Category Archives: Entertaining

Cocktail Hour: Sazerac

The Sazerac was invented in New Orleans in the 19th century by a bartender who loved Sazerac, the French brandy.  Today rye whiskey forms the base of a cocktail that is incredibly aromatic and sippable thanks to an herbsaint rinse (like a pastis or absinthe), brandy and bitters.  It’s a slightly softer, jazzier Manhattan.  In other words, it’s all New Orleans.

You can order a delicious version at Peel’s, the new restaurant on the Bowery from the people who own Freeman’s.  Or you can make your own for cocktail hour.  Here’s a recipe from Esquire that seems quite good.

from esquire.com

Cheers.

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Filed under Entertaining, Libations

Eating Afar: Bobo’s Barn Dinner

The biggest draw of the Catskills is also its biggest drawback: there is absolutely nothing going on up there.  So we were pretty psyched to hear that Carlos Suarez, proprietor of Bobo in the West Village, was up in our neck of the woods hosting an “autumnal barn dinner.”  Good food!  People! Farm!  Yee-hawwwww!

The food was fantastic.  The Bobo chef Patrick Connolly cooked all day over an open fire in a clearing on the farm, and after the sun sank (and the temperature along with it) we stood around the still going fire with glasses of wine, warming our hands.  I’m still in awe that Patrick cooked so much food for us, and every dish was So. Good.  The crowd was a mix of city, weekend Catskillers and locals, including the family of Neversink.  Carlos set a gorgeous table with linens and fresh wildflowers, and strung lights above the rafters.  It was beautiful.

Dinners like these are pretty special, because it takes everyone out of their element and into something different (like, a rustic old barn covered in hay in the middle of a field in upstate New York).  You get to connect with the farmers, with the chef, and with people you may not meet otherwise.

Bobo is planning another of these dinners, so I suggest you email them and get on their mailing list because seats fill up fast.  Visit their awesome blog at: bobonyc.tumblr.com

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Filed under AFB: Where to Go, Eating, Entertaining, Restaurants, Travel

On the Grill: Fresh Pizza!

On our weekends upstate, we’ve been using the grill for nearly everything.  We know the blissful window of opportunity for cooking and eating outdoors is short, so we’re making the most of it.  Yann has become quite good at grilling pizzas.  If you’ve never eaten a grilled pizza, you should immediately make a reservation at Al Forno in Providence, RI and order the original with chili oil.  Then you will see that there is a delicate love connection between dough and your grill.  We made a pizza topped with grilled asparagus, gruyere and truffle oil, and tossed a runny egg on top, a la Ino and Inoteca.  We’ve used crushed tomatoes and mozzarella to make a simple margarita, and we’ve used sweet balsamic onions with dollops of ricotta.  Pizza blanca is a triumph: charred, crusty dough topped with fresh rosemary, sea salt and olive oil.

The hardest thing about grilled pizza is getting the dough to the right thickness, and grilling it without too much char.  You may have a few bombs.  Don’t worry.  The first good one makes up for it.

It’s REALLY good.  Try this recipe from epicurious.

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The List: Birthday Cakes

It’s not my birthday, although I wish it was.  Yesterday I cruised town looking for the perfect birthday cake for my honey.  It took every last ounce of inner strength to not take home “test” slices. These are my options.  Have you eaten an insanely good birthday cake lately?

Billy’s Bakery: icebox cake or a good old fashioned vanilla cake with snazzy stripes-

Payard- I could go classically french bomb style and order this Louvre cake-

At Ceci-Cela, maybe I just order one of everything–

The boyfriend loves crepes, so maybe it’s fitting to order him one of these amazing crepe cakes from Lady M:

This praline cake from Black Hound in the East Village looks ridiculous.  Just add ice cream.

Is your sweet tooth aching yet?  Visit the sites:

billysbakery.com

payard.com

cecicelapatisserie.com

ladymconfections.com

blackhoundny.com

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Filed under AFB: Where to Go, Entertaining, To Market

Spring Fête

that's the back of my head, at the top left

Now that it’s getting warm all I want to do is throw a party, like this Sunday afternoon party I attended last summer in the Hamptons (see pic above).  My first spring fete will have a Frenchy bohemian vibe (shocker) and lots of rosé and some springy, easy food.  Here’s my plan:

Get a couple of these:

french carafe from a+r store. buy here.

Fill it with this, which is a nice dry $10 rose from September Wines:

Throw down these (because money is no object in my dreams), carpets and pillows from Calypso:

visit Calypso

Go to Blue Ribbon Market and buy a little of this and a little of that:

Then to Murray’s Cheese for more of this and some of that:

And for a treat, I would attempt to make this slow cooked asparagus which is cooked in parchment and is oh-so-pretty and seasonal, from the NY Times (thanks, Em):

And as day turns into night, I would light these, and maybe, oh maybe, we would switch to red wine and order pizza:

$12 candleholders from Crate and Barrel

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Filed under Art/Lit/Design, Eating, Entertaining, Libations, To Market

Fava Bean Dreamin’

Look here at these fava beans I saw at Dean and Deluca.  Spring is really, truly here. I would take this basket of favas and sit down at this sun-dappled table outside a rambling Tuscan villa, shelling the beans and when that was done, I would call my friends and say, hey, come over.

fava beans on display at D+D, left. A villa in Tuscany, left

We would toss the favas with a nutty pecorino, some torn mint and grassy olive oil.  We would break big loaves of bread and few bottles of wine and spend the afternoon here, at this long table under the shade.  We might get hungry again, so we make crostini with the leftovers.  I’ll tell you the recipes after the break.

That’s what I thought about when I saw these fava beans at Dean and Deluca.

Continue reading

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On the Table: Seared Scallop Salad

Here’s an idea for a super easy meal that can only get better depending on the quality of the ingredients you use.  I was standing in the Union Square Greenmarket recently, completely unprepared and slightly overwhelmed as usual, and ended up with a bag of crisp, peppery mesclun greens (you can’t believe how much better they taste than store bought containers), a jar of Rick’s Picks pepi pep peps (if you haven’t tried Rick’s Picks collection of deliciously pickled things, you MUST, it’s worth the $10 I promise), and fresh scallops from the fish dudes.

The next day, I made a seared scallop salad that took about 27 seconds to throw together and tasted so fresh and so good I think it’s worth repeating.  Really, you can throw anything in your salad, the most important thing is cooking the scallops right and getting them right on the salad so the greens can absorb the pan juices and get a little wilted and delicious.

Toss the scallops with salt, coarse black pepper and curry powder.  Set aside.

Clean the greens, slice up the pepi pep peps (red peppers pickled with chiles and ginger, yum), throw in some avocado (which I had sitting around, and I love) and whatever else you want.

Slice half a shallot nice and thin, mince the other half (for salad dressing)

Get about a tablespoon oil (I used grapeseed) nice and hot, shimmering but not smoking over medium high heat in a nonstick pan. You want the pan covered, but not swimming, in oil. Throw in the shallots and let them get crispy (I like crispy bits, plus it flavors the oil)

The pan should be sizzling when you add your scallops.  Let the first side get golden brown, about 3-4 minutes, and flip them to the other side using tongs.  You want the heat high because you’re cooking it for a short time, so it captures all the flavor on the outside, and the inside will cook, but it will remain juicy (and they’ll cook a bit after you remove them from heat).

Place them over your salad, and if you want, pour the pan juices over the salad.

For the dressing, an easy lemon vinaigrette is great: you need good extra virgin olive oil, the juice from a quick squeeze of half a lemon, mix in the shallots, some salt and pepper, and shake it until it emulsifies.  Done.

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Filed under Entertaining, Home Cook, Superior Foods, To Market

On the Table: Lamb Chops

Lamb Chops, Roast Potatoes, Red Wine

I’ve been a lamb-hater most of my life.  I blame a very dark, painful childhood run-in with cajun lamb burgers, which my parents thought was a good idea.

A couple of years ago I realized I had to learn to love lamb.  It was so revered, I became determined to let go of this childish food phobia that made me think of dirty gym socks everytime I got near a roast lamb.  I took it easy, heavily saucing my lamb and trying stews.

Then came along two perfectly seasoned, juicy lamb chops.  They were covered in herbs- marjoram, thyme, rosemary- you name it- and cooked over very high heat in the pan with a little olive oil.  I am now addicted, and I encourage you to try them.  They are pretty simple, and here’s a good recipe to follow from Bon Appetit:

Interested in wine?  This 2003 Raspay Monastrell was DELICIOUS, it’s $22.99 and you can buy it at the awesome New York City wine store Pasanella and Sons (plus it’s a really beautiful bottle).  Here’s the link.

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Filed under Eating, Entertaining, Home Cook

The Only Roast Chicken Recipe You Need

Sunday Supper

Forget everything else.  Thomas Keller’s “My Favorite Simple Roast Chicken” recipe so perfect and so simple, to try this once is to have mastered it.  By “raining” salt over the skin, you create a moisture shield in a sense, so the skin gets super crispy but the meat stays incredibly moist.  I made it for Sunday supper, with mixed greens (perfect vinaigrette recipe from Barefoot Contessa) and roast vegetables.  The yams I roasted in a separate pan with olive oil and a little salt.  The carrots and mushrooms I tossed in the pan with the chicken, and after an hour the carrots caramelized into something magical.  I’ve pasted the recipe from epicurious.com below.

photo of Keller's chicken, from epicurious.com

  • INGREDIENTS
  • One 2- to 3-pound farm-raised chicken
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced thyme (optional)
  • Unsalted butter
  • Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rinse the chicken, then dry it very well with paper towels, inside and out. The less it steams, the drier the heat, the better.

Salt and pepper the cavity, then truss the bird. Trussing is not difficult, and if you roast chicken often, it’s a good technique to feel comfortable with. When you truss a bird, the wings and legs stay close to the body; the ends of the drumsticks cover the top of the breast and keep it from drying out. Trussing helps the chicken to cook evenly, and it also makes for a more beautiful roasted bird.

Now, salt the chicken—I like to rain the salt over the bird so that it has a nice uniform coating that will result in a crisp, salty, flavorful skin (about 1 tablespoon). When it’s cooked, you should still be able to make out the salt baked onto the crisp skin. Season to taste with pepper.

Place the chicken in a sauté pan or roasting pan and, when the oven is up to temperature, put the chicken in the oven. I leave it alone—I don’t baste it, I don’t add butter; you can if you wish, but I feel this creates steam, which I don’t want. Roast it until it’s done, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove it from the oven and add the thyme, if using, to the pan. Baste the chicken with the juices and thyme and let it rest for 15 minutes on a cutting board.

Remove the twine. Separate the middle wing joint and eat that immediately. Remove the legs and thighs. I like to take off the backbone and eat one of the oysters, the two succulent morsels of meat embedded here, and give the other to the person I’m cooking with. But I take the chicken butt for myself. I could never understand why my brothers always fought over that triangular tip—until one day I got the crispy, juicy fat myself. These are the cook’s rewards. Cut the breast down the middle and serve it on the bone, with one wing joint still attached to each. The preparation is not meant to be superelegant. Slather the meat with fresh butter. Serve with mustard on the side and, if you wish, a simple green salad. You’ll start using a knife and fork, but finish with your fingers, because it’s so good.

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Filed under Eating, Entertaining, Home Cook, Superior Foods

Food Surfing

 

photo by Karen Mordechai of Sunday Suppers

photo by Karen Mordechai of Sunday Suppers

 

 

On this lovely Friday before Labor Day, I share with you an incredible food blog that you should read (in addition to reading mine!).  Sunday Suppers revolves around cooking classes/supper with friends.  Each post is devoted to a meal or a dish, and the incredible photographs will make you swoon (with hunger and desire to have a Sunday supper of your own).  If you’re hosting this weekend, you’ll undoubtedly be inspired to cook something from this website.  I had a hard time choosing just one photograph to feature here, so I suggest you click to visit Sunday Suppers.  If you’re lucky enough to live in NYC, you can even sign up for one of their cooking classes.

 

photo by Karen Mordechai for Sunday Suppers

photo by Karen Mordechai for Sunday Suppers

 

 

http://sunday-suppers.blogspot.com/

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