Our holiday season always begins with Thanksgiving when Chris, our younger son, makes his famous sunny-side-up eggs on honey toast with shaved truffles on top and proceeds to a complete, luxe caviar service. This luxury is only possible because a whole bunch of eaters pool their resources. Otherwise we’d all be eating eggs and bacon and skipping the caviar. But, if we skipped it, we’d really miss out on what to me has always said “Let’s celebrate!” – a chilled tin of caviar, a glistening bowl of chopped egg, and a glass of bubbly. As you can see from the photo everyone must agree as on this past Thanksgiving that tin of caviar disappeared mighty fast.
Since we can no longer get the really, really expensive Iranian roe, we put our faith in the folks at Tsar Nicoulai Caviar (www.tsarnicoulai.com ). Their paddlefish roe is superb and quite affordable. The paddlefish is a sturgeon’s cousin and the roe it produces is often called “American-style sevruga.” It is our choice for a large crowd. The company was founded on the vision of sustainability which makes the caviar a guilt-free purchase. We plan on celebrating again on Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Won’t you join us?
Although I hadn’t eaten a potato croquette in years nor had I made one either, I decided to use some leftover mashed potatoes to create some crispy tater tots to accompany some steaks I was cooking up. Many years ago there was a small Italian restaurant, Capri, in Manhattan’s theater district that served extraordinary croquettes – usually with a beautiful veal chop. Theirs were so light and delicate that they seemed impossible to replicate at home so I didn’t even try. They only came back to my sensory memory when I bit into my version. Not fluffy, not terribly light, and certainly not delicate. But, they tasted pretty good. Now that they are back on the menu I’ll try to refine my recipe – I promised Steve that I’ll get to light and delicate.
Here’s what I did:
I had about 2½ cups of cold mashed potatoes to which I added 2 large eggs, ¾ cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese, and 2 tablespoons of flour. I beat the mix until very well combined and then seasoned with salt and pepper. I whisked 2 eggs with a bit of milk in one shallow bowl, put about 3 cups of lightly salted bread crumbs in another, and then Wondra flour in a third. I formed the potato mixture into logs – they were much too big I realized – and then dipped the logs into the flour, then the egg mixture, and finally into the breadcrumbs. I fried them in olive oil and dusted them with sea salt at the finish. If I’d used freshly made dry potatoes that I’d pushed through a food mill, formed the mix into smaller logs, and fried them a little bit less, I think they would have been the light and delicate croquettes I remembered. I’ll ace it next time.
Posted in Books, Chefs, Food, Recipes | Tagged apps, comfort food, idaho potato, leftover mashed potatoes, Manhattan’s theater district, mashed potatoes, Potato Croquettes, potato recipes, side dish, vegetarian, whats for dinner, wondra flour | 1 Comment »
Perhaps more than any other dish I make, I get the most requests for my recipe for biscuits. I’ve posted it on this site a couple of times, but since people are still asking, I’m once again posting. I have been making them almost weekly all of my life so, although I am going to give you the recipe, I tend to make them by look and feel. Once in awhile I goof and they are a bit too light and fall apart as soon as you pick them up. And, once in awhile when I have too many kitchen kibitzers and I get to talking, I forget the baking powder which gives rock-hard lumps that get thrown to the deer. But I usually hit the mark and a batch is finished up about as soon as it hits the table. This is the basic recipe but, try to make it by feel also. If the dough is a little sticky the biscuits will tend to be lighter and stay fresh longer.
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornmeal
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar or more to taste
½ to 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
½ cup vegetable shortening or butter if you want rich biscuits
Approximately ⅔ cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon butter for the pan
Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
Combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process, using quick on and off turns, to mix. Add the shortening and again, using quick on and off turns, mix to just combine. With the motor running, add the milk and process quickly to just blend. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky.
Lightly coat a clean work surface with Wondra flour. Scrape the dough from the processor bowl and lightly pat down and smooth edges with your hands. You should have an uneven circle about ¾-inch thick. Cut out circles using a 2-inch biscuit cutter or whatever else you have on hand – I often just grab a glass.
Place the 1 tablespoon of butter in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat to just melt. Place the biscuits tightly in the pan. Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until the biscuits have risen and are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and serve hot with plenty of butter and jam or pan gravy.
Posted in Books, Chefs, Food, Recipes | Tagged biscuit recipe, food, gravy, homemade baked goods, homemade biscuits, scanpan, thanksgiving sides, what to cook on thanksgiving, wondra flour | 6 Comments »
I grab whatever vegetables I have on hand and my trusty 8-inch Global chef’s knife and I chop away until I have a big pile of mixed vegetables (usually red bell pepper, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, green beans, celery, mushrooms) of somewhat equal size to throw in the soup pot for a massive amount of vegetable soup to warm up the kitchen on the first snowy day. I’ve already placed a can or two of diced tomatoes, a can or two of cannellini or kidney beans, and some frozen lima beans, corn, and okra to the pot. When I’ve added all the chopped vegetables I add enough water to bring the pot to the brim, season with salt and pepper, and cover just until it all comes to a simmer. Then, I uncover and let the soup simmer away until the house is filled with sweet vegetal smells, the vegetables are tender, and the broth perfectly seasoned. It doesn’t take too long and I have enough soup to fill us for days……
Posted in Books, Chefs, Food, Recipes, Stephen Kolyer, Uncategorized | Tagged best knife, cold remedies, farmers market nyc, global knife, great dinner ideas, healthy soup, leftovers, soup recipes, stephen kolyer, vegetables, vegetarian | Leave a Comment »
After the last year or so of seeing kale lauded as the second coming, I’ve had it with that crunchy, earthy green and am switching my allegiance to other good-for-you leafy things. A few nights ago I had a dinner request for fried chicken and whenever I made fried chicken, I always add collard greens to the table. I sauté some onion and bacon (bacon ‘cause its always on hand, but if I am out and about I will pick up some ham hocks or pork belly to use) and then add the chopped collards. Once seasoned with some salt and pepper and red chile flakes, I cover the pot and just let them cook away until they are juicy, soft and tummy-warming. This can take a couple of hours or so. Then, I add a good dose of vinegar and serve them with cornbread to sop up the “pot likker” and chopped onions to add some heat and texture. Sooooo, sooooo good! And, better than kale, for sure.
Posted in Chefs, Food, Recipes, Uncategorized | Tagged collard greens, dinner, entertaining, food, fried chicken, ham hocks, kale, pork belly, sides for thanksgiving, southern cooking, veggies | 3 Comments »
My sweet, sweet gluten-free baker buddy, Antonella Zangheri, recently asked me to visit her kitchen at Krumville Bake Shop (www.krumvillebakeshop.com) to help her come up with a great gluten-free stuffing to puff up the coming holiday birds. When I got there, she had made a big tray of croutons from her gluten-free focaccia which were to be the base of the stuffing.
(For those of you who don’t know it, focaccia, usually made with a high-gluten flour, is similar to pizza dough in texture and flavor. Like pizza dough, it is quite simple – a combination of nothing more than flour, yeast, salt, olive oil, and water. A thick slab of dough is generally fitted into a baking pan with a rim and then, using fingertips, poked in random spots all over the top to “dimple” it. This keeps the dough from rising up and bubbling on the surface when it is baked. The focaccia is often flavored by brushing with olive oil and then sprinkling the top with fresh herbs (often rosemary), aromatics such as garlic or olive, or shredded or grated cheeses prior to baking. Antonella frequently makes her dough with add-ins, such as pitted olives or bits of soft cheese like feta – a slab of which fed us while we made the stuffing.)
Anto had made a large pot of rich broth the night before so my job was really quite simple. She helped me chop a large onion, 3 stalks of celery, some fresh sage, marjoram, and thyme and we sautéed this mix in a bit of olive oil. I took about 6 breakfast sausage from their casing and pulled the meat into chunks. We added the sausage to the pot and continued to cook until the meat was beginning to color and the aromatics were soft. I added a few sliced, dried apricots to the mix along with about 2 cups of the broth.
We put the focaccia croutons in a large mixing bowl and then added the hot sausage mixture, stirring to combine. Some of the focaccia turned into mush and some stayed quite firm, a perfect combination for all-round great stuffing. We oiled a baking dish and spooned the stuffing into it. Into a 350ºF oven it went for about 25 minutes. Crisp and golden brown – out it came. We each had a plate of it and unanimously gave it 4 stars. Antonella is now trying to figure out how to create a version to package to make a gluten-free stuffed turkey possible for her many devoted customers. My suggestion – everybody should buy a few loaves of Krumville Bake Shop focaccia and turn it into croutons or crumbs and then follow our steps to make a terrifically satisfying holiday side dish.
Posted in Chefs, desserts, Food, Recipes, Uncategorized | Tagged Antonella Zangheri, Focaccia, focaccia recipes, food, gluten free baker, Gluten-free thanksgiving ideas, homemade stuffing, Krumville bake shop, vegan bakery | 2 Comments »