Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Add just like that, they've both been added to my recipe queue, and hopefully yours too.
Penne with Ricotta, Arugula, and Basil
Recipe Courtesy of Lori Longbotham for
1 lb. dried penne pasta
8 oz. whole-milk ricotta (about 1 cup)
1 oz. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1 cup); more for serving
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. lightly packed finely grated lemon zest
Freshly ground black pepper
5 oz. baby arugula (about 6 loosely packed cups), coarsely chopped
1-1/2 oz. fresh basil (about 2 loosely packed cups), coarsely chopped
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the pasta in the water until al dente, about 11 minutes. Reserve about 1/3 cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix the ricotta, Parmigiano, 1 Tbs. of the oil, the zest, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 3/4 tsp. pepper.
Heat the remaining 1 Tbs. oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the arugula and basil and 1/2 tsp. salt and cook, tossing with tongs, until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Transfer the arugula mixture to the bowl with the ricotta and mix well.
Add the hot pasta to the ricotta mixture and toss to coat. Add the reserved cooking liquid as needed to moisten the pasta. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve, passing more Parmigiano at the table.
Grilled Lamb Chops with Charred Red Onion Chutney
Recipe Courtesy Liz Pearson for Fine Cooking
1 large red onion, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
3 Tbs. canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 medium ripe tomato, cored and chopped
2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. granulated sugar
Four 3/4-inch-thick bone-in lamb shoulder chops (2 to 2-1/2 lb. total)
Prepare a medium-high gas or charcoal grill fire. Rub the onion slices with 1 Tbs. of the oil, keeping the rings intact, and season with 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Arrange them on the grill in a single layer and cook, flipping once, until lightly charred, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the onions to a cutting board and chop into small pieces.
Heat 1 Tbs. of the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the cumin and pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, until toasted and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chopped onions, tomato, vinegar, sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and 1/3 cup water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to medium, and boil until the onions are soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Uncover the pot and continue to boil, stirring often, until thickened, about 5 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, rub the lamb all over with the remaining 1 Tbs. oil and season with 2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Grill, flipping once, until deep golden-brown outside and medium rare inside, about 8 minutes total. Serve topped with the chutney.
Photos above courtesy of Fine Cooking
Monday, June 28, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Chuck's Day Off (a Food Network Canada import) is airing on the new Cooking Channel which I'm also crushing on. It's a 24 hour network targeted towards foodies, and I've gotta say, the majority of the shows and content on there have kind of blown me away. They're the perfect combination of edgy meets accessible. And at this point, it's beyond refreshing to flip on a cooking program produced in an imperfect environment (no studio sets here) with hosts that aren't bombarding you with catch-phrases and acronyms, and racing against against a 30 minute clock. But hey, I'm not naming any names.
Last night, while tuning in to see my tat-sleeved dream boy (never thought I'd say that), he was whipping up a tapas party for three lucky ladies (step away, ladies) in which he made an arugula pesto to drizzle over seared slices of chorizo. And while arugula pesto might not be incredibly new and innovative to some of you, it is to the other half. Has it been done before? Well, yes. But I think we can all appreciate a friendly reminder of easy alternatives to perk up our go-to weekly meals. So try switching out the basil for some arugula, throw some linguine into a pot of boiling water, throw a dollop of ricotta on top of the finished product, pour a glass of grassy New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and start decorating your bedside table with framed pictures of Chuck Hughes like any other normal 20-something would.
Recipe Courtesy of Chuck Hughes
1/2 cup grated romano or parmesan cheese
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic
2 big handfuls of packed arugula leaves
A drizzle olive oil
salt and pepper
Grate your cheese.
Pop all ingredients in a food processor or blender and while it’s running drizzle in about ½ cup good olive oil. Season to taste with S&P. If too thick you can thin out with a bit of water.
Photo above courtesy of Food Network Canada
UPDATE: CHUCK HUGHES WILL BE SERVING ICE CREAM OUTSIDE OF CHELSEA MARKET IN A COOKING CHANNEL TRUCK TODAY AT NOON. I DIE.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
You can thank my friends Carey and Rob from Corks + Caftans (If you haven't yet checked out their blog, I'm not quite sure what your deal is and/or what you're waiting for. It is utterly fabulous. He loves wine*; she loves fashion; I love their life.) for being the driving force behind this weekend's dinner party menu. By now, I should hope you know that I aim to please. Which means, I love requests; thrive off 'em, really. So when the dynamically well-dressed duo asked me to "whip up some mind-blowing recipe that involves roasted pork and asian spices" I immediately knew what I had to share not only with them but with all of you, too. (*Be sure to check out a shining example of one of Rob's wine reviews by clicking on the wine pairing linked below.)
summer rolls with shrimp, avocado, and mango
Adapted from a Gourmet recipe
12 large cooked shrimp, halved lengthwise
4 (8-inch rice paper rounds)
a few sprigs of fresh cilantro
a few leaves of fresh mint
1 mango, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
1 avocado, thinly sliced
Put a double thickness of paper towel on a work surface and fill a shallow baking pan with warm water. Check rice-paper rounds and use only those that have no holes. Soak 1 round in warm water until pliable, 30 seconds to 1 minute, then carefully transfer to paper towels.
Arrange 3 shrimp halves (cut sides up) in a row across bottom third (part nearest you) of soaked rice paper. Arrange a few pieces of cilantro, a few pieces of mint, some mango, and avocado on top of the shrimp. Fold bottom of rice paper over filling and begin rolling up tightly then fold in ends and continue rolling. Transfer summer roll, seam side down, to a plate and cover with dampened paper towels. Make the remaining rolls in same manner and serve, cut into thirds, with store-bought sweet chili dipping sauce.
hoisin pork tenderloin
Recipe courtesy of Ming Tsai
1 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup chopped scallion, white part only (save the green part for the rice)
2 (8-ounce) pork tenderloins
fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
In a baking dish large enough to cook the pork, mix hoisin sauce, garlic, ginger, wine, and scallions. Add pork and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours; preferably overnight.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Season pork with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet over high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat pan. Add pork turning only once and cook for 5 minutes total until browned. Transfer to oven. Roast 12 to 15 minutes until done. Let pork rest 5 minutes then cut into 1/4 inch slices to serve (pork should still be a pleasant shade of light pink).
spicy asian slaw recipe adapted from gourmet magazine by cookin' canuck
cantaloupe melon and yogurt parfait courtesy of paul lowe of sweet paul
my trick for sticky rice: bring a pot of water (2:1, water to rice ratio) to a boil with a good sprinkle of salt and a generous pat of butter then add your rice, stir, and cook according to package directions (about 18-20 minutes). top with the reserved greens of the scallions.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Burning. It burns. I don't like how hot my face feels right now. It's really, really hot. And I'm covering my face with my hands, but kind of wincing through my fingers to see if anyone's still here. Anyone? Do I still have an audience? Here's to hoping.
The thing is, I couldn't possibly swing a dinner party every single weekend, and I don't expect you to be able to do the same (although if you can, I haven't yet seen my invite come through the mail). But what I do hope to provide for you is a menu and a party plan that seems accessible and mouth-watering enough for you to press File, Print, and have this in your arsenal when an opportunity to entertain arises. And when it does, you're armed with a sure fire win.
And this weekend, we had a Birthday party, folks. So it was straight to last week's weekend dinner party menu I went: salmon burgers with lemon-chive aioli, orecchiette with arugula (subbed for radicchio) and sweet orange vinaigrette, and fennel-apple slaw. With Petit Nevat (goat's milk cheese shown below), green olive tapenade, and some pizza dough I threw on the grill and then cut into pieces for flatbread (you're welcome, that's the single greatest entertaining tip EVER), with a pop of a bottle of Spanish Rosé, we were well on our way to a particularly memorable evening. Because by the end of it, Michael Jackson's "Off The Wall" album could be heard in every home in the tri-state area.
A night that ends in dance, sweat, and laughter is a job well done. Done very well indeed. Turns out, I can plan a serious weekend dinner party menu.
Celebrate, YOU. Love, love, love.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
You'd think, considering the fact I live a total of three blocks away from City Winery, that I'd be a regular by now. Yet, every time I've jaunted over to the spacious spot, I've been rejected. Meaning, they were holding private concerts and no ticket? No entry. Needless to say, I was thrilled to discover that the tasting would be held there--in the winery, no less. And, yes, there is a real, live, functioning winery (note the picture below) with a French winemaker, playing with different grape varietals from all over the world. In the meantime, you can guarnatee I'll be overeager and slightly fidgety until I get the chance to race back and taste through a couple of those.
Albarino is an interesting grape; hailing from the coast of Spain. And if you're not familiar with the varietal, might I suggest you make it a priority to seek out the next time you're at the wine store. Tish mentioned, "This [Albarino] is a story about acidity." This is true. He used the example of how you can't cook without lemon or vinegar. They're the "zing." This is also incredibly true. More often than not, when you're cooking and go for a taste and it needs that little something to perk it up, to add a freshness, a vibrancy, you grab a lemon. Add some zest. Throw a dash of balsamic in. It will help. It always helps. Albarino, by means of acidity, can thus be a dish's BFF.
Montauk Fluke Tartar on Spiced Taro Chips was served with Laxas Albarino 2009. Honeydew and key lime pie on the nose and then BAM. The acidity hits you, slashing your tongue, making you salivate. And that tartar? Well, my tasting notes consisted of : YES!!!!! So that's that.
Chilled Curry Corn Soup with Rock Shrimp and Pickled Ramps was served with Condes de Albarei Albarino 2009. This soup was the finest and most beautiful example of finesse and sensuality. Seductively creamy. Exotically spiced. And the wine played nice. The wine played real nice.
Serrano Ham Wrapped Dates with Blue Cheese and Saba was served with Paco & Lola Albarino 2008. These little savory candied bundles made the entire room erupt with applause. Nicely done, Harold.WR Tish discussing the wine and food pairings with Chef Harold Dieterle
Grilled Chicken Satay with Chili Jam got paired up with Brandal Albarino 2008. Edamame Falafel with Lemon-Tahini Sauce was served with Pazo de Senorans Albarino 2009. Chilled Calamari Salad with Spanish Olives and Grilled Bread was matched with Santiago Ruiz Albarnio 2009.
And you, young man. Talk about boyish charm. I was beaming like an idiot every time I got to exchange a few words with him but it was really because I'm always so humbled to be in the presence of someone so passionately engaged in his craft (no joke, it gets me all choked up). And it seems silly, but one of the marks of a great chef or cook, is the ability to season appropriately. To be able to taste something and know exactly what (and how much) it needs. Each delectable little bite we were presented was spot-on. Perfectly seasoned and incredibly thoughtful. The room was bursting with smiles.
Tish (formerly of Wine Enthusiast) comically and informatively led the evening with his charm and vast knowledge and engaged every single person in that room, personally. I urge you to read his blog and check in to see when his next tasting will be. Because if last night was any indication, you can be sure I'll be attending as many events as my schedule permits. Priorities are priorities. And this, this is a priority.
With summer here, we always talk about what wines to pair with this hot season of the year. And while light, fun, crisp whites and easy-drinking fruity reds are normally the go-to during these next few months, at some point you have to sit down and switch it up a little. A long day out in the sun makes for a hungry, thirsty individual that just needs some gastronomic pleasure. Enter Italian comfort food – more specifically pasta!
Sunday, June 13, 2010
The food at Poco was quite uninspired and under-seasoned (although the truffle croquettes were unarguably good, the lobster mac-n-cheese hadn't seen so much as a sprinkle of salt, and the cheese plate tasted like flavorless wax), the drinks way too syrupy sweet, and the service, practically comical. Although, towards the end, our server's attitude and inattentiveness became less and less funny and more and more irritating (i.e. not writing down our orders and then screwing things up and blaming it on us kind of thing). Especially when I had to nearly stand up and wave both arms wildly while jumping up and down to really drive it home to our waiter that we were, in fact, ready for the check. We'd been unsuccessfully trying to flag him down for the past 15 minutes.
So if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all, right? Wrong. Because even with a Groupon "deal" we ended up forking over more money than the experience merited. And I've got a big problem with that. When nights out on the town are few and far between for many, mediocrity and carelessness are absolutely inexcusable. And Poco, you should know better.
Mushroom Truffle Croquettes Lobster Mac-n-Cheese
FINAL GRADE: 57
Friday, June 11, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
"90/100 serious concentration of peach followed up by lemon meringue. hints of vanilla and white flowers are popping up too. absolutely gorgeous nose. no joke, i'm head over heels in love with this nose. in the mouth, i'm floored by the acidity. lemons and limes with a stone component which is interesting. this should come home with me."
The other wines we tasted our way through:
2008 Herdade do Esporao Vinha da Defesa white
2008 Esporao Reserva white
2009 Herdade do Esporao Monte Velho red
2008 Herdade do Esporao Vinha da Defesa
2007 Esporao Reserva Red
Herdade do Esporao wines can be found at the following downtown NYC wine shops: Pop the Cork, Chelsea Wine Country, and Sea Grape Wine Shop.