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

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 béchamel 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.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Baked Penne with Sausage, Mozzarella and Tomatoes from the Galley of Gillian Duffy



         There are certain recipes I obsess over.  I have folder marked “Re-Visit” and in it there must be at least five recipes for baked pasta dishes.  They all are fundamentally the same.  The pasta is cooked and then a sauce is mixed into it, cheese is added to it and tops it and the whole thing goes into a hot oven for 15 or 10 minutes. In my imagination, it emerges with cheese bubbling up from under a crisp brown Parmesan crust.  The incredibly rich cream sauce coats the pasta which is laden with the flavor of sausage or meatballs, pork or beef.  That’s how I imagine it until reality takes over: Dried pasta sticks up out of a bare covering of cheese. Inside the sauce is non-existent and were it not for the meat, it would hardly be worth eating. This has been going on for years. 
         Then finally, in the most unimaginable place I found Baked Pasta Nirvana.  In this recipe, luscious ripe tomatoes in big chunks are mixed with slices of sweet Italian sausage.  The pasta, tomatoes and sausage come together in a creamy béchamel sauce.  And an entire layer of Mozzarella, hidden bang in the middle of the dish, pulls on your fork like mozzarella in a pizza commercial.  I did use the very last of the fresh tomatoes when I made this dish.  But I discovered that canned plum tomatoes, drained of their liquid and cut into large chunks are an admirable replacement and put this dish within reach year ‘round.  And where did this amazing dish come from?  Why, Departures magazine!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Texas Week Post 2...Kristi's Incredible Harvest Soup



Kristi
         My friend Kristi is something else.  She lives in Dallas where she runs her own business finding "real people" for clients in Advertising and Marketing. She's the best in the business so she's in perpetual motion.  She travels all over the place for her job but when she gets home, she loves to cook.  One day last week, an email arrived from Kristi, heralding the arrival of Fall.  As near as I can understand it, Fall is when the temperature in Dallas drops below 80 degrees for the first time since the previous April.   But Kristi insists that when autumn’s in the air, she makes soup.   And that’s what I did when her recipe hit my in-box.  Kristi’s own invention, Harvest soup is a warming puree of carrots and leeks and onions and sweet potatoes. But what really sets it apart is Kristi’s use of Indian inflected spices—Cardamon, turmeric and cinnamon.  There’s a little chili powder too –how could it come from Texas without it? 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mario Batali's Ziti with Tuna and Salami



         I love pasta and I am always on the lookout for a new and different way to prepare it.   There are sauces that require hours on the stove and that are best made in huge batches. “Bolognese” falls into that camp. Whatever the recipe, there is something so entirely comforting about a pot of “Sunday gravy”, which is what many New York Italians still call their grandmother’s spaghetti sauce.  Stewing away on the stove all day, it requires an occasional stir and multiple tastings and sends out aromas that perfume the air with oregano, tomatoes and basil.  When it finally makes its way to the table, the anticipation has been cooking right along with it all day.  There’s inevitably enough left over to freeze or simply hide away in the fridge for a weeknight second helping. 
      Then there are the sauces that come together quickly enough to make a perfect weeknight dinner.  There are quite a few of these if you look under Pasta in our recipe list.  We lean heavily on the classics –Carbonara, Linguine with Clam Sauce, Linguine with Lemon Garlic Shrimp (better known as Shrimp Scampi).  But when I found this recipe from the incomparable Mario Batali, I’d never heard of any pasta dish like it.  And this is from someone who lived in Italy.   It’s from the Chef’s “Simple Family Meals”  (Harper Collins 2011).  Once I made it, I loved it. The dish blends the taste of very high-end canned tuna with the spicy counterplay of salami and red pepper flakes all wrapped up in a simple onion-y tomato sauce.  Extra points go to the ease with which you can make it.  It’s one of those under 30 minute wonders which deliver far more taste than their cooking time would indicate.   But I was still puzzled that I’d never heard of anything like it.  So I went to google.it to see if I could find the roots of Chef Batali’s creation.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Garlic Shrimp and Cannellini Beans adapted from Bon Appetit


         This is a one-pan wonder that comes together completely in just 30 minutes.  And in that time, Cannellini beans take on the rich flavor of a tomato sauce enriched with chiles and a single bay leaf.  There’s nothing bland about these beans! Then they’re topped with big beautiful shrimp that have been tossed in garlic and smoked paprika and broiled for 3 minutes.  Grilled bread that’s been rubbed with more garlic is perfect for sopping up the lusciously thick sauce.  The whole dish is an homage to Spanish cooking that couldn’t be simpler to make and yet complex in flavor at the same time. Make it and I can almost guarantee you will make it again and again.
            My experience with Spanish cuisine is limited to making an occasional Paella and even there, without a true Paella pan, I am not sure how authentic my version is.  But I’ve wanted to delve a little deeper ever since I read “Ferran ” (Gotham Books 2011) Colman Andrew’s biography of Ferran Adrià i Acosta who is, arguably, the best chef in the world. And who wouldn't be intrigued by a subhead  that read "The Inside Story of El Bulli and the Man who Re-invented Food". From his out-of-the-way El Bulli restaurant in Roses on the Costa Brava, the chef has drawn gastronomes from every corner of the world.   Now shuttered while he decides what his next step will be, the chef’s most famous contributions to cuisine will never be the province of the home cook.  Adria is most associated with "molecular gastronomy”, which is that particular style of cooking obsessed with its science and how food is chemically changed during 
the cooking process.  Despite his reputation for being one of its foremost practitioners, the Chef himself doesn’t consider his cooking to fit in that category.  Instead, he is quoted as saying that his goal is "to provide unexpected contrasts of flavour, temperature and texture. Nothing is what it    seems. The idea is to provoke, surprise and delight the diner."  I won’t, for one minute, claim that this incredibly simple Garlic Shrimp with White Beans comes anywhere near the complexity of a Ferran dish.  But I think you will agree that this thirty minute entrée will “provoke, surprise and delight” you.