I’m now blogging on a new site. Check out today’s post on Popover to Pippa’s
I’m now blogging on a new site. Check out today’s post on Popover to Pippa’s
It’s been awhile since my last post, but that’s because I’ve been working on some upgrades and a new blog. Please continue to follow me at my new blog, Popover to Pippa’s!
I’m looking forward to seeing you all there!
What began as a quest for Chicken Chili ingredients last Sunday, turned into a lobster feast for two. I guess you could say that Brian and I celebrated Valentine’s Day a few days early this year. I have the scars to prove it. I managed to burn my hand on scalding water (my fault) and I also pierced my finger with one of the claws on our large lobster (the lobster’s fault). Breaking apart a lobster is a messy business, there’s no way around it. The sweet meat inside however, is worth the labor.
Thankfully, I managed to cook our asparagus without any unfortunate bodily harm. We served our asparagus with sauce gribiche. Sauce gribiche is possibly one of my favorite sauces of all time, although it is really more like a vinaigrette. It is a classic French sauce that is traditionally made with chopped eggs, cornichons, herbs, and capers.
I first had sauce gribiche on our trip to France a few years ago at a well-known bistro in the 11th Arrondissement, Bistro Paul Bert. The sauce was served on beautifully steamed Spring Asparagus and I instantly fell in love. It’s tangy and lively, and it’s so simple to make at the last minute because you probably have most of the ingredients in your refrigerator or cupboard already.
The method is simple. Whisk together shallot, vinegar (red, white, or sherry vinegar), good extra virgin olive oil, a touch of Dijon mustard, plenty of salt and freshly ground pepper (seasoning is key to a good vinaigrette). Then add chopped hard-boiled eggs and herbs (I enjoy parsley, tarragon, chives and chervil in this sauce). I did not use cornichons or capers in this version, but you could add those as well. And that’s it! I typically serve asparagus with sauce gribiche as a starter, but it can also be a simple side dish. And don’t stop there, because this sauce also goes well with fish and grilled meat.
Asparagus with Sauce Gribiche
For the sauce:
For the steamed asparagus:
Did I make it in time for Valentine’s Day?! I know that I missed posting a Super Bowl recipe (I made this recipe for stuffed shells on Super Bowl Sunday… you should make it too, it was a hit in my house). I also made a Caesar salad using a new ingredient—silken tofu.
Caesar salad and chocolate mousse made with tofu?!! [GASP] I know, it’s so anti-dairy of me. I’m actually embarrassed to admit it. I think that I made up for it though by eating my weight in cheese last Saturday at a French Cheese & Wine class at Artisanal Premium Cheese Center (highly recommend). I’m still salivating over the fondue and the Fleur de Marquis, a soft sheep’s milk cheese that is encrusted with rosemary, fennel seeds and juniper berries. Our instructor assured us that eating cheese, especially sheep’s milk cheeses, will flatten our bellies. Needless to say, I’m planning to eat a lot more of it within the next few weeks and probably for the rest of my life until I reach my goal weight.
Where were we? Oh, silken tofu. My husband adores chocolate pudding and chocolate mousse but it took me awhile to warm up to it, I never liked it as a child. I think it might have been a texture thing, but I never got excited when other kids would bring in mud pots for their birthdays (you know, the kind with the chocolate pudding, worms and Oreo crumbles). I know, I’m weird…
Thankfully, I now like chocolate pudding, although I still don’t like anything with the work JELL-O in it. I don’t typically make a lot of mousse, but I’ve made quite a few variations of chocolate pudding in the past, typically using a combination of milk (2%), cocoa powder, chocolate, cornstarch, and sometimes eggs.
Now this recipe is great because it doesn’t take the typical 3 to 4 hours to cool in the refrigerator before you can eat it. I don’t know about you, but I am impatient and I also have an intense aversion to ice baths (I’m so over it after culinary school where we filled entire sinks to cool down stocks, day after day). Unlike traditional chocolate pudding, this chocolate mousse is ready to be eaten immediately!!! It will firm up considerably after a brief refrigeration period, but it’s not necessary. It’s also incredibly simple and quick to prepare, and relatively nutritious. It’s ready in less than 15 minutes, I promise.
So, if you are like me and haven’t planned an elaborate dessert in advance for your pudding-loving, chocolate-adoring Valentine this year, you can fall back on this recipe. It’s intensely chocolaty and sure to please (I mean really rich, I almost couldn’t finish my serving.. and this is coming from someone who has no problem polishing off 3 large slices of pizza followed by ice cream on occasion). It’s difficult to believe, but I may never go back to the dairy version.
Valentine’s Day Deep and Dark Chocolate Mousse with Heath Bar Crunch
Approx. cooking time: 15 minutes, start to finish
Do you like crunchy and thick cookies? Whenever I think of a chunky cookie, I remember the Pepperidge Farm Nantucket Chocolate Chip Cookies that my grandmother used to buy (I would surreptitiously take one or 2 from the package every time we visited her house). If you do like that, this recipe is definitely for you. And if not, well, it still may be worth a try. Let me explain.
I am actually a member of the chewy cookie fan club. In an ideal world, every cookie that I eat would be a warm, just-baked soft and chewy chocolate chip cookie. BUT, these cookies may be the exception to my chewy cookie rule.
This recipe is from Macrina Bakery’s newest cookbook, More from Macrina: New Favorites from Seattle’s Popular Neighborhood Bakery. I adapted the recipe slightly by using melted butter, and by ever-so-slightly reducing the sugar and butter content. I’ve seen a number of recipes that recommend using melted butter and resting cookie dough overnight before baking, so that’s what I tried here.
The result? Initially, I was slightly disappointed. I had not expected a crispy cookie (see above. I ♥ chewy cookies). But, as I kept nibbling away at my cookie, my disappointment quickly faded. The peanut butter, oat, and chocolate combination kept enticing me back for bite after bite. It was slightly salty, but also sweet, and sufficiently chocolatey (I increased the amount of chocolate chips in the recipe…what can I say, I love chocolate). I even grew to like the crispy texture, it was somehow more satisfying than its chewy counterpart, allowing me to indulge in one or two cookies without feeling the need to gobble up the entire tin of cookies in one or two sittings (you know what that means….more cookies for later in the week!).
Question of the Day? Do you prefer chewy or crispy cookies? What is your favorite type of cookie, homemade or store bought?
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies
Makes about 30, 2-inch wide cookies
Hi there! For this week’s Friday Fixings post (see this post for background information), I’ve selected chicken saltimbocca, purely because I happen to be making chicken saltimbocca tonight for friends. In Italian, saltimbocca means “jump in the mouth”. Saltimbocca alla Romana is traditionally made by topping a veal cutlet with sage and prosciutto, but chicken is commonly substituted. Some recipes call for no sauce, others call for making a simple pan sauce with marsala wine, lemon, or chicken broth. I personally like to make a quick pan sauce using lemon juice and chicken broth. As I learned in culinary school, acid, salt, and fat are important components in a well-rounded dish. In this case, the lemon adds acidity, while the prosciutto provides the perfect ratio of salt and fat. The sage ads fragrance and an additional layer of flavor, don’t skip it and don’t buy dried sage, it’s my favorite part.
I most often pair chicken saltimbocca with soft polenta, but tonight I am making Deb Perelman’s Wild Rice Gratin with Kale and Caramelized Onions, from her cookbook, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. Because chicken saltimbocca incorporates only a few ingredients (chicken, sage, and prosciutto) I believe that it can go well with a number of different side dishes. For example, roasted potatoes, orzo, mashed potatoes, grits, etc. etc. The list below are a few sides dishes that I found this week that stand out to me. Enjoy!
Friday Fixing: Week 2
Entree: Chicken saltimbocca (an example recipe from Epicurious here)
Did I make it in time for the Super Bowl this weekend?! This may not be your typical Super Bowl fare, but I think that it meets the requirements. It’s a one-pot meal and it goes well with beer. What more could you ask for? Oh, bacon you say?… Don’t worry, that’s included too!
One of our favorite neighborhood restaurants in the city is Café D’Alsace. Dishes like charcroute garnie, duck sausage with sauerkraut, and tarte flambee are mainstays on the menu. It must be cold in Alsace, because the food here is hearty, rich, and meat-heavy. With temperatures barely reaching 20 degrees in New York last week, it’s exactly the sort of food that I was craving. However, bitterly cold temperatures also make me want to hibernate, so I decided to satisfy both my desire to stay out of the cold with my yearning for sauerkraut.
Enter chicken braised in sauerkraut! I was so excited to make this recipe, especially after I found large hunks of meaty bacon and sauerkraut at my local German grocer (Schaller & Weber for those of you who live in New York City). I started by slowly sautéing the bacon in a pan, allowing the fat to render out and the bacon to become slightly crispy. I debated pouring some of the fat out of the pan, but there wasn’t too much, and I figured that we could use a little bit of extra blubber to fend off the cold this winter. To the bacon, I added thin slices of sweet onion and a Granny Smith apple, which I slowly caramelized in the pan. After pouring in a hearty amount of Riesling wine, a can of drained mild sauerkraut, shredded fresh red cabbage, juniper berries, thyme, pearl onions and chicken broth, my kitchen smelled like a German beerhouse. As the cabbage braised, I browned boneless chicken thighs, added them to the cabbage, and also baked cookies. That is not a typo, I had made cookie batter the night before and after a proper rest in the refrigerator, (I have heard that is the key to great cookies) I figured why not wait, I had time while my cabbage braised. Let me just note that my small apartment kitchen now smelled like a cross between an Auntie Anne’s cookie shop and a Bratwurst stand. Weird, sort of like when I stumbled across a café in the West Village a few years ago called New York Hot Dogs & Coffee. Now, dogs and ketchup, dogs and pop, dogs and shakes—those all make sense to me. Dogs and coffee??? Needless to say, when I passed by the same location this summer, New York Dogs & Coffee had sadly closed. I guess even New Yorkers aren’t that adventurous when it comes to combo meals. Now, back to that chicken recipe…
I had to wait for my husband to get home from a cross-country trip to L.A., so my cabbage and chicken braised longer than I had originally intended. And herein lies the benefit of using chicken thighs. Unlike chicken breasts, they don’t easily become dry and overcooked, which is why I recommend using them when you are braising. Even though I cooked my chicken thighs at least 10 minutes longer than necessary, they remained tender and juicy. We ate our chicken and cabbage with homemade crusty bread and a salad dressed in simple vinaigrette, but you could also serve it with mashed potatoes or egg noodles (spaetzle would be great too). I should also note that this recipe is not comfort food in the sense of “I cannot move and must lie on my sofa for the next few hours while I digest”. It is bright and lively thanks to the sauerkraut and wine, and it will definitely warm you up on a cold night. It’s also perfect for a crowd (Super Bowl party anyone?).
Braised Chicken Thighs with Sauerkraut, Riesling, Apple and Bacon
Time: 1 ¼ – 1 ½ hours, including prep time
As the automatic doors opened for me at the San Diego airport this past Saturday, I felt immense joy. In part it was because we had finally arrived after a long five and half hour flight, also because I was in town to see one of my best friends getting married, and without a doubt because I was greeted by temperatures hovering around 70 degrees. I felt like I had stepped off the plane and landed on a tropical island.
New York has been dreary lately–clouds, clouds, and more clouds, with barely a hint of the sun. But this weekend I was granted a brief, two day reprieve from winter. On Saturday, I walked along the beach on Coronado Island, saw a beautiful sunset from the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and watched as two Mexican women quickly and methodically made homemade tortillas that I would later eat with a large plate of carnitas and refried beans. Paradise.
Early on Sunday morning before the wedding, Brian and I walked along the beach and cliffs in La Jolla. We visited the “Children’s Pool”, which is a small beach populated by a group of very lazy and carefree seals and sea lions, and marveled at the number of Californians who were brazenly jumping into the ocean to swim laps in 10-foot waves and what we heard were shark-infested waters. I kid you not, they appear to do this every weekend, while I barely mustered up enough courage to dip my pinky toe in the ocean.
After our walk, we searched La Jolla for a good breakfast spot, and were lucky enough to stumble across Cody’s. We snagged a table outside before the line for brunch grew long, and enjoyed a delicious starter of ceviche with tortilla chips, followed by an omelette made with Sonoma chevre goat cheese, spinach, and wild mushrooms accompanied by sourdough toast.
The wedding that we attended was beautiful, and despite our 4:15am wakeup call the next morning, our weekend was well-worth the long trip to get there and back. This morning, as I walked to work in 20-degree weather with my long puffy jacket, hat and gloves, it was difficult to believe that I had sat by our hotel pool in only a bathing suit the day before. Back to reality, at least for the time being…
I’ve decided to mix things up a bit this year, and include more in this blog about my food ventures in New York and beyond…
Last night, I met up with a good friend of mine for dinner at Northern Spy Food Co. Northern Spy has been on my restaurant list for over 2 years. Yes, TWO YEARS! I know, it’s ridiculous. I do this all the time. In fact, my friend and I were discussing last night how we make an effort with certain people to try new restaurants and be adventurous, while with other friends and family we make a concerted effort to take them only to “tried and true” favorites. I suppose we both fear letting people down, choosing a restaurant with the wrong ambiance and space, etc. etc. In this case, the mere location of the restaurant was somewhat of a deterrent. After all, it is between Avenue A and B on the Lower East Side in Manhattan, which if you know Manhattan at all, is a good mile (or what feels like a mile) from any useful subway line. I love walking in the City, but if I so much as hear the word “Avenue A” (or god forbid Avenue B or C), I question the necessity of the trip. Thankfully for my friend and I, we failed to notice the exact location of Northern Spy until it was too late to change our plans (and like I said before, it had been on my short list for 2 years).
Moving on to the food… We started our meal by sharing an order of pickled eggs with aioli. I have actually never had pickled eggs before, but these were cooked perfectly, garnished with pickled onion, and when paired with the creamy aioli (which tasted more like a very thin creme fraiche than an aioli to me), delicious. We also shared a kale salad with delicata squash, pecorino, cheddar, and toasted almonds. As my friend wisely noted “I’m getting sick of Kale”. However, this kale salad (which I should note Northern Spy is known for) was great. The roasted squash added sweetness, the almonds some crunch, and the cheese the perfect amount of salt. Combining cheddar and pecorino in one salad stuck me as odd originally, but somehow this worked.
For my main course I ordered what the menu described as Trout with broccoli, cranberry beans, and dill. What I received was in fact smoked trout. It was very delicate, almost reminiscent of olive-oil poached fish, and it had just the right amount of smoke. The sauce that the fish rested in was a vibrant green, and the cranberry beans a welcome sight in the dead of winter. We skipped dessert, but I would definitely come back…if only it weren’t on Avenue A!
I’m back! It’s been a busy 6 months since I last posted. My family survived two weddings, one on each coast (one of them was mine!), and we enjoyed a food-filled Christmas and New Year. After indulging in a few too many (okay, more than just a few) desserts and rich meals over the holidays, I was craving a veggie-heavy (meat-light) dinner this weekend.
I was fixated on making pasta with a lemon cream sauce, and the following recipe is the result. The lemon sauce just barely coats the pasta, almost like Spaghetti alla Carbonara. It tastes slightly decadent, without overpowering the fava beans or the pasta itself. It’s actually more suitable for spring than winter, but with temperatures near 60 degrees this past weekend, it felt appropriate. I’ll be back to make it again when spring eventually does come around in New York!
Linguine with Lemon Cream, Fava Beans & Savoy Cabbage
Notes: I am lucky enough to live a block away from an Italian specialty grocery store that carries frozen, shelled fava beans, but if you can’t find fava beans you can always substitute them for frozen peas or asparagus. There is a scant amount of pancetta in this pasta, which can be replaced with bacon, or even omitted entirely. Additionally, the sage, basil, and parsley can be swapped out for any number of fresh herbs, but I really enjoyed this combination. Just make sure to use a light hand when it comes to the sage, as it can become overpowering. And finally, cabbage might seem odd in this recipe, but it becomes deliciously sweet after being sautéed with the shallots and cooked in white wine, broth, and cream. Try to find Savoy cabbage if possible, as it has thinner, more delicate leaves.
8 ounces dry linguine
8 ounces fresh or frozen shelled green fava beans (frozen peas can be substituted here)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
3 ounces pancetta, diced into small ¼ inch cubes
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium shallot, finely diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
½ head of a medium-sized savoy cabbage, core removed and shredded
¼ cup dry white wine
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
Zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
4 fresh sage leaves, finely minced
1/3 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely minced
½ cup fresh basil leaves, finely minced