I’ve always been a fan of Jamie Oliver. Perhaps it’s his relaxed, almost reckless, approach to cooking or the relative simplicity of his recipes that I find appealing. So, when I came across his recipe for “Chicken in Milk” adapted by Sam Sifton, on the New York Times “Cooking” website a few weeks ago, I thought I’d make it the subject of a post on my blog.Read more
Meatballs: Installment #2
Nine years ago, I posted a blog entry about turkey-spinach meatballs in a marinara sauce adapted from a recipe in Bon Appétit. Although my husband and I were both surprised by how good they were, I hadn’t made them again until last week. And, once again, we weren’t disappointed. So yesterday, when I was thinking about my next installment for my series on meatballs, I decided to do a variation on them using beef instead of turkey.
Well, I’m happy to report that this departure from the original recipe yielded an even more delicious dish. Whereas most of the turkey meatballs’ flavor came from the spinach, cheese, and fennel seeds, as well as from the spicy sauce, the beef version’s savor was more balanced with the meat contributing as much smack as the other ingredients. The robust, slightly acidic flavor of the spinach complemented the rich and savory essence of the beef, while the notes from the other seasonings and even the sauce were more muted.Read more
Ginger & Scallion Steamed Salmon
Although I’m fearless when it comes to preparing seafood, I wince when it comes to cooking fresh fish. But every so often, I come across a recipe that prompts me to face my fears and take on one of those scaly creatures. I must admit, however, that having skinned and sliced salmon fillets makes the feat far less daunting.Read more
London Broil with Sun-Dried-Tomato Marinade
A sale and the weather were the main influencers of this week’s post. Because our local supermarket had a great special on London broil, we had decided to break out the grill for the first barbecue of the season. But when the weather forecast put the kibosh on outdoor cooking, I started to consider a few alternatives like pan grilled or broiled, neither of which struck my husband’s fancy. So, I asked him to go through a few of our cookbooks and find a recipe for London broil that would.
An hour or so later he returned to my office, cookbook in hand and grinning. The book was Lidia Bastianich’s Commonsense Cooking and the recipe he chose was “London Broil Steak with Sun-Dried Tomatoes Marinade.” Luckily, I had all the ingredients on hand—even the fresh basil, which I had purchased for another dish.Read more
Easy Crispy Baked Chicken
Sometimes I just want or even have to cook something simple yet tasty. Such was the case yesterday, when I realized all the work my initial recipe for this post required and that I didn’t have the time to make it. Consequently, I opted for a far less complicated dish that despite its simplicity yielded loads of flavor: Crispy Baked Chicken.Read more
Meatballs: Installment #1
“Meatballs.” Just the word conjures up feelings of culinary comfort for me; and when these tasty morsels are paired with pasta, I’m transported back to my childhood where they often showed up as part of a Sunday dinner. I do know that some Italian-food traditionalists may scoff at these meaty orbs coated with tomato sauce, dismissing them as Italian-American fare. Indeed, I recall having dinner with a friend from Italy who looked at me in disbelief when I ordered one as an appetizer in a well know Chicago restaurant. “Stai scherzando,” (You must be joking) he said. I trust the satisfied expression on my face after I consumed the last tasty morsel proved him wrong.
This post will be the first in a series devoted to meatballs that I plan to publish periodically over the next few months. The recipe, “Pasta with Meatballs” comes from Nigella Lawson’s cookbook Nigella Bites and can also be found online. (I used the latter.) I chose it for a number of reasons: I found some ground pork in the back of the freezer; there was no frying or roasting involved; and it yielded 30 meatballs slightly larger than a cherry tomato. Another motivation came from finding her online version of the recipe, which substituted semolina for breadcrumbs as well as jarred passata for canned tomatoes.Read more
Old-Fashioned Beef Stew
Last week, I decided to proffer a farewell to winter and welcome in spring with a classic beef stew. Although my original choice for a recipe, one from Sally Schmitt’s Six California Kitchens, appealed to me for its simplicity, on second look, its lack of a thickener for a gravy and its relatively quick time for cooking the vegetables (15 minutes on high) after simmering the meat on the stove for two hours gave me some pause. Eventually, a search through my bookshelves led me to a similar recipe from the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook that addressed my concerns with the first and required only a little more effort. That it called for oven rather than stove-top cooking made it even more attractive.Read more
Pan-Roasted Chicken with Leeks
A wicked nor’easter and a plethora of sagging leeks pretty much determined the choice of recipe for this week’s post. Originally, I had planned to prepare Marcella Hazan’s Pan Roasted Pork Loin with Leeks after the grocery store delivered two bunches of the leafy alliums rather that the two individual ones I had ordered. However, when Mother Nature graced us with the worst snow storm of the season, getting to the market to procure the loin was no longer an option.
Housebound by the weather, I looked through my cookbooks for other leek recipes but most that I found used a single leek and I had five on hand. I then turned to the web, where I found a recipe that called for three and for which I had almost all the other ingredients on hand except for drumsticks and half-and half, for which I respectively substituted thighs and heavy cream: Pan Roasted Chicken with Leeks.Read more
Pollo alla Contadina
After preparing this dish, from Carol Fields’ In Nonna’s Kitchen, I am forced to question its attribution to a contadina, the Italian word for a farmer’s wife. Indeed, given some of the recipe’s ingredients like nutmeg and lemon zest as well as some of its directions like using a separate skillet to sweat the aromatics and a fine-mesh sieve or a food processor to puree the sauce, the only farmer’s wife I could imagine making the dish is Lisa Douglas, played by Eva Gabor in the ‘60s television show, “Green Acres.”Read more
Lentil and Sausage Casseroles
More often than not, our weekday dinners are determined by an item in the fridge that’s near its “use-by” date. Such was the case on Monday, when my husband announced that we had a pound of Italian sausage that needed to be used or tossed. When I suggested making my go-to sausage and roasted peppers, he said: “Again? Why not try something new and use it for the blog.”
While making something new might not pose a problem for those of you who have a nearby market or a car, for those of us who don’t, it often involves seeing what’s on hand and then searching for a suitable recipe. After discovering a package of green lentils in the pantry, I turned to my cookbook collection, where I found the perfect match, “Lentil and Sausage Casseroles,” in a volume from the Good Cook series by Time-Warner: Dried Beans and Grains.Read more