Friday, March 26, 2010

Sicilian-Style Meatballs

I knew I wasn’t the only one who loved meatballs when I read about “The Meatball Shop” in the New York Times.  The place, which is at 84 Stanton Street on the Lower East Side, opened just 6 weeks ago. It sells only meatballs.  2 ounce meatballs of all kinds—beef, pork, chicken, salmon, vegetables--plus a weekly special.  They’re served with 4 kinds of sauce and focaccia ($7.00), as a slider ($3.00) or on a baguette ($9.00).  I can hardly wait to go. However, between the time I wrote this and this posting, the Times wrote a rather sad lament about the Meatball Ball Shop in a mini review last week.  So I encourage you to try these. Because I can vouch for how sensational the recipe I followed for Sicilian Meatballs in Food and Wine magazine.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Braised Chicken Thighs with “Pizza Spices”

        I don’t know about you but sometimes I think if I have to look at another skinless, boneless breast of chicken, I’d like to give up the bird altogether.  And yet a woman in my Food Writer’s boot camp says that, almost invariably, they’re the number one seller in the meat department and, along with Paper Towels, Bananas and Orange Juice, they're quite often the overall leader in what's ordered on the internet grocery site she works for.  I am a much greater fan of the chicken thigh.  White meat or dark meat preferences aside, the thigh is unquestionably the more flavorful of the two. Of course, the bone also helps here. The breast bone is puny in comparison and non-existent in the boneless variety.   Sizewise, the smaller thigh packs more taste. Hopefully this can compensate for the one thing the breast has over it. It’s about twice as caloric (278 calories vs. 138).  But really, two for a main course is still not a bad number. 
        This recipe has an interesting background.  I found it in Food and Wine’s “Best of the Best Cookbook Recipes” (Volume 12).  This is a compendium of the best recipes from 25 cookbooks, among them
Michelle Bernstein and Andrew Friedman’s “Cuisine A Latina” (Houghton Mifflin Company). 

Monday, March 22, 2010

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. Recently, a fellow member of my Food Writer’s Boot Camp went to a lot of trouble to send me a great vegetarian main dish which I am working on sharing with you soon.  But it the meantime, this recipe, which came out of the February/March “Fine Cooking”, is a fantastic discovery.  You can satisfy your vegetarian eaters and/or you can take it to another level by adding some 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.