I have some problems with Shrimp Scampi. First, there’s the name. Is scampi a method of preparation or the name of what you’re eating? Is a scampi a shrimp or is it a langoustine, crayfish, a prawn or maybe even a Norwegian lobster? If it is a shrimp then when you say the name of the dish, Shrimp Scampi, you’re really saying “Shrimp Shrimp.”
I’ll let that go and deal with my real problem with this dish. It’s too garlicky and oily and not shrimpy and saucy enough. I’ve adapted this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen and with less oil, the addition of stock, poaching instead of frying and sliced instead of chopped garlic, it’s a lot better.
Start by heating 2 tbsps. olive oil in a pan. Add the shells and stir until they begin to color – about 5 minutes. Add the wine and simmer for another 5 minutes. Strain out the shells and save the stock.
Wipe out the pan and add the remaining olive oil. Add the garlic, black and red pepper. Simmer the garlic slowly and on a low flame for a few minutes, then add the reserved stock. Add the shrimp, cover and simmer for 5 minutes on medium heat.
While it’s simmering, mix the lemon juice with the corn starch. Remove the shrimp from the pan. Add the lemon-corn starch mix and 4 tbsps. butter. Whisk until it’s smooth. If it’s too thick add a little water and continue to whisk.
Check for seasoning. Return the shrimp to the pan, add the parsley, stir and simmer for 5 minutes and serve.
There’s Scotch, Irish and Canadian whiskey and in America we have Rye and Bourbon. Here are three classic cocktails made with American whiskey.
This one was invented at the Monteleone Hotel in New Orleans, and is named for the “The French Quarter” – le Vieux Carré (“Old Square”).
Mix all the ingredients in a rocks glass with ice.
Not unlike a Mint Julep but with a bit of lemon added to offset the sweetness.
Muddle the lemon and 3 sprigs of mint in a shaker. Add the bourbon, simple syrup, ice and shake. Strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice and garnish with a mint sprig.
My wife Bridget and I went to four bars in the New Orleans’ French Quarter to try Sazeracs and take away the best recipe. This was our favorite but after four Sazeracs I could only remember the recipe and not the name of the bar where I got it – maybe the Hotel Monteleone?Put ½ shot of Anisette in a small rocks glass. Coat the sides of the glass with it and then add some ice. In another small rocks glass add: a few dashes of Peychauds Bitters and 1 tsp of simple syrup. Mix, add ice and stir. Add a shot of rye and stir. Empty ice and excess Anisette from 1st rocks glass and strain mix of Peychauds, syrup and rye into it. Float a few dashes of Angostura on top.
*Simple syrup – Heat one cup of sugar in one cup of water. Stir until it’s clear and liquid.
ILLUMINATING SALSA AS A SOCIAL MOVEMENT FROM THE 1960s TO TODAY
The story of New York salsa—an up-tempo performance of percussive Latin music and Afro-Caribbean-infused dance—is one of cultural fusion, artistry, and skilled marketing. Rhythm & Power: Salsa in New York illuminates salsa as a social movement from the 1960s to the present, exploring how immigrant and migrant communities in New York City — most notably from Cuba and Puerto Rico — nurtured and developed salsa, growing it from a local movement playing out in the city’s streets and clubs into a global phenomenon. The exhibition also looks at the role of record companies and stores in supporting and promoting the movement, and salsa’s often-overlooked ties to activism in the city. Rhythm & Power features dance costumes and musical instruments from some of salsa’s leading figures, as well as audio and video that bring the sounds and movement of salsa to life.
I donated some of my photos from the early days of Salsa in New York for use in the exhibit and on promotional literature.
Go to the Museum’s website for full program details.
A fairly simple recipe with just a few ingredients but when it’s done it has complex flavors. And it looks like you put a lot more effort into it than you actually did.
Preheat the oven to 450° with the rack toward the top. Finely chop 1 garlic clove and place it in a bowl with salt, black pepper and red pepper, oregano and 1 tbsp olive oil. Thoroughly coat the room temperature chicken with this mixture.
Depending on their size, cut the tomatoes in halves or quarters. Cut the remaining garlic in half lengthwise. Add salt, black pepper and ¼ cup of olive oil and toss until coated. Arrange in an even layer in a pan.
Cut each breast in half and place the chicken pieces on top of the tomato garlic layer. Roast until done – about 40 to 50 minutes – then 5 minutes under the broiler. Let chicken rest for 10 minutes and serve.
I didn’t realize it until I read it in the New York Times this morning that one of my standard breakfasts is something typically New York. You can get a buttered roll and coffee at any street cart or deli and what more would you need to start your day? A buttered roll isn’t sticky like a Danish or greasy like an egg sandwich and it doesn’t make crumbs like a muffin. So, it’s the perfect breakfast.
Rushing home to get on my computer for a one pm meeting, I still had time to stop at the deli and get something to go. I’d mute my mic while I ate and no one would ever know the difference. Glad there was no line when I arrived, I was upset to see Ali the Master Sandwich Maker wasn’t behind the counter. He took pride in his work, as any craftsman should. But he wasn’t there. Instead, a pretty young woman new to the deli stood in his place. Pretty or not, could she fill Ali’s shoes and live up to his excellent sandwich making skills?
“Hi, where’s Ali?”
She smiled but didn’t answer. Maybe she didn’t hear me.
I let it go and said, “Ham and Swiss cheese on a roll with mustard and lettuce, please.”
She held up two rolls, one on each side of her cheerful face, sesame on the left and poppy on the right. Now that was something Ali never did. He’d just pick up any old roll and that’s what I got. I pointed to the poppy and started to think that maybe his replacement wasn’t going to be too bad after all.
I got home and to my desk just in time, about two minutes to one. The meeting started and I muted so they couldn’t hear the crinkling of wax paper as I unwrapped my ham and Swiss. It was a good thing they couldn’t hear me because I said something unprintable when I saw orange American cheese instead of the Swiss I had asked for – very disappointing. As I explained some figures on a spread sheet to my associates, I quietly began to peel off the offending American cheese when I almost cursed again – mayo instead of mustard.
That was two strikes against the new sandwich maker. As quickly as I could, I ran to the fridge and grabbed the Gulden’s, reached in a drawer for a knife to spread it and got back to my meeting before anyone missed me. Most of the mayo was on the lettuce so I removed it and scrapped the rest of it off the bread. My desk began to look like a compost heap.
I thought I was finally ready to eat but no, I couldn’t. She might have been pretty, but she didn’t understand the underlying structure of a well-made sandwich. One has to be built, with each item carefully placed to evenly cover the bread to the right thickness, as Ali did. She cut a few slices of ham, folded them over and just laid them there leaving one side higher than the other. And she left bare spots, where a bite would result in a mouthful of bread and nothing else. I had to relocate each slice and by the time I corrected her amateurish mistakes, my keyboard was smeared with mayo and mustard.
Could she have sabotaged my sandwich on purpose? She seemed so sweet I couldn’t accept that. The only other explanation was that she didn’t understand English, and not just that, she must have come from a culture that didn’t understand sandwiches. When I made my order, she got “ham” and “cheese” but all the rest seemed to have been guess work on her part.
I half-heartedly ate my sandwich and continued with the meeting but I was distracted. I thought about the time Judge Sol Wachtler was in the news a few years back. Dissatisfied with the way the New York grand jury system worked, he felt it should be done away with. He said prosecutors had so much influence they could always get an indictment. They could even get the jury to “indict a ham sandwich.” If ever a ham sandwich deserved to be indicted, it was the one I had just eaten.
Another meeting, another sandwich – just right this time.
This is a Sicilian recipe that my Aunt Lena, who married a Sicilian, used to make. She called it simply “rigatoni with eggplant.” I didn’t learn that it was formally known as “Pasta alla Norma” until I was an adult. It was named for the heroine in Bellini’s Norma.
* Ricotta salata comes in 2 types – fresh for eating and dry for grating. If you can’t get it, use parmigiana.
Slice the eggplant into about 1/2-inch rounds (don’t peel it). Salt and drain it. Cook it over medium-high heat in a pot, in olive oil adding more oil as needed. Do it in batches so it doesn’t crowd. Cook it until it’s browned and soft. Don’t worry about a few burnt edges – that adds flavor. Move it to a plate and don’t drain it or put it on paper towels.
Using the same pot the eggplant was cooked in, add some oil and on medium heat fry garlic with salt, black pepper and red pepper. After a few minutes when the garlic begins to color, add the tomatoes. Cook for about 20-25 minutes on medium. Taste for seasoning.
Cook the pasta until almost done. Cut the eggplant into approximately 1-inch pieces (they’ll be irregularly shaped and that’s OK) and add to the tomato sauce.
Gently stir it in. Drain the almost cooked pasta (saving a cup of pasta water in case the sauce is too dry) and toss it with the sauce. Again, gently, so the eggplant doesn’t break up too much. Serve with freshly grated ricotta salada.