My favorite quarantine recipes Final issue

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Melon soup with butter-poached shrimp

As threatened, I stuck to my challenge (like ants to a syrup dribble down the side of a bottle) to never repeat the same home-cooked meal twice as long as the lock-down lasted. But now, as the deep-freeze starts to thaw on the city’s restaurant scene, where bountiful boxwood hedges and hoards of hydrangeas encroach further and further into Manhattan’s avenues, the time has come to hang up my apron, put away my knives and switch my support from grocery stores to the slowly re-emerging culinary industry. As I curiously wait to see which establishments open now, soon, later on or never again, one thing is certain – it’s going to feel downright amazing to hold a (sterilized) menu in my (sanitized) hands as I listen to the specials from a (masked) waiter who refills my water with (gloved) hands! Laissez les bons temps rouler à nouveau. Here though are my final week’s home-cooked recipes.

 

SUNDAY

Many a good cut of meat gets re-butchered by well-meaning home cooks. But to be fair, the odds are against us: There are so many ways to ruin a steak, but only 1 way to cook it perfectly. This is all you need to know…

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Perfectly seared steaks with Green Peppercorn sauce

PERFECTLY SEARED STEAKS

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 filet, strip or sirloin steaks, 1″ thick
  • kosher salt
  • ground black peppercorns

DIRECTIONS

Preheat an oven to 200 degrees, middle rack.
Trim the steak of any excess fat around the edges. (They won’t cook long enough for the fat to soften).
Salt them on all sides and let them cook in the cool oven until they reach and internal temperature of 100 degrees. (About 45 minutes).
Rest the steaks for at least 15 minutes.
Heat a cast iron skillet and sear the steaks for just 1-2 minutes per side. Remove from the heat and season with fresh black pepper.

GREEN PEPPERCORN SAUCE

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tblsp. Green peppercorns
  • 2 Tblsp. Minced Shallots
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup Beef broth
  • 3 Tblsp. Brandy
  • 2 Tblsp. Low Fat Sour cream
  • 1 Tsp. ground black pepper
  • corn starch

DIRECTIONS

Sauté the minced shallots in a little olive oil until they are soft. Add the peppercorns and ground pepper and cook while stirring regularly.
Add the beef broth and bring to a boil until the liquid is reduced by about half.
Add the brandy and simmer for 10 mins on low heat.
Add prepared corn-starch in cold water to thicken – if necessary.
Remove from heat and add the sour cream and serve immediately.

 

MONDAY

Over the years I have amended and tweaked this fairly fool-proof recipe for a spectacularly refreshing, relatively classic and utterly yummy Chinese Chicken salad.

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Chinese Chicken Salad

CHINESE CHICKEN SALAD

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb skinless and boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 Tblspn Asian sesame oil
  • 1 Tblspn Chinese chili garlic sauce
  • 1 Tblspn finely minced garlic
  • 1 Tblspn finely minced ginger
  • 2 tspn fresh lime or lemon juice
  • 1/4 savoy cabbage (tough outer leaves removed) cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 radicchio cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 oz raw snow peas, thinly sliced
  • 6 scallions (including 3 inches of green) sliced on the bias
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, thinly slivered)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 separated mandarin for garnish
  • 3 Tblsp roasted, unsalted peanuts (roughly chopped) for garnish

For the Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 Tblspn peanut oil
  • 2 Tblspn sesame oil
  • 1 Tblspn smooth peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 Tblspn honey
  • 1 tspn Dijon mustard
  • 1 tspn Soy sauce
  • 1 egg yolk
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

DIRECTIONS

Combine the chicken, sesame oil, chili sauce, garlic, ginger and lime juice in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, tossing once.
Prepare the dressing. Place all the dressing ingredients in a blender. Process on high speed until smooth. Refrigerate until well chilled.
Cook the chicken on an oiled, rimmed baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 18 – 20 minutes until the thickest parts register 165 degrees.
Cool slightly and then cut into strips. Place in a large bowl. Add the cabbage, snow peas, scallions, bell pepper and cilantro.
Toss the salad with 1/2 of the dressing or as much as desired.
Dress with the mandarin pieces and chopped peanuts.

 

TUESDAY

I devoured the most delicious Avocado soup in a Viennese bistro many decades ago. But all the waiter would tell me was that “if you cook the avocado, the dish will be ruined.” It took me quite a while to recreate it, but it’s a whole lot easier than you might think.

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Avocado soup

AVOCADO SOUP

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 ripe avocados.
  • 4 cups of good vegetable stock (home-made preferably)
  • 1/4 cup of cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 slices of white sandwich bread
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil

DIRECTIONS

Prepare the croutons first. With a long, sharp bread knife, cut the bread into 1/4 inch cubes. Crush the garlic and toss into a large frying pan with the heated oil.
Fry the croutons over medium high heat by constantly stirring them. If the oil dries up too quickly, add a further 2 tablespoons.
When all the cubes are toasted and golden brown, scoop them onto a paper towel and drain.

For the Soup:
Warm the vegetable stock in a saucepan.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add the cream to the soup and simmer at low heat while whisking. Only minutes before serving, blend the avocados and whisk them into the heated soup. DO NOT COOK THE AVOCADOS! Serve immediately with the croutons.

 

WEDNESDAY

Like any Wienerschnitzel or Veal chop Milanese, adding a side of Lingonberry jam brings some rich sweet-and-sourness to an already luxuriously decadent meal.

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Veal chop Milanese

VEAL CHOP MILANESE

INGREDIENTS

  • All-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Four 1-inch-thick veal rib chops
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 lemon sliced into wedges
  • Lingonberry preserves or jam for serving

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350°. Put the flour in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, beat the eggs with the milk. In a third shallow bowl, toss the panko with the lemon zest.
Season the veal chops with salt and pepper, dredge them in the flour and shake off the excess. Dip the veal chops in the egg mixture and let the excess drip off. Coat the veal chops with panko, pressing to help the crumbs adhere.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil with the vegetable oil until shimmering. Add 2 of the veal chops to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat until they are browned and crisp on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderate, turn the veal chops over and cook until they are browned and crisp on the other side, about 2 minutes longer.
Transfer the veal chops to a large rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining chops.

Bake the veal chops for about 15 minutes, turning them once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the meat near the bone registers 140°. Serve with Lingonberry preserves and lemon wedges on the side.

 

 

THURSDAY

This Spinach Salad is another mega-favorite of ours from Yotam Ottolenghi’s collection. What makes this dish so more-ish are the crispy, crunchy, spicy, umami pita chips and almonds.

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Spinach Salad with dates and almonds

BABY SPINACH SALAD WITH DATES AND ALMONDS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Tblsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 medium red onion thinly sliced
  • 100g pitted Medjool dates quartered lengthways
  • 30g undalted butter
  • 2 Tblsp olive oil
  • 2 small pitas roughly torn into 1 inch pieces
  • 75g raw almonds roughly chopped
  • 2 tap sumac
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 150g baby spinach leaves, washed
  • 2 Tblspn lemon juice

DIRECTIONS

Put the vinegar onion and dates in a small bowl. Add a pinch of salt and mix well with your hands. Leave to marinate for 20 minutes, then drain any residual vinegar and discard.
Meanwhile, heat the butter and half the olive oil in a medium frying pan. Add the pita and almonds and cook them on a medium heat for 4 – 6 minutes, stirring all the time, until the pita is crunchy and golden brown. Remove from the heat and mix in the sumac, chilli and 1/4 tsp of salt. Set aside to cool.
When you are ready to serve, toss the spinach leaves with the pita mix in a large mixing bowl. Add the dates and red onion, remaining olive oil, lemon juice and another pinch of salt.
Taste for seasoning and serve immediately.

 

FRIDAY

Believe it or not, Cucumber Gazpacho debuted decades before anyone had access to tomatoes. This is another cobbled together restaurant remake which miraculously takes the edge off of a sweltering summers day.

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Cucumber Gazpacho

CUCUMBER GAZPACHO

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cucumbers—peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 2/3 cup seedless green grapes
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 – 4 Tblspn distilled white vinegar (to taste)
  • 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup roasted Marcona almonds
  • Chili oil for serving

DIRECTIONS

In a blender, combine the cucumbers, grapes, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and almond milk; puree until smooth. Season with salt.
Strain through a fine sieve to remove any solids. Chill for at least 2 hours.
Garnish with a few droplets of chili oil and toss in a few Marcona almonds. Serves 6.

 

SATURDAY

My Sesame crusted Pork tenderloin is probably one of the oldest “keeper” recipes in our collection. I have upgraded several times the sauce over the years, but I have never been able to substitute the (salt-free) Mrs. Dash’s spices. Don’t mess with it. Just trust me on this one. It works.

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Sesame-crusted Pork tenderloin with Port wine reduction sauce

SESAME-CRUSTED PORK TENDERLOIN WITH PORT WINE REDUCTION

INGREDIENTS

For the tenderloin:

  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon Mrs. Dash herb seasoning
  • 6 tablespoons sesame seeds

For the Sauce:

  • 2 Tblsp shallots, chopped fine
  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • 1 cup port wine
  • 1 cup demi-glace or low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp cold water
  • Fresh ground pepper

DIRECTIONS

Using your hands, spread pork loin with honey. Mix soy sauce with Mrs. Dash garlic and herbs seasoning and place in a zip lock bag, add pork loin and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours or up to 8 hours, turning from time to time.
Preheat barbecue or oven to 400 degrees and place a cast iron skillet in the oven. Place sesame seeds on waxed paper and roll tenderloin in sesame seeds until completely covered. Do not discard the marinade.
Briefly sear all sides of the loin over direct heat on the barbecue and then move to indirect heat. Alternately, sear in the now hot cast-iron skillet on the stove-top and then return the skillet to the oven.
Cook for approx. 25 – 30 minutes (depending on size of loin) until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Allow the loin to rest under tin foil for 10 minutes.
In a small saucepan heat the oil and sauté the shallots until soft. Add the residual tenderloin marinade and bring to a boil. Reduce by half and add 1 cup Port wine and reduce by half. Add 1 cup beef stock and reduce by half. Season with fresh ground pepper to taste. Continue to cook on medium-low for 10 minutes. Add Corn Starch and water slurry to thicken – if necessary.
Carve the loin into medallions and serve with the sauce.

 

BONUS RECIPE:

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Grilled Peaches

GRILLED PEACHES

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black peppercorns
  • 6 large fresh peaches with peel, halved and pitted
  • Vanilla ice cream

DIRECTIONS

In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the white sugar, balsamic vinegar, and pepper. Simmer until liquid has reduced by one half. It should become slightly thicker. Remove from heat, and set aside.
(If the peach halves are still hard, you can microwave them for 1 – 2 minutes until they soften in the center. Let them cool completely before continuing.)
Preheat grill on medium-high heat, (or preheat a ridged cast-iron griddle pan until searing hot.)
Lightly oil the grill grate. Place peaches on the prepared grill (or griddle pan), cut side down. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the flesh is caramelized and nice dark lines are burned in. Turn peaches over. Brush the top sides with the balsamic glaze, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer the peaches to individual serving dishes, and drizzle with remaining glaze. Sprinkle with vanilla ice cream.

Stay safe, stay sane and support our re-emerging culinary industry.

 

 

My favorite quarantine recipes Part X

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Corn and Gorgonzola salad

If you’re just joining us now, let me catch you up on what’s been happening for the past 10 weeks. Being a bit of a foodie in a foodie city where all 18,000 food establishments are closed, I decided to embark on a personal challenge: to keep up my beloved culinary variety by cooking a different dish every day until the lock-down ends. And so, as I wring out my recipe books with new, used, cherished, nostalgic and beloved meals, I hope you  join me as I eat “out” every night of the week.

 

SUNDAY

It’s hardly surprising that Butter chicken is one of the hottest items on any Indian restaurant menu. It’s relatively mild, silky smooth and a little bit indulgent. But this recipe is not only butter-free, but it pretty much cooks itself too. The real work today was making our own Naan bread for the first time. It’s fun, rather easy (by bread standards) and it “bakes” in the pan.

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Slow cooker Butter Chicken with Home-made Naan bread

SLOW COOKER BUTTER CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 cup coconut milk (if necessary, whisk to combine the liquid and solids before measuring)
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)
  • Cooked basmati or jasmine rice, for serving

DIRECTIONS

In medium skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions to skillet, and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add garlic and ginger, and cook another 2 minutes. Add garam masala, tomato paste and salt; cook and stir 2 minutes.

Place chicken pieces in a slow cooker, then add tomato paste mixture, lime zest and juice, coconut milk and chicken stock. Stir everything together, cover and cook on low heat setting for 4 1/2 to 5 hours, until the chicken is cooked through. (You may let it cook up to 7 hours if necessary, but the chicken may be very soft and shred.) Garnish with cilantro and serve with basmati or jasmine rice, and naan if you have some. Serves 4.

NAAN BREAD

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup ice water
  • ⅓ cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

DIRECTIONS

In measuring cup or small bowl, combine water, yogurt, 3 tablespoons oil, and egg yolk. Process flour, sugar, and yeast in food processor until combined, about 2 seconds. With processor running, slowly add water mixture; process until dough is just combined and no dry flour remains, about 10 seconds. Let dough stand for 10 minutes.

Add salt to dough and process until dough forms satiny, sticky ball that clears sides of workbowl, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, about 1 minute. Shape dough into tight ball and place in large, lightly oiled bowl. Let dough rise at room temperature for 30 minutes. Fold partially risen dough over itself 8 times by gently lifting and folding edge of dough toward middle, turning bowl 90 degrees after each fold. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes. Repeat folding, turning, and rising one more time, for total of three 30-minute rises.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Place heatproof plate on rack. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and divide into 4 equal pieces. Shape each piece into smooth, tight ball. Place dough balls on lightly oiled baking sheet, at least 2 inches apart; cover loosely with plastic coated with vegetable oil spray. Let stand for 15 to 20 minutes.

Transfer 1 ball to lightly floured work surface and sprinkle with flour. Using hands and rolling pin, press and roll piece of dough into 9-inch round of even thickness, sprinkling dough and work surface with flour as needed to prevent sticking. Using fork, poke entire surface of round 20 to 25 times. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Wipe oil out of skillet completely with paper towels. Mist top of dough lightly with water. Place dough in pan, moistened side down; mist top surface of dough with water; and cover. Cook until bottom is browned in spots across surface, 2 to 4 minutes. Flip naan, cover, and continue to cook on second side until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. (If naan puffs up, gently poke with fork to deflate.) Flip naan, brush top with about 1 teaspoon melted butter, transfer to plate in oven, and cover plate tightly with aluminum foil. Repeat rolling and cooking remaining 3 dough balls. Once last naan is baked, serve immediately. Serves 4.

MONDAY

When Kale salad and I were first introduced, we didn’t really get along so well. It felt like I was chewing down on an old garden hose. But then I discovered that the leaves have a thick coating that instinctively repels even the finest dressings in the world, unless you “massage” them down – literally squeeze the $#!* out of them with a little olive oil and salt in between your thumbs and forefingers until they succumb to the pressure and turn dark green. That’s when all the hoopla happens, and this surprisingly crunchy, salty, creamy salad is a show-stopper.

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Kale salad with garlicky panko

KALE SALAD WITH GARLICKY PANKO

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup panko
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 bunch curly kale
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

DIRECTIONS

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Stir in the panko and cook, stirring, until golden and crisp, 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a plate to cool.
Cut the stems from the kale and tear the leaves into pieces. In a bowl, whisk the vinegar with the remaining 1/2 cup of oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the kale; massage with the dressing using your fingers. Season with salt and pepper and toss. Transfer to a platter, top with the feta, garlic panko and serve.

TUESDAY

Summer isn’t summer without a good Gazpacho. There’s just something special about being able to drink sun-ripened heirloom tomatoes. This recipe easily serves about 8, and so we siphon off a little each day for just under a week. If you’re a purist, be warned: I took the liberty of adding some feta to this predominantly Spanish recipe. I know. I know. But it does give it a smidge more creaminess. Don’t hate me until you try it.

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Gazpacho with Avocado Salsa

GAZPACHO WITH AVOCADO SALSA

INGREDIENTS

For the Gazpacho:

  • 6 heirloom tomatoes
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1-2 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil (or less,depending on consistency)
  • 2 peeled cucumbers
  • 2 Tblspn white wine vinegar to taste
  • 2 square inches of feta cheese.
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

For the Avodaco Salsa:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/4 tsp Tabasco
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 Tblspn chopped parsley

DIRECTIONS

Gazpacho:
Blend all ingredients for at least 5 minutes on highest blender setting. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

Salsa:
Dice the avocado and carefully toss with the other three ingredients. Layer on top of Gazpacho before serving.

WEDNESDAY

I found this recipe in the New York Times Magazine a few years ago, where it was originally called “Scratchy husband spaghetti”. Evidently, whenever the food writer’s husband would have a bad day at the office, she combined two of the most popular Roman pasta dishes into one. A sensational example of 1+1=55.

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Linguine Cacia e Pepe & Aglio e Olio

LINGUINE CACIA E PEPE & AGLIO E OLIO

INGREDIENTS

  • ¾ cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ pound unsalted butter
  • 1 whole head of garlic, or at least 10 cloves, peeled, sliced thin across the grain
  • Good quality salt
  • 1 pound linguine
  • 4 teaspoons of chile flakes
  • A generous 1/2 cup of grated pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Many, many, many cranks of the pepper mill

DIRECTIONS

Bring large pot of water to a boil. Simultaneously bring a 10-inch deep-sided sauté pan to medium-low heat.

Add the olive oil and butter and sliced garlic to the pan and let the butter melt, as the garlic begins to warm through.
When the pasta water gets roiling, add salt to taste. Add the pasta.
Add chile flakes to the warming garlic-oil mixture and swirl the pan a bit and let the garlic soften and start to turn golden as the butter starts to foam. When the pasta is al dente, pull it from the boiling water with tongs, let it briefly drip its excess water above the pasta pot, but then place it right into the garlic-chile-oil pan, letting the last drips of water go right into the sauce.
Turn up the heat under the pasta now and stir vigorously for about a minute.
Turn off the heat, add cheese and a lot of black pepper. Toss and distribute all the garlic and the cheese and the chile flakes using two forks like you are tossing a salad, making sure every bit is coated and luscious. Serve.

THURSDAY

I’m a big fan of big flavors. And the smoky heat of Gochujang (Korean fermented chilies) always hits the spot for me. These Barbecue Ribs are dry rubbed the night before, and then blasted 3 times with a jolt of vinegary, peppery spice while they cook low and slow. Don’t skimp on the peanuts and scallions. They add some brightness and crunch as the meat falls off the bone and your face gets smeared with sauce, from nose to chin.

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Gochujang Barbecue Ribs

GOCHUJANG BARBECUE RIBS

INGREDIENTS

For the Ribs and Rub:

  • 3 racks St. Louis-style spareribs (2 1/2 pounds each)
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ground black pepper

For the Gochujang sauce:

  • 1/2 cup gochujang
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile powder, such as ancho
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

For the Garnish:

  • 1 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1 cup sliced scallions

DIRECTIONS

The day before you plan to cook the ribs, use a paper towel to help you pull the silver skin off the backside of the ribs. Combine salt, light brown sugar and black pepper to make a rub, then generously season ribs with the rub on both sides. (You may have some rub left over.) Place on a rimmed baking sheet, wrap in plastic, put in the refrigerator, and let sit overnight.

For the sauce, combine all ingredients and whisk until brown sugar is dissolved. (You can use a hand mixer if you’d like.)

The next day, prepare a charcoal grill (preferably a kamado, the egg-shaped ceramic grill) and warm it to 225 to 250 degrees. If your grill doesn’t have a thermometer, use an oven thermometer to try to keep the temperature consistent. Place ribs on a rack so they are not sitting directly on the grate. If baking in an oven, preheat to 275 degrees and cover ribs with tin foil. Cook 3 to 4 hours, turning and basting ribs with barbecue sauce every hour.

Glaze the ribs with the sauce once more before serving. Cut the ribs and then sprinkle with peanuts and scallions and serve. Serves 6.

FRIDAY

Just in case we didn’t have enough garlic going on this week, (I must be driving my poor neighbors crazy) this Spanish version of Garlic Shrimp has a few taste surprises that manage to cut through the luxuriously delectably garlicy olive-oil.

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Gambas al ajillo

GAMBAS AL AJILLO

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 pounds shelled and de-veined large shrimp, tails intact
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced garlic
  • 1 1/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small dried hot red chile, seeded and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup minced parsley
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry, such as manzanilla
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • Crusty bread, for serving

DIRECTIONS

In a large strainer, toss the shrimp with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and let stand for 2 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with water and toss another 1 tsp salt and let stand for 2 minutes. Rince thoroughly and dry with a paper towel. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a 9- to 10-inch cast-iron skillet, combine the garlic and olive oil and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is very fragrant and just starts to brown, 5 – 8 minutes. Add the chile and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 15 to 30 seconds.

Add the shrimp to the skillet and cook over medium-low, stirring and turning the shrimp occasionally, until barely pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley, sherry, lemon zest and a generous pinch of salt. Remove from the heat and let stand until the shrimp are cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve in the skillet, passing crusty bread at the table. Serves 4.

 

 

SATURDAY

Don’t be misled by what looks like a complicated fish dish. In fact, the Roasted Sea bass is very simply baked with a little oil, sea salt and pepper. The oomph comes from the 3 different mushrooms that are an absolute knockout of deep, rich, sumptuously earthy flavors.

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Roasted Sea bass with wild mushrooms

ROASTED SEA BASS WITH WILD MUSHROOMS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for fish
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 small red onion, halved through the root end and sliced thin
  • 1 pound portobello mushrooms, stems removed, caps halved and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, halved
  • Salt
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • Ground black pepper
  • 4 skinless fillets Chilean sea bass, each about 1 1/2 inches thick (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 small lemon, cut into wedges

DIRECTIONS

Mix the dried porcini mushrooms with 1/2 cup hot tap water in a small microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, cut several steam vents in the plastic wrap with a paring knife, and microwave on high power for 30 seconds. Let stand until the mushrooms soften, about 5 minutes.
Lift the mushrooms from the liquid with a fork and mince. Pour the liquid through a small strainer lined with a single sheet of paper towel and placed over a measuring cup.
Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 475 degrees.
Heat the butter, olive oil, and rosemary in an ovenproof 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until the foaming subsides. Add the onion, fresh mushrooms, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have shed their liquid and their cut surfaces have browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the garlic and minced porcini. Cook, stirring frequently, until aromatic, about 1 minute.
Remove the pan from the heat and season the vegetables with salt and pepper to taste.
Using a wooden spoon, clear 4 spaces in the skillet for the fish fillets. (The spaces should be equidistant from one another so that the fillets don’t touch.) Rub each fillet with enough oil to coat lightly and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper to taste.
Nestle one fillet into each space in the skillet. Drizzle the reserved porcini liquid over the mushrooms (avoiding the fish) and immediately set the pan in the oven.
Cook until the fish is opaque and cooked through, 11 to 15 minutes depending on the thickness.
Sprinkle with the parsley.
Divide the mushrooms among individual plates and place a piece of fish on top of the mushrooms on each plate. Drizzle the fish with any juices remaining in the pan as well as a little olive oil. Serve immediately with lemon wedges. Serves 4.

BONUS RECIPE

Remember when I told you to throw away your Banana bread recipe for the one I’ve been making for 20 years? Well, now it’s time to throw that one away too! This has got to be the most banana-ry Banana bread ever – and it’s really rather dashing and statuesque too.

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The Ultimate Banana Bread

THE ULTIMATE BANANA BREAD

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ¾ cups (8 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • 6 large very ripe bananas (about 2 1/4 pounds), peeled (see note)
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup (5 1/4 ounces) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

DIRECTIONS

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8½ by 4½-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in large bowl.

Place 5 bananas in microwave-safe bowl; cover with plastic wrap and cut several steam vents in plastic with paring knife. Microwave on high power until bananas are soft and have released liquid, about 5 minutes. Transfer bananas to fine-mesh strainer placed over medium bowl and allow to drain, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes (you should have ½ to ¾ cup liquid).

Transfer liquid to medium saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until reduced to ¼ cup, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat, stir reduced liquid into bananas, and mash with potato masher until fairly smooth. Whisk in butter, eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla.

Pour banana mixture into flour mixture and stir until just combined with some streaks of flour remaining. Gently fold in walnuts, if using. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Slice remaining banana diagonally into ¼-inch-thick slices. Shingle banana slices on top of either side of loaf, leaving 1½-inch-wide space down center to ensure even rise. Sprinkle granulated sugar evenly over loaf.

Bake until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, 55 to 75 minutes. Cool bread in pan on wire rack 15 minutes, then remove loaf from pan and continue to cool on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Stay safe. Stay sane, and most importantly – stay at home!

 

 

My favorite quarantine recipes Part X

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Shrimp Cocktail

70 dishes in 70 days. As the lock-down persists so does my challenge to never cook the same recipe twice. So far – so delicious. Why stop now?

 

SUNDAY

Just like certain songs that remind me of summer, the Heart of Palm and Peach salad is one of my own creations that conjures up the same sentiments of long, hot days that drag on for weeks. The contrast of sweet, pungent, soft and crunchy are as mesmerizingly seductive as floating around a pool on an inflatable lounger for 3 hours.

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Hearts of Palm and Peach Salad

HEARTS OF PALM AND PEACH SALAD

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tin hearts of palm sliced into short thin sections
  • 1 large fresh yellow peach sliced very thinly
  • Mixed greens
  • Candied walnuts
  • Crumbled gorgonzola cheese
  • Balsamic vinaigrette with Walnut oil

DIRECTIONS

Mix all ingredients together and serve immediately. Serves 4.

 

MONDAY

The Spicy Mango Pork with Noodles is a relative newbie to my collection, but it was love at first bite. Nothing like pairing up mango with Serrano chilies. I mean, please!

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Spicy Mango Pork with Noodles

SPICY MANGO PORK WITH NOODLES

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest plus 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper, divided
  • 2 teaspoons peeled fresh ginger cut into matchsticks, divided
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon black or brown mustard seeds
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons thinly sliced serrano chile
  • 3 mangoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch-thick spears
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 8 ounces uncooked thin rice noodles or vermicelli, cooked according to package directions
  • Thinly sliced scallions and pickled cucumber slices, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Toss together pork, cumin, salt, lime zest and juice, garlic, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and 1 teaspoon ginger in a medium bowl. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a large skillet over high. Working in 2 batches, add pork; cook until browned on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Wipe skillet clean; reduce heat to medium. Add mustard seeds and remaining 1 tablespoon oil; cook, undisturbed, until small bubbles appear on surface of seeds, about 30 seconds. Add onion and chile; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add mango and remaining ginger; cook, stirring gently, until mango is just tender, 4-5 minutes. Transfer to plate with pork.

Return 1 cup mango mixture to skillet; add 1 cup hot water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high; cook, smashing fruit using back of a wooden spoon, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Return remaining mango mixture and pork to skillet. Cook, stirring often, until pork is fully coated with mango mixture.

Serve pork mixture over noodles; garnish with scallions and pickled cucumber. Serves 4.

 

TUESDAY

I love salads but there are very few I actually pine for through the winter. Panzanella is probably number one on the list. It is my default, go-to “can I bring a salad?” salad, and when you try it – it will become yours too.

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Panzanella Salad

PANZANELLA SALAD

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ¼ pounds very ripe tomatoes; a mix of varieties and colors is nice
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher sea salt, more to taste
  • 6 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 6-inch length of ciabatta or baguette (about 4 ounces), preferably stale, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme or 2 sprigs fresh oregano
  • Chopped fresh basil, for serving

DIRECTIONS

Cut tomatoes into bite-sized pieces and transfer to a large bowl. Using a large chef’s knife, mince 1 of the smashed garlic cloves. Add a pinch of salt and using the flat side of your knife, smash into a fine paste. Add garlic paste to the tomatoes along with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Toss to coat and set aside in a colander to drip off the juice for at least an hour.
In a medium bowl, combine the lemon juice, mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in 3 tablespoons olive oil until the mixture is thickened.
In a 10-inch skillet over high heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, bread cubes, the remaining smashed garlic clove, 1 sprig of fresh thyme or 1 sprig of fresh oregano and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Cook while stirring occasionally until toasted and golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool completely. When cool, discard the garlic and thyme and add bread cubes to the tomato mixture. Add the leaves of the remaining uncooked thyme or oregano, and toss to combine. Transfer to a platter or individual plates and serve garnished with the chopped basil, and freshly ground black pepper. Serves 4.

 

WEDNESDAY

What to do with leftover peaches and tomatoes? Throw them in a bowl with mint, shallots and a tangy lemon vinaigrette and say: “Oh, this old thing? It was nothing.”

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Peach and Tomato Salad

PEACH AND TOMATO SALAD

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes, cored, cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges, and wedges halved crosswise
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon juice
  • 1 pound ripe peaches, halved, pitted, cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges, and wedges halved crosswise
  • 1 shallot, sliced into thin rings
  • ⅓ cup fresh mint leaves, torn

DIRECTIONS

Perfectly ripe peaches and tomatoes are essential to this recipe.

Combine tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt in bowl and toss to coat; transfer to colander and let drain in sink for 30 minutes.

Whisk oil, vinegar, lemon zest and juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together in large bowl. Add peaches, shallot, and drained tomatoes to dressing and toss gently to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to platter and sprinkle with mint. Drizzle with extra oil. Serves 4.

 

THURSDAY

So, this Lamb with Fig Balsamic glaze might be the only serious recipe for the week but it’s not just tall, dark and handsome, it has some pretty deep, rich Tuscan flavors that are beyond restaurant quality. Don’t skimp on the fig Balsamic. It’s the difference between good and great Scott.

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Rack of Lamb with Fig Balsamic Glaze

RACK OF LAMB WITH FIG BALSAMIC GLAZE

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Racks of Lamb well trimmed.
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil, separated
  • Salt & Cracked pepper
  • 2 – 3 Tbspn chopped rosemary
  • 1/2 cup minced shallots
  • 1/2 cup Fig Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups good quality beef stock
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1/3 cup dried mission figs, halved lengthwise
  • 6-8 Tbspn unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 Tbspn chopped parsely
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place 15 – 18 cloves of peeled garlic in a small oven safe dish. Drizzle with 2 – 3 Tbsn olive oil and 1/2 cup water and roast in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes. Cool, drain and set aside.
Season the lamb racks well with salt and pepper and rosemary.
Heat 1 tblspn oil in a skillet and sear the lamb 2 – 3 minutes per side. (Lamb can be done ahead to this point.)
Transfer the lamb to a rimmed baking sheet and reserve the pan for the sauce. Roast lamb in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 20 – 25 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing.
Degrease the searing pan, add shallots and cook 1 minute. Add vinegar and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce liquid until 3/4 cup remains. Remove from the heat and add garlic, figs and butter 1 Tbspn at a time until the sauce is thick and creamy. Adjust seasoning and add parsely, Serve over lamb chops.

 

FRIDAY

If you have a slow-cooker (and a ton of time), this Pork Ramen gets you as close to Tokyo’s Ramen alley that COVID travel will currently permit.

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Slow cooker Miso-Pork Ramen

SLOW COOKER MISO-PORK RAMEN

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp white vinegar
  • 3/8 cup mirin
  • 1/4 cup soy
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup white miso
  • 2 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced thin
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts separated, green parts sliced thin on bias
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1/2 (1½-inch) piece ginger, peeled and sliced into ½-inch-thick rounds
  • 1/2 (2½-pound) boneless pork butt roast, trimmed
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 (4-inch) square piece kombu (optional)
  • 3 (3-ounce) packages ramen noodles, seasoning packets reserved for another use
  • Furikake and Chili oil for serving (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Bring enough water to cover the 6 eggs to boil in a small saucepan. Add the baking soda and vinegar. Carefully lower the eggs and let them boil for 6 1/2 minutes. Meanwhile prepare an ice-bath. Plunge the eggs into the ice bath for at least 5 minutes until cool. Peel the eggs and then place them into a Zip-lock bag inside of a bowl. Add the mirin and soy and cinch the bag so that all 6 eggs are fully submerged. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

Whisk broth and miso together in slow cooker. Add mushrooms, scallion whites, garlic, and ginger. Sprinkle pork with pepper and transfer to slow cooker. Cover and cook until pork is tender and registers 195 degrees, 4 to 6 hours on high or 8 to 10 hours on low. Transfer pork to cutting board and let rest for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, add kombu, if using, to broth mixture in slow cooker and cook, covered, on high for 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, remove and discard scallion whites, garlic, ginger, and kombu, leaving mushrooms in slow cooker.

Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add noodles and cook until tender but still chewy. Drain noodles and divide evenly among serving bowls. Slice pork in half lengthwise, then slice crosswise ¼ inch thick. Ladle broth into bowls. Serve ramen topped with 3 or 4 slices of pork and scallion greens. Halve the eggs and lay two halves into each bowl. Serve furikake and chili oil on the side. Serves 4.

 

SATURDAY

What happens when Chinese Spring roll season runs out? Vietnamese Summer roll rolls in. This mostly raw, crunchy and oil-free cousin is as flavorful as it’s pretty – and with two sauces, it’s a party in every bite.

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Vietnamese Summer Rolls

VIETNAMESE SUMMER ROLLS

INGREDIENTS

For the lime dressing:

  • 5 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoon sugar

For the Peanut-Hoisin dipping Sauce:

  • 1 Thai chile, stemmed and sliced thin
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅔ cup water
  • ⅓ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

For the summer rolls:

  • 3 ounces dried rice noodles
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
  • ⅓ cup coarsely chopped roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 1 large cucumber, seeded and sliced into matchsticks
  • 1 medium daikon radish, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
  • 8 round rice paper wrappers (8 inches in diameter)
  • ½ cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
  • ½ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • ½ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup bean sprouts
  • ½ pound cooked medium shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), chilled and sliced in half lengthwise

DIRECTIONS

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Remove the boiling water from the heat, add the rice noodles, and let stand, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the noodles and transfer them to a medium bowl.

Whisk the lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar together in small bowl until the sugar dissolves. Toss 2 tablespoons of the lime juice mixture with the noodles. In a medium bowl, toss 1 more tablespoon of the lime juice mixture with the carrots, peanuts, radishes, bean sprouts and cucumbers. Save the remainder of the lime juice mixture for dipping.

Using a chef knife, mash Thai chile, garlic, and salt to fine paste. Transfer to medium bowl. Add water, peanut butter, hoisin, tomato paste, and vinegar and whisk until smooth. Set aside.

Use a large, flat dinner plate to work on. Fill a 9-inch pie plate with 1 inch of room temperature water. Working with one rice paper wrapper at a time, immerse each wrapper in water until just pliable, about 2 minutes, then lay the softened wrapper on the dinner plate.

Arrange a few cucumber, radish and carrot sticks horizontally at one edge of the wrapper into a small bundle. Add a few noodles and about 3 leaves of each herb. Then fold the wrapper over the bundle securing the ingredients inside. Fold it over once more and then bend in the two sides and lay 3 shrimp halves at the next fold of the wrapper thereby scooping them up in the final fold. Set aside and cover with a damp cloth until ready to serve. Rolls should not be kept waiting for more than 20 minutes. Serve with the remaining lime juice dressing and peanut dipping sauce. Serves 4.

Of all of Italy’s greatest meals, Affogato is probably their greatest fanfare to the end of a meal. It’s ridiculously simple, outrageously flavorful and sinfully more-ish.

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Affogato with Vanilla ice-cream and Nuts

AFFOGATO WITH VANILLA ICE-CREAM AND NUTS

INGREDIENTS

  • ¼ cup raw pistachios or blanched hazelnuts
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream
  • 8 tablespoons hot espresso or strongly brewed coffee

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°. Toast nuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 5–7 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop.

Mix cinnamon and cardamom in a small bowl.

Divide ice cream among 4 small serving bowls or coffee cups. Sprinkle spice mixture over and pour 2 Tbsp. espresso into each bowl. Top with nuts. Serve immediately.

 

Stay safe. Stay sane, and most importantly – stay at home!