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Churrasco Steak and Arugula with Candied Pepper Chimichurri
Serves 4

For the Chimichurri:
½ cup finely minced Candied Red Peppers
¼ cup candied pepper liquid
¼ cup brine-packed capers, rinsed and finely chopped
¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
6 garlic cloves, very finely minced
2 shallots, very finely chopped 
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the Steaks:
Four 8-ounce skirt steaks
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon plus 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4 cups baby arugula 1  cup halved cherry tomatoes

Directions
1. To make the chimichurri, place the candied peppers in a medium bowl with the candied pepper liquid, capers, parsley, cilantro, garlic, and shallots and whisk to combine. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until the mixture is thick and emulsified. Set aside.
2. Prepare a hot charcoal or gas grill.
3. Season both sides of the skirt steaks with 2 tablespoons of the salt and 1 tablespoon of the pepper and set on the grill. Cook without moving until there are grill marks, about 5 minutes. Turn over the steaks and cook the other sides until there are grill marks and the steaks are cooked to your liking, about 3 minutes for medium-rare, 4 minutes for medium, and 5 minutes longer for medium-well. Use tongs to transfer the steaks to a large platter and set aside.
4. While the steaks rest, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Add the arugula and cherry tomatoes and gently toss to coat.
5. Arrange the 4 pieces of steak on a large platter in a circular shape. Fill the center of the circle with the arugula and tomatoes and serve with the chimichurri on the side.

Churrasco Steak and Arugula with Candied Pepper Chimichurri

Serves 4

For the Chimichurri:

½ cup finely minced Candied Red Peppers

¼ cup candied pepper liquid

¼ cup brine-packed capers, rinsed and finely chopped

¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

6 garlic cloves, very finely minced

2 shallots, very finely chopped

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the Steaks:

Four 8-ounce skirt steaks

2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1 tablespoon plus 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

4 cups baby arugula 1  cup halved cherry tomatoes

Directions

1. To make the chimichurri, place the candied peppers in a medium bowl with the candied pepper liquid, capers, parsley, cilantro, garlic, and shallots and whisk to combine. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until the mixture is thick and emulsified. Set aside.

2. Prepare a hot charcoal or gas grill.

3. Season both sides of the skirt steaks with 2 tablespoons of the salt and 1 tablespoon of the pepper and set on the grill. Cook without moving until there are grill marks, about 5 minutes. Turn over the steaks and cook the other sides until there are grill marks and the steaks are cooked to your liking, about 3 minutes for medium-rare, 4 minutes for medium, and 5 minutes longer for medium-well. Use tongs to transfer the steaks to a large platter and set aside.

4. While the steaks rest, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Add the arugula and cherry tomatoes and gently toss to coat.

5. Arrange the 4 pieces of steak on a large platter in a circular shape. Fill the center of the circle with the arugula and tomatoes and serve with the chimichurri on the side.

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I just returned from a marvelous six days at Canyon Ranch. Everything was relaxing, restorative, rejuvenating and fun. And the food was both healthy and delicious. I bought NOURISH, the Ranch’s most recent cookbook and suggest you do as well.

The culinary philosophy at Canyon Ranch is that the most nourishing and best tasting food is fresh and seasonal. Featuring more than two hundred recipes from breakfasts such as Thai French Toast with Orange Ginger Syrup and delicious sides such as Butternut Squash Tart to entrées such as Cod with Cauliflower Tomato Broth or Zahtar-Crusted Lamb and indulgent desserts such as the Alsatian Plum Cake, Canyon Ranch: Nourish includes mouthwatering dishes that will entice the most sophisticated palate. In addition, each recipe includes complete nutritional information as well as simple step-by-step techniques to empower the novice cook. With all the authority and experience as the recognized leader in wellness, Canyon Ranch: Nourish makes healthy eating easy and irresistible. Click here to get a copy.

I just returned from a marvelous six days at Canyon Ranch. Everything was relaxing, restorative, rejuvenating and fun. And the food was both healthy and delicious. I bought NOURISH, the Ranch’s most recent cookbook and suggest you do as well.

The culinary philosophy at Canyon Ranch is that the most nourishing and best tasting food is fresh and seasonal. Featuring more than two hundred recipes from breakfasts such as Thai French Toast with Orange Ginger Syrup and delicious sides such as Butternut Squash Tart to entrées such as Cod with Cauliflower Tomato Broth or Zahtar-Crusted Lamb and indulgent desserts such as the Alsatian Plum Cake, Canyon Ranch: Nourish includes mouthwatering dishes that will entice the most sophisticated palate. In addition, each recipe includes complete nutritional information as well as simple step-by-step techniques to empower the novice cook. With all the authority and experience as the recognized leader in wellness, Canyon Ranch: Nourish makes healthy eating easy and irresistible. Click here to get a copy.

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As a child Audrey and Katharine Hepburn were my two favorite actresses though I’m embarrassed to admit that when very young I could not keep straight which one was which.  
A bit odd as both were extremely beautiful and glamorous, but did not look alike at all. I guess it was the name. In any case, to honor their memory and my childhood, here is a classic recipe from each of them. Audrey’s spaghetti with tomato sauce is as basic and as good as it gets. And Katharine’s brownies—being almost flourless—are the moistest, chewiest and most chocolaty ever. Enjoy.

Audrey Hepburn’s Favorite Spaghetti Al Pomodoro: http://gailmonaghan.tumblr.com/post/91866172507/audrey-hepburns-favorite-spaghetti-al-pomodoro
Katharine Hepburn’s Brownie Recipe: http://gailmonaghan.tumblr.com/post/85543040537/katharine-hepburns-brownie-recipe-makes

As a child Audrey and Katharine Hepburn were my two favorite actresses though I’m embarrassed to admit that when very young I could not keep straight which one was which.  

A bit odd as both were extremely beautiful and glamorous, but did not look alike at all. I guess it was the name. 

In any case, to honor their memory and my childhood, here is a classic recipe from each of them. Audrey’s spaghetti with tomato sauce is as basic and as good as it gets. And Katharine’s brownies—being almost flourlessare the moistest, chewiest and most chocolaty ever. Enjoy.

Audrey Hepburn’s Favorite Spaghetti Al Pomodorohttp://gailmonaghan.tumblr.com/post/91866172507/audrey-hepburns-favorite-spaghetti-al-pomodoro

Katharine Hepburn’s Brownie Recipehttp://gailmonaghan.tumblr.com/post/85543040537/katharine-hepburns-brownie-recipe-makes

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Audrey Hepburn’s Favorite Spaghetti Al Pomodoro

Ingredients

1 small onion
2 garlic cloves
2 carrots
2 stalks celery
2 (16 ounce) cans of pre-peeled roma tomatoes
1 bunch fresh basil, washed
2-4 ounces virgin olive oil
1 (16 ounce) box spaghetti noodles
4-8 ounces freshly grated parmesan cheese
Directions
1. Peel and dice the small onion, garlic, carrots, celery and put into a large pot.
2. Add 2 large cans of Italian pelati [pre-peeled roma tomatoes].
3. Add 1/2 of the bunch of basil with leaves left whole.
4. Add a long drizzle of olive oil.
5. Simmer on low for 45 minutes.
6. Turn off heat and let it rest at least 15 minutes.
7. Cook one package of spaghetti noodles [or angel hair] until al dente [with still a bit of a snap at the core].
8. Place pasta on large serving bowl or plate.
9. Pour sauce over.
10. Cut carefully the other 1/2 of basil and sprinkle over the sauce and pasta with lots of freshly grated parmagiana reggiano cheese.

Audrey Hepburn’s Favorite Spaghetti Al Pomodoro

Ingredients

1 small onion

2 garlic cloves

2 carrots

2 stalks celery

2 (16 ounce) cans of pre-peeled roma tomatoes

1 bunch fresh basil, washed

2-4 ounces virgin olive oil

1 (16 ounce) box spaghetti noodles

4-8 ounces freshly grated parmesan cheese

Directions

1. Peel and dice the small onion, garlic, carrots, celery and put into a large pot.

2. Add 2 large cans of Italian pelati [pre-peeled roma tomatoes].

3. Add 1/2 of the bunch of basil with leaves left whole.

4. Add a long drizzle of olive oil.

5. Simmer on low for 45 minutes.

6. Turn off heat and let it rest at least 15 minutes.

7. Cook one package of spaghetti noodles [or angel hair] until al dente [with still a bit of a snap at the core].

8. Place pasta on large serving bowl or plate.

9. Pour sauce over.

10. Cut carefully the other 1/2 of basil and sprinkle over the sauce and pasta with lots of freshly grated parmagiana reggiano cheese.

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cheesenotes:

A post-beach weekend cheese board, via the Fairfield Cheese Co. in Fairfield, CT. Clockwise from bottom-left: Wabash Cannonball, a goat’s milk ash-coated ball from Capriole Goat Cheese in Greenville, Indiana; Tunworth, a cow’s milk, Camembert-style British cheese from Hampshire Cheeses; Ossau-Iraty, a Basque sheep’s milk cheese from Fromagerie Agour; and the Stichelton, from Stichelton Dairy.

cheesenotes:

A post-beach weekend cheese board, via the Fairfield Cheese Co. in Fairfield, CT. Clockwise from bottom-left: Wabash Cannonball, a goat’s milk ash-coated ball from Capriole Goat Cheese in Greenville, Indiana; Tunworth, a cow’s milk, Camembert-style British cheese from Hampshire Cheeses; Ossau-Iraty, a Basque sheep’s milk cheese from Fromagerie Agour; and the Stichelton, from Stichelton Dairy.

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I taught David Tanis’ lovely little butter almond cakes in a class last month. Tanis charmingly makes them in various small sizes and presents them all together on a platter. I used my miniature muffin tins along with my normal ones. Next time I’ll try my madeleine tins as well.
I added the vanilla ice cream and the runny honey drizzle and hope that Tanis would approve.
Butter Almond Cakes with Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream and Honey Drizzle
Ingredients
16 tablespoons unsalted butter plus more for greasing the molds
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup whole almonds (not blanched almonds)
6 large eggs, beaten
3 teaspoons almond extract
2 tablespoon dark rum
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Generously butter muffin tins, mini muffin tins or madeleine molds (butter and flour twice if using madeleine molds).
3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until it foams and turns nut brown. Set aside to cool.
4. Put the two sugars and the almonds in a food processor and grind until the almonds are pulverized, about a minute.
5. Transfer to a bowl and add eggs, almond extract, rum and cooled brown butter. Stir or use an electric mixer.
6. Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. Add to almond mixture. Mix to combine. Don’t overbeat.
7. Divide among molds. Bake until lightly browned and done 10-12 minutes for small ones. Leave in tins for 3 minutes. Unmold onto rack to cool.
8. To serve, put one or two on a plate with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. Warm some good honey and drizzle over the top.

I taught David Tanis’ lovely little butter almond cakes in a class last month. Tanis charmingly makes them in various small sizes and presents them all together on a platter. I used my miniature muffin tins along with my normal ones. Next time I’ll try my madeleine tins as well.

I added the vanilla ice cream and the runny honey drizzle and hope that Tanis would approve.

Butter Almond Cakes with Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream and Honey Drizzle

Ingredients

16 tablespoons unsalted butter plus more for greasing the molds

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cup whole almonds (not blanched almonds)

6 large eggs, beaten

3 teaspoons almond extract

2 tablespoon dark rum

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Generously butter muffin tins, mini muffin tins or madeleine molds (butter and flour twice if using madeleine molds).

3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until it foams and turns nut brown. Set aside to cool.

4. Put the two sugars and the almonds in a food processor and grind until the almonds are pulverized, about a minute.

5. Transfer to a bowl and add eggs, almond extract, rum and cooled brown butter. Stir or use an electric mixer.

6. Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. Add to almond mixture. Mix to combine. Don’t overbeat.

7. Divide among molds. Bake until lightly browned and done 10-12 minutes for small ones. Leave in tins for 3 minutes. Unmold onto rack to cool.

8. To serve, put one or two on a plate with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. Warm some good honey and drizzle over the top.

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One of my favorite new cookbooks is David Tanis’ One Good Dish. Filled with easy recipes and beautiful photos, it’s a book I’m thrilled to have on my kitchen shelf. Among the several dishes  I’ve tried so far (and will make again for sure) is Tanis’ Radishes a la Crème which is pictured on the book cover.

The four ingredient recipe is served raw and provides an tasty, effortless and summery  starter.

Radishes a la Crème

Serves 4

Ingredients

½ pound large red radishes or daikon
Sea salt
¼ cup crème fraîche, or a little more
A few drops of milk (optional)
Pepper

Directions

1. With a mandoline or a sharp knife, slice the radishes as thin as possible. Arrange the slices on a platter. Sprinkle lightly with salt.

2. If the crème fraîche is quite thick, beat it with a spoon for a minute to lighten it up, or thin with a few drops of milk or water. Spoon it generously over the sliced radishes. Finish with as much freshly ground pepper as you like.

Optional:

A drizzle of fruity olive oil, about 1 tablespoon, is a delicious indulgence spooned over the crème fraîche at the last minute. Or garnish with spicy radish sprouts and chopped chives. You can also serve the radish salad on thinly sliced rye bread for great little open-faced sandwiches.

“Excerpted from One Good Dish by David Tanis (Artisan Books). Copyright ©2013. Photographs by Gentl & Hyers.”

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Richard Olney, an American painter, cook, food writer, and editor spent most of his adult life in France and is  best known for his books on French country cooking.   Emphasizing the importance of simple and satisfying food, Olney  mentored both Alice Waters and Jeremiah Tower and  thus was a major force behind the American Food Revolution and the birth of California Cuisine.

His recipe for Grilled Fish with Two Sauces is just one example of how simple techniques can transform any dish into an extraordinary dining experience.

Grilled Fish with Two Sauces
Sar á la Brasie, Tapenade et Tomates Confites

A 4-pound fish should be grilled 6-inches away from the heat for about 15 minutes on each side, turning two or three times. Don’t worry if the scales are charred. They protect the flesh from the heat, allowing the fish to steam in its own moisture. If you prefer, the tomato sauce can be prepared a day in advance, but the anchovy fillets should be added only at the last minute.

1 4-pound porgy, red snapper, etc. gutted, gills removed but unscaled

Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

3 tbsp Olive oil 
1 medium Onion, finely chopped 
4 Garlic cloves, crushed and peeled 
1 lb Tomatoes, peeled, seeded, cut into pieces, and salted in a colander for 1 hour 
3 Salted anchovies, rinsed and filleted, or 6 fillets 
Salt 
Pepper 
1/2 tsp Fennel seeds, pounded to powder in a mortar 
1 Tapenade

Directions

1. Prepare the bed of coals and put the fish to the grill.

2. In a wide heavy frying pan, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil, add the onions and garlic and cook, covered, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until softened but uncolored. Uncover, raise the heat, add the tomatoes, and sauté, shaking the pan regularly and tossing the tomatoes, until their liquid has disappeared and they form a roughly textured sauce.

3. Put the remaining tablespoon of olive oil into a small pan. Lay in the anchovy fillets, and place over very low heat until they melt, falling apart when the pan is shaken. Taste the tomato sauce for salt, grind over pepper, add the powdered fennel and stir in the melted anchovies.

4. Serve the grilled fish accompanied by the two sauces. After lifting off and discarding the top surface of scales and skin, cut with a knife tip the length of the lateral line and lift the fillets from the bone with a spatula. Lift the bone and the head free from the fillets on the underside, separate them along the lateral line, push the fin bones aside, and lift away the fillets. 

Photoset

I dropped by Paul Liebrandt’s new Brooklyn restaurant THE ELM this past weekend with a friend. I was looking forward to the experience, having been a fan of Liebrandt’s other restaurants, CORTON and ATLAS. And I was not disappointed. Leibrandt’s modernist approach to French cuisine was wonderfully creative.

Pork Belly in Spicy Tomato Sauce as well as the refreshing Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Rhubarb, Pistachio, and Basil were the winners that night, and I look forward to tasting other dishes when I return.

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Deborah Madison’s latest cookbook, Vegetable Literacy, just won a James Beard Award for best “Vegetable Focused and Vegetarian” work.
Working with edible flowers, vegetables and herbs all within the same botanical families, Madison helps home cooks incorporate new ingredients into their everyday meals.
While inspiring experimentation, this book will turn healthy eating into a delicious adventure.
Click here to get your own copy.

Deborah Madison’s latest cookbook, Vegetable Literacy, just won a James Beard Award for best “Vegetable Focused and Vegetarian” work.

Working with edible flowers, vegetables and herbs all within the same botanical families, Madison helps home cooks incorporate new ingredients into their everyday meals.

While inspiring experimentation, this book will turn healthy eating into a delicious adventure.

Click here to get your own copy.