My favorite quarantine recipes Part VIII

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Pretzel Rolls

In my 8th week of cooking at home without a single repetition, an old friend from junior school dared me to go vegetarian for a whole week. Challenge accepted. Dinner is served.

 

SUNDAY

Eating gnocchi is a lot like a water slide. They both go down easily and once you take the first plunge – you never want to stop. And while most menus predictably resort to a basil pesto as the perfect gnocchi partner, I prefer using asparagus for a refreshing twist. See if you agree.

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Ricotta Gnocchi with Asparagus Pesto

RICOTTA GNOCCHI

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs potatoes, boiled in their skins until tender
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup oil

DIRECTIONS

Allow the boiled potatoes to cool slightly, then peel and rice the potatoes. Spread the riced potatoes out on a sheet pan to cool completely.
In a mixing bowl, mix egg and ricotta together, seasoning with salt and pepper.
Place the cooled, riced potatoes into a separate bowl and add the egg ricotta mixture.
Gradually add the flour to the potato mixture, stopping when the dough is tender and pliable.
Working in sections, roll the gnocchi dough into a 1/2 inch thick rope on a lightly floured surface. Then cut into 1 inch pieces. Using the back of a floured dinner fork, place the right side of each gnocchi on the fork and roll down the fork to imprint the tines into the dough. Repeat with remaining dough.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and working in batches with an ice bath on the side, blanch gnocchi till they float to the surface of the water. Remove from the pot and transfer into ice bath.
Once chilled (just) remove gnocchi from the ice bath and place a single layer on a sheet pan until all the gnocchi have been blanched.
Place a large sautee pan over medium heat. Add the oil and then add the gnocchi when the oil starts to ripple. Sautee gnocchi in batches, tossing to coat and allowing to brown.
Place a sheet pan and keep in a low oven until all the gnocchi have been sauteed. Serves 4.

ASPARAGUS PESTO

INGREDIENTS

  • Salt
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch segments
  • 1 clove garlic, or more to taste
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • ¼ cup olive oil, or more as desired
  • ¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, or to taste

DIRECTIONS

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Add the asparagus and cook until fully tender but not mushy, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well, reserving some of the cooking liquid, and let the asparagus cool slightly.

Transfer the asparagus to a food processor and add the garlic, pine nuts, 2 tablespoons of the oil, Parmesan, a pinch of salt and a couple of tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Process the mixture, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container if necessary, and gradually add the remaining oil and a bit more of the reserved cooking liquid to moisten if necessary. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste, pulse one last time, and serve over pasta, fish or chicken (or cover and refrigerate for up to a day).

 

MONDAY

If you’re an incurable Tapas enthusiast like me, you’re probably also a big fan of Patatas Bravas. Every time I eat them, I swear to myself that someday I’m going to make an entire meal of Spain’s crispiest potatoes with an infinite amount of those delectable yellow and orange sauces. And that’s exactly what happened this week.

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Patatas Bravas with Two Sauces

PATATAS BRAVAS WITH TWO SAUCES

INGREDIENTS

For the potatoes:

  • 2 pounds yellow-fleshed or russet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 tblspn Kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 head garlic, separated into cloves but not peeled

For the Salsa Brava:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon pimentón dulce, (or use sweet paprika)
  • 1 teaspoon pimentón picante, (or use 1/4 tsp cayenne)
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • Kosher salt

For the Allioli:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced or grated
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Put potato chunks in a large bowl, season with salt and toss to coat. Leave for a few minutes to let potatoes absorb salt. Add olive oil and unpeeled garlic cloves and toss to coat well.

Transfer potatoes, garlic cloves and oil to a large cast-iron skillet or heavy roasting pan. Make sure to have potatoes in a single layer without crowding. (If necessary, use two pans.) There should be a good 1/4-inch oil in the bottom of the pan. Add more if required.

Place pan in oven and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, or until potato chunks are well browned on the bottom. With a metal spatula, turn chunks over. Reduce heat to 400 degrees, and continue roasting until potatoes are well browned and crisp, about another 25 to 30 minutes.

While potatoes are roasting, make the two sauces: For the salsa brava, put 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and let sizzle without browning, then stir in flour and let mixture sizzle. Stir in tomato paste, pimentón dulce and pimentón picante, then add chicken broth gradually, stirring well as the sauce thickens. Bring to a gentle simmer, add vinegar and cook for 5 minutes until the sauce has a gravylike consistency, but isn’t too thick. Thin with a little more broth or water, if necessary. Season with salt to taste.

For the allioli, whisk egg yolk and garlic together in a small bowl. Add oil a few drops at a time, whisking vigorously with each addition. As the sauce thickens, add olive oil a teaspoon at a time. If the aioli gets too thick, whisk in 1 tablespoon water, then continue to whisk in remaining oil. The finished sauce should have the consistency of softly whipped cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

When potatoes are ready, use spatula to transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to blot, then to a warm serving dish. Serve warm with the two sauces. Serves 2.

TUESDAY

I was going to make a Ratatouille, but that would have been far too predictable. So instead I made this Summer Squash Gratin which might look cute and cuddly, but thanks to the Gruyere and leeks, has a honkin’ blast of flavor you don’t see coming.

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Summer Squash Gratin

SUMMER SQUASH GRATIN

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 small leeks (1/2 pound), white and tender green parts thinly sliced into rounds
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices, preferably on a mandolin
  • 3 medium yellow summer squash, cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices, preferably on a mandolin
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 cup finely shredded Gruyère (about 2 ounces)
  • 1 plum tomato, very thinly sliced crosswise
  • Flaky sea salt and crusty bread, for serving

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 425°.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over moderately high heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and cook until evaporated, about 2 minutes. Spread in a 9-inch round baking dish

Meanwhile, on 2 large baking sheets, spread the zucchini and yellow squash and brush with the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the cheese and let sit until slightly softened, about 5 minutes.

Tightly roll 1 piece of zucchini and set it on the leeks in the center of the dish. Working outward from that center slice, continue rolling and coiling additional pieces of zucchini and yellow squash until you reach the edge of the baking dish. Season the tomato slices with salt and pepper, then tuck in intervals between the zucchini and squash. Scrape any cheese off of the baking sheets and sprinkle on top.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the zucchini and squash are tender and browned in spots. Sprinkle with sea salt. Let cool slightly, then serve with crusty bread. Serves 4.

WEDNESDAY

Chances are you’ve eaten a whole-roasted cauliflower at a restaurant many times before, but cooking it at home is a good and bad news story: The good news is that it’s as delicious as it looks with a crispy crust and a heart of gold, but the bad news is that your oven will need to undergo a major top-to-bottom spring cleaning session immediately thereafter. (Um…thanks to the anchovies, this sauce is vegetarian adjacent, but if you’re a purist, you can use pretty much anything from Green goddess to Romesco.)

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Whole Roasted Cauliflower

WHOLE ROASTED CAULIFLOWER

INGREDIENTS

For the cauliflower:

  • 1 large cauliflower
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

For the sauce:

  • ⅓ cup blanched almonds
  • 6 to 10 anchovy fillets (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for basting
  • 2 teaspoons wine vinegar (white or red), more to taste
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped parsley, mint, tarragon, cilantro or a combination
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt and ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven while you prepare the cauliflower: Place a heavy oven-proof skillet or a baking sheet in the oven and turn the heat to 375 degrees. Place a small pan of hot water on the floor of the oven, to create steam.

Break off and discard the outer leaves from the cauliflower. Cut off the bottom of the stem, and then use the tip of a small, sharp knife to cut off the leaves close to the stem. Carefully cut out the hard core of the cauliflower, near the bottom. Leave the main stem intact and make sure not to cut through any of the florets.

Rinse the cauliflower (leave the water clinging to the outside) and place on a work surface, core side up. Drizzle with olive oil and use your hands to rub over the cauliflower until evenly coated. Sprinkle with salt.

Place the cauliflower on the hot pan in the oven, core side down, and cook until very tender all the way through when pierced with a knife, at least 1 hour or up to 2 hours. During the cooking, baste 2 or 3 times with more olive oil. It should brown nicely. If you have a convection feature, use it toward the end of baking to brown the crust.

Make the sauce: In a small frying pan, toast nuts over low heat, shaking often, just until golden and fragrant. Set aside to cool.

Soak anchovies, if using, for 5 minutes in cool water. Rinse and set aside on paper towels.

In a food processor, combine almonds, anchovies, garlic and butter and pulse until smooth. Mix in oil, then vinegar. Mix in herbs and red pepper flakes, if using. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

When cauliflower is tender, remove from the oven. (If desired, run it briefly under the broiler first to brown the surface; there is no need to do this if you used convection.)

Serve cauliflower in the skillet or from a serving plate. Cut into wedges and spoon sauce around each wedge. Serves 2 – 4 depending on the size of the cauliflower.

THURSDAY

For several reasons I’d rather not get into, let’s just say that I have a “hot” kitchen. And so, when the weather heats up I tend to opt for room temperature dishes to stay cool. This hugely popular wheatberry salad is a great side-dish or an awesome meal on its own.

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Wheatberry Salad with Roasted Squash

WHEATBERRY SALAD WITH ROASTED SQUASH

INGREDIENTS

For the Squash:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt, more as needed
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
  • 3 pounds winter squash, such as kabocha, carnival or butternut, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices (leave the peels on or remove as desired)

For the Wheatberries:

  • 1 ½ cups winter wheatberries
  • 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, more to taste
  • 2 cups water, more if required.

For the Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, more to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated on a Microplane or minced
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
  • 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare the squash: In a large bowl, mix together olive oil, sugar, cinnamon, salt, pepper and cayenne. Add squash and toss well to coat with the spiced oil. Lay the squash pieces out flat on a rimmed baking sheet.

Roast squash until the bottoms are golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Carefully turn the pieces over and continue to roast until tender, another 10 to 20 minutes.

Add the Wheatberries, salt and water to a saucepan and bring to a solid simmer for about 20 – 25 minutes, until the berries are soft but still chewy. Strain and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, garlic and pepper. Whisk in olive oil. Add the cooked wheatberries and toss well, adding more oil or salt, or both, if needed.

To serve, spoon the wheatberries on a platter and top with the squash, feta, mint and a drizzle of olive oil. Serves 4.

FRIDAY

If you scroll down a few blogs, you will see that I took a street food tour of Palermo a few months ago. But my very first meal in Sicily was pasta alla Norma. I’ll never forget the medley of flavors that were so much more than the sum of their simple parts. If you can’t find Ricotta Salata, you can always substitute with a hard feta.

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Pasta alla Norma

PASTA ALLA NORMA

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large eggplant (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, mined or pressed through garlic press (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 2 anchovy fillets, minced
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 pound ziti, rigatoni, or penne
  • 6 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 ounces ricotta salata, shredded (a hard feta is a good substitute)

DIRECTIONS

Toss eggplant with 1 teaspoon salt in medium bowl. Line surface of large microwave-safe plate with double layer of coffee filters and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. Spread eggplant in an even layer over coffee filters; wipe out and reserve the bowl. Microwave eggplant on high power, uncovered, until dry to touch and slightly shriveled, about 10 minutes, tossing once halfway through to ensure that eggplant cooks evenly. Let cool slightly.

Transfer eggplant to now-empty bowl, drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and toss gently to coat; discard coffee filters and reserve plate. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add eggplant and distribute in even layer. Cook, stirring or tossing every 1½ to 2 minutes (more frequent stirring may cause eggplant pieces to break apart), until well browned and fully tender, about 10 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and transfer eggplant to now-empty plate and set aside.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic, anchovies, and pepper flakes to now-empty but still-hot skillet and cook using residual heat so garlic doesn’t burn, stirring constantly, until fragrant and garlic becomes pale golden, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, return skillet to burner over medium-high heat, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil. Add pasta and 2 tablespoons salt and cook until al dente. Reserve ½ cup cooking water; drain pasta and transfer back to cooking pot.

While pasta is cooking, return eggplant to skillet with tomatoes and gently stir to incorporate. Bring to simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring gently occasionally, until eggplant is heated through and flavors are blended, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir basil and extra-virgin olive oil into sauce; season to taste with salt. Add sauce to cooked pasta, adjusting consistency with reserved pasta cooking water so that sauce coats pasta. Serve immediately, sprinkled with ricotta salata. Serves 4.

SATURDAY

In week IV, I bragged about how little stirring my sausage and pepper risotto required. This week I went all-in for the real deal. If you love the taste of sweet corn in spring, you’re going to love this immensely creamy, crunchy and surprisingly hearty dish.

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Corn Risotto

CORN RISOTTO

INGREDIENTS

For the Stock:

  • 2 corn cobs (kernels removed and reserved for risotto)
  • 1 onion, cut into quarters
  • 1 carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 celery rib, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
  • Dark green leaves from 1 leek (reserve white and light green parts for risotto)
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

For the Risotto:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 leek, white and light green parts only, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 ½ cups raw corn kernels (from about 2 ears corn)
  • 1/4 tsp saffron, crumbled
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives (optional)

DIRECTIONS

For the stock:
Combine all ingredients with 6 cups water in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat so liquid is simmering; cover pot and let simmer for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer. Add enough water to bring liquid back up to 6 cups.

For the Risotto:
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a wide, high-sided sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add rice and cook, stirring, until grains look slightly translucent.

Pour in wine and cook, stirring, until it has all been absorbed, about 2 minutes.

Add a ladle of hot corn stock to the rice mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until rice has absorbed all of the stock. Continue cooking, adding ladles of stock whenever rice mixture looks dry and stirring continuously. When half the stock has been added, stir in corn and the saffron. Continue cooking until all of the stock is incorporated, corn is tender and rice is creamy and tender, about 30 to 40 minutes total.

Remove risotto from heat and stir in Parmesan and remaining tablespoon of butter. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

Uncover risotto, stir vigorously and season to taste with salt and pepper. Immediately before serving, stir in the chives. Serves 4.

SUNDAY

I improvised this dish from a little bistro in Montreal who must have had a surplus of goat cheese the week I was there, as every egg dish on their Sunday breakfast menu was paired with goat cheese. But hey, if it works…

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Poached Pesto Eggs

POACHED PESTO EGGS

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 eggs
  • 1/3 cup plain goat cheese
  • 1 tblspn butter
  • 1 tblspn prepared pesto, plus extra for garnish
  • 4 slices brown bread
  • baby lettuce leaves
  • white vinegar

DIRECTIONS

In a small bowl mash the goat cheese, butter and pesto into a well combined, smooth paste. Do not be tempted to add more pesto as it will kill the taste of the cheese.
Toast the bread. Spread the cheese mixture on the toasts. Layer a few baby greens over the cheese. Bring a deep pot of water to a rolling boil. Add a few splashes of white vinegar and poach the eggs for 2 – 4 minutes.
Layer 2 eggs onto each slice of toast and add a dot of pesto onto each egg. Serves 4.

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

 

 

 

 

My favorite quarantine recipes Part I

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Afternoon tea with Pistachio and Hazelnut paste toast triangles

As the inevitability of an extended isolation drags on and on, I find that no matter how I try to vary my habits around the house (spending time in different rooms, sitting on different chairs, looking out of different windows etc.) eventually it all starts to look and feel like more and more and more of the same. But the kitchen is the one place I can truly change things up with each passing meal. I made a promise at the start of the virus outbreak that no matter how long social distancing lasts, I will never cook the same meal twice. And so here are a few of my favorites so far.

SUNDAY

CHINESE-STYLE BARBECUE SPARE RIBS

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Chinese-style barbecued Spareribs

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 (6-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thin
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 cup honey
  • ¾ cup hoisin sauce
  • ¾ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon red food coloring (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 5 – 6 pounds pork spareribs (2 racks, 2 1/2- to 3-pounds each), preferably St. Louis-style, cut into individual ribs
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pulse ginger and garlic in food processor until finely chopped, 10 to 12 pulses, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Transfer ginger-garlic mixture to Dutch oven. Add honey; hoisin; soy sauce; ½ cup water; rice wine; five-spice powder; food coloring, if using; and pepper and whisk until combined. Add ribs and stir to coat (ribs will not be fully submerged). Bring to simmer over high heat, then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 1¼ hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Using tongs, transfer ribs to large bowl. Strain braising liquid through fine-mesh strainer set over large container, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids. Let cooking liquid settle for 10 minutes. Using wide, shallow spoon, skim fat from surface and discard.
  3. Return braising liquid to pot and add sesame oil. Bring to boil over high heat and cook until syrupy and reduced to 2½ cups, 16 to 20 minutes.
  4. Set wire rack in aluminum foil–lined rimmed baking sheet and pour ½ cup water into sheet. (This prevents the ribs from drying out) Transfer half of ribs to pot with braising liquid and toss to coat. Arrange ribs, bone sides up, on prepared rack, letting excess glaze drip off. Roast until edges of ribs start to caramelize, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip ribs and continue to roast until second side starts to caramelize, 5 to 7 minutes longer. Transfer ribs to serving platter; repeat process with remaining ribs. Serve.

 

MONDAY

CHICKEN MARSALA

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Chicken Marsala

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pound, 680g), cut in half crosswise
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 to 10 ounces (230-280g) button mushrooms, stems trimmed and sliced
  • 3 tablespoons (total) olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons (total) unsalted butter
  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • about 1/3 cup (50g) flour
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) chicken stock or water 80ml
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 2/3 cup (160ml) Marsala wine preferably dry
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

DIRECTIONS

  1. Put the chicken pieces between two sheets of plastic wrap, or in a sturdy zip-top freezer bag, and pound them with a rolling pin until they’re 1/2-inch, (1,5cm) thick. Put the pieces in a bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. In a wide skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over high heat until the butter starts to sizzle. Add the sliced mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook – stirring occasionally – until the mushrooms are seared and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic to the mushrooms during the last-minute of cooking.
  3. Scrape the mushrooms onto a plate and wipe the pan clean with a paper towel to remove any bits of garlic. (If not, those bits will burn when frying the chicken.)
  4. To sauté the chicken, spread the flour onto a plate and dredge half of the chicken pieces in the flour, shaking off most of the excess. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in the pan. Add chicken pieces so they are in a single layer; don’t crowd them in the pan. (If you have a very large pan, you can sauté them all in one batch. But I use a 10-inch/23cm skillet, and do them in two batches.) Sauté the breasts, turning them over midway during cooking, until they are browned on each side. (They don’t need to be completely cooked through at this point.) When browned, remove the chicken pieces to a separate plate and heat another 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in the pan, and sauté the rest of the chicken.
  1. While the chicken is cooking. Stir the corn starch into the stock or water until it’s completely dissolved, then mix it with the Marsala.
  2. When the second batch of chicken is done and removed from the pan, pour about one-third of the Marsala mixture into the pan, scraping the pan with a wooden or silicone spatula to scrape up the browned bits, then add the rest of the Marsala mixture, as well as the mushrooms and chicken pieces.
  3. Cook the chicken and mushrooms with the sauce over medium heat, turning the chicken pieces over occasionally, to make sure they’re well-basted in the sauce, until the chicken is cooked and the sauce has thickened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in another 1 tablespoons of butter, the balsamic vinegar, and chopped parsley. Taste the sauce and season with more salt, if necessary.

Serving: Chicken Marsala is best served with warm, with wide noodles or another pasta. Mashed potatoes would work well, too.

TUESDAY

GARLIC-GINGER-TOMATO CAULIFLOWER (OR CHICKEN) STIR FRY

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Ginger-Garlic-Tomato Cauliflower stir-fry

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 head roasted cauliflower floretsor 1 ½ pounds boneless chicken, preferably dark meat, in 1/2- to 1-inch chunks
  • ½ cup flour to dredge the chicken
  • 4 tablespoons neutral oil, like corn or canola
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons slivered garlic
  • 2 tablespoons slivered ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 cup ketchup

DIRECTIONS

Toss chicken with flour so that it is lightly dusted. Put 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet, preferably nonstick, and turn heat to high. When oil smokes, add chicken in one layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

When chicken browns on one side, toss it and cook until just about done: smaller pieces will take 5 minutes total, larger pieces about 10. Remove to a plate. Turn off heat and let pan cool for a moment.

Add remaining oil to pan and turn heat to medium high. Add garlic, ginger and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes. Add ketchup and stir; cook until ketchup bubbles, then darkens slightly. Add chicken (or roasted cauliflower) to pan and stir to coat with sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning, then serve.

 

WEDNESDAY

PENNE OR FARFALLE WITH PISTACHIO CREAM AND SHRIMP

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Penne with Pistachio cream and shrimp

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 ounces Farfalla or Penne pasta
  • 1/2 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup ground pistachios (unsalted, ground in a food processor)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (plus a little extra)
  • 1lb shelled shrimp
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • crushed red pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil.

2. In the meantime, chop onion and grind the pistachios in a food processor until the pieces are very small but not completely uniform. Add pasta to water and boil according to package directions.

3. While pasta is cooking, begin sauce: heat olive oil in a medium saute pan, add onion and cook until translucent but not browned.

4. Add pistachios and enough oil to moisten them (if needed). It should be a paste-like consistency. Cook, stirring, over medium heat for about one minute (do not let the pistachios take on any color). Add the shrimp and cook on both sides until just done.

5. Add cream, stir until heated through, then remove from heat. Add a pinch of crushed red pepper, black pepper and plenty of salt to taste.

6. When pasta is al dente, drain well then add to the saute pan with the sauce. Toss well to coat and serve immediately with lots of fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

 

FRIDAY

MISO-MARINATED SALMON

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Miso-marinated Salmon

INGREDIENTS

  • ¼ cup white miso paste
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sake
  • 1 ½ tablespoons mirin
  • 2 (6- to 8-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets
  • Lemon wedges

DIRECTIONS

1. Whisk miso, sugar, sake, and mirin together in medium bowl until sugar and miso are dissolved (mixture will be thick). Dip each fillet into miso mixture to evenly coat all flesh sides. Place fish skin side down in baking dish and pour any remaining miso mixture over fillets. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours.

2. Adjust oven rack 8 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Place wire rack in rimmed baking sheet and cover with aluminum foil. Using your fingers, scrape miso mixture from fillets (do not rinse) and place fish skin side down on foil, leaving 1 inch between fillets.

3. Broil salmon until deeply browned and centers of fillets register 125 degrees, 8 to 12 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through cooking and shielding edges of fillets with foil if necessary. Transfer to platter and serve with lemon wedges.s

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

 

KYU, Miami – review

IMG_9736With astonishing gentrification projects from Brickell and Edgewater to the Design district, and the artsy-fartsy concrete canvasses dotted around Wynwood, there is much more to Miami than the faded bling and gangster-glam of South Beach. But Miami’s recent renaissance isn’t limited to architecture and the arts. The city’s food scene has also exploded into a culinary destination for chefs and foodies alike.

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KYU, Miami

Cuisines range from Latin-Caribbean delights at Michael Schwartz’s Amara at Paraisa to his fresh upmarket flagship Michael’s Genuine, to the authentic Greek-Turkish hideaway at Mandolin, but the most staggeringly impressive entry is the brainchild of Zuma alums Michael Lewis and Steven Haigh who opened a wood-fired Asian-inspired grill called KYU (pronounced “cue”, as in Barbecue). In deference to the neighboring Wynwood walls’ rural murals, a 20-foot vertical garden of mosses and ivy’s aptly contrasts the raw industrial concrete and dark welded steel interior. As you pry open the doors you’ll notice two things – first, the smell of smoky Florida oak wafting over the wooden high-tops affording great views of the high-action open kitchen at one end, and the high-drama artisanal bar at other – both vying for attention. Second, you can’t help noticing the friendly, unpretentious and rather jocular vibe that builds on the concept of a neighborhood joint that doesn’t want to take itself too seriously. But there are no happenstances when you’ve been voted Florida’s best restaurant by Time Magazine, or nominated by the James Beard Foundation as Best New Restaurant. No, my friends, this is one very carefully curated and perfected experience from host to toast.

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KYU, Miami

The food and service are a fair fight for top billing, that by the end of the night we weren’t sure whether to wrap up and take home some of the leftovers, or a couple of the waiters instead.

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Whole roasted Cauliflower, KYU Miami

The menu is a lengthy tumble of Korean, Japanese and American flame-grilled treats of all sizes. Despite the pervasive veil of “simplicity” with “no more than a couple of ingredients per dish”, like the much-photographed and utterly scrumptious Whole Roasted Cauliflower with dollops of creamy goat cheese to add some funk to the already magnificent shishito herb vinaigrette, or the heavenly refreshing Avocado Salad with lemon, crispy ginger matchsticks and house-made feta, it is the abundance of intricate preparations that has earned chef Lewis his unique signature, which is everything but simple.

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Korean Fried Chicken, KYU, Miami

As the dishes grow in size, they seem to grow in flavor too, with the Korean Fried Chicken as one of many show-stoppers. Prior to frying, the chicken is first marinated and then smoked, before being dipped into a wonderfully hot and sour gochujang chili sauce. Even the Smoked Duck Burnt ends aren’t just cold-smoked for 30 minutes either, they are then flame-finished on the wood fire with a sprinkling of salt and Japanese shichimi peppers. And if you listen carefully, you can just hear the dish that still calls my name: Crispy Baby-back ribs Yakiniku. The Jenga arrangement of ribs are first smoked, then braised, and then finally fried before being tossed in a deliciously sticky sweet and savory sauce that very mysteriously relocated itself everywhere from chin to nose.

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Crispy Baby-back ribs Yakiniku, KYU, Miami

And to round things out, the chef’s mother’s simple dessert is a great final act. Four layers of delectable Coconut Cake interrupted with a tart cream cheese filling which offsets the sweetness, yet pairs flawlessly with a serving of house-made coconut ice-cream.

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Mom’s Coconut cake, KYU, Miami (and yes, it was my birthday!)

For decades, chefs have tried to demystify the notion of what “simple” or “approachable” food is. And when you peer under the hood of the kitchen, it’s not always as easy as A-B-C. That’s because it might have been K-Y-U all along.

https://www.kyurestaurants.com/