Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas Gluttony Recap

It has been a gluttonous few weeks around these parts- from egg nog and sausage balls, 8 batches of different homemade cookies, a slew of office and other parties, chex mix and more chex mix, spiral cut hams, a crown roast of pork, oyster stew, italian cream cake, eggs benedict, vats of bourbon, baked brie, scallops wrapped in bacon.... and the list goes on. Enough to give me serious indigestion. It has only been through a rigorous exercise regime that I haven't gained 10 lbs.

Here are some of the highlights

This is a loaf of yummy bread from Peter's adobe oven- nice trick with the tree !

As usual, most of my gifts revolve around food- new sausage making cookbook, a Susan Spicer cookbook (she has two fantastic restaurants in New Orleans- Bayona and Herbsaint), an immersion blender- have already tried it out on a Gouda cauliflower soup, a ravioli cutter, and a fun new game, Foodie Fight. Not pictured are some additional treats- a Gift Certificate to Belmont Butchery and a jar of truffle salt.

Crown Roast Pork on Christmas night

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Big Night 2

Back in April, I turned 40, and my lovely bride surprised me with a Dinner Party for 16- it was deemed Big Night. We had one of those glorious evenings when senses are heightened and all is right in the universe. Good food, wine, and friends. We talked about making it a more regular occurence. Friday Night was Big Night 2.

These are the highlights:

24 friends

24 bottles of wine


Marinated Mozzarella
Artichoke Hearts
Fava Beans
Stuffed Mushrooms


Pasta witth Ricotta and Sausage
Eggplant Parmesan


Grilled Salmon


Pork Tenderloin
Flank Steak stuffed with red & yellow bell peppers & prosciutto


Potatoes Au Gratin
Broiled Asparagus


Coconut CheeseCake
Pound Cake

There was much celebration and dancing after dinner- a good time was had by all.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Under the trance of Mario

I love what he does with the simplest of ingredients; many of my trips to New York have included a Mario Batali restaurant, Over the years, I have had the pleasure of dining at Po, Lupa, Babbo, Esca, and Otto. Last weekend found me in New York visting one of my best friends from London, who had hopped the pond for a long weekend of shopping. The dollar is really that weak against the pound.

After a long day walking the chilly streets of New York and battling the hordes at Rockefeller Center, we welcomed a few hours to relax. Mario Battali’s OTTO is not exactly an anecdote to the over stimulated. First of all, the restaurant is heaving with people, When we arried at 7, there was a wait of nearly 2 hours to contend with. Luckily for us, we found a cozy corner to tuck into, and the negronis were flowing. When we finally sat down (when PIACENZA finally came up on the arrival board- patrons are give n pseudo train tickets with different Italian cites as destinations- when your city comes up on the board, your table is ready.) We munched on fresh bread and olives, roasted peppers, and caponata as a prelude to a few of the most lovely pizzas one can imagine:

One was a simple mushroom and taleggio pie, the other with tomato, mozzarella, and arugula.

After spending a snowy Sunday wandering through Soho and a hard-hittingg Kara Walker show at the Whitney, I was ready for a drink by 4 in the afternoon. There are few lovelier places to sneak into then the new gastro pub in the West Village, The Spotted Pig. After a mulled wine to take the edge off I had a few locally brewed 6 Point Cask conditioned ales. With less fizz, and less chill, they are a great drink for a snowy afternoon. I spent the afternoon with my good friend Dave, a former baker in Richmond and now owner of Brooklyn’s One Girl Cookies. After some friends arrived we had a great meal under the watchful eye of April Bloomfield, former chef at London’s River Cafe, Kensington Place, Bibendum as well as the Bay Area’s Chez Panisse

After a few appetizers of Deviled Eggs and Roll Mops (pickled herring) Dave and I split Pan Fried Calf’s Liver with Crispy and Panfried Skate with Chicory & Potatoes. The liver was rich and earthy and the texture a perfect complement to the cispy pancetta. The skate was moist and tasty and sat on a bed of sauteed chicory, a slightly bitter yin to the skate's sweet yang.

We finished the evening with take-out cupcakes from the infamous Magnolia Bakery- Dave gave us a primer on the intricacies of cupcake baking,from how butter and shortening produce a different “crumb factor.” I think Magnolia Bakery is a bit overrated- the cupcakes all taste the same. I like the cupcakes from One Girl Cookies

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Is there a lobster in my pot?

The Ready brothers, lobstermen from Portland, Maine have devised a rather clever way of giving their customers a more intimate connection to their business. In an age where folks are starting to move back towards connecting to the farmers who grow our food- at Farmer's Markets, through CSAs and other local routes, it is still difficult to connect with the farmers of the sea. Enter the Ready brothers, who for a mere $2995.00 a year will sell you the rights to all of the lobsters caught in given pot, and then ship it wherever you'd like. "The connection is important for consumers who want to know more about their food" commented Dane Sommer , director of the Maine Lobster Promotion Council."

To get your piece of the claw, visit the Ready Brothers and reserve your pot today