Tag Archives: Roast Chicken

Cookbook Night Vol. II

18 Sep

Last year I wrote about Cookbook Night, a day/night when my great friend Tiffiny and I pick a cookbook we’ve not tried, spend all day making many dishes out of the cookbook, then have people over to gorge on the new recipes. We’ve been doing this for a while; it’s a day the two of us can hang out in the kitchen, catch up, laugh a lot and, well, cook up a storm. The actual night is casual. We use paper plates and disposable flatware, for instance…. though somehow we still end up massacring the kitchen. All told, it’s a wonderful time with a lot of great conversation and much food and drink being consumed.

We usually do two of these a year but given my ‘one armed status’ (see here) this is probably our only cookbook night of 2014. (We did have a great canning and preserving day earlier in the summer, when I didn’t look like Robocop. We made homemade worcesterhire sauce, some hellacious pickles and Caramelized Pineapple in Tequila… oh my is that good.) For this particular cookbook night, we chose My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz. Lebovitz is a wonderful writer, I highly recommend both the book and his website!

As I am still operating at less than full speed, there will be less writing and more photos in this post (I hear some cheers out there) with links to many of the recipes. Thanks to my buddy Chris for the great photos! Thanks also to the various blogs I am accessing for recipes, including Mr. Lebovitz himself.

 

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 APPETIZERS

We tried a variety of appetizers, served cocktail party style with everyone standing out back. All the apps were terrific.

In the first picture below, along with Tiffiny’s wonderful cheese plate, you see crostini spread with Homemade Goat Cheese, topped with Slow Roasted Tomatoes. This was a favorite of a number of people.  

Next is a Duck Terrine (kind of a pate) that was incredible. I’d never before made a pate and truth be told, my buddy Chris did most of the work. It sits for a few days so we made it a few nights before. It was a lot of work but not difficult work so don’t be scared. Try it sometime! It was delicious, filled with duck and pork and many other wonderful ingredients. Also served on crostini with an excellent mustard, and pickles, this Duck Terrine will impress even the most jaded foodie.

Another highlight of the night was the Artichoke Tapenade. Tapenades are a breeze, btw. You throw olives and whatever else you want into a food processor, chop it up, let it sit, then dive in. If you like olives, learn to make tapenade! 5 easy minutes of your time, max.

Recipes under each photo.

Goat cheese

Crostini with Homemade Herbed Goat Cheese and Slow-roasted Cherry Tomatoes.

 Cherry Tomato Crostini with Herbed Homemade Goat Cheese recipe, click here.

Pate

Duck Terrine

Duck Terrine recipe, click here.

Tapanade

Artichoke Tapenade

Artichoke Tapenade recipe, click here

Oh and this was the aftermath of the cocktail hour. Note the rag on the floor, my way of cleaning the floor. To quote the late, great Joan Rivers, “If God had wanted me to bend over, He’d have put diamonds on the floor.” My version of her joke would I guess be Mac-N-Cheese on the floor.

bar

yikes!

 

SOUP

Tiffiny made a terrific Gazpacho from the book. I loved this very, very much.

gazpacho

Gazpacho

 

SALADS and PALATE CLEANSER

We did three salads for the first seated course: Salad with Bacon, Egg and Garlic Toasts; Celery Root Remolaude and a Grated Carrot Salad. The first is a french classic, normally served with frisee, which was nowhere to be found! So Tiffiny did a beautiful adaptation. I myself can’t get enough of Celery Root Remo, as I like to call it, another french classic served everywhere in Paris, so I made Lebovitz’s version. And the carrot salad was a lovely, healthy alternative to many heavy dishes before and after.

As a palate cleaner, I made a weird and wonderful Gin and Tonic Sorbet, a recipe my dear friend Janet sent me, knowing how much I would love it. Props to my best friend Mark who stepped out of his Hamburger Helper comfort zone and prepped the sorbet. I will be making this sorbet often.

Here you see Tiffiny’s gorgeous salad. Recipes below.

Salad

Salad with Bacon and Egg

Frisee Salad recipe, click here.

ginandtonicice

Gin and Tonic Sorbet

 Gin and Tonic Sorbet recipe click here.

 

MAIN COURSES and SIDES

We did two mains: Lebovitz’s wonderful Mustard Chicken and a french/asian take on BBQ ribs, Caramelized Pork Ribs. Photos and recipes of both below. The sides were Braised Vegetables served with Salsa Verde (perhaps my favorite, I could bathe in the salsa verde), Lebovitz’s amazing rendition of sautéed green beans and a scalloped potatoes with Blue Cheese and Roasted Garlic! People went nuts over all of them, the ribs in particular. I myself could not get enough of the chicken!

 

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Mustard Chicken and Caramelized Pork Ribs

 

chicken

Mustard Chicken

 For the Mustard Chicken recipe, click here.

For the Caramelized Pork Ribs, click here

Beans potatoes

Potatoes with Blue Cheese and Roasted Garlic; Green Beans with “Snail Butter”

For the potato recipe, click here.

For the wonderful green beans, click here.

 

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Braised Vegetables with Salsa Verde

 Scroll down for the vegetables and salsa verde recipe here.

DESSERTS

Somehow, we never ended up taking pictures of dessert. We made two: Salted Caramel Chocolate Mousse, which is as wonderful as it sounds, and an amazing Orange Pound Cake, half of which I think I ate myself. I swiped this photo of the mousse:

mousse2

Salted Caramel Chocolate Mousse,

Here is the recipe for the mousse. To. Die For.

Finally, a few more random photos. Try these recipes, though, or just get the book! You will be very happy with Sir Lebovitz’s food and writing.

heeses

Tiffiny’s Cheese Plate

lights 2

new lights in the back

ighths

“Zach’s Lights”

Bacon

Tiffiny frying bacon for a number of the dishes

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Caramelized Pork Ribs

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cocktail hour

Preserve Me A Lemon!

21 Jun

I have two bountiful lemon trees in my backyard. I love these trees and what they provide. While I use lemons most every day – in drinks, in marinades, in salad dressings, as a flavor enhancer in all kinds of dishes – I still get overrun with crazy lemons! As weird as it may seem in other parts of the world, when you live in Southern California, it gets hard to pawn off fruit. People show up to work with bags and bags of lemons, oranges, etc and usually everyone just yawns.

plums

Monday at work, from someone’s tree… these were amazing plums.

Given my lemon bounty, I started looking for ways to use the extra. I discovered my favorite a few years ago: Preserved Lemons. Preserving lemons is so easy, and the result so wonderful, there is always a big jar of preserved lemons in my fridge. Besides extending the life of the fruit, preserving lemons make the entire lemon edible. In fact, the rind becomes the best part to use, though everything in the jar, once preserved, is terrific for cooking. Preserved lemons keep nearly forever, so you don’t have to rush to use them, a wonderful perk. But use them you will, I assure you.

I’ve tried many methods for preserving lemons. The easiest I’ve tried, which is also the best, is from Patricia Wells, a wonderful woman about whom I wrote last year. I was able to spend a week with her in France a couple of years ago, a week that remains a highlight for me. During the trip I cooked once on Julia Child’s original stove from her home in France. No, seriously, I did.

I thought we were talking about lemons…

Use this method, it’s perfect. I usually double the recipe, given I am constantly overrun, but this will give you plenty to start. All you need is a pile of lemons (8-10), some course sea salt, and a container with a non-metal lid:

Preserved start

For the recipe and more info, click:

 

The Chicken Or The Egg…

4 May

It may be the age-old question but for me the answer to ‘Which came first?’ is simple: The Egg. Not that I don’t love chicken. I’m obsessed with chicken, as some of you know. This obsession started early as we ate a lot of chicken when I was a child. Growing up in The South, we ate a lot of fried chicken. Mom made a killer Chicken Tetrazzini I still think of with intense fondness. We had roast chicken occasionally and, in my teen years when we were trying to get my dad to eat healthy, we ate a lot of grilled chicken. But even before my love of chicken there was The Egg.

I always loved eggs. I loved them even before I remember, well, anything. My first actual memory as a child isn’t an egg but is sitting in a movie theatre. This experience lead to my career path as well as to this blog. I remember actually falling in love with movies that day. I sat in the theatre thinking, ‘Yeah, Ok, I get it, that’s amazing, I love this, that’s what I want to do.‘ But I don’t have a moment in my memory where I fell in love with eggs. I simply always was in love with them. An egg has to be one of the first items of real food Mom fed me. We had them for breakfast 4 or 5 times a week … and occasionally for supper, ‘Breakfast for dinner’!… so I fell in love with them even before that first actual memory in the movie theatre.

This is a love affair that has not waned.

At this point I’m beating a dead horse but, my goodness, I love eggs. An egg truly is the perfect food. Not only can you eat one on its own in so many wonderful ways, an egg is remarkably versatile. An egg can do virtually anything or go into virtually anything. Feel free to suggest a food in which you can’t use an egg but I’m hard pressed to think of what. If a dish is savory, at the very least you can top it with a fried egg, a trend that has exploded in restaurants lately. If on the other hand a dish is sweet, chances are you can still beautifully incorporate an egg, for taste, for texture, for plain old wonderful goodness. The Egg is definitely a deserted island food for me. You know the game: If you could only have 5 foods for the rest of your life to eat on a deserted island, what would you choose? The egg is at the top of my list.

Click here for the best egg recipe you’ve ever had (and the rest of the post)

Throw Me A Chicken Leg, I’ll Be Fine.

28 Feb

Few things in life are more enjoyable than a good meal with good friends. To sit around a table adorned with food and wine, shared by people with whom you are supremely comfortable, is one of life’s great pleasures. I should know. I am blessed with wonderful friends who prize these times as much as I. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it doesn’t need to be planned. Some of my happiest times have been around the food table.

One such evening in the backyard, a few of us were having a particularly raucous time. It was a balmy Southern California night, a hint of warm Santa Ana in the air, the night sky dark and clear. I don’t remember the specific foods we ate, it wasn’t that kind of meal, though the dinner was good. What I remember most was the warm glow I felt, not just from the wind, not only from the wine. Sara, Brian, Chad and Claire made life wonderful as we joked, talked, laughed and countered each other late into the night.

At some point, the conversation wandered to the TV show Lost, which, when the show was airing, tended to happen if I was around for I was and remain a fanatic for the show. (Loved the finale, btw. Loved. It. I am in that half of ‘Lost Fandom’ and I feel sorry for and rather above the complainers.) Most of us were watching Lost so we all had our say about those poor people on the island. I then made a simple, honest comment that caused a huge eruption.

Click here to continue reading