Archive for the ‘Food/Recipes’ Category
Friday, December 21st, 2012
Thinking about making something different for New Year’s Eve? Lobster Bisque is a festive, filling soup that let’s your friends know you care enough about them to make something special. I’m not going to tell you that this is one of our super simple dishes but it is worth the time.
I can’t take credit for this dish, I’ve taken it from the New Basics Cookbook (the original Silver Pallet writers) changed a few ingredients. The complete recipe is in our cookbook but I included a few step by step pictures here to help.
chop tails into 2 inch pieces and find a good fish stock
watch Cindy making roux on you tube
If the lobster is too expensive for your budget try switching out the lobster with crab and shrimp. This time a year many markets put their frozen shrimp and crabmeat on sale.
after the "meat" is cooked, marinate in Madera or Marsala wine
almost finished, remove the shells, strain and use your emulsion blender before adding the meat back into the soup.
If you do go this route, find a good fish stock to “beef” up the broth. I serve the bisque in a small bread bowl.
Hollow the bowls out, reserving the inside bread and warm the “bowls” in the oven. Scoop a ladle full of bisque into the bowls and place the top and insides on the edge for dipping. If you get into trouble, shoot us an email. Good luck and have a fun, festive and happy New Years Eve!
Friday, November 16th, 2012
THANKSGIVING, It’s all about the…food, family, football, friends? How would you finish the statement? In my family, it’s all about turkey,stuffing,mashed potatoes, gravy, pumpkin pie; except for Jay, for some reason he thinks it’s all about the ham. Ham Jay? We’ve never had ham for Thanksgiving. You don’t even eat ham! But anyway, it’s time to stock the shelves for the holidays.
ABOUT THE TURKEY
Fresh is more expensive and should be bought one or two days before you cook it. Frozen can be bought in advance, but must be defrosted. This could be a problem in a crowded fridge. Make room.
Figure on about a pound to a pound and a half per guest, depending on whether or not you want left-overs. Defrost in the refrigerator, 1 day for every 5 pounds, In other words, a 20 pound bird will take 4 days to defrost.
If you must, and only if you must, thaw the turkey in cold water in your sink, keeping it completely submerged for safety reasons. Weigh it down,use cans or plates, change the water every 30 minutes and defrost for 30 minutes per pound. A 20 pound turkey will take 10 hours to defrost.
Roasting The Bird:
Approximate Roasting Times for Stuffed Turkey
Turkey Weight Time
6 to 8 pounds – 3 to 3-1/2 hours
8 to 12 pounds - 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 hours
12 to 16 pounds - 4-1/2 to 5-1/2 hours
16 to 20 pounds - 5-1/2 to 6 hours
20 to 24 pounds - 6 to 6-1/2 hour
Whole Foods Market Golden Roasted Turkey
Approximate Roasting Times for Unstuffed Turkey
Turkey Weight – Hours
6 to 8 pounds - 2-1/2 to 3 hours
8 to 12 pounds – 3 to 4 hours
12 to 16 pounds- 4 to 5 hours
16 to 20 pounds- 5 to 5-1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds- 5-1/2 to 6 hours
Invest in a meat thermometer! When The thickest part of the thigh reaches 180 degrees, you’re cooked. Let the bird sit for 20 minutes before carving.
If this all seems too much for you, get a canned ham, serve it with Mac and Chese, and invite Jay.
Wednesday, October 10th, 2012
Monday, September 17th, 2012
Botswana is not only known for it abundance of elephants but their many fabulous chefs. While we were traveling on safari this summer we were treated to some delicious locals foods. They are tasty and inexpensive.This baked polenta recipe is from Kwetsani Camp in the Okawango Delta, part of the Wilderness Safari group. Since it’s a water based camp, the staff needs to plan their meals carefully and load up on pantry items. This recipe uses instant polenta and a jarred relish (but I’ll include a homemade relish too).Botswana Baked Polenta
Chef Olivia and her trusted assistant
Serve the polenta hot with a green leafy salad and ginger lemonade. Simple and delicious!
Friday, September 14th, 2012
I was lucky to have my tomatoes come on and get beautiful and plump at the end of the season. I was getting ready to leave town and I saw that I had baskets of them and I realized that I really wanted to can them this year. It had been probably ten years since I had last canned tomatoes. I was worried that I might have forgotten some secret, but it is very straight forward.
Get your equipment together.
Your quart jars and lids( use fresh lids every time you can unless you have those pretty glass lids that I haven’t tried yet but want to use because of their elegant beauty)
The large enamel pot for the boiling water bath, the jar caddy that helps to set the group of jars into and lift the jars out of the water bath
A tea kettle of boiling water to pour over the lids to sterilize them
A pot to boil water in for the removal of tomato peel
Colanders for your washed tomatoes and peeling tomatoes both
Drop the tomatoes into boiled water for one minute only… a little longer if the skin doesn’t readily peel away from the fruit, but watch it closely as too often I have forgotten and then the fruit of the tomato just isn’t as firm and pretty in the can or I should say JAR. You end up cooking it a little. It is easy to forget as you are peeling the tomatoes that you just put another batch in the hot water. I try to remember to put on the timer so I don’t let them sit too long in the water. Notice how long it takes yours. It can vary with the age of tomato and the variety all have their individual traits. Yes every variety of tomato has its own personality. Some are delicious and firm to slice, some are super watery and have so many seeds that they aren’t very good to can because your later soups and sauces made from them will have too many seeds. If you are making tomato sauce or soup, you can strain the seeds out or even squeeze them out of the tomato when you are preparing them for cooking…. So when you take the tomatoes out of the hot boiled water to loosen the skin… then you want to put them into a bowl of cold water or I often put them in a colander and run cold water over them.
As you are going along you are putting the lids of your jars in a bowl and pouring boiling water on them to sterilize them. You can let them sit until ready to screw on the filled jars. Do not take them out of their hot water bowl before or they start becoming non sterile immediately.
You get ahead of your self with the peeling or skinning of the tomatoes and filling a bowl… Then when you have them ready fill the jars. You can fill the jars to the brim with the tomatoes. Fit as many in as you can because after they are canned and out of the ” boiling water bath” they will be taking up much less space. See in the finished photos how much the tomatoes deflated and left space in the jar. Those jars were packed full.
The time in the water bath depends on the size of the jar or the type of vegetable. For tomatoes in quart jars it is about 45 minutes. After you take them out and set them on the counter to cool, you may need to tighten the lids. Do so CAREFULLY as these jars are boiling HOT. The lids will become concave as they become sealed in this vacuum cooling process. The ones that don’t seal you can process again in the bath. If you just can’t get one to seal, change the lid and if that happens to you again like it has for me for some unknown reason( I blame the redwood forest Elves), then just put it in the refrigerator and use it as soon as possible.
If you have enough after your harvesting projects are done, home grown and home made products make great gifts for the holidays. Take a jar of your canned or dried and oil and garlic soaked tomatoes to a friend for a gift. There is a lot of love in that jar.
Monday, September 3rd, 2012
So this week lobsters were on sale at the supermarket for 5.99 a lb. This is hard to beat but you may be intimidated about cooking a live lobster. It is actually quite easy but you do need to be fearless when it comes to dropping them into that pot of brisk boing water. Fast is always best. The main thing is the lobsters must be alive. If you can’t cook the lobster right away you can wrap it in wet newspaper and keep it refrigerated up to 2 days. If you think you can’t bear cooking them live very often fish markets and supermarkets will steam them for you.
Chick, cull, bullet…all words you may need to know when buying lobster. A chick is a pound or less, a cull is one claw, and a bullet is no claws at all. There is always debate on which is the tenderest. The biggest lobster I ever ate was 13 lbs. and everyone loved it. The littler lobsters are easy to serve..figure one to two lbs per person. Baked potato and corn on the cob make great sides for this festive dish.
The easiest way to make a live Boiled Lobster is simply drop it head first into a pot of salted boiling water for 10 minutes for the first pound and 3 minutes each additional lb. So if they are a pound and a half…..eleven and a half minutes should do the trick. Do not over cook lobster as it will get tough. If you have some sea water go ahead and boil that up. Otherwise salted water is fine. You can add wine and bay leaf for extra flavor. Serve with melted butter and lemon. You will also need a nut cracker and lobster forks are very handy for getting those hard to get sections of meat.
You can also steam, grill, or bake a lobster. You can stuff the tail traditionally with crab meat and some breadcrumbs and butter. Leftover lobster is great for lobster salad or a dip. You can find this recipe in our online cookbook. Enjoy.
Friday, August 31st, 2012
Nothing beats this classic Jewish soup for comfort and curing the common cold! You don’t need to be sick to enjoy it because it is sooo delicious. Anyone who knows my son Jack Mitrani knows he is a matzo ball lover. If you know him well then you have shared this soup with him as it is his most requested food when he is at home.
Matzo balls are like dumplings made with matzo meal. Add them to a classic chicken soup and you have a soup that you will crave forever. I of course like mine with noodles but you don’t have to add them. Fresh dill and the addition of some root vegetables like parsnip and turnip give it a distinctive ethnic flavor. Some refer to this classic soup as Jewish penicillin for it’s healing qualities for the common cold.
Try this delicious recipe for matzo ball soup and be sure to make enough to share.
Thursday, August 16th, 2012
Alembic Bar. Small and sweet… Short luscious menu… Long intricate cocktail list… So much to tempt with the libations and yet I went for the Pisco Sour and a bowl of grilled, salted peppers. Similar in essence to the bowl of edamame at a sushi restaurant. The bowl of popcorn that they bring out with your cocktail was savory. Herbed, spiced, and I am debating if it was cooked in olive oil then buttered or if it was just butter? Even some seaweed as seasoning. I wanted a bag to go. I enjoyed it so much last night that I had to return again tonight.
I am in San Francisco taking a perfumery class from the infamous Jeanne Rose, renown herbalist and aromatherapist extraordinaire. Staying at a modest hotel at the edge of the Haight, the Stanyan Park is a few blocks from my class.
Stanyan Hotel then
Jeanne had listed Alembic in an email. I noticed it because that is the name of the distilling apparatus for producing essential oils and also for distilling liquors and liqueurs.
There is a woman in my class from Chile and that made me feel sentimental about the Pisco Sour on the cocktail menu. I firts had a pisco sour in Santiago, Chile and then I had a pisco sour wherever I went in South America( Terra del Paine I had the calafate sour, calafate being a local berry growing wild in the high rugged mountains) and was so excited about my pisco discovery that I carried 4 bottles of the grape distillation home with me. I was happily surprised to find that the Pisco cocktail was already discovered and being reproduced in bars and restaurants in the states already. In Vermont I was so excited to find a pisco cocktail at my favorite restaurant in South Londonderry, Solo, Farm and Table.
Here they created something very summery and unique with a house made rhubarb syrup.
Friday, August 10th, 2012
You just can’t beat this classic dish of sausages and peppers. So easy to make and so casual and tasty!! I like sweet Italian sausage with fennel. It is worth going to a gourmet butcher or Italian specialty grocer for trying the wonderful variety of sausages out there! The supermarket does have a decent selection these days too. When I can get the ring of basil and cheese sausage , I spread mustard over sausage ring and grill. Delish.
At night I like to serve this dish with a side of pasta. Sausages and peppers pair well with Sarnataro Brocoli and Spaghetti or a simple pomodoro.
At noon or lunch time sausages and peppers are perfect for making heroes. I like to put out a bowl of tomato sauce and a bowl of ricotta cheese for creating the most wonderful sausage and pepper hero on Earth.
In the morning a frittata is the perfect solution for leftover sausage and peppers. Simply cut up sausage into bite size pieces and saute to reheat in a frying pan, whisk together some eggs in a bowl, pour egg mixture and scramble together with sausages and pappers, at last minute add some fresh mozzarella and finish under broiler for a minute to melt.
Sausages and Peppers…morning, noon , and night.
Monday, August 6th, 2012
This cole slaw recipe is one inspired by the delicious cole slaw served at the famous restaurant chain Houston’s. It is not your ordinary cole slaw. It has a horseradish bite and is sophisticated using parsley for color and variation. Scallions are used instead of onions.
You chop the cabbage rather than shredding it. Combine the greens, salt, and set aside. The dressing is combination of mayo, sour cream, horseradish, pickle juice, white vinegar, mustard, sugar, and salt and pepper. Simply fold dressing in and you have created a memorable cole slaw.
Tonight I am serving this lively cole slaw with ribs. I am using another restaurant’s recipe (The Dumont in Brooklyn, NY) for their incredible macaroni and cheese. Some grilled corn on the cob to seal the meal.
Diet out the window. Did I mention the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream for dessert? Oh to be an American! Time to splurge on this indulgent summertime meal!