Whenever I see a pumpkin I think of Halloween and Thanksgiving. I wouldn’t normally think of Venice. I have a friend who spent some time there who told me that pumpkin (zucca in Italian) is a common ingredient in Venetian cuisine. He’s had it pureed in soup, with pasta, and as a side with meat or fish. Simple roasted pumpkin is even available from street vendors.
1 pumpkin about the size of a cantaloupe
½ tsp. salt
A few sprinkles of nutmeg
3 tbsp. olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400o.
Wash the pumpkin and cut off the top and bottom. Pull out the seeds * and scrape out the fibers using the edge of a spoon or a melon baller. Cut the pumpkin in 1 inch wide slices.
Toss the slices in a bowl with the salt, nutmeg, and oil. Place them in a baking pan skin side down and roast for 25 minutes. Serve plain or as a side dish. You can eat the skin.
* If you like you can also roast the seeds. Mix 1 cup of rinsed and dried seeds with 2 tsp. melted butter and a dash of salt. Place them in a single layer on a baking pan and roast at 300o for 45 minutes or until golden brown stirring occasionally.
I found this recipe in the New York Times a few weeks ago. Steak au Poivre is fairly common but that technique also works with swordfish. Swordfish au Poivre, same recipe, different results.
1 swordfish steak (about 1 lb.)
1 kosher salt
1 ½ tbsp. crushed black peppercorns
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
2 tbsp. butter
½ cup brandy
2/3 cup heavy cream
Blot dry and lightly salt the swordfish. Apply the pepper to both sides, pressing it into the fish. Heat the oil in a heavy pan and sear the fish on both sides. Remove it to a warn serving dish.
Add the butter to the pan and sauté the shallot for a few minutes. Add the Cognac carefully (it might ignite) and stir until the alcohol burns off. Then add the cream and parsley and stir for a few minutes. Pour the sauce over the fish, cut into portions, and serve.
Illegal Coffee – Gastro-Obscura has an interesting article on coffee’s long history in the Middle East.
In Istanbul, Drinking Coffee in Public Was Once Punishable by Death
Rulers throughout Europe and the Middle East once tried to ban the black brew.
By MARK HAY
“. . . Odd though it may sound, Murad IV was neither the first nor last person to crack down on coffee drinking; he was just arguably the most brutal and successful in his efforts. Between the early 16th and late 18th centuries, a host of religious influencers and secular leaders, many but hardly all in the Ottoman Empire, took a crack at suppressing the black brew. . . “
This is an adaptation of Chef Lomonaco’s sea scallops with brown butter recipe. He was the chef at Windows of the World at the World Trade Center until September 2001.
1 lb. sea scallops (about 14)
Salt and black pepper
¼ cup olive oil
3 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. finely chopped shallot
2 tbsp. capers
Juice of ½ lemon
½ cup chopped parsley
Pat the scallops dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a pan on high heat. Sauté the scallops until browned. Don’t crowd the pan. If the pan isn’t hot enough or too crowded the scallops will over-cook without browning.
Remove the scallops from the pan and add the butter. When it melts add the shallot and capers. Cook for 2-3 minutes and add the lemon juice and parsley. Return the scallops to the pan and coat with the sauce.
I would serve 3 scallops for an appetizer and 7 for a main course.
Once all the slicing and chopping is done this is a quick meal. If you’ve got a wok, use it. If not, a large frying pan will work. If you can’t find ‘toasted’ sesame oil for the marinade, use olive oil.
1 lb. skirt steak, trimmed, sliced against grain into 1/4 inch strips
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. plus 1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 medium Vidalia onion sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
3 inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
Black pepper to taste
3 tbsp. room temperature butter
1 tbsp. lemon juice
In a bowl, toss ingredients 1 to 5 and let sit at least 20 minutes. Place the vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the steak in a single lawyer, cook about 2 minutes until the edges a lightly browned.
Turn the steak over and add the onions, ginger, black pepper, and 1/3 cup of water. Cook, tossing until the onion wilts.
Turn off the heat and add the butter, lemon juice, and the remaining 1 tbsp of soy sauce. Stir until everything is coated with the sauce. Serve with rice.
“. . . More potato chips (and pretzels, candy, ice cream, and chocolate) are produced over these few counties than anywhere else on Earth. Pennsylvania leads the country in production of all of these products, and each individual snack has its own fairly standard story of why it came to be so successful in the Keystone State. . .”
You can read the whole article on Pennsylvania Snacks here.
This is an old desert recipe that’s not too common in most restaurants today but still very popular in New Orleans, especially Brennan’s where it was invented. It’s prepared and served table-side and the flaming presentation is impressive. Be careful when you light it – use a long reach lighter or wooden match.
Ingredients (1 banana per serving):
1 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 banana cut lengthwise and in half
A sprinkle of cinnamon
1 tsp. banana liqueur
1 oz. light rum
1 scoops of vanilla ice cream
Melt and mix the butter and sugar in a pan on medium heat. Brown the banana pieces lightly on both sides, sprinkle with cinnamon and remove for the pan to a dish with the ice cream. Pour the banana liqueur and rum to the pan and carefully light it. Spoon the sauce over the bananas and ice cream and serve it while it’s hot.
Banana Rum Old Fashioned
If you’d like something else to do with your Banana Liqueur, try this variation on an Old Fashion. I got this a recipe in Food & Wine magazine.
1 oz. Bourbon
1 oz. white rum
1/2 oz. banana liqueur
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Orange peel garnish
Put all of ingredients except the orange peel in a mixing glass and stir with ice. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice and garnish with the orange peel.