HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.
Showing posts with label Weeknight Dinners. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Weeknight Dinners. Show all posts

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Poached Cod with Tomato and Saffron from Bon Appetit


Eric Rippert 
Recently, Andrew and I went to hear Eric Rippert, Fish Chef Extraordinaire  and proprietor of the perennially four-starred Le Bernardin restaurant in New York.  Chef Rippert appeared at a food forum at the YMHA hosted by Adam Gopnick of The New Yorker magazine.   During the question and answer period, the chef was asked what fish he was currently enamored with.   He immediately answered Halibut and since I’d just appropriated a recipe for Halibut from Bon Appetit, off I went to shop from dinner.    When I got to the fishmonger, I was staggered to discover that Halibut was $29.99 a lb.  Now I love Chef Rippert but my love has boundaries and $29.99 a lb. for anything is one of them.  But right next to the Halibut was a beautiful white filet of Atlantic cod from Canada.  The cod came in at $10.99 a lb.  And since I also had a Cod recipe from the same Bon Appetit, I immediately shifted gears.  Since I was making only two portions of the recipe for Poached Cod with Tomato and Saffron, the 10 oz. of fish cost all of $6.85.   The whole meal would have been a spectacular bargain were it not for the Saffron, which even at Trader Joe’s prices, came in at $5.99 for a .020 oz. of the stuff.  Still, the meal was relatively inexpensive, incredibly fast to prepare and absolutely delicious.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Turkey Meat Loaves with Red Pepper Sauce


         I first wrote this post way back in 2010 when the blog was still quite new.  This year, Memorial Day put a crimp in my writing as we were up to our ears in gardening and celebrating the start of our being in the Hamptons more and more. So when I went searching for something to share with you today, I came across this recipe. It surprised me to see that it never attracted an audience because it really is worth making.  Even if you, like me, have very little fondness for ground turkey.  I’ll grant all those who extoll its low-fat virtues that it’s about as low as you can go, but to me it’s also low on taste and low on juice and low on my list of things I love to cook.  But an article in an old Food and Wine intrigued me.  It was entitled “French food that won’t make you fat”.  Now there’s something I can sink my teeth into.  And it has a very solid pedigree.  Its inventor is the chef Sandro Gamba who cooked under Joel Robichon and Alain Ducasse, was Food and Wine magazine’s Best New Chef of 2001.        
        Apparently tired of rendering French classics at Nomi, in Chicago’s Park Hyatt Hotel, Chef Gamba quit his job and began to look for a place where he could cook “cleaner” and healthier versions of his mentors’ specialties.  He landed at the Four Seasons in Westlake Village, CA which welcomed his healthy approach at all five restaurants on the property.  Unfortunately, visa problems sent him back to France where he spent two years at Sofitel headquarters as their Corporate Chef.  From there he went on to Geneva where he was the Food and Beverage director at the Intercontinental. Now, and for the last two years, he's been the Executive Chef at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi.  I have to wonder if he's introduced his staff of 300 (!) to the virtues of his turkey meatloaf.  But I do know I'd like to re-introduce it to you.  

Monday, May 19, 2014

Chicken Paella with Sugar Snap Peas in about an hour!



        There's no one dish supper quite on the level of a great paella.  It combines protein--sometimes several of them--with carbohydrates and then, for good measure, adds some vegetables. The one big drawback to paella is the interminable time a good one takes to make.  So this recipe from Bon Appetit caught my eye when the magazine put it in a feature called ‘Fresh and Easy Dinners’. It actually toppped their list, and was pictured on their cover.  If you’re ever had a paella in Spain, you know it is hardly ‘quick’ and involves a special paella pan. But this one uses any heavy skillet you have on hand and gets dinner on the table in about an hour.  Considering my memories of paella, that's simply astonishing.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Ginger Chicken Stir-Fry with Asparagus, Peas and Cremini Mushrooms


         Spring has been notable here for tempting us to believe it’s actually arrived. This is followed by plummeting temperatures the next day convincing us all it has not.  In New York City, you can count on the oddest collection of outfits this time of year.   The winter weary—mainly males—can be counted on to don their shorts and tee shirts the minute it gets close to 60 degrees.  They are accompanied by vast numbers of people who resist any wardrobe change until it’s at least 75.  At least that’s the impression I get standing on line in Trader Joes’ between a guy who looks ready for a run in the park and a woman who is wearing a wool hat, coat, scarf and gloves.  Ah well. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Chicken with Shallots from Sam Sifton in the New York Times Sunday Magazine via Rishia Zimmern adapted from Martha Stewart


Sam Sifton 
As fond as I am of the current food crew at The New York Times, I still miss Sam Sifton.  He was the Deputy Dining Editor in 2001 when he was almost instantly tapped to become the Dining Editor a position he held till 2004.  He was with the Times a Culture Editor from then until 2009.  That year he took over from Frank Bruni and became the Restaurant Critic for the Times.  The burnout rate for that job is high: Sifton ate out almost nightly until his last restaurant review appeared almost two years to the day that he started.  But for all of us who miss him, Sifton has graced the Food page of the New York Times Sunday magazine periodically ever since.  And one of those times was a recent Sunday when the recipe I am sharing today appeared.  It was wildly popular--so popular in fact that one of its key ingredients completely disappeared from some grocery stores.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Leftover Lessons: "Greek" Lamb with Orzo or Orecchiette

"Greek" Lamb with Orzo
"Greek" Lamb with Oricchiette
        
Amanda (l.) and Merrill (r.)
Food 52 is a food ‘community’ headed by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs.  Amanda is likely most famous from having edited the Essential New York Times Cookbook, the 2010 revision of the original New York Times Cookbook.  Since she was following in the footsteps of none other than Craig Clairborne, it was some task.  I personally was very pleased to see that Ms. Hesser included the recipe for Monte’s Ham, which first appeared in the Times in 1998.  Food52 has a vibrant on-line recipe share to which bloggers and home cooks from all over contribute.         

Some months ago, I was intrigued by a post for a Lamb dish which topped a bed of lemon-flavored Orzo.  The dish came from a Food52 contributer who signs herself ‘Fiveandspice’ (www.fiveandspice.com).  Along with the recipe came the story of its origins. Fiveandspice’s Mother had seen it in a magazine and incorporated it into her family’s bill of fare.  Since the family was good solid Norwegian stock living in Minnesota, the original "Greek" Lamb with Orzo provided quite a contrast to their usual Norwegian meatballs and fish cakes. I'm not sure my friend Phillip, whose background and cooking is authentically Greek, would attach a Greek flag to the original recipe, but in Minnesota it was positively Pelopponesian. And remained so until Fiveandspice encountered April Bloomfield’s recipe for lamb meatballs in a spicy sauce.  I can always endorse anything Chef Bloomfield does with lamb—see http://www.chewingthefat.us.com/2010/04/visit-to-april-bloomfields-breslin-and.html.  What Fiveandspice did was to revisit her Mother’s recipe incorporating both Chef Bloomfield’s techniques and, I would say, ingredients.  I’d been waiting for the weather to call for heartier dishes and this winter has over delivered on cold, snow, ice and the overwhelming desire to stay indoors until, say, April.  So I set out to make Fiveandspice’s Lamb with Orzo.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Poached Salmon with Minted Yogurt Sauce


Cooking is often the most Zen activity of my day. Especially when I come across a recipe that is elegant in its simplicity, beautiful to look at as I am preparing it and finally, a wonderful experience when it is eaten.  This recipe, which came from Food and Wine, falls right into that category.  It’s so soothing looking that I made its cooking the main illustration above.  With its parsley and dill branches looking like reeds in a stream, it’s a treat just to look at.  But the surprise came when we tasted our first bites.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Napoleon's Chicken Marengo Two Ways: A 30 Minute Dinner and a Pasta Sauce



I love a recipe with a past and this simple and satisfying Chicken dish is a prime example.  And it may be the only time when you can say you’re serving Chicken fit for an Emperor, in this case Napoleon.  There’s a myth attached to the dish:  It was first made in 1800 after Napoleon defeated the Austrian Army at the Battle of Marengo which was fought south of Turin, Italy.  The story goes that Napoleon’s Chef, a man named Dunand, foraged in the town for ingredients because his supply wagons were too far off.  Dunand was said to have created the dish with whatever he could find. Legend has it that Napoleon liked it so much that he had it served after every battle.  Napoleon was also superstitious because once Dunand was better supplied he substituted mushrooms for the crayfish he’d used in the original version and added wine as well.  Napoleon refused to eat it, believing the change would also change his luck.         

Monday, January 13, 2014

Herb-Crusted Cod with Lemon-Dill Beurre Blanc Sauce

       
What’s wonderful about this dish is that its name alone sounds as if you’ve gone to an inordinate amount of trouble making it.  In reality, it’s one of the easiest things on earth to get on the table.  This recipe is as close as I could come to a dish that’s an all-time favorite at Sag Harbor’s “Dockside” restaurant.  Now “Dockside” at 26 Bay Street (Tel: 631-725-7100) is an anomaly. It’s situated in one half of the American Legion Hall. Dockside’s bar is decorated with the crests of the service branches the Legion represents.  Believe it or not, there’s a dearth of places in the Hamptons with water views.  While Dockside is not port side, it is right across the road from the yachts and sailboats moored and docked at the Sag Harbor Yacht Club.  It has an outdoor
terrace that’s a wonderful place for lunch on a sunny day. And for small town Americana, what could beat the Sag Harbor Community Band’s Tuesday night concerts?  These are held directly in front of the Legion every Tuesday in July and August. If you’ve lucky enough to snag a table at Dockside, which does not take reservations, you’ll be serenaded with rousing music in the style of John Phillip Sousa. “Dockside” is a second generation restaurant owned by Stacy Sheehan’s father before Stacy took over and transformed the place from a hamburger joint into a really great place to eat wonderful local food.  Among the offerings is a version of Herb-Crusted Cod with Lemon Beurre Blanc.  Now that Dockside has closed down for the season and won’t reopen until February 13 th, I couldn’t wait to make this at home.  But first, of course, I had to check on the cod.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Lazy Man's Lasagna with Turkey Sausage Bolognese


        
I confess to having been a terrible Lasagna snob.  I think true lasagna is rich in bĂ©chamel sauce, with a ragu that’s been melding flavors for hours in an all-afternoon of cooking and reducing and tasting.  My kitchen has been draped with crinkle-edged lasagna noodles parboiled on the stove more times than I can remember.  And I still make lasagna that way.  Not for me the Americanized versions that I’d been subjected to at some long-ago student dinners.  The version I found most awful was the one with cottage cheese.  But I was craving a baked pasta dish when I came across a recipe in Bon Appetit that gave a prep time of 45 minutes and then baked for another 45.  This sounded very do-able on a weeknight.  But believe it or not, I managed to cut the time down to a little over an hour!  And this lasagna, while hardly authentic Italian, is absolutely terrific.  It’s so good, it should be emailed to everyone in the family who says they can’t cook.  It’s so good, it would convince a girl to marry the guy who made it.   And since this recipe is for 4 servings, you won’t be left eating a huge pan of lasagna until Spring.  Served with a green salad, it’s a dinner not to be forgotten.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Sichuan Stir-Fried Pork in Garlic Sauce with Mushrooms, Water Chestnuts and Snap Peas


         There’s a Sichuan restaurant close to home in New York that I go to more frequently than I’d like to admit.  There’s a big “B” in the window which means The New York City Board of Health has some "issues" with the place.  In my view, if they haven’t closed it down, and I haven’t experienced any problems after eating there, I’m good to go.  I would have to say this mainly has to do with the fact that the lunch special comes in at $6.75 and includes a choice of soups or egg or spring rolls, three kinds of rice and finally, about 20 main dishes all fairly standard Sichuan fare.  Every one I have tried has never disappointed.   The place also has a Japanese menu and a prominent sushi bar.  I choose to believe that the “B” was assigned to that end of the restaurant.  I am happy to spend so little for such traditional Sichuan dishes as Pork in Garlic Sauce. In fact I like it so much, that this weekend I made it at home.  Once you get the hang of stir-frying, there’s no limit to your kitchen creativity. And if there was one technique that I could pass on to harried, time-pressured home cooks, it would be the stir-fry.  And you don’t need a wok, just a big non-stick frying pan.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Melissa Clark's Penne with Brussels Sprouts, Chile and Pancetta


        
Brussels Sprouts in Winter
on the North Fork of Long Island
As a boy, I cannot think of a vegetable I detested quite as much at the Brussels Sprout.  These nasty little cabbages were about as appealing to me as damp pair of socks. I called them every name in the book and insisted that they were a relic of rationing during the two wars that had preceeded my arrival on the planet.  I’m not sure if the cabbage-like smell was worse than the cabbage-like taste.  However, my vocal protests did not stop my mother from putting them on the table regularly during those months when Canada is a frozen tundra and there’s very little choice in fresh vegetables.  Since we were charter members of the Waste-Not-Want-Not Society, when we were served Brussels Sprouts, we ate Brussels Sprouts. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Scallop Saltimbocca with Golden Delicious Apples


        When I lived in Rome, Saltimbocca was an introduction to the cuisine of the city itself.   “Saltimbocca alla Romana” featured veal, topped with Prosciutto and Sage in a Marsala and butter sauce.   It was very good and, because of its ingredients, more expensive than most entrees at the trattorias where we ate as students.  It was, therefore, a treat reserved for the days right after our allowances arrived from home.  
       Saltimbocca means “jump in the mouth” although I could never figure out if that was because the taste ‘jumped’ in your mouth or because the dish was so delicious, you literally couldn’t wait to eat it.  Either way, I love Saltimbocca.  So the other day, when I was looking for something quick and easy to cook, I gravitated to a Tyler Florence recipe (again) that featured Scallops, instead of veal, and a lemon, olive oil and butter sauce in lieu of the Marsala and butter sauce of my student days.  It is well worth repeating here.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Orechiette with Sausage and Spicy Tomato Broccolini Sauce


         Cutting down on carbs is likely the fastest way to lose weight. Candidly, cutting down on alcohol is likely even faster but since that is not going to happen, I’ll stick with cutting carbs.  But anyone who has ever lived in Italy--never mind lived, set foot in Italy is more like it-- cannot envision life without pasta.  But recently, I’ve discovered that if you cut down on pasta portions, you won’t feel the least bit deprived.  You’ll likely enjoy the flavor of the sauce even more simply because there’s more of it and less of pasta.  Most recipes for 4 servings call for one pound of pasta.  Cut that back to 3/4 cup of dried pasta per person and you’ll have more than enough.  Then there’s the magic of the pasta water.  Without adding more oil or cream, pasta water adds creaminess to any sauce without adding a fraction of the calories.  And finally, if you amp up the flavor of the sauce, you’ll feel satisfied with a smaller portion.  All of which I did in this terrific, quick pasta that you can have on the table in about 30 minutes.   

Friday, April 5, 2013

Cazuelas de Atun y Farfalle from Grace Parisi in Food and Wine Magazine



         What’s in a name?  Plenty.  Today’s dish is an homage to Spain which may not need much homage as it has firmly planted itself on the New York restaurant scene.  I count no fewer than 42 tapas restaurants in Manhattan alone on http://spanishtapasnyc.com/. But if you want something really Spanish, I suggest you head there. Because this dish has its roots firmly planted in the US of A.  It was a mainstay in many a household when I was growing up.  It was prized for its simplicity and the speed with which it could appear on the dinner table. So if Spanish isn’t your strong suit, here’s the translation: Tuna Noodle Casserole.  But would you have stopped to read a post about Tuna Noodle Casserole?  I didn’t think so. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Sichuan Stir-Fried Pork in Garlic Sauce from Cook's Illustrated Magazine



Sichuan Province, Land of Plenty
         In one of their masterpieces of science and cooking combined, Cook’s Illustrated chose to take on one of my favorite Chinese Restaurant dishes: Sichuan Stir-Fried Pork in Garlic Sauce.  Sichuan cooking is immediately associated with hot and spicy flavors. The odd thing is that these flavors are relatively new. And initially at least, they were only popular among the poorer segments of Sichuan society.  There was so much else available. Sichuan Province is known as a land of plenty. While landlocked and therefore without seafood, it has an abundance of pigs, poultry, beef cattle, freshwater fish and crayfish.  And it’s been known for its masterful cuisine for hundreds of years.  The first Sichuan restaurant opened in what is now called Hangzhou, its capital city, over 800 years ago. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Top 10 Winner! Linguine with Creamy Tomatoes and Shrimp



Scott Conant, Chef and
Pasta Tester 
           After I’d made this dish, it came as no surprise to learn that Food and Wine had named it one of 10 Best Pasta dishes when it first appeared in 2010.  Judging the 10 Best were several chefs not known not known to be pushovers – especially in this category.  All three had been named Best New Chefs of the year. There was Scott Conant of Scarpetta in New York and Miami, a chef known for his particularly strong background in pasta cooking. What he may even be better known for is his appearances on the Food Network show “Chopped”.  There, he will figuratively run a contestant out of the kitchen if raw red onion appears on any plate put in front of him.   He was joined at Food and Wine’s judging table by two other chefs who know their way around an Italian kitchen:  Mark Vetri of Vetri and Osteria in Philadelphia and Michael Schlow of Radius and Via Matta in Boston. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mediterranean Diet 101: Chorizo and Cannellini Stew adapted from Bon Appetit


         The Mediterranean Diet is back in the news with some startling test results.  If you switch to a diet rich in olive oil, nuts, beans, fish, fruits and vegetables and drink wine with meals, the diet will prevent about 30 percent of heart attacks, strokes and death from heart disease.  The European doctors who conducted the study ended it earlier than expected. They thought it was unethical to continue. The results were so clear, the doctors felt that group not following the diet was at too great a risk.   Not one of the people in the study were in great shape. All 7447 of them were overweight or smokers or had diabetes or some other factor that put them at risk for heart disease.  Most of them were already taking blood pressure medication or cholesterol lowering drugs.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Chicken and Mushroom Hash with Poached Eggs



         Judging from the popularity of James Beard’s recipe for Roast Beef Hash, which has had 3801 pageviews, and that of Ina Garten’s Chicken Hash at 682, Hash has a special place on the tables of our readers.   It certainly is at our house.  Unfortunately, one of the downsides of writing a blog like this is that I virtually never make the same dish twice. This doesn’t really present a problem as the world is full of wonderful things to cook and wonderful ways to cook them.  But it does mean that old favorites like the two hashes, once they are ready for their appearance on Chewing the Fat, seldom, if ever, appear on our table again.  So when I came across Saveur magazine’s new take recipe on the dish, I was delighted.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Haddock with Fennel-Tomato Sauce And 8 Reasons we should all eat more fish.


          We should all eat more fish.  Further down the page you’ll find a list of eight reasons why. But there seem to be an equal number of reasons people do not.  I was talking to my friend Barbara, an Ohio native, who never ate fish growing up.  They simply weren’t all that available.  Now she strives to eat fish because the health benefits are unavoidable.  But she put her finger on what fish she will and will not eat.  And it all came down to what fish smells like. Because the fact is the freshest fish does not smell fishy.  So if you do the sniff test no matter what fish it is, if it smells the slightest bit fishy, put it back, it’s not fresh fish. Luckily for us, New York is one of the world’s great seaports and great fish arrives daily.