Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pumpkin It Up!

How festive it all looks, does it not? This distinctly autumnal cocktail perpetrated by pumpkin puree makes an appearance as time-appropriate as changing leaves at the wonderful Cuba in Manhattan, via veteran bartender Eduardo Tavares. Instead of the panela syrup, which may be difficult to find, I used Crown medium amber maple syrup. How fall-tastically novel! 

Here's what to when creating this seasonal sipper, with a few of my suggestions slipped in:

Pumpkin Raspado Cocktail
2 oz Appleton estate rum
2 oz pumpkin puree
1 oz fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 oz Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
1 oz splash of lemon juice
1 oz panela syrup
Wet the rim of a gorgeously fashioned, chilled martini glass with half of a lemon wedge and roll it gently over the rosemary. Pour the rest of the ingredients into a shaker filled with crushed ice and shake well. Strain into glass, garnish with a sprig of rosemary perhaps, as well as a wheel of lime--and do enjoy! 


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Murdery Delicious Duck Breast

I'm sure I've said this before--it is truly amazing what you might discover lurking in your very own pantry, cupboards and freezer. There it was before me, a perfectly good duck breast in my freezer! But what to do with it? I thought of my novel, The Murdery Delicious Hamwich Gumm Mystery that features a number of creepily written recipes that anticipate the action in the unfolding fiendishly hilarious drama. I wrote them with tongue firmly planted in cheek but they are actually viable dishes to make. So here I present a variation of A Recipe for Bloodcurdling Duck Breast with Red Wine Sauce that I created from ingredients I that I already had on hand. It was so delicious indeed and utterly fowl-tastic. A soupcon of ingenuity is always the best ingredient in any kitchen concoction.

Murdery Delicious Duck Breast
(Figure on one duck breast per ghoulish guest)

Several Barolo wine-soaked figs from a jar, quartered
1 cup or so of dry white wine from an already opened bottle
1 cube of porcini broth dissolved in two cups of hot water
1/2 TB ground cinnamon
4 TB butter
1/2 large white onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 fistful of dried Polish mushrooms
1 tsp ground ginger
1 6 oz duck breast
1 TB olive oil

Melt butter and add olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic gently. Add figs and mushrooms. Pour in broth and simmer, reducing the liquid. Pat the duck breasts with a generous amount of salt and pepper on all sides a put in skillet, skin side down. Flip once until duck has achieved an internal temperature of 135 degrees for medium-rare. Let duck rest for ten minutes, covered in foil and then serve perhaps with roasted potatoes and green beans. And don't neglect the rest of the wine!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Lobster & Beer Lovers Set Sail!


Attention all lobster loving landlubbers and beer-guzzling boatmen alike!

Manhattan by Sail has tacked on two more Lobster & Beer sails before the end of this all too brief summer. As the Clipper City ship coasts through the harbor off of Battery Park City, put a couple of lobster rolls in your belly and knock back unlimited beers while at it!

On Tuesday September 16th and Tuesday October 7th from 6:30PM – 8:30PM, the proud Clipper City offers two 'Maine-style' lobster rolls from Luke's Lobster (served chilled on a buttered and toasted split-top bun with a little mayo, lemon and spices) as well as accompanying chips, pickles, coleslaw, and potato salad during the twilight cruise. Did I mention unlimited beer?

Purchase your tickets here and enjoy the ride!  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Happy Cow Cookbook

The HappyCow Cookbook compiles a full range of vegan and vegetarian recipes from restaurants around the world. Some of the recipes do require a lot of ingredients, and many of these are specialty order items, so stock your larder accordingly and ahead of time. Cheaper than hopping a plane, Eric Brent, creator of HappyCow and Glen Merzer, coauthor of Food Over Medicine, bring global gastronomy to your door--and dish with the owners about their restaurants is included as a complimentary side! Graze over pumpkin noodle salad, tricolor vegetable pasta with sun-dried tomato marinara and cashew cheese, and sweeten the pot with gluten-free coconut strawberry shortcake cupcakes! Here are two recipes that I think you will enjoy:

Buddha Lentil Burger (shown above)
From Buddha Burgers in Tel Aviv, Israel
Serves 8–10

“The principle of this burger is simple: to include as many healthy and energizing ingredients as possible. Therefore, the base is sprouted lentils and quite a lot of flaxseed. All other ingredients are included for texture and taste.”

2 tablespoons olive oil (optional)
1 1⁄2 cups minced white onion
7 cups sliced white mushrooms
3⁄4 cups sliced celery stalks
3 cups sprouted green or black lentils
1 1⁄2 cups minced toasted walnuts
10 garlic gloves, minced
1⁄4 of a green jalapeno pepper, minced well*
1 cup tomato paste
1 cup ground flaxseeds
4 tablespoons tahini mixed with
4 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons soy sauce**
30 minced fresh basil leaves
1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground sea salt (or regular salt)
1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground black pepper

*Wear gloves when handling these peppers and never touch your eyes.

**For a gluten-free version of this recipe, use gluten-free soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Warm the olive oil in a pan and add the minced onion together with the mushrooms and the celery. Sauté for five minutes. Drain the vegetable mixture in a colander and press out all the juices and oil. Then put the mixture in a food processor together with the lentils and walnuts. Using a large food processor, work in batches. With the food processor half-full, pulse the ingredients for 5 to 8 seconds until it resembles the texture of ground beef.
Transfer the mixture out of the food processor and into a large bowl, and stir in the rest of the ingredients with a large spoon (or a mixer). Set aside and let it rest for 10 minutes so the ground flaxseeds can bind the mixture. The mixture should be soft and moist.
To make each patty, take about 5 heaping tablespoons of burger mixture and press them flat into a disc onto an oiled baking pan. Bake the patties at 375 degrees. After 10 minutes, flip the patties and rotate the pan around in the oven back to front (for even baking). Bake another 10 minutes. Remove and cool. The patties should be crunchy on the outside and softer on the inside.
Serve in a whole spelt bun with toppings, like our Bechamel “Cheese” (recipe in full cookbook), a vegan Thousand Island dressing (vegan mayonnaise, ketchup, pickles, and dried onion), mustard, lettuce, tomato, red onion, or chives.

Tip: The healthiest way to prepare these burgers is to dehydrate them rather than baking. After shaping the patties, place them in an oven at 115 degrees for 12 hours.

Seitan Marsala
From Café Blossom in New York, NY
Serves 4–6

“This is our most popular dish at Cafe Blossom! It has satisfied many vegans and non-vegans alike for the more than five years.”

For the mashed potatoes:
6 Yukon Gold potatoes
1⁄2 cup Earth Balance butter substitute
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the sauce:
1 bottle (750 mL) Marsala wine
1 cup vegetable stock
2 cups port wine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1⁄2 cup brown sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the fillet and greens:
3 medium bunches kale
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon Earth Balance butter substitute
12 4- to 5-ounce seitan fillets
1 cup flour
4 heads fennel, sliced
4 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
4 shallots, sliced
Peel and boil potatoes. Place cooked potatoes in bowl, add 1⁄2 cup of Earth Balance, chopped garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Mash together until thick and smooth.

For the sauce:
Combine all ingredients into a large pot and simmer for approximately 5 minutes over
medium-low heat to dissolve sugar, and then remove from heat.

For the fillet and greens:
Sauté kale with olive oil and garlic. In a separate pan, add 1 tablespoon of Earth Balance to pan over high heat. Coat seitan fillets with flour, reduce heat, and place fillets in pan. Once brown, add fennel, mushrooms, and shallots. Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are cooked, and then ladle Marsala sauce into pan. Reduce heat, cover for 10 minutes, and let the Marsala reduce.

To assemble:
Place two large scoops of mashed potatoes in a deep dish. Place a handful of kale over the mash. Lastly, place your fillets and veggies on top and add salt and pepper to taste. Each serving should have two fillets. Pour remaining Marsala sauce over filets and serve.

Monday, August 25, 2014

White Gazpacho

While it may be inadvisable to wear white after Labor Day, this pale, creamy gazpacho from made with cauliflower is highly recommended (at least by me) all through the year. I substituted walnuts that I already had on hand for the suggested pine nuts and almonds to great effect, I thought. I would recommend (here I go again) that after blending all the ingredients together, to push the solids with the back of a wooden spoon through a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and refrigerate the thinned soup then. Try it with toasty bread in the cooler months to take off the chill!

White Gazpacho
 1/2 medium head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets 
 2 slices of crustless white bread 
 1/4 cup pine nuts (1 1/2 ounces) 
 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped 
 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
 1 large shallot, coarsely chopped 
 1 1/4 cups blanched slivered almonds 
 1/2 medium seedless cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped, plus 1/4 cup finely diced cucumber
 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
 Kosher salt

In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the cauliflower until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water until cool and drain well.
In a blender, combine 1 1/2 cups of cold water with the cooked cauliflower, bread, pine nuts, chopped garlic, sherry vinegar, chopped shallot, 1 cup of the slivered almonds and the coarsely chopped cucumber; blend until smooth. Add the olive oil and pulse just until incorporated. If necessary, add more water to thin the gazpacho. Season the soup with salt and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the remaining 1/4 cup of slivered almonds in a pie plate and toast for about 6 minutes, until fragrant and lightly golden. Ladle the gazpacho into bowls. Garnish the soup with the toasted almonds and the finely diced cucumber and serve.

First published in part in Food & Wine. Thanks to contributor Joy Manning and photographer Hallie Burton!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Crown & Glory

"How might I go about making a meal with maple syrup," I sometimes ask myself--and this most often at breakfast, digging into tiers of toasty waffles with abandon, dripping with syrup and butter. The folks at Madava Farms in Duchess County, New York make it easy with certified organic Crown Maple syrups and other products. Their collection include medium amber (ginger bread, roasted chestnut aromas!), dark amber (coffee, chocolate!), and extra dark (ideal for cooking!). The varying versatile tastes of the ensemble enhance and enable a number cocktails and dishes incorporating the sweet stuff.

Look below for a kale salad with luscious caramelized peaches and corn before moving on to short ribs with a bourbon glaze, courtesy of Madava Farms' Executive Chef Jacob Griffin ... now, speaking of spirits, let's start with a cocktail, shall we?

Crown Maple Leaf, crafted by Niccole Trzaska of The Liberty NYC 
1½ oz. Maker’s 46
¾ oz. Crown Maple Medium Amber syrup
¾ oz. lemon juice

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass.

Peach, Corn & Kale Salad
4 ears of Fresh Bi-Color Corn
1.5 tsp of Kosher Salt
1/8 tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
1 tbsp Olive Oil
4 ea Medium Size Kale Leaves, de-stemed and finely sliced
2 ea Parsley, chopped (about 1 tbsp)
.25 ea Small Red Onion, sliced
1 ea Ripe Peach, washed, pitted and chopped
.25 cup Crown Maple Dark Amber Syrup
pinch of Salt
.5 ea Lemon, juiced

1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Cut corn cob in half and cut the kernels off the cobb with a chef’s knife
3. Spread out evenly on a parchment lined sheet tray and sprinkle with salt, pepper and olive oil
4. Roast in oven for 10-15 minutes or until the corn starts to brown on top and the sides. Remove from oven and let cool.
5. Chop peach into a medium sized dice, toss in a bowl with Crown Maple Dark Amber® and place on a fresh parchment lined sheet tray
6. Watch peaches carefully and let caramelize for 5-8 minutes or until golden brown
7. Remove peaches from oven and let cool.
8. Toss corn, kale, parsley and lemon juice in a bowl. Adjust seasoning if needed. Top with caramelized peaches.
Note: You can also use this recipe as a vegetarian taco filling too. Add a little chili paste to add some heat.

Crown Maple Bourbon Glazed Short Ribs
10 ea Beef short ribs (about 1.5 lbs)
1 tbps Kosher salt
1.5 tsp Fresh ground pepper
4 tbsp Vegetable oil
1 ea Medium onion, large dice
1 ea Medium onion, large dice
1 ea Large celery stick, large dice
4 ea Cremini mushrooms, large dice
4 tbsp Tomato Paste
3 floz Dry Red Wine
2 floz Bourbon
1 qt Veal or beef stock
2 ea Bay leaves
.5 tsp Dried thyme
.25 cup Crown Maple Extra Dark
.25 cup Bourbon

1. Rub salt and pepper evenly over short ribs.
2. Sear short ribs with vegetable oil over medium-high heat around all edges
in a stockpot or cast-iron pot
3. Remove short ribs from pan, reduce heat and sauté diced onion, carrots and mushrooms until soft and tender.
4. Add tomato paste and cook for 1-2 minutes until a sweet aroma develops
5. Add wine and bourbon and cook until liquid has reduced by half
6. Add the veal stock and bring back to a simmer
7. Cover pot with lid and place in a 275°F oven
8. Cook for 1 hour, then carefully add bay leaves and thyme
9. Cook for 1 additional hour or until meat is tender that a fork easily shreds the meat
10. Remove short ribs rom the pot
11. Add Crown Maple Extra Dark and bourbon to the sauce and simmer until sauce thickens
12. Taste glaze and add seasoning as needed
13. Pour maple glaze over the hot short ribs and serve immediately

The Madava Farms' sugar house is open to the public on a regular basis, offering tours, culinary experiences with in-house chefs, places to hike and enjoy picnics. Sounds like a great day trip to me! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Ducky Dinner


Perhaps you may have read my post about the recent book launch of Red Jacket's gorgeous new cookbook Fruitful penned by Brian Nicholson and Sarah Huck. Naturally I couldn't wait to partake of some of the fruitful bounty found in the pages and was enticed enough by the recipe for Pan-Seared Duck Breast with Honey Gooseberries, that I started there when I assembled a brace of friends over for dinner. Although the duck was in the Spring and Early Summer section, I went right ahead and made it anyway, in the height of summer. It was terrific.

We chose our wines: I stuck with a Matchmaker Viognier, full of body and gently fruity (some of which I had added to the sauce) while my friends latched onto a highly suitable Celita Sangiovese red with nosy aromas of black cherries.

It was just about here when I added the Viognier to the softening, simmering gooseberries in olive oil, thyme, honey, sea salt and a good snort of ground black pepper!

Top pic is the finished dish. Check out the full recipe found in Fruitful and do enjoy!  And thanks to Red Jacket Orchards and all the folks behind Fruitful! Now go buy the cookbook and celebrate the seasons!