weekend, we celebrated Father’s Day with all the necessary cards, salutations
on Facebook, telephone calls filled with praise for Dear Old Dad.I know how much it meant to me and how much
I admire the Dad in my own family who is raising one spectacular grandson.And how spectacular is he?Well, at age almost 4, he came to visit Uncle
Andrew and me for Father’s Day two years ago.As he proudly handed me an oversized
There for Mason always.
Father’s Day card, he turned to his
mother and said “There really ought to be an Uncle Andrew’s Day”.And well there should be.When I think of how much Uncle Andrew does
for Mason, the grandson in question, and then when I multiply it out for a
lifetime of giving to his nieces and nephews and god children, there likely
should an Uncle Andrew month.Then, when
I think of all the other uncles –the Terrys, the Shawns, the Jeffs, the Dons,
the Michaels, the Jims, the Hueys, the Bills and the Peters—this ought to be a
national holiday. Add to them all the single Moms –the Annas, the Cindys, the
Zoilas--who are both mother and father to their children and Father’s Day just
does not cover all the people it takes to raise a child.So here’s to all of you on Uncle Andrew’s
Day! And what better way to celebrate
than with a cake!
I don't think it constitutes a trend but two of my food magazines published
recipes for basically the same dish this month.
The magazines in question hardly rival Gourmet. “Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food” is geared to
the home cook and one who generally doesn’t like even the mildest surprises
when they cook. “Cuisine-at-Home” comes
with 3 hole punches on every page so you can build your own cookbook with their
pretty basic recipes. These are not generally go-to resources for me: I prefer to be more adventurous and at least
challenge myself with new flavors and cooking styles. But somehow, I cannot
resist a new take on meatballs. And Beef
Stroganoff is one of my favorites from way back. Calling as it does for fillet
of beef however has dimmed my enthusiasm. With the price of beef fillet
approaching the stratosphere, if I am
going to cook one, I am not about to cover it in sour cream. Not too long ago, I made a version using
sirloin, which is about the best buy in beef I can find—at least here in New
York. What a disappointment that
was! Way too tough! But the dueling photos in the two magazines
really did appeal to me. Topping egg
noodles in one and spaghetti in the other, they were just the kind of comfort I
was looking for. And in Chinese menu fashion, I made the dish with the
meatballs from one and the Stroganoff from the other.
I love a little
side of history when I am serving up a dish with roots as deep
as Fried Green Tomatoes. With the exception of grits and hominy, what's more southern than this
all-over crunchy firm tomato that’s been battered into a deep-fried delicacy? Even though deep-frying makes almost
everything taste better, this dish stands out.
The tartness of the tomato and the sweet cornmeal of the crust are a
perfect combination--especially for tomato lovers like me.
Of course, they’re southern to the
core, aren't they? There was that whole movie “Fried
Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café”.
Set in Alabama, this feel good film from 1991 was among the first ‘chick
flicks’ and a huge hit. I wanted to read
up on the origin of the dish itself.
There on the website of the Smithsonian Institution, of all places, a
woman named Lisa Bramen described her first encounters with Fried Green
Tomatoes. She too remembered the movie.
In the late 1990s, she tasted her first Fried Green Tomato in New Orleans. So
impressed was she that, on a southern road trip, she asked for them everywhere
she went. Strangely, only once, in Memphis TN, did she encounter a pale
imitation of what she had tasted in New Orleans.
It’s full-on strawberry season on Long
Island and Andrew’s taken another opportunity to wow us with this exquisite
galette from Martha Stewart. The flavor and texture of this wonderfully flaky pastry
covered in just-picked berries is irresistible.
But the ambrosial whipped cream topping--scented with fresh basil--elevates
this dessert to perfection. And you
don’t even need a pie pan to create this free-form tart! But before we bake, some really fascinating
facts--and fiction—about strawberries.
Last week was the 12th birthday of our godchild, Olivia. Now since Andrew and I saw her within her first hours here on earth, it’s sometimes unbelievable that all those 12 years have passed with the speed of summer lightening. And that for all twelve of those birthdays we have celebrated with our own Birthday Party with her other two ‘Uncles’, Shawn and Terry. This year was no exception except that this year we spent a whole weekend celebrating because Olivia and her parents stayed with us. If the title of this post terrifies you for its size, this issue of Chewing the Fat is really an amalgamation of several delicious meals we had last weekend. The food was wonderful and Olivia got to bake alongside her Uncle Andrew to produce delicious Martha Stewart-inspired Strawberry Cupcakes.
More days this winter have kept us locked up in the house than
I can remember. This week there was a
day that was so cold, you had to go back 10 in years in New York to find a
matching temperature. Being stuck in the
house isn’t necessarily the worst thing that can happen. Especially if you take upon yourself to lift
everyone’s spirits with a rich, gooey treat.
These Macadamia Butterscotch Bars fit the bill perfectly.
The recipe comes to us by way of John Barricelli. A regular on Martha Stewart’s television show
in the past and the host of “Everyday Baking from Everyday Food, another Martha
Stewart Omnimedia production, I’m sure he’ll show up on her new half hour “Martha
Bakes” series starting January 31st on the Hallmark Channel. (Martha wrote the foreword to the SoNo book.)
The old expression ‘while the cats away’
certainly applies to this particular dish.Andrew was off in Texas visiting his family and I was here in New York
playing away in the kitchen.Now Andrew
is not a picky eater but there are certain things that just don’t fly on his
palate.To name a few: Olives, Goat
Cheese and Broccoli Rabe. On the other
hand, I am the consummate omnivore and there’s very little that I won’t eat.But in the interests of domestic harmony, I
avoid recipes with any ingredient Andrew doesn’t like.I eat these favorites when we go out.And I’m fortunate that we eat out often
enough that I never feel deprived. However, his absence lets me cook whatever
comes to mind and, in this case, gives me a perfect opportunity to share one of
my favorite dishes.