Watermelon-Goat Cheese Salad

Watermelon. So refreshing in hottest humidity of summer. Recently at Jean-Georges’ Nougatine restaurant had the most sinfully simple salad. Cubes of seedless watermelon with dollops of whipped goat cheese, drizzled with virgin olive oil and finished with cracked white pepper. Superb.

Jean-Georges prefers white to black pepper in most things.

Note: Don’t look up whipped goat cheese recipes. Just whisk softened goat cheese by itself. Don’t add cream cheese or anything else.

Watermelon Laced Gazpacho

It’s that time of year again. Chilled sipping soups. Watermelon and cucumbers balance the acid for this twist on a classic.

6-8 pickle cukes, peeled and coarsely chopped
6 ripe garden tomatoes, peeled, cored, de-seeded
2 bell peppers, de-seeded, chopped
1 small jalapeño pepper, de-seeded, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 slices day old bread, crusts cut off
6 2″-cubes watermelon, de-seeded
1/4 cup olive oil
6 tbs. red wine vinegar
celery salt, ground black pepper to taste

Soak the bread in water and wring dry. Put equal parts bread and above ingredients in stages into a blender and pulse so consistency is smooth. Stir and taste for seasoning, vinegar balance. Adjust as needed. Pour each stage into a pitcher. Serve either in small glasses to sip or in bowls with chunks of veggies, onions and parsley to garnish.


Black Cod~ Nobu Nod

Nobu not Next Door. Downtown. Still worth the trip. But. Found gorgeous filet at Citarella couple blocks away on Broadway. Marinade 2 pieces cut crosswise in their Miso Asian Sauce or any of your favorite Miso Sauce. Refrigerate at least a few hours. Overnight to 48 hours is great. Remove from fridge and bring to room temperature. Wipe excess marinade from the cod with paper towels.

skin side upCoat non-stick skillet with oil and on high flame brown skin side up to almost black. Turn and brown the skin side, 2-3 minutes. glazed cod 2

Cover and on medium cook until opaque. Maybe 5 minutes depending on thickness. Can add more sauce if desired.

Finally figuring out new stove. Yay.


Plated glazed black cod with peas and mushrooms. plated black cod

Cooking’s A Gas

A new experience. Gas stove and oven. Learning tricks and pitfalls. Burners are different sizes for various purposes. Simmering vs. boiling. After not getting a good sear on Dover sole, may have to heat the pan first to get proper crispness. Also, broiler was not hot enough to brown veal chops. Mark Bittman of the NYTimes and many others confirm that this is typical. So. Suggest turning oven up to highest temperature before broiling to get preferred crunch. It’s a process.

Hadley Grass 2016

Sweet out of the fertile Connecticut River Valley earth. Asparagus. From Hadley, Massachusetts. Finally here! There is nothing like it. Will they have it at UWS Farmer’s Market? We’ll find out next year.

Steam it until tender but still crunchy. Quick cold water bath. Pat dry. Oregano. Ground black pepper. Balsamic vinaigrette. That’s it.


Passover And Over

Strahl Brisket. Dr. G’s Potato Latkes. It’s another Passover. Another year.

For the brisket: Lovingly derived from Birdie Sandler Strahl’s original, enhanced by daughter Betsey Strahl Levine’s creative touch:

4-5 lb. first cut fresh brisket of beef. Not too lean, need some fat. Serves about 8-ish. It shrinks. In a dutch oven, brown brisket well on both sides to sear. Take out and place on dish. Brown at least 3 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. Pour 16 oz. canned tomato sauce over the meat.

Bake at 350 degrees tightly covered for one hour. Uncover and add 1 cup sweet Jewish or another fruity red wine. Bake covered for another hour. Uncover and take out the pot roast and slice against the grain. Put sliced meat back into the pot and make sure it is covered with liquid, add chicken broth if necessary. Bake another hour or until it falls apart.

For Dr. G’s latkes: Grate 4 large raw peeled potatoes into fine strips into a bowl of ice water. Press out moisture and drain on paper towels. Put potatoes into a large bowl. Add 2 lightly beaten eggs and blend to bind. Add 1 cup matzoh meal and thinly sliced bunch of green onions (scallions). Blend together with fingers. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Fashion potato mixture into 4 inch diameter, 1/2 inch thick patties. Heat a non-stick fry pan and coat with vegetable oil until hot. Brown potato patties on both sides until crispy. Keep latkes warm in a 200 degree oven on a platter until ready to eat.

Saucy Shrimp

Great with a freshly baked crusty bâtard from Hungry Ghost in Northampton. Lots of sauce to dip it in. Clean and devein eight large shrimp per person. Dry and drizzle with olive oil, garlic paste, oregano and red pepper flakes, black ground pepper to taste. Stir and refrigerate for a couple of hours or so. When ready to eat, take out shrimp and bring to room temperature. Place on a baking sheet. Broil on high heat top rack for 4 minutes. Don’t turn. Remove from oven. Meanwhile.

Finely chop 6-8 cloves fresh garlic and 2 small shallots, 1/2 cup fresh parsley. Squeeze juice of 1 1/2 lemons into a cup. In a large sauté pan, brown a stick of butter until bubbly. Add the garlic and shallots and brown. Add 1 cup dry white wine. Stir. Add lemon juice and parsley. Turn off heat.

Place eight shrimp into each pasta bowl or deep plate. Pour the sauce evenly over the shrimp on each plate. Add a bit more fresh parsley and grate lemon zest on top. Serve with that crusty bread. Dunk liberally.

Sole Rollatini

4 filets of sole, no skin. In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup panko crumbs, zest of one lemon, 1/2 teaspoon each dried oregano, basil, ground black pepper, a handful of chopped parsley, 1/4 cup grated cheese of your choice. Press the mixture evenly into each filet top side up. Roll the filets around the bread crumb mixture as tightly as possible and fasten with a toothpick or two.

In a small glass baking dish, put 1/4 cup unsalted butter in pieces, slices of one lemon, and juice from the lemon. Place the filets in the dish and add 2 tablespoons drained tiny capers. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until cooked just through.