Summer Bouillabaise

Wednesday Florence farmer’s market. Coarsely chop one large onion red or white; a large native tomato; an orange or yellow bell pepper. Brown in a little olive oil in a stock pot. Add chunks of meat from a firm white fish (monk, grouper, hake), a dozen cherry stone clams from the Atlantic brought in same-day. Season with fresh chopped chives and ground white pepper. Cover with a little water. Bring to quick boil then cover and simmer for 10 minutes until clams open. Clam juice will add to broth. Blend unseeded chunks from half a honeydew or quarter watermelon until smooth. Add for a balanced sweetness. Scoop out clams from shells and discard shells and any unopened. Stir.

Serve in bowls with a fresh baguette.

Hurricane Arthur 4th!

Hurricane Arthur Day. Watch World Cup. Go Nederlands!
Cookout will have to wait for Saturday or Sunday:

Grilled Quick Corn in Husks- Fresh corn on the cob not out yet, but there is some ‘quick corn’ around. It’s small and edible, but not as good as summer-end sweet corn. Peel back the husks and take out the silk. Put the husks back up and soak the corn in a pot of cold water until ready to grill. Place soaked corn with husks still up on the hot grill and turn as necessary on the outer edge of the grate, so as not to burn. Cover to heat and eat.

Grilled Flank Steak- 1 1/2 lb. flank steak. Pound with textured pyramid meat mallet to tenderize. Season with sea salt, fresh ground pepper, garlic powder. Cook over hot charcoals, but cover immediately so that it stays moist. 5-6 minutes on a side. Let rest for 5 minutes off the heat. Slice against the grain and add favorite barbecue sauce.

Summer Slaw- Red cabbage slaw is my favorite. I shred a small fresh cabbage into a large bowl. Toss in 3 thinly sliced scallion ends, 2 tbsp. Boar’s Head Pepperhouse mayonnaise, 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, a handful of sesame seeds, 1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp. celery salt. Check for tanginess, I like it more vinaigry than mayonnaisey. Toss well to coat the cabbage. Cover, refrigerate until ready to serve as a summer side.

Cucumber Salad- Thinly slice: 6 pickle cukes, 1/2 large red onion in bowl. Dress with 3/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1 tsp. crushed oregano, tear fresh basil leaves, celery salt, black pepper to taste. Stir, cover and chill. Add chopped native tomatoes when serving. They get tough in the marinade.

Red White Blue Dessert- Fresh strawberries, sliced; fresh blueberries in small bowls. Melt Herrell’s malted vanilla ice cream and pour over the berries. Or, strawberries and blueberries on baking powder biscuits from Atkins Farms and homemade whipped cream from Smiarowski Creamy. DSC_0110-2

Summer KaBobs

Skewers. Grill. Charcoal. We like to separate ingredients on each skewer for optimum cooking time. A typical KeBob roast will include bell peppers of all colors, onions red or white, Roma tomatoes (they stay firm), whole mushroom caps. Beef, lamb or chicken chunks on their own skewers. DSC_0010

Brush the veggies with olive oil, sprinkle garlic powder and pepper, both sides. Coat the meat with Catalina French dressing. Yup. Grill in stages over hottest fire. Meat and onions take longer than peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes. All should be charred but not burnt.DSC_0017-3

Slip all veggies and meat onto a platter. Serve! DSC_0019

Hadley Grass Salad

It’s finally up. Hadley grass. Pioneer Valley’s famous asparagus. No need to shave tender stalks, just cut off the ends. Blanch until cooked but still crisp. Stop cooking with cold water and divide on small plates when room temperature. On each plate, sprinkle the asparagus with dried oregano (crushed in the palm of your hand), ground white pepper, halved cherry tomatoes with a pinch of celery salt, fresh basil leaves julienned, crumbled Stilton cheese, and drizzle with the best Balsamic vinegar you can get.

My favorite Balsamic vinegar is by Fini.

Best Veggie Pasta Ever

If I do say so myself. Inspired after watching favorite Lidia Bastianich’s Saturday show. Yet, I didn’t want meat or fish in the dish. A bright balance of ingredients came together just as I tasted them in my mind. A perfect supper with Frog’s Leap Zin. A little sauce dominates the taste.

So. Make linguine or spaghetti as directed. Half a DeCecco box for 2. Meanwhile, drain and chop a can of Cento whole Italian tomatoes. Chop 10 fresh Crimini mushrooms into quarters. Chop 12-14 Kalamata olives. Julienne 20 fresh basil leaves and half a lemon peel (no pulp). Mince 2 cloves garlic.

In a heavy cast iron fry pan, brown the mushrooms in olive oil. Add ground black pepper, dried oregano and thyme, to taste; half the minced garlic. Deglaze with a quarter cup of the Zinfandel. Add the chopped tomatoes, olives and 1 tablespoon low-salt capers. Stir and heat for a couple of minutes only. Should stay chunky.

Stir the drained pasta with a little butter and pepperoncini flakes, rest of minced garlic. Serve in bowls. Spoon sauce on top of the pasta, then finish with the fresh julienned basil and lemon peel. Amounts of ingredients need to be balanced so that none of the tastes overwhelm others. Basil and lemon shine.

Strahl Brisket Season

It’s that time again. This year, the butcher gave us 6 lbs. of way too lean meat. No fat cap. A challenge. After preparing it the usual way, we added a bit of olive oil to preserve richness and moisture necessary. Dr.Husband (a Strahl) had the ingenious notion. Everyone raved. So…

6 lb. first cut fresh brisket of beef. Serves about 10-ish. It really does shrink. In a dutch oven, brown brisket well on both sides to sear. Take out and place on dish. Brown at least 4 large sliced onions, the more the better. Put the brisket back into the pan and season with generous amount of paprika, pepper, garlic powder, salt. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Take out of oven and pour 16 oz. canned tomato sauce over the meat. Bake at 350 degrees tightly covered for another hour. Uncover and add 1-2 cups sweet Jewish or another fruity red wine. I usually just show the Jewish wine to the meat, then use a good fruity pinot noir, so I can sip it while the meat cooks forever. Bake at 350 degrees covered for another hour.

Uncover and take out the pot roast. Let cool. Then, cut pieces against the grain. Put sliced meat back into the pot and make sure it is covered with liquid, add chicken broth if necessary. Cover and continue to bake at least another hour until tender. Let cool to room temperature. Drizzle olive oil over the meat and refrigerate until ready to eat. Best heated up the next day.

Serve with hot horseradish and potato latkes.

Folie en Food NY

photo-66MadisonPark Onze it. Quatorze-course tasting adventure. Pricey. Priceless.

Eleven Madison Park Menu, March 2014:

~Savory black and white cookie
Chartogne-Taillet Brut Rosé, Merfy Champagne, France

~Oyster Vichyssoise and caviar
~Marinated Scallop with apple, lime, and water chestnut

~Beef tartare with caviar and smoked bone marrow
~Pastrami with pickles, rye, mustard, and cranberry
Bellwether Legacy Brut Cider, Trumansberg, NY

~Cured Foie Gras with sunchokes and fermented mustard greens
Domaine Weinbach Pinot Blanc Reserve, Alsace, France

~Waldorf salad with celery, cranberries and walnuts
Domaine de Belliviere Loire Valley, France

~Poached lobster with razor clam, sea urchin and kale
Isabelle et Denis Pommier, Premier Cru Chablis, France

~Braised celery root with black truffle
ça del Baio Barbaresco Piedmont, Italy

~Duck broth with sausage and Gruyère
~Roasted duck with lavender, honey, rutabaga
Domaine Monier Perreol, Rhone Valley, France

~Various desserts. Chocolate pretzels. Cookies. Baked Alaska

Then, the next day:

Grilled lobster lunch with friends at ABC Kitchen. Specially good.
Roasted octopus, striped bass downtown at Colicchio and Sons. Delectable.

Memories of a Mad March Birthday Weekend. Indelible. Folie en food!

Red Cabbage Pepper Braise

In a large deep skillet, brown 1 Vidalia onion, thinly sliced in a little olive oil and pat of butter. Add a julienned yellow pepper and green chili pepper. Brown. Add shredded leaves of a small red cabbage and stir fry for a few minutes. Season with crushed black pepper, thyme, garlic powder. Stir. Add balsamic or red wine vinegar, tabasco, mango chutney to taste. Stir over medium heat. Reduce to simmer until all veggies are tender. Add sesame seeds. Stir and serve as a side to pork tenderloin or as a main dish with rice.

Sliced Cauliflower Sauté

Forget the florets. Sliced is a great sauté. New York fave Gramercy Tavern’s halibut is good, but this side dish was better.

Cut the cauliflower into 1/2″ slices, with some of the stem included. In a large skillet, brown the slices in a little olive oil, so that none are touching. Sprinkle with garlic powder, ground black pepper, thyme as they cook. Turn when golden brown on one side and brown the other. Crispy on the outside, tender and sweet on the inside. Simple and so good.

DeConstructed Paella

What to do with cooked lobster meat? Make a dish that many can eat with different dietary preferences.

Make your favorite rice with drained, chopped tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, shallots, turmeric. That’ll be a dish by itself for vegetarians.

In a separate stock pot, make Alfred Portale’s little necks and sauce, add the lobster meat, just to heat.

In a fry pan, sauté andouille or chorizo sausage.

In a saucepan, heat up a can of lobster bisque, add a little cayenne for a spicy sauce on the side.

Serve on separate platters with side plates of lemon wedges. Party on.