Archive | September, 2009

Dishy Dinner Party Dish

18 Sep


We’re feeling a pang for the recently departed Sheila Lukins, arbiter of 1980s food tastes, including the then-unheard-of raspberry vinegar. We recently snapped up a copy of one of the best-selling cookbooks of all time, Lukins’ Silver Palate Cookbook.
This baby holds the coveted recipe for Chicken Marbella, a culinary marvel and memory maker.

 

photo credit: abcddesign.com

photo credit: abcddesign.com

 

 

In the ’80s, you couldn’t go to a dinner party or a picnic in the park without somebody serving it. The weird-sounding blend of olives, capers and prunes was the first main-course dish to be offered at the famous New York shop. It swept like wildfire into households everywhere, and for good reason. It’s fabulous.

We’re toying with the idea of serving it as chicken wings or chicken tenders. But first, we’re going to cook it old school in homage to Lukins as we lovingly pore over her hand-drawn illustrations and bright tasting creations that remain as relevant today as ever.

CHICKEN MARBELLA

Recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook

“This is good hot or at room temperature. When prepared with small drumsticks and wings, it makes a delicious hors d’oeuvre. The overnight marinating is essential to the moistness of the finished product: the chicken keeps and even improves over several days of refrigeration; it travels well and makes excellent picnic fare. Since Chicken Marbella is such a spectacular party dish, we give quantities to serve 10 to 12, but the recipe can be divided to make smaller amounts if you wish.”

4 chickens, 2 1/2 pounds each, quartered 

1 head of garlic, peeled and finely pureed 

1/4 cup dried oregano 

coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 

1/2 cup red wine vinegar 

1/2 cup olive oil 

1 cup pitted prunes 

1/2 cup pitted Spanish green olives 

1/2 cup capers with a bit of juice 

6 bay leaves 

1 cup brown sugar 

1 cup white wine 

1/4 cup Italian parsley or fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

 

In a large bowl combine chicken quarters, garlic, oregano, pepper and coarse salt to taste, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers and juice, and bay leaves. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, overnight. 

 

Arrange chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans and spoon marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle chicken pieces with brown sugar and pour white wine around them. 

 

Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting frequently with pan juices. Chicken is done when thigh pieces, pricked with a fork at their thickest, yield clear yellow (rather than pink) juice. 

 

With a slotted spoon transfer chicken, prunes, olives and capers to a serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of pan juices and sprinkle generously with parsley or cilantro. Pass remaining pan juices in a sauceboat. 

 

To serve Chicken Marbella cold, cool to room temperature in cooking juices before transferring to a serving platter. If chicken has been covered and refrigerated, allow it to return to room temperature before serving. Spoon some of the reserved juices over chicken.

 

FROM THE “THAT WAS THEN” FILES…

 

Fisher Stevens looked like a middle aged man in this ’80s Seventeen magazine recipe for Spanish chicken, but he was only 21:

 

fisher's famous chic 1

 

fisher's famous chic 2

 

The recipe stands the test of time. It is simple and tasty.

 

FISHER’S FAMOUS CHICKEN

1/3 cup flour

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp paprika

1 medium broiler/frying chicken, cut into eighths

3 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 green and 1 red pepper, cut into strips

1/4 cup chicken broth

1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste

2 tomatoes, cut into wedges

3/4 cup small black olives, pitted

 

In a pie plate or shallow dish, mix flour, salt, pepper and paprika. Roll chicken parts in mixture until completely coated. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Place chicken parts in skillet; cook until golden brown on all sides. Remove chicken from skillet, and set aside. Using same skillet you browned chicken in, saute chopped onion, garlic and peppers over medium heat, stirring often until onion is soft and transparent. Add broth and tomato paste, and deglaze skillet by scraping up any browned chicken bits that remain on its surface; stir until sauce is smooth and well-blended. Return chicken to skillet, then add tomato wedges and olives. Cover, lower heat, and simmer for 25 minutes. Serves four to six.

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Vintage vantage

18 Sep

What, pray tell, is this little bit of terrific?

fish dish

We are so charmed by the little cocktail forks… but are left scratching our head coming up with ideas of what to serve guests on the fish dish. Ideas?

UPDATE!

Well, well, well. Our little fish dish is going to become the perfect pupu platter. Inspired by our Trader Vic’s obsession, we can picture serving rumaki or crab Rangoon with dipping sauce, or an assortment of mini grilled skewers.

Such a find!

But we wish we also had this:

RUMAKI
This appeared on a Don the Beachcomer menu frm 1941. Traditionally spiced chicken liver, water chestnuts wrapped in bacon.
But works with scallops, shrimp, smoked oysters, pineapple or stuffed olives.

Marinade:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 teaspoon sugar

Combine soy sauce, ginger, sherry and sugar in a small bowl. Add the chicken livers and water chestnut pieces and marinate them in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour.
Place 1 chicken liver piece and 1 chestnut piece in the center of each bacon-half, wrap, and secure with a toothpick. Tuck in green onion if you wish.
Place the Rumaki on a broiler pan or shallow baking pan and broil, about 5 or 6 inches from the heat, until the bacon is crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Or, you can bake the appetizers in a 375° oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

Mythical New York never fades…

17 Sep

tavern_on_the_green

 

Tavern on the Green is closing.

From its perch in Central Park west, the elegant, multi-chandeliered Manhattan institution is said to have been in steady decline after peaking in the 1980s.

Its reputation as overpriced with mediocre service and cuisine are said to have been its ruin.

02_tavernotgreen_lgl

We strolled past one perfectly misty October afternoon and have always regretted not popping in for a cup of tea and dessert or a stiff drink. But, hey, we’re no sucker and we’re glad we saved our dough for Nobu.

But still. To imagine Tavern in its former glory… sigh.

We especially like this New York Times reader’s comment:

“A family celebration and Mr. Woody Allen in a room next door. We discussed the pronunciation of Moet. All I could think was that he would ask me to play in his band as a ten-year old clarinetist.”

— Kavi

The taste of a place you’ve never been to — leafy green trees in summer or polka dotted with white lights during winter, sparkling crystal, porcelain tea pots, a wealthy, elderly relative treating you after a matinee. Close your eyes. Invent some memories. Cook these recipes:

Tavern on the Green’s Maine Lobster Bisque

2 ½ cups dry white wine

10 cups fish stock

2 -1 ½ lb. lobsters

4 oz. butter

8oz onions, chopped

4oz carrots, chopped

4oz celery, chopped

10 oz. tomatoes, chopped

3oz. brandy

1 bay leaf

1 oz. tarragon

pinch cayane pepper

2/3 tsp. paprika

1 clove garlic, chopped

4oz roux

heavy cream

creme fraiche

salt and pepper to taste

Poach lobsters in rapidly boiling wine and fish stock for 6 minutes.

When cool enough to handle, remove meat from shell, discard coral and tomally, reserve shell and cooking liquid. Refrigerate meat and coarsley chop the shells.

In a separate stock pot, melt 4 oz. butter. Add onions, carrots, celery and tomatoes. Cook til tender.

Add the shells and cook til red. Add brandy and flambe. When flames go out, add 2 cups white wine, bay leaf, tarragon, a pinch of cayane pepper, paprika and garlic.

Saute mixture for approx. 2 minutes. Add reserved cooking liquid and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.

Add 4oz roux and cook 30 mins. more. Puree contents in a blender or food processor, strain well. Return soup to stock pot and add chopped lobster meat, heavy cream, salt and pepper.

Finish soup with creme fraiche mixed with tarragon and serve.

 

Tavern on the Green’s Chicken Francais

4 (6-oz. ea) boneless skinless chicken breasts
flour, for dredging
2 ounces clarified butter
1 cup white wine
2 small shallots, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt and white pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons Dijon-style whole grain mustard
1/2 cup heavy cream
 

Pound chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap to make uniform thickness for even cooking. Dredge chicken breasts in flour, shaking off excess. Heat clarified butter in saute skillet over medium-high heat. Place chicken in pan and saute until cooked halfway through, about three minutes. Reduce heat to medium.

Turn over chicken and add minced shallots and garlic, cooking one minute until you can smell the aroma of garlic. Add wine to deglaze pan. Season with salt and pepper. Add mustard and stir into sauce. Let sauce cook for two minutes to reduce, then add heavy cream. Let sauce cook for another two minutes to thicken sauce slightly.

Serve with chardonnay.

Mark Sewall, Tavern on the Green, Inn at Silver Lakes, Helendale

 

Tavern on the Green Cheesecake
Servings: 6-8

1 b Cream Cheese

1 cup sugar

¼ tsp salt

2 cups sour cream

5 egg yolks

¼ cup heavy cream

½ cup milk

1 tbsp each orange and lemon zest

 

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees.

Mix the cream cheese, sugar, salt and sour cream. When it is smooth, add the egg yolks, one at a time, the heavy cream and milk. Stir in the lemon and orange zest. Mix until smooth.

Pour the mixture into a prepared 10-inch cake mould. Set in a larger pan and surround with one inch of very hot water. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

 

Who you calling chicken?

17 Sep

omg. Why it took this long to make turkey chili is beyond us. Especially since we’ve been busting to rock out with Trader Joe’s hatch green chiles and green tomatio salsa. Our crockpot doesn’t get much of a workout beyond its chili duty, but we are mighty glad to have it for this. NOTE: Crockpot is optional — we have whipped this up on the stovetop within 25 minutes and it was delicious.

Whole Foods has a similar recipe which adds diced green peppers, oregano and bay leaf, which sounds lovely.

Regardez:

turkey chili 1

GREEN AND WHITE TURKEY CHILI

1 tbsp butter or olive oil
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tbsp chili powder
1 1/2 lbs ground turkey (2 packages)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 little can fire roasted green chiles
1 jar (over 1 cup) tomatillo salsa (we like Herdez and Presidents Choice, in a pinch las palmas green enchilada sauce)
1 cup or more white corn
1 carton of chicken stock or broth
1 (15-ounce) can white kidney or Romano beans (not fully drained)

For serving: any combo of limes, sour cream, shredded cheese, cilantro

Melt butter in crockpot or soup pot. Add spices and mix into a paste. Add turkey meat and mix with spice paste.

If using slow cooker, cover with onions, beans, corn, garlic, chiles, salsa, and water. Cook on low for five or six hours.

If cooking on stove top, add onions and continue cooking turkey, breaking up any large chunks. Add garlic and stir around for a few minutes. Add beans and stir to smoosh some of them. Add broth and corn. Salt to taste.

We are in the habit of crushing tortilla chips into the broth, which thickens it and imparts great flavour.

Sweet jesus — it is beautiful. The salsa is so tangy, and the chiles have a great, smokey bite. The turkey is absolutely gorgeous, and because I was too lazy to worry it with a wooden spoon, it remained clumped into tiny meatballs. So good.

Et voila:

turkey chili 2

Now and then

11 Sep

We would never dream of monkeying with our recipe for spaghetti carbonara. How chopped bacon and onion have their slippery way with noodles, the creamy egg yolk and parmesan coating every strand, the gorgeous grassy bites of fresh parsley. Perfection. True, we’ve slipped in a dash of red pepper flakes and a weensy bite of garlic, but they are truly unnecessary. We astonished our younger self making this for a family dinner after clipping ripping it from Seventeen Magazine (circa 1980-something-embarrassing, see below). So simple. So perfect.

NYC carbonara

NYC carbonara 2

After hearing us moan on and on about this hoarded cherished recipe, our betrothed took his first crack at this recently:

doug's carbonara

And wouldn’t you know it. It turned out perfectly. Sigh. Is there anything that man can’t do?

Spaghetti Carbonara

Recipe adapted from Seventeen Magazine
UPDATE: We like one egg and 1/4 pound or 113ish grams 4 oz) of pasta per person, so just multiply that for a group. If you’re boiling a pound/454 grams/16 oz, that’s for four so use four eggs. We also now beat the eggs and mix in the cheese, minced parsley, black pepper (a splash of heavy cream if we have it). Makes stirring into hot noodles coated with bacon-ey goodness that much easier

4 quarts water

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 lb bacon

1/2 medium onion, chopped

16 oz thin spaghetti (we served three people using 3/4 of a box)

2 tbsp butter

1/4 cup chicken broth

3 eggs

1/2 cup chopped parsley

3/4 cup grated Parmesan

Bring water to boil. In the meantime, chop bacon into 1 inch pieces, chop onion, parsley. Brown bacon and remove, draining all but 2 tbsp fat. Add onion to pan and saute until soft. Add bacon again. When spaghetti is cooked, drain but reserve some starchy water. Pour chicken broth into pan and scrape up browned bits. Add spaghetti and toss in butter, stirring until butter melts.

Remove skillet from heat. Add three raw eggs and stir quickly to blend. The heat from the noodles will cook them nicely; leaving the skillet on the stove would scramble them. The noodles should be loose enough to stir easily. If they are too tight, add reserved water to loosen.

Mix in parsley, and sprinkle with Parmesan. Toss well until cheese is evenly distributed. Serve immdiately. Makes four servings.

Mario Batali’s

  • 1/2 pound guanciale (or pancetta or good bacon)
  • Salt
  • 1 pound dry spaghetti
  • 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • Black pepper, freshly ground
  1. In a 12- to 14-inch sauté pan, render and cook the guanciale until it is crispy and golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Do not drain the fat from pan and set aside.
  2. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt. Cook the spaghetti, until tender yet al dente. Drain the spaghetti, reserving the pasta cooking water.
  3. Reheat the guanciale in the pan with the fat and add approximately 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water. Toss in the cooked spaghetti and heat, shaking the pan, until warmed through, about 1 minute. Add the grated cheese, egg whites and black pepper and toss until fully incorporated. Divide the pasta among 4 warmed serving bowls. Make a nest in the center for the egg yolk. Gently drop an egg yolk into each serving, season with more freshly ground black pepper and grate additional cheese over the top. Serve immediately.

THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW

Since preparing carbonara in our teenhood, we’ve adapted a signature way of preparing other baconish pasta. Our favourite on-the-fly pasta (a spicy tomato clam dish) begins with adding olive oil to a hot pan, followed by a sprinkling of sea salt, crushed red pepper flakes, and… wait for it… a few slices of pepperoni. We routinely save some thin rounds in freezer bags for such emergencies. Sliced into matchsticks, the pepperoni fat and flavour melts into the oil, making it positively dreamy. Once things are sizzling and smelling like heaven, we add a drained can of clams and some fresh garlic. True story. When they’ve had a good bath, we pour in a can of diced tomatoes with their juice and let the whole thing simmer. We’ve dared to add a splash of wine, a shot of vodka, or a splosh of beer to the bubbling mix as we allow it to reduce ever so slightly.

A sprinkling of fresh parsley and a bit of parmesan as you’re serving, and you’re done. Yum!

It’s a versatile dish. You can forgo said clams in favour of shrimp, salmon chunks, or anything else you can think of.

Vintage finds…

10 Sep

We have a weakness for 50s and 60s kitchen ware, and we spend far too much time skulking around thrift shops. Trouble is, we are a magnet for fabulous finds. Take for instance, this little gem:

fonude

It’s a ceramic caquelon (fondue pot) by Landert, made in Switzerland. The pot, a handsome ochre yellow which holds 1 1/2 quarts,  is stamped Landert 22 near the handle. These darlings are made to go from stove top to table. We spotted this baby a week or so ago and resisted it, but lo and behold upon our return, it was still sitting there, unloved by those unable to recognize its true purpose in life: to fill our bellies with molten cheese! We scored it for $7.99.

Our other addition to the growing family of too much stuff is a lovely snowflake pyrex divided dish. Oh, how we love turquoise and how it matches our late 1950s chip-n-dip. Yes, we are aware we have a problem.

Our new obsession is to stock our fridge with vintage glass containers. How jaunty our chopped scallions and minced parsley will be, just sitting there all chilly and waiting to become garnish.

Choppin’ broccoli

9 Sep

With apologies to Dana Carvey , we really do adore our broccoli.

This is broc at its best: viscous with fruity olive oil, spicy and salty. This is also an amazing topping for pizza.
Our fave is an unforgettable slice from New York’s Famiglia Pizzeria on Madison and 97th Street.

Paired with soft, bubbling mozzerella, this makes a pizza-perfect combo on pita or whatever you can toast. Dreamy!

Ingredients:
1 cup broccoli florets (pieces)
up to 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon cold water
1 clove minced garlic
Sea salt to taste
Red pepper flakes, chili oil, or in a pinch, Rooster sauce

Separate the broccoli florets from the stems. (Peel the stems and cut them into bite sized pieces – optional, you can toss out the stems). Break the florets into bite sized pieces. Place all ingredients into a covered fry pan and turn on high. When the steam seeps out the side of the lid you are done!~ Should take no more than 3-4 minutes. The broccoli will be bright green.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Still on the veg-fest, we are big fans of the lovely Mollie Katzen and her charming, hand illustrated 1982 cookbook, The Enchanted Broccoli Forest.

This recipe of the same name brings broccoli, herbs, rice and cheese together beautifully. Although we love Best of Bridge’s Wild Rice Broccoli Casserole (2, 180 g cooked packages of Uncle Ben’s Long Grain and Wild Rice layered with steamed broccoli, 2, 10 oz/284 mL cans of mushroom soup and 2 c. grated old Cheddar), this is a cleaner, herbed version. It might be fun to revamp it as a baked risotto with the fun tree toppers.

Cook the rice as directed –  it’s fine if the rice is tender and there’s still extra moisture left.  Prepare the broccoli and in a medium bowl mix together 1 1/2 c. of the cheese with the soup.

Grease a 4 L casserole and spread half of the rice evenly on the bottom followed by half of the broccoli and then half of the soup mixture.  Repeat the layers and top with the remaining 1/2 c. of cheese.

When you’re ready to bake it, cook at 350 for about an hour.

Cook 2 cups brown or white rice in 3 cups boiling water until tender. (This will take 15-20 minutes for white, and 35-35 minutes for brown.)
Fluff the cooked rice with a fork and set aside.
Trim the tough bottoms from the broccoli stalks and cut the tops into trees. Steam until bright green and just barely tender. Rinse under cold running water, drain well and set aside
Preheat oven to 325F.
Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking pan.

Melt the butter or heat the oil in a large, deep skillet or a Dutch oven. Add the onion and salt and saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the onion begins to soften. Add the garlic and lemon juice and saute for about 2 minutes longer.

Stir in the rice, two eggs, some black pepper and cayenne to taste, the herbs and the optional sunflower seeds and cheese (swiss, cheddar, some parm).
Taste to correct salt, if necessary and spread into prepared pan.
Now for the fun part. Arrange the broccoli upright in the rice, and, if desired, drizzle with melted butter. Cover loosely with foil and bake until just heated through (15-20 minutes).