Chicken with White Beans, Spinach and Lemon

Chicken with White Beans, Spinach and Lemon

 

I adapted this from an Alison Roman recipe that I found in the Food Section of the New York Times.

Chicken with White Beans, Spinach and Lemon

Chicken with White Beans, Spinach and Lemon

 

Chicken with White Beans, Spinach and Lemon

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.Chicken with White Beans, Spinach and Lemon
Add the lemon shallot mix to the pan and cook until the lemon starts to brown.

Chicken with White Beans, Spinach and Lemon

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.

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Excerpt from The Elusive Ramos Gin Fizz

Excerpt from The Elusive Ramos Gin Fizz

The search started with a Sazerac and finally ended with the Ramos Gin Fizz.

 

 

. . . After we settled in our hotel there was time for a late dinner. We waited for a table at the hotel restaurant bar and this was our first chance to try a Ramos Gin Fizz. We told the bartender that we’d heard about this traditional New Orleans drink and would like to try it. He was young and he was stumped. . . He suggested  another famous Big Easy cocktail, a Sazarac.

. . . It was almost dinner time and we had reservations at Galatoires, another one of my father’s recommendations. It was an old New Orleans institution with classic Creole dishes and jackets required for gentlemen.

. . . From base to top there were subtle and slightly varying shades of almost pure white going from the deepest hue at the bottom to a perfectly white, glowing heavenly cloud of thick foam at the top. It appeared to be both dense and light at the same time. . . The best way for me to describe the experience is to imagine the tastiest slice of lemon meringue pie anyone ever ate; now imagine drinking it while in a garden filled with fragrant tropical flowers.

. . . Marcel said, “These jack-leg young bartenders don’t care to keep up with the old Noo Awlin traditions. The Ramos Gin Fizz has been around longer than jazz. It was first concocted by a gentleman bartender named Henry Ramos before Kid Ory or Jelly Roll Morton ever even played any music.”

. . .  “It’s not so much what’s in it but the time and care you take to get it all together.” . . .  I ordered another round just so we could witness the “time and care” Marcel would put into his creation.

Sazerac and Ramos Gin Fizz recipes

The Elusive Ramos Gin Fizz– the whole story in Deep South Magazine


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Persian Fried Chicken

Persian Fried Chicken

Persian Fried Chicken

Persian or more accurately, Iranian cuisine is more than just kabobs. Iran covers deserts and snowy mountains and its cuisine is just as varied as its landscape.

Persian Fried Chicken

Persian Fried Chicken

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Soak saffron in 2 tbsps. warm water for 10 minutes. Crush with the back of a spoon and combine saffron, garlic and yogurt in a large bowl. Whisk until blended and smooth.Persian Fried Chicken
Add chicken, coat with yogurt mix, cover and refrigerate overnight.
In a large dish, mix flour, paprika, half of the mint, salt and pepper. Shake off excess marinade and coat the chicken pieces in the flour mixture.Persian Fried Chicken
Shake off excess flour and fry it until golden brown. I got this very large frying pan at a restaurant supply store. If yours isn’t that big, don’t crowd the pan – fry in batches if you need to. Be generous with the oil. It should come up to about 1/2 way to the thickness of the chicken pieces. If you’re using a thermometer, the internal temperature for thighs should be 165 degrees.Persian Fried Chicken
Drain and serve with the lemon wedges and sprinkled with the chopped walnuts and remaining mint.Persian Fried Chicken

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Arugula Pesto

Arugula Pesto

Arugula Pesto

I adapted this from Michele Becci’s recipe. You can serve it hot or cold as a pasta salad.

Arugula Pesto

Arugula Pesto

Put a pot of water on the stove for the pasta.

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the walnut pieces to the hot, dry pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until the walnuts are toasted and brown, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, make the pesto: combine the arugula, walnuts, and garlic in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.  With the processor running, add the olive oil in a steady stream through the feed tube. Process until smooth.  Add in the Parmesan and lemon juice. Pulse until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and drain pasta. Place in a large bowl and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil to prevent sticking. Add in the lemon zest. Toss.

Add the pesto into the pasta and stir to incorporate. If too dry, add a little of the pasta water. Taste and adjust seasonings. Stir in a few handfuls of arugula and top with the toasted walnut pieces. Finish with a healthy drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.Arugula Pesto


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Pork with Plums and Red Onions

Pork with Plums and Red Onions

Pork with Plums and Red Onions

I got this one from Martha Stuart. It’s quick, easy and very good.

Pork with Plums and Red Onions

  • 1 lb. pork tenderloin, sliced &  pounded thin
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • 4 plums, cut into wedges
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Slice pork tenderloin in one-inch pieces. Put the pieces between two sheets of Saran Wrap and pound into 1/4 to 1/2 inch filets.

Pork with Plums and Red Onions

Pork with Plums and Red Onions

Season with salt and brown in olive oil and butter over medium-high heat and remove.

Pork with Plums and Red Onions

Sauté red onion over medium heat until soft and translucent then add plums.

Pork with Plums and Red Onions

Pork with Plums and Red Onions

Add vinegar, a pat of butter and stir until bubbling. Return pork to pan and toss.

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Anchovy Tomato Sauce

Anchovy Tomato Sauce – (pasta con acchiughe e pomadoro)

 

I’m not going to try to convince anyone who doesn’t like anchovies to eat them. Just keep in mind that anchovies dissolved in sauce like this aren’t the same a eating them directly from the can. Give it a try – you might like it. I called it ????? Tomato Sauce in the subscriber email so you anchovy haters wouldn’t ignore it.

*toasted breadcrumbs

Put up a pot of water for the 1 lb. of pasta – spaghetti or perciatelli is good with this sauce.


Put the anchovies and oil from the can into a large pan with an additional ¼ cup of olive oil. Add the garlic, pepper and half of the parsley and sauté on a low heat until the anchovies dissolve.

Add tomato paste and after it’s blended in with the garlic and oil and caramelized, add the water. Blend and simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes. Check for seasoning – the anchovies are salty so you shouldn’t need any more salt.


When the pasta is almost done add it to the pan with the sauce to finish cooking. Add some pasta water to thin the sauce. Mix in the coloratura di alici, half of the breadcrumbs and remaining parsley just before serving. Serve with the remaining breadcrumbs.


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Japanese Hospital Food

Japanese Hospital Food

If you’ve ever spent time in a hospital you’ll know that the food they serve isn’t exactly gourmet. It’s far from it. The best you can say is that it’s well-balanced and nutritious. But it’s bland, tasteless and unappetizing. It’ll get you through you stay at the hospital without starving but it’s nothing to write home about. Most patients, if they’re not on a restricted diet, have friends and family bring them real food when they visit. It looks like this would be unnecessary in Japan.
Recently an American woman gave birth in a Japanese hospital and was so impressed by the food she was served that she photographed it.

Japanese Hospital Food

“Chicken with mushroom sauce, braised pumpkin and pork, daikon carrot salad, rice, miso soup, chawan mushi.”

Japanese Hospital Food

“Mackerel, konbu salad, natto, spinach salad, miso soup, rice, milk, green tea.”

Japanese Hospital Food

“Chicken fingers with shredded cabbage salad, bitter melon stir fry, agedashi tofu, carrot salad, rice, miso soup.”

Japanese Hospital Food

“Sea bream, pasta salad, chicken meatballs, pickled daikon, rice, miso soap, chawan mushi, green tea.”

Japanese Hospital Food

“Forget this fish name, braised vegetables, niku jaga (meat and potatoes), cucumber and baby corn salad, rice, miso soup, green tea.”

Japanese Hospital Food

“Fried fish with tartar sauce, braised mountain potatoes, hijiki salad, spinach and carrot stir fry, rice, green tea.”

Japanese Hospital Food

“Salmon, tofu, spinach salad, natto, miso soup, rice, milk.”

Japanese Hospital Food

“Final Oiwai Dinner – Camembert and raisins, roast beef, mashed potatoes, kabocha, lotus root with gravy, corn soup, rice, salad, tiramisu, fruit, orange juice, green tea.”

Japanese Hospital Food

If you’ve ever been to a US hospital, this is what you could expect.

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Cooking with Garlic

Paul Scorvino slicing garlic in Martin Scorsese’s Good Fellas

 

Cooking with Garlic

Cooking with Garlic

Lots of people think that all Italian food MUST be made with tons of garlic. That’s a myth started by Italian restaurants that served mostly non-Italians. Garlic is a useful aromatic. It makes certain recipes taste better but it should never overwhelm the dish.

Sauteing it slowly and over low heat is the best way to get its flavor. It softens but doesn’t brown. A hint of golden color is fine but brown means burnt and bitter. Minced garlic cloves burn more quickly then sliced, so sliced is easier to work with. Large chunky slices are useful sometimes because you can see them and avoid eating them (if you want to).


Everybody knows I’m into kitchen gadgets so at Christmas and birthdays I get some interesting ones. Here are two that are basically miniature mandolins for garlic. They both work well and make easily make thin, even slices.Cooking with Garlic

Cooking with Garlic


A micro-plane is quick and convenient. It makes a fine pulp. A garlic press does the same but eliminates the garlic fibers and adds a more gentle flavor.Cooking with Garlic

Cooking with Garlic


. . . or you can do it like Paul Scorvino with a razor or use a standard utility knife the old fashioned way like my mother and aunts did. A sharp knife and years of practice is all you’ll need.Cooking with Garlic


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The Simplest Pasta Sauce

The Simplest Pasta Sauce

The Simplest Pasta Sauce

This is the simplest pasta sauce I can think of. Just 3 basic ingredients – tomatoes, garlic and olive oil. You can use any kind of ripe fresh tomatoes or a 28 oz. can of San Marzanno tomatoes would work too.
These 3 ingredients plus pasta, water, salt and pepper make a meal. You can build on it with other ingredients. You can simply add some grated parmigiana, torn basil leaves and a few drops of olive oil when serving. Maybe brown some sausage or saute a few shrimp in the pan before you add the tomatoes then simmer them in the sauce. There are lots of possibilities.The Simplest Pasta Sauce

The Simplest Pasta Sauce

Preparation:
Put on a pot of water for the pasta.
Start the sauce  by lightly sauteing the garlic in the oil until it’s pale orange, not brown. I prefer it cut into large pieces but do it any way you like. Use a low heat and take your time to flavor the oil. Add salt, black and red pepper depending on your taste. (You can stop right there if you want. In addition to being the base for lots of things, seasoned garlic and oil is all you need for a standard dish – PASTA AGLIO E OLIO.)
The Simplest Pasta Sauce
Add the tomatoes. They can be just roughly chopped alla rustica, or cored, skinned and de-seeded, depending on how much time you have. Let them simmer while the pasta water comes to a boil. As they soften you can break them up with the back of a wooden spoon.
The Simplest Pasta Sauce
When the pound of pasta is almost done, drain  it and add it to the sauce to finish cooking. Instead of absorbing water the pasta can absorb some of the sauce. Add a bit of the pasta water to loosen the sauce.The Simplest Pasta Sauce

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