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I’ve had my Joyce Chen kitchen scissors since the late 1970’s when I lived in Cambridge, virtually around the corner from Chen’s restaurant. I still use them daily. Definitely a product that has stood the test of time. 
Whether deboning or cutting up a chicken, mincing chives, trimming the fat off a steak, cutting through partially frozen meat, and a myriad of other uses, I find them indispensable. 
I was surprised to find out they are still being produced and can be ordered on Amazon. Click here to get your own.

I’ve had my Joyce Chen kitchen scissors since the late 1970’s when I lived in Cambridge, virtually around the corner from Chen’s restaurant. I still use them daily. Definitely a product that has stood the test of time.

Whether deboning or cutting up a chicken, mincing chives, trimming the fat off a steak, cutting through partially frozen meat, and a myriad of other uses, I find them indispensable.

I was surprised to find out they are still being produced and can be ordered on Amazon. Click here to get your own.

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Rocco DiSpirito’s Crunchy Kale, Apple and Pomegranate Salad

This Crunchy Kale, Apple and Pomegranate Salad from chef Rocco DiSpirito is the perfect combination of sweet and sour.

It’s a great dinner party starter; and,  with the addition of chicken, makes a perfect weekday lunch.

Ingredients

Makes 4 servings

3 tablespoons shelled unsalted pumpkin seeds
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
6 cups Tuscan kale, washed and chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 cup Granny Smith apple, diced into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
Salt and crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

1. Place pumpkin seeds on a microwave-safe plate and cook on high until they’re golden brown, about 2 minutes. Reserve.

2. Place vinegar and yogurt in a large mixing bowl and stir together. Put kale, apple and pomegranate seeds in a bowl, toss together and add pumpkin seeds. Season with salt and crushed red pepper flakes.

Originally published in the March 2014 issue of Family Circle magazine.

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Yotam Ottolenghi’s restaurants in London are way up on my list of favorite eateries and his cookbooks are fabulous as well. My classes incorporating his recipes are some of the best attended ever.

Needless to say, I was thrilled to read about his recent cookbook launch earlier this month in London and immediately pre-ordered PLENTY MORE on Amazon. I can’t wait its mid-October arrival. 
All his books are visually stunning so am very much looking forward to the photos and to trying as many as possible of the 150 new dishes. Click here to order the book.
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My favorite quote in all cookingdom is in the preface to Brillat-Savarin’s 1956 Real French Cooking, where Maurice Saillant-Curnonsky is quoted as saying, “…you do not invent a new dish by pouring fish soup over a sirloin nor yet by smothering a jugged hare in peppermint…a superfine dish is the master achievement of many generations.” I have always preferred tried-and-true dessert-trolley fare, comprised of fairly basic ingredients, to the currently more popular, sometimes too precious plated dessert. I’ll take an old-fashioned layer cake, flan, cheesecake, or sticky toffee pudding any day over chocolate that tastes like green tea or a creme anglaise flavoured with porcini or basil.

My favorite quote in all cookingdom is in the preface to Brillat-Savarin’s 1956 Real French Cooking, where Maurice Saillant-Curnonsky is quoted as saying, “…you do not invent a new dish by pouring fish soup over a sirloin nor yet by smothering a jugged hare in peppermint…a superfine dish is the master achievement of many generations.” I have always preferred tried-and-true dessert-trolley fare, comprised of fairly basic ingredients, to the currently more popular, sometimes too precious plated dessert. I’ll take an old-fashioned layer cake, flan, cheesecake, or sticky toffee pudding any day over chocolate that tastes like green tea or a creme anglaise flavoured with porcini or basil.

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Gwyneth Paltrow’s Japanese Chicken Meatballs with Lee’s Hoisin Sauce

This Japanese Chicken Meatballs with Lee’s Hoisin Sauce recipe is from Gwyneth Paltrow’s New York Times best-selling cookbook IT’S ALL GOOD.

The collection of 185 dishes are made from unprocessed ingredients and whole grains with the intention of making you both look good and feel great.

My favorite recipes in the book are for Huevos Rancheros and Banana Ice Cream, but this meatball recipe is a bit out of the ordinary, easy to make, and delicious.

Ingredients for Meatballs

Makes: 2 dozen meatballs

1 lb ground chicken (preferably dark meat)
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, very finely minced
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons good-quality maple syrup
2 tablespoons neutral oil (like canola, grapeseed or safflower)

Directions

1. Thoroughly mix chicken with salt, pepper, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and maple syrup. Roll mixture into golf-ball-size meatballs.

2. Grill, roast, broil or pan-fry meatballs (use neutral oil to prevent sticking) until cooked through. Serve with Lee’s Hoisin Sauce.

Ingredients for Lee’s Hoisin Sauce

Makes: about 1 cup

1 tablespoon neutral oil (like canola, grapeseed or safflower)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1/2 cup red miso paste
1/2 cup good-quality maple syrup
2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar

Directions

1. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and five-spice powder and cook for about 30 seconds, or until wonderfully fragrant. Whisk in remaining ingredients, bring to a boil and cook, whisking or stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until slightly thickened.

2. Let sauce cool before using. It keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days.

Originally published in the March 2014 issue of Family Circle magazine.

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My latest discovery for getting pots and pans really clean is the stainless steel chain mail pot scrubber I stumbled upon in my daughter Tess’ kitchen while visiting her last month in New Orleans. She gave me one of her two, and I’ve ordered another (as I’m now addicted and felt the need for a spare).
It’s great for scouring pots, pans, skillets, griddles, dutch ovens, woks and even your waffle maker. Don’t use it on non-stick items…but by definition, they shouldn’t need it anyway.  Click here to get your own.
My latest discovery for getting pots and pans really clean is the stainless steel chain mail pot scrubber I stumbled upon in my daughter Tess’ kitchen while visiting her last month in New Orleans. She gave me one of her two, and I’ve ordered another (as I’m now addicted and felt the need for a spare).
It’s great for scouring pots, pans, skillets, griddles, dutch ovens, woks and even your waffle maker. Don’t use it on non-stick items…but by definition, they shouldn’t need it anyway.  Click here to get your own.

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Last week a great pasta recipe for right now showed up on Food52. Amanda Hesser suggested bacon, basil and fresh corn in combination with orecchiette or small shells.
I doubled the amounts of garlic, basil and corn and added red onion and some of the bumper crop of fresh tarragon growing on my fire escape.  I served Hesser’s pasta as a starter last weekend and everyone raved and I made it again last night to the same enthusiastic response. Do make it now while there is still corn in the fields.
Summer Weekend Pasta
Serves 6-8
Ingredients
6 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil or more if needed
1 large clove minced garlic 1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
Pinch red pepper flakes
3 medium yellow zucchini, ends trimmed
1 pound orecchiette or small shells
7 ears corn, cooked for 1 minute, kernels cut from the cobs, juices and all
8 tablespoons roughly chopped basil or fresh tarragon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions
1.Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, spread the bacon in a large saute pan set over medium heat. Cook the bacon until it’s crisp and its fat has rendered. As you remove the bacon from the heat, stir in 1/4 cup olive oil, minced garlic, red onion, and red pepper flakes.
2.  Grate the summer squash on a box grater. Gather the gratings in a bowl and salt the squash — I add about 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt. Toss to mix. Let sit for at least 10 minutes, and up to 30 minutes. Drain well, rinse well and drain again. Squeeze as much water as possible out of the squash with your hands and then squeeze dry in a kitchen towel.

Last week a great pasta recipe for right now showed up on Food52. Amanda Hesser suggested bacon, basil and fresh corn in combination with orecchiette or small shells.

I doubled the amounts of garlic, basil and corn and added red onion and some of the bumper crop of fresh tarragon growing on my fire escape.  I served Hesser’s pasta as a starter last weekend and everyone raved and I made it again last night to the same enthusiastic response. Do make it now while there is still corn in the fields.

Summer Weekend Pasta

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

6 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces

1/4 cup olive oil or more if needed

1 large clove minced garlic 1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced

Pinch red pepper flakes

3 medium yellow zucchini, ends trimmed

1 pound orecchiette or small shells

7 ears corn, cooked for 1 minute, kernels cut from the cobs, juices and all

8 tablespoons roughly chopped basil or fresh tarragon

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

1.Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, spread the bacon in a large saute pan set over medium heat. Cook the bacon until it’s crisp and its fat has rendered. As you remove the bacon from the heat, stir in 1/4 cup olive oil, minced garlic, red onion, and red pepper flakes.

2.  Grate the summer squash on a box grater. Gather the gratings in a bowl and salt the squash — I add about 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt. Toss to mix. Let sit for at least 10 minutes, and up to 30 minutes. Drain well, rinse well and drain again. Squeeze as much water as possible out of the squash with your hands and then squeeze dry in a kitchen towel.

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The behemoth cemita—hailing from Puebla, Mexico, and a true wonder of the sandwich world—is named for the sesame-studded roll that traditionally encloses avocado, cheese, onions, chipotle chilies in adobo and a breaded cutlet or other meat, which I’ve replaced here with sliced turkey breast. In Puebla, papalo, a sharp and citrusy Mexican herb, is also a key player. North of the border, where the herb isn’t always so easy to come by, cilantro is a good substitute.
Mexican Cemita
Ingredients
4 Mexican cemita rolls or other round sesame-seed egg rolls
1 pound roast turkey, coarsely chopped
2 canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, seeded and cut lengthwise into strips
1 tablespoon adobo sauce
1 bunch cilantro, large stems removed and coarsely chopped
8 papalo leaves, julienned
2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
6 ounces shredded Oaxacan or mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Directions
1. Slice 4 Mexican cemita rolls or other round sesame-seed egg rolls in half horizontally. Toast, broil or grill slices until browned on cut side.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss 1 pound roast turkey, coarsely chopped, with 2 canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, seeded and cut lengthwise into strips, 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from can of chilies) and 1 bunch cilantro, large stems removed and coarsely chopped , or 8 papalo leaves, julienned. (If more heat is desired, add more chilies and sauce.)
3. In another bowl, smash 2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted, with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and 2 teaspoons lime juice. Assemble sandwiches: In this order, divide the following ingredients among bottom halves of rolls: avocado mixture, 1 large red onion, thinly sliced, 6 ounces shredded Oaxacan or mozzarella cheese and turkey mixture. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Top sandwiches with remaining halves of rolls. Cut each sandwich in half to serve, if you like.

The behemoth cemita—hailing from Puebla, Mexico, and a true wonder of the sandwich world—is named for the sesame-studded roll that traditionally encloses avocado, cheese, onions, chipotle chilies in adobo and a breaded cutlet or other meat, which I’ve replaced here with sliced turkey breast. In Puebla, papalo, a sharp and citrusy Mexican herb, is also a key player. North of the border, where the herb isn’t always so easy to come by, cilantro is a good substitute.

Mexican Cemita

Ingredients

4 Mexican cemita rolls or other round sesame-seed egg rolls

1 pound roast turkey, coarsely chopped

2 canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, seeded and cut lengthwise into strips

1 tablespoon adobo sauce

1 bunch cilantro, large stems removed and coarsely chopped

8 papalo leaves, julienned

2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted

2 teaspoons lime juice

1 large red onion, thinly sliced

6 ounces shredded Oaxacan or mozzarella cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Slice 4 Mexican cemita rolls or other round sesame-seed egg rolls in half horizontally. Toast, broil or grill slices until browned on cut side.

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss 1 pound roast turkey, coarsely chopped, with 2 canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, seeded and cut lengthwise into strips, 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from can of chilies) and 1 bunch cilantro, large stems removed and coarsely chopped , or 8 papalo leaves, julienned. (If more heat is desired, add more chilies and sauce.)

3. In another bowl, smash 2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted, with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and 2 teaspoons lime juice. Assemble sandwiches: In this order, divide the following ingredients among bottom halves of rolls: avocado mixture, 1 large red onion, thinly sliced, 6 ounces shredded Oaxacan or mozzarella cheese and turkey mixture. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Top sandwiches with remaining halves of rolls. Cut each sandwich in half to serve, if you like.

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Lidia Bastianich’s Chicken Breast with Orange and Gaeta Olives

Restaurateur and PBS television host Lidia Bastianich is known for her trademark Italian dishes and four acclaimed New York City restaurants— Felidia, Becco, Esca and Del Posto.

This light and citrusy dish from Bastianich, in its entirety, takes under 20 minutes to cook and is guaranteed to please.

Ingredients

Makes 6 servings

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds thinly sliced chicken cutlets
1 teaspoon kosher salt
All-purpose flour for dredging
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large red onion, sliced
1 cup pitted Gaeta or Kalamata olives, whole or halved
Juice and grated zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup white wine
1 teaspoon fennel powder
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

Directions

1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley over medium heat.

2. Season chicken with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and lightly dredge in flour. Lightly brown chicken in skillet (you want it to end up with a blond-colored crust), about 2 minutes per side. Cook in batches if necessary, depending on size of skillet. Remove browned pieces to a plate.

3. Once all chicken is browned, add butter and onion to skillet and cook until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add olives, orange juice and zest, white wine and fennel powder. Put chicken back in skillet, and simmer until chicken is just cooked through and sauce coats the chicken, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season with remaining salt. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Note: To make with drumsticks instead, double the wine and increase the cooking time until chicken is done.

Originally published in the October 2013 issue of Family Circle magazine.

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After his acclaimed Recette was named Best New Restaurant by the New York Times, Jesse Schenker has become one of New York City’s top chefs.  And with a second restaurant under his belt just this year, his progressive take on American classics is sure to inspire diners and critics again.  I just recently pre-ordered the thirty-one-year-old’s first book: All or Nothing, and am hoping it is just as edgy and bold as his food. Click here to get your own copy.

After his acclaimed Recette was named Best New Restaurant by the New York Times, Jesse Schenker has become one of New York City’s top chefs.

And with a second restaurant under his belt just this year, his progressive take on American classics is sure to inspire diners and critics again.

I just recently pre-ordered the thirty-one-year-old’s first book: All or Nothing, and am hoping it is just as edgy and bold as his food. Click here to get your own copy.