This is a dish I made recently sans kid-lets, though they did do their all for the team by helping to devour this treat in record time. The recipe came about as a submittal to a Food52 contest for a "Best Non-Pie Thanksgiving Dessert", and as someone who comes from a family where there were never any non-pie desserts at Thanksgiving (not even a jello-mold thank you very much), I had to come up with one from scratch to enter into the contest.
Archives for November 2010
The boys and I traveled to Washington DC a few weeks ago to visit with my brother and his family, and to catch Roger Waters’ “The Wall” concert. Before we go any further, a quick tip from a long time Pink Floyd fanatic. Any of you out there that have even the slightest interest in seeing this show, I strongly urge you to do so. It is a musical and theatrical extravaganza unlike anything you have seen before, a real tour de force, and worth every penny of its admittedly high ticket price.
OK…switching hats now from my concert promoter’s baseball cap to my restaurant promoter’s toque. Today’s dish is one that was handed to us on a promotional card (pitching a new cookbook,Bistro Laurent Tourondel: New American Bistro Cooking ) as we left dinner at the quite fabulous “BLT Steak” the night before the concert. BLT Steak is the uber-steakhouse of the talented French chef, Laurent Tourondel, and while this particular recipe was not on the menu the night we dined there, we knew immediately that it was one we wanted to try soon.
You know, something written in neon ink, and including words like…..”not to be made or consumed without proper adult supervision“…and….”the manufacturer shall not be held liable for any physical or emotional damages incurred as a result of the chaos typically associated with the consumption of this product“.
I am not kidding.
The sharks will start circling about half-way through baking, when the aroma of this lovely will have finally found its way to each corner of your home. The real fun starts though with the onset of the feeding frenzy which is guaranteed to commence as soon as the bugger is cool enough to touch. You’ve undoubtably seen it before, the gruesome footage they show over and over again during “Shark Week”, of sharks in such a tizzy over a bucketful of chum, that they actually start eating EACH OTHER in their frothy confusion.
You’ve been warned.
Ever since Boris tried his first bowl of split pea soup over the summer, and with startling regularity, he has been HOUNDING me to find a good recipe for one so that we could make it at home. It’s taken a while for us to get around to it, not because I didn’t have a good recipe, because I did, it’s just that I tend to see split pea as a 3 season soup, and not one I generally feel like cooking in the heat of the summer. Now that cooler weather is upon us, Boris is getting his reward, and it is coming courtesy of none other than our good friend, chef Thomas Keller.
I received Keller’s latest cookbook, Ad Hoc at Home for my birthday in September, and upon my first reading, decided that when the time was right, Boris and I would make his split pea soup with ham hock, fresh peas and mint, as it looked to be an excellent interpretation of the classic soup.
This recipe is from the simply gorgeous Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes, and is a really terrific take on this New England favorite. Having some cranberries to use up after making last week’s cranberry tart, I was determined to find a new recipe for one of my favorite cranberry studded treats, cranberry nut bread. I cruised the web looking for the best recipe I could find, and while I came across tons of them, found Elise’s to be the most appealing for a number of reasons.
First, she used less sugar than most in her bread, and given that I often eat this treat for breakfast, I find a less sweet version more appealing. Second, her addition of orange juice and zest adds a depth of flavor that makes this bread truly memorable. There is hardly anything better (for breakfast, or at any other point in the day) than to toast up a thick slice of this goodness, slather it was some lovely salted butter, and luxuriate in its tender, tart-sweetness.
This was one of the fabulous dishes we learned to cook on our recent trip to Italy with Chef Jody Adams, and the gang from ItaliaOutdoors. This risotto is packed with flavor, but is relatively “light” as risottos go, there is NO cream, and not a lot of butter and cheese to speak of. I know…I know, it’s hard for you to believe that I can like it so much given that it isn’t just swimming in fat, to be honest, as someone that’s used to lots of cream, butter or cheese in my risotto, I was a little shocked myself.
What makes this dish so exciting is the classic juxtaposition of sweet (from the figs) and bitter (from the radicchio), toss in a little saltiness from the cheese, and the earthy richness of the rice and red wine, and you have a dish in perfect balance, without unnecessary fat and calories. As you all know, I’m not exactly afraid of fat, but if I don’t NEED it in a dish, I don’t WANT it in a dish.
This lovely confection comes to us courtesy of MY lovely confection, my wife. We are quite swimming in cranberries these days up here in “Pilgrim Country”, the bogs are flooded, the harvest is on, and big bags of our local tart treats can be found on every corner.
When we had our neighbor, Richard (who used to be in the cranberry biz) to dinner the other night, I thought I’d use the occasion to kick off our cranberry cooking season with a bang. I was originally planning to cook a chocolate – cranberry tart that I had found on Epicurious, until my lovely reminded me that Richard is not a big fan of chocolate (a little factoid that I continually forget, most likely because I find the notion so utterly preposterous….”you don’t like chocolate, huh….you ARE joking aren’t you?“) When I shared this little bit of trivia with Muppet, tears welled up in her eyes…“that poor poor man, I can’t imagine not liking chocolate. You don’t think he’s contagious, do you? Because if he is, he has to go home now…and I mean RIGHT NOW!”
A couple of weeks ago I had the good fortune to join chef Jody Adams at a benefit for an organization she has been involved with for a few years now, Future Chefs. The event was fashioned as a “Tour Around the World” where Future Chefs students cooked delicious treats from eight different countries, and served them to eager partygoers at stations placed throughout the beautiful Brookline home of the event’s hosts. If I could choose one word to describe both the event, and the Future Chefs students I had the pleasure of meeting that night, it would be…..Impressive.
My wife and I sat down the other night with a few cookbooks to suss out some new “ski house friendly” recipes to add to our normal seasonal rotation. These are dishes that are either easily and quickly prepared at the end of a long ski day, can be made without much fuss by tossing a bunch of stuff in a slow-cooker before hitting the slopes in the morning, or can be made at home in advance and easily transported to the mountain.
This “Italian Pot Roast” immediately caught our eye, and was SO GOOD, that it easily earned a spot in this ski season’s meal plan. We found the recipe in a great cookbook called The Gourmet Slow Cooker: Simple and Sophisticated Meals from Around the World by Lynn Alley, in fact, it is the dish that graces the cover of the book. Lynn shows the pot roast served over polenta, which was my intention too, but when I went to the pantry to reach for some, I found much to my horror, that we were out! Luckily, I had some wheatberries there, and some leftover soffritto in the fridge that combined to make a tasty bed over which to serve this delicious roast.