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.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Come take a trip to Umbria and bring back a recipe from one of their great Cooking Teachers


Letizia Mattiacci: The Umbrian Cook on an American Tour

Staff Writer
Learn how to cook the cuisine of this Italian province from a native cook and teacher. Then you can make dishes like this gorgeous Melanzane alla Parmigiana...Eggplant Parmigiano

umbria valley park

Experience Umbrian cuisine first hand on Letizia Mattiacci's U.S. tour. 

Umbria — the Italian province sandwiched between Tuscany, Le Marche, and Lazio in what is called Italy’s Cuore Verde, its ‘green heart’ — is the home of some of Italy’s finest fare. Its green-gold olive oil, red wines, and particularly its cured meats, salumi, are prized throughout the country. But outside of Italy, the richness of its cuisine is hardly known. This is slowly changing, as many have been singing the praises of this province, home to the historic towns of Perugia and Assisi. And Letizia Mattiacci is one of the leading lights in this new movement.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Where to stay in La Venice post from The Daily Meal

Monte Mathews
Staff Writer 

This private island retreat makes the perfect base for exploring Venice
Ask anyone who has been to Venice lately and you’re sure to hear that “La Serenissima” is hardly serene. Every year 22 million tourists flock to the city, an average of 60,000 people a day. Around 9 o’clock each morning, throngs of tourist groups arrive from the mainland and the Lido (the barrier island that helps divide the Venetian Lagoon from the Adriatic Sea), clogging Piazza San Marco and every inch around it. Miraculously, at 5 o’clock the city is practically deserted as the tour groups leave en masse. But there is a way to avoid the mobs and enjoy every minute of being in Venice.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Homemade Pad Thai from Cook's Illustrated Magazine and Memories of my Mother

Before I lunge into how to make a truly satisfying and remarkably authentic Pad Thai in whatever kitchen you call home, I must pause in memory of my mother.   Because ringing in my ears as I made this surprisingly easy version of the classic rice noodle, shrimp and scrambled egg dish, were my mother’s words: “What on earth would possess you to make Pad Thai when there’s a perfectly good Asian place a block and a half from your house.  And they deliver.”   My mother certainly would not have. But then again, my mother hated cooking.  I mean hated it.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Vicarious Lunching...and a recipe for a Roquefort Terrine with Walnut Crème Glace

From The Daily Meal: 
A Five-Course Lunch to Celebrate New York’s Cheese Week


Staff Writer

A celebratory meal at Bar Boulud welcomes the French Cheese Board to New York

The start of the French Cheese Board’s Cheese Week in New York City, running from Feb. 21 to Feb. 26, was celebrated with a five-course lunch. Chefs from Les Mâitres Cuisiniers de France came together at Bar Boulud to celebrate the event with dishes they will feature for the week. Every one featured cheese in familiar — or unfamiliar — form. And each course was accompanied by French wines.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Perfect Baked Potato from America's Test Kitchen

Not too long ago, I happened upon an America’s Test Kitchen show on PBS. One segment featured their take on The Perfect Baked Potato.  There it was in all its simplicity:  Stabbed, Brined, Baked, Coated with Olive Oil, Baked again only to emerge in a flawless-looking potato which, when cut open stem to stern, released its steam and revealed the fluffiest interior I’d ever seen.  To this butter was quickly added melting into the potato as a fork whipped it up.  This lily was then gilded with great dollops of Sour Cream that was then topped with crispy bacon and a shower of chives. Perfection on a plate.  I couldn’t wait to bake my own but first I wanted a taste of the baked potatoes that come from a food cart that’s parked daily in our neighborhood. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Pan-Seared Trout with Prosciutto and Chile Garlic Oil from Chef Alex Raij in Food and Wine Magazine

Navarra, tucked up under France in Spain.

I’ll often ask Andrew if he has any requests for dinner.  Most of the time he leaves me to my own devices.  But when he does ask for something, I jump. This recipe is the result of his request for Fish for dinner.  I was happy to oblige because, quite honestly, there’s nothing quite so simple as getting a piece of fish on the table.  Fish cooks in no time at all and fish lets you cover a lot of ground with so many varieties available.  This is especially true in port cities like New York.  To satisfy Andrew’s request, I found a recipe that was beautifully enticing in its photograph.  It was a filet of trout with a layer of crisply cooked Spanish ham atop the tender white fish.  There were slivers of garlic and dark green parsley and discs of tiny red chiles floating atop the ham.  Under the name of the dish there was this quote: “This dish is almost a cliché in Navarra, but it's absolutely delicious," says Alex Raij. "The Spanish ham keeps the fish from drying out, basting it with its inimitable fat."  I had no clue who Alex Raij was, or where Navarra was in Spain or why the dish is almost a cliché.  All I really knew was it was a great way to cook Trout in very little time and with great results.  And I knew I wanted to find out more about who Alex was.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Who knew Chicken Soup could be this simple...and this good!

Roast Chicken gone wrong.
About a week ago, I had the Roast Chicken urge.  You know the one where you imagine a perfect roast chicken, brilliantly browned and crisp, with melt-in-your-mouth tender white and dark meat?  Well I duly went out and bought quite an expensive Free-Range bird.  I believe that when it comes to Roast Chicken, simpler is better.   Somehow, on my way to retrieve Marcella Hazan’s super simple Roast Chicken – with two lemons and salt and pepper and that’s it—I was waylaid by an even simpler recipe.  This one eliminated the lemons. And miraculously, it cooked even faster than Marcella’s, which was likely the deciding factor. Then too, its author is a-famous-chef-who-shall-remain-nameless to protect the guilty.  Now this doesn’t happen often in our house but I was not at all happy about how "cooked" the 50-minute chicken was.  So I abandoned almost the whole bird and stuck it in the freezer.  Over the weekend, as winter bore down and it was once again freezing here, I decided to make Chicken Soup with my partially cooked roast chicken.  I imagined a long afternoon of soup making.  That turned out to be a complete overestimate. The chicken soup I made, full of chicken flavor, with onions, carrots and celery submerged in a heavenly broth, was everything I’d hoped.  Astonishingly, it was made with just 7 ingredients and start to finish took all of an hour and ten minutes to make. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Keema Beef Curry from Grace Parisi in Food and Wine Magazine

Promises of “Curry in a Hurry" have mostly left me cold.  They led to soupy curries with no real character. Or they involved a collection of Indian spices that would overtake the capacity of any spice rack I’ve ever owned.  So when I came across this very easy recipe, I thought it was worth a try. And when I saw who created it, Grace Parisi, I knew it was.  Here is a non-traditional curry whose aroma alone is irresistible.  Filled with vegetables, the backbone of the dish was tender minced beef redolent in a coconut milk and tomato sauce.  Served with Coriander-infused Rice and some warm Naan, it was a winner in every way.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Pecan Honey Cake

Photo by LA452
A lot of bakers love this blog and all that Andrew bakes.  Sad to say, it’s been weeks since we published our last baking post…for Dorie Greenspan’s Beurre et Sel Jammers (see not counting the skillet cornbread at New Year’s.  The reason is simple to explain. Andrew only bakes in the country. He has all his gear there and none in the city.  And in the off-season, he barely gets to the country at all, working weekends as he does.   But President’s Day weekend dawned and we were off for a spell of spring-like temperatures in February.  To celebrate, Andrew baked a cake.  And what a cake!  Somewhat like an upside-down cake, this one was flipped over after baking to reveal a layer of pecans, candied by the honey they were baked in and sunken into a layer of honey goodness.  Under the blanket of nuts was moist and buttery cake with a hint of more nut flavor. It was an ideal cake for any season whether in a February thaw or the whipsaw of March weather.  

Friday, February 17, 2017

Celebrating Mardi Gras at New Orlean's Bourbon-Themed Restaurant plus Three Classic Mardi Gras Cocktail Recipes

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My latest Daily Meal Article lets you in on how to get the most out of your next Bourbon plus recipes for 3 New Orleans Cocktails

Staff Writer

150 Bourbons and Counting
Kenton’s is devoted to the all-American spirit locals love.

In a town where one of the main thoroughfares is called Bourbon Street, there just has to be a restaurant dedicated to the whiskey that shares its name. That restaurant is a place called Kenton’s Food and Bourbon. Located away from the hubbub of the French Quarter, in New Orlean’s Garden district, Kenton’s is a shrine to bourbon. Its menu lists no less than 150 kinds of the brown gold liquor, and you can find bourbon cooked into many of the menu items.

Sean Josephs, who owns Kenton’s with his wife, New Orleans native Mani Dawes, says that his passion for bourbon grew out of his studies as a sommelier. Along with his wine studies, he learned much about spirits and was amazed at the quality and complexity bourbon delivered relative to its price. “Even the most young and humble of bourbons can deliver a profound drinking experience,” he says.  

Flat boats brought Bourbon from Kentucky to NOLA
The couple’s first bourbon-themed establishment was the now-closed Char No. 4 in Brooklyn. They subsequently opened Maysville, in Manhattan’s Flatiron District. (They also have the popular Chelsea tapas bar Tia Pol.) Maysville’s name is an homage to the town of Maysville, Kentucky, whence Kentucky’s pride and joy was shipped out on flatboats, floating downriver to New Orleans, where the real partying began. Kenton’s, in turn, is named in honor of Simon Kenton, who founded Maysville. (It’s worth noting that Maysville is in Bourbon County, and that Louisiana was first settled by the French, who named the place Louisiane after their king, Louis XIV — whose family name was Bourbon.)