Friday, May 12, 2017
Friday, April 28, 2017
Sometimes I wish I had been an adult when my parents were entertaining at our house and I was just small.
The swank and sexy nature of home entertaining in the late 1960's and early 1970's is really misunderstood. All to often we relate the spiral groovy tie-dyed visual to the period. However, when one looks at fashion and design trends the images are quite different. Drawing on a variety of influences including the 20's and the jazz era the design from the 1970's was anything but hippy dippy. I mean Halston was designing amazing things and Warhol was pushing pop art into a new place in the American consciousness.
Home decor had what appears today as a sleek shiny look. Home entertaining also was changing. Casseroles and chafing dishes, fondue pots and electric table top woks were all the rage. Meals were communal and interactive or somehow a bit of show was involved like flaming brandy on Steak Dianne or Baked Alaska. It all seemed fun and I didn't get to participate that much when I was little but it seems to me that I would have liked it a lot.
So this casserole dish is an example of a the Lux life from that time period. It's a rich carb and crustacean laden treat which really resembles what would be the best Lobster Mac and Cheese you've ever ever had. The modern day equivalent of this dish today served up during the Summer in the Hamptons to much applause.
So make this with a dinner salad and channel a little 70's on a Saturday night at a fabulous dinner party.
( serves 8 to 10 )
10 Rock lobster tails 4 oz. each frozen cooked as directed on package ( Trader Joe's carries these )
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon minced onion
1 teaspoon aromatic bitters
1 dried bay leaf
4 cups milk
1 cup light cream
1/2 cup sherry
1 package (12 oz) broad egg (country style) noodles cooked to just barely done and drained
1 cup buttered breadcrumbs (panko)
1/4 cup drained capers
Remove shells from cooked lobster tails leaving meat in one piece
Cut 5 of the tails into bite sized chunks
Melt 1/4 cup butter in a pot
Stir in flour, salt, paprika pepper, garlic, onion and bitters
Slowly whisk in the milk then the cream add bay leaf
Cook over low heat until thickened, stirring with spoon contantly.
When thick add sherry and lobster chunks, remove bay leaf
Combine noodles and sauce and pour into a round 3 Quart Baking Dish
Top with buttered bread crumbs
Bake at 375 uncovered for 30 mins until hot and bubbly
Cut remaining tails into half lengthwise
Place on top of noodle mixture and brush with remaining 1/4 cuo melted butter and sprinkle with the capers.
Return to oven for 10 mins or a bit more.
Serve after letting sit for 5 mins.
Thursday, March 30, 2017
It was however in Munich we fell in love with the German Beer hall fare. I mean like crazy tourists we really got into it. pork knuckles and spatzel and sauerkraut and bratwurst oh my! In fact after one dinner our shared plates kinda looked like this.
But it was the Schnitzel in Berlin and the Sauerkraut from Munich that my Chef friend Lauren and I figured out how to try and replicate here at home. So here is the effort. The recipes are actually very easy and the Sauerkraut starts with your favorite quality store bought brand. The potatoes are great. All in all this is a week night dinner if you have an hour to get it all together. So give it a try and Guten Appetit!
Saturday, March 11, 2017
Deviled Eggs are high on every one's list these days. Caterers, Restaurants, Gastro Pubs and bar menus are all featuring these retro tasty throwbacks to the 1950's and 60's cocktail parties.
I personally love them. They are like all the things I love to eat in one package. They immediately remind me of being 5 or 6 years old again and eating deviled eggs at a church function or at my house when company would come over. I loved them then and I love them now.
For Christmas entertaining this year I made these deviled eggs. They could not have been easier. And they could not have been more delicious. Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa) first introduced smoked salmon deviled eggs to me.
But a few years ago when I was introduced to pastrami smoked salmon ( ie. Salmon cured with the spices from Pastrami curing and then smoked) by my friend Fred I thought what madness is this! It's truly beyond delicious.
So I saw it at the local supermarket over Christmas and thought lets use this to make deviled eggs. And wow are they good. So if you want to try something new for your next party, brunch or even just a family dinner or picnic. Try these. You won't be sorry! Yum Ya'll
The Ultimate Pastrami Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs
8 eggs hard boiled and peeled
1 heaping spoonful Dukes mayonnaise
4 heaping spoonfuls of chive and onion cream cheese in a small tub
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon dried onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
6 Tablespoons finely minced pastrami smoked salmon ( or other if using)
16 small slices of salmon for garnish
4 Tablespoons chives chopped finely ( a few cut into batons and reserved for garnish)
salt and pepper to taste
Cut the eggs in half. Scoop out the yokes into a bowl you'll have 16 halves
Mix with the other ingredients except salmon
Mash until a smooth paste forms
Add the salmon and mix into the egg mixture
Place the filling in a plastic bag refrigerate for about an hour.
Cut a corner off the bag
Fill the whites
Place a sliver of the salmon on the top to garnish
Garnish further with chive batons
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Nachos are some of my favorite things to eat and Quesadillas are a close second. So I had a bunch of stuff leftover from a few dinner nights and some friends were coming over to watch some movie on TV. and I said I'll make us dinner. Well I looked through the fridge and came up with left over flank steak, creamed spinach, shredded cheddar Salsa, Sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese, chopped onions and chives and large flour tortillas. In the cupboard I found refried beans and Japanese fried onions you know the ones they put on Ramen. I knew I had the makings of Steak House Nachos!
These could not be simpler. Take the Sour cream and add a few dashes of hot sauce. Then you simply mix the beans ad some salsa. You heat that then take it off the heat. Also heat the creamed spinach and also let cool a bit.
Then take one tortilla at a time and start building. First you spread a little bean mixture then you spread a little spinach you add the other ingredients and fold the thing over into a flat taco. Then you cook it in a little vegetable oil till hot and melted. Let it sit a bit so it doesn't all slide out of the tortilla when you are cutting it. When cooled a bit cut it into sections. Place the sections on a baking sheet then repeat till you've used up all your ingredients. Reheat when ready to serve.
Garnish with the sour cream and the crispy onions and chopped chives. Eat!
Sunday, February 26, 2017
This past week when contemplating what to do with a whole roaster I had purchased and needed to use I decided to try and use this bottle of piri piri Sauce made by Wildly Co. that was a Chritmas gift from a friend. So I researched a recipe and found one on Epicurious.com. I decided to adapt it to a roasted version of this bird and boy was I glad I did. I may never go back to the old way I made Roasted Chicken. Well that's till I decide I want to try something else!
I marinated the whole bird for a day and half then roasted it basting the bird with a glaze of more sauce and butter till the bird was a lovely color and the flavor was amazing when we tried it. So here's a little recipe for you. One thing to note the Piri Piri Chile Sauce you can buy is very hot. Even the medium version has quite a bit of heat so that's something to consider when buying the sauce. Enjoy!!
Piri Piri Roasted Whole Chicken with Spinach Sauce and Roasted tomatoes
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 cup olive oil
1 cup piri piri chile sauce
4 cloves of garlic chopped
1/2 cup chopped Cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Couple of dashes of hot sauce if you want it hotter than your Piri Piri Sauce
Mix together and rub all over chicken inside and out and place the chicken in a marinating bag and leave in the fridge overnight turning every few hours.
1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cup piri piri chile sauce
1/4 cup chili sauce (Heinz style)
Dash or two of hot sauce (Tabasco or your favorite)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Mix in a pot on stove then let cool it should be thick to stick to the bird
Preheat Oven to 450 degrees
Remove chicken from the fridge and let sit out for about an hour
Remove form the marinade and discard marinade
Place chicken in a roasting pan or large skillet
Slather with some of the glaze
Roast for 50 mins till done
About 30 mins into the roast slather with more glaze till the 50 mins are up
Slather the chicken with remaining glaze and shut oven door and let sit for 10 mins
Remove from the oven and serve right way
For Spinach sauce
2 lbs. Frozen spinach (not chopped)
Thaw and squeeze out water
In a pot bring 1 cup of whole milk to a boil and then add 2 teaspoons garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Add 1 cup cream cheese at room temperature stir until melted and combined with the milk
Add the spinach and let simmer in the sauce for about 20 mins
Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed
Place Roma Tomatoes into the oven topped with a little olive oil salt and pepper with the chicken when you put it in. Bake until done and juicy about 20-25 mins
Remove and cool
Serve it up in the skillet if you want as shown or you can put it on platters and bowls and serve to pass about the table. Enjoy Ya'll
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Farro the grain of ancient Rome, the wheat of the Caesars. It been around and used in Italy forever. It's delicious and earthy and hearty and very tasty. And it can be prepared a variety of ways. I mean you can just boil it and then mix in whatever you would like. And there is a very popular recipe move happening in the food media in the last 5 years that uses Farro in the place of rice in making risotto. And why not it's delicious. Farrotto the non rice risotto.
Here I've taken a recipe from Nigella Lawson for mushroom farrotto and added a topping of fresh tomato, Cauliflower Brussels Sprouts as well as browned mushrooms and bacon. This recipe was inspired by a photo and post made by a chef I know from Facebook. So here is my wintry dish with a bit of fresh that makes this dish a great year round food you can make for your family and friends.
Here it is:
Sunday, January 29, 2017
Lamb Shanks are a delicacy which is often forgotten about by home cooks. Not as common as other stewing meat options they are not to be missed. They were my choice this year for Christmas dinner replacing the rib roast we normally have and everyone agreed it was a good idea!
They need some time and attention and are not a really super meaty but they are very tasty and make a stunning visual impact on the table. In this recipe I paired them with simply pan fried or roasted Brussel sprouts. Simply place the brussel sprouts cut in half and seasoning with salt pepper and garlic powder, face down in a oiled frying pan. Cook over med heat till browned and caramelized. They will still have a little crunch.
The lamb shanks are stewed then the sauce is reduced and thickened. The shanks are placed back in the pot and when ready to serve a parsley and lemon zest gremolata is sprinkled over the shanks giving some citrus and herbal freshness to the dish and cutting the rich sauce.
Make these while the weather still makes you crave some rich comforting food to fill your belly and warm up your spirits.
Lamb Shanks with Gremolata
4 to 6 shanks from your butcher
1 cup each of finely chopped onion, celery and carrots
1 cup red wine
3-4 cups of beef broth just till the shanks are almost completly covered
1 Tablespoon chopped rosemary
1 Tablespoon chopped sage leaves
1 teaspoon salt
10 cloves garlic whole
2 bay leaves
1 small can tomato paste
3 Tablespoons of flour
Zest of one lemon
3/4 cup coarsely chopped parley leaves
Place some oil in a large heavy bottomed stew pot and bring the temperature up. Salt and pepper the shanks well and then brown all over in the oil. You might have to do this in batches.
Remove from the pot and add a bit more oil and then the vegetables. Cook them stirring constantly till soft but not browned. With the flat of your knife smash the garlic till it cracks open then add whole chunks into the pot. Cook for about 2 or 3 mins. or until the garlic blooms. Add the spices and herbs and stir a minute or so.
Add the wine and the tomato paste and stir is up till the tomato paste is disolved. Now add the shanks back to the pot and nestle in the vegetables, then add the stock just till it almost completely covers the meat.
Cook over medium heat at a slow simmer for about 1 and half to 2 hours. When the meat is tender remove from the sauce carefully. Fish out the bay leaves and then bring to a boil till reduced by a third. Combine the flour and remaining stock or some water in a small bowl and stir till smooth. Slowly stir into the sauce. Continue to cook until the sauce has thickened. Place the meat back in the pot and gently rewarm the meat till ready to serve. Place on a platter or on plates and sprinkle with the parsley and lemon rind and then season with sea salt.
Thursday, January 5, 2017
I read someone recently write that they could not seem to eat a salad that did not have as many calories and as much fat as a Cheeseburger and thus salads were never really a healthy alternative for them. This seems to be my burden as well. Try as I might I have to make things taste good or I just don't like them.
Now that's not to say I haven't eaten my fair share of awfully healthy meals when trying to improve my diet or lose weight in the past. But I have come to a place in my life where life itself seems a little more fleeting in the wake of my brothers illness and all. In fact, right before this happened to him, we were having a discussion about how one really needs to enjoy one's time here. Because let's face it, we never know when we will no longer have the chance to enjoy life and the ones we love.
As such and in that vein I offer up to you a recipe to remake maybe my favorite restaurant entree salad of all time. I mean, I love a Brown Derby Cobb Salad, and to say that the Hillstone Thai Steak and Noodle Salad would not also find itself at the top of that list would be silly (See Food and Wine Magazine article online for the restaurant's own recipe printed up in an article celebrating my favorite restaurant chain and favorite go to eatery in NYC.)
But the California Dreaming Salad stands on it's own as a miracle in modern American restaurant recipes. It's beautiful and it's served with a freshly baked croissant slathered with honey butter. It's dressed with a hot sweet and sour bacon dressing and topped with everything an old fashioned chef's salad should be. It is an a word perfection. Doubt it? Visit any California Dreaming restaurant and try this salad and write me back it it isn't De#uckingliscious! Sorry about the swearing but I am that passionate about this salad.
Of course you don't have to travel from where ever you are to make this salad because I am about to give you the golden ticket to make this on your own. Now I've done my research and I have supposedly gotten all the scoop on the ingredients. If I'm wrong please let me know but don't write nasty things about my research and how I don't know what I'm talking about. Just make the salad and then shut your mouth cause, it's that good! Try this and be the hero. Feed your loved ones and friends some salad tonight. You can feel "kinda" good about it. But they will just love it. I promise.
The California Dreaming Salad- A T&T Home Version
(makes 4 servings of entree sized salads)
1/2 head of iceberg lettuce shredded
1/2 head of Romaine chopped
1/2 small red onion finely diced
3 eggs boiled and finely chopped
12 oz. of Armour 1877 Ham cubed and then chopped in the food processor to shred
12 oz Smithfield Smoked Turkey chopped into thin thin strips
8 oz of Armour Smoked Bacon cooked crisp and finely chopped (Grease held in a dish)
2 Medium tomatoes seeded and diced
6 oz of finely shredded cheddar cheese
Frozen Croissants baked and slathered with honey butter.
Hot Bacon Dressing (This is the good stuff, but it's not necessarily good for you...but eh..life's short)
1/2 cup warmed bacon drippings
1 large or two small shallots very finely minced
3/4 cup salad oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons Dijon or brown mustard
1 tablespoon mayo
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Mix everything really well except the bacon drippings
The right before serving mix together and dress salads
To make the salad
Dress greens with dressing till wet. Portion out to into 4 bowls. (Put extra dressing in a bowl on the side)
Layer on the toppings artistically starting with the cheese or mix and mound on the top leaving a few pieces to use as garnish, like tomato pieces and ham and maybe some egg.
Serve this salad with the croissants. Enjoy!!