Posts filed under 'Restaurants'
A few weeks back while visiting a friend, I perused her copy of Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant: Ethnic and Regional Recipes from the Cooks at the Legendary Restaurant, it is a book that has been on my shelf for almost 20 years. My copy is signed by many of the authors, I remember attending their book launch party at the Cornell Bookstore. Sheesh, am I dating myself or what?
After returning home, I pulled my book off the shelf and began to dog-ear page after page. The first recipe that I made was Fatima’s Salad. There will be more recipes in the upcoming weeks.
This salad is not a complicated recipe but it presents as a glamorous salad that you might be serve at a fancy party. Marco thought it was a special occasion. The children thought we had company coming.
I posted this recipe today keeping in mind that you may have bunches of hard boiled Easter eggs that need to be used up.
Fatima’s salad is named after one of the authors’ mothers. It is featured in the North Africa chapter of the cookbook. It consists of cooked vegetables that have been chilled, hard boiled eggs, olives and a brightly flavored, yet very simple parsley vinaigrette – perfect for a Meatless Monday.
Mix and match for your family. I went heavy on the veggies that we love and light on the ingredients that only I prefer (olives and beets). It is mostly made ahead which makes dinner much easier on the cook. Leftovers were perfect the next day for lunch.
In honor of full disclosure, I will note that all three children requested cereal for supper when presented with this meal but they all picked at certain ingredients on the salad platter. Marco tried everything but passed on the dressing because of his vinegar aversions. I just rolled my eyes and blissfully enjoyed every bite. The dressing pulls this salad together and nicely compliments each vegetable.
Fatima’s Salad loosely adapted for the Mayone clan from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant.
Generously serves 4.
All of the cooked vegetables can be prepared one day in advance and kept refrigerated until needed.
1 head butter (Boston) lettuce
1 lb. baby fingerling potatoes, cooked, cooled and halved lengthwise
2 carrots, peeled, cooked to crisp tender and thickly sliced
1 or 2 yellow or red beets, cooked, peeled and sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/4 cup (or more) olives
4 hard boiled eggs, quartered
freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, more to taste
1/4 tsp.ground black pepper
1/4 cup flat leat parsley leaves
Layer the salad leaves onto a serving platter. Arrange the vegetables on top of the lettuce.
Make the dressing by adding all of the ingredients to a blender and process until smooth. Drizzle the dressing onto the vegetables and garnish the platter with the eggs and olives or simply serve the dressing on the side.
FMI on Meatless Monday, click here.
FMI on The Mossewood Restaurant, click here.
April 5th, 2010
Next Thursday (3-18-10) is the date of this year’s Ballyhoo, an evening of fine food and spirited bidding on a wide variety of exciting auction items all to benefit Youth Alternatives Ingraham and the over 9,000 adults, children and families it serves in Maine.
Highlights include tastings from local restaurants, like David’s and The Corner Room. There will be both live and silent auctions. The auctions are filled with the area’s most desirable gifts, including cooking lessons, sporting events, spa treatments, day trips, jewelry, family outings and much more. I am donating an in-home cooking lesson!
Youth Alternatives Ingraham partners with communities and individuals to deliver a full spectrum of social services and mental health care that begins prenatally and continues throughout the lifespan. Its programs advance healthier lives, happier families, and stronger communities. Proceeds from this event help to strengthen programs and initiatives.
So, if you love outstanding food and trying to win amazing prizes, all for a good cause, Ballyhoo is for you!
FMI click here.
March 12th, 2010
Q’s, located in the historic Boulderado Hotel, is a classic Colorado establishment. You won’t hear the thumping of techno music as this is a serene environment with elegant food and excellent service. Here are Chef John’s answers to the Flavorista 5:
1. What are you currently working on other than making sure the restaurant and bar are running smoothly 24/7?
"As usual, I’m working on a number of catering and benefit dinner menus, as well as instituting some menu upgrades for the restaurant. Keeping it seasonal and fun. Our Q Bar menu is the best in town and it is fun keeping it that way.
I got bored with doing the same stuff for too long. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and brainstorming to try to recharge my culinary batteries. Also trying to come up with a theme for our next Q’s Food and Wine Series dinner….maybe old world vs. new world wine styles and varietals? I am also looking forward to spring and getting my garden going!”
2. What are the food ingredients you can’t live without?
"Hmmmmm…my little squeeze bottle of lemon juice and good olive oil, potatoes, beer, bacon, slow cooked onions, Cholula and Sriracha hot sauces, sherry vinegar and Haystack Mt. Goat Dairy Chevre."
3. Who are your mentors or what has influenced you the most?
"I’ve been my own mentor and mentor to others for a while now, but past influences would have to include the chefs I worked for at the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel in the mid 80’s, my Mom, my wife Sabrina, my talented sous chefs past and present, and Boulder’s Dave Query."
4. What is your favorite food memory?
"Swordfish steaks charcoal grilled with butter, lemon, salt and pepper on summer vacation with my family on Cape Cod. Also, Mom’s cheese fondue and a veal and mushroom dish with noodles that she learned how to make when we lived in Switzerland for a year when I was 11.
Best Restaurant Meal Ever: A perfect 9 courses at the French Laundry in 1998."
5. What would be your ultimate meal, any and all details (place, menu, guests)?
"A simple outdoor meal made after a day on the beach or a day of fly fishing: Wellfleet oysters with lemon and hot sauce, a really great chargrilled steak, lobster steamed in seawater, sunwarmed garden sliced tomatoes with sherry vinegar, oil salt and pepper, several Sierra Nevada beers, Sabrina’s chocolate chip cookies for dessert.
Dinner with Sabrina and our boys would be just great. Celebrity guests could include Thomas Jefferson, Jimi Hendrix."
March 9th, 2010
As I write this I realize that many of our followers are not here in Colorado. But consider this post and chef Alex’s recipe as an invitation to travel without going anywhere.
One of our favorite restaurants here in Boulder is Alba. Owned by Rick Stein with executive chef Alex Feldman , Alba is one of Boulder’s best. We love their regional wine dinners, featured on the 3rd Wednesday of every month, they are the epitome of traveling vicariously.
In January, he featured the food and wine from the Campania region. One of the more unique items on the menu was an sweet eggplant budino, an Italian pudding. In March, we will experience food and wine from the Veneto.
Some highlights of Alex’s career: He started with his mentor, Chris Schlesinger at the East Coast Grill then he moved to his first Italian inspired restaurant in Waltham, MA the Tuscan Grill . He did a short stint as the Culinary Institute of America (C.I.A.) but found that what he really needed to do was move to Italy and work there. He landed a job at Il Cibreo in Florence and then at Al Cambio in Bologna.
Back in the states he worked at Babbo with Mario Battali then eventually he moved to Vail and worked at Sweet Basil. Rick offered him the job here in Boulder at Alba just over a year ago.
Earlier this fall when I started thinking about posting recipes on fish stews, I had dinner at Alba and fell in love with Alex’s Brodetto. His anchovies wrapped in sage and quickly fried are unbelievably delectable. I implored him to share the recipe with Flavorista
Brodetto Recipe from Alba
Note: you can adjust the variety of seafood for whatever is freshest at your fish
4 large “dry” scallops
6 tiger shrimp
4 oz calamari rings and tentacles
1/2 lb. mussels, scrubbed
1 large clove garlic, sliced thinly
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
3 sprigs marjoram
pepperoncino, chopped to taste
16 canned peeled cherry tomatoes and a little juice or 1 can diced tomatoes
( Alex uses the canned tomatoes from Academia Barilla)
3 oz. dry white wine
1 cup fish stock (frozen or use clam juice)
zest of 1/2 lemon (use a microplane)
Salt and pepper
Heat a shallow 12" sauce pan with enough cooking oil to coat the bottom, until the
first tendrils of smoke arise.
Season the seafood with salt and pepper, and spread out into the pan.
After 30 seconds, sprinkle the garlic, herbs, and pepperoncino in the pan.
Continue cooking over medium high heat for another minute, stirring constantly.
Deglaze with 3 oz white wine, reduce until mostly evaporated, add 1 c fish stock.
Cover and simmer for 3 minutes or until the mussels have opened
Remove from heat. Mix in the zest and 2 Tbsp. EVOO, Taste, season, and serve.
March 3rd, 2010
Family friends of ours, the Scottos, have a terrific restaurant in New York called Fresco By Scotto. They are regular guests on The Today Show and a recent segment reminded me how much I love their first cookbook, Fresco. If you are in NYC make Fresco a destination. Marion is an amazing, gracious host and the food is wonderful too.
Hands down, this is my favorite recipe from the Fresco cookbook. With a cup a soup and a salad it makes a perfect winter meal. I have offered a vegetarian option at the end of the original recipe.
Sausage and Leek Tart with a Fennel Crust
Makes one 10 to 11-inch tart
Fennel Tart Dough
2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup of butter, cut into cubes and chilled
1 Tbsp. fennel seeds, crushed in a mortar and pestle
1 tsp kosher salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Place the flour, butter, fennel seeds and salt in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse 10 times or until the mixture resembles crumbs. In a smaller bowl, whisk together 2 Tbsp. of water with the eggs.
With the food processor running, add the egg mixture through the feeding tube. Pulse 8 tie or just until the dough comes together. Remove from the bowl, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for about one hour. Let the dough stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes before rolling it out and fitting it into your favorite tart pan.
Time Saver: If you find that you like this crust, double the recipe and freeze one ball of dough for future use.
2 large onions or 2 lbs. leeks, sliced thinly
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 lb mild Italian sausage, casings removed and crumbled
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1 tsp. salt
3 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1/2 lb. shredded Fontina cheese (or Gruyere)
12 plum tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick and drained on paper towels
(I used large cherry tomatoes as could not find any good plum tomatoes. I used 1 pint but 2 would have been better.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat 2 Tbsp. of olive oil in a large skillet and cook sausage for 7 minutes. Break up the meat while it cooks. Drain and set aside. Discard the fat. Heat remaining oil and saute the onions until they get nice and soft. Add the garlic and cook for about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside and allow to cool
Combine the eggs and cream and mix well. Add the parsley. Set aside.
Spread the onions or leeks over the tart shell bottom. Spread the sausage meat on top. Cover the meat with the cheese. Now place the tomatoes on top in a nice pattern, layering them just so they overlap slightly. Carefully pour the egg mixtue over. Place tart pan onto a cookie sheet and bake for 50 minutes. Let the tart cool slightly before you cut it to serve.
I decided to make this tart vegetarian as we are trying to cut back on our meat consumption 3 to 4 nights a week. So instead of the sausages and heavy cream, I used 1 cup ricotta cheese with about 1/4 cup freshly chopped basil. It worked great, but I confess to preferring the one with sausage better!
February 2nd, 2010
In ancient Arabic, the word sofra means, little eats, like at a picnic. The bakery-cafe Sofra is the newest addition to the Boston eating scene. Reknowned chef Ana Soturn of Oleana has created an wonderful spot for small plates.
My dear friend, Flavorista Dee Dee knew this is exactly the kind of place I love. Everything was delectable. It was a dreary rainy afternoon in Boston but the food here warmed our hearts. We really wanted a glass of wine but they don’t serve alcohol. They are not open for dinner but if you are in Boston, make sure to stop by if you are feeling peckish. The menu changes often but consistently offers many mediterranean/middle eastern specialties. We ordered several mezze and had one of the stuffed flat breads. The crik-craks were unbelievable, buttery and flaky.
Sofra also offers spice blends, and prepared foods like house preserved lemons, aleppo pepper spiced peanuts (fantastic!) and interestng grains and oils. I bought grano, an ancient wheat that puffs up beautifully when cooked. Reminiscent of barley, but softer and plumpy.
At the left is the dry grain and on the right cooked. I placed 1 cup of grano in my slow cooker with 8 cups of water and a bay leaf. I cooked it for 4 hours. It might have been a little better at 3 hours but it was still fantastic. You can sauteed cooked grano with just garlic and fruity olive oil. I added some small cherry tomatoes and sweet peas.
If I didn’t already own too many cookbooks I would definitely get Sortun’s 2006 book entitled Spice.
August 2nd, 2009
The team that brought Zolo, Centro and Jax (with Top Chef champion from Season 5, Hosea Rosenberg!) has opened another winner here in Boulder: The Happy Noodle House.
Brussell Sprout Fries – they change the greens featured but all 3 times I had these they were tasty, crispy perfection.
House pickled vegetables were superb. Choices included: Soy marinated daikon radish, classic kimchi, pickled beets and cucumbers. We also tried a Japanese Fava bean pickle which was very surprising and very good.
Villa Wolf Gewurztraminer was the perfect pairing, especially on a hot summer night. The noodles are all made in house so they are tender and delectable. Most combinations are inspired and well executed; they have a wonderful bar too with creative tipples. I hope they think of expanding on the idea into Denver and beyond.
July 2nd, 2009
Marco and I were out on a date last weekend and we stumbled upon a Papaya King, I immediately wondered if Papaya King could be related to Gray’s Papaya, a famed NYC hotdog/tropical drink establishment since 1973. I am familiar with Gray’s Papaya because one of the founders of Fresh Samantha loved Gray’s Papaya and often reminisced about his lunches there with his dad. They would nosh on hot dogs and coconut champagne, a non-alcoholic, icy coconut drink.
It turns out that Papaya King started it all back in 1932 and began franchising in 2005, you can now get Papaya King in LaGuardia airport, Clifton NJ and Portland, ME. Gray’s Papaya is a copy cat of Papaya King. You may recall Gray’s Papaya as the place Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and The City celebrated the launch of her first book, alone with a limo driver.
Papaya King’s arrival in Portland is good news for Old Port drunken revelers because it is open until 2AM on weekends!
April 23rd, 2009
So I’m sure the title of this post has everyone salivating for the next great thing to do with this much "loved" member of the brassica family. I think I can hear all of you running into the kitchen right now. Nutritionally, there are very good reasons to eat cauliflower. Not only does it contain folate, fiber and vitamin C. It also has the phytonutrient and cancer fighter, sulforphane, that is in broccoli and other members of the brassica family.
During a recent meal at Elevations in Aspen, Colorado I was introduced to cauliflower couscous. It was served with bacon wrapped sea scallops and was pretty tasty but not as good as the Carmelized Black Cod with Ginger Risotto, Tomato Sambal and Cashew Vinaigrette which I highly recommend.
When I mentioned the couscous to Kimberly she told me she had already published a recipe for it in her The Big Book of Low Carb Cooking. I made it with a few alterations. I used green cauliflower which is a little milder than the white. Served along with some grilled, grass-fed steak, it came out exceptionally well. Next time, I am going to add some toasted slivered almonds and some of the other "colored" cauliflowers.
Green Cauliflower "Couscous"
1 medium head (about 2 pounds) broco-flower, cored and cut into 1/4 chunks
1/4 cup butter
1 roasted red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup sliced scallions
1/4 chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper, to taste
Grate cauliflower, either in a food processor or with a hand-held grater with large holes. I used a hand grater and it worked well. I just need to fnd something to do with the stems besides put them in the compost.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Saute the bell pepper and scallions. Add the cauliflower and cook, stirring frequently, until the cous cous is softened and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in the parsely. Perfect anyplace where traditional couscous would be used.
February 27th, 2009
Andre Baranowski for Saveur
Last weekend, I snuck away for a visit with my friend and fellow flavorista, LJ, in Watertown, MA. We had a lovely visit and an even lovlier meal at 51 Lincoln in Newton Highlands. LJ and I have been eating out together for over 18 years; we’ve had many a memorable meal. LJ generously treated me to this meal for my upcoming birthday.
The menu at 51 Lincoln was appealing and varied. This restaurant recently made the cut in Boston Magazine’s "50 Best Restaurants." The chef/owner, Jeffrey Fournier, has an impressive resume and this restaurant demonstrates his talent and skill set. I started with an apple currant collins, an updated version of the sour lemon cocktail.
We had a simply, but fantastically prepared salad of butter lettuce, beets, candied nuts, whipped honey goat cheese and blood orange vinaigrette. The kitchen was nice enough to split the salad onto two plates for us because LJ and I tend to share plates. The bread basket offered moist cornbread, crispy baguette and delicious focaccia.
After consulting with our waiter, I opted for the "Famous Rigatoni Bolognaise." Saveur magazine recently offered a primer on Bolognese sauce written by Nancy Harmon Jenkins and I have had every intention of whipping up some authentic Bolognese, but seriously, there is no such thing as "whipping up" a Bolognese sauce. It is a slow cooked, authentic and richly flavored Italian meat sauce. Often, it calls for cuts of meat and ingredients (fresh lard, chicken livers) that I don’t have in my pantry. Simply, it is a dish that requires intention and I just haven’t gotten around to it.
The "Bolognaise" sauce (I am unsure about the French spelling) was superb. It caused me to take a few deep breaths and a few truly appreciative bites just to take it all in. It was deeply flavored, somehow creamy, velvety and "so good." The only thing that could have made it better was homemade pasta (tagliatelle maybe). LJ had a splendid plate of crispy, juicy duck breast with a cherry sauce and creamy parsnips.
For dessert, we shared a chocolate peanut butter cake which was very good but quite frankly, I was too stuffed from the Bolognaise to indulge in any more than a few bites. The decaf coffee was good, always a plus for the coffee obsessed. It is a big treat to find a city quality restaurant, technically in the burbs with easy parking and stellar fare.
January 16th, 2009