2 bags of frozen organic raspberries
1/2 cup sugar (or more to taste)
Pinch of salt
Finely grated lemon zest
Juice of 1 lemon
1. Mix all your ingredients in a pot over medium-high heat.
2. Stir frequently for about 10 minutes, or until the raspberries have lost their shape completely.
3. Taste throughout and add sugar accordingly. When sweet enough, let cool and jar for further use.
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Last week, my Spanish friend Victoria de Alcahud, international editor of Hola gave me a wonderful San Sebastian tapas cookbook. There are 500 recipes from 150 of the area's best chefs. Virtually every dish sounds divine and I can't wait to start experimenting.
In preparation for summer fruit, use this simple pie crust recipe for your own berry or fruit pies.
1/2 pound very cold unsalted butter
2 cups plus 3 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup ice water
1. Put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and process to combine.
2. Cut butter into 1-inch cubes, toss with dry ingredients
2. Pulse about 15 times or until the butter particles or the size of small peas.
3. With the motor running add the ice water all at once through the feed tube and process for about 10 seconds, stopping the machine long before the dough becomes a solid mass.
4. Form dough into a ball and then a disk. Roll between pieces of waxed paper. Roll very thin for individual crostatas or about 1/8 to 3/16 inch thick for one big crostata. Refrigerate at least one hour, preferably overnight before using.
This is my favorite tomato sauce recipe as well as the easiest one I know. It's perfect on all sorts of tossed pasta but also on lasagna, and veal and eggplant Parmesan as well. Really, it's just right for any dish that includes tomato sauce. And if you're in a super hurry, make it with nothing but oil, onions, garlic, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Still divine.
Quick Tomato Sauce
1 large onion chopped
Scant 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large cans chopped San Marzano tomatoes (28 ounces)
6 cloves of minced or pressed garlic
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or more to taste
Lots of chopped basil at end (optional)
1. In a large skillet sauté the onions with the red pepper flakes until the onions are golden.
2. Add everything else and cook over high heat, stirring for 10 or 15 minutes until a thick sauce consistency is reached.
3. Add basil at the end. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
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I used to make Paula Wolfert's muhamarra all the time. Along with crispy pita chips or crackers, it was the ideal cocktail nibble. Lately, however (inspired by a dish on the menu at THE RED DORY in Tiverton, RI), I've been serving it, as they do at the restaurant as a first course. The menu advertises cloumage, a delicious soft, fresh cheese, as the accompaniment, but cloumage is not so easy to come by. I experimented and discovered (though it's not quite the same) that the muhamarra is divine in combination with my "faux cloumage" (a mixture of fresh ricotta and low-fat yogurt). Like The Red Dory, I include a few olives alongside. The saltiness perfectly complements the sweetness of the red pepper dip and mild, rich creaminess of the cheese. And top with a sprinkling of chives or cilantro -- for eye appeal as well as flavor.
Muhamarra: Turkish Red Pepper Dip With Walnuts And Pomegranate
2 ½ pounds red bell peppers
1 small hot chili, like Fresno or hot Hungarian
1 ½ cups walnuts, coarsely ground
½ cup crumbled wheat crackers
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses, more to taste (see note)
½ teaspoon ground cumin, more for garnish
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil, more for garnish
8 pita breads
1. Roast peppers and chili over a gas burner or under a broiler, turning frequently until blackened and blistered all over, about 12 minutes. Place in a covered bowl to steam for 10 minutes. Rub off skins; slit peppers open and remove stems, membranes and seeds. Spread peppers, smooth side up, on a paper towel and let drain for 10 minutes.
2. In a food processor, grind walnuts and crackers with lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, cumin, salt and sugar until smooth. Add bell peppers and process until puréed and creamy. With machine on, add olive oil in a thin stream. Add chili to taste. If paste is too thick, thin with 1 to 2 tablespoons water. Refrigerate overnight.
3. To serve, let dip come to room temperature and sprinkle with cumin and olive oil. Toast pitas in a 350-degree oven, and cut into triangles. Serve with dip.
I'm loving Small Victories, Julia Turshen's new cookbook. Useful, fun and great recipes. With summer coming, I highly suggest you try her Greek-Ish Grilled Shrimp. Easy and delicious.
Greek-Ish Grilled Shrimp
1 1⁄2 lbs medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 lemons, halved
3⁄4cup crumbled feta cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1. Soak twenty-four wooden skewers in warm water for about 1 hour (this keeps them from burning on the grill). Drain the skewers and set aside.
2. Prepare the grill for medium-high heat (or heat a large grill pan set over a couple of burners) and make sure your grates are super-clean.
3. Meanwhile, put the shrimp in a large bowl, drizzle with 3 Tbsp of the olive oil, and sprinkle with the salt. Use your hands to toss everything together so that each shrimp gets properly oiled and salted. Thread the shrimp onto the skewers, using two skewers per kabob, so that you end up with a dozen sturdy kabobs.
4. Transfer the shrimp kabobs and the lemon halves, cut-side down, to the grill. Let the shrimp cook until the undersides are ever so slightly charred, about 2 minutes. Flip the kabobs and cook until the shrimp are slightly charred on the second side, opaque, and firm to the touch, just about 1 minute longer. At this point, the cut sides of the lemons should be nicely charred.
5. Transfer the shrimp and lemon halves to a serving platter and use tongs to help you remove the skewers (discard the skewers; they’ve done their job). Scatter the feta and oregano over the shrimp and drizzle with the remaining 3 Tbsp olive oil. Use your tongs to help you squeeze the smoky juice from the lemons over the shrimp. I like to leave the juiced halves on the platter along with the shrimp so you and your guests can get a little bit more juice out of them as you eat the shrimp, plus they’re kinda beautiful, don’t you think? Serve immediately.
When I was in Serenbe, a small visionary community outside of Atlanta, I visited the small but charming farmers market. Everything was grown on the property and/or artisan-produced. And because I was in the South, produce was way ahead of the still semi-frozen northeast.
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King, a restaurant that opened last September on the corner of King Street and Sixth Avenue in Soho, has quickly become my go-to dining spot after seeing a movie at the Film Forum. The delicious, northern Italian food proclaims chefs Clare de Boer's and Jess Shadbolt's roots, London's legendary River Cafe. The menu changes daily, so there are always surprises, and you can dine there frequently without tiring of the food IF you can get a reservation.
I ate there again on Friday after seeing two Melville movies at the Film Forum. Reminded how good the place is, and once again entranced, I searched the web for King recipes. The only one I found was for Pissaladiere, a classic savory tart from the South of France. I decided to try their version although I already had perfectly good recipes for the dish. I'm glad I did as it was delicious. I plan to make it for a picnic basket and buffet dining -- and to serve small pieces along with cocktails -- as we move into summer.
7 ounces cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 ⅓ cups flour
½ teaspoon fine salt
Pinch of granulated sugar
6 large red onions
Maldon sea salt
Cracked black pepper
20 anchovy fillets (we use salted Ortiz, which we rinse and fillet)
1 cup black niçoise olives
1 bunch fresh thyme
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. Start by making the dough: Using a food processor, bring together the butter, flour, salt and sugar until it resembles a fine breadcrumb. Slowly add the ice water, a little at a time, until the dough barely comes together.
3. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for two to three hours before using. (This can be made a couple of days in advance and will keep in the fridge.)
4. To make the topping, peel and cut the onions in half. Slice thinly. In a large, wide, heavy-bottomed saucepan, gently sweat the onions in a little olive oil, Maldon sea salt and cracked black pepper, covered with a cartouche. When the onions are soft, remove the cartouche to evaporate the excess liquid. Do not allow the onions to color — they should be soft and intensely sweet but not caramelized. This should take an hour. Remove from the pan and leave to cool.
5. Using a box grater, grate the pastry onto a lined 11-by-17-inch baking sheet. Grating breaks up the gluten strands, which gives you a much thinner crust. Then press the dough into the base to form a thin layer along the bottom of the tray. Cover again and chill for a further 30 minutes.
6. Remove the tray from the fridge and prick the base a couple of times with a fork. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes until crisp but not browned.
7. Remove the crust from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Top with the onions and smooth out to form a thin layer. Lattice the anchovies across the top of the onions and place an olive in each square. Sprinkle with thyme, black pepper and olive oil and bake in the oven for a further 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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A few years ago, I wrote about Villa Manodori Dark Cherry, a creation of Massimo Bottura, Chef Patron of the three Michelin star restaurant Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy (Ranked San Pellegrino’s World’s Best restaurant, though sadly demoted last month to second best). The chef combined two great traditional ingredients: Balsamic Vinegar of Modena and Vignola dark cherries, creating the perfect condiment for glazing duck, game and pork or drizzling over vanilla ice cream.
Better late than never, I now also use Bottura's basic small-batch artisans vinegar, Balsamic Aceto. I suggest you try it as well.
Though the chef makes several more expensive renditions, this one is really all you need. Villa Manodori begins with locally grown grapes, which are reduced into must, and then aged in different wood barrels resulting in a rich, mellow, flavorful, dark, almost-syrupy concoction reflecting a century of family tradition. Aceto Balsamico perfectly glazes steak, pork and poultry. Add it to sauce or drizzle it over risotto or sliced Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Toss greens such as arugula and radicchio with acute balsamic then add a swirl of best quality olive oil and a pinch of salt. Click here to buy your own.
As today is Cinco de Mayo, I'm passing on one of my favorite, easy Mexican-esque recipes. Also because -- even though today is cold and pouring rain and awful here in New York -- summer is around the corner. This slaw is an idea warm-weather side dish to accompany Mexican meals but almost everything else as well.
MY MEXICAN COLE SLAW
1 head shredded red cabbage
1/4 head shredded white cabbage or bok choy or iceberg lettuce
1 medium red onion cut into paper-thin rings
1 yellow bell pepper cut into very thin strips
1 red bell pepper cut into very thin strips
2 bunches coarsely chopped cilantro
Juice of one lime
Juice of 1/2 orange
Measure the juice and use half as much neutral vegetable oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
A little bit of chili mold for sprinkling—or use cayenne or Tabasco sauce
1. Toss the salad ingredients.
2. Sprinkle with a little more chili molito or other ground Mexican chili.
3. Add the dressing and toss again.
With April finally over, fava beans are here. Hearth is one of my favorite NYC eateries. Marco Canora, Hearth's chef, has a great salad of fava beans and pecorino Tuscana that is completely delicious and sings of spring.
I was actually there earlier this week and had absolutely delicious mushrooms trifoliate followed by grilled quail. mushrooms trifoliate followed by grilled quail.
This vinaigrette is great on almost any green salad though I particularly like to toss it with a melange of baby greens, sliced fennel, endive, watercress, and orange supremes. If you have them, a handful of edible flowers adds beauty and deliciousness.
The vinaigrette is also good spooned over grilled fish or chicken and topped with orange supremes and fresh cilantro.
Citrus Sesame Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (red wine vinegar or Balsamic may be substituted)
3 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced
2 scallions, cut into very thin rounds (green and white parts)
1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1 large shallot, chopped
Several drops of Tabasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon sea salt or more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon tahini (optional)
1. Shake all ingredients together and let sit at least an hour to allow the flavors to marry.
Spring is here and summer around the corner. As temperatures rise, I revisit my repertoire of tasty fish recipes. This recipe for sea bass fillets from Missy Robbins, James Beard nominee for the category of "Best New Restaurant" in the U.S. (for Lilia in Brooklyn) is just what I want for summer. It's super light, super tasty and--containing nothing but fish, olives, a bit of oil, basil, seasonings, and orange supremes -- easy, easy, easy to make. And it's quick -- from start to finish taking about 15 minutes.
Click here for the recipe.
My good friend, Ariane Batterberry doesn't cook but is a culinary expert and certainly knows her way around kitchen ingredients. She and her late husband, Michael, founded both Food and Wine and Food Arts magazines and between them wrote 25 books on food and culinary history. Because she spends no time behind the stove, Ariane recently passed on to me a box of divine, just-picked organic produce that Farmer Lee Jones had given her. Jones runs The Chef's Garden in Huron, Ohio, which "has been delivering specialty products with optimum shelf life, quality, flavor and nutrition direct from the farm to the world's most discriminating chefs for nearly 30 years. Under the guidance of Bob Jones, Sr., Lee Jones, and Bob Jones, Jr., The Chef's Garden employs traditional farming methods combined with innovative technology to stay on the leading edge of the produce business".
That quote is from their website and I have every reason to believe it's true. However, what I know for certain is that the veggies in the box I received were gorgeous, delicious and kept virtually forever. Even the delicate baby lettuces and edible flowers -- usually quite perishable -- were perfect when I used them after almost three weeks. The mixed and unusual radishes (of all sizes and colors and gorgeous when turned into a salad) were delicious -- especially when tossed with various citrus zests and juices, red onion and cilantro. And I still have baby potatoes, and a rainbow of baby beets in the fridge.
If you want to order your own box of treats from Farmer Jones, click here...
I love salads and am constantly trying new recipes. This delicious chicken salad from Jody Williams and Buvette is light, lovely and perfect for spring. The vinaigrette is delicious, the chicken juicy and perfectly flavored and red radishes add color, crunch, spice! Feel free to add asparagus tips, sugar snap peas, finely sliced fennel, treviso and/or watercress if you feel like playing around.
Click here for the recipe.
When Jane Kramer (known for her brilliant and extensive New Yorker articles) arrived for dinner the other night, she proudly presented me with The London Cookbook: Recipes from the Restaurants, Cafes, and Hole-in-the-Wall Gems of a Modern City, written by her daughter, Aleksandra Crapanzano, a James Beard award-winning food writer. These 100 recipes from the city’s best restaurants, dessert boutiques, tea and coffee houses, and cocktail lounges are varied and tasty and most of them easy to make. In addition, the author knows London well, and her amusing, informative text is a love letter to this hip and most international of cites, an insider’s guide to its most delicious haunts as well as a highly curated and tested collection of its best recipes. The eclectic melange ranges from The Cinnamon Club’s Seared Aubergine Steaks with Sesame and Tamarind to the River Cafe’s Tagliatelle with Lemon, and from Trashed’s Indian Rock Chicken Curry to Nopi’s Sage and Cardamom Gin.
Click here to get your copy.
As Easter and Passover are coinciding this year, it's certainly lamb season. This Moroccan lamb tagine is a great and unusual main course for either holiday but delicious every other day of the year as well. This particular tagine includes dates which give it a certain je ne said quoi that I adore. It's my favorite recipe ever for this North African classic.
Lamb Tagine with Saffron, Dates, Cilantro, and Moroccan Olives
5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 ½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground tumeric
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 pounds lamb shoulder, cut into 3-4 inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large Spanish onions, thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon sugar
2 cups homemade beef stock plus ½ cup water or 2 ½ cups best store-bought beef stock
½ teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
finely grated zest of 1 orange
1 tablespoon orange flower water
20 Moroccan, Greek, Calamata or other pitted imported black olives, cut in half vertically if large
2 preserved lemons, pulp discarded, skin cut into thin slivers
1 cup pitted dates, halved crosswise
1 15-16 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (optional)
1 large bunch chopped cilantro
½ cup chopped pitted prunes
1/3 cup chopped toasted blanched almonds to sprinkle over the top
Rice or couscous to accompany or bury it in vermicelli like the chicken and sprinkle with chopped toasted almonds
1. Combine all the spice mixture ingredients in a bowl large enough to comfortably hold the lamb.
2. Add the lamb and toss to coat well.
3. Heat the olive oil in a large casserole. Brown the meat in batches, placing the pieces back in the bowl as browned.
4. Add the sliced onions and the sugar to the pan, adding a little more oil if necessary and cook, stirring often for 10 minutes. Add the meat back to the pan and continue to cook and stir until the onions turn light gold, approximately 5 minutes more.
5. Add the stock (and water if using) and the saffron, zest and orange flower water. Bring to a boil and then immediately reduce the heat to simmer. Cover and simmer for one hour. Skim off the fat.
6. After an hour, add the olives, lemon and halved dates. Cover and simmer 30 minutes more or cook uncovered if the sauce seems too thin. Skim off the fat. The meat should be very tender and almost falling apart. If it is not, re-cover and simmer until it is. Add the chickpeas if using and cook another few minutes until they are heated through. Stir in half the cilantro and half of the chopped prunes.
AT THIS POINT, YOU CAN LET THE TANGINE COOL UNCOVERED AND THEN COVER AND REFRIGERATE FOR UP TO 3 DAYS. WHEN READY TO SERVE, REMOVE ANY FAT THAT HAS CONGEALED ON THE SURFACE, BRING TO ROOM TEMPERATURE, leave covered and reheat on top of the stove, over medium-low heat, stirring often. AND CONTINUE WITH THE RECIPE.
AS WITH SOUPS, STEWS AND TAGINES USUALLY DEVELOP FLAVOR AND ARE THEREFORE BETTER WHEN MADE AT LEAST A DAY AHEAD.
7. When ready to eat, reheat gently, serve in bowls over couscous or rice and sprinkle with the remaining chopped cilantro, chopped almonds and the remaining chopped prunes.
At a friend's request, I reworked a classic biscotti recipe. She wanted cookies that were a bit lighter, sweeter and less rock-hard than the original.
Although not too, too different, I'm quite pleased with the result. I made a huge batch for my friend and she's in heaven. Chocolate chips are good additions if you want to gild the lily.
New-Fangled Classic Biscotti
Yield: about 60 cookies
1¾ cups raw almonds or skinned hazelnuts (or I prefer half and half)
4 large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted & cooled to tepid
4 teaspoons vanilla extract (or 2 teaspoons vanilla and 2 teaspoons almond extract)
4 cups pastry or all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
1. Toast the nuts in the preheated oven until fragrant and lightly golden, 6-8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat 4 eggs with the sugar until very light, about 5 minutes. Pour in the butter and vanilla and beat until combined. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and add to the egg mixture Mix until well combined, then stir in the nuts. Refrigerate the dough until firm, about 1 hour.
3. When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven again to 350°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.
4. Transfer the dough to a work surface, and cut it into 4 equal portions. Shape each portion of dough into a narrow log about 2 inches wide.
5. Bake the logs of dough in the oven for 20 minutes. Allow them to cool on the pans, set on racks.
6. When the logs are cool, use a sharp knife to cut them at an angle into slices about ½-inch thick. Place the cookies on the pans, cut sides down, and bake at 350°F, turning once, until golden, about 20-25 minutes.
I ate at The Crosby Street Bar (attached to the Crosby Street Hotel in Soho) for the first time last week. Everything was surprisingly delicious but my favorite dish by far was a wonderful roasted Brussels sprouts concoction. I love roasted vegetables across the board but these sprouts enhanced with lots of bacon and a bit of green apple and maple syrup were to die for. I went home and immediately tried to recreate the recipe. Below is what I came up with and I'm quite pleased with the results. Try the recipe and let me know what you think.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Apple and Maple Syrup
½ pound thick-sliced bacon, cut
2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1 large granny smith apple, cored and cut into very thin wedges
1-2 tablespoons sherry and/or red wine vinegar
3-4 tablespoons maple syrup or to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Cut bacon into 1/2" pieces and arrange in a single layer on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Bake until browned, about 10 minutes.
3. Toss Brussels sprouts with the hot bacon and bacon fat. Add a bit of olive oil if the mixture seems dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until Brussels sprouts begin to brown, 15-20 minutes.
4. Toss in the apple slices. Return to oven; roast until Brussels sprouts are browned and tender and apple has softened, 10-15 minutes more. Add vinegar and cook five minutes more.
5. Toss Brussels sprouts mixture with maple syrup to taste and more vinegar if needed. Serve.
Dan Kluger (now at Loring Place) has moved on from ABC Kitchen but his food legacy there is alive and well. Before we're too far into spring and spring food becomes de rigueur, please give Kluger's Squash Toast a try. Of all the fabulous toasts out there (even avocado which I adore) this one tops them all.