Below is a slice of home-baked cider raisin apple bread with a morsel of foie gras on a lettuce leaf bed, topped with apple quince compote. In one way it's a simple set of flavors. In another way it's complex. Either way, it's delicious.
Who wants to work a double shift, then come home to confit duck gizzards and make stuffing amid a messy kitchen and cluttered fridge? Not moi! Nevertheless, having agreed with my mother to forgo Thanksgiving turkey for duck, well, moi it was!
For this most American of American holidays, we went with the holiday spirit rather than its geography. All to say that for this Thanksgiving we ate a meal with lots of foriegn influencers; Swedish, Persian, and Italian, though for desert we ate good old American pie.
First course: Gravlax, mustard and maple sauce, radishes, carrots and cucumber with pane di commune.
The duck, farm fresh from my butcher Jonel in Sunnyside, was braised on a recipe based on the Persian dish Fesenjān, stewed with pomergranate and walnuts. The breasts were slowly crisped and slathered with amazing Iranian marinade taught to me by my friend Anahita. This was followed by Romanesco cauliflower roasted with garlic and anchovies inspired by Chef Sara Jenkins. For starch, I decided to make bulgur pilaf, with tomato, peppers, garlic, cumin and coriander, my ode to the new age of global pilgrims.
For thirst, we started with Beujolais Nouveau while preparing dinner, then switched to a more substantial Napa Ramsay Merlot. Fruity and spot on, thanks to Philippe, my wine connosieur brother.
Apple pie for desert. Nothing like lard and butter with simple apple filling. God bless America and this wonderful annual meal.
When I heard about Elisia Menduni's new book Sicilia La Cucina Di Casa Planeta, I wanted a copy. My food maven/teacher/tour guide Judy Witts Francini had introduced me to it. There is something about flavor, sun, sea and soil through the voice of Sicilian food that makes such cuisine so compelling. The book, simple, clean and full of delicious photography, is studded with stunning recipes. It beautiful captures the richness of this Island, each mouthful full of flavor and also history. Bravo Elisia.
Recently I was invited to Abbottega for an evening celebrating the food and wines of Rome. Put together by Sara De Bellis (a native of the eternal city) and her staff, it was a night of great conversation, lots of photographers snapping pictures (and making me feel like I'd "arrived,") and terrific food.
Giovanni Caveggia, wine representative from Principe Pallavicini, gave a thorough explanation of Roman wines, as we enjoyed them between courses of Sara's home town picks, including in-house baked breads, and focaccia and... well, an abundance of delicious food. In between eating, I got to hang out with with the hilarious Gennaro Pecchia, who kept me laughing in between keeping me in shots. Thank you, Gennaro. But most of all, grazie, Sara. Well done!
Presents "ABBOTTEGA WINE & DINE" A Cycle of Dinner Tasting Created to Divulge the Italian Regional Traditional Culture about "Wine&Dine"
Tuesday October 28th 8pm-10pm "Back to The Roman Roots"
The Traditional and Creative Roman Cuisine meets the Prestigious Principe Pallavicini Wines
Main Courses Gnocchi alla Romana Roman Gnocchi Mezze Maniche all’Amatriciana Half Rigatoni in tomato sauce, Pork Jowl and Pecorino Cheese Paired with Cesanese “Amarasco” 2012 Principe Pallavicini ∞ Costoletta d’Abbacchio con Panatura Rustica alla Mentuccia, Pannacotta al Pecorino Romano e Puntarelle in Salsa d’Alici Lamb Chop with Rustic breading and Mint With Pecorino flavored Pannacotta and Puntarellein Anchovies Sauce Paired with “Casa Romana” 2011 Principe Pallavicini
Dessert Crostata di Ricotta e Visciole Italian Tart with Cherry Sauce Ciambelline al Vino Dried Mini Wine Donuts Paired with“Stillato” 2012 Principe Pallavicini
Puntarelle can be thought of as vegetable cousin to chicory. My first try, I was hooked by a marriage of this crisp fennel like vegetable with anchovy. It was, no overstatement, divine! And now if I sound like a guy who sports twin toy poodles, so be it. Puntarelle is even fun to say. Try it out loud. Puntarelle! Okay, now I'll shutup and just share that finding a stand selling it at Union Square Farmer's Market, I decided to recreate the Roman style salad which had first inspired my reverie. And so I did. Just sliced thinly, popped into ice water where it curls and crisp and dressed with a anchovy, vinegar, oil and garlic vinaigrette, presto, puntarelle, baby, puntarelle!!!!
At one point, even economy-class airline travel promised a cold sandwich. And even if they ususally were way too cold (not to mention, minus the mustard, tasteless), today's menu translates to "order out." Or in - if you're in one of those nicer airports with celebrity chef airport ports; say Shake Shack, Marcus Samuelssons, or the now-ubiquitous Wolfgang Puck. This is my long segue to some photos of my very passable lunch at Orange County's John Wayne Airport where I enjoyed a chi-chi tasting of three wines, charcuterie and a cheese plate. Poor big John Wayne would have been horrified. Ah, bon voyage, my friend, merci!