A menu light in fat, calories, ingredients, deed and task!
Chilled Butternut Squash Soup
Asparagus with Pixie Tangerines Unfried Chicken
I love to hover over and linger in the kitchen but it's not always
possible--that's all well and good when you have your own show and staff
everyday, but I don't--so when ease and time is a consideration, more
often it is a must to just get down to it and cut as many corners as you
can, while still creating an elegant, carefully composed meal wrought
from thought and imagination, devoid of ideas revolving around Sandra Lee's Jell-O and ice cream laden concoctions (although I did pull orange popsicles out of the fridge for dessert). Insert blushing emoticon here.
A box (don't cringe) of delicious, chilled butternut squash soup led to the asparagus that I topped with supremed pixie tangerines and a drizzle of bottled shallot vinaigrette; the inspiration from a recipe on PureWow.com may be found here but I opted instead to order a bag of microwavable asparagus from FreshDirect.com.
The gently sauteed crab cakes were pre-made and also enlivened by a little shallot vinaigrette. The unfried chicken has long been one of my favorite preparations and is courtesy of Rosie Daley.
Thanks to PureWow.com for the photo, just above! Credit to Squire Fox, who we believe just may be in league with Squirrel Nutkin.
Quite off the beaten path in Valencia, take the Ring Road (V30) to Alqueria de Brosquil for some of the best paella found there. Signs eventually lead to a simple, low-level hacienda anchored amid the rice fields.
It is surprisingly beautiful inside--wine barrels serve as bar tables and tableaux for melted candles, which I imagine are quite ambient in the evening. We however had stopped in during the day for a lingering (and somewhat liquid) lunch. Our friends who live in Valencia, Baby and I were there for about four hours full of food, wine, and conversation, as is customary--they told us only the tourists have paella at night! The point is to relax over an afternoon and well, these days, take a break from the cell phones. Imagine? We weren't interrupted at all by others elsewhere.
The lot of us looked upon a beautiful orange grove and ordered bieres, rosadas, and gin y tonic or two with greenish tinted lime. A silky, full-bodied, slightly sweet Belondrade y Lurton (100% verdejo grapes) accompanied the ensuing food.
The Quick Bites:
Formatge y Pernil; a platter of pert cheese balanced by subtle ham
Esgarradet salad; pale crisp lettuce, roasted red peppers, and bacalao (salted cod) dressed in olive oil
Amanda de la Casa; tuna and smoked salmon, pickled red onions, and besotting local rainbow tomatoes freckled with capers and cornichons
Puntillas; fantastic lightly fried squid with lemon
Paella Valenciana (top photo); traditional rice dish with rabbit, winking snails in their shells, and green beans, flavored with rosemary sprigs
Arroz Abanda; saffron rice with caldo (broth) that had been cooked in
langostino, bacalao, calamari, removed and served on the side. Sprays of
vibrant, fresh lemon a must!
It was around here that we started playing with our food, mixing the paellas together.
Postres (desserts) included: Callabesa, a wonderful spongy pumpkin pudding of sorts; gorgeous, nutty, caramelized orange flan with a touch of brown sugar and a saffron-inspired Chantilly cream (below); fig creme; sopada (like a creme brulee without the brulee)
Although a more common phrase begins with "When in Rome...", my mother (for her 80th birthday, shhh, don't tell), and Baby and I (for our one year wedding anniversary) were in Barcelona! So what to do when in Barcelona but make their "national dish" for dinner? Canalons! If the idea of cannelloni is tugging at you, there is good reason; both sumptuous platters are similar, and canalons were brought to Spain by Italians about two hundred years ago. Saveur magazine provided the recipe, found here. Pasta wrappers, already cut into rectangles were readily available at our local mercado as were convenient bottles of deliciously prepared bechamel sauce that saved time, skillets, and bowls.
As our canalons baked--meatballs, sauteed in garlicky olive oil and accompanied by ripe tomato jam, made wonderful lettuce cups
for an appetizer on the terrace.
Our table, readied for dinner!
To accompany our canalons, a salad of shredded baby romaine hearts was simply dressed with briskly whisked olive oil, balsamic vinegar, tangerine juice, freshly ground black pepper and a touch of sugar.
And I mustn't forget to mention how warmly we were greeted in the beautiful apartment we had rented for a long weekend before tearing off to Sitgez and Valencia!
Back in April, I wrote about the LUCKYRICE feasting fest on Evenings With Peter. Having made a splashy debut in New York, the event is soon to stick a fork in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Miami, with dozens of mixologists and chefs on hand to make guests experiencing all sorts of Asian cuisine (from Pacific-rim dining to street food grub) feel very lucky indeed. Go to luckyrice.com for more info.
I featured chef Tadashi Ono here on my blog from a post several years ago, featuring a wonderful recipe that he personally selected for me from his cookbook with Harris Salat--a Halibut Hot Pot! Chef Ono is now collaborating with Salat (founder/owner of Japanese Ganso in Brooklyn) to form Ganso Group and expand the Ganso brand. Ono will act as Partner and Culinary Director of Ganso Group, assuming executive chef duties for all projects, including Ganso (25 Bond Street, Brooklyn, 718-403-0900, gansonyc.com), soon to be re-launched with Salat as Ganso Ramen. Up the road a piece and a few months later, look for Ganso Yaki (515 Atlantic Avenue), also in Brooklyn.
The first authentic Sindhi restaurant in New York, Kailash Parbat, recently introduced their new chaat bar, presenting guests an opportunity to create snacks suited to their tastes, be the flavors mild or wild. On offer are dishes such as
fried corn cups topped with a saucy corn chaat mixture and stuffed pastries mashed and topped with curried chickpeas, chaat chutneys and yogurt. All ingredients are made in house daily,
and may be found in the restaurant at 99 Lexington Avenue, between 27th and 28th Streets, 212-679-4232, kailashparbatny.com.
There's still time to celebrate these festivities going on throughout the rest of June at the following places!
National Seafood Month: Seafaring fare is reeled right out of the
sea and to the table at Bay
Kitchen Bar (39 Gann Road, East Hampton, 631-329-3663, baykitchenbar.com) in the Hamptons, overlooking Three Mile Harbor. As perhaps evidenced from the photo above, chef Eric Miller works with local clammers, baymen and fishermen to personally select the best catches of the day.
National Dairy Month: Brazilia
Cafe (684 Broadway, 646-852-6348, braziliacafe-nyc.com) offers moo-velous
homemade small batch gelato created by the “Ice Cream Professor” Malcolm Stogo. Look for Italian-style Açai Camu Camu Berry, Brazilia
Salt Caramel, Dulce de
Leche, and Ricotta with Fig.
National Steakhouse Month:NYY Steak Manhattan (7 West 51st
Street, 646-307-7910, nyysteak.com) brings on the beef with USDA Prime steaks aged
and butchered on the premises. The signature 27 oz. Long
Bone Ribeyeshould satisfactorily take care of your curious carnivorous cravings.
When Baby and I were in Valencia last week, we naturally succumbed to bubbly cava found everywhere in Spain. In a fit of whimsy, we concocted this drink on our own. Cheers!
1 oz vodka
1 oz clementine or tangerine juice, but orange is okay
2 oz cava
Trickle of grenadine
Mint, for garnish
Shake vodka and juice briskly in a shaker filled with ice. Strain, pouring contents in a red wine glass filled with more ice. Top with golden cava, slowly add the grenadine, stick in a sprig of mint and watch it change colors like a chameleon. So to paraphrase the 80's sensation band Culture Club, lovin' would be easy if your colors were like my drink...red, gold, and green. By George...!
After weathering a soul-shredding career as a theatrical agent that lasted entirely too long, Mr. Sherwood left his stable of actors from the stage and screen and went on to pursue his literary aspirations. He is currently the dining editor for Next magazine (nextmagazine.com) where he writes a weekly restaurant review column which also features Manhattan's best food and drink recipes from the finest chef's and bartenders on the island. In 2010 he was published in Foodista’s Best of Food Blogs Cookbook. He toiled as web editor for industry leader Interior Design magazine for several years and has also written for New York magazine, Travel & Leisure and Woman’s Day.
A proud graduate of the University of New Hampshire, one of the nation’s top drinking schools, Mr. Sherwood also studied voice and theater abroad at Regent’s College, in London’s historic Regent’s Park, and at the Royal Academy of Music. He spent a year at Hunter College in Manhattan.
Mr. Sherwood recently published his first novel, the pale of memory, available on Amazon.com, BarnesAndNoble.com, and iUniverse.com. He is in the midst of writing a second.
Twitter/tweet/twat him @kaleidabox