In the past, I’ve done the gladiator diet and the sumo diet. Today it’s the ninja diet. The ninja were pretty much vegans. They avoided meat, fish and dairy. They also avoided foods that have an odor so no one could smell them when they were sneaking around in the dark.
What they did eat was mainly whole grain rice and wheat, potatoes, mushrooms, chestnuts and pine nuts.
To quench their thirst the had “thirst balls” made of plum pulp, rye ergot and sugar. For hunger, they used hunger balls – carrots, flour, yam and licorice root steeped in sake.Ninja Encyclopedia
All in all, I think it was easier and tastier to eat like a gladiator or sumo wrestler than a ninja.
This is the first time I’ve ever made potato croquettes. They were pretty tasty but it wasn’t easy. Mashing the potatoes was hard work and breading and frying the croquettes was time-consuming and sloppy. Maybe it gets better with practice but the next time I want potato croquettes, I think I’ll just go to a Sicilian-run pizzeria and buy them.
Boil the potatoes in their skins for 30 to 40 minutes. Drain them and let cool 15 minutes then peel. Mash the potatoes and let them come to room temperature uncovered so they dry out.
Add 2 eggs, the Parmigiano, 5 tbsps. flour and parsley. Taste and season with the salt and pepper. Use an ice cream scoop or a spoon and take some of the potato mixture and form it into a small canoe-shaped roll.
Roll the croquettes in the flour and shake off excess. Then dip the beaten egg. Drip off excess and then roll in the breadcrumbs. Let the breaded croquettes rest 20 minutes before frying.
Heat oil until a bit of the potato dropped into it sizzles. Fry the croquettes turning until they are evenly golden browned on all sides. This should make about 20 to 25 croquettes.
There’s a stretch along the Hudson River on the Upper West Side that used to be train yards and other industrial uses that is now the Hudson River Park. There are sculpture installations and an old gantry crane that’s sculptural in its own right.
At about 70th Street you’ll find Pier I Cafe. (Use the park entrance at 68th St.) You place your order at a counter and they give you your drinks and a pager that will notify you when your food is ready.
They take some time to prepare but once you get the knack it isn’t too bad. They’re tasty, easy to eat and worth the trouble.
The hard part –
Remove and discard the wing tips. Separate the remaining pieces at the joint.
Starting with the lager piece with the single bone – with a sharp pointed knife separate the skin and tendons from the bone at the narrow end and begin to slide the meat downward scraping with the knife as you go until you end up with a ball of meat at the end of a smooth bone.
For the smaller piece with two bones – separate the two bones at the pointed end. Continue as before but this time with two bones. When you’re halfway down begin to twist and wiggle the thinner bone until it breaks off and you can remove it. Slide the rest of the meat down scraping the bone as you go.
The easy part –
Mix the salt. pepper, paprika and garlic salt and season the lollipops with it.
Make a marinade of the vinegar, sriracha and brown sugar. Put the lollipops in the marinade and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Remove the wings from the marinade, dripping off the excess. Coat them in the flour, let them rest 20 minutes and fry them until dark golden and the coating begins to caramelize.
Fine and Schapiro’s Kosher Restaurant and Delicatessen had been on the Upper West Side of Manhattan since 1927. That’s about 80 years of excellent pastrami. And although that’s my standard order, it isn’t all they serve – MENU.
Something to pick on while you’re waiting for your order.
Lean pastrami on rye, pickles and a hot cherry pepper – perfect!
I just got these at a local green market. Making stuffed zucchini flowers isn’t an exact science so I can’t give you exact ingredient measurements.
I got about 20 flowers and started by pulling out the pistil. It’s hard and takes up room that can be used for stuffing.
I mixed 3 heaping tablespoons of ricotta with 1 tablespoon of grated Parmigiana. I tasted it and it didn’t need any additional salt. I put 1 to 2 espresso spoons of stuffing into each flower depending on their size. The petals stick to the stuffing so there’s no need to tie them.
I rolled them in flour and then beat an egg with 2 tablespoons of cold water to thin it. I dipped them in the egg wash and then rolled them in the flour again.
Fry them until they’re yellowish-gold, drain and serve.
A few weeks ago, I posted a recipe for Anchovy Tomato Sauce that I got from a pizzeria chef I know. I thought it was pretty good. A friend of mine showed it to his Sicilian grandmother who, to put it mildly, didn’t approve of it. The differences in the two recipes don’t seem too extreme to me but to her, there’s a world of difference. Out of respect for Nona Filomena, I’m posting her recipe. I tried them both and prefer Nona’s.
Filomena didn’t exactly give me a breakdown of ingredients and preparation so I’ll paraphrase our phone conversation and fill in a few blanks.
“You start with a small can of alici (anchovies) in a frying pan with some oil (olive). When they start to dissolve, put in your garlic (2 cloves) finely chopped so you don’t mistake it for a pinole. You cook that a little bit (5 minutes)and then put in a small can of paste (6 oz.). Stir it until it absorbs the oil and then a little of the pasta water to thin it, but not too much. Put in the pinoles (pine nuts) and currants (about 1/3 cup each). Now, a little sugar (two teaspoons) to cut the acid of the tomatoes. Let it cook until it’s done (about 20 minutes) and maybe if you need it, a little more pasta water. You should taste it then. There’s probably enough salt from the alici but if you like it salty you might want more. No cheese with this but you put a bowl of fried breadcrumbs on the table and people help themselves.”
A few of Nona Filomena’s comments:
No parsley in this sauce. It doesn’t belong.
You make this with fettuccine. No other kind of pasta.
You don’t put the toasted breadcrumbs in the sauce as it’s cooking because they get soggy. You want them crisp.
It’s all right to finish cooking the fettuccine in the sauce but if you’re making two or three pounds when the whole family is coming, you don’t have to do that.
I adapted this from an Alison Roman recipe that I found in the Food Section of the New York Times.
Mix the lemon and shallots in a bowl with salt and black pepper. Season the room temperature chicken with salt and black pepper. Cook, turning until both sides are deeply browned. Remove the chicken to a bowl and leave all the fat behind.
Add the lemon shallot mix to the pan and cook until the lemon starts to brown.
Add the spinach to the pan with salt and black pepper and a 1/3 cup oil, cover and lower the heat until it starts to wilt. Add the beans and mix gently so you don’t mash them. Return the chicken to the pan for a few minutes and serve.