Category Archives: Recipes (Savory)

Roasted Romanesco with Pistachios and Fried Caper Vinaigrette

Par-boiling before roasting results in deeply bronzed and crisp Romanesco halves.
Par-boiling before roasting results in deeply bronzed and crisp Romanesco halves.

It’s easy to be in awe of “Top Chef Canada” host Eden Grinshpan.

After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in London, she didn’t parlay that into a stint at any fancy restaurant. Instead, she went to volunteer at an orphanage in India, where she reopened a cafe to raise money and awareness about the children there.

Upon returning to New York, she co-created a Cooking Channel show, “Eden Eats,” which explored the global culinary scene. She even partnered for a spell on a fast-casual Middle Eastern cafe, DEZ, in New York.

This year, she debuted her first cookbook, “Eating Out Loud: Bold Middle Eastern Flavors for All Day, Every Day” (Clarkson Potter), of which I received a review copy, that was written with Rachel Holtzman.

On top of all that, she also appears to have the most enviable collection of high-waist jeans around. Hey, just saying.

Of Israeli heritage, Grinshpan’s more than 100 recipes are colorful, playful, and accessible just like her personality. Middle Eastern cuisine as seen through her lens comes in such fun forms as “Sunchoke Hummus,” “Sesame Schnitzel Sandwich with Harissa Honey and Tartar Slaw,” “Sumac-Roasted Snapper with Lime Yogurt,” and “Salted Halvah Chocolate Chip Cookies.”

I can never resist crisp, charred veggies, so I zeroed in right away on “Roasted Romanesco with Pistachios and Fried Caper Sauce.”

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Cheers with Chilled Smoked Salmon Spaghetti with Capers and Avocado

A smoked salmon-avocado pasta with a glass of bubbly -- the makings for one fabulous dinner.
A smoked salmon-avocado pasta with a glass of bubbly — the makings for one fabulous dinner.

Smoked salmon, capers, avocado, and a squeeze of lemon.

That’s the mouth-watering makings for my favorite bagel topping. That’s also what stars in this easy and terrific cold pasta dish.

“Chilled Smoked Salmon Spaghetti with Capers and Avocado” is from the new cookbook, “Wine Style: Discover the Wines You Will Love Through 50 Simple Recipes” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy, by San Francisco food writer Kate Leahy.

Leahy is the co-author of cookbooks by San Francisco restaurants, A16: Food + Wine,” “SPQR: Modern Italian Food and Wine,” and “Burma Superstar: Addictive Recipes from the Crossroads of Southeast Asia,” plus so many more. But surprisingly, this is her first cookbook that’s all her own.

Pairing food and wine can easily intimidate and befuddle. But Leahy makes it easily approachable. She doesn’t inundate with too much nitty-gritty that would make most casual wine drinkers’ heads spin. Instead, after a short primer on wine basics (textures and flavor categories), she dives into the heart of the book, which comprises nine categories of wine, along with specific recipes that marry well with each.

For instance, in the chapter on “Rich White Wines,” you’ll learn about Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Gewurtztraminer, Viognier, and a handful of Italian white wines, all of which are “rich enough to coat your mouth a bit, allowing them to complement creamy sauces and richer dishes in a balanced, even-handed way.” That is why “Oil-Packed Tuna with Potatoes, Olives, and Lemon” goes smashingly well with Albarino or Chardonnay.

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Rodney Scott’s Smoked Prime Rib

Have you ever smoked a prime rib low and slow? This recipe will have you itching to try your hand at it.
Have you ever smoked a prime rib low and slow? This recipe will have you itching to try your hand at it.

Rodney Scott has felt the blistering heat at the heart of a raging fire.

Both in front of the barbecue pit and in life.

In his new cookbook-memoir, “Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ: Every Day Is a Good Day” (Clarkson Potter), of which I received a review copy, this legendary pitmaster lays bare both his rise to success and the subsequent yawning chasm in his relationship with his father.

It’s a book that offers lessons in cooking, of course, but also in fortitude and perseverance.

What’s more, despite the legion of barbecue and grilling books that have flooded the market over the years, it’s also astonishingly billed as the first cookbook written by a black pitmaster.

About time.

James Beard Award winning Scott, chef and co-owner of the legendary barbecue mecca, Rodney Scott’s BBQ in Charleston, S.C.; Birmingham, AL; and Atlanta, GA, wrote the book with Lolis Eric Elie, a writer and filmmaker, and one of the founders of the Southern Foodways Alliance.

Scott has led a hard-scrabble life, in which his family eked out a living growing soybeans, corn and tobacco on their farm in Hemingway, SC (population 400). It was at the family-owned store that Scott’s father got the idea to sell barbecue. He took charge of the pig while his wife made the sauce.

As his parents’ only child, Scott grew up helping on the farm and at Scott’s Bar-B-Q from a young age. In fact, he cooked his first hog at age 11, stoking the coals every 15 minutes in the wee hours by himself.

When Scott grew older and branched out on his own in Charleston, winning widespread acclaim in the process, he butted heads with his dad. Unfortunately to this day, their relationship remains strained.

You can cherish this book simply for the inspiring story of a man who worked his way up from nothing to the very top of the barbecue pinnacle. Or you can also relish in cooking from it.

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It’s the Season For Slow-Roasted Romano Beans

Romano beans turn ever so soft and juicy in the heat of the oven.
Romano beans turn ever so soft and juicy in the heat of the oven.

They look like green beans on steroids that have been run over by a Mack truck.

Now’s the time to get your fill of Romano beans.

Don’t let these sturdy flat beans fool you, though, into thinking you can cook them just like you would green beans.

These meaty beans do best when cooked for a much longer time beyond al dente.

Earlier this summer, I tried the Zuni Cafe method for “Long-Cooked Romano Beans” in which they’re gently cooked on the stovetop. It’s a super-easy and wonderfully delicious recipe. But it does require 2 hours of cooking time. And I’ll be the first to admit that there are days when time gets away from me, and I find myself with all of 1 hour to get dinner on the table.

Thankfully, I came across this alternative method for cooking them that takes only 40 minutes in the oven. “Slow-Roasted Romano Beans” is from “The A.O.C. Cookbook” (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013) by Suzanne Goin, the chef-owner of Los Angeles’ revered A.O.C. and the dearly departed Lucques restaurant.

An alum of Berkeley’s Chez Panisse, Goin has a skilled hand with most any ingredient, and especially seasonal produce.

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Sizzling Turkish Lamb and Eggplant Kebabs

Lamb meatballs interspersed with big chunks of eggplant turn delightfully smoky on the grill.
Lamb meatballs interspersed with big chunks of eggplant turn delightfully smoky on the grill.

Husband-and-wife chefs Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer like to play with fire.

And the after-effects are sure to make your mouth-water.

After honing their craft at Yotam Ottolenghi’s acclaimed London restaurants, the couple opened the popular Israeli-influenced cafe, Honey & Co. in London, in 2012. That was followed in short succession by Honey & Smoke, and the Honey & Spice deli.

Their first cookbook, “Honey & Co: At Home: Middle Eastern Recipes From Our Kitchen” (Pavilion) was named “Cookbook of the Year” in 2015 by The Sunday Times in the United Kingdom.

Now comes their follow-up, “Honey & Co: Chasing Smoke: Cooking Over Fire Around the Levant” (Pavilion), of which I received a review copy.

As the title implies, this book is all about grilling, smoking and imparting coveted char in dishes. Join Packer and Srulovich as they take you on a journey to discover the most delicious live-fire-cooking through Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Turkey, and Greece. Photographs of market stalls, desert landscapes, seashores, and all manner of blazing grills transport you to these evocative places. So much so, that you’ll swear you can feel the heat and smell the smoke right off the pages.

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