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  1. Going up to the cottage this weekend

    Oh... Since you are at the cottage there is really only one meal You must start with Gazpacho one with (preferably cottage grown)almonds,bread crumbs and heirloom tomatoes. Next MUST be beef wellington with wild mushrooms,homemade pate (preferably from locally caught chicken livers or foie gras from the locally run-stuff-your gullet emporium) puff pastry (made from locally grown butter and wheat flour milled at the cottage) and a veal reduction sauce made from recently killed veal and locally grown vegetables and herbs. Everybody who has ever had a "cottage" knows that an August evening dinner isn't complete without cottage scalloped potatoes with a wee bit of cream and cottage gruyere. For dessert the choices for cottageness are limited. Primarily they include ..... Seriously what are you looking for? My parents owned a "cottage" on Lake Geneva, Wisconcin with 6 bed rooms and eight children. We didn't cook differently than we did at home. We ate well at both places.
  2. In Italian it's Aglio (garlic) e (and) Olio (oil). It varies in Italian dialects but it is never called Alio Orio. This is one of those dishes that people have strong opinions about. Some people slice the garlic, some mince, some put whole crushed into extra virgin olive oil in a saute pan. Some allow the garlic to darken in the oil and remove it before serving. Some swear by the addition of red pepper flakes others say parmesan cheese should never be in it. I could go on but you hopefully get the point. It is a simple quick dish that can be prepared at a minutes notice with ingredients usually at hand. For me it consists of minced fresh garlic, extra virgin olive oil, crushed red pepper flakes, chopped fresh parsley, cooked spaghetti and (optional) freshly grated parmesan cheese plus salt and pepper. I saute minced fresh garlic in extra virgin olive oil till softened, add crushed red pepper flakes and let saute for a few seconds then season with S & P. Toss drained cooked spaghetti in the pan along with a little pasta cooking water and add some chopped fresh parsley and mix well. Serve at once with freshly grated parmesan cheese. So easy and so good! Kate
  3. I am a huge fan of Lynn Rosetto Kasper's "brodo" from "The Splendid Table". It packs a ton of flavor and, as she suggests, is great on its' own with just a handful of grated parmesan cheese for a restorative soup. It calls for beef shanks or soup bones as well as poultry (I use turkey wings and cut up chicken parts instead of capon which is pricey and not so easy to find) and has a very long cooking time over low heat. Basically it calls for 2 to 3 lbs of beef shanks, 8 or 9 lbs of cut up poultry, 3 stalks celery and 3 carrots choppped, 4 very large onions chopped, Bay leaves, crushed garlic and fresh parsley sprigs. Cook over low after an initial low bubble boil for 12 to 14 hours. Strain and defat. I make this 2 to 3 times per year in my 8 and 12 quart stock pots and use it for everything from soups and gravies to sauces. From 20 quarts it yields 8 quarts which I greatly reduce as my freezer space is limited. I freeze in quart sized zip lock bags as well as put some of the reduced stock in ice cube sized portions for making individual bowls of broth and/or gravy for two. I LOVE this stuff! If you make home made tortellini this is the perfect vehicle for tortellini in brodo but it also improves any home made soup to the point that I can discern its absence when I run out and make due with a store bought low sodium substitute. Kate
  4. I am going to St Thomas next week and have been many times in the past as friends have a vacation home there(near Mahogany Bay). We have eaten very well at local restaurants but I can't seem to remember the names of the best places. It's been a few years, 3 maybe, but I would appreciate some recommendations for a high end casual fine dining restaurant to take our hosts to. Price is not a consideration. We will have access to fresh fish since our hosts have a deep sea boat so I would love to hear thoughts on high end fish cookery. The last time that I was there we caught marlin, tuna, rainbow runner and many fish I forgot but that we enjoyed greatly. I made a ceviche dish with the tuna that the hostess still asks for the recipe but I am clueless. I know that I used shallots, lime juice, olive oil and... something slightly hot. Any thoughts to replicate this? Her husband loved whatever I made (and he caught the tuna)and thinks that I am holding out. I am not: so your best recipe for fresh (as in barely recently dead) carpaccio/tartare would be greatly appreciated. They have access to well stocked stores but gourmet stuff is a long ambling drive away. Kate
  5. Garlic Bread--forgot how good it is

    Mince up some garlic. Melt butter in a small sauce pan. Briefly saute garlic in butter (2 to 3 minutes till soft). Spread garlic butter over bread. Douse with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Cover with chopped Italian parsley and perhaps some snipped chives. Spice with a little S & P. Place one half loaf on top of the other and bake at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes. Make Happy Face and eat. Kate
  6. Recipe challenge 2010

    Several things that I would like to make but am unhappy with the recipes. Stuffed Grape Leaves. I've done the research, made a few batches and am still not happy with the results. I am thinking these might be better to buy from the few restaurants and manufacturers (like Divina) that I like. Lespinasse braised beef short ribs. I purchased the cook book "The Elements of Taste" just so that I could taste this heaven on a plate again but it was a non starter. Not bad just not the ethereal creation from the former restaurant at the St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan. Chef Gray Kunz knew that this was the reason many would buy his cookbook but the recipe he offered was sadly inferior to what the restaurant offered, at least to me, over several years of eating. Perfect Tarte Tatin. I made Thomas Keller's recipe and it pretty much didn't do well even though most of his recipes are spot on for me. I made Tarte Tatin from an old French cookbook (my first attempt at puff pastry dough) that seemed terrific but I know that there are better versions out there. Perfect Cassoulet. I have made elements of cassoulet but never the whole beast. I have made the duck leg confit (Thomas Keller's recipe) and the sausage which I think are wonderful but I have yet to make cassoulet from start to finish by my self. My teamed efforts required pulling out the lamb and pork roast (my friend made them and when I tasted them they were NOT good) as both were dry and unflavorable. Both cooks agreed that these meats had to go. My next effort will be a sausage, duck confit and bean mixture but I wish that I had a great recipe for this! Meatloaf. I never, ever liked meatloaf but my SO does. I have been making a version that both of us can digest(barely)but lately it seems further and farther removed from his meatloaf dream and mine (my meatloaf dreams do not exist). Is there one that will make us both happy? His dream includes canned (argh) mushrooms, ballpark mustard, ketchup. My (better) sollutions include fresh sauteed (Crimini) mushrooms, Dijon mustard and Heinz Chile Sauce. I use a mix of ground pork, beef and veal plus milk soaked bread crumbs plus sauteed onions and garlic. If I have on hand I add parsely and other herbs. There must be a better version of this dish that doesn't require a PHD in everyday guy stuff. I want to make him happy but once a week is too much for this. Kate
  7. I was suprised to see Tropp's China Moon Cookbook and any of Keller's listed as disappointments. I've made so many winning recipes from both that I find this pretty bewildering. My copy of China Moon opens automatically to "Plum Wine Chicken Salad with Sweet Mustard Sauce". This recipe requires an investment of time making the foundations for the dish. These include the delicious Chile Orange Oil (which I have made as Christmas gifts for years by universal demand and redemand) and the Five Flavor Oil as well as the Pickled Ginger (the juice of which is an absolute staple in my house for salad dressing and sauces). The foundations need only be made very infrequently and have long shelf lifes. The Plum Wine Chicken Salad frequently morphs into a non-salad version served over rice that benefits from some textural additions of water chestnuts, toasted pine nuts or whatever. My SO would be bereft if he didn't get the non-salad version on a regular basis and has joked (or half-joked) that it's the reason he can never leave me. Keller's books are fussy to be sure but the results have been pretty uniformly spectacular. Notwithstanding the previously mentioned and amazing quiche from "Bouchon" have you not tried his heavenly pate a choix gnocchi? I make them at least three times per year and freeze and dole them out like perfect gifts at various dinners. This post would be too long to list the number of recipes I have made from Bouchon and TFL that have received anything but unfettered accolades. I can see faulting these books because they involve too much work or too many steps to build the complexity of flavors but on sheer merit? In my mind not a chance! Kate
  8. Fernet Branca & Branca Menta Recipes

    Fernet Branca is not a drink but a threat. A threat from an elderly Piemontese Grandmother when you complain that your tummy hurts. All of these attempts to make it palatable are seriously scary Kate
  9. A pox on the runny egg yolk

    You sum up my feelings fairly precisely. I can cook with them and make a mean Hollandaise or Bernaise sauce. You can put them in my steak tartare or egg nog and I won't mind a bit but every time I see someone eat one just makes me ill. The scene in the Adam Sandler movie where he plays a chef who makes himself a runny egg sandwich puts my gag reflex into overdrive! Kate ::shuddering::
  10. "Undervalued" restaurants

    I am thrilled to hear such a glowing review of Seasonal since I'm dining there tomorrow evening. ← I hope you like it as much as we did! We went there twice in one week. I also ordered the lamb loin with the maiutake mushrooms. The lamb was great but the mushrooms were unbelievable. I am still craving them! I think that it is between 6th and 7th not 5th and 6th. Certainly worth the walk and a little hard to find because of scaffolding which obscures the signage but on the south side of the street. A lot of German speaking people seem to eat there but of the young and hip variety which my SO and I are definately not No one seemed to find us offensive though Kate
  11. "Undervalued" restaurants

    I travel to New York City on a fairly frequent basis and almost always stay in the area of 55th and 5th. This is a problem when it comes to dining because I don't want to rely on cabs which can be worth their weight in gold at certain hours (think dining). I am always on the lookout for places that 1) I can walk to 2) are seriously food worthy and 3) won't otherwise offend my SO. Mumber 3 is a huge concern as he is not happy with very loud places and those that seemed designed to keep you there for hours. Hence we have never been to Per Se but it is now on the radar with their bar menu policy. We tend to go to midtown haunts like L'atelier de Joel Robouchon; the Modern (dining room and bar); Le Bernardin, Jean George et. al. One recent find that we both enthusiactically enjoyed was "Seasonal Restaurant and Wein Bar" an Austrian restaurant on 58th between 5th and 6th. I could eat their spaetzle for the rest of my life either as an entree or as a side dish. The weiner schnitzel is amazing as are the the stuffed pasta with mountain cheese, butter sauteed morels and peas. I have never seen this place reviewed. I literally stumbled across it and thought my SO would like this food. It might be undervalued (whatever the hell that means) but it is worthy of attention. Kate
  12. Comfort food

    Your later definition is more accurate. It's food that makes you feel as if your mother or grandmother is taking care of you just because that's what they *do*. Kate
  13. Alba, Alba, Alba

    Are you thinking of La Locanda del Sant' Uffizio by any chance? It's in the Monferrato area of Asti Province and is more hotel and fine restaurant than a B & B but utterly charming, bucolic and the food was excellent last time I stayed there. According to their web site they have 40 rooms. Kate
  14. Catering for a doctor's party: need ideas/help

    For about 10 years I helped my sister prepare her office staff Christmas party at her home. The staff were pretty much as described by you except that they knew how seriously into cooking their MD boss was and it would beat eating out at any restaurant in the small town where she/they lived. We tried many bits of exotica over the years mostly in order to delight ourselves and have fun with the cooking. Eventually we learned that they would eat and enjoy things like gougeres stuffed with bacon and pickled onions (Judy Rodgers recipe from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook) and grilled beef tenderloin with various dipping sauces (with weird names like chimmichurri ) but were never universally thrilled with anything too "out there". Eventually we compromised by always making the gougeres and the tenderloin (by popular demand) nixing the sweetbreads and other offal except chicken livers and throwing in only one new (translate "strange") dish each year. The last year she did this I think we made Vietnamese rice paper rolls with dipping sauces (comment - "would have been better deep fried" - they may be healthcare professionals but this is a Christmas party!); Bagna Cauda with vegetables and bread (where I grew up and my sister practiced medicine this was not considered strange as everyone associated it with winter eating and all those of Italian heritage had blue or green eyes)l a Christmas salad with greens, pomegranates, avocado, some kind of cheese and spiced pecans; the beef tenderloin and sauces; roasted fingerling and sweet potatoes with fresh herbs; some green vegetable cooked au gratin; and at least two desserts whose identity escapes me at the moment. ....and lots of beer. That seemed to please the most Kate