Thursday, August 4, 2016

Anna Pump's Asian-Flavored Beef, Pepper and Spinach Salad

         The Hamptons are chock-a-block full of famous chefs.  There are those who work here--or at least own restaurants here—like Jean-Georges Vongerichten who just arrived this year at Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton.  There are those who make this place their summer home like Bobby Flay and Marc Murphy. And there are those who have lived here year ‘round and who have spread the gospel of Hamptons food and cooking throughout the country.  Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, immediately comes to mind.  But you might be surprised to know that Ina herself owes a great debt of gratitude to someone she initially hired to work in her original Barefoot Contessa food shop. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Rao's Lemon Chicken My Way, with a hand from Cook's Illustrated

Rao's Original, the toughest table in town.
         One of New York’s most iconic restaurants is almost impossible to get into.  Unless you are a bold-faced name or a local politician or, even better, a family with “connections” to a very specific group of Italian families, your chances of scoring a table there are slim to none.   Rao’s breaks every rule from its location (East Harlem, 455 East 114th Street NYC (Tel: 212-722-6709)) to its size (tiny) to its hours (Monday to Friday only) to its steadfastly sticking to Italian American classics on its menu.   Lately, Rao’s has expanded to Las Vegas and Los Angeles where you’ll find a far bigger welcome at far bigger restaurants than the home office ever provided. 
         High on the list of Rao’s specialties is Roast Lemon Chicken, a chicken lover's dream of crisp-skinned chicken redolent in garlic and lemon and plenty of sauce to soak up in chunks of crusty Italian bread.  For its original recipe, Rao’s cuts two small chickens in half.  They’re quickly cooked under the broiler until they’re golden bronze.  Then a sauce heavy on lemon juice and with olive oil, red wine vinegar and dried oregano is added.  The birds are broiled again and served.  You can find the recipe all over the web.  But what you likely cannot do is to replicate in your home kitchen.