Showing posts with label Fine Cooking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fine Cooking. Show all posts

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Flank Steak Diane and how I fell in love with New York

Flank Steak Diane, Photo by Fine Cooking Magazine 

         Beef prices have escalated this year to the point where a perfectly ordinary New York Strip is 15.99 a lb.  Filet Mignon? 29.99. Last week, I even noted that our favorite neighborhood bistro's Steak Frites has diminished in size and risen $4.00 in price.  So when Fine Cooking’s February/ March issue arrived, I was excited to see a recipe for Steak Diane that used the humble flank steak. It just so happens that flank steak is on special this week at Fresh Direct for 5.99 a lb.  Now I have a special connection to Steak Diane.  It goes way back to my first visit to New York.  Bear with me and I’ll get to that story in its entirety. First, Fine Cooking’s budget friendly recipe. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Fresh Tortellini with Asparagus, Peas and Mint

         Alright, I am aware that many readers have come to believe we simply do not eat any meal that does not feature asparagus.  And to look at our most recent posts, you wouldn’t be that far off.  We just love the vegetable at this time of the year.  And we do live in a place where some of the country’s best asparagus grows.  So we take advantage of our geography and eat a lot of the stuff this time of year.
        But we can hardly keep up with the 10 recipes in the current issue of Fine Cooking magazine.  And to make that challenge even harder, the magazine says they all come to the table in 10 minutes.  The recipe for Fresh Tortellini came at a particularly good time since we were entertaining our friend Stephen on a weeknight and Stephen is a strict vegetarian.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Crispy Flounder with Pears, Endive and Meyer Lemon

         My friend, Eric Lemonides, owns Almond Restaurant in Brideghampton and a second Almond on 22nd Street in the City.  Last Monday, when I went to his Bridgehampton address for dinner, he told me that one of the great off-season successes he's had is his  "Meatless Mondays" menu.  His chef, Jason Weiner, and Jason's gifted sous chef have devised all kinds of meatless menus.  So today, in their honor, I send you a meal so that you too can celebrate Meatless Mondays.
But even if it's not Monday, if you are looking for a quick fish dinner, look no further than this recipe, from the appropriately named “Make it Tonight--Just 30 minutes to dinner, start to finish” in Fine Cooking magazine.  It combines pears and endive along with either sole, if you’re feeling posh, or flounder if you aren’t.  Either fish will do but the ingredients you really must have are the Meyer Lemons. You'll end up with a plate of sunshine in the middle of a early Spring night.  

Monday, January 9, 2012

Spicy Pork Chops with Green Chiles, Roasted Red Peppers and Onions Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine

         Usually, I soft-pedal the whole issue of heat in the recipes I share with you.  That’s because I think a lot of people are uneasy about any food that’s described as spicy.  I do get it.  What’s the pleasure in having your mouth feel like it’s on fire?  Or breaking out in a cold sweat after a bite or two?  Usually when I do share a spicier dish, I tell you that cutting back on Cayenne or eliminating the seeds in Jalapenos will yield a kinder, gentler dish.  But today, I am not going to do that.  This version of plain old Pork Chops gets its character from a really great combination of spicy-hot ingredients.  And let’s face it, pork chops can use the help.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Skirt Steak with Sweet Corn, Haricots Verts and Pesto

        I don’t know whether you’ve been following the histrionics that have been going on over the re-designed Bon Appetit.  The new editor, Adam Rapoport, has taken over from Barbara Fairchild, who bowed out when Conde Nast moved the magazine from California to New York and she wouldn’t.  Mr Rapoport knows a thing or two about magazines having been at GQ for over ten years.  And he knows a bit about food since he worked as an Editor and Writer for the James Beard Foundation’s publications office before that.  His first issue was dedicated to Italy and didn’t seem to arouse much anxiety.  Next, however, he had the temerity to feature Gwyneth Paltrow on the cover and you’d think he’d knocked over Ruth Reichl with his car. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Linguine with Lemon-Garlic Shrimp

        I’ve yet to find a recipe that comes close to the Shrimp Scampi that I grew up with. It was a dish that was so resolutely garlic-y, you could smell it coming up the driveway.  Later, when I lived in Italy, I found out how off that name is.  Scampi is a shellfish, a langoustine more formally known as Nephrops Norvegicus, or Norway Lobster found in the North Atlantic and parts of the Mediterranean.  In both taste and texture it has more in common with lobster and crayfish than shrimp or prawns. And the pasta dish we loved at home didn’t contain any Nephrops Norvegicus.  It was made with jumbo shrimp, wine, and the aforementioned tons of garlic.  So what’s with the Shrimp Scampi?  It’s almost like calling a dish “Chicken Poulet.”
Nephrops Norvegicus
“Scampi" is often the menu name for shrimp in Italian-American cuisine.  The actual word for "shrimp" in Italian is gambero or gamberetto. The term “Scampi” is used as the name of a dish of shrimp served in garlic butter and dry white wine, served either with bread, or over pasta or rice. The word "scampi" is often construed as that style of preparation rather than an ingredient, with that preparation being called "shrimp scampi", and with variants such as "chicken scampi". 
Now this recipe for Linguine with Lemon-Garlic Shrimp comes from Fine Cooking.  It's one of their series of really simple and fast dinner recipes.  Its name wisely eliminates the redundancy of “Shrimp Scampi”.  However it gets very close to what I loved as a child.   It’s deeply perfumed with garlic and lemon.  Then there’s an addition that flies in the face of the Italian edict: Never add cheese to seafood of any kind. In this case, Marscapone, that luxurious Italian cream cheese is added at the end to give the sauce a creamy richness.  Somewhat bizarrely the original recipe is for three people.  I made it for two by cutting down on the number of shrimp.   I would however caution against cutting the amount of sauce down.  And this is one time when you really do need to add a little of the paste water to get your sauce to the perfect consistency.   Here is the recipe:

Recipe for Linguine with Lemon-Garlic Shrimp
Kosher salt
1/2 lb. dried thin linguine
1 lemon
1 lb. extra-large (26 to 30 per pound) shrimp, peeled and deveined
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
3 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced (1 Tbs.)
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
2 Tbs. thinly sliced chives 

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the linguine in the boiling water according to package directions until al dente. Reserve about 3/4 cup of the cooking water and then drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, finely grate 1-1/4 tsp. of zest from the lemon and squeeze 2 Tbs. of juice. Toss the shrimp with 1/2 tsp. of the zest and 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper.

In a 12-inch skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat until the foam subsides. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic just begins to brown, about 1 minute. Add the shrimp and cook until just opaque, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and lemon juice, bring to a boil, and cook until slightly reduced, 1 minute.

Add the drained pasta, mascarpone, and 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Toss well, adding more cooking water as needed, until the pasta and shrimp are coated and the sauce looks creamy. Remove from the heat. Toss in the remaining 3/4 tsp. lemon zest and the chives. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Halibut and Mussel Stew with Fennel, Peppers and Saffron

Car-less Saltaire
Years ago, I had a boss named Susanne who had a wonderful house on Fire Island.  She was very kind in opening the place up to her staff—particularly those of us juniors who had few options on summer weekends: broil in the city or take a very long subway ride to reach a crowded beach.  So Saltaire, the name of the little ‘village’ the house was in, was extra-ordinarily inviting.  There are no cars on Fire Island.  In fact the whole place is criss-crossed with wooden boardwalks.  Once you get off the ferry from Long Island, you put all your gear into a wagon and head to wherever you are staying.
 My hostess was one of the first “foodies” I’d ever met, although I don’t think the term was in use then.  And it was she who introduced me to mussels.  Mussels attached themselves to wooden piers that formed the breakfront on the bay side of Fire Island.  Susanne had spent the better part of the summer checking on the mussels’ growth at one particular pier near her house.  The mussels progressed nicely until, finally, a weekend when I was there was deemed the perfect time to harvest them and enjoy their salty goodness in a rich broth of garlic and tomatoes.  Alas! They were gone! Someone else had made off with Susanne’s mussels!  Now you would think we could have just moved on to the next piling.  No such luck.  Apparently, everyone in Saltaire loved mussels and had commandeered every last one. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

South Indian-style Vegetable Curry

All these beautiful vegetables go into this delicious Curry
       I don’t know what verb I’d use to describe my reaction to the latest statistics showing that Americans just don’t eat their vegetables….Appalled? Shocked? Disturbed?  I’d have to say none of the above.  I started doing a check on what I’d been eating in a week.  There was the day I had a Porchetta sandwich for lunch—devoid of even a piece of lettuce, then followed that with a dinner out of Speck and Figs, followed by the most delicious Scallops but absent any vegetables of any kind.  Of course, this day I ate both meals out.  It’s amazing how many very good restaurants don’t incorporate vegetables into their main courses.  But I guess when you can charge $9.00 for a bowl of spinach as a side, you’d be hard pressed to rationalize putting a carrot on the plate to accompany a main dish.  At home, we do a lot better.  Although we hardly qualify as vegetarians, there are always vegetables or, at minimum, a salad.   And while we have yet to put a strictly vegetarian dinner on our weekly schedule, this fantastic Vegetable Curry could change that.