Category ... Savory Cooking
Feb 04, 2017 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special for the LA Times Syndicate
first published February 1995, for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate
I was reminded of this story when driving on route 80 last week and held up for about 40 minutes due to construction. It was so great to be able to text my friend whom I was meeting to tell him we would be late. There was a time I dreamed of such a possibility but it was long before cell phones.
I am including at the very end, my letter to the editor responding to his queries.
Wen I was growing up in New York City, a cab ride was considered an indulgence and a luxury reserved for special occasions. Since those early years, my attitude has shifted gradually from awe to concern as to whether a taxi would be available when I need it and ultimately to concern as to whether I would survive the ride. Although I feel I've come close to collision on numerous occasions, it's actually happened only once. Of course the driver immediately assured me that it was the other cabby's fault for stopping short and of course, though I am well-acquainted with the rules of the road which unequivocally state that the driver whose car hits the other is at fault, I murmured something sympathetic and wisely said nothing.
When I'm at the wheel of our car and get anywhere near a cab, I am tensed to expect any variety of erratic moves. But what happened a few weeks ago on a cab ride to the Port Authority Bus Terminal was beyond my wildest expectations. When I described it to my brother Michael (who escaped to California over 20 years ago) expecting concern and sympathy, he laughed instead and said "that is so New York!" I hadn't even thought to look at it that way.
I had been on my way to catch a bus to New Jersey where my parents were waiting at the bus stop in the town, to pick me up and drive 20 minutes to our house where I was planning to prepare a sumptuous dinner of boned, stuffed squab. I was traveling light. The three squab were tucked into my portable freezer bag and the only other things being transported were my purse and the manuscript of my current cookbook. I had been planning to walk to the Port Authority but was running a little late so decided to grab a cab. From the very moment I closed the door and the driver lurched into gear I sensed trouble. The driver had an "attitude." His anger, aggression and desire to engage in conflict was palpable, both from his driving, the set of his head and even his sporadic breathing. Only a few blocks later he proceeded to cut off another cabby who seized the bait by cutting us off at the very next opportunity. One block later my cabby stopped at a light, pulling up too close for comfort to the other cab. My eyes opened wide with astonishment as he opened the right window, leaned over, shook the bottle of soda he had been drinking, removed his large thumb from the opening and pointing it like a weapon at the other cabby's open window, sprayed him in the face. The light turned green, and now the other cabby made his move. He took some hard object, crashed it against our rear view mirror, breaking it to smithereens and then, taking advantage of the momentary shock of my cabby, accelerated rapidly, cutting in front of us and making a left turn into a side street. Without hesitation, my cabby followed him. "Let me out!" I pleaded desperately. "I'm going to miss my bus." "No!" he said in a reasonable but firm voice, "I have to get him, he broke my mirror." He was deaf to any further pleas as we grew further from the bus terminal I imagined myself missing the bus and my poor parents having no idea what to do.
At the next light he left the cab, ran to the driver's window of the other cab, punched the driver in the face and raced back to our cab. The other driver left his cab and came up to us. He was very handsome and he smiled at me utterly without hostility before smashing in the back window. My driver got out again to pursue the other one and, my adrenaline racing, I grabbed my purse, manuscript and squabs and took off like a shot, in silent gratitude for my stretch jeans and Reeboks. A drunk standing by observing the whole scene cheered me on with "baby, I don't blame you." I opened my mouth to thank him for the moral support and then decided to reserve all my energy for the flight. I never looked back but I'm sure my cabby wasn't interested in pursuing the fare. He was more involved in revenge.
I was glad that neither of the cabbies had a gun. I was glad that I didn't worry my parents by missing the bus. And I was glad that I had something deliciously comforting and life affirming to cook for dinner.
Continue reading "A New York Squabble" »
Dec 31, 2016 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Book Review
I first met Dana Jacobi many years ago when she and her mother came to my former cooking school to study baking. It was enjoyable having such sweet and attentive students. I didn't realize at the time that Dana was a fellow food professional. Since that time, I have followed with great interest Dana's evolving career as a cookbook writer of 14, now 15 books.
I knew that this newest book, The Power Greens Cookbook, would be very special for two reasons:
- Dana is an exceptionally creative and excellent writer
- The photographs are by my wonderful friend and photographer of two of my books: Ben Fink
So it was no surprise that her method for cooking brussels sprouts is a game changer and it is the method I will use from here on.
It is quite amazing how the taste and texture of brussels sprouts is affected by the cooking method. While this is true for all food, it is dramatically so with this vegetable. I've always cut off the base and made a little X to ensure that the steam would penetrate to the center to provide even cooking. I would stick a cake tester into them to determine when they were tender. And they were never quite the same texture throughout.
Dana's method is the soul of simplicity, and yields the most evenly cooked and more purely flavorful results. And no need to test for doneness--they steam to perfection in just 6 minutes. All you need to do is cut off the base and cut each in half. Then set them in a steaming basket with boiling water beneath. Lovely with a little butter, Dana's sauce of olive oil, parsley, garlic, shallots, and capers makes a fantastic dressing. The brussels sprouts are great served hot or room temperature.
This book will not be retired to decorate my library--it will have a permanent place in my savory kitchen. There are 139 other recipes still to enjoy.
The Power Greens Cookbook: 140 Delicious Superfood Recipes
Dec 17, 2016 | From the kitchen of Rose
I have been a lover of ketchup since I was a little girl and my grandmother served me spaghetti with ketchup and butter, thinking it was like the tomato sauce which she saw our Italian neighbors preparing. I never dreamed one could make real ketchup at home. But when I ordered the hamburger special at Gramercy Tavern, in New York City, it was served with the best ketchup I had ever tasted and I learned that it was the creation of executive chef Michael Anthony (one of my top favorite chefs). I immediately begged for the recipe.
Chef Michael's ketchup is a world apart from even the best bottled store-bought variety. It is a brilliant blending of ingredients--less sweet, more vibrant, and far more complex. You will see why when you look at the ingredient list. It takes time, and attention, especially when cooking down the sauce so as not to scorch the reducing juices, and you'll need a food mill to achieve the classic silky consistency, but boy is it worth it! For me there is no going back.
Continue reading "Sublime Ketchup from Chef Michael Anthony" »
Nov 27, 2016 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special for the LA Times Syndicate
first published May 1992, for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate
The Original Movado Museum Watch
The Designer Nathan George Horwitt, a self-portrait
I was moved to retell and post this story when I noticed all the Movado holiday ads featuring their latest permutation of the famed museum watch and, coincidentally, fellow blogger David Brawley posted a photo of the original on Face Book, which reminded me how much more aesthetically pleasing it was. In fact, Uncle Nat mocked the fancier designs. He detested the wider triangular hands and what he referred to as a the "foolish little jeweled nipple" replacing the discretely flat bezel of his design.
Uncle Nat was a great inspiration to me. He made me feel that anything was possible--but I thought this applied uniquely to him. When the first cover for The Cake Bible arrived, shortly before his 90th birthday, I turned it into a birthday card for him. I drew a candle on the cake and wrote the following note below the cake: Happy 90th Birthday dear Uncle Nat. Little did your father the rabbi know that he would have a great granddaughter, named after his wife, who would write a bible.
Two years later, shortly before he died, his last words to me were: Thank you for making the family proud. I felt as though I were given the blessing of Abraham. And I realized that a little of his magic just might have rubbed off on me.
Two years later I wrote this obituary:
Nathan George Horwitt, who died 2 years ago this June at the age of 92, at home, in his beloved Berkshires, was known by many as the designer of the Museum watch, the one with the dot that spawned a revolution of watches without numbers. Horwitt was also known as a witty raconteur, effective idealist, humanitarian and political activist, responsible for helping with the establishment of the state of Israel in the 1940s and for promoting "wave of wheat," designed to provide grain to India during the famine of 1951. I did not learn in detail about Horwitt's many activities and accomplishments until reading his obituaries, because though outspoken, he was innately modest. To me, he was known mainly as the most colorful, entertaining and magical member of our family: Uncle Nat.
I was a child when he completed the design for the Movado watch but remember how he showed me the drawings, describing with pride the elegant simplicity of his design, the dot signifying both sun at high noon and moon at midnight. As an industrial designer, his work was grounded in original, philosophical concepts, though sometimes they were whimsical: On the wall before me is the hilarious self-caricature he drew on a brown paper bag to entertain me one day at lunch over 30 years ago: half man, half dog with a bone in its mouth.
Nat was my grandmother's younger brother; a Peter Pan of a person with dark brown eyes sometimes stern with impatience, sometimes quizzical with irony, other times disarmingly warm with intelligence and love.
Perhaps some saw Horwitt the dogmatist, but I experienced Uncle Nat the teacher. He was so entertaining, I learned from him without ever knowing it was a lesson. Driving along in a car he would suddenly screech to a halt, back up with terrifying speed, leap onto someone's lawn and pluck the mushroom he had spotted out of the corner of his eye. They know me here, he would explain. (One of Horwitt's sidelines was selling morel mushrooms to Lutèce in New York.)
A walk in the forest was full of experiences: Taste this mushroom! Can you feel the pepper on your tongue? That's why it's called the pepper mushroom, or see this mushroom with spots? It's called Amanita Muscaria, the fly mushroom, because it draws flies. Don't eat it, it's poisonous. My favorite lesson was: Do you see anything among those dead leaves? His eagle eyes had spotted a prized morel mushroom and after showing me the first, he pointed out how others always grew nearby and I joyfully scurried to find them.
He taught me not to eat too many wild mushrooms at one sitting by one year sending me 5 pounds of morels with a note: Don't eat them all at once! I thought he was kidding and ended up with the implied stomach ache.
Uncle Nat's final and most important lesson about morels was how to cook them. As simply as possible, he instructed. Here's how:
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or 1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 pound morel mushrooms
3 tablespoons butter, preferably unsalted
1 large clove garlic, smashed with the broad side of a knife
freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a large bowl, stir together the salt and several cups of cold water. Add the mushrooms and allow them to soak for about 10 minutes. The salt draws out any live insects which may be lurking in the mushroom's cavities. Remove the mushrooms to a colander and rinse well under cold running water to remove any dirt. Cut off the stem bottoms and any of the stem that may be tough. Slice each mushroom into 1/8-inch thick rounds or cut them into pieces, depending on the size of the mushroom.
In a large, heavy frying pan with a lid, heat the butter over medium heat. When bubbling, add the smashed garlic clove and mushrooms. Cover and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes or until the mushrooms soften and become tender. Continue cooking uncovered, over medium heat, for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until all liquid evaporates and the mushrooms begin to glaze lightly. Add the black pepper and taste to adjust the seasonings.
Caveat: do not pick wild mushrooms unless you have had expert training in their identification.
Nov 22, 2016 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special for the LA Times Syndicate
first published November 1992, for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday for two reasons: I get to see a large part of my family, whom I love so much and don't get to see very often during the rest of the year due to distance and time constraints; and secondly, of all the year's celebrations, it is the traditional fare of Thanksgiving that I enjoy the most.
I suspect that many people share this sentiment, and wouldn't be surprised to discover that the first big fight for most newlyweds occurs when they're faced with their first married Thanksgiving and have to decide which side of the family they'll spend it with. My first married Thanksgiving presented problems of a different sort. My husband and I were far away from either home so I was to make Thanksgiving for the two of us. Unfortunately, I knew practically nothing about cooking. [Added note: and apparently not much more about baking!] People often assume that cookbook writers were born with a talent for cooking, or at the very least, grew up learning to cook at their mother's side. That was certainly not the case here.
I was elated to discover that turkeys come in very small sizes, but, once home, I searched in vain for the giblets. I was anxious to find them because about the one dish I had perfected was a lump-free chicken-giblet gravy. After much peering and probing into the turkey's cavity I gave up the search as well as my plans to make giblet gravy.
Dessert was to be my first pumpkin pie. I had never eaten one and was, for some reason, convinced I wouldn't like it, but my New England husband adored it and I wanted to please and impress him. I did know how to make piecrust, as long as I started from a packaged mix so all I needed, or so I thought, was canned pumpkin.
Thanksgiving Day arrived and the house took on that glorious aroma of turkey roasting and piecrust baking. The turkey was a great success. The mystery of the missing giblets was revealed when I carved the bird and found the package of steamed giblets tucked into the neck cavity. We had a great laugh over that but I was the only one laughing when it came to the pumpkin pie. I took a taste and my mouth pursed in disgust. I proclaimed that I couldn't imagine how anyone in his right mind could eat pumpkin pie--it tasted like a barnyard smelled.
To my surprise, my husband agreed and said that no one would find it good, that it was not, in fact, pumpkin pie at all. He wanted to know how I had made it. With canned pumpkin, I said. He asked what else I had added. Why nothing. What was I supposed to have added?
He began to list spices like nutmeg and cinnamon and ingredients like brown sugar and egg and I began to feel like a complete idiot.
Nowadays, the holiday dinner is a lot easier. I know where to find the giblets and I can make several acceptable versions of pumpkin pie. Thanksgivings, however, are almost always at cousin Marion's and usually all I'm responsible for is the dessert. This year, however, I think I'll contribute something extra to the family feast: my Favorite Cranberry Sauce, to which I add an intense raspberry puree. It is so delicious that I can't imagine the Thanksgiving turkey without it.
Continue reading "Thanksgiving Dinner 1992 & The Best CranRaspberry Sauce" »
Nov 09, 2016 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special for the LA Times Syndicate
first published January 1996, for The Los Angeles Times Syndicate
I've been selfish. Every lamb has 12 to 15 pounds of meat and only 1-1/2 to 2 pounds of it are shanks. Frankly, I've been afraid that if I sang their praises too loudly, there wouldn't be enough for me. Just today, I called my local supermarket to ask if there were any lamb shanks, to be told that not one was available before the relenting clerk admitted to possession of two. I reserved them on the spot. Tonight's dinner was so utterly delicious that I am revealing my secret immediately afterwards, while I'm still feeling sated and generous and before I can change my mind. Not only are lamb shanks one of the cheapest cuts of lamb, they also happen to be the most deliciously succulent. Of course you have to like the flavor of lamb. The lamb council told me two years ago that they were breeding lamb with less flavor because Americans don't like lamb that tastes lamby. (Could this be an oxymoron in the making?) If they are successful, lamb may even risk ressembling the way our pork now tastes, which is to say: not at all. If you, like me, don't agree with this catastrophic trend, you will be delighted to learn that it is close to impossible to breed the flavor out of the shanks. (Lamb council: do not take this on as a challenge!)
I have a sort of Newtonian gravitational theory that whatever is closest to the ground, and still edible, seems to acquire the most flavor. That includes lamb shanks, drum sticks of all birds, and even "pieds des cochons" (pigs feet). At the risk of sounding gluttonously carnivorous, the muscles in the lower leg also happen to offer the most moist and luscious texture, and the gelatinous cartilage of the foot is perhaps the most succulent of all.
This preparation for lamb shanks is one of my favorite Winter family dinners. It also is suitable for good friends but perhaps not for formal dining as it's hard to resist the temptation of eating the lamb right from the bone not to mention sucking out the marrow!
The garlic slivers, inserted deeply into the meat, melt into the lamb. The creamy richness of the lamb blends perfectly with the wheaty crunch of the bulgur, which is punctuated with sweet little bursts of current. A simple steamed green vegetable, such as Italian green beans, is the perfect accompaniment as is an assertive red wine such as a Cotes du Rhone or a California syrah.
LAMB SHANKS AND BULGUR
4 lamb shanks, cracked in half
2 large cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon rosemary, preferably fresh
pepper to taste
1 1/3 cups bulgur
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup dried currants
2 cups boiling water
Preheat oven to 350°F.
With the tip of a sharp knife, make small, deep slashes in lamb and insert slivers of garlic and rosemary. Set aside remaining garlic. Sprinkle shanks with freshly ground black pepper and place in a heavy pan which has a tight fitting lid. (A 10" cast iron skillet with glass top is ideal as low sides are preferable.)
Roast shanks uncovered for one hour for 3/4 pound shanks an additional 15 minutes for larger ones.) Meat will have pulled away slightly from bone. Remove skillet from oven; remove lamb, and drain out all the fat. (Enough will remain coating the pan to flavor the bulgur.) Place pan on burner over low heat. Mince reserved garlic and add to pan, stirring for about 1 minute or til cooked but not brown. Add bulgur and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and fry, stirring for about a minute to toast grains. Sprinkle in currants and add the boiling water. Sprinkle lamb on both sides with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and return lamb to pan. Cover at once and return to oven for 15 minutes or til all water is absorbed. Do not stir.
Remove from oven and allow to sit covered for 5 minutes up to 1/2 hour. Fluff bulgur with fork and serve.
Oct 15, 2016 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Savory Cooking
We adapted this slightly spicy cream sauce recipe from the LA Times where it was recommended as a sauce for pork chops. Now we never make chimis without it.
In response to requests for the recipe to accompany the posting which is on the blog here is the recipe.
When making a pork or chicken filling for the chimichangas, there are enough juices for the Reserved Juices. I will spoon a few tablespoons of the Poblano Cream Sauce over or along side of each chimichanga.
Chicken stock is listed first, incase you are just making the sauce for a dish other than the chimis.
1 medium Poblano pepper 100 grams 1/2 cup
unsalted butter 14 grams 1 tablespoon
1 yellow onion (small),
finely diced 43 grams 1/3 cup
1 garlic clove (medium), 5 grams 2 teaspoons
chicken stock 183 grams 3/4 cup (177 ml), divided
OR Reserved Juices
heavy cream 232 grams 1 cup (236 ml)
corn starch 12 grams 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon
fine sea salt . 1/2 teaspoon
pepper . 1/2 teaspoon
Roast and Chop the Poblano Pepper Set an oven rack near the top of the oven. Set the oven to the broil. Remove the stem from the pepper. Set a small sheet of aluminum foil on a baking sheet, and place the pepper on it. Broil the pepper on all sides until its skin blisters and blackens. Remove the pepper and place it in a plastic or paper bag and then seal the bag for 5 to 10 minutes. Place the pepper on a cutting board. Remove the skin, cut the pepper in half, and remove the seeds and ribs. Coarsely dice the pepper.
Saute the Onion and Garlic In a medium size pan, preferably cast iron, over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and saute for several minutes until tender. Add the garlic and saute for a couple of minutes.
Make the Cream Sauce Stir in all but around 31 grams/2 tablespoon (30 ml) of the chicken stock (or Reserved Juices) and the heavy cream. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for several minutes until the mixture slightly thickens.
Stir in the diced poblano pepper and simmer for 1 minute.
Scrape the mixture into a food processor and puree the mixture into a sauce.
(At this point, the sauce can be refrigerated for 3 days, or frozen for 1 month.)
Complete the Cream Sauce Just before deep-frying the chimichangas, return the pureed sauce to the pan.
In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch and the remaining chicken stock (or Reserved Juices) to make a thickened mixture. Heat the sauce on medium heat until almost boiling. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture and bring the sauce to a low boil. Continue to whisk until it thickens to a slightly thickened, heavy cream consistency. Reduce the heat to keep the Poblano Cream Sauce warm and cover the pan.
When ready to serve, whisk in salt and pepper to taste. (If the sauce thickens too much, whisk in some water to thin it.)
Store: Airtight: 3 days, refrigerated; 1 month, frozen.
Jul 09, 2016 | From the kitchen of Rose
Woody is not only a gifted baker, he is also a great cook. My favorite meal he has made for us is what we affectionately refer to as Chimis.
A chimichanga is basically a deep-fried burrito. Homemade flour tortillas rolled paper-thin make the perfect wrap for the chimichangas' filling. We have found that most tortillas bought in stores are too thick and have a cardboard-like texture and taste. Upon deep-frying, these homemade tortilla casings become light, crispy, and flakey. Our favorite filling is braised, shredded pork shoulder with black beans, roasted pablano peppers, sautéed onions, Monterey Jack cheese, and cilantro. Chicken and refried beans with seasonings and cheese is another great filling. We also like to serve the chimis with Pablano Cream Sauce spooned on top.
The tortillas are also excellent for deep-frying for nachos and flautas. You can also roll the tortilla dough slightly thicker for burritos, wraps, or quesadillas, all which are not deep-fried.
Special Equipment: A frying pan or griddle (preferably nonstick) 12 inches or more in diameter across its bottom; A 15 by 12 inch baking sheet; A large Dutch oven (10 inches in diameter); Eight 12 inch lengths of cord for four chimichangas
Makes: Four 12 inch round tortillas : 106 grams each
(Six 9 inch round tortillas : 70 grams each)
Gold Medal or King Arthur bread flour: 260 grams/2 cups (lightly spooned into the cup and leveled off)
Baking powder: 3/4 teaspoon
Salt: 1/2 teaspoon
Shortening or solid clarified butter, room temperature (see Notes): 50 grams/5-1/2 tablespoons
Water, warm (see Notes) : 118 grams/1/2 cup (118 ml)
Make the Tortilla Dough In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt on low speed for 30 seconds. Detach the flat beater and add the shortening. Use the beater to cut the shortening into the flour mixture. Reattach the beater and mix on low speed until the flour mixture is crumbly.
With the mixer on low speed, gradually drizzle in the warm water, until the dough sticks together and clears the sides of the bowl. There usually will be some water left over (around 1 to 2 teaspoons).
Knead and Shape the Dough Discs On an unfloured countertop, briefly knead the dough to form a smooth ball (no more than 10 kneads and for less than 1 minute). Loosely wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for 2 hours at room temperature (or overnight in the refrigerator). The dough ball should weigh around 424 grams.
Divide the dough into 4 pieces (106 grams each), or 6 pieces for 6 tortillas (70 grams each). Form each piece into a ball. Cup each ball with both of your hands and use your fingers to form a 'mushroom cap' shaped disc, about 4 inches in diameter. Cover each disc with plastic wrap. Let the discs rest for 30 minutes.
Roll the Dough Discs Have ready 5 sheets of plastic wrap at least 12 inches square.
Lightly flour (preferably with Wondra) a countertop or doughmat and place a dough disc on it. (You want your surface to have just enough flour to let the dough roll out, without the disc sliding on the surface.)
The dough needs to be rolled very thin (1/16 inch or less). Roll the dough into a roughly 12 inch or larger disc. At the beginning, roll the dough from the center to the edges and side to side to keep a roughly round shape. Lift the dough from time to time and flip it over, adding just enough flour as necessary to keep it from sticking. To roll the tortilla to its final size, lightly hold down the dough with one hand, while rolling away from your hand with the other. Leave the tortilla untrimmed around the edges. It will be almost translucent.
If the dough softens and is difficult to roll, slip it onto a baking sheet, cover and refrigerate it for a few minutes until it firms.
Place the tortilla on one of the sheets of plastic wrap and cover it with another sheet of plastic wrap.
Repeat with the other dough discs.
Continue reading "Woody's Homemade Flour Tortillas for Chimichangas and Burritos" »
Feb 13, 2016 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special Stories 2016
This is a special story which I wrote years ago for the LA Times Syndicate. Because someone on Face Book this week wrote about his visit to Bernachon in Lyon, France, I was inspired to share this story with him and with all of you. It starts out with a special technique I discovered for roasting duck but my favorite part is about Maurice Bernachon and the lunch we shared at one of the finest restaurants in the world--Chapel. And only now--this very moment, after all these years--as I write the name Chapel, do I realize how fitting was Alain Chapel's name, for eating at his restaurant was truly a religious experience.
Perfect Crisp Roasted Duck
(a revolutionary technique for the fairest of all fowl)
Duck, with its rich moist flesh and flavorful crispy skin, can be the most delicious of all poultry. However, when not cooked properly it is greasy with fat, the flesh over-cooked and dry and the skin soft and uninteresting. Because I love duck so much and even in restaurants have more often than not been disappointed, I set out years ago to find a way to roast duck which would eliminate the maximum amount of fat while maintaining the juiciness.
The solution turned out to be extraordinarily simple: boiling water is poured over the skin to tighten it, then the duck is air dried (which can be accomplished overnight in the refrigerator). The most important part is that during roasting, the skin of the duck is pricked, the oven temperature is very high to release the fat and boiling water is poured directly on the duck to keep it moist and to prevent the fat from splattering. The resulting duck is virtually fat-free, moist with crisp skin and, as an added benefit, it cooks in under an hour. I have never prepared duck another way for 15 years since this technique evolved. But I do have a memory of quite a different duck that was more delicious still at an unforgettable lunch in the south of France. I was in Lyon, working with the Bernachons on the translation of their book:
The book is no longer in print but is still available for a song at some bookstores and Amazon, where it received a 5 star review.
Papa Bernachon invited me to lunch to celebrate its completion and asked me to choose between Bocuse and Chapel. I was torn. Both were brilliant chefs but Chapel, with his near military precision and passionate perfection was the chef of my heart and soul and his was my favorite restaurant in all the world. Despite this, and after some hesitation, I chose Bocuse because I knew that Maurice Bernachon's son Jean Jacques is married to Paul Bocuse's daughter. Politesse won out over passion--not to mention the fact that I knew we would eat magnificently at either place. And I comforted myself with the promise that someday soon I would return to Chapel.
The day of the luncheon arrived. We folded our aprons, changed out of our whites, and drove off to what turned out, to my joyful astonishment, to be Chapel. The greeting Bernachon received from the Maitre d' was worthy of a king. But then, of course, he is considered the king of chocolatiers in France and his neighbors in the food establishment are very proud of him. But with his silver mane of hair and courtly gallant manners, I felt as if I were dining with the long fantasized French grandfather of my dreams. Chapel came out to greet us and serious discussion ensued (as only seems to happen in France) about our culinary fate (choice of food). I was so overjoyed I could have cried with pleasure.
The first coarse arrived and from then on the meal seemed never to end. We ate for four hours, but so slowly I had the illusion of never being too full. (Afterwards, though, I went to my hotel and slept for 5 hours. And when I awoke, I was not hungry for dinner!)
I remember best the splendid regional Vacherin Mt. d'Or, which was at its peak, the glorious burgundy that was the best I ever tasted and seemed like a musical note to rise at the end of each sip, and the canneton à la vapeur which was the best duck I ever tasted. (Canneton is a young duck which he poached in a flavorful broth and then roasted the legs to have the contrast of the crisp skin.) When Bernachon mentioned my appreciation to Chapel, as we were enjoying our digestif brandy on the porch, his answer was approvingly emphatic: "she is right. I asked my purveyor to find the best duck in France and it turned out they come from Alsace." I felt as if I had passed an exam.
At some point, during the course of the meal, I mentioned to Bernachon how much I enjoyed the French facial expressions known as les moeux--how you could see in their faces exactly what they are thinking. To my surprise his response was: "You also have a face like that." And finally I knew how it was we ended up at Chapel instead of Bocuse! And a good thing too as it turned out to be the last time. My beloved Chapel died soon after.
Herewith, my best recipe for duck. It will make even the ordinary varieties taste like something special.
Continue reading "Papa Bernachon--An Unforgettable Man and Chocolatier Extraordinaire" »
Jan 09, 2016 | From the kitchen of Rose
Elizabeth Karmel, dear friend, chef/owner of Carolina Cue to Go, and author of Taming the Flame, created this marvelous recipe for Thanksgiving several years ago. She serves it as a side dish and even as a pie.
Elizabeth and I love the garnet yams for their beautiful color. This inspired me to add little flecks of Aleppo pepper which is not only colorful but also mildly spicy and flavorful.
Here is my adaptation:
Chipotle Sweet Potato and Maple Syrup Puree
Serves: 6 to 8
sweet potatoes/yams preferably garnet: 2.2 kg/5 pounds (10 medium or 5
maple syrup: 382 grams/1 cup plus 2 tablespoons
sour cream: 242 grams/1 cup
unsalted butter, softened: 113 grams/1 stick/8 tablespoons
2 to 3 canned chipotles in adobo sauce
ground cinnamon: 2-1/2 teaspoons
Fine sea salt to taste
Optional: Aleppo pepper
Choose medium-size potatoes, about 5 inches long and feeling very heavy for their size. Clean off any dirt and bad spots with a rough brush or veggie cleaner. Dry well. Prick the tops with a fork about three times.
Set the potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet and turn the oven (unpreheated) to 425°F. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour (1 hour if the potatoes are large and 1-1/4 hours if very large. Turn off the heat and let sit in the oven for 1 hour. The insides will be meltingly soft.
Meanwhile combine maple syrup, sour cream, butter, chipotles in adobo, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl. Scrape the mixture into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
Cut the potatoes in lengthwise halves. Scoop the hot insides into the blender or food processor. Process until silky smooth, stirring down the sides as needed. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt if needed. If desired, sprinkle with Aleppo pepper.
Nov 28, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
This is the terrific recipe I blogged about after visiting Toronto this past summer for the Parapan Olympics and enjoyed it for lunch at The Chef's House. Chef Oliver Li emailed the recipe and I have now tried it with both the fabulous MamaO's kimchi paste and their kimchi. The kimchi paste is faster and coats the rice more evenly but my first choice is the chopped kimchi as it adds a lovely crispness as well as flavor. This is now a permanent recipe in my repertoire.
from The Chef's House, Oliver Li CCC, Chef de Cuisine, Toronto
Serves: 2 to 3 for lunch, 4 to 6 as a side dish
Vegetable oil: 2 tablespoons
4 bacon strips/120 grams, cut cross-wise into 1/4 inch slices
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
183 grams/1 cup chopped kimchi or 1 tablespoon kimchi paste
2 cups cooked the day before rice, I prefer basmati (100 grams/1/2 cup raw)
2 scallions, sliced thin on the diagonal
salt and pepper to taste
Over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok, preferably non-stick.
Add the bacon, onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onion begins to soften and just begins to brown--about 5 minutes.
Turn the heat to high if using the chopped kimchi, add the second tablespoon of oil, and stir it for 2 to 3 minutes. If using the paste, leave the heat on medium and stir it in until combined.
Add the rice and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring. Then add the scallions and cook, stirring for 1 minute more.
Note: basmati is the only rice that when cooked grows longer and also increases by 4 times. With other varieties the usual increase is X3.
Oct 11, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of my favorite people in the food world.
I first met Paul Prudhomme over 20 years ago during an International Association of Culinary Professionals regional meeting in New Orleans. I had stood in line for over an hour with some of my colleagues to eat at his famed restaurant K-Paul. During the long wait one of the people in line told us about chef Paul's "Cajun martini." I made sure to order one and it was the first and only time that alcohol cured my sinus headache instead of making it worse! Here's how it is made:
Take a bottle of gin and insert a Jalapeno pepper. Fill the neck with vermouth. Close the bottle and let it sit for several days depending on how much "heat" you desire. The amazing results are ice cold gin with a surrounding blast of hot pepper.
Chef Paul gave a lecture the following day and I was so moved by his sincere eloquence that I stood in line once again but this time to talk to him. After telling him my thoughts about his lecture he put out his arms to hug me. It was the warmest hug I've ever received, not just because of this 500 pounds filling every nook and cranny, but because of the sentiment behind it.
Chef Paul was scheduled to visit New York a few months later to give a demo on making Cajun popcorn shrimp. I made the most delicious dessert in my repertoire to bring to him: a Galette des Rois (King's Cake, made with puff pastry filled with frangipane).
A few weeks later, I was lying in bed reading next to my husband when the phone rang. A beautiful deep voice said: "This is Paul Prudhomme." My New York sarcastic response was "Yeah right! Who is this?" "It's Paul! I'm calling to thank you for that incredible pastry. But please never do that again--I ate the whole thing by myself!"
We were friends ever since. Several years later Paul's weight made it difficult for him to stand or walk so he used an electric scooter. At various food events, he would drive down the aisle to my booth, beaming with the joie de vivre that was so much a part of his being, for another of his incomparable hugs.
Here is the feature that I wrote about him in 1994 for my former column at the LA Times Syndicate, along with the recipe that propelled him into the public eye, which had a stunning effect on our appreciation of Cajun cooking, and the population of redfish.
Continue reading "Tribute to Chef Paul Prudhomme" »
Feb 20, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
I just love the discovery of a terrific new taste sensation and Mama O's Premium Kimchi is IT!
It was introduced to me by Denise Mickelsen. I first met Denise when she was editing my story on lemon icebox cake for Fine Cooking Magazine and became reacquainted with her a few months ago in her role of acquiring editor at Craftsy (the wonderful on line series of "how to" classes in which I will happily soon be participating).
Denise is married to a chef (lucky her!) and both Denise and her husband Bill came up with some great ways to use this paste which consists of lime, garlic, ginger, chili pepper, and other ingredients. She suggested rubbing it into shrimp before sautéeing, warning me that a little goes a long way. It was a perfect synergy with the shrimp, not overwhelming but rather accentuating the shrimpy flavor. She also mentioned that she uses the paste as a umami packed condiment for dipping vegetables by adding a smidgen of the paste to mayonnaise and also uses the mayonnaise on sandwiches. I just tried it with cold sliced chicken breast. Yes!
I searched for the paste on Amazon and they have several other varieties from Mama O but not the paste so click on the Mama O link above and you will find it and may well wonder as I do how you ever lived without it.
Jan 24, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
Ceramic coated pans are great but eventually the lining wears. When I discovered this 100% ceramic pan from Trema I knew I was going to have to try it out. Although it is not as non-stick as ceramic coating it has many other virtues that ceramic coating is lacking: it is microwavable, it can be used both on the cooktop on high heat and under the broiler, and is scratch-proof--it can even be cleaned with a scouring pad if necessary.
One of my favorite uses of the Trema ceramic pan is cooking salmon. I sprinkle the salmon with a sugar and spice seasoning. I start by preheating the broiler. Then I begin heating the pan, first on medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes and then on high heat. I add a little oil and place the salmon skin side up if I want to preserve the skin intact or skin side down.
After about 3 minutes I transfer the pan with the salmon to the broiler and broil for about 2 minutes or until the skin is golden and crispy (or, if skin side down, until the top of the salmon is golden. I like my salmon medium rare so i test it with a metal skewer and if it feels warm it's perfectly cooked. For those who like salmon cooked longer, simply turn off the broiler and leave in the oven for a few minutes more.
Slip a spatula under the samon and transfer it to a serving plate.
Aug 16, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Savory Cooking
I've been grilling ribs for years now on a charcoal grill with indirect heat but I have recently discovered a far better way to make them and my ribs will never be the same. I have adapted the recipe from Food-52 "Genius Recipes." In the original recipe, the ribs are first baked in the oven for 2 hours until they are falling off the bone. We like our meat with a bit of bite and still clinging well to the bone so I halved the baking time. They were also cut into servings of 4 ribs each and wrapped in aluminum foil. I cut the rack(s) in half, place them in a roasting pan and cover the entire pan with foil. They suggest that grilling the baked ribs is optional but I much prefer them crispy with a gilding of barbecue sauce of your favorite barbecue sauce.
The beauty of this technique is that by baking the ribs with a little water, tightly covered, almost all the fat is removed but the ribs stay incredibly juicy. Also, it works perfectly to bake the ribs a day ahead, refrigerate them, and in under 10 minutes they grill to perfection. For the short amount of grilling time I now use my gas grill as the preheating time is so much shorter.
Note: baby back ribs come anywhere from 1 pound to 2 pounds. I prefer the less fatty 1 pound racks. 1 pound of ribs per person makes a generous serving.
Several hours ahead make a spice rub and rub it into both sides of the rack(s)
for every 2 pounds of ribs combine:
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chipotle or cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika (preferably smoked)
Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C. If necessary, cut each rack in half and set the racks in a roasting pan. For each rack add 1 tablespoon of water. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1-1/2 hours (or longer if you prefer).
Carefully open the foil to allow the steam to escape and lift out the racks. (Pour off the juices and, if desired, cool and refrigerate them for adding to rice or stock. The fat that rises to the top can be used for frying or discarded.) Grill the ribs or allow them to cool and refrigerate them until shortly before you are ready to grill and serve them.
Preheat the grill as per manufacturer's directions. Grill the racks on high heat for 2 minutes a side or until browned. If desired, brush the ribs side with barbecue sauce and return the racks to the grill, ribs side up, but turn off the center burners or move them away from the coals as the sauce burns quickly. Continue grilling for another 2 minutes to set the sauce. Then flip the racks and repeat with the meaty side.
Mar 15, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
When Woody and I visited Hector Wong in Hawaii, a year ago December, we discovered what a great savory cook he is as well as a baker. One of the many dishes that he made for us from his Peruvian roots I knew I would have to replicate on our return home. It is called salsa criolla, and is served as a condiment for every dish, akin to kimchee for Koreans or ketchup for Americans. It also works well as a salad.
Hector says that he also calls the recipe cáscara which means skin of a fruit or egg. This is no doubt because the onions are so thinly sliced and on marination become so delightfully crisp.
Although my intention was to make it right away, somehow time got away from me but it was not forgotten. Here is the recipe for you to enjoy as well. I've named it Oinyums!
1 large onion
1 tablespoon sea salt (More salt is fine. It will accelerate the wilt and any excess is washed off.)
1 lemon, well scrubbed
Optional one small hot pepper of your desired heat!
Slice the onion into rings, as thinly as possible. Set the onion rings into a glass bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Toss to mix well and and let them sit for 1 hour til wilted. Drain and discard the liquid.
Squeeze the lemon, saving the empty lemon shells and refrigerate the juice.
Rinse the onions well under running water. Return them to the bowl. Add cold water to cover and the empty lemon shells. Allow them to soak for 1 hour or longer. Squeeze the lemon shells to release their oil from the lemon peel into the water. Thinly slice the hot pepper into the onions. Drain and stir in the lemon juice. Refrigerate for a minimum of one hour until serving to blend the flavors.
The onions stay crunchy for several days.
May 18, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose
I've been enjoying 'blackened' string beans since Paul Prudhomme was a little boy and blackened redfish wasn't yet a gleam in his eye! That's because my grandmother once burned the string beans and I found it to be so delicious I always threatened not to eat the string beans unless she burned them.
Some years ago, my dear friend Elizabeth Karmel, renowned grilling author and chef, taught me how to make grilled string beans. She is such a skilled griller only one or two beans ever slipped between the grates but when I tried, I mourned each of several beans that slipped through. I tried a grill pan with holes but had to be very careful as the ones available were all very shallow and didn't have large enough holes to expose enough of the string beans to the flame. This is no longer a problem as Elizabeth has created the ideal grill basket, Elizabeth Karmel's Grill Friends Sizzlin' Skillet Grill Basket. Its curved sides enable you to toss the beans without risk of a single one leaping out. The wire mesh is strong but fine, leaving the maximum open space for 'blackening.'
The grill basket is easy to clean and even dishwasher safe. And it comes with a great-sounding recipe for "firecracker shrimp," which gives new definition to "shrimp in the basket."
I posted the recipe for grilled string beans about three years ago. Here it is again but this time in the basket!
For beans with a little bite, simply toss the washed and trimmed string beans with salt and olive oil and then to toss them in the grill basket and continue tossing them with tongs until they are deliciously browned, partially blackened, and beginning to shrivel.
For a softer texture, par boil the beans in salted water for 3 minutes, drain them, and toss them in the olive oil and salt, though sometimes I use melted bacon fat. Then into the grill basket they go to be browned and blackened as above.
Either way, season with lots of freshly ground pepper.
Note: The handle is easy to remove for grilling and to replace when removing the basket from the grill, but it is not designed for emptying the beans into a serving bowl as the basket will flip over. Use tongs to lift the beans into the bowl.
Oct 13, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Savory Cooking
When Bob Trinque, product manager of my new Rose™ Line, told me that his dream was to make a good pizza crust and that his crust always turned out like a rock, my heart went out to him. Bob is one of the most generous people I know so it was great to be handed a way to do something special for him.
Of course I already had my idea of what the perfect pizza crust should be, but I knew this would never do for Bob who is a self-proclaimed cook and non-baker. As
detail oriented and exacting as I am is how fly by the seat of his pants is Bob. So I set out to create a pizza that he would be willing and therefore able to reproduce.
My criteria were:
Easy to find ingredients
Speed of preparation
A sturdy enough dough not to tear easily
A crust that is crisp but also pillowy soft inside
I started testing pizza dough three months in advance of our August date. After about 6 different versions, I finally hit on one that so fulfilled all my goals it's now going to be my go to pizza dough as well. The big break through was a visit to Charlie Van Over in Connecticut. Charlie, a multi-talented chef of many enterprises invented the Hearth Kit (oven stone for baking bread). He also came up with an excellent technique for making bread dough in a Cuisinart. He gave me some of his baguettes to taste, saying that something about the way in which a food processor mixes dough makes it unnecessary to have a starter or biga for flavor. Sure enough, his baguettes had excellent flavor and texture so I decided to try this technique for the pizza dough. Eureka! This is the easiest pizza dough ever, mixed in under a minute in the food processor. It needs to be mixed a minimum of 4 hours ahead of shaping and baking, but can be refrigerated for as long as 2 days.
I told Bob that the one deal breaker was that he had to use a scale, at least for the first time he made the dough so he could see what the consistency of it needs to be. I explained that if the dough is not sticky after mixing, it will not puff into the pizza of his dreams and will return to the stone dough of his past experience! (The proof was in the pizza.)
On a beautiful August day, I set out to visit Bob in South Salem, NY, along with my half Sicilian cousin Elizabeth Granatelli who had never made her own pizza dough before. She brought her own tomato sauce, however, and is generously allowing me to post it on the blog after I get a chance to test it (it was absolutely delicious!).
I jokingly asked Bob if he had a wood-fired oven and his answer was: yes--but the birds are nesting in it so we can't use it! So we decided to use his electric oven with pizza stone and his gas grill.
Bob was in charge of amassing all the topping ingredients. In addition to the requisite mozzarella (he bought an excellent fresh one) we also used fresh oregano from his garden, crumbled sautéed sausage on one and pepperoni on the other, and a sprinkling of Romano and Parmesan on top after baking.
Bob's cat Spartacus (my very favorite cat in the world) was the most attentive observer.
We ate our pizzas in the cozy tank room (Bob has a magnificent old house with very modern kitchen that was a dream to work in). Elizabeth had brought an excellent pinot (Red Bicyclette). Then, as it was such a clear night, we sat out under the stars and talked until bedtime. We were, all three of us, pizza proud!
Continue reading "Casting Pizza on the Water" »
Apr 08, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special Stories
This is a story about a dish from my childhood that sounds more like an exclamation than a recipe. My grandmother used to make it on rare occasions because it was somewhat labor intensive and only my uncle would eat it. But when I grew up I developed a real passion for this garlic, veal, and tender cartilaginous-studded gelatin-encased delicacy (whew--a mouthful!)
Recently, Grace Bello of Tablet Magazine interviewed me on the subject of this dish and has just posted this well-researched and informative article on it.
I've always described pitcha's appearance as similar to terrazzo tile, but I much prefer Grace's vision: With its neat appearance, its translucent amber hue, and its settled flecks of meat, it looks not unlike an odd gem, luminous and undiscovered.
Mar 24, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Restaurant Reviews
My New Favorite Neighborhood Restaurant
The Dutch, located in Soho in New York City, on the corner of Prince and Sullivan, is a mere five-minute walk from my house (and a 30 second walk from my favorite butcher Pino). My first visit, a few weeks ago, was for an early dinner. I was so smitten by the crisp fried oyster slider on an exquisite brioche roll I knew I would return again soon. My next experience was lunch. I began with a selection of the oysters of the day, two from the East Coast, two from the West Coast, each exquisitely briny and sweet with a lovely lingering aftertaste. I had no desire to corrupt their pure ocean flavor with any of the usual accompaniments.
Next, both my friend and I ordered the famous fried chicken. We could've ordered just one to share as it was a most generous serving of an entire half chicken. It was the best fried chicken I've ever tasted--juicy on the inside, with a perfectly golden brown and crunchy, fantastically flavored crust, so even when I was full I continued nibbling on little bits of crust alone. The crust was mildly spicy with a touch of paprika and cayenne which gave it a gorgeous russet hue.
Photo Credit: Noah Fecks
My friend Marie Lyons, special event planner for the Dutch and also the nearby Locanda Verde, joined us for a short visit. She encouraged us to try the chicken, telling us that chef Andrew Carmellini searched all over the country to find the very best chicken for this dish. Clearly his hunt proved to be successful. My friend David finished his entire chicken but I packed enough of mine to serve as dinner the next night! The recipe appears is chef Carmellini's exciting new book American Flavor!
Chef Carmellini most graciously has given me permission to share the recipe on this link:
We were both too full for dessert so my heart fell when the wait person set the table again with new forks--a sure indication that dessert was on its way. It's a real testament to pastry chef Kierin Baldwin that we plowed through most of the two pies, for which she is justifiably famous, in short order. Our favorite was the lemon meringue poppyseed pie.
Lemon poppy seed cake is my signature cake but I never thought of making a pie version. There were poppy seeds in the pâte sucrée (cookie crust), and in the meringue itself. The pie was accompanied by a delicious buttermilk ice cream (sitting on crunchy crumbs made from the same crust), and thin slices of poached lemon, along with a little of the poaching liquid as sauce. Pure bliss.I can't wait to go back again!