Thursday, December 29, 2016

Yankee Pot Roast

As we head into winter, what could be better than a Yankee Pot Roast for dinner one of these weekends.  Slow-cooked over a period of hours, the relatively inexpensive cut of meat used in the dish becomes meltingly tender. The sauce created lends itself to making a great beef-rich gravy.  Add to that an array vegetables--carrots, onions, celery and tomatoes—and you have a deeply satisfying stew that perfumes your house while you cook it.  In other words, an ideal dinner to weather whatever winter hands us in terms of snow and ice.  And as you sit down to a plate of tender meat and silken sauce, you’re paying homage to one of America’s first recipes.  The earliest example of the recipe for the dish appeared in Amelia Simmons “The First American Cookbook which was published in 1796.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Easiest-Ever Sausage and Potato Pan Roast

Who really wants to cook up a storm this week?  This is a week when we’d prefer to take a breather before heading into the weekend’s New Year’s celebration. Sign up for this particular recipe and you’ll be rewarded—not just with time saved—but with a particularly flavorful weeknight dinner with virtually no prep time and all of 30 to 40 minutes in the oven.  It’s also adaptable.  I have made the dish with both sweet and hot Italian sausage. I’ve also experimented with the greens that go with it.  It’s equally good whether you like pepper-y arugula or tender baby spinach.  And I had reasons for this experimentation.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Melissa Clark's Buttery Breakfast Casserole


The Breakfast Casserole is a particularly welcome dish over the holidays. With school out and plenty of days off, breakfast becomes a much bigger deal.  In truth, Melissa Clark’s most recent contribution to this genre is a prefect brunch dish as well.  It gets its name not from its butter content but from the buttery base of golden brown Croissants that are the foundation of this luscious dish.  Almost all breakfast casseroles feature bread of some kind, generally the staler the better.  Stale bread eagerly sops up the egg, milk and cream mixture.  Here, Melissa used fresh Croissants. The croissants are toasted in the oven which achieves the same result as stale bread.   The Gruyère cheese and sausage are a classic pairing and they make for a wonderful surprise in the layers of egg-y, custard-y goodness. This dish would be a stand-out even if it didn’t offer one of its greatest assets: it’s easy to assemble the night before and then it’s popped in the oven an hour before you want to serve it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Pasta with Mushroom Bolognese Sauce

Bucatini works beautifully in this recipe
“I would be hard pressed to tell you whether or not there was meat in this sauce”. That was Andrew’s take once I served him this completely Vegetarian version of Italy’s renowned Bolognese sauce.   I am not sure that’s the response Vegetarians would be thrilled to hear.   But for those of us who like variety in our diet to include meat-free meals, Andrew’s remarks were as good as they get.  This wonderfully flavorful sauce, full of tomatoey goodness, hints of parmesan and baby eggplant is a pasta lovers dream.  For pasta,  I like to use Bucatini, sometimes called Perciatelli, which takes me right back to Rome with every bite.  Bucatini, the spaghetti-like pasta with a tunnel running through it, is particularly popular there.  Once the sauce has been incorporated into the pasta, a cloud of luscious Burata cheese tops the dish adding a creamy-rich dimension.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Best Christmas Cookie Ever! Dorie Greenspan's Beurre et Sel Jammers and a review of "Dorie's Cookies"

Not too long ago, I suggested that if you made only one baked good this season, it should be the over-the-top delicious Apple Pie Bar found at  “Not so fast,” the Baker in our house protested. “If ever there was a cookie to be baked this season, Dorie Greenspan’s Beurre et Sel Jammers should be the one.”  I am not one to argue.  I’d given Andrew Ms. Greenspan’s latest cookbook “Dorie’s Cookies” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2016) for his birthday.   But he’d already made her remarkable Beurre et Sel Jammers which we published in our story about this year’s Hampton Classic Horse Show.  We both decided that this was well worth repeating and also a great opportunity to tell you about Dorie’s latest book.

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Daily Meal has just published my latest Viking Ocean Cruises article! And here it is!


On Viking Ocean Cruises, Mamsen’s Deli Serves Mum's Recipes on Mum's China

Staff Writer
For Viking CEO Torstein Hagen, perfection is in the details

Torstein Hagen, chairman and CEO of Viking River Cruises, with 61 vessels and counting, is building on its success with the introduction of Viking Ocean Cruises A fleet that will soon consist of six identical ships, the first two, Viking Star and Viking Sea, have already garnered awards that put them at the top of the premium cruise segment. 

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.

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.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Come aboard and sample the Cuisine on the World's # 1 Cruise Line. My latest article for The Daily Meal is here! Complete with a recipe for Seared Mahi Mahi from the Chef!

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 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.