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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Baby's Spanakugela

What to do when Jews and Greeks break bread? Why, make Baby's Spanakugela of course! Part Spanakopita, part Lukshoen Kugel, this sumptuous savory pulls both cultures together for a dish that will delight anybody.

Baby's Spanakugela
Serves 10-12

2 bags frozen chopped spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed out
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 lb broad egg noodles
1 lb feta cheese
1 lb farmer cheese
3 cups full fat Greek yogurt or sour cream
6 eggs
1 tsp grated fresh nutmeg
1/4 tsp grated fresh cinnamon
1 tsp oregano
2 Tb olive oil
A generous amount of salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with 9 x 12 casserole dish inside.
Boil egg noodles only about 8 minutes so they are very al dente as later they still cook in the oven for an hour. Drain when done.
While noodles are cooking, saute onion in the olive oil until translucent and tender. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
In large bowl, combine cheeses and use sturdy wire wisk to mash up. Add yogurt or sour cream, eggs, spices and whisk together.
Stir in spinach and onions and blend thoroughly. Add noodles and fold together until evenly mixed.
Carefully remove baking dish from oven and pour in mixture.
Return to oven and bake for 1 hour.
Let set for 20 minutes before serving.

Then gird your loins and above all else, enjoy!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Shouldn't You Just...?

Drape your dinner table with fresh leafy herbs, such as parsley or basil? Not only does such a display add fragrant life to the proceedings, but guests may also pull off a few leaves as they wish to further complement the meal!

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Glazed Carrots

                                                Artwork by Peter

This is easy: glazing carrots or other root vegetables as described below is a simple yet utterly charming (and delicious) addition to almost any meal. I cooked and chopped bacon for a crispy topping and in a fit of fancy, subbed herb oil found here instead the butter suggested.

"Start by cutting vegetables into uniform pieces and arrange them in a single layer in a saute pan. Add a few tablespoons of butter, a dash each of salt and pepper, and a pinch of sugar. Add water to nearly cover the vegetables; lay a piece of parchment paper on top; and simmer. As the water cooks off, fat from the butter combines with the vegetables' starches and sugars to form a rich glaze; a shake of the pan distributes it throughout, transforming humble vegetables into elegant side dishes."

Do enjoy!

Thanks to Saveur magazine, issue no. 144.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Corn "Grits"!

I'm not quite sure how the single May '94 copy of Gourmet magazine came into my hands all those years ago, but I have always held onto this cherished issue filled with various menu suggestions for entertaining, such as A New Orleans Courtyard Dinner, A Pan-Asian Luncheon in Maui, and A Lunch in the Woods. I have grilled marinated London Broil and soaked cherry tomatoes in pepper vodka from the Sailing Picnic menu and have hosted a Croquet Lawn Party (in my apartment) featuring salmon rillettes, lime Southside cocktails, and gorgeous chicken salad tea sandwiches rolled in smoked almonds.

Most recently, I found a tantalizing recipe for Roast Loin of Lamb with rosemary jus and hominy grits tucked into Gourmet's back pages, courtesy of Joe Castro from The English Grill in Louisville. First of all, I used a frozen pork loin we had on hand instead of lamb and it worked beautifully. I decided to skip the accompanying cheese grits and make a side out of fresh corn that was about burst from the refrigerator. I thought of elote, the spicy, grilled Mexican corn preparation loaded with cojita cheese and endeavored to make corn "grits" instead. The adapted recipe for grits is below. With very little tampering, and basically just subbing corn for the grits, I made a new side and suggest you do the same. See my notes/alterations in italics to make these simple, special grits!

Joe Castro's Hominy Cheese Grits
1 slice bacon (Try a teaspoon or so of liquid smoke instead, no fat!)
1 TB minced shallot
1 TB minced celery
2 cups low salt chicken broth (I used about one cup or so, simmered down)
Four ears of corn (strip and cut off kernels)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup crumbled soft mild goat cheese
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 TB unsalted butter (I only used 1/2 TB of butter!)

In a large heavy saucepan, saute bacon, shallot, and celery over moderately hight heat, stirring, until bacon is browned. (Add your corn now to brown too, then add broth and simmer to further cook corn until liquid is reduced to half a cup or so. Blend in the cheeses, thyme, and butter to a creamy consistency--and you're done!) Serves 4.

Add hot sauce if you wish and do enjoy this creamy, cheesy, deee-licious dish!

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Linguine with Pesto, Potatoes, and Green Beans

                                               Artwork by Peter

I've been making Trenette col Pesto Genovese for years, toiling over the homemade pesto; boiling and peeling the potatoes; grating the Parmesan myself. Baby and I wanted a simple Sunday lunch recently, over a glass, or two, of a crisp white wine--so I cut to the chase and made the whole thing in about a half an hour. An accompanying, spirited salad composed of just lettuces and a resolute vinaigrette was entirely enterprising!

The actual recipe from Saveur is here. I found a good ready made pesto (or a pre-packaged brand name pesto such as Buitoni might work as well, I imagine) and added in already grated cheese to it. A bag of microwavable haricot vert green beans were ready in a snap. Instead of peeling the potatoes and boiling them, I purchased a can of Gefen whole potatoes, which I think are quite good! The Del Monte variety is also surprising.

So here's what to do: while the water for the 1lb. of pasta gets to a boil, halve the potatoes and broil them with a drizzle of olive oil until nicely browned. Mix the cheese into the pesto sauce. While cooking the pasta in salted water, put the beans in the microwave for the required 2-3 minutes and let sit to cool for a minute or so before handling. Strain the pasta, reserving a 2 tbsp. of the pasta water to bind the sauce, drain the oil from the potatoes and toss all of the ingredients together, adding the delicate potatoes in at the end. Top with more of the grated Parmesan, grind some black pepper to it and done! Here we have something that is truly elegant and yet quite hearty--and was just as delicious as it would have been had I doubled the time and effort. Although our Trenette col Pesto Genovese may be served anytime, I usually only make anything involving wildly evocative basil in the summer.

Do enjoy!

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Shouldn't You Just...?

                                               Artwork by Peter

...add a chiffonade of basil to your summer refresher? Grab a leaf or two, stack, and roll up like a cigar. Slice thinly on the bias and add your chiffonade to a frosty glass of lemonade or a gin and tonic for an invigorating twist to whatever stirs you! Click here to discover a bit more about basil!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Li-Lac Chocolates--The Sweet Spot of Hudson Yards

Li-Lac, "Manhattan's Oldest Chocolate House" recently opened shop in the Shops at Hudson Yards, home to over 100 exclusive luxury and specialty stores and restaurants covering about 720,000 square feet of New York City. It's the sweetest spot in Hudson Yards!

The new Li-Lac location carries on the tradition of handcrafted, small batch chocolate that first began with a quaint little shop founded by French-trained George Demetrious on Christopher Street in 1923. Over the years, the brand has blossomed and is currently tended to by owner Anthony Cirone, Chris Taylor and Master Chocolatier Anwar Khoder, who provide one of the largest gourmet chocolate selections in the country.

The Hudson Yards shop carries their full line of chocolate assortments, NY-themed chocolate gifts and specialty molds--look for the introduction of their 72% extra dark, dairy-free chocolate bar featuring a tribute to the striking Hudson Yards skyline (see above). Chocolate lovers may also delight in the on-site chocolate tempering wheel, but are asked not to tamper with it, however tempting it may be! 

All the fudge is cooked to provide a smooth texture that is less grainy than mixed fudge. Delicious bites of maple walnut, mocha and regular fudge are shown, top tier; chocolate covered pistachio marzipan, middle tier; chocolate covered coconut, bottom tier.

Don't forget about Easter bunnies, specialty chocolate assortments, and colorful jelly beans for all the young ones--including the young at heart! How sweet it is, indeed!

Li-Lac Chocolates locations: Hudson Yards (10th Ave @ 32nd St); West Village (40 8th Ave @Jane St). Greenwich Village (162 Bleecker St, btw Sullivan/Thompson); Grand Central Market (43rd St & Lexington Ave); Chelsea Market (75 9th Ave @ 15th St); Brooklyn Factory/Store (68 35th St, btw 2nd/3rd Aves, Brooklyn. Visit for more information.