Category Archives: Recipes

Lemon Crème Brûlée

Like most, I crave a sweet thing at the end of a meal. A square of chocolate usually does the trick. But when people come over, I make dessert. Mostly, I do it to please others. I learned long ago that a grand, sugary finale makes people swoon. It matters less the hours you marinate the protein, the itsy bitsy chopped herbs you sprinkle on the plate. What they really want is dessert.

And so I have developed a small repertoire of killer sweets. Having recently acquired a new, slim kitchen toy that doubles as a welding tool, I have added crème brûlée to my dessert list. This is that chilled, creamy dish with a brittle veneer you find in most French restaurants. Most of us have the ingredients in our fridge at all times.

Crème brûlée can be mixed up in half an hour. It keeps in the fridge for a few days. If you don’t want to spend about $20 on a torch, get your broiler very hot and run the filled ramekins under the flame for a few minutes. You really can’t serve crème brûlée without the crispy top.

For extra credit, play around with flavored crème brûlée. Because it’s made with cream, you can drop tasty things into the cream while it heats. This infuses the dish with the flavor you choose, be it lemon peel, lavender springs, cloves, dried roses, lemongrass stalks, ginger knobs, etc. For fancy flecks of black from vanilla, scrape the insides of a vanilla pod into the cream. Strain the cream after it’s heated and proceed with the recipe.

Take my advice. A sure-fire way to make your guests happy is to make them a homemade dessert. Don’t worry about ironing the napkins or clearing away the clutter before the guests arrive. Cook them something sweet. Dessert masks many a domestic shortcoming.

 

Lemon Crème Brûlée
Adapted from long departed, good old Gourmet magazine

Serves 8

3 large lemons
3 cups heavy cream
About 10 tablespoons sugar, preferably turbinado
Salt
6 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Special equipment: 8 (4-oz) flameproof ramekins; a small blowtorch

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 325º F.

Finely grate 3 tablespoons zest from lemons into cream in a medium-sized heavy saucepan. Stir in 7 tablespoons sugar and a pinch of salt. Heat mixture over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until almost boiling. Remove from heat.

Lightly beat yolks in a bowl, then gradually whisk in hot cream. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a quart-size glass measure and stir in vanilla and 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice. Divide among ramekins.

Arrange ramekins in a roasting pan and bake in a water bath (filling roasting pan with boiling water to halfway up sides of ramekins), until custards are just set around edge but centers wobble when pan is gently shaken, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool custards in water bath 20 minutes, then remove from pan and chill, uncovered, at least 4 hours. (Custards will set completely as they chill.)

Sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon sugar evenly over each custard, then move blowtorch flame evenly back and forth close to sugar until sugar is caramelized. Let stand until caramel is hardened, 3 to 5 minutes.

Cooks’ note: Custards can be chilled, covered with a sheet of plastic wrap after 4 hours, up to 2 days. Very gently blot with paper towels before sprinkling with sugar and caramelizing.

 

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Filed under dessert, Recipes, vegetarian

Pear Cranberry Crisp

pear cranberry crisp using bosc pears

 

On the eve of America’s greatest food holiday, Thanksgiving, I am tasked with making a fruit dessert for the family spread. As I’m not a pumpkin pie person (texture problem), nor one to deny people their right to butter (life is too short), I chose to make a crisp. Pears and cranberries will be deployed. Both are fruit stars of the season and locally grown to boot.

Also called a crumble, a cobbler, or “Apple Brown Betty” by my mother’s generation (who made it with bread), a crisp should be just that. Crispy on top, melting and yielding inside. It can be as sweet as you like, or even salty if that’s your thing. Think salted caramels. Or our local ice cream shop’s genius flavor, “Salted Crack Caramel,” made with saltines. Use the fruit at hand. Apples, rhubarb, quince, figs, cranberries, figs. Berries in summer.

As soon as the weather gets cool enough to warrant wearing wool, I mix up a batch of the crisp topping, decant to Ziploc plastic baggies and freeze for instant use when dessert must be summoned. Homemade fast food. Sometimes, you just want to eat crisp! Peel and cut up whatever fall fruit you have around, toss with a little sugar and spice, sprinkle over your frozen topping and bake. Presto, a warm dessert that comforts instantly.

Or breakfast. Cold crisp with a spoonful of yogurt makes a perfect morning food, especially if you add oats to the topping for extra nutrition and rib-sticking. Home cook wonder woman Deb Perelman has a brand new cookbook out with the ideal recipe.

Happy and delicious Thanksgiving to you, dear reader. Ever grateful, Nan

 

Pear Cranberry Pecan Crisp

Serves 8-10

For topping:
2/3 cup pecans, toasted for 6 minutes in 375˚F oven
1 1/3 cups flour
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1 ½ tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks/6 ounces) cold, unsalted butter, cut into ¼” pieces

For the filling:
4 lbs pears (Bosc or Bartlett), peeled, cored and cut into 1” chunks
1½ cups fresh cranberries
¾ cup sugar
6 tablespoons flour
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish.

Mix the dry topping ingredients together in a bowl. Work the butter into the flour mixture with your fingers until the mixture comes together and has a crumbly, but not sandy texture. Or use a food processor and pulse a few times until you get the crumbly texture. Chill until ready to use. Topping can be made ahead and refrigerated for about a week, or frozen up to 2 months.

Mix pears, cranberries, sugar, flour and cinnamon in large bowl. Transfer to dish. Crumble topping over fruit. Bake until fruit is tender and topping is lightly browned, about 1¼ hours. Cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream or softly whipped cream.

 

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Filed under Breakfast, dessert, fall, Recipes, vegetarian

Spicy Zucchini Soup

vegan vegetarian gluten-free spicy zucchini soup

Every summer, my inner beach bum emerges and I toy with the idea of ditching everything and finding a beach shack to call home. Not a responsible, reasonable idea, I know. My safe solution is to cook summer foods until the last local tomato drops from the vine. To wear sandals well into October (no, not with socks). To swim in the ocean after Columbus Day.

zucchiini summer squash

Before you fall headlong into the realm of autumn (pears, chestnuts, leeks, etc.), stretch out summer by using all the great produce still plentiful in the markets. There are still summer squashes to be cooked, ears of corn to be shucked. It’s not over yet!

Tired of zucchini after the seemingly endless supply of it these past months? Try this simple, fast puréed soup. It’s packed with vegetables, has no dairy or gluten (if you care) and the spices elevate the soup to an exotic-seeming, Goa-inspired velouté. Serve chilled on an Indian summer day or hot to warm you from inside. The bright green color takes it way beyond the usual soggy pile of sautéed zucchini that gives this vegetable a bad name.

cinnamon coriander fennel cumin pepper caraway seeds

Eminently flexible, this recipe withstands all sorts of adaptations. Try making it with butternut squash (much more autumnal). Use leeks or parsnips instead of zucchini. In fact, this is like a master-puréed-vegetable-soup recipe, with an Indian kick. No canned chicken stock needed. Just vegetables, water and spice. The toasted nuts add depth and make it feel special.

Go to the farmer’s market and buy a box of summer squash. Make boatloads of this soup and freeze portioned containers. There will come a cold day in December and you will have this soup, feel a flash of summer, and share a meal with your inner beach bum.

blended spicy zucchini soup

 

Spicy Zucchini Soup with Toasted Almonds
Adapted from Martha Stewart

Serves 4-6

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium-sized onion, chopped roughly
1 tablespoon salt
2 garlic cloves, chopped roughly
1 teaspoon mild curry powder, preferably homemade (recipe below)
1½ pounds zucchini, trimmed and cut into chunks
1 potato (about 6 oz), peeled and cut into chunks
4 cups water
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted, for garnish

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook for 5 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with salt and add garlic. Stir to combine and cook about a minute. Add curry and stir, then add zucchini and potato. Sauté for five more minutes.

Pour water over vegetable mixture and turn up heat, bringing the mixture to boil. Lower heat and simmer about 10 minutes, or until potato is just tender.

Transfer in batches to a blender (never more than 1/2 full, to avoid messy, painful accidents), blending until smooth and creamy. Serve hot or cold, with toasted almonds as a garnish.

 

turmeric ginger cayenne spices to make homemade curry powder

 

Curry Powder

Everyone has a recipe for this spice blend. Mine is culled from Madhur Jaffrey and Peter Berley, two chefs I admire. Making your own blend has the advantage of tasting fresh and lively, and allowing you to amplify certain flavors to your liking. Cayenne equals heat so if you like a lot, add more. Invest in a simple coffee grinder (about $20) and dedicate it to spices.

2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
½ cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon peppercorns
5 whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds (brown or yellow)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Heat a small, cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add coriander, cumin, cinnamon, caraway, fennel, peppercorns, cloves and mustard seeds. Stir until spices smell toasted and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Turn out onto clean plate to cool.

Transfer spices to coffee or spice grinder and grind finely. Add ginger, turmeric and cayenne and stir to combine. Use a clean glass jar to store the spice blend and keep in cool, dry place for up to 2 months.

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Filed under Appetizer, fall, Lunch, Recipes, soup, summer, vegan, vegetarian

Blueberry Muffins

We grew up with her. Tattered, stained and dog-eared. Always at hand. We shoved her aside when food fashions changed. And yet, who among us didn’t need her from time to time, like a trusted friend?

I’m talking about The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. This week, Marion Cunningham died. She revised the cookbook in the late 1970s, updating a classic for new generations of home cooks. I read her obituary with a tug of nostalgia. Most of my first cooking experiences included Fannie.

the fannie farmer cookbook

 

Edited by the legendary Judith Jones, best known for bringing us Julia Child’s Mastering The Art of French Cooking, Cunningham’s cookbook champions everyday cooking. In her preface, she urges us to rediscover the pleasure of cooking from scratch: “Every meal should be a small celebration.” I love this ethos.

If you don’t already own a copy – or didn’t inherit one as I did from my grandmother, complete with sidebar pencil scratchings such as “Add capers,” or “Made for dinner 8/12/82. Good.” – then get one. Not that you necessarily want to make a Cheese Ball, Cocktail Frankfurters in Pastry, or even Tuna Noodle Casserole. Yes, this is true Americana. It’s the un-gourmet.

muffin tins

 

There are countless workhorse staples in this cookbook that you will turn to again and again. The first chapter, “About the Kitchen,” is an excellent primer for every home cook, full of advice on pantry basics and equipment. As you cook your way through The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, you can annotate the margins, bake cookies with an eight year-old, and hand down your copy when the time comes.

fresh blueberries

 

In honor of Marion Cunningham, I made blueberry muffins this morning. Blueberries abound in the market now, cheap and plentiful. My inner gourmet wanted to amp it up and add whole wheat flour and cornmeal for texture and health. But in deference to the master, and for my own Proustian event, I followed the recipe almost to the letter. Our house enjoyed them for breakfast. By lunch, they were all gone. Thank you, Ms. Cunningham.

simple but good blueberry muffins

 

Blueberry Muffins

Adapted from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, 1979 edition

Makes 12 muffins

If you want to eat these hot out of the oven for breakfast but feel daunted by the prospect of such an early morning endeavor, make these the night before and keep covered, unbaked, in the fridge. Replace ½ cup of the white flour with whole wheat and/or cornmeal if you like things more gritty. I couldn’t resist adding lemon zest because I like things sour. Use frozen blueberries if you can’t get fresh. No need to thaw them first.

2 cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar, plus more for dusting
Zest of one lemon, grated or chopped fine
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup (1/4 liter) milk
¼ cup (4 tablespoons/60 grams) melted butter
1 cup blueberries

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter muffin tins or use paper liners. Mix 1¾ cups of flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Add the egg, milk, and butter, stirring only enough to dampen the flour; the batter should not be smooth. Add the remaining ¼ cup of flour on the blueberries, gently turning to coat. Carefully fold in the blueberries into the batter. Spoon into the muffin tins, filling each cup about two-thirds full. Sprinkle a pinch of sugar on top of each muffin. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until golden.

 

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Filed under Breakfast, muffins, Recipes

Rhubarb Caipirinha

I’m a late bloomer. I came to appreciate cocktails only recently and now, a whole new “cooking” landscape has opened up to me. Making drinks is like cooking with liquids. Similar to colorists or alchemists, mixologists deal in essences. Where cooking food is multi-dimensional, combing texture, flavor, color, etc., mixing a drink involves contrasting pure tastes to create a new, sometimes unexpected flavor. Mixology is to cooking what painting is to sculpture.

a sweet and sour cocktail, rhubarb caipirinha

 

Basically, I’m a wine person. For one, my low tolerance for alcohol prohibits me from drinking too much. Hard liquor is too strong for me. For another, I worked in the wine business for five years, after living in France for ten, and came to love the complexity and variety of wine. French food purists know that drinking hard liquor before a meal numbs the palette, making it harder to discern delicate flavors. Wine makes food taste better.

These rules go out the window when traveling south of the Mason-Dixon line. I don’t order wine in tropical countries, choosing beer or cocktails (okay, and occasionally water). I like to drink local. Traveling to Brazil this year, I discovered Cachaça, the distilled spirit made from sugar cane. Technically, it’s similar to rum except Cachaça is made from actual cane juice (instead of molasses, for rum). It’s used in the national cocktail, the Caipirinha, which is muddled lime, sugar and Cachaça over ice. The word “caipira” translates as “hillbilly,” possibly referring to the fact that the alcohol originated in slave culture, where fermented cane juice was first consumed by sugar industry workers in the 16th-century. It was a cheap, fast high for generations of exploited people living in the hills. Colonialists tried to ban it, imposing prohibition (failed) in the 18th-century, and taxation (overthrown), until Brazil earned its independence in 1822 and the drink came to symbolize resistance to colonial rule.

Fast-forward to Brooklyn in 2012, with a big bunch of rhubarb in my fridge. Yes, I make tarts and pies and compotes with rhubarb. I crave sour things. Why not a cocktail, to prolong my nostalgia for a wonderful trip to Brazil last month?

fresh rhubarb

rhubarb syrup

Make rhubarb syrup for use in this recipe or mixed with seltzer for a delicious non-alcoholic drink. Use the leftover pulp stirred into yogurt, or spread on toast. Look out for future cocktail postings; in Vieques recently, I made mojitos using wild rosemary and ginger. That’s something a late bloomer can learn to love.

Rhubarb Caipirinha

Serves 2

4 ounces white Cachaça
Juice of 1 lime
4 ounces rhubarb syrup (recipe follows)
Ice
2 lime slices, thin rounds
Mint sprig (optional)

Combine the first four ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Pour into old-fashioned glasses filled with ice. Garnish with a slice of lime and sprig of mint.

 

Rhubarb Syrup

Makes about 1 cup

1 1/2 pounds rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2″ pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

In a medium saucepan, heat all the ingredients to the boiling point. Turn down the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the rhubarb falls apart, about 10 minutes. Strain over a bowl, pushing as much liquid as possible through the sieve. Keep strained rhubarb syrup in the refrigerator, covered, for up to one week. Or freeze to keep longer.

 

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Nettle Pesto

nettles after blanching

Maybe we should just stop eating. Did you read last week’s op-ed about chicken in the NY Times? Benadryl and Prozac laced drumstick, anyone? News about American agricultural practices will do more than curl your hair. You may run for the hills and take up foraging. In that spirit – and because it’s suddenly in season in the climate-altered northeast – this post is devoted to stinging nettles.

ingredients for making nettle pesto

Sorry to sound so doomsday. The good news is that foraging is fun and it takes you for a walk on the wild side. For inspiration, read chef René Redzepi’s newish book, Noma, with sexy photos of pine needles and acorns. Redzepi is the patron saint of foraged foods. I heard him speak at a NY Public Library LIVE event two years ago. On each of the 300 or so seats in the auditorium, attendees found a plain brown paper lunch bag with a handful of edible berries, seaweed and roots. Better than popcorn and a serious conversation starter.

tiny stinging hairs on the nettle leaf

Stinging nettles are those nasty weeds that leave your skin prickly if you brush against them on a hike. A gardener’s enemy. An invasive plant. They’re also a kind of super-food. I found them in the Food Coop this week (my urban existence and work commitments prevented me from foraging, alas). I knew they were a harbinger of spring. You can find them growing in Central Park and abandoned lots in the Bronx.

fresh garlic adds punch to pesto

A quick dash about the Internet taught me that stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) contain high amounts of potassium, iron, sulphur, vitamin C, vitamin A and B complex vitamins. Nettles are also rich in protein and fiber. Whopping nutritional value for a low calorie weed.

powdery parmesan adds richness to pesto

Handle with care! Use leather gloves to pick them, clipping only the younger shoots. Blanche nettles in salted boiling water for two minutes to remove the sting and prepare them for cooking. Serve them as a vegetable side. Make nettle pasta dough or a simple soup. Replace any leafy green in a favorite recipe, using nettles instead. I decided to make pesto and shock (if not sting) my nature loving albeit strange-ingredient averse teenagers. Their mother is a witch…

mix pesto into just-cooked pasta or spread on toasts

 

Nettle Pesto

You can find stinging nettles growing wild just about everywhere. Snip the younger shoots – with thick gloves on! – and blanche them – with tongs! – for 2 minutes in salty boiling water. Remove and immediately immerse in an ice bath, to stop the cooking and retain the bright green color. Squeeze the water out in handfuls before using the blanched nettles in cooking. Treat them as you would any leafy green: sautéed in garlic and oil, as an ingredient in risotto or a pasta dish, in an omelet or frittata.

4 ounces stinging nettles, blanched (a heaping cup, once blanched and the water squeezed out)
1.5 ounce/3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted and divided
2 ounces/ 1 cup finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, best quality, or more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature (optional)

  1. In a food processor, pulse blanched nettles, 2 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts, ½ cup Parmesan, salt, olive oil and pepper. Consistency should be a little rough, not baby food puréed.
  2. Add butter by hand just before serving pesto over pasta, or as a spread on little toasts. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Sprinkle with additional cheese and pine nuts.

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Filed under pasta, Recipes, vegetarian

Favorite Easy Caesar Salad

my favorite quick salad

This is a time of year when I crave change. Tired of the dark clothes, the winter routine and the root vegetables. Waiting for the first asparagus to appear in the market – and as the temperature hit an unseasonable 72 this week in New York – I made my favorite weekday salad. It’s a citrus bomb on crispy Romaine lettuce with olive oil drenched croutons, garlic and Parmesan curls.

find what you have in the fridge

Make this for lunch (if you bring it to work, carry the dressing in a separate container to keep it from getting soggy). It’s also good for a light supper. This Caesar has all the components to make it interesting and filling. To me, that means crunch, freshness, protein and flavor. It’s not a new twist on the classic, except for its extreme lemon zing. And it doesn’t have raw egg because I find that a bit gluey.

use old bread to make croutons

It’s totally adaptable. Want the Provence vibe of anchovies? Must have bacon on almost everything? Feel like you need a runny poached egg sitting on top? Have spare fresh herbs you can chop and scatter? All of these would be excellent additions.

day-old bread crisped in olive oil

Crouton note: we love bread in this house but often end up with half loaves that are not their freshest. These either get cut into croutons (minus the crusts, to spare our teeth) or thrown in the food processor and shredded into bread crumbs. Our freezer always has a supply of each at the ready. To bring them back to life, heat a little olive oil in a skillet and toast the (frozen) croutons or bread crumbs, both of which can be added to many dishes to bring texture, such as pasta, meat, fish, sauteed vegetables, salads, etc.

first put everything but the oil in a bowl

When I lived in France, I learned to make dressing in the bottom of the salad bowl. Rub a clove of garlic on the inside of a dry, empty bowl. Then add salt, herbs, pepper, lemon juice and vinegar. If you have time, let that sit a while (30 minutes is good). Then whisk in olive oil to emulsify (thicken). No muss, no fuss. Thank you, Bridget Strevens, for teaching me this many years ago!

a lump of garlic in the dressing

The ingredients are all pantry staples, things one should have around for everyday cooking. It’s vegetarian, healthful and quick to assemble. And it makes me feel like I’m sitting in a café terrace, warmed by the first blush of spring.

delicious, fast, healthy

Lemony Caesar Salad

Serves 2

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups croutons (crustless stale bread cut into cubes)
1 clove of garlic, smashed and peeled
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon Champagne or white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons parsley, minced
1/4 cup good quality olive oil
4 big fistfuls of chopped Romaine lettuce
1 ounce of Parmesan cheese, peeled into curls with a vegetable peeler
Chives for garnish (optional)

  1. Make the croutons by heating 2 tablespoons of oil over a medium-low heat and crisping the bread slowly, taking care that it doesn’t burn. Turn to brown at least two sides of the bread cubes. Set aside.
  2. Rub the inside of a salad bowl with the smashed garlic clove and throw the garlic into the bowl.
  3. Put all the dressing ingredients in the bottom of a salad bowl (zest, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, pepper, parsley and anchovies if you’re so inclined), except the oil. Let it sit and macerate for about 30 minutes.
  4. Whisk in the oil slowly to emulsify the dressing.
  5. Throw the lettuce on top. Sprinkle with croutons and Parmesan. Scatter chives over the salad. Toss at the table and serve.

 

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Filed under Recipes, Salad, vegetarian

Fish Stew

Although my Irish ancestors first landed in New York in 1804, their culinary tastes have been passed down to me… somehow. It must be genetic because I don’t recall a single “Irish-themed” dish or meal from childhood. And no, I don’t eat boiled potatoes. Nor do I much care for the pale, overcooked, cliché-traditional foods of Ireland. But if it’s briny, I’m in. Last week I made a fish stew on a cold day. It’s a little bit New England but its roots are very Irish.

onion and potatoes form the base of any humble stew

Word of advice: befriend your fishmonger. I learned that fairly recently. Now I have an endless supply of fish bones and heads to make fish stock, when the mood strikes. Actually, it makes itself. Don’t be afraid to steal 30 minutes to throw together a stock with what would otherwise become landfill.

use cod or haddock, or any firm fleshed white fish

If you’re at all curious about Irish cookery, you must get to know Darina Allen’s books. My favorite new cookbook from this passionate Irish cook is full of lost recipes and ideas. It’s called “Forgotten Skills of Cooking.” You’ll find instructions for smoking foods, making your own butter and dandelion wine. None of which I will be tackling anytime soon. It has all sorts of useful tips, though, such as what to do with leftover egg whites and detailed drawings of cuts of meat. This recipe isn’t hers, but I enjoyed reading the book for inspiration. The pictures are beautiful.

a quick, rich fish stock makes the dish!

If the stock part of this recipe throws you off, well, then buy it ready-made. I guess. Not to sound self-righteous, but you can make the stock on a rainy Sunday, while folding a load of laundry. Then freeze it for the day you’re in the mood to throw together a fish stew. You’ll be glad you did.

hearty, peasant stew tasting of the sea

Fish Stew

Serves 4

2 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into ¼” cubes
1 medium onion, chopped into ¼” pieces
1 tablespoon flour
¼ cup dry white wine
3 cups fish stock (recipe follows)
4 small new potatoes, red skin scrubbed and left on, cut into ½” pieces
1 medium turnip, peeled and cut into ½” pieces
1 branch of celery, cut into small pieces, about ¼” thick
½ teaspoon of fresh thyme, minced
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 lb. cod fillets, rinsed, patted dry and cut into 3” chunks (they’ll break up once cooked)
½ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons parsley, minced
1 tablespoon chives, minced

In a 4-quart heavy-bottomed pot, heat bacon over a medium heat until fat is rendered and bacon is browned. Remove cooked bacon to a small bowl with a slotted spoon, setting aside for later. In the same pot, add chopped onion and cook 5 minutes, until softened, stirring occasionally.

Add flour, stirring for 3 minutes, then add wine and ½ cup of fish stock. Continue stirring as the liquid thickens with the onions and flour. Continue adding the stock in ½ cup increments, stirring occasionally and waiting a few minutes between each addition. This ensures the stew base maintains some thickness.

Once all the stock has been added, bring liquid to the boil and add the potatoes, turnips, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes uncovered, or until the vegetables are just tender. Add the big chunks of fish and cook for 5 minutes. Gently stir in the cream and parsley and heat through, just enough until the stew is piping hot and ready to serve. Garnish each serving with a pinch of minced chives.

use only the stems in stock - save the leaves for something else

Fish Stock

This is a haphazard and loose process. Do not fret! It is not fussy or exact. The ingredients are simmered together for about 30 minutes, then strained. What remains is a lusciously flavorful broth. Drink it on its own, use it in seafood risotto or soups and stews, or freeze portioned quantities in plastic zip bags for future use.

Makes about 2 quarts (8 cups)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
3 dried shitake mushroom (optional but good to keep in your pantry for flavor boosting)
2  cloves garlic, crushed
3 pounds fish heads, bones, fins – or whatever treats your fishmonger gives you… Rinse before using
3 cups dry white wine
6 cups water
1 handful of parsley stems
2 sprigs fresh thyme
5 whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt

Heat the butter or oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the onion, celery, mushrooms, garlic, and fish bones. Increase the heat to high, cover, and cook about 10 minutes. Stir a few times. The ingredients will release their delicious liquid. Lower the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring frequently and pressing on the fish bones/heads with a spoon to bre