Monday, November 10, 2008

A Hearty Meal for a Fall Evening

The second night during our weekend getaway in Mattituck, I made a quintessential fall meal for me and the Prince: parmasean crusted chicken cutlets, potato gratin, and honeyed carrots. It was delicious with all the flavors complimenting one another well. Here are the recipes for the potatoes and carrots...enjoy with a nice, crisp beer!

Scalloped Potato Gratin (courtesy of Tyler Florence)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 sprig fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch thick slices
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for broiling
(I used gruyere - its a better cheese for potato gratin!)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a saucepan, heat up the cream with a sprig of thyme, chopped garlic and nutmeg.
While cream is heating up, butter a casserole dish. Place a layer of potato in an overlapping pattern and season with salt and pepper. Remove cream from heat, then pour a little over the potatoes. Top with some grated Parmesan. Make 2 more layers. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Sprinkle some more Parmesan and broil until cheese browns, about 5 minutes.

Honey Glazed Carrots (courtesy of Sunny Anderson)
Kosher Salt
1 pound baby carrots
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add salt and then carrots and cook until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the carrots and add back to pan with butter, honey and lemon juice. Cook until a glaze coats the carrots, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley.

A Fork in the Ratatouille

This weekend the Prince and I had a lovely getaway on the North Fork of Long Island in Mattituck. I decided to cook both nights we stayed there, and the first night I made a light and delicious dish of Ratatouille with pasta, paired with a Simi Chardonnay. It came out well. The only issue was that I halved this recipe and there was still plenty of left over! I suggest halving it, unless you are having a large dinner party.

Ratatouille with Penne (courtesy of
2 eggplants (1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 onions, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
coarse salt to taste
4 yellow squash (1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large red bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
8 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped (I used 1 can of plum tomatoes when I halved this, use 2 for this)
7 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 pounds penne rigate (with ridges) (I used cavatappi with ridges)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
Accompaniment: grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Preheat oven to 450°F. Stir together eggplants, onions, 1/4 cup oil, and kosher salt in a large roasting pan, then roast mixture in middle of oven, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. Stir in squash, bell peppers, 2 tablespoons oil, and more kosher salt and roast mixture, stirring occasionally, until bell peppers are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. While vegetables are roasting, simmer tomatoes, garlic, thyme, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, and kosher salt in a heavy saucepan, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir tomatoes into roasted vegetables and season ratatouille. Cook penne rigate in a 6-qt. pot of boiling salted water until al dente and drain. While pasta is cooking, stir parsley and basil into ratatouille and season. Toss penne rigate with 1/3 of ratatouille and serve topped with cheese.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Comfort in a Can

I got really annoyed a month back when someone told my beloved Cookbook Junkie ( that real cooks don't use canned soup. Excuse me? Sometimes even the best of chef's are in the mood for a comforting casserole in classic American style! I made one for myself on this particular evening and it was delicious...

Comfort Casserole a la Amy

1 pound of medium sized shells, cooked in salted water al dente
1 can of Campbell's Cream of Broccoli Soup
1 soup can full of 2% lowfat milk
1 cup of diced ham
1 cup of frozen peas, thawed
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients into a casserole dish and cook at 350 degrees in the oven until hot and bubbly!

No debate here - it was good!

During the Vice Presidential Debate, I made my boyfriend and I a meal of lamb chops, green beans with onions, and Paula Deen's Oven Roasted Red Potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic. The lamb chops marinated in olive oil, fresh minced garlic, and salt and pepper before I sauteed them in a pan. The green beans and onions were sauteed in some olive oil, salt, pepper, and then topped off with some hot sauce for a little kick. Here is the potato recipe - it was wonderful and perfect for an early autumn meal:

1 1/2 pounds small new red potatoes (about 15), scrubbed and dried
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 to 6 cloves garlic, crushed (I used 6)
1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary (I used fresh)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Pare a narrow strip of peel from the middle of each potato. In a large bowl mix the oil, garlic, and rosemary; add the potatoes and toss well. Transfer the potatoes to a shallow baking pan and roast until potatoes are tender when tested with the tip of a knife. Serve hot.

Corn as high as an elephant's eye...

Jack eating butter dipped roasted corn at a local farm! These are the perfect Autumn moments!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Good Doctor is a Great Cook!

Two Saturdays ago when the Prince and I were out in Mattituck (see Eyreaffairs for my post on the lovely day), we feasted on an amazing dinner made by J. Sarah's dad. Both of her parents are great cooks; her mother has made some of the best meals of my life. Eggplant parmigiana over spaghetti is a household favorite of the family's, and I was indoctrinated into EPP over SPAG (as its called by the family) a few years ago and it is one amazing recipe. J. Sarah's dad was kind enough to give the Prince and I the recipe, and it is being shared here with you readers. I must admit that try as you might, it will taste great...but not as great as his!

I recreated the dish this past Thursday evening for the NFL opener of the Giants crushing the 'Skins (see above photo). It seemed like the perfect dish to make to kickoff football season! Instead of spaghetti, the Prince got fresh buccatini from the local Italian pizzeria and, instead of wine, the Prince tapped me, him, and his brother a Heineken mini kegger! The beer went quite well with this dish. It was great, and the Prince's mom even enjoyed it! I hope you make this dish soon!

Dr. H’s Eggplant Parmigiana

Tomato Sauce (can be made in advance and frozen)
Makes 64 ounces-enough for two LeCreuset cookers

2 lbs of Italian plum tomatoes
2 small cans of tomato paste (not seasoned)
1 large green pepper
1 large white onion
2 large cloves of garlic
10 stalks of fresh basil (remove stems)
5 stalks of fresh parsley (remove stems)
½ a teaspoon of thyme (can be dried)
½ a teaspoon of rosemary (can be dried)
½ a teaspoon of oregano (can be dried)
2 ounces of Olive oil
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 ounces of hearty red wine
1 ounce of sake or dry vermouth
1 dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 dash of Angostura bitters
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the tomatoes into small pieces
Dice the pepper, onion and garlic
Chop the basil and parsley

Add a small amount of olive oil to the bottom of a large sauce pan, begin to heat and add the tomatoes and then all of the ingredients in no particular order. Stir until everything seems nicely mixed and cover. Heat enough to get near boiling and then turn down to a simmer. Cook for a few hours (probably better the longer you cook but 3 hours is probably adequate.

Now, while the sauce is cooking you can work on the eggplant (unless you also did it earlier (4-6 hours). There is no right amount of eggplant but you need enough to make 5 or 6 layers in the cooker. This works with any of the many types of eggplant but a few different colors and shapes seems to add to the dish.
You also need some dry oregano and basil
Bread crumbs (unseasoned)
Olive oil
Mozzarella cheese cut into ¼ inch slices
Romanao cheese-grated

Wash the outside of the eggplant and cut into pieces (long or circles) that are about ¼+ of an inch thick. No need to remove the skin but if you cut long pieces the outer ones with skin on one side need some of the skin removed so you can bread them.

Dry off the eggplant. Take 3 eggs and beat them briefly. Set up a plate with a layer of breadcrumbs and sprinkle some oregano and basil on the crumbs and mix in.

Add enough olive oil to completely cover the bottom of a frying pan and heat enough to fry rapidly. One by one dip the pieces of eggplant in the egg (both sides) and then lightly bread both sides and place in the hot oil. Do as many as will fit in the pan and then fry both sides to a light brown and remove on to paper towels. Fry all the eggplant.

Assembling the EPP:
Start with a thin layer of sauce followed by eggplant (three or four pieces) and 3-4 pieces of cheese. Cover with sauce and start the process again. When you’ve filled the LeCreuset sprinkle on Locatelli Romano to cover the sauce.

Bake for ~45 minutes at 350 degrees or until the cheese just begins to bubble.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Cakey Goodness

Aunt Maimy and Jack admire his Thomas the Tank Engine birthday cake, made by the bakers at East Norwich Bakery....

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Late Summer Supper

The Cookbook Junkie ( inspired this meal after asking her readers what their favorite vegetables are with pasta. Mine has always been zucchini. I was exhausted last night but wanted to cook and sit outside in my yard and enjoy the cool breeze as dusk arrived. I made Fettuccine with green and yellow squash - very simple and easy - and had it with a chardonnay. The sweetness of the squash and the saltiness of the pecorino cheese were great compliments to each other. No recipe borrowed...this one is my own.

Fettuccine with Summer Squash

1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 medium yellow squash, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning (McCormick)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly shredded
1/2 pound fettuccine, cooked al dente

Heat the olive oil in a skillet and saute garlic, onion, and squash until tender (about 15 minutes). As you saute, add salt and pepper to taste and the Italian seasoning. Cook the pasta according to directions for al dente. Toss the pasta in the skillet once its drained and then add the cheese. Enjoy!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Stuffed with Love

The Prince came over for dinner last night - there is nothing I love more these days when it comes to food than cooking for him. He chose this recipe the day before, and his wish is my command. He loved it, and leftovers were sent home for his lunch today. The wine we drank was a Channing Daughers Mosaico (2006) which is a great blend of white grapes from a great winnery in the Hamptons. I served the dish with a garlicky rice, but the Prince and I agreed that next time some asparagus sauteed with garlic and lemon would also be a perfect pairing for the shrimp.


1 pound fresh lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage (It can be expensive, so canned crabmeat worked just as well this time around - I used two cans from Starkist)
2 teaspoons Essence (I used his Bayou Essence found in the supermarket)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1/2 cup minced yellow onions
1/4 cup minced celery
1/4 minced green bell peppers
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon hot sauce (I used Franks)
1 1/2 cups crushed buttery, flaky crackers (Use Ritz!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
20 jumbo shrimp about 2 pounds), shelled, leaving tail and connecting shell segment, deveined, and butterflied lengthwise (The man at the fish counter was kind enough to do this for me - ask if you can, its a time saver if the market can do it for you)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a large baking dish and set aside.
Place the crabmeat in a large bowl and season with the Essence. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
In a large skillet, melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the parsley and the garlic, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool.
Add the cooled vegetables to the crabmeat and toss to combine. Add the mayonnaise, egg, lemon juice, Worcestershire and hot sauce and stir gently with a large wooden spoon. Add 1 cup of the cracker crumbs, the salt, and pepper, and stir gently, being careful not to break up the crabmeat.
Mound about 2 tablespoons of the crabmeat stuffing into each shrimp, press gently to close, and place, stuffed sides up, in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of the flaky, buttery cracker crumbs over the stuffed shrimp and drizzle with the remaining melted butter. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Pizza Party!

Aunt Maimy and Jack made pizza together two weeks ago on a Friday night! We made plain pizza and an onion pizza for Grandpa and Mommy! It was perfect "pitzee"!

Gimme Gimme Smore!

Ladies and Gentleman, I present Smores Cupcakes!
Trust me, these are better than the original campfire treats!

Use the Hershey's Chocolate Cake recipe I posted - the cupcake variation is there. Here is the Marshmallow Frosting recipe:

2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 lb. confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
16 oz. tub of marshmallow cream (I recommend Fluff)
Cream the butter on high until it's light and fluffy. Add the confectioner's sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, and beat until fluffy each time. Beat in the vanilla until incorporated. Then dump in the Fluff and mix it up 'til it's all creamy. Transfer to pastry bag (if desired) and pipe onto cupcakes!

Sprinkle with crushed graham cracker, add a small piece of Hershey's Chocolate, and you have the perfect Smores cupcake! I used chocolate pieces from the big Hershey bar, as you can see from above, but the Prince also recommended using chocolate chips so you get chocolate in each bite. Perhaps I will do that next time, but I love the way the chocolate piece looks on the cupcake!

The cupcakes above were made and eaten at a barbecue this past weekend at my sister's. It was the siblings and our significant others, and Jack, too, of course!

Speaking of cupcakes, how cool is this baking pan?!?

Love and Mangoes

On a weeknight this past June, around 7 o'clock in the evening, I sat in a bathtub drinking wine as the Prince was downstairs making a meal fit for royalty. We were away on the North Fork of Long Island in wine country, also home to a duck farm that produces the famous Long Island duck. The Prince was making us dinner that night, and I certainly enjoyed being indulgent in the tub as the smell of sauteed duck wafted upstairs. It reminded me of one of my favorite scenes from The Bridges of Madison County, when Francesca takes her beer to her bath as Robert is downstairs putting the final touches on dinner.

The Prince pan sauteed the duck rare - the duck breasts were perfectly crispy on the outside and nice and pink and soft in the middle. The chutney he made with it was the best pairing imaginable. He mixed mango, red onion, fresh mint, salt, pepper, and a little brown sugar. The potatoes were roasted with rosemary and olive oil, and the wine was a dry Merlot - Mirrasou.

I love watching the Prince cook - he does it effortlessly and perfectly. There is something about the way he moves in a kitchen that is as intense and exciting as the flavors in the meals he creates.

It's all about the CHAT!

Having an Indian boyfriend means that I am eating plenty of delectable Indian food, whether is eating out, tasting his mother's tasty cooking, and eating his own amazing cooking as well. An Indian appetizer that I just tried recently when the Prince ordered it at a restaurant called Diwan is called chat papri. If you live by an Indian grocer, its so easy to make! If you dont, I suggest that you shop online at the store I shop at in person: Patel Brothers!

Shopping at Patel Bros. for the ingredients with the Prince was just as fun as making it together. At one point I couldnt contain my excitement for eating kulfi and gobbled one pop down before we even reached the checkout line. I loved the shopping experience because it was also an education about ingredients for Indian food. The Prince got me all the ingredients I needed and showed me how to assemble it. The photo you see is what we made here, and he also made is amazing mango shake to go with it. Here is what you need:

1 bag of chat papdi
plain yogurt
mint chutney
chick peas (canned)
tamarind paste
garam masala
chaat masala
punjabi chhole masala
chili powder

Basically you place the chips in a bowl and then spread on the yogurt, some chutney, and the tamarind paste. After that top with chick peas (drain them from the sticky juice they are in and rinse once or twice) and add pinches of the spices on top. Sprinkle with scallions, grab a spoon, and enjoy! You may see this sometimes at an Indian buffet! It so delicious and quite addictive.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Chocolate That Binds Us!

Yesterday we celebrated J Sarah's (my best friend's) thirtieth birthday! Since her home was built in 1928, she hosted a cocktail party a la 1920's style! The menu included deviled eggs, canapes, Caesar salad, and lots of classic cocktails prepared by her husband. I volunteered to make her birthday cake. One of my favorite memories with J. Sarah is our weekend at the Hershey Hotel and Spa, and it was fitting to make her a Hershey chocolate cake since Hershey's dates back to the 1880's! The cake was delicious - perfectly moist and a crowd pleaser. The title of the recipe summed it up! I used the bundt cake variation and filled the middle with Hershey chocolate kisses!

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Directions:1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

VARIATIONS:ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.
THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.
BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.
CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Macaroni and Cheese 101

The photo of this mac and cheese, reheated from last night, does not do the dish any justice. Last night it came out of the oven in a baking dish bubbling around a golden crust. I made dinner for the two of us and needed a quick and easy recipe after a long day at work, and it really seemed like the last time I could make this dish for the season since its going to hit 90 degrees here in New York this weekend!

This recipe is courtesy of Ms. Martha Stewart, who has never failed me when it comes to recipes; all that I make of hers turns out perfectly. The recipe is lovingly referred to by her fans as Macaroni and Cheese 101. It is, indeed, the perfect introductory recipe for a favorite food.

I am so glad he enjoyed it, and I think next time I am going to make it a bit spicier for both our tastes and add more cayenne pepper along with some jalapenos. The perfect pairing for this dish was not wine - he made rum and cokes with Bacardi black cherry rum!

Martha Stewart's Classic Macaroni and Cheese
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for dish
6 good white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces (I used Pepperidge Farm)
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste (I will add more next time - its a nice kick)
4 1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese, (about 18 ounces)
2 cups grated Gruyere cheese, (about 8 ounces) or 1 1/4 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese (about 5 ounces) (I used the Pecorino Romano)
1 pound elbow macaroni
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place bread in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour butter into bowl with bread, and toss. Set breadcrumbs aside.
In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, whisking, 1 minute.
While whisking, slowly pour in hot milk. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.
Remove pan from heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyere or 1 cup Pecorino Romano; set cheese sauce aside.
Fill a large saucepan with water; bring to a boil. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 minutes less than manufacturer's directions, until the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone. (Different brands of macaroni cook at different rates; be sure to read the instructions.) Transfer macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce
Pour mixture into prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Gruyere or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, and breadcrumbs over top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes; serve hot.

Monday, June 2, 2008


My nephew eating his favorite food - "pitzee" as he calls it! Isnt he delicious?!?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Home Cooked Meal!

I had been on the road for four days doing recruiting for the University. While I love that the University pays for my meals (and there were some good ones, including Indian food), I really was in need of a home cooked meal last night. I was also exhausted, so I didnt want too much prep work. I chose a recipe from the Chicken cookbook by Williams Sonoma. It is called Pasta Rustica with Chicken Sausage and Three Cheeses. It was the perfect balance of comfort food and healthy eating. I substituted some healthier choices (I have lost 6 pounds in the past three weeks) and it still came out deliciously. I had a glass of saugvignon blanc with the meal; it paired quite nicely. The pasta baked well and got crusty on top; it became hard not to start picking at the top pieces once it came out of the oven!

Pasta Rustica with Chicken Sausage and Three Cheeses
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 lb. chicken or turkey sausage, casings removed (I used lowfat sweet turkey sausage)
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. hot red pepper flakes
1 can (28 oz.) tomatoes in puree, tomatoes coarsely chopped and puree reserved
Salt, to taste
1 lb. penne pasta (I used Dreamfields)
1 1/4 cups ricotta cheese (I used fat free and it melted and tasted nicely)
2 cups shredded fontina or mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (I used Romano)

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up into bite-size pieces, until no longer pink, about 6 minutes. Stir in the basil, oregano and red pepper flakes. Add the tomatoes and puree and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 10 to 12 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt. Preheat an oven to 350oF. Lightly oil a baking dish. Bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Salt the water, add the pasta, stir well and cook until barely al dente (tender but firm to the bite), 10 to 12 minutes. Drain well. In a large bowl, toss the pasta with the sauce, the ricotta and fontina. Spread in the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the Parmigiano-Reggiano.Bake until the cheeses are melted and the tips of the pasta are crusty, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Serve hot. Serves 6 to 8.

Dishing Politics

As an Obama supporter, I like this photo.
As a foodie, I like this photo.
As an Obama supporter and foodie combined, I LOVE THIS PHOTO.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Papa Doble

Though I have visited the old watering hole (Sloppy Joe's) of Papa's in Key West with my papa, the etymology of the "Papa Doble" (aka Hemingway cocktail aka Hemingway daiquiri) is from his favorite bar in Havana called La Floridita.

There are many variations of this cocktail, but the following recipe is the one I use and love. I have made it for many of my friends, and they have all enjoyed sipping this rum-filled drink on a warm summer day. I haven't had one since last summer with Moo...I associate them with her now and miss her tonight as I sip away. I made one tonight (11:22pm) - it was a long day, so what else is a child to do but rely on her Papa for some support after a grueling 16 hour work day?

Read Moo's blog here - my dear is in Africa:

1 1/2 oz Light rum
1/4 oz Maraschino liqueur (this can be hard to find, but you need to search until you do/its essential!)
3/4 oz Lime juice
1/4 oz Grapefruit juice

Shake it up with ice and pour into a martini glass.

Now go re-read The Sun Also Rises!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pour Mon Chou...

If he reads this, he will smile as I write about romanticizing even the act of cooking French cuisine. Still, I shall assert that caramelizing onions and watching them turn until they reach a light golden hue, shaving bits of a creamy and nutty Gruyere cheese and a few stranded pieces from the grater melting in my mouth as I taste, and hearing the sound of pinot noir splash into a bowl atop vegetables and meats to soak all night and develop their flavors as I prepare to make a romantic dinner for him is, indeed, quite romantic.

I took advantage of the weather this past Sunday, hopefully one of the last cool, rainy days this spring here in New York, to make a Sunday night dinner consisting of French comfort food. The menu: French-style “pizza”, beef bourguignon, mashed potatoes with scallions, and sautéed green beans. The wine was a George DuBoeuf Pinot Noir, which I thought was a nice burgundy for the meal considering how inexpensive it was.

The dinner itself was good, but the company was better. We sat at the table for two hours, and as much as I enjoyed cooking this meal, I forgot about it when I sat down with him. Enjoy...

French Style Pizza (Courtesy of Moi)

- Pizza dough from pizza parlor
- 3 slices of bacon
- 5-6 medium yellow onions
- 2 tablespoons sweet, unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups of shredded Gruyere cheese
- dash of nutmeg
- dash of fresh pepper

Method: Slice the onions thinly and melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the onions and cook until they caramelize, 30-40 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and set aside. Par-cook the the three slices of bacon in a small skillet (do not overcook, it will crisp in the oven). Cool the bacon and cut into bite sized pieces. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread pizza dough on pan and cover with caramelized onions, bacon, and cheese. Add a dash of nutmeg and pepper on top. Cook until the dough is a golden color and the top becomes bubbly and crisps.

Beef Bourguignon (Courtesy of Merrilees Parker)

1 kg / 2.2 lbs of good quality beef or Charolais beef *I used regular stewing beef*
For the Marinade:
1 bottle of Burgundian wine e.g.Pinot Noir
2 large sticks of celery roughly chopped
2 fresh bay leaves
pinch of fresh thyme *I used dried*
2 large carrots roughly chopped
2 large onions peeled and quartered
1 bulb of garlic, unpeeled and cut horizontally
1 tablespoons of whole black peppercorns
For the sauce:
2 oz / 50 g of butter
2 tablespoons of olive oil
8 oz / 200g of smoked bacon / pancetta / lardons chopped into small dices
4 shallots peeled and roughly chopped
3 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
a little water
salt and pepper
1.Place the beef in a large bowl and add all the marinade ingredients. Cover and marinade for at least 8 hours or preferably over night. *I recommend overnight*
2.Drain off the liquid from the marinade and reserve. Remove the peppercorns, onions and garlic. Separate vegetables from the meat. Dry the meat thoroughly on kitchen paper.
3.Heat heavy based saucepan. Add the butter and oil, then tip in the beef. Cook over a high heat until sealed all over, then remove from the pan and keep warm.
4.Now cook the lardons for 3-4 minutes until golden. Add the shallots and cook until they just begin to soften, stir in all the marinade vegetables, and cook for a further 3-4 minutes until sealed. 5.Return the meat to the pan and season generously with salt and pepper and stir in the mustard until all the ingredients are coated generously. Pour in the reserved marinade liquid and bring to a gentle bubble.
6.Cover with a lid and cook for 1 ½ - 2 hours when the sauce should be thick and the meat tender, you may need to add a little water half way through the cooking process.

I served this with mashed potatoes and green beans sauteed with garlic.

Friday, January 4, 2008

A Perfect Slice of Life

I have been wanting to view the film Waitress for quite a long time and finally had the opportunity to do so this evening. Those who have seen it know that it is as sweet as what the protagonist bakes each day. I loved the film on many levels, especially how pie was made into its own character in the film. If you have not seen the film, I highly recommend it.

As for pie itself, I am not a pie maker; I rarely bake. The only dough I know how to make is dough for gnocci. Making pie crust intimidates me to no end. The pies I have made cheat using pre-made pie crusts and usually have quick and simple ingredients in them, like instant pudding or cool whip. Still, tonight after the movie I perused some pie recipes, for the film certainly inspires one to both eat pie and make pie! My enthusiasm was quelled for just a moment: I have no business trying to make a pie when I am supposed to be on a diet. Still, there are low fatrecipes out there, and that got me excited. I am going to choose one and make it next week as well as post the recipe here.

In the meantime, check out: