Strahl Brisket Season

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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 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. 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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Wrestling Risotto

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Risotto is a rice. Arborio most common. Gluten-free. Tried making risotto for the first time. With guests. Not the best idea. Did lots of research. Baking it. Parboiling it. Bottom line. You really have to stand there and stir it. Make it with just vegetables or scallops or lobster or shrimp. Mushrooms a must.

Martha Stewart and others have baked risotto recipes. Jason Santos says to parboil it for 9 minutes, then sauté it in a fry pan with wine and broth. Lidia Bastianich says ratio 3 cups liquid to 1 cup rice. Alfred Portale says 4 to 1. What is true for all is that the Italian arborio rice absorbs the flavor of any liquid used. So, that’s really important. Chicken broth and a very good dry white wine. Vegetable broth doesn’t work well. Creamier ingredients like mascarpone cheese will help the consistency. And cream itself. Lemon juice or zest at the end brightens the taste. Many spices necessary.

It’s a lot of work. Not worth it. I really don’t like risotto that much.

Best Dining 2013

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New York City

Gramercy TavernFlatiron, best of best $$$$
Da Silvano, West Village, classic Italian $$$$
Lure FishbarSoHo, consistently good $$$
Next Door NobuTribeca, best fish  $$$$
MaysvilleFlatiron, interesting creative  $$$
Union Square CafeUnion Square, high standards met $$$$
La Mar CebicheriaFlatiron, fresh Peruvian, $$
Brasserie Les HallesFlatiron, delicious comfort food $$

Western Massachusetts

Blue Heron, Sunderland, Best in Valley $$$
Cafe Adam, Great Barrington, gazpacho $$$
Bistro Zinc, Lenox, Parisian staples $$
The Farm Table, Bernardston, eat at bar, risotto $$$
30 Boltwood, Amherst, renovated Lord Jeffrey Inn $$$

Lobster ShackWilliamsburg Snack Bar  Fresh value $
BakeryBread Euphoria, Haydenville, Bakery goodnot lunch $$
Italian Market/DeliFrigo’s, Springfield, VealDinners to go $$
Chinese/Japanese Delivery: Taipei TokyoNorthampton  $$

Top Contributor TripAdvisor

Zucchinetti 2014

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Lots of new gizmos to shred zucchini and other squashes into spaghetti-like strips. I’ve always cut it myself. But, either way, it’s a rich dish with many fewer calories than pasta. Time for Zucchinetti Colitti. A rich dinner treat. I usually just cut 2-3 of them into fettucine or spaghetti-shaped strips.

Then sauté in a little olive oil until tender. Add chopped canned whole tomatoes or Rao’s sauce, dried basil, oregano, chopped garlic, pepperoncini to taste. Serve topped with shaved asiago or formaggi of your choice.

ChickPeas

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Easy Hummus: Drain a large can of garbanzo beans (chick peas). Put in a blender. Season with crushed black pepper, red pepper flakes, to taste. Drizzle in 1/2 cup Drew’s Lemon Goddess Tahini dressing. Pulse until blended but still thick enough for a dip-like consistency. Adjust dressing amount to taste and thickness. That’s it.

Garam Masala-ish: Chop one large sweet onion and brown on the bottom of a medium sized stockpot in a little olive oil. Drain 2 large cans garbanzo beans and add to the onions on medium high heat. Stir. Add 1 can whole tomatoes. Stir. Add jalapeño peppers, chopped to taste. Season with 1/2 tsp. cardamom, 1/2 tsp. ground ginger, 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp. coriander, 1/4 tsp. turmeric, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. cloves, 1/4 tsp. garlic powder. Bring to boil covered, stir, then turn down to simmer. Can add par-boiled diced potatoes, frozen peas. Uncover and simmer until thick.

Glazed Pork Roast

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A variation on Scott Conant’s balsamic molasses glazed, scored, pork loin roast, bone-in. For the glaze, since I’m not a molasses fan, I suggest substituting honey or maple syrup. In a medium saucepan, brown 1/2 onion chopped in a little olive oil, add 1 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 tsp. thyme. Boil to reduce by half and put in a pyrex cup. In the saucepan, boil 2 cups chicken stock, boil to reduce to 1 cup. Add back the balsamic reduction. Stir in 1 cup molasses, honey or maple syrup, 1 tbs. Dijon mustard, 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, 1 tbs. garlic powder. Boil until thickened. Let cool.

Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees. Prepare a 3-5 lb. pork loin roast bone-in. Pat dry and put in a large roasting pan. Score the fat on top in cross-hatched pattern, not too deep, with tip of knife. Sprinkle sea salt on top. Brush glaze over the roast, making sure it penetrates the slits. Put in the very high pre-heated oven for 10 minutes. Remove roast and turn oven to 275 degrees. Wait until oven reduces to 350 degrees and put a cookie sheet of water under roasting pan. Put roast back in on middle rack for 2 hours.

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