Thursday, February 24, 2022
Sunday, April 4, 2021
Baby and I had Easter to ourselves this year (except for a few calls to and from family). This did not, however, stop us from making a considerable amount of food. A lamb recipe courtesy of Eleven Madison Park inspired me to make a Greek Easter dinner, having made a Roman Easter holiday not too long ago via Saveur magazine. I thought to take another trip across the world! This was not exactly a sit-down: we lazed and grazed the entire afternoon, watching movies in between our preparations while maneuvering the dishwasher and putting out the next courses when we were hungry again. Our table was colorful; scribbled in pink and periwinkle blue with gold foil chocolate rabbits, brass candlesticks handed down to me from a relative and my Nana's beautifully etched Champagne glasses from the 1920's for a proper toast. So fun!
Fettucine with Sauteed Artichokes
Roasted Rack of Lamb
Almond Fig Cake with Pistachio Gelato
After having some jelly beans for breakfast, we launched into an easily made, classic velvety avgolemono soup with lemon and orzo (instead of suggested long grain white rice) shortly after noon. Also we cut corners by using purchased College Inn broth with roasted chicken thighs that we had on hand, instead of making our own arduous stock.
Our pasta course was served with fresh fettucine and canned artichokes--not the heart-breaking, endless peeling variety and only sauteed briefly, not roasted as the recipe suggests. We shared a split of starched and dry Pommery Champagne, Brut Classico with this dish.
Two frenched racks of lamb were the mains, seen here mainly unadorned, before we slathered tzatziki on it. I did not suffer over suspending and draining the cucumbers for 48 hours as the recipe suggests to make the cucumber yogurt; I merely ordered delicious prepared tzatziki from FreshDirect.com.
Almond fig cake with pistachio gelato was a fine dessert, with of course some chocolate eggs and more jelly beans that were scattered about. This was a great finish with some high-octane Ouzo!
Soundtrack: The Beach Music Sound; Patio Pool Party; Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers; Miles Davis, Birth of the Cool; Miles Davis, Cookin' with The Miles Davis Quintet
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
Easter is less than two weeks away--spring lamb is what's going to be on our table this year! Baby and I are making it easy with dinner for just the two of us. Not sure yet what will round out the rest of the menu but I'm thinking of a Greek slant this year based on the lamb recipe, with lemon chicken soup (classic Greek avgolemono) to start, a pasta course with grilled artichokes and a dish of dates and figs for a fine finish. Although I am not a fan of Greek retsina wine (shocking, I know), I do believe a chilled, fizzy bottle of Perrier-Jouet Champagne will be an ample substitute!
Lamb Rack with Cucumber Yogurt
Thanks to Eleven Madison Park for the recipe and photo!
Monday, November 23, 2020
Thoughts on Thanksgiving leftovers...? Well, I do keep a loose flurry of recipes that I have amassed over the years. This one, in my old binder, was apparently printed in 2004 and lay there, in wait. I'm so glad I riffled through the binder and found this old chestnut for chicken with pumpkin mole sauce--it's delicious! But let's talk turkey--why not try this recipe with a proud Tom this year?
4 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 3-inch-diameter slice white onion (1/2 inch thick), separated into rings
2 garlic cloves, peeled (I used a garlic ginger paste that I had on hand, to great effect! About 2 teaspoons)
1 5x3x1/2-inch-thick slice country white bread, crust trimmed (I used a single onion brioche roll, not trimmed, just easier)
3/4 cup drained canned diced tomatoes (insert cannellini beans here)
1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 canned chipotle chile (or so, some like it hot!)
1 cup canned pure pumpkin
1/3 cup whipping cream (I used fat-free sour cream, thank you)
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 skinless boneless chicken breast (I used 1 huge chicken breast, bone-in--or shredded turkey!)
Fresh cilantro sprigs (nope)
Lime wedges (yes!)
(Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees)
Monday, August 10, 2020
"Why didn't you invite me, Ratty?"
Illustration by Tasha Tudor
I recently reread Kenneth Grahame's classic novel, The Wind in the Willows, concerning a collection of rather well-to-do animals at times skittering about, languidly discussing ideas, or extolling the virtues of nature. Such wonder! There's a grandiose, preposterous (while still quite amiable in his delusions) toad on the wrong side of the law, a couple of critters who nearly succumb to the sea in response to the siren song of the Sea Rat and his wayfaring ways. And also, lovingly wrapped in the pages--a pausing meditation on dawn.
And boy, do the little fellows love to eat! They rarely ever stop--if not eating, they're talking about eating, or talking about food while eating! I was enamored of the fat, wicker luncheon basket that the Water Rat and Mole share, its contents including, "cold tongue cold ham cold beef pickled gherkins salad french rolls cress sandwidges potted meat ginger beer lemonade soda water..."
We had a few friends over and I served such things as these one entirely civilized afternoon. Perhaps I skipped the tongue and potted meat and watercress but the package of DAK boiled ham, Pillsbury crescent rolls, thinly sliced cucumbers on buttered white bread, bread and butter pickle coins and figgy orange jam stepped in nimbly and rose most admirably! Pink fizzy lemonade, fruity seltzer water and an excellent chilled white Chardonnay-Viognier refreshed the gathering.
I also happened to find an absolutely charming copy of The Wind in the Willows Country Cookbook (pub. 1983) on ebay, with recipes by Arabella Boxer and fine illustrations by Ernest H. Shepard. Contents reveal FOOD FOR varying occasions such as, "...staying at home...excursions...the storage cupboard..." I found a recipe for Refrigerator Cookies from the latter section while perusing other things such as Snowfalls in Dark Woods, Leafy Summer Lettuce Snacks and Very Easy Flapjacks.
A guideline for Refrigerator Cookies may be found here thanks to allrecipes.com. However, the recipe in The Wind in the Willows Country Cookbook simply deals with 6 TB butter, 1/2 cup superfine sugar, 1 egg, 1 1/2 cups self-rising flower and a pinch of salt--dispensing with the cinnamon, walnuts, baking soda and cream of tartar called for on allrecipes.com.
"Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing--absolutely nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats..." And eating, apparently! Do enjoy!
Sunday, August 2, 2020
This salad was so beautiful and delicious, each bite a different delight! The method is simple too and only requires just a touch of artistry when composing--summer does the rest.
Scatter fresh arugula leaves on a platter, shred some proscuitto, slice up ripe stone fruit (we used white peaches) and arrange artfully. Drop a luscious orb of burrata cheese on top--if you are not familiar with burrata, it's high time you become well-acquainted. A ball of mozzarella cheese holds a treasure of luscious stracciatella and cream, which oozes out when cut open. Yes! Drizzle some olive oil and a squeeze or two of lemon over the whole thing and season with some freshly ground black pepper and Maldon sea salt flakes. Add your favorite herbs if you like, or add some fennel fronds to the mix.
Instead of stone fruit, perhaps you have some juicy melon on hand? Try that with some fresh figs and take a bite out of summer!
Wednesday, July 15, 2020
As we are spending most of our evenings at home these days, food delivery has taken on a new meaning. There are so many well-assembled boxes available now to help us out, but which ones are the best? I have tried my hand at several of the meal delivery kits, such as Hello Fresh, Home Chef, and Blue Apron, writing about them here in some detail. If only I had known about consumersadvocate.org, I could have possibly saved money (and most definitely time) to see how these boxes stack up first! While I am a great believer in experiencing things for oneself, consumersadvocate.org provides a handy, thorough guideline to cooking, out of these boxes: Hello Fresh, Home Chef, Sun Basket, Every Plate, Freshly, Plated, and Blue Apron.
Click here for their "Best Meal Delivery Services" to get their comprehensive guide based on convience, shipping and delivery, cost, quality of ingredients and the variety of cuisines offered.
A peek into what's inside the boxes!
Do enjoy and thanks to consumersadvocate.org!