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Bean and Winter Vegetable Gratin

pot of beans to use in gratin The blanket of snow in New York led me to this dish. I wanted beans, pork and winter vegetables. Crunch and broth. Something you might have with a pint in a dark pub in Ireland, on a day when the sun sets around 4 and the evening is long.

dried pinto beans

Eat more beans. Loaded with fiber and vitamins, beans can be canned or dried. Dried beans require a little forethought but return the effort with good taste. Soak them before you go to bed, even if you don’t know what to do with them the next day. After soaking, simmer them for 1-2 hours. Add salt to taste. Keep them in a container all week to have in different combinations. This gratin can be reheated for lunch, frozen for a future dinner. It will warm you up on a cold day.

use any seasonal vegetables you have

Use whatever vegetables you have, or get those you like. Try with fennel, winter squash, celeriac, turnips. Any knobby root will do well here. You can roast a tray of vegetable scraps and mix them into the beans with some of the cooking liquid. Top with bread crumbs. Add grated Parmesan cheese if you want it richer.

mise en place for winter vegetables

Think of it as a fast cassoulet. Make it vegetarian by replacing the bacon with olive oil. This is French peasant food: cheap, hearty and full of flavor. Even more so on a snowy day.

just baked winter veg and bean gratin

Bean and Winter Vegetable Gratin

½ pound dried pinto or cranberry or red beans, rinsed and soaked overnight or 2 fifteen-ounce cans of beans, drained and rinsed
½ pound thick sliced bacon, cut crosswise into ¼” matchsticks (about 2 cups) – optional; replace with ¼ cup olive oil for cooking vegetables
1 carrot, diced (about ½ cup)
2 stalks of celery, diced (about ½ cup)
1 leek, white and light green part only, washed carefully and diced (about 1 cup)
½ pound mushrooms, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
Thyme leaves, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
10 fresh sage leaves, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
1 cup tomatoes, diced, fresh or canned
1½ cups bread crumbs, preferably homemade and rough cut

Drain the soaked beans and cover with fresh water by 2 inches in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and skim off any foam. Simmer gently 1-2 hours or until the beans are tender (older beans take longer). Add more water if necessary during the cooking. Season to taste with salt. Set the beans aside to cool in their liquid.

Heat bacon or olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over a medium heat. When bacon is crisped and brown, remove from pan, reserving bacon fat in pan. Add the diced vegetables to the oil (bacon oil or olive oil), and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, sage and salt. Cook for a few minutes, then stir in tomatoes and cook an additional 5 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon of salt.

Drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid. Mix the beans with the vegetables and put into a medium-sized gratin or baking dish. Taste for salt. Add enough bean liquid to almost cover. Drizzle with olive oil. Cover with bread crumbs.

Bake for 40 minutes in a pre-heated 350°F oven, checking occasionally. If the gratin is drying out, carefully spoon in a little bean liquid, avoiding to get the crumbs wet.

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Winter White Soup

winter white vegetable soup

This is soup without a recipe, made from winter vegetables that are mostly white.

If you only cook one soup, this should be the one. That’s because it can go rich and fancy (add heavy cream!), spare and pure (use only one vegetable variety!), vegan and virtuous (no butter, no chicken stock!), etc. Dress it up for the holiday meal with fresh truffle shavings. Or add a droplet of cream and minced fresh herbs. It’s pillowy and creamy, even without dairy.

winter vegetables

Winter vegetables (in the northeast USA) are hardy. They’ll keep in your fridge for a while. I often make this soup when I want to clean out the fridge, using up scraps and neglected veggies. No need for stock because the vegetables are so flavorful they create their own stock when cooked with water. Add milk if you want more protein and a more unctuous mouth feel.

all varieties of chopped vegetables

Make a lot of this soup and freeze single portions for easy, takeout lunches. Have it as an elegant first course for a winter meal. Mix up which vegetables you use (add a little parsnip, for example, or turnips… anything white). Make this soup!

pureed soup with all white winter vegetables (I say “without a recipe” because once you get the gist of this soup, you can do it without a recipe. Basically, sauté the aromatics — onions/leeks/garlic if you want — then throw in the chopped vegetables with water or broth, simmer until soft about 15 minutes, add dairy if using it, then blend. Endlessly adaptable!)

 

Winter White Soup
Adapted from The River Cottage Family Cookbook

Serves 8-10

1 onion
3 medium leeks
2 tablespoons butter (optional; add a little more oil if not using butter)
1 tablespoon canola or sunflower oil
1 large or 2 medium potatoes (8 ounces)
1 small cauliflower (1 pound)
1 small head of celery root (about 12 ounces)
1 pound sunchokes
10 cups of water, vegetable or chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 cup whole milk (optional)
½ cup heavy cream (optional)

  1. Peel and chop the onion. Clean the leeks and slice them about 1/2 inch thick.
  2. Put the butter and oil in a large, heavy saucepan and turn heat on to low. Add the onions and leeks, cover, and cook the vegetables gently for a few minutes until soft.
  3. Peel the potatoes and cut into small cubes. Cut the the cauliflower and break the cauliflower into florets (it’s OK to use the stem but not the leaves). Scrub and loosely peel the sunchokes, then chop into 1/2 inch pieces.
  4. At the last minute, peel the celery root thickly so that you’re left with just the white flesh (like a banana, celeriac turns brown quickly once it’s been cut). Chop this into cubes and add to the pan, with the potatoes, cauliflower and sunchokes – as well as the stock, a pinch of salt and some pepper. Stir well and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer gently until all the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
  5. Stir in the cold milk, then turn off the heat and let the soup cool for at least 15 minutes (to eliminate the danger of blending very hot liquids). Purée the soup in the blender a few ladlefuls at a time. You can either reheat it now, to serve immediately, or chill it in the fridge and use within 5 days.
  6. Return the blended soup to the pan. Stir in the cream, and reheat gently but thoroughly. It doesn’t need to boil again, but it should be piping hot. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Serve soup just as it is or with an extra little swirl of cream and chopped chives. Warm sliced baguette (bread) on the side is nice, too.

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Foolproof Mayonnaise

asparagus in season

Asparagus are finally here! It’s so worth the wait. What shall we do with them? As a rule of thumb, it’s best to grill or roast the fat ones and steam or blanch the thin ones (blanch just 45 seconds in lots of salted boiling water). Ideally, you buy them so fresh they need no cooking at all; just dip in a good sauce.

herbs in mayonnaise

My preference is for a homemade mayonnaise, which is not at all complicated. The only caveat concerns the eggs: since they need to be raw for this sauce, they must be fresh and from hens that live in healthy, clean conditions. If you feel squeamish about this, here are instructions for pasteurizing eggs in the microwave: http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/eggsdairy/ht/pasteurize_eggs.htm

pasture fresh eggs

For an added kick, add a cup of chopped sorrel or two smashed garlic cloves. Or any herb you fancy. This is the mother recipe.

Foolproof Mayonnaise
1 whole egg (or just yolk if pasteurized as above)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup Canola oil
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh pepper – about 10 twists of the mill

Combine all ingredients except the oils in a blender (including herbs and/or garlic). With the motor running, begin adding oil – drop by drop at first—then in a fine stream. You will hear the sauce begin to thicken as you start running out of oil. The sauce should be spreadable and a pale yellow color. (Or pale green if you’ve added herbs.) It should last in the fridge for a week.

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Plum Clafoutis

pints of plums at the farmers market in brooklyn

Every year of my conscious life I mourn the last delicious peach of the season. The chin dribbling peach, the fuzzy skinned peach, the tart-and-sweet-at-the-same-time peach, the misshapen doughnut peach. The smell of a perfect white peach! I feel dizzy with pleasure. But once I have had that fateful bite of a mealy peach, sometime in September, I know the book is closed until the following July. The good news is… there are plums.

plums at fort greene farmer's market

At the Fort Greene farmer’s market here in Brooklyn this weekend, piles of plums announced “We are faking out autumn!” Purple like a queen’s velvet cape, pert and tart and full of flavor, plums are the latecomers to the summer party of irresistible fruits. They’re called prunes in France. They are best cooked (or dried, like the prunes we can buy in a bright box all year, known to promote good digestion).

sexy purple plums

I made a few versions of Plum Clafoutis before settling on this recipe. The classic clafoutis (French, bien sur) is made with unpitted cherries. Basically a batter poured over fruit, I’ve always found it a little on the eggy side. I prefer crispy things. So to add texture, I frothed up the egg whites, folding them into the batter. Next time, I will scatter almond slivers on top before baking, to add more crunch.

plum clafoutis recipe prep

In Ottolenghi’s cookbook (an absolute must-have and just published in the US), the recipe suggests making little mini-clafoutis, in ramekins. That sounds lovely, but I wanted this to be a fast and easy dessert. Minimal fuss. Maximum Can-I-Pretend-It’s-Summer-For-A-Few-More-Weeks. Please?

baked plum clafoutis

plum clafoutis for breakfast

 

Plum Clafoutis

Serves 8

Butter to grease pan
1¾ pounds small, firm-ripe plums
3 eggs separated
6 tablespoons sugar
½ vanilla bean
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup flour
pinch of salt
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Generously grease a 9” tart pan (or pie plate, or cake tin). The pan should be at least 1½” deep. Preheat the oven to 375° F.

Cut plums lengthwise into 6 wedges each, discarding pits and stems. Reserve 1 cup of cut plums and scatter the remaining plums on the bottom of the greased pan.

In a medium bowl, using a whisk or an electric beater, beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow and creamy. Slit the vanilla bean in half longwise and scrape the seeds into the egg yolk mixture. Blend in with the vanilla extract and cream. Stir in the flour.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites and salt until they form stiff (but not granular or dry) peaks. Fold beaten whites into the batter. Pour batter over the cut plums. Scatter reserved plums on top.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm or room temperature with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar on top.

 

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Falafel

chickpeas ready to be soaked

 

The weeknight shuffle. How to get dinner on the table with minimal hassle and maximum taste? Keep it seasonal. Make it vegetarian (often). Vary the offerings. Use what you have. These are my little mantras, the things I repeat to myself for focus and personal pep talking.

soak chickpeas while you sleep

 

chop what you have for a little side salad

 

Having recently acquired a new cookbook, Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, I have been cooking my way through it. This is colorful, flavorful food with an emphasis on vegetables. Lots of spice and crunch. Excellent for people trying to eat less meat (garbanzo beans are your friends).

 

simple ingredients that taste good together

 

make the food processor do the work

 

Last night, I made falafel for dinner. Stuffed in warmed whole wheat pita breads, smeared with tahini sauce with a side of chopped radishes and cucumbers mixed up with Greek yogurt, minced parsley and lemon juice. Even the picky teenager enjoyed it. This probably had more to do with the fact that falafel are fried. But that’s OK. We took a little trip to the mideast and had a tasty vegetarian dinner made in a little over an hour.

 

chill the mixture to make flavors meld and for easier handling

 

a fried treat for dinner

 

 

Falafel
From Jerusalem

Serves 4 (about 20 balls)

1 1/4 cups dried chickpeas
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
about 3 cups sunflower oil, for deep-frying
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds, for coating
salt

Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with cold water at least twice their volume. Set aside to soak overnight.

The next day, drain the chickpeas well and combine them with the onion, garlic, parsley, and cilantro. For best results, use a meat grinder for the next part. Put the chickpea mixture through the machine, set to its finest setting, then pass it through the machine a second time. You can also use a food processor (I did and it worked fine). Blitz the mixture, pulsing until it is finely chopped but not mushy or pasty. Once processed, add the spices, baking powder, 3/4 teaspoons of salt, flour and water. Mix well by hand until smooth and uniform. Cover the mixture and leave it in the fridge for at least an hour, or until ready to use. I made the mixture in the morning so it would be ready for dinner with minimal fuss.

Fill a deep, heavy-bottomed medium saucepan with enough oil to come 2 3/4 inches up the sides of the pan. Heat the oil to 350 F.

With wet hands, press 1 tablespoon of the mixture in the palm of your hand to form a patty or a ball the size of a small walnut, about a scant 1 ounce.

Sprinkle the balls evenly with sesame seeds and deep-fry them in batches for 4 minutes, until well-browned and cooked through. It is important they really dry out on the inside, so make sure they get enough time in the oil. Drain in a colander lined with paper towels and serve at once.

 

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Ballymaloe Chicken Liver Paté

ballymaloe chicken liver pate On a trip to Ireland years ago, I discovered the Ballymaloe Cooking School and Restaurant. It’s big old manor house nestled in the green, cashmere landscape of County Cork, with a walled garden where the cooks pick fresh herbs and vegetables to serve at meals. I loved it there. I still dream about going back.

Eating lunch in the high-ceilinged dining room at Ballymaloe, I remember being served a little pot of chicken liver paté with melba toasts. Maybe it was the fire crackling in the hearth near our table. Or the ponies grazing in the meadows beyond the huge, double-hung windows. But that was the best paté I’d ever had.

inside ballymaloe, in ireland

I recently found the recipe for it in Darina Allen’s wonderful book, Forgotten Skills of Cooking. Packed with stories and time-tested tips, she writes about curing meats, smoking fish, drying fruit, making pickles and many other culinary feats. The photos are beautiful. The recipes are clear and easy to follow. Allen has passionate opinions about food but isn’t sanctimonious. She’s a pleasure to read.

Every time I buy a whole chicken, I pop the liver in the freezer in a zipped bag filled with livers from past birds. When I have enough, I defrost the livers and make this paté. The paté goes into little ramekins which, covered in plastic wrap, go back in the freezer for a future ready-made, luxury hors d’oeuvre. When I dip my rounded butter knife into the ramekin, I am transported back to County Cork.

serve pate in ramekins

 

Ballymaloe Chicken Liver Paté

Adapted from Forgotten Skills of Cooking by Darina Allen

Serves 10-12

8 oz fresh organic chicken livers
2 tablespoons brandy
8 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes, plus a little for cooking livers
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 large garlic clove, crushed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Clarified butter* to seal the top

Wash the livers and remove any membrane or green-tinged bits. Melt a little butter in a frying pan. When it foams, add the livers and cook over a low heat. All trace of pink should be gone, but be careful not to overcook them or the outsides will get crusty. Put the livers into a food processor.

Deglaze the pan with brandy and allow it to flame. Add the crushed garlic and thyme leaves, stirring for two minutes then scraping everything into the food processor with the livers. Purée for a few seconds. Let cool.

Add 6 tablespoons of the butter pieces and purée again until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, taste, and add more butter if necessary. The paté should taste fairly mild and be quite smooth in texture.

Put into six 4-ounce ramekins, or one medium sized terrine and knock out an air bubbles by firmly banging the ramekins on the counter a few times. Then pour clarified butter over the top to seal.

Serve with melba toast or toasted white bread. This paté will keep up to 5 days in the refrigerator or it can be frozen for a month or so. Eat immediately after it is defrosted.

* To make clarified butter, melt butter gently in a saucepan or in a Pyrex cup in a very low oven, at 300˚F. Let stand for a few minutes, then spoon the crusty white layer of salt particles off the top. Underneath is a clear liquid butter, the clarified butter. Spoon this liquid into a jar, and throw out the milky liquid at the bottom. Keep Clarified butter in the fridge for cooking foods at a high heat. Butter starts to burn at 350˚F. Clarified butter can be heated up to 485˚F.

 

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Arroz con Pollo

The temperature has dropped in New York, calling for One-Pot Wonders. These are unfussy meals served from one pan.  Because many of the classics emphasize  starch plus protein (such as tuna-noodle casserole, lasagna, beef stew, etc.), I prefer to adapt the recipes to add in more vegetables. The best one-pot wonders are nutritional one-stop shopping, meaning no side dishes to make or extra pans to wash.

one pot wonders satisfy hunger and simplify meals

This is Latino style peasant food at its best. Serious comfort food. A jumble of flavor, texture and color, Arroz con Pollo has thousands of variations. My first memory of the dish is in the early 1980s, at the counter of La Rosita, a hole-in-the-wall joint on upper Broadway that was a favorite of ex-pat Dominicans, Cubans and puertorriqueños. As well as Columbia students and impoverished artist-types (the category I saw myself in). Fragrant, steamy rice cooked with chicken pieces. And nary a veggie in sight.

the window of long-gone la rosita on broadway

It would be easy to cook this in a slow cooker, if you have one. Be sure to brown the chicken pieces first, though. Slow cookers do meat a disservice if pieces are left whole in the final presentation. Once meat is browned, throw all the other ingredients in the slow cooker and set to low, cooking for 8 hours or so. You’ll come home to a house that smells inviting and dinner ready to eat.

 

Arroz con Pollo

Serves 4-6

For chicken
6 garlic cloves, chopped
Juice from 3 limes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 (3 1/2- to 4-lb) chicken, cut into 8 pieces; or 10 bone-in, skin-on thighs
2 tablespoons cooking oil

For rice
2 medium onions, chopped fine (about 2 cups)
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 red pepper, chopped into 1” x ¼” strips
1 small winter squash (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 1” cubes
3 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves chopped small
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (optional)
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes, including juice
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups long-grain white rice
½ cup fresh cilantro, minced (optional, for garnish)

 

Prepare chicken:

Purée garlic, lime juice, oregano, salt, and pepper in a blender until smooth. Put chicken pieces in a bowl or shallow dish and add purée, turning to coat. Marinate chicken, covered and chilled, at least 30 minutes but up to 24 hours.

Transfer chicken to paper towels, then pat dry. Reserve marinade.

Heat oil in 6- to 8-quart heavy pot or Dutch oven over a medium-high heat, then brown chicken in 2 or 3 batches, without crowding, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes per batch. Transfer browned chicken to a plate, reserving fat in pot.

 

Prepare rice:

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat to 350°F.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat remaining in pot. Sauté onions, garlic, peppers, and squash over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally and scraping up brown bits from chicken, until vegetables are softened, 6 to 8 minutes.

Add cumin and salt to vegetables and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in wine, scraping bottom of pot, and bubble for 1 minute. Add kale, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, tomatoes (including juice), broth, water, and reserved marinade. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.

Add all chicken except breast pieces (if using), skin sides up, and gently simmer, covered, over low heat 10 minutes. Stir in rice, then add breast pieces, skin sides up, and arrange chicken in 1 layer.  (For maneuverability, you may need to remove chicken pieces temporarily while stirring in rice, then replace pieces in one layer on top of rice and vegetable mix.) Return to a simmer. Cover pot tightly, then transfer to oven and bake until rice is tender and most of liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

After testing rice for doneness and seasoning (adjust if more salt or pepper is needed), let pot rest out of the oven, covered, for 10 minutes. Garnish each serving with cilantro.

 

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Cheese Soufflé

Oh, those jiggly, towering triumphs. French-accented, impress-your-date confections. Why are soufflés so intimidating? Many home cooks fear them as the unattainable. The thing that could ruin them. This is so untrue.

By now perhaps you’ve celebrated Julia Child’s 100th birthday – on Facebook, in your kitchen, or while reading Jacques Pepin’s lovely ode to Julia in this week’s NY Times. In my house, where friends were over for lunch on the day of her birthday, I made them a classic cheese soufflé from meager provisions in my forsaken fridge. It was sublime.

almost any cheese can be used - this is gruyere

ingedients for a soufflé can be found in most fridges

 

All you need are 5 eggs, ¼ pound of cheese, a cup of milk and pat of butter. If you have a box of spinach in your freezer, or CSA zucchini that just won’t quit, cook it up in a quick sauté and add just before folding in the fluffy whites. Voilà spinach or  zucchini soufflé.

The trick to soufflé is the fluff. Those whites need to be whipped up to a glistening tower. Fold them in with great love and respect. Don’t lose the fluffiness. It’s OK to have streaks of white in the “batter.” Keep the volume. And once out of the oven, serve it immediately. That’s it.

gently fold the stiffly beaten egg whites to keep the fluff

sprinkle the buttered dish with cheese for a salty-crisp crust

 

Try it now. Make yourself proud and bake a soufflé in Julia’s honor. What’s the worst that can happen? You end up with a baked egg dish – completely edible.

If the summer heat is making you feel like a collapsed soufflé, put off this recipe until nightfall. It takes about 30 minutes to throw together and needs only a simple salad to make it a meal. A perfect summer supper Julia would have loved to share with you.

serve soufflé with boston lettuce in a mustard vinaigrette

 

Cheese Soufflé

Slightly adapted from Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Serves 4

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan (or other hard) cheese
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons white flour
1 cup boiling milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, a few twists
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
4 egg yolks
5 egg whites
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup (3 ounces) coarsely grated Swiss, Gruyère, Goat and/or Parmesan Cheese

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Measure out all your ingredients. Generously butter a 6-cup soufflé mold and sprinkle the insides with grated Parmesan cheese.

Melt the butter in a 3-quart, heavy saucepan. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon and cook over a moderate heat until butter and flour foam together for 2 minutes without browning. Remove from heat. Pour in all the boiling milk at once (I heat milk in the microwave). Beat vigorously with a whisk until blended. Beat in the seasonings. Return over moderately high heat and boil, stirring with the whisk, for one minute. This sauce – the béchamel – will be very thick.

Remove from heat. Separate the eggs, discarding one egg yolk (or saving it in your fridge to pump up a sauce, or yellow up an omelet the next day). Place the whites in a clean, dry non-reactive bowl (stainless steel, porcelain or glass for most of us, copper for Julia). If there’s a trace of yolk in the whites, they won’t rise sufficiently! The trick is to separate the whites individually into a small bowl. Dump each white into the larger bowl only after ensuring there’s no errant yolk. This way you can easily throw one away without polluting the whole bowl. Add the 4 yolks to the béchamel and whisk them in.

Beat whites with a pinch of salt by hand, with a whisk, or with an electric beater. Start slow, watching the eggs begin to foam. Gradually increase speed and beat until stiff. The whites should be about 8 times their original volume. They’ll stand in stiff peaks.

Stir a big spoonful of the beaten egg whites into the béchamel to lighten the sauce. Don’t worry about the egg whites maintaining their volume here. Add all but 1 tablespoon of the grated cheese. Stir to combine into a creamy yellow sauce.

Fold in the remaining egg whites very gently, with a delicate hand. Use a rubber spatula to cut into the middle of the bowl and carefully turn the ingredients over. Keep the fluff. Don’t worry if there are streaks of white in the mixture.

Turn the soufflé mixture into the prepared mold, which should be about 3/4 full. Tap bottom of the mold on the counter and smooth the top with the spatula. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Place in the oven, immediately turning the heat down to 375°F. Do not open the oven door for at least 20 minutes. In 25 minutes, the soufflé will have puffed 1-2 inches from the rim of the mold and the top will be nicely browned. Bake 5 minutes longer and serve at once.

 

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December Supper Club

fort greene brooklyn toast supper club

Setting the table for the Supper Club at Toast in Fort Greene, Brooklyn

It’s a “morning after” kind of day. The dozens of wine glasses have been washed, lined up expectantly before being put away. Tablecloths pulled off surfaces and left crumpled on the floor. Leftovers doled out in this morning’s lunch boxes.

molten chocolate cake dessert at Toast Supper Club in Fort Greene, Brooklyn

Dessert of Moelleux au Chocolat with Espresso Crème Anglaise & Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

We had fourteen guests at Saturday night’s supper club. In our Fort Greene space, lovingly decorated by me with helpers Vander and Rafa. Huge success. Much fun and merriment. More pictures here (and please “like” us on Facebook to spread the word about Toast).

Late Afternoon Winter Supper Club at Toast in Fort Greene, Brooklyn

In Fort Greene on my way home shopping for the Supper Club

The menu with wine pairings:

Smoked Trout with Pickled Onion Vinaigrette and a scattering of freshly pickled vegetables

Jagdschloss Riesling Sekt Brut 2009 (Germany)

Watercress Soup

Domaine des Lauriers Viognier 2009 (France)

Braised Grass-fed Short Ribs with Fresh Horseradish Gremolata

Parsnip-Potato Mash

Rock.Face Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California)

Chicory, Endive and Pink Grapefruit Salad

Sparkling water

Moelleux au Chocolat with Espresso Crème Anglaise and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Domaine la Tour Vieille Banyuls Reserva (France)

 

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Dipping my toe in…

“You started a new business? You teach cooking? That’s so cool! What’s your website?”

Thud. “Um, I don’t have one.” [Cue startled look/eyes filled with pity]

Well, now I do. Have a website, I mean. This is my homemade affair, cobbled together at night after the kids go to bed. Forgive me. It’s a start. I have big dreams for a much prettier, more design-y and functional website. One day I will pay a qualified professional to do this…

You can find upcoming classes on the calendar page. I also teach private classes in the comfort of your home – or in the Toast teaching Kitchen in Fort Greene. We host a Supper Club a few times each year. If you’d like to be on the mailing list for these delicious experiments, please add your name to the mailing list (top of page, right).

 

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