Thursday, May 25, 2017

Lucky Peach Lamb Burgers

I don’t know if you are aware of a quirky food magazine called “Lucky Peach”.  It’s been in existence since 2011.  It was the brainchild of two long-time writers and the Chef, David Chang, of Momofuku fame.  It never toppled the juggernaut of food magazines like Food and Wine, Bon Appetit and Saveur.  Instead it attracted a following among just 30,000 subscribers to its 22 issues.  But it was hardly on its last legs. It gained 20 percent of its print subscribers just last year and its first quarter ad revenues were up 121 percent in 2017. It’s universally believed that the end of print as we know it is nigh, and Lucky Peach could be used as proof.  Their website had 750,000 unique visits in January alone.  But that’s not what happened at Lucky Peach.

Monday, May 22, 2017

On the Amalfi Coast, A Hotel Re-Opens for the Season and its Chef celebrates with a completely new Pasta!

Jaw-dropping luxury.

Between Positano and Amalfi, perched on the edge of a cliff between sky and sea, sits the majestic Monastero Santa Rosa, a 17th century monastery transformed into one of Gulf of Salerno’s 21st century most exclusive hotels.   If you can tear yourself away from the staggering beauty of the view, you’ll find yourself in terraced gardens that culminates in an infinity-edged pool with yet another panoramic view of the sea.  With just 20 rooms, the hotel nonetheless houses a complete spa with treatment rooms, sauna, steamroom, a hydro pool and ‘experience shower as well as a tepidarium. The hotel just opened for its 5th season on April 14th and will welcome guests until November.          
Sfogliatelle Santa Rosa, invented here and still on the menu!
Monastero Santa Rosa was indeed a monastery.  Built in the late 17th century, it was brought to life by a descendent of a local noble family, Sister Rosa Pandolfi.  It was she who renovated the chapel and built the monastery as a convent which opened in 1681.  The sisters of Santa Rosa contributed much to the local community. But they are best remembered for their exquisitely baked desserts.  Their sfogliatelle became known as a “Santa Rosa”.  Sfogliatelle are a shell-shaped cream-filled pastry means ‘small, thin leaf or layer’ because the pastry’s texture looks like a stack of leaves.  Guests at the hotel’s Ristorante del Refettorio will find Sfogliatelle Santa Rosa with Almond Ricotta and Cherry Sorbet.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

My Latest Article in The Daily Meal: Exploring Bordeaux: An Itinerary for Wine Lovers

Exploring Bordeaux: An Itinerary for Wine Lovers
Every oenophile should visit Bordeaux at least once.
Staff Writer 

Where to go when you're in Bordeaux

Bordeaux, where the vineyards seem to go on forever
Of all the world's great winemaking regions, none surpasses Bordeaux in reputation or in history.  Bordeaux, along with the surrounding prefecture of Gironde, is one of the largest wine growing regions of France.  It's 112,600 hectares of land (over 275,000 acres) produce an average of 700,00 bottles of Bordeaux wine annually.  There are more than 8,500 chateaux producing no less than 54 appellations of Bordeaux wine every year.These wines range from sizeable quantities of everyday table wines to some of the most prestigious and most expensive vintages in the world.While most Bordeaux wines are red, the region is home to some rosé wines, dry whites, the sparkling Crémant de Bordeaux and sweet white wines like the noble Sauternes.  
La Cite de Vin, 10 stories tall and dedicated to Wine
It stands to reason that Bordeaux would hold the world's main Wine Fair, VinExpo.This year, from June 18th to 21st, a staggering 2,350 exhibitors from 42 countries will host 48,500 wine buyers from around the world.  A visit to Bordeaux should be on every oenophile's list.  And not just for  VinExpo.  Just a year ago, La Cité de Vin opened in an immense 10-story building.  The museum is dedicated to the wines of the world. Built at a cost of $91,000,000, La Cité is a Disneyland for wine lovers.  In its first seven months of operation, it welcomed 270,000 visitors. But even those without a passion for the grape will find much to love about Bordeaux.  The city itself is the fifth largest in France and its historic heart has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List as "an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble of the Eighteenth Century.
After Paris, Bordeaux has the highest number of historical buildings of an city in France. But to really get a sense of place, one must delve into the countryside and visit wines at their source. There, within easy driving distance of the city center, youwill ot only learn about wine-making and participate in tastings, you'll also be welcomed into Chateaux that are significant both architecturally and historically. And if you are hesitant to drive, Uber operates in Bordeaux.  A trip to our first destination vineyard was 50 Euros, round-trip.  We've singled out three Chateaux which welcome guests with great style, some of which offer great food to accompany their wines as well.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Orecchiete with Spring Greens in 25 Minutes Start to Finish

The way it works in our house is that I leave the recipe for whatever I am making for dinner sitting conspicuously on the kitchen counter.  It’s the first thing Andrew sees when he gets home and walks into the kitchen.  The only advance warning he ever has is on days when I know I’ll be serving Chicken. This is due to his undying loyalty to a restaurant near his office called “Chirping Chicken”.  This loyalty comes from his having lost a lot of weight by consuming nothing but Chirping Chicken Caesar Salad for lunch for weeks on end.  The weight is gone but the lure of the salad hasn’t. One night last week he did an eye roll when he spotted today’s recipe. It was only after eating this terrific-tasting dish with its Spring Greens and roasted almonds that he admitted his misgivings.  And he did so while telling me that I absolutely had to wax poetic about how good this is for people who might think ‘meh’.   I didn’t change its name. Instead I’m advertising its second virtue: The whole delicious dish takes no more than 15 minutes to make.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

From The Daily Meal..."A Legendary Roman Hotel Celebrates its Restaurant's 10th Anniversary with a Gift to its Guests". And a recipe for its Chef's Risotto with Cacio Cheese, Pepper and Sesame

The Hassler is at the Right Hand Side of the Spanish Steps
At the top of the newly refurbished Spanish Steps in Rome, sits one the Eternal City’s most extraordinary hotels. The Hassler Roma has entertained everyone from Dwight Eisenhower to Grace Kelly and, quite famously, when Audrey Hepburn used it as a home base while shooting “Roman Holiday”.  As noteworthy as the hotel’s guests have been, the Hassler is likely most famous for its rooftop restaurant, the first ever in a Roman Grand hotel.  It’s been called “Rome with a View” but for the last ten years it has been home to Imàgo, a Michelin-starrred restaurant with food as phenomenal as the views it offers of Rome.

To celebrate its 10th Anniversary, the restaurant recently underwent a re-design that updated its furnishings, lighting and added an open-style wine cellar.  The project was the work of Hotel Owner and General Manager Roberto Wirth and his wife, Astrid Schiller Wirth, a noted interior designer. Together with their Executive Chef Francesco Apreda and architect Andrea Marini, they treated the renovation with the attention to detail befitting their role as 5th generation hoteliers.  The Hassler has always been a family affair.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Fettucine with Asparagus, Peas and Alaskan Smoked Salmon

Florence Fabricant
I started out with a recipe for this dish from Florence Fabricant of the New York Times.  Ms. Fabricant, whom I have had the pleasure of meeting, is a food and wine writer who contributes to the Times weekly with her columns “Front Burner” and “Off the Menu”.  She also partners with Eric Asimov on his monthly wine reviews.  And that’s where I saw her recipe.  It was first published in 1988 but was recently revived and for good reason. It is a lushly flavored combination of beautiful green vegetables and pink smoked salmon in a shallot-scented cream sauce.  And it is incredibly easy to make in all of about 20 minutes.  The cooking time is greatly helped by the use of fresh spinach fettucine noodles which cook in all of 3 minutes.  The first time I made it, I followed the ingredient list to a T.  The result was excellent. But I couldn’t help thinking how I could incorporate two elements that I believe brought the dish to another level.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Spring Chicken Pot Pie

If you think a Pot Pie is more of a winter offering, think again.  This one has Spring written all over it.  It’s filled with fresh Spring vegetables and there’s no heavy cream sauce. The recipe relies on a simple Chicken Stock sauce that is full of the flavor of all the ingredients because they are cooked in it. And if that isn’t lure enough, it uses one skillet to cook absolutely everything from start to finish. And I didn’t even have to cook the chicken since I used a Costco bird.  The pastry is store-bought puff pastry and the whole thing takes about an hour to make. With all that convenience added to the recipe, it’s hard to believe the pot pie has an ancient history.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Pork Belly Carnitas for Cinco de Mayo Or The Best Damned Pork Ever

Cinco de Mayo, that most American of all Mexican Holidays, has been the subject of an annual post since Chewing the Fat began. In fact, one of the recipes I posted for Cinco de Mayo remains one of the most popular of the entire 747 posts we’ve published. It’s been viewed by over 15,000 people  In addition to this wildly popular recipe, there’s a nice side of the history of the Cinco celebration.  This year’s brush with history takes us to Morelia, in the Mexican state of
Morelia, Michoacán
Michoacán which is where the Carnita was invented.   Carnitas literally means ‘little meats’.  Traditionally they are made by simmering meat of a long period of time in oil or, preferably, lard. After three to four hours, the meat is tender, juicy and full of the flavor of any number of herbs and spices. Salt, chili, cumin, oregano, marjoram, thyme, bay leaves and crushed garlic cloves may be added. Once the meat is tender, the heat is turned up and the pork begins to crisp. Once crisped, it’s pulled apart by hand or fork and served in tamales, tacos, tortas and burritos.  And how do these carnitas taste?  Just about out of this world.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Lamb Meatballs with Red Pepper and Chickpea Sauce from Nancy Silverton of Campanile in Los Angeles

Campanile in Chaplin's Day
I used to spend a lot of time in Los Angeles, sometimes for weeks on end. As an Advertising Agency creative, I was there making TV commercials for everything from Coca Cola to Johnson’s Baby Shampoo.  Inevitably, we had clients along for the ride.  It seemed to be their birthright to be wined and dined daily and so I spent a great deal of time in a lot of great Los Angeles restaurants.  On somebody else’s dollar.  I was fond of a lot of places. High on my list was Campanile.  The building it was in looked for all the world like it belonged somewhere in Italy, certainly not on South La Brea Avenue.  But
Campanile when Peel and Silverton took over
it was pure Hollywood.  Charlie Chaplin built the place as an office complex for himself in 1929.  He never occupied it.  Instead, one of his many wives, Lita Grey, who at aged 19 had been married to Chaplin for 3 years and produced two children, was given the property in her divorce settlement. But its real fame came far later when Chef Mark Peel and his then-wife, Nancy Silverton, opened Campanile to great acclaim in 1989.  The restaurant is credited with setting the tone for much of Los Angeles dining in the 1990s.  It used farmer’s market ingredients and produced gorgeous food.  So I when I came across today’s recipe and saw Nancy Silverton’s name attached to it, I was intrigued.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Gulf Coast Crab Cakes with Lemon Butter

Some dishes are so associated with a single ingredient in my mind that when I come across a recipe without that ingredient, it’s almost a red flag.  So it was when I happened across this recipe for Gulf Coast Crab Cakes. In this case, it was the complete absence of Old Bay Seasoning that threw me for a loop.   I cannot remember a time I made a crab cake absent this 77 year old seasoning mix of mustard, paprika, celery salt, bay leaf, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, mace, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom and ginger.   Old Bay was invented by a German immigrant named Gustav Brunn.  Before the Second World War, crabs were in such high supply that they were offered free at bars in Baltimore.  Salty seasonings like Old Bay created a thirst which built bar businesses. The Crab Cake itself is far older than Old Bay. In fact, it’s a lot older than I ever imagined.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Baked Rice with Chicken and Mushrooms from David Tanis in the New York Times

They line up down the block the Halal Guys Chicken and Rice
Chicken and Rice in one form or another may be one the world’s most ubiquitous foods.  You can find it in many guises. Claypot Chicken Rice is popular from Southern China to Singapore and Malaysia.  The latter two countries join Thailand in loving Hainanese Chicken Rice from Hainan Province in China. On to India where Chicken Biryani rules the roost. In Central Brazil, Galinhada is topped with hard-cooked eggs.  All over Latin America, Arroz con Pollo is a beloved staple.  And closer to home, The Halal Guys, which started as a food cart in midtown Manhattan, has franchises that are opening coast to coast and in Canada.  Maybe it has something to do with its nickname, “Chicken and Rice”.  We do know it has the longest food cart line is the city.  Aside from its universality, what’s the appeal of the dish?

Monday, April 17, 2017

It's National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month! Here's how to celebrate it with America's Best Goat Cheese.

Photo Credit: BiRite Catering
            If this post looks familiar to some of you, it's because it was published last Tuesday, National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, at The Daily  Since they edited it and didn't include the recipes, I thought I'd send you the complete article, along with 3 recipes for 3 great sandwiches. So here goes:

Photo Credit: Laura Chenel
Goat Cheese doesn’t naturally spring to mind when you think of that good old American Grilled Cheese Sandwich.  That’s a shame because Goat Cheese has much to recommend it.  It’s far healthier than cow’s milk cheeses because it has 30 to 40 percent fewer calories and fat. And it has considerably more vitamins and minerals -- 13 percent more calcium alone. To cap it all off, Goat Cheese has less lactose and it’s Gluten-Free. But all of this ignores how versatile and varied Goat Cheese has become. And no American producer is more responsible for that than Laura Chenel.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Easter is upon us...and these Coconut Cakes are a great way to celebrate

It finally feels like Spring and it’s about time.  March was a beast whose departure made us all pine for our abnormally warm February. Now that it’s April, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that Easter will usher in warmer weather for good.  And in that mood, we present two tried and true desserts decked out for Easter.  If they look familiar to Chewing the Fat regulars, it’s because they’ve appeared here before but not together. So take your pick and roll out the Coconut.  Happy Easter to one and all.  

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Beef with Broccoli and Fried Rice


Gai Lan, Chinese Broccoli.
I love Beef with Broccoli. It was one of the first Chinese dishes I ate when I came to New York.  Those were the days before Hunan and Szechuan restaurants took over from their Cantonese forbearers and forever changed the way our palates perceived Chinese food.  In the case of Beef with Broccoli, the appeal of the dish was in the small pieces of steak stir-fried with crisp Broccoli florets in a dark, sweet, soy and oyster sauce.  But the truth is Beef with Broccoli has little or nothing to do with true Chinese food.  The Broccoli used, for instance, isn’t close to Chinese Broccoli but instead was popularized in this country by Italian immigrants.  And cattle were far too valuable as beasts of burden to use as food.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Spring Pasta with Chicken Ragù, Fennel and Peas

Pasta is one of my comfort foods.  There is something so satisfying about a big bowl of pasta, the flavors of the sauce melting into the noodles, grated or shaved Reggiano Parmigiano cheese topping the dish and there, at the bottom of the bowl, the final liquid-y bites ready to be sopped up with a hunk of great Peasant bread. The warmth a pasta dish can bring to a cold winter’s night is irresistible but I really don’t want to give it up once Spring arrives. And with this take on pasta sauce, you don’t have to.  It’s a lighter sauce, a ragù with a velvet-y texture that uses whole milk in lieu of the heavy cream used in winter’s sauces.   And with green English Peas, fennel fronds and parsley, it even looks spring-like. The chicken is tender to the bone and has a nice smoky flavor that comes from its being cooked with bacon. It’s a great dish and it won’t take all day to make.  Not quite.  

Monday, April 3, 2017

Bobby Flay’s Salmon Burgers with Hoisin Barbecue Sauce

I like Bobby Flay.  For quite a few years, I worked above his ‘store’. That would be his late lamented Mesa Grill. At Mesa, his take on Southwestern cuisine virtually introduced New York to the flavors of that part of the country.  Of course, along the way, he reinvented dishes left, right and center.  There were his scrumptious Blue Corn Pancakes with Barbequed Duck.   And then there was the spicy heat and sweetness of his Ancho Chile Honey Glazed Salmon.  So a couple of years ago, when I ran across Bobby’s recipe for Salmon Burgers, I couldn’t wait to try them. Since then they've become a favorite full of the lush flavor of Salmon given a kick with his Asian-inspired Hoisin Sauce.  Oddly enough, while Bobby has been building a Burger Empire, his salmon burger has yet to make the menu.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

2017's Top Twelve Best List for St. Barthelemy, French West Indies...Plus One.

St. Barthelémy, or St. Barth, as its habitués call it, is an island slice of paradise just 12 harrowing minutes by plane from St. Martin.  But once you survive the plunge between two hills and what must be the world’s shortest runway, you’ve landed somewhere very luxe, very chic and very French.   Just 8 ½ square miles, the island rises out of an azure sea, its beaches unparalleled not only for their white sand and glorious swimming but also for their uncrowded bliss and topless (even bottomless) sunbathing.  In its hills, behind lush foliage and stone walls, fabulous homes are celebrity retreats, many of which can be rented by mere mortals. So much separates St. Barth from every other island in the Caribbean to make it truly unique. 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Melissa Clark's Seared Pork Chops with Peas, Scallions and Pancetta from "Dinner: Changing the Game", her brand new cookbook.


“Dinner”, Melissa Clark’s latest cookbook, is among the most highly anticipated cookbooks of the year.  Its author is a staff writer for The New York Times and pens its highly popular “A Good Appetite” column which is eagerly awaited every Wednesday in the newspaper’s “Food” section.  Melissa is also the author or co-author of a staggering 32 cookbooks before this one.  You might wonder what on earth can be different here.  Well, “Dinner” (Clarkson Potter 2017) promises over 200 all-new recipes and a philosophy: “Each recipe…is meant to be dinner—one fantastic dish that is so satisfying and flavor-forward it can stand alone—maybe with a little salad or some bread on the side.”  I ripped into this book the moment it arrived.  It's beautiful to look and inspiring as all get out.  Today I’m sharing the first of what I am sure will be many dinner recipes from this glorious new arrival.  It hues to the promise of a one pan dinner and takes just 25 minutes to make.