With summer just around the corner, our attention is drawn to fresh herbs, greens and veggies, and light quick preparations that highlight their goodness. This little ditty is delicious as a sandwich spread, tossed with whole wheat pasta, as a crudité dip or bruschetta topping, or stirred into some smashed potatoes to make them pop. Heck…serve a dollop along side a juicy grilled steak, piece of fish, or chicken to add a little blast of summer to your plate.
Making this gorgeous treat hardly requires a recipe at all. In fact, crafting homemade potato chips is so easy, and the results so delicious, that once you give ’em a try, I bet you’ll think twice before buying store bought chips again. Really….. still warm from the fryer, and seasoned with a generous sprinkle of salt, they are very hard to beat.
I first pursued making sweet potato fries and chips as a means of getting the kids to take more of a liking to them….um….that would be the sweet potatoes, not the chips and fries. It’s funny, but while they all love potatoes, and adore all things sweet, when you put the two together, not one of them would eat them. I’ve baked them, steamed them, and smashed them, and always the answer was the same….no thanks.
CHEERS – STEVE
Hey everyone, I'm excited to share with you all that another one of my recipes has been chosen as a finalist by my friends Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, and the rest of the gang over at Food52! Last week's contest was for our "Best Recipe with Horseradish", and for it, I whipped up a little party snack that riffed on the flavors of the classic dish of prime rib roast with horseradish sauce.
This recipe is quick, easy and delicious! It dresses up well for company as a party treat, or accompanied by some spuds and a green salad, makes for an interesting twist on things the next time you're hankerin' for a steak for dinner.
For those of you who have never visited Food52, shame on you….what are you waiting for? It's a terrific food community that "crowd sources" its recipes by holding weekly competitions looking for participants' best dishes using the week's key ingredient. Winners gain eternal fame by having their recipes published in the annual (they are now working on their 2nd cookbook) Food52 Cookbook.
For the full recipe, click HERE and see the dish on Food52. Once there you'll be able to read what Amanda and Merrill have to say about it, as well as see how beautifully the site's photographer, Sarah Shatz shot their test version. If you think it looks tasty in the photo above, you'll REALLY want to try it once you see Sarah's photo. While you're there, and if you find the recipe worthy, please take the time to VOTE for my dish, I'd really appreciate it! Voting ends at midnight, next Tuesday the 12th, so hurry on over there now!
Thank you in advance for all your support.
Cheers – Steve
While I am a HUGE fan of Buffalo Wings, I’ve found that over time my taste for wings has evolved to favor sauces a little more multi-dimensional (and not scorchingly hot) in nature. The base for this sauce is a slight twist on Ming Tsai’s Black Pepper-Garlic Sauce (Simply Ming: Easy Techniques for East-Meets-West Meals) , which he serves with a fabulous lobster dish at his restaurant “Blue Ginger”. Ever since I tried that amazing meal, I’ve been twisting his sauce to and fro to satisfy the requirements of a number of different culinary whims.
I don’t think I ate my first falafel until I was in my forties….late thirties at the earliest, and after hearing a great deal of hoo-ha over the years as to the joys of falafel, I must admit that my first experience left me flat. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand what got people so excited about the little things, as mine were dry and as bland as sawdust on the inside, slick and oily on their surface, and presented with day-old chopped veggies and a REALLY bitter tahini sauce….ugh.
Growing up in Vermont as a kid, I never even heard the word falafel, let alone have any knowledge of what they were. I was probably in college when I saw my first one, and I remember thinking that it was some sort of meatball when I first laid eyes on it. Imagine my surprise (and disappointment) when I finally learned that it was basically just a little veggie patty. Remember, I’m of Italian descent, meatballs make so much more sense to me. To my way of thinking, falafel was to a meatball, what a veggie burger was to a juicy, 80% lean ground sirloin grilled hunk of deliciousness….you can keep the former, I’ll take the latter thank you very much.
I know that we’ve already done a frittata dish here, but I am such a big fan I wanted to bring you another one. The last one we cooked together was a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants frittata that I threw together with a bunch of left-overs in the fridge, and it is that “everything but the kitchen sink” aspect of crafting a frittata that I love so much. Eggs, cheese, and almost anything else you can think of can make a delicious frittata, they are a perfect foil for any kind of leftover meat, fish or veggie you have laying about.
Today’s recipe is actually not that kind of free-wheeling creation, but rather one from a pretty great recipe that I found in Bon Appetit last month. It is a well balanced creation of meat, vegetable and cheese that really satisfies. Unlike many frittata recipes, this one is cooked in a baking dish, not a frying pan, and is cooked at a low enough temperature that it maintains a nice light texture, and doesn’t get tough as they can when cooked with a higher heat.
One of my favorite features of Bon Appetit magazine has always been the r.s.v.p. section. This is where readers write to ask the Bon Appetit staff to chase down chefs in order to discover the recipes of their favorite restaurant meals. I’ve never written in myself, but have loved reading about people’s special food memories, and their quest to uncover the secrets to making a beloved “restaurant” dish at home.
That said, the boys and I came across a dish this past Spring, that had I not already had the recipe in a cookbook I owned (how lucky was that?), I almost certainly would have been begging Bon Appetit to get it for me. My desperation not only driven by how perfectly tasty the dish is, but also by Grid relentlessly hounding me to figure out how to make Nobu’s “Tempura Shrimp with Creamy Spicy Sauce”….man, you’d think I never feed the kid.
The dish is so addictive that when we ordered it as a shared appetizer, I started to really fear that someone was going to get hurt, as the four of us stabbed our chopsticks into the serving bowl to fight for our share. It got UGLY in a hurry!
I was first served a treat similar to these by Patricia Wells, the famed cookbook author, when I was a student of hers for a week long cooking class in Paris. We students enjoyed them with a glass of champagne as we were putting the finishing touches on lunch one day. I must have eaten six or seven of them before she noticed my intake rate, and moved the platter to the other side of the room so that everyone else could get a crack at them. These are the simplest nibbles to make, are terrific with cheese and wine before a meal (or as the French do, after a meal), or eaten as I frequently do, as a mid-afternoon snack with a cup of coffee or tea. I always like to keep a Tupperware bin of these on the counter-top to provide a quick and healthy snack to anyone passing through.
Tell your kids that they are basically a Fig Newton without the “Golden Flaky Tender Cakey Outside”, and they’ll be snarfing them down right along with you. Sweet like candy, with a delicious crunch from the walnut, and a crackling bite from the fig and anise seeds, they are a perfect school lunch snack as well.
I always make a big bin of them for the holidays as we frequently have lots of family and friends stopping by, and these will keep for weeks as long as you keep them in a well sealed container, ready for any visiting dignitaries. Boris helped me slice a couple dozen figs the other day, while I roasted the walnuts and lightly toasted the anise seeds. He then assembled the whole batch while I prepped my little counter-top photo studio to shoot the photos for this post. In about 20 minutes flat we had a whole stack of these babies ready to go!
- Dried Turkish, or domestic Calmyrna Figs
- Walnut halves, roasted
- Anise seeds, lightly toasted
- Lightly toast the anise seeds in a small pan until just fragrant.
- If your walnuts are raw, roast them on a cookie sheet in a 350℉ for about 8-10 minutes.
- Cut the hard stem from the top of the figs and discard. Slice each fig almost through along the horizontal "waist" of the fruit and open the fig to accept the anise seeds and a piece of walnut.
- Sprinkle a pinch of anise seeds inside the fig, top with a piece of walnut, and then close the hinged top of the fig back over the filling, pressing to make sure all your goodies stay intact.