NYC Food – Waterlogue Edition

The previous post detailed my short visit to NY a few weeks ago.  This post allows me to show you the watercolor renditions of some of the food photos, thanks to the Waterlogue iPhone app.  Let me know if you enjoy these.

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NYC — 48-hour Food, Friends & Wine Excursion

A few weeks ago I made my semi-annual short trip to New York City.  As usual, my agenda was primarily sharing food and wine with friends.  Although most recent trips have been by bus on the LimoLiner, this time I decided to drive down in my new car.  This new Subaru Forester is very comfortable, gets very good mileage, and has a convenient sound system which lets me play hundreds of my favorite tunes while I drive.  Furthermore, there is plenty of space for carrying my re-supplies of food and wine back home.

I was able to stay again at one of my favorite Airbnb locations, near Gramercy Park.  It is 3-4 blocks from most places I wanted to go.  Still, I ended up walking 8.5 miles over the 48 hours, because I enjoy walking in the city so much, and it was a good way to walk off the calories consumed with such gusto.

One of my first stops was the Union Square Greenmarket, source of so many visual and gustatory delights.

The night before, Jeremy and I had dinner together at dell’anima in the West Village.  It was hip, somewhat noisy, but good food.  Here are the appetizer dishes we shared, before the pasta (for me) and roast chicken (for him).

After the Greenmarket I had a late lunch nearby at Casa Mono: grilled setas (oyster mushrooms) a la plancha, and grilled baby octopus.

Having satisfied my desire for shellfish, the next day I had a marvelous lunch at abcV, a new vegan/vegetarian restaurant by Jean-Georges.  The place was bright and clean, with creative, nicely designed and well-prepared dishes.  I enjoyed the pine nut and lemon purée, and the seared baby artichokes with Sicilian olive oil and green olives.

Since I was driving home that afternoon I decided to skip the wine and drink some Root Reboot; I enjoyed the fact that it looked like a glass of my favorite Chianti, but was totally healthy and would not make me drowsy.

Root Reboot. beets, carrot, lemon, ginger and orange

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Unconventional Thanksgiving

Most of us in this country have faced a dilemma at one time or another regarding Thanksgiving.  Typical challenges are “whose house should we go to?”, “which family or in-laws should we favor (or worse — offend)?”, “how do we survive the horrors of intercity travel during the holiday week?”, and “do we have to eat Turkey?”

With a son in Arizona and a daughter and family nearby in Massachusetts, the prospects of everyone together were non-existent.  So this year we chose to have a private dinner for the two of us, and I made a lobster pasta special dinner.  Barbara cooked a small turkey early in the week to share with a friend, so she could satisfy her own craving for turkey-stuffing-cranberry sauce sandwiches, so she was all ready for my creation.  Needless to say, none of this fit our normal vegetarian or vegan tendencies.

I reserved two lobsters with our friend, Chris, my fish supplier of 31 years.  The major effort was preparing the lobster sauce, which is made from further cooking the lobster shells after extracting the meat, along with vegetables, herbs, wine, and cognac.  It’s about a three-hour labor of love, but worth it.

Spaghetti with Lobster Sauce

The next day I ate the leftovers and sucked up the sauce with a marvelous 2010 Leon Barral wine from France.

It can be done.  Sometimes, small rebellion is fun.

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Thursday Brunch and Dinner

On a more recent note, here are two brief highlights of today’s cooking.  Brunch was simple after my breakfast smoothie.  I sautéed small white button mushrooms with garlic, sliced a little Tomme de Brebis sheep’s milk cheese from Corsica, and laid it on some toasted Clear Flour Ciabatta.

Dinner was more complicated.  I had some superb Portuguese dried chickpeas which I had cooked yesterday, so I prepared a Greek style Chickpea Soup.  I started with this recipe from Food52, cut the quantities down, and added some sautéed eggplant, zucchini and yellow pepper cubes.  The results were very satisfying, served with lemon wedges and toasted Rustic Italian bread from Clear Flour.

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November Home Cooking

We did some fine cooking in November, but I’m too far behind in blogging to present it in any organized fashion.  Instead, I’ve grabbed some of the best recipes and pix, and will show them here.

These are lunches and some dinners, with a few notes to assist.

Grilled Sea Bream with Mushrooms atop Squid Ink Tagliatelle/ The pasta was fresh from Eataly Boston.

Broccoli Rabe with Calabrian hot peppers, sweet lunch box peppers from our Fall CSA, slices of my grilled whole-grain bread with slice of Pecorino, and oil cured olives

One of my favorite Organic wines from Puglia

grilled orange beets and friends

Pasta with Wild Mushrooms and Ricotta Cheese

Beet Salad with Microgreens and hot Peruvian Aji Peppers

2016 Oddity Release — Datura — 100% Petite Verdot

Grilled, Marinated Mushrooms

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Cianfotta — from Naples at Table

One of the most soulful and satisfying vegetable dishes I know is Cianfotta (or Ciambotta) from Naples.  Tonight’s dinner was this luscious vegetable stew, from a recipe in Arthur’s Schwartz’s Naples at Table cookbook (a 1998 classic).

Even with its long, slow cooking time, it took only about an hour to prepare.  Ingredients are relatively simple, and preparation, straightforward.  A good pot — my sautéuse — was very helpful.

Here’s the write up and the recipe:

Completed in the pot, and served in the bowl:

Served with a glass of SilvaNigra (Pallagrello Nero) from Cantine Rao in Campania, it was superb and authentic.


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Civilizations, and Lunch

Civilizations are built in layers.  The same can be said for memorable cooking.  Diversity and contrasts are important to both.

Today’s lunch is one small example.   Yesterday, I was at Clear Flour Bakery to buy some of their amazing breads.  Among the goodies I brought home was a loaf of Rustic Italian bread.  For lunch today, I started by pan frying two slices of that bread in olive oil.  Separately, I prepared a small Radicchio di Treviso, sliced in half lengthwise and simmered slowly in olive oil, with salt and pepper.  When the Radicchio was tender, I spread some sheep’s milk Ricotta cheese on the crusty bread, then topped it with Radicchio.  The contrasts of crisp toast, smooth and sweet Ricotta, and the bitter, silky Radicchio made a delicious first course.

Many of the  items came from the first shopping stop yesterday — at Eataly Boston.  I love the produce and cheeses there.  For the second course, I started with leftovers — some Cannellini beans and Cavolo Nero I’d cooked earlier in the week.  Food52 had an inspiring article today about braising beans, so I sautéed chopped onion and garlic, added the beans and some leftover broth from vegetable soup, and simmered them together for 15-20 minutes.  [It’s nearly impossible to overcook beans.]  Then I added the Cavolo Nero and cooked it for another 15 minutes, with a little more broth.

As the beans cooked, I was reminded of some Spanish and Portuguese recipes in which such a mixture would be used as a sauce for a roasted fillet of cod.  Instead of cod fish, I decided to used another vegetable — Arrowhead Cabbage.  This unusual and delicious Brassica (also known as Conehead Cabbage) was one I found at Eataly and wanted to try.  I had been told that it is sweeter and more tender than ordinary green cabbage, so last night I had roasted it in a hot oven and was happy with the results.  Today at lunch I decided that one of the leftover roasted cabbage quarters would be a suitable surrogate for the cod fillet.  It certainly was.

For the wine I had two open choices, and I chose the 2011 St. Joseph from Pierre Gaillard.  It was a fortuitous choice.

To finish the cooking for the day I once again turned to one of my Greek vegetable favorites — Briami Me Maratho.  It’s a little different each time I make it, and this was just right for tonight’s dinner.

Briami Me Maratho

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