderful about this delicious entrée is that it only improves with a day or two in the refrigerator. And you just reheat it, mash some potatoes, toss a salad and a truly special dinner is on the table in no time.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The 10 Best Cookbooks of 2009 and the Top 20 Worst Restaurant Foods in America

It’s that time of year when everyone comes out with their end-of-year lists.
I haven’t been at this long enough to choose last year’s 10 Best Cookbooks.
But I’d have a lot of competition out there if I did. Everyone you’ve ever heard of and never heard of has a list. Since there are still 15 shopping days til Christmas, here are some of my ‘best of the best’ lists. And an intriguing Worst list that got my attention.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Salmon with Lentils

I've been asked for quick weeknight recipes and while this one involves a little chopping, I think it falls into that category.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Three Christmas Ideas for Cooks

My partner Andrew’s family has a rule: No Christmas gifts with plugs or handles. The only way I got a flat screen TV into the house was to say it was from Santa who wasn’t aware of the rule. Santa still doesn’t get it. One of my prime suggestions has a plug. The others both pass the test. One’s fantastic food-related photography from an incredibly talented photographer friend. And the other is a book I couldn’t put down.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Review of Salumeria Rosi in New York City

First of all, let’s get the name right. It’s SALLA MARIA RO SEE. And it’s well worth checking out especially if you’ve already trekked across or up town to go to the Lincoln Square movies or Lincoln Center. It’s a brief walk up Broadway, a left veer onto Amsterdam Avenue and there it sits at 283 Amsterdam Avenue just in the block after 73rd Street. (Tel: 212 877 4800 )

Monday, November 30, 2009

Reviews of Mastro’s Ocean Club, Zimzala, a recipe for Fish Tacos from Wahoo’s and a lemon all in Orange County, CA.

I had a terrific time in Orange County visiting my children. The weather was spectacular, the ocean beautiful and we had some very good food. And talk about photo ops.  I took over 600 pictures and my daughter-in-law Kym just sent me another 500 so for family pictures, look here.  But into each life, a little rain must fall, so let’s deal with the lemon first.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A recipe for Turkey Tetrazini so good, you may want to roast another bird. Seriously.

I am so fond of this recipe, I have, on at least one occasion, cooked a turkey merely to have the meat for this dish. I also have a sentimental attachment to this delicious way to eat leftover turkey.

That’s because one of the first pieces of food writing I ever had published included this recipe. And there is its provenance: Our dear friend Michael Grim introduced me to its creator, Anne Jaindl, a family friend with whom Michael’s late father Bill had worked.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Stovetop Sirloin Steak with Soy Citrus Aioli and Celery Root and Potatoes Anna

Our charcoal grill has been in the garage for several weeks so we were very pleased to discover this method for cooking a perfect steak right on top of the stove. Along with the instructions on how to pull off this feat, we also found the recipe for a Soy Citrus marinade that is later cooked and incorporated into mayonnaise to make a very satisfying aioli to serve with the steak. We paired this with a simple Celery Root and Potatoes Anna that we cooked in the oven and our stand-by haricots verts.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Eggplant Parmigiano made for the Yogic Vegan's visit

I’m all for eating more vegetables and I’m all for spreading the word that vegetarian cooking can add a lot to your kitchen repertoire. But I was thrown for quite a loop when our dear friend, the doctor, informed us that she was now a Yogic Vegan. Vegans, in case you have never had the pleasure, are a tough lot to cook for. They not only eschew any kind of meat, poultry, or fish, they also restrict themselves to not eating any animal products at all. I mean any. The ramifications? Eggs? Animal Product. Cheese? Animal Product. But layer on Yogic to the vegan equation and here’s what else you can add to (or actually subtract from) your shopping list: Gelatin, rennet, garlic, onions, and mushrooms. I must admit I have no reasonable difficulty cooking without gelatin or rennet but the rest of the list gave me pause. However, there seemed to be a loophole because I’d very recently seen the good doctor devour a piece of ice cream cake at her child’s birthday party. Chink, chink. I contacted her and got a funny message back: “Oh sh*t”, she wrote. “ I just meant a kind of “quiet” vegan thing- and without the internet you would never have known-- nor would I have known, that there was actually such a thing. Bottom line: I am flexible and will eat anything other than a cow…….:). You can imagine my relief as I zeroed in on Eggplant Parmigiano as the centerpiece of an otherwise Vegetarian, though not vegan, meal.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A visit to The Harrison and a recipe from Executive Chef and Next Iron Chef contestant, Amanda Freitag, for a Fall Squash Salad. And yes we got to meet her.

We’ve always had a soft spot for The Harrison, (355 Greenwich St. at Harrison (212) 274-9310 ). The restaurant was set to open the week of 9/11 2001. The World Trade Center stood at the end of Greenwich St. just 6 blocks south. Needless to say, the area was cordoned off and pretty much inaccessible for weeks and weeks afterwards. Fire trucks lined Greenwich St. You needed ID to go anywhere. But The Harrison’s two partners, Jimmy Bradley and Danny Abrams, hung in there and much to the amazement of pretty much everyone opened for business on October 26th, just 6 weeks after the cataclysm.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bacon and Beef Meatloaf

My friend Larry Hui is one of the leaders of a group of volunteers who help out at a homeless shelter in our neighborhood. I cook for the shelter and when I do, I often serve this meatloaf. It hits home with the men (and they are all men) and it’s a particular favorite of Larry’s so I am happy to share it here.

A Letter from Hong Kong from Chewing the Fat subscriber, Richard Kligler, and a recipe for Claypot Cooking without the Claypot

The Kligler Family, Marcia and Richard, Sean and Jill, are dear friends of ours who relocated to Hong Kong four years ago.  We've had a wonderful friendship over the years, much of it revolving around our mutual love of food.  The Kliglers have been our Thanksgiving companions for years. 

In fact spending the holiday together was a tradition that goes back to the days when my partner, Andrew and Marcia Clark Kligler, toiled at Abraham & Strauss in downtown Brooklyn.  Black Friday, the retailer's biggest day of the Christmas shopping season, meant no travel over the holiday.  Instead Andrew and Marcia  celebrated with a group of friends from work.  

When I joined the group 20 years ago, it was a tradition that was still going strong.  And so strong is it still, that 3 years ago, five of us actually went to Hong Kong to spend Thanksgiving with the Kliglers.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Review of Fatty Crab and a recipe for a one-dish wonder called Nasi Goreng with Shrimp

I can’t get enough of Fatty Crab  2170Broadway (76th-77th St.)212-496-2722 for reservations or, the spinoff of the original West Village restaurant (634 Hudson Street, between Horatio and Gansevoort Sts., 212 352-3592 (No reservations taken).

Now that it’s made the trek north to the Upper West Side, it’s become one of our two favorite Asian restaurants. It’s a funky place born of owner Zak Pelaccio’s love affair with Malaysian cooking following a stint cooking and eating in Kuala Lumpur.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Stracciatella and Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula and Tomato Sauce

An homage to CO. and DiPalo Dairy Store in Little Italy

It’s great to live in a city where you can still shop in a traditional Italian cheese and dairy store that’s 99 years old and just expanded into the space next door. That’s quite an accomplishment given that New York’s Little Italy is fast contracting and is now cheek to cheek with an ever-enlarging Chinatown. But Louis DiPalo continues his family’s almost century-long run at DiPalo Dairy at 200 Grand Street, (212-226-1033).

Now I won’t say this place actually reminded me of my old haunts in Rome which were more Salumerias than Dairy outposts. But it is exclusively Italian down to the Illy coffee that was being sampled along with rounds of Gran Padano, that cousin of Parmigiano that’s grainier and less well known. DiPalo continues that wonderful Italian tradition of letting you sample virtually everything you buy.

We were treated to paper thin slices of prosciutto that literally melted in our mouths and we got to taste our cheeses. The cheese selection at DiPalo is fantastic and I think, well priced. I got Pecorino Romano for $12.00 a pound and Gran Padano was on offer at 11.99. Then there was, at 7.99 for 500 grams or 1.1 lbs., the all-important Stracciatella, yet another cousin, this time of mozzarella, that’s the basis for my homage to Co., the new pizza place at 230 Ninth Avenue and 24th Street (212-243-1105).

And there’s also a little nod (in the use of the prosciutto) to the spectacular “Parma” pizza at World Pie, 2402 Main Street in Bridgehampton (631 537 7999), which is one of our all-time favorites.

We are in full pizza mode in New York at this point. It’s one of the most frequent of foody discussions and pizza practitioners have amped up their offerings and, more often than not, thinned out their crusts to a point where one wag described them as communion-wafer thin.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Restaurant Review: Mas(Farmhouse) and a recipe for Salted Caramel Ice Cream

      Mas is a wonderful restaurant on Downing Street which is almost outside the boundaries of Greenwich Village. For whatever reason, we had never heard of it when we were cruising Zagat’s for a place for a celebration. And Mas scored a 28 for food, which puts it in some very famous company and is, in fact, the highest food score you can achieve in Zagat’s.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pear and Apple Chutney

I saw gorgeous pears at the farm stand last weekend. Andrew was totally thrown when I bought them since he’s the baker and generally fruit falls into his department. But the Red Bartletts and their greener cousins were irresistible to me so I bought five of each and brought them home. “I’ll make chutney”, I said when asked what on earth was I doing.