HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.
Showing posts with label Dinner Party Dishes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dinner Party Dishes. Show all posts

Friday, December 27, 2013

Ina Garten's Lobster Pot Pie and, just for laughs, one woman's take on it.

        

         This is one of Ina Garten’s most beloved recipes.  It dates all the way back to 1999 when it appeared in Ina’s first cookbook “The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook” (Clarkson Potter 1999).  Since I can’t think of  a better time for luxury foods like lobster than the holidays, I planned a dinner around it.  But whether lobster still counts as a luxury, I am not altogether sure.  The Maine Lobstermen certainly don’t think so as it brings in only $1.60 or less a pound!  (Somehow, by the time it arrives at our fishmonger in New York, it’s $9.99 a lb.  Still a bargain for sure, with divers scallops at 24.99 a lb and Lump Crabmeat at 19.99 a lb.). I decided to turn a Saturday night supper into Lobster Pot Pie and a salad.  But first, I wanted to share what I hope will give you a good laugh. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Chicken Fricassee with Shiitake Mushrooms and a salute to Chef Jason Weiner of Almond Restaurants and Outstanding in the Field.


        
Jane, Jason and John 
About a month ago, my friends, Jane Maguire and John Quigley of Long Island Mushroom Inc., invited me to attend a special event.  It was a dinner held at the EECO Farm in Easthampton.  It was hosted by a group called “Outstanding in the Field”, a quirky roving restaurant that travels all over North America staging dinners that bring together local farmers and foodies in outdoor pop-up settings.  Local food purveyors supply the raw ingredients.  Jane and John were, of course, responsible for the presence of their glorious mushrooms.  And Jason Weiner, who is the Chef and Co-Owner of Almond Restaurants—one in Bridgehampton and one in New York—did all the cooking. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Oven-Roasted Shrimp and Sausage Paella

           
The genuine article as seen in Spain
Paella is, hands down, the dish most associated with Spain.  Prior to the emergence of tapas on tables everywhere and Ferran Adria’s molecular gastronomy, I’d venture to say, it was the only food most people thought of when they thought of Spanish cooking. However, in that country, it’s a dish associated with one province: Valencia on the East Coast.  Valencian cooks regard it as one of the identifying symbols of their province.   It’s one of those dishes that has so many variations, it’s possible to call any dish made with short-grained Spanish rice a Paella.  This is particularly true since the word “Paella” actually refers to the pan the dish is cooked in.  From there, it gets even more complicated because Valencians use the word “Paella” for all pans, including the specialized shallow one used for cooking Paellas. Plus, there’s no master recipe for Paella. Every cook seems to have their own version and sticks rigidly to their family recipe as the only way to cook paella. Recently, we were having a dinner party for more guests than usual. Because of all I'd read about Paella, I felt I had permission to go with something of my own creation. I liberally borrowed from several recipes to end up with what made the dish popular in the first place:  Because it makes for a great party.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Anna Pump's Grilled Fresh Tuna Steaks with Lemon Sauce


        The Hamptons are rich in culinary talent. And Anna Pump is at the top of that list.  Her influence on local cooking and eating reaches back to her arrival here in the late 1970s.  Born in the town of Tarp, Germany, Anna and her late husband, Detlef, came to the United States with their two children in the 1960s. The family first settled in New Jersey where Detlef had a brother.  Offered a house in Southampton for two weeks one summer, the two fell instantly in love with the area, which reminded them of Tarp.  Even the potato fields felt familiar.  Tucked up next to the Danish border, the town has the Baltic on one side, the North Sea on the other.  The couples’ two children, son Harm and daughter Sybille were off to college so their parents went home to New Jersey and came right back out looking for a house.  The one they found and lovingly saved from ruin is the same house Anna lives in to this day. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Lemon and Rosemary Chicken "Pollo Arrosto" adapted from a Saveur recipe by Evan Kleiman of Los Angeles' Angeli Caffe

This great rustic Italian
recipe hails from Los Angeles
If you’re looking for a great dinner party Chicken recipe, you can’t do much better than this.  The combination of lemon, garlic and rosemary gives the dish great depth of flavor.  The chicken is crispy on the outside and meltingly tender inside.  The dish can be multiplied or divided depending on how many guests you’re entertaining.  When I made it, I was expecting 10 for dinner.  I felt quite a bit like the BBC character Hyacinth Bucket (Bouquet).  Whenever she gave one of her “Candlelight Suppers”, the guests inevitably bowed out at the last minute.  I managed to lose 3 after the chicken had gone into its marinade.  But the evening turned out to be magical as the remaining guests all had a much more intimate dinner that they all raved about. And I was left with lemon-y, garlic-y cold chicken with which I made a chicken salad I’m still dreaming about. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

What to serve for Chinese New Year? David Chang’s Bo Ssam, slow-roasted Pork with Ginger-Scallion Sauce, Ssam Sauce, Kimchi and Rice


Center this dish on your dining table and stand back.
        Chinese New Year is upon us.  This Sunday, February 10th is the start of the Year of the Snake. Despite all the negative connotations of snakes and snake-like behavior,  according to Chinese Horoscopes the year 2013 symbolizes action, energy, leadership and vitality. This year, the snake is obligated to do its best for the good of others.  All in all 2013 is seen as a good year.  So there's something to celebrate.  And I can't think of a better way than to serve this phenomenal dish. Not only will it bring Asia to your table for a New Year's celebration, the leftovers can be turned into a decidedly American dish--pulled pork and an Italian one--pasta sauce.  I'll save those recipes for a future post.  Today belongs to Bo Ssam, the brain child of David Chang, everyone’s favorite renegade chef.  
         Chef Chang's tiny Momofuku Ssam Bar, on a decidedly unfashionable strip of lower Second Avenue (207 2nd avenue new york, NY 10003), is perpetually packed.  David is a particular favorite of ours and not only because he loves one of our absolute favorite Montreal restaurants --Joe Beef-- so much (http://www.chewingthefat.us.com/2011/10/next-stop-in-montreal-homage-to-joe.html), that he wrote the introduction to its cookbook.  David Chang is inventive, highly skilled and most of all, magnanimous.  If you need proof of that last characteristic, consider his sharing this particular recipe: He has included it in his Momofuku cookbook (Clarkson Potter 2009) even though it is such a hit at his eponymous restaurant that, even at $200, a 6 to 10 person Bo SSam has to be ordered well in advance.  But here’s the incredible thing:  You can make this amazing dish at home for well under $40.00!  Now if that sounds like some kind carnival barker talking, it’s because I was astonished at how good it is and, quite frankly, while I am not a complete skinflint, nothing makes me happier than a great food bargain.  Particularly one that tastes this good.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tyler Florence's California Osso Buco with a Classic Gremolata



         When I started cooking Osso Buco, it was a sumptuous meal on a beer budget.  The Veal Shanks at the center of the dish were afterthoughts at the butcher’s counter.  It’s hard to imagine but I think they ran about $4.99 a lb. at most.  Andrew is fond of pointing out that I have no concept of how many years ago that was and that in 25 years almost everything is more expensive. But, like fresh tuna, which at one point was practically given away, the huge popularity of this Italian masterpiece has upped its price mightily.   Osso Buco means ‘bone with a hole in it’ and it’s gotten to be a very expensive bone.  But it’s a triumph of taste—the meat is tender to the bone, the sauce is filled with fresh vegetables stewed to perfection in red wine and tomatoes—even the marrow in the center of the bone is a guilty pleasure.   The recipe hails from Lombardy, the region that’s home to Milano, where it is classically served atop risotto.  Since risotto needs constant attention until the minute it is served, I use mashed potatoes instead.  Because I find Osso Buco is one of the greatest ideas for weeknight dinner parties.  We were entertaining my nephew, Michael and his wife, Valery who were here from Canada.   Leaving out the risotto meant I could spend all the time I wanted with them and then take all of about 5 minutes to mash the potatoes.   Like so many other braised dishes, this one too improves considerably when left a day or three in the fridge.  So it’s perfect to make over on a Sunday afternoon to serve later in the week.  I’ve published a recipe for Osso Buco before. So why is this one here?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Birthday Party Paella



         We were having a group to dinner over the President’s Day weekend.  I saw it as a great opportunity to cook something substantial.  I hit upon making a paella for a couple of reasons. I’d read an article in Saveur written by David Rosengarten.  In it, Chef Rosengarten had gone to the source: the cradle of Spanish paella making, Valencia.  What inspired me the most was that the original recipe, dating from the early 1800s, called saffron-scented rice cooked with Rabbit, chicken, Snails and three kinds of beans. Rosengarten pointed out that you can still find that version all over Valencia. But the list of paellas does not stop there.  There are seafood paellas, vegetable paellas and paellas using all kinds of meats. The recipe is wildly adaptable because as Rosengarten pointed out: “Tinkering, it seems, is inherent to the culture of paella.”  And it’s to be remembered that “Paella” refers the wide, shallow steel pan in which such dishes were cooked.  In my case, all I really needed was a good basic recipe from which to build my paella.  And as to its ingredients, well I just went shopping in my freezer.  There I found the chicken thighs, hot Italian sausage and shrimp that would form the backbone of what turned out to be a delicious and terrifically well-received dish.  Although no thanks to the recipe I found for Birthday Party Paella. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lamb Osso Buco Ragu



         I love a good Osso Buco.  It’s a wonderful weeknight dinner party dish because you can make it one night and serve it the next and it will only improve with its overnight rest.  But I had never heard of a lamb version of this classic Veal dish.  Then on our pre-holiday Costco run, I saw Lamb Osso Buco in the meat case.  I’ve had great luck with all the Australian lamb at the store—the chops are trimmed, the racks are oven-ready.  I do understand that it’s come an awfully long way to get here but it seems none the worse for its journey. So I bought some lamb osso buco and Thanksgiving Eve, I served it to our house guests on a bed of Yukon Gold mashed potatoes.  They loved it. But I didn’t.  I was disappointed to see that only difference between the Lamb and Veal versions was the lamb.  That didn’t seem right. So I set about to invent my own lamb osso buco.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Duck a l’Orange adapted from Jacques Pepin’s recipe in Food and Wine




         Duck a l’Orange lives in our memory as one of our first introductions to restaurant food.  In Montreal, where we lived, it was fairly ubiquitous on the city’s better menus.  We loved it for its sweetness and its crunch.  For the dark duck meat and the crispy skin. For the orange sauce with its taste of Grand Marnier.  We remember feeling sophisticated just ordering it…although we likely didn’t know what the word sophisticated meant at the time.  At any rate, when this month’s Food and Wine arrived, an article written by Rux Martin, the editor of the soon-to-be-published “Essential Pepin” Jacques Pepin’s soon-to-be-released cooking anthology, intrigued us.