Gefilte fish produces such strong reactions that I decided to use the far more demure French word for this sea-born dish. Quenelles are easy to make and you can use whatever fish you prefer. For this round I used salmon and a heavy dose of fresh peas. Blend in the aromatics that look fresh when you arrive at the market, no need to adhere strictly to this recipe. When serving, add a dollop of something tangy (yogurt sauce, horseradish, sour cream, tamarind paste), it will offset the luxurious fish and send fireworks through your palate.
After such a dreary winter we've been gifted with a glorious spring in the city. I can't remember having so many breezy days in NYC! The lingering season inspired another dinner party, this one drafted from springtime flavors.
Taking cue from the effortless Hasselback Potato, I decided to fill a casserole dish with sliced red skinned potatoes and scatter their in-betweens with a confetti of leek. With a generous pour of olive oil on top the dish crisps up in your oven and transfers to the table perfectly for an easy side dish.
Breakfast desserts are a wonderful venue for experimentation. With this treat I took some morning time favorites and reframed them with an eye toward the tart/pie family. The crust is an oatmeal crumble, the body a tremble of yogurt set with gelatin, and the top is crowned in fruit. A joy eaten in the morning and a secret eaten at night, this tart will become a staple in your repertoire once you've tried it. Any fruit on top will do, I swap it out as the seasons shift. My new favorite? Fillets of mango spiraled around the yogurt.
My pursuits of the perfect Saag have taken me far and wide. I’ve tried many a recipe in my kitchen, some my own, some belonging to those far more well-versed in Indian cooking. My efforts have brought forth this dish, reminiscent of the saag at my favorite Indian restaurant, but tweaked for my Brooklyn kitchen. Instead of spinach I used rainbow chard because it was local, fresh and calling to me with jewel-toned legs amidst the shrubbery of the produce aisle. Two bunches may look like a lot when you stick it in your cart, but chard (like every leafy green) cooks down to nothing. Ergo, buy more than you think you need.
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I'm not a fan of the hotel fruit salad, a jubilee of unseasonal and underripe cubes with little or no thought to structure and shape. And so, when I set out to make a fruit salad it must have perspective, maturity, and reason. You'll never find a tumble of melons, citrus, berries, and grapes on my table. Our brunch was in close enough proximity to Passover that my brain subtly injected this reference to Charoset. Chopped apples, dates, and cashews, dressed with lemon and tamarind. It's a Southeast Asian take on my Jewish roots, and I'm eagerly awaiting a repeat performance.
Beginning with an Indian inspiration I tore the insides from mental samosas and packed them into a casserole dish. The result is a tray of scoopable, spiced, tender, and crusty potatoes, perfect as the bed for some fried eggs. I add a lot of peas to my potato mixture, feel free to adjust the proportion should you be pea-averse.
Discovering Robert Capon's perfect Capon on Cooking at my favorite bookstore years ago was like striking gold. His slightly outdated wit greets you like the scent of a warm sweater retrieved from storage for a cold winter. It is goofy, wise, and complimented our Italian evening with aplomb.
With an unforgiving Winter this year it seems only appropriate to pepper this list with songs of longing (for another human, another season). I opened the evening with the theme song from Under the Tuscan Sun because I'm masochistic (but seriously, we all love that movie, right?).
A delight of layers, this cake has enough personality to please every texture nerd. I line the pan with caramelized walnuts, then pour the batter on top for baking. Once the cake is out of the oven and cool, I plaster the top with an easy chocolate mousse. Though it may look complicated, fret not- this is a cake you can throw together with minutes on the clock and look like a winner when the buzzer sounds.
It wasn't until I was in college that my family (all living gluten free at that moment) discovered the wonder of this Brazilian bread. No yeast, no complicated blend of gluten free flours, this batter comes together in a few minutes with a small list of ingredients. You can make it with or without cheese. Adding handfuls of something sharp will amp up the flavor, though I must admit an addiction to this simple, dairy free, version. Traditionally, the batter is baked into small muffins, small rolls, but I've taken this opportunity to present you with my favorite alternative: the grill. Pour the batter directly onto a cast iron grill/griddle and you'll be rewarded with an alchemical transformation.
Yes, I'm making a lot of cabbage this winter. Truth be told, I'm trying my best to cook from local ingredients and at my market this is the only vegetable I can find that is grown even remotely close to NYC. But, necessity is the mother of invention and I've been keeping my tummy full with delicious variations on this hearty vegetable. Tonight's presentation is tarted up with lemon rind and given a kick in the tongue with some dried chilies. Golden garlic rounds out the flavor wheel, making the dish a new staple in your repertoire.
Don't wait for the summer to start grilling. Invest in a cast iron griddle/grill pan and you'll be set through the colder months of the year. I brined the pork loin in whole grain mustard and garlic to infuse it with flavor before slapping it on the hot grill. The final product is perfectly seasoned, charred on the outside, and juicy in the middle (just where it counts).
We may have to play Under the Tuscan Sun on repeat in the background just to wish away this endless winter that has descended upon NYC. Here's the plan: grilled pork, polenta, sardines, cabbage, and cake. Ready for the feast?
Whether we plan it or not, we all wake up with an extra body in our beds from time to time. No need to panic, either escort your drowsy guest to the door or fire up the griddle and get some breakfast on the table. Here's your full menu for the morning after, bacon, pancakes, good music, and a brilliant little quip from James Beard.
James Beard provides some of the best kitchen commentary in his infamous Menus for Entertaining. He writes delightfully about changing appetites, etiquette, and servants. Yes, he is inappropriate and outdated and it's glorious. Here's his introduction to a section on breakfast menus.
If your special dinner guest stayed a bit longer than anticipated, you're now dealing with a different kind of entertaining. This is the type you do in sweatpants and glasses, unshowered, and definitely unkempt. Let's assume you had a great night with this extended guest, and now you want to send him home with a little extra love. Here's the jam for his toast.
It's downright irresponsible to have a late breakfast without some sort of vegetable on the table. Though it may run counter to your upbringing, the breakfasts of my young adulthood have always featured something green to accompany my meats and starches. But I'll cut you some slack here, it is the morning after, after all. Have a bunch of kale in your fridge? Is it starting to wilt? Yes, of course it is. Well strip the leaves from the stems and let them crisp up in the oven. Everybody loves a good chip.
Bacon needs no introduction, it begs no accoutrements, but sometimes (just sometimes) it likes to be treated like a GD star. It doesn't take much to put bacon in the spotlight, just of touch of sweet spice and some proper cooking. I like my bacon straight and stiff as a board, thick and crisp. For my tastes, there is no better purveyor of the porky strip than John O'Groats in LA. I base my cooking technique on their expert presentation, and it doesn't fail.