I made myself a pledge to focus on being healthier and happier since the New Year has started… getting more sleep, balancing work and life better, focusing on my business and my brand with a revived passion, reaching out to friends and family more often, traveling more, eating healthier and getting more walking around the city in, and just choosing to be happy every day, no matter what. NO EXCUSES.
BUT, see the thing is…I hate diets. They never work and I slowly grow tired of counting calories and feeling deprived and end up eating like a maniac and ruining all the good i just did by torturing myself on the diet in the first place. So I’ve decided to go in a different direction by simply cutting sugar out of my diet, eating more healthy lean proteins and fresh veggies and cutting DOWN on carbs, not fully out. It seems to lessen the pain of a diet and I truly feel better and am more conscious of what I eat by tracking the amount of carbs I’m taking in. So far, so good.
So I decided I wouldn’t fully deprive myself of the carb-laden pasta dishes I crave in the Winter and that I’ve been missing out on, and made a Chicken, Spinach, Mushroom & Bacon FettuccineAlfredo that’s absolutely to die for. I used some lower-carb fettuccine pasta (Carba-Nada, which I got on Amazon for $10 and it only has 17 grams of carbs in 1.5 cups of pasta...LOVE IT). I sautéed some chicken breasts, shallots, garlic, bacon and added some spinach and mushrooms to make the base for the pasta. Then I made a delicious Alfredo sauce with half and half, unsalted butter, whipped cream cheese and shredded Parmesan cheese, thinned down with some water to make a semi-healthier version of this luscious, velvety (and usually super rich and fattening) pasta sauce.
I hope you’re getting through the Winter OK yourselves, and if not, whip up a batch of this deliciousness. Guilt-Free. You’ll be just fine, I promise. 😉
1/4 cup - 1/2 cup water, as needed for desired sauce consistency
CHICKEN, SPINACH & MUSHROOM PASTA
Cook pasta in salted boiling water according to package directions, drain and set aside. Reserve some of the pasta water to add back in to the pasta sauce later on, for consistency.
Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy and cooked through. Drain on paper towels, crumble and set aside.
Rinse and pat dry chicken breasts, brush olive oil on and season with kosher salt and pepper to taste.
Drain bacon grease from saute pan and raise heat to medium high. Saute chicken breasts, about 6 minutes per side, until a nice browning occurs and chicken is cooked through. Set aside, and keep warm with tented foil. (NOTE: You may also grill the chicken if desired at the same cooking time).
In the same pan, add 2 tablespoons of butter and saute shallots for a few minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add sliced mushrooms and saute for another few minutes until they are soft.
Defrost frozen spinach in microwave for 5 minutes, drain and then add spinach (you can also add fresh spinach now) to the pan with the shallots, garlic and mushrooms. Cook for a few minutes until all cooked through, add crumbled bacon and season with freshly ground black pepper. Turn heat to low and keep warm while making the Alfredo sauce.
In a medium saucepan, melt butter, cream and whipped cream cheese over medium-low heat.
Add shredded Parmesan cheese and season with freshly ground black pepper. If sauce seems too thick, add some of the reserved pasta water to the sauce to thin it down to desired consistency.
Pour the Alfredo sauce into the pan with the spinach and mushroom mixture, slice the chicken into slices or chunks and add to the sauce and stir together well.
Serve hot over the pasta (or you can mix the pasta into the sauce ahead of serving, whatever you prefer).
Hello Summer! And hello to the season for lighter food and flavors and quality time at the beach and the pool (READ: also time for shorts and sundresses and to lose a few to fit into the bathing suit!)
I’ve been craving pasta lately because i’ve been cutting down on carbs a bit, but I’ve had this cool Veggettinoodle tool in my pantry for a few months and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to make some Zucchini Noodles (AKA “zoodles”), and tie in some fresh ingredients from the season such as shrimp and corn and basil.
This dish screams creamy comfort food, but is balanced out with a clean, citrus-y brightness with a Meyer Lemon cream sauce made with mascarpone cheese, Meyer lemon juice and zest, lemongrasschicken broth, whitewine, sweet basil olive oil and garlic. The lightness of these zucchini noodles are also totally amazing, rather than a heavy pasta that will put you to sleep in .02 seconds.
I love Meyer lemons because they are delicate and less sour than regular lemons and almost mimic the flavor of lemon and orange juice mixed together, which you can absolutely do if you can’t find Meyer lemons or they aren’t in season. I ordered mine on Fresh Direct which always has everything in stock and delivers on top of that!
Prep your zucchini noodles with a Veggetti or Spiralizer on a cutting board or over a large mixing bowl. I suggest squeezing out any excess water from them before sauteing (you can let them sit in a colander to extract water for about 15 minutes or so). You might also want to cut the strand piles in half to make them easier to manage and eat. Sauté the noodles in some olive oil with red pepper flakes and garlic for a few minutes and set aside.
Zest and juice one Meyer lemon to add to the cream sauce. Look at that vivid color! LOVE.
Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the shrimp and sauté in some olive oil for couple minutes until they are pink and set aside. Don’t overcook them though because you will add them back in to the sauce later on and you don’t want tough rubbery shrimp.
Prep ingredients for the Meyer Lemon Cream sauce and add the white wine, chicken broth, Meyer lemon juice and zest to the saute pan with leftover juices from the shrimp. Stir and simmer over medium heat for until the liquid reduces by half.
Add the corn, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes until heated through. I used frozen sweet corn but you can use fresh corn too which might take a little longer to cook (or you can precook the fresh corn and add the kernels into the sauce).
Stir in the mascarpone cheese and blend together until it turns into a gorgeous, silky and creamy sauce. Toss in the shrimp and basil. Isn’t that pretty?
Serve over the zucchini noodles with additional basil and lemon zest and get ready to DEVOUR.
Alternatively you can toss the zucchini noodles in to the pan with the sauce and shrimp and corn and mix it all together to serve as a one pot dish. I prefer keeping the noodles separate from the sauce so they don’t get too mushy, personally.
Garnish with some extra basil and lemon zest and serve with a glass of white wine (I particularly like McBride Sisters Truvee Chardonnay who were kind enough to send me a sample which I LOVED), and some crusty bread to mop up that yum sauce, if you wish. Light, bright, healthy and delicious!
This is a super healthy and totally delicious low carb option to pasta. It features sautéed zucchini noodles smothered in a Meyer Lemon cream sauce with shrimp, corn and fresh basil. It's light and bright and the perfect dish for Summer with a glass of white wine and some toasty bread to mop up the sauce.
1/2-3/4 pounds medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Garlic salt and Pepper, to taste
Meyer Lemon Cream Sauce:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Zest and juice of 1 Meyer Lemon
1/2 cup white wine (Truvee Chardonnay)
1/2 cup chicken broth (Pacific Foods Lemongrass Bone Both)
2/3 cup Mascarpone cheese
3/4 cup sweet corn kernels (frozen or fresh)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Fresh Basil, for garnish
Additional lemon zest, for garnish
Make the Zucchini Noodles:
Using a Veggeti or Spiralizer vegetable cutter, cut both zucchini into medium large noodles over a cutting board or large bowl.
Form the vegetable pasta into two piles and cut each in half to create shorter, easy to manage strands.
Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat and sauté the garlic for a minute or so, being careful not to burn.
Add the zucchini noodles, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes to your desired consistency.
Remove noodles from the heat into a medium bowl and set aside while you cook the shrimp.
Prepare the Shrimp:
In the same sauce pan, heat another tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.
Sprinkle some garlic salt and pepper on to the shrimp, and add shrimp to the pan cooking for about 3 minutes, stirring often so they cook evenly.
Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon and transfer to a small bowl while you make the Meyer Lemon cream sauce.
Meyer Lemon Cream Sauce:
Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in the same large sauce pan over medium heat.
Add the additional garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.
Add the lemon juice, zest, chicken broth and wine and let simmer down until reduced, about 3 minutes.
Add the corn kernels, salt and pepper and heat through another minute or two, then stir in the Mascarpone cheese until you get a silky, creamy sauce.
Add the cooked shrimp, zucchini noodles and basil; toss to coat. (You can also keep the zucchini noodles separate from the shrimp, corn and basil with Meyer Lemon sauce and spoon it over the noodles in bowls which keeps the noodles from getting mushy in the sauce which is how i prefer serving them.)
Serve with additional basil and lemon zest, and a glass of Chardonnay or dry Italian wine and some crusty bread to mop up the sauce.
This would also be a delicious sauce over any pasta, and if you're a vegetarian you could substitute the shrimp for another vegetable or legumes for some protein.
If you can't find Meyer lemons or they aren't in season, simply mix some orange juice into the lemon juice to give it a similar flavor.
Note: I received a sample of McBride Sisters Truvee Chardonnay for tasting which inspired me to create this recipe and share with my readers. All opinions of the product are my own and I was not compensated for this post.
I recently did a food styling project for Morningstar Farms to promote some of their new products to local food editors in NYC, and one of them I got to sample and loved was their Spicy Indian Veggie Burger. I’m not normally a fan of frozen food products and I’m definitely not a Vegan, but I was really impressed with the flavor and texture of these, and decided to make a delicious Curry Cilantro Slaw to go with it along with a Peanut Satay Yogurt Sauce for topping served with some Grilled Pita.
The Indian Veggie burgers have organic red lentils, chickpeas, carrots, potatoes, peas, bell peppers, coconut cream and curry seasonings in them, and are 100% vegan. They are super easy to cook too – I just cooked them for about 10 minutes in a sauté pan, but they could also be grilled or microwaved. The best part is they are only 130 calories and have lots of protein in them so they’re healthy and a great vegan/vegetarian option when you’re seeking lighter fare.
My Curry Cilantro Slaw is super delicious as a topping and side salad with grilled pita bread (or you could stuff it all into the pita, or Naan bread if you wish). The slaw has purple and white cabbage, carrots, celery, honey, olive oil, cilantro, golden balsamic vinegar, and some indian spices such as black sesame seed, cumin seed, curry powder, and indian red pepper to give it a little kick, then topped with toasted crushed peanuts for some extra crunch.
The best part? My Peanut Satay Yogurt Sauce – made with Greek yogurt, satay seasoning, and some peanut butter with a little dash of Indian red pepper. The creamy sauce goes perfect on the burgers and cools the heat and has a delicious peanut-y savory taste. You can find satay seasoning online at Penzey’s (the brand I use) or on Amazon – it has a gorgeous blend of spices such as salt, brown sugar, garlic, onion, coriander, shallots, ginger, turmeric, paprika, galangal, cayenne and lemongrass..so good! And of course you could substitute any nut butter you wish for the sauce – cashew, sunflower, or almond butter would be great too.
And of course if you are feeling adventurous and have the time to make your own Indian burgers from scratch, I found a great recipe from Whole Foods which would be great with the Curry Slaw and Satay Yogurt Sauce as well. You could also serve this with some curry chicken, spiced beef or lamb burgers, or even spicy grilled fish and it would be equally delicious!
Also, just a heads up – this recipe feeds a crowd (about 6-8 people). If you’re only serving a few, just cut the recipe in half (or quarter it if you’re dining solo!) Enjoy.
Indian Burgers with Curry Cilantro Slaw & Peanut Satay Yogurt Sauce
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serving Size: 1-2 burgers with 1 piece of pita, 1/2 cup of slaw,
Spicy Indian veggie burgers, served with a Curry Cilantro Slaw and Peanut Satay Yogurt sauce served on grilled pita bread.
Curry Cilantro Slaw:
2 tablespoons golden balsamic vinegar
Juice from 1/2 fresh lime (about 2 tablespoons)
4 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon Indian black sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon indian red pepper
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
8 cups shredded coleslaw (cabbage and carrots)
1 cup diced celery
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup peanuts, toasted and crushed
Peanut Satay Yogurt Sauce:
1-17.6 ounce container Greek yogurt
4-5 tablespoons Peanut Butter (or Almond, Cashew or Sunflower butter)
2 tablespoons Satay seasoning
1/4 teaspoon Indian red pepper
Spicy Indian Burgers:
8 frozen Spicy Indian Burgers (2 packages) (Morningstar farms)
8 slices pita bread or naan bread
Curry Cilantro Slaw:
In a large bowl, mix together the vinegar, lime juice, honey, olive oil and seasonings.
Add coleslaw mix, celery and cilantro and mix together well.
Heat a small saute pan over medium heat and toast the peanuts until lightly browned.
Remove from heat and let cool, crush into small pieces and add to the coleslaw, reserving a small amount for topping the burgers.
Cover and place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to let flavors meld.
Peanut Satay Yogurt Sauce:
Place all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and stir together.
Cover and set aside in the refrigerator while preparing Indian burgers and grilled pita.
Spicy Indian Burgers:
Heat a large saute pan over medium heat.
Spray cooking oil on each side of the burgers and cook for about 10 minutes, turning half way through until golden brown.
Cook burgers in batches and set aside.
Spray a little more oil on the pita or naan bread and cook until lightly browned, for about 2-3 minutes, turning to cook both sides.
Serve the burgers hot with grilled pita bread topped with Peanut Satay sauce, and Curry Cilantro slaw on top or on the side as a salad (or stuff it all inside the pita or naan bread).
- You can also substitute any nut butter (cashew, almond, sunflower seed) for the Satay Yogurt sauce.
- The slaw and yogurt sauce would also be equally delicious on grilled spicy chicken, beef or lamb burgers or spicy grilled fish.
- If you're serving only 2-4 people, cut the recipe in half.
There’s nothing I love to eat more in the summer than some fresh seafood to enjoy with friends for a backyard BBQ, picnic or beach party. Everyone loves Lobster Rolls, but they can get a little pricey, and take a lot of work to make enough for a crowd. If you’re in the mood for seafood, Alaskan King Crab BLT sandwiches are a fresh, healthy and less expensive alternative, and a fun addition to your next outdoor BBQ party or picnic. And, they’re a breeze to make with the help of the new KitchenAid Pro Line® Series 4-Slice Automatic Toaster.
This gorgeous candy apple red beauty is a new product in the KitchenAid’s Pro Line® Series engineered and designed for culinary pros (and is no ordinary toaster at that!) It’s not only a beautiful addition to your kitchen appliance collection, but also smart as a whip with plenty of options to make the perfect piece of toast in a snap. And it even comes in three sleek colors to choose from: black, white or red. Isn’t it pretty?
These delicious Crab BLT’s are made with fresh lump Alaskan King crab meat (you can find it in your local grocery market in the seafood section or buy it fresh from a seafood market). They have tons of flavor from all the fresh veggies and herbs inside: minced red bell peppers, jalapenos, fresh cilantro, scallions and chives. For some extra kick, I add a dash of spicy Sriracha (hot chile pepper sauce), a little bit of mayonnaise, fresh lemon juice and capers, and a few breadcrumbs to bind them all together. Simply make the crab cakes by patting them into medium size patties, then coat them in some Japanese Panko breadcrumbs and lightly fry them to perfection in some oil and drain. Rest the crab cakes on a gorgeous bed of lettuce and juicy tomatoes, garnished with crispy bacon and a light and refreshing coleslaw for crunch. The crowning touch is a homemade Sesame-Sriracha Mayo on a beautifully toasted (or grilled) sesame hard roll. Let the fun begin!
Here are a few of my current objects of obsession…food, wine, cooking tools and gadgets, restaurants, ingredients, props, styling and photography tools, etc…just simply places and things I love that I think are notable and worth a big shout out for their wonderful-ness! Enjoy.
1. Rice Cube Sushi Maker
Sushi can sometimes be a laborious and time consuming thing to make and messy at that. The Rice Cube Sushi maker is just a cool little plastic cube that makes it super easy to make cute and colorful sushi with rice, risotto, polenta, lentils and even falafel. Just add your proteins and veggies and seasonings to the rice, pop it into the cube and voila – you’ve got gorgeous bite size sushi cubes that will brighten up an party tray. Pretty Awesome.Click here for some fun recipe ideas too.
I’m a hot sauce addict, and have tried almost everyone one in the world..and this one is definitely one of my favs – it’s a little bit hot, a little bit sweet, and a little bit tangy and it does go on everything and anything! Originally developed for Autumn Pig Roasts held in the hills south of Naples, NY – it’s great as a marinade, grilling sauce for pork, chicken and beef, tortilla dips, pretzels, on eggs, homefries and for added zing to soups and stews. LOVE IT.
Perfect for the wine aficionado, Verseur 4-in-1 Wine Opener is not only gorgeous, but a convenient multi-tool that combines everything you need to open, serve and save your best wines. It has an easy to use corkscrew, foil cutter, pour spout and rubber stopper all in one nifty sleek-looking tool. Comes in black or metallic red and runs $24.99. Oh, and it was also designed by Angelo Cacchione of London – just a regular guy with a brilliant idea come to life with the help of Quirky.com and their community. Definitely a cool site to check out for fun, inventive items.
I first tried Maguey Sweet Sap at the Summer Fancy Food Show in NYC last year. It’s an organic, sustainable raw sweetener made with a varied sugar profile that comes from the maguey plant (similar to agave) from the deserts of Mexico. It’s also a natural source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and prebiotic soluble fiber and has a flavor similar to molasses but is less thick. Great sugar substitute for baking, sweetening drinks, yogurts, fruits, pancakes. Just might be a new favorite.
I don’t have much to say other than – who doesn’t love a little bling? These sparkling cuties will brighten up any party in a heartbeat, and come in silver, gold, pink and yellow. Just too fun. Plus, LEIF has a ton of other creative and unique tabletop items, jewelry, accessories, apothecary and other cool objets de désir on their site. Glam it up a little.
Now I’m a sucker for homemade comfort food and especially Sunday Brunch – if you’re in this with me, you gotta check out Penelope in Murray Hill, NYC. It’s a charming cafe, bakery and bar on the corner of Lexington and 30th St – decked out in a tiny space with a blue and white striped awning, a buzzing, homey, interior with wood tables, coffee brewing, and a line out the door on Sunday mornings. Jennifer Potenza and her partner Michael Tsoumpas opened Penelope in 2003 with the goal of creating homey comfort food based on her Mom’s recipes and the cafes and bakeries Jenny has worked in throughout the years. Some of my favs on the menu are the Nutella French Toast, Penny Egg Sandwich, Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, Arugula with Warm Chicken Meatballs Salad, Joey & Jack’s Chicken Pot Pie, and the Sweet Peas Macaroni and Cheese is um, TO. DIE. FOR. Tons of great burgers, sandwiches and sides too with plenty of vegetarian options. Oh, and they named the cafe after their pet turtle, Penelope, who is seen by appointment only. I have yet to meet her.
Little Ink is a New Zealand-based company with an online store full of great products for packaging, wrapping, baking, crafting and parties. A site full of crafty and colorful items for mixing and matching fabrics, papers, twine and all kinds of other DIY goodies. Mason jars, glass milk bottles, paper baking supplies, ribbons, bags, boxes, stickers, stamps, straws, decorations – you name it..they got it. And it’s all just fun. A creative girl’s dream come true.
9. Asselina Ristorante, Gansevoort Park Ave South NYC
Asselina is a swanky Italian restaurant and bar located in the Gansevoort Hotel on Park Avenue South in NYC. Fireplaces, chic design and lighting, private lounges and patios, and oh, did I mention the FOOD yet? My last feast was a sampling off the lunch menu which was plenty of food for 3 or 4 people. We had the Wood-Fired Pizza with Black Truffle and Farmer’s Egg; the Baked Eggplant with Fresh Ricotta, Tomato and Basil; the House Meatballs with Tomato and Sugo; and the Baby Beet Salad with Cantaloupe, Mache and Ricotta Salata. I can only imagine how divine their dinner menu must be with their impressive wine list to boot. Three words:Rustic. Modern. Sexy.
There’s something beautiful about handcrafted wooden tools and servingware that I just can’t get enough of. Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co. is a wood crafting studio located in Kingston, NY who make gorgeous, unique, handcrafted items. None of their items are alike, and they use only domestic hardwoods that are sustainably harvested. And I’m all for supporting local craftsmen and resources from NY State too. Simply lovely.
It’s that time of year again to start planning menus and recipes for the holidays. But instead of just serving traditional turkey or ham, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole, why not mix it up a little bit and serve your holiday meal with an international flair? I had the opportunity to go behind the scenes and interview several Top Chefs and restaurants in NYC to get some creative ideas for non-traditional holiday menus for the holidays. Whether it have a Spanish, French, Asian, Jewish or Italian twist; here are some great international menu ideas and recipes for a fabulous holiday meal with family and friends that break the norm.
Spanish Holiday Menu – Alex Raij, Executive Chef at Txikito NYC
Executive Chef Alex Raij from the Spanish restaurant Txikito in NYC always makes a classic, festive dish for the holidays. This Canelones de Bakalao Recipe (Salted Cod Fish Canneloni with Crème Fraiche) feeds a crowd and references Basque, Catalan and Argentine family holiday traditions that Chef Raij grew up with in Spain. Serve with other traditional Spanish hot and cold tapas such as: Pikillos: roasted Navarran sweet peppers with ajoarriero; Kroketas: crispy creamy croquettes; Boquerón: marinated white anchovy with eggplant and piquillo; Cogollos: butter lettuce, Basque anchovy, and Bonito del Norte and Tutera: gratin of artichoke, Roncal, Jamón.
Photo Credit: Kristen Hess
Canelones de Bakalao Recipe (Salted Cod Fish Canneloni with Crème Fraiche)
Executive Chef Alex Raij, Txikito
1 9×9 inch baking dish, preferably earthenware
12 – 4 inch square pieces fresh pasta sheets boiled and shocked in ice water (The Chef recommends cooking longer sheets and then cutting them after they are cooled in ice bath so they are more uniform)
Filling and topping
2.5 pounds cod
2 tablespoons Kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
2 cups olive oil
1.5 cup tomato pulp pref. pomi brand
2 cups Creme fraiche
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
50 grams hackleback or other high quality caviar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Salt the cod with the 2 T. kosher salt and let stand 10 minutes.
Rinse and pat dry.
Place the cod in a small pot and cover with olive oil.
Place on medium low heat and poach the cod in the oil until it flakes when prodded
Remove the fish to a mixing bowl to cool.
Pour 1/2 cup of the poaching oil over the cooling cod to cool with it.
Heat remaining oil add the tomato fry the tomato until cooked and a little sweet, season with salt.
Pour the tomato oil mix I the bottom of the baking dish.
Break up the cooled cod and flake it with clean hands.
Whip it up with the oil with a spatula or wooden spoon.
Place 6 pasta sheets side by side and place 1/12 of the filling at the end of each sheet.
Roll away from you and place on the tomato.
Repeat with the rest of the filling and next 6 sheets.
Season the crème fraiche with salt and pour over the caneloni.
Bake at 375 until bubbly.
Sprinkle with chives and top with caviar just before serving.
Serve 2 pieces per person.
Printed with permission of Alex Raij. All rights reserved.
French Holiday Menu – Olivier Quignon, Executive Chef at Bar Boulud
Even as Chef Olivier Quignon of Bar Boulud prepares to celebrate his seventh Christmas in NYC, he hasn’t lost touch with the French holiday traditions of his hometown, the Northern French town of Beauvais. Christmas in the Quignon household, and in the restaurant he helms on behalf of renowned French Chef Daniel Boulud, Bar Boulud, is traditional to a tee, lasting up to six hours and spanning just as many courses. What does a typical French holiday meal entail?
Oysters “Always oysters. We shuck them at lunch and the eating begins.”
Cured or Smoked Fish
Foie Gras “This can be hot, seared, or served as a terrine.”
Hot Fish or Pasta
Beef or Game
Cheese “ALWAYS cheese. French people eat cheese at practically every meal. We may sometimes skip dessert, but we never skip cheese.”
Pastry “At Christmas this is often a Bûche de Noel. But my wife is a pastry chef, so there are usually many desserts.”
Photo Credit: Kristen Hess
Traditionally, Tournedos Rossini is a French steak dish, purportedly created for the composer Gioachino Rossini by French master chef Marie-Antoine Carême. The dish comprises a tournedos (beef tenderloin) pan-fried in butter, served on a crouton, and topped with a hot slice of fresh whole foie gras briefly pan-fried at the last minute. A few slices of black truffle and Madeira demi-glace sauce garnish the dish.
At Bar Boulud New York, ‘Rossini’ is a dish that makes an appearance on the menu every holiday season, and on the tables at many French holiday meals. It is rich in ingredients and flavors, hearty, and the perfect celebration dish. There are several way to prepare Rossini, but Bar Boulud sticks to the traditional preparation—seared beef tenderloin atop a brioche toast, topped with seared foie gras and Madeira-beef jus, served with Pommes Macaire dotted with a celery root puree.
Tournedos Rossini with Truffles and Foie Gras and Pommes Macaire
Executive Chef Olivier Quignon, Bar Boulud
Kosher salt, as needed
4 yellow gold potatoes
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
Black truffle butter or oil
2 egg yolks
Canola oil for frying
½ cup flour
Celery Root Puree
1 small (about 3/4 pound) celery root, peeled
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup milk
Freshly ground white pepper
1 ½ lbs angus beef tenderloin, tied with butchers twine
12 ounces fresh grade A foie gras
6 tablespoons beef jus or demi glace
2 ounces Madeira
1 Tablespoon chopped shallot
4 ¼ thin slices of brioche, cut into 3 ½-inch circles, toasted
8 small light green celery leaves
1 small black winter truffle
For the Pomme Macaire
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Make a bed of salt on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet and place potatoes on top. Bake potatoes for 45 minutes, or until tender.
Remove from the oven, and when cool enough to handle, cut potatoes in half and scoop the flesh into a bowl. Mash the potato with a fork, season to taste with salt, pepper, and truffle butter (or oil). Stir in the egg yolk to combine. Press mixture into a bread loaf pan and chill overnight.
Turn the potatoes onto a cutting board and cut into (at least 8) 3 x ½-inch batons. Lightly coat the batons in the flour and shake off excess.
Fill 1/3 of a saucepan with canola oil and heat to 350°F. When ready to serve, fry the potatoes in batches until golden brown. Strain onto a paper towel-lined tray, sprinkle with salt.
For the Celery Root Puree
Cut the celery root into medium dice. Place the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook until browned. Add the celery root, milk, and water to cover; bring to a simmer. Cook until tender, about 12 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the celery root to a blender and puree with enough of the cooking liquid to make a smooth puree. Pass through a fine-meshed sieve into a bowl.
When ready to serve, transfer to a small saucepan and stir over medium heat to heat through.
Slice the tenderloin into four portions and season on all sides with salt and pepper.
Cut the foie gras into four slices and season on all sides with salt and pepper.
Place a large sauté pan over high heat. Once very hot, sear the foie gras on both sides to brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a platter, cover with foil and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium and return the pan with the foie gras fat to the heat. Sear the beef on all sides, about 3-4 minutes each, basting the meat constantly with the fat. Brown the beef on all sides while basting the constantly with the fat in the pan, about 10 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 120°F for medium rare. Transfer the beef to the platter with the foie gras, cover, and rest in a warm place.
Add the shallots to the same pan over medium low heat, and cook, stirring until translucent. Add the Madeira and simmer to reduce by 2/3. Stir in the beef jus and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.
For each serving, place a brioche toast on a plate and top with a portion of beef. Top the beef with a piece of roasted foie gras, and shavings of black truffle. Place two pommes macaire next to the beef and top each with a spoonful of celery puree. Garnish puree with two celery leaves. Spoon the sauce from the pan around and serve.
Asian Holiday Menu – Hung Huynh, Executive Chef at Catch Restaurant NYC
Whole Roasted Branzino is a favorite recipe of Chef Hung Huynh of Catch NYC for the holidays. It’s simple, delicious and easy to make and great for feeding a crowd. Chef Hung also recommends adding some miso, ginger, soy and lemongrass to the seasonings to amp up the Asian flavors in this beautiful seafood holiday dish. His Asian inspired holiday menu includes:
Roasted Whole Branzino
Sautéed Green beans with EVOO and Soy Sauce
White or Brown Steamed Rice
Photo Credit: Kristen Hess
Roasted Whole Branzino
Executive Chef Hung Huynh
Serves 2-4 people
1.5 to 2 pound Branzino
1 tablespoon of Aged Balsamic
1 tablespoon of salt
1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of picked chopped thyme
3 cloves of minced garlic
3 tablespoons of olive oil
Zest of one lemon
Zest of one lime
Before cooking, the Branzino must be scaled, gutted and scored.
Combine all the seasoning rub ingredients.
Rub entire fish with seasoning including the cavity, distributing evenly.
Make sure that the entire fish is covered in the rub.
Take a half sheet pan and roast at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes.
Reserve the remaining olive oil in the sheet pan.
Place the fish on a platter and drizzle with the reserved olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar.
Jewish Holiday Menu – Zach Kutsher, Proprietor, Kutsher’s Tribeca
Zach Kutsher, Chef and Owner of Kutsher’s Tribeca, always serves Latkes for the Hanukkah holiday. These crispy potato latkes are a traditional Jewish dish made of grated potatoes, onion, eggs and matzo meal, shaped into round potato pancakes and fried to a crispy golden brown. The traditional way to serve them is with a spoonful of sour cream, but Zach likes to also add ½ ounce of caviar (salmon roe, paddlefish caviar and wasabi flying fish roe) to the latkes to give them a special holiday touch. Some other fun ideas that Chef Zach does to dress up the latkes are to use some non-traditional savory toppings such as:
Peking Duck with Cucumber, Scallions and Sesame Hoisin
Wild Hen of the Woods Mushrooms and Herbed Ricotta
Gravlax and Dilled Creme Fraiche
Pastrami Reuben (pastrami, sauerkraut, emmentaler and thousand island dressing)
VLT – Veal Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato
To make it a complete Jewish holiday menu, serve the latkes with: Chopped Duck and Chicken Liver, Seasonal Pickles, Golden and Red Beet Salad with Lemon Ricotta, Arugula and Pecans, Turkey or Brisket with Challah Chestnut Stuffing, Cheesy Spaetzle Kugel, Brussels Sprouts and Pumpkin Shlishkas with Amaretto Matzo and Sage Brown Butter and Babka Sticky Buns for dessert.
Grate onion on the fine side of a cheese grater and then line a strainer with some paper towels and let drain in sink as dry as possible.
Mix egg, yolk, matzo meal, salt, lemon juice, and drained onion together, set aside.
Julienne the potatoes (cut into thin small matchsticks) or grate on the large side of cheese grater, and periodically put the potato in the egg mix to prevent browning. Do not wash potato after it is cut.
Mix all together, fry in schmaltz (rendered/clarified chicken or goose fat – or you can substitute canola oil)
Take one handful of mix, twisted in the palm of your hand like you would spaghetti on a fork, till golden brown and crispy, then flip.
Finish in oven if necessary.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Italian Holiday Menu – Gabe Thompson, Executive Chef of Epicurean Group (dell’anima, L’Artusi, L’Apicio, and Anfora)
Photo Credit: Epicurean Group
Chef Thompson, Executive Chef of the Epicurean Group in NYC loves creating special menus for the holidays. It is all about the food, flavors and family. His menu below puts his crave-able Italian twist on some fall favorites to make for a classic holiday menu!
Grilled Pork Chop — roasted vegetable and chestnut panzanella, pork sugo
Warm Cranberry-pumpkin Budino – served with apple cider sauce
Roasted Acorn Squash Salad Recipe
Executive Chef Gabe Thompson, Epicurean Group
2 acorn squash (1 ½ pounds)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
8 sage leaves
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut each squash into 8-9 wedges, each wedge about 1 inch thick. Remove and discard seeds. In a large bowl, toss the squash wedges together with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season generously with salt.
Meanwhile, heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and 1 teaspoon of butter. As soon as the butter melts, add half of the squash to the pan, arranging the pieces so that they are cut-side down. Sprinkle half of the sage over the squash. Cook undisturbed until it is golden brown on one side, about 2-3 minutes. Turn each squash piece over and cook for another 2-3 minutes until golden brown on the other side. Remove squash from the pan and place on a half sheet tray or cookie sheet. Repeat this process with remaining olive oil, butter, squash and sage leaves.
Drizzle maple syrup over the squash segments. Place in the oven and bake until each piece of squash is easily pierced with a fork, about 25-30 minutes. Remove and set aside.
OK, so I know Meatloaf is one of those dishes we’re all a little bored of by now. Not so glamorous or gourmet, and usually a quick go-to dish when we have nothing else in the fridge and want to make an easy dinner with a few ingredients on hand. Well that was the case last weekend, so I thought – how can I jazz this meatloaf up a bit and make it a little healthier to boot?
I have some samples of Kickin’ Ketchup in my pantry that I’ve been meaning to try – it’s a spicy ketchup made out in California with a touch of heat and smooth sweetness. I thought I would experiment making a spicy concoction made with the ketchup and some ancho chile powder and red pepper jelly (try this one or make your own) – perfect for a Meatloaf glaze or dipping sauce for homemade cocktail meatballs. The balance of the smoky chile powder mixed with the spicy heat of the ketchup and sweet heat of the red pepper jelly is a harmonious combination and I’m lovin’ it. For the meatloaf, I used a combination of ground beef, ground pork and ground veal – the holy grail for a savory juicy meatloaf. I added onions and garlic, some minced zucchini, a dollop of Kickin’ Ketchup and a dash of ancho chile powder along with oatmeal substituted for regular breadcrumbs. I made some Wild Mushroom Risotto on the side, but this would be perfect with some roasted carrots, sauteed zucchini or mashed potatoes to accompany. Dig in!
1 1/2 pounds meatloaf mix (ground beef, veal and pork)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Kickin' Ketchup (or use regular ketchup and add some cayenne)
1/4 cup instant or steel-cut oats
ANCHO CHILE-RED PEPPER GLAZE
1/4 cup Kickin' Ketchup
4 tablespoons Red Pepper Jelly
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
HEALTHY HOMESTYLE MEATLOAF
Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add onions and zucchini and cook for about 8 minutes, until tender. Add minced garlic and saute for another minute or two. Remove cooked vegetables from the pan into a small bowl, let cool completely and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a ceramic or glass rectangular baking dish with no-stick cooking oil spray.
Whisk eggs together in a large mixing bowl, add the cooled cooked veggies, meat, spices, ketchup and oats and mix together thoroughly and gently with your hands.
Take the meatloaf mixture and press together into one large or two small loaves into the baking dish.
Make the Ancho Chile-Red Pepper Glaze per instructions below, and brush over entire meatloaf, saving some extra glaze for serving.
Bake for 1 hour up to 1 1/4 hours until a thermometer inserted in center reads 155 degrees F.
Remove baked meatloaf from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes.
Slice and serve with additional glaze and a side of roasted veggies, mashed potatoes or mushroom risotto.
ANCHO CHILE-RED PEPPER GLAZE
Mix together ketchup, red pepper jelly, garlic salt and ancho chile powder and black pepper. Brush glaze on to meatloaf and save additional glaze for serving.
To make the mushroom stock, wash and trim the stems of the fresh mushrooms. Reserve the stems and slice the mushroom caps for use later in the recipe. (Make sure to dust of the dirt first and don’t soak the mushrooms).
Combine the chicken stock, stems, dried porcini mushrooms in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes over low heat. Strain through a cheesecloth and reserve the liquid for the risotto.
Heat a large sauté pan and add 4 tbsp of butter. Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté until browned. Deglaze the Madeira and reduce until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Reserve the mushrooms. (Try to let the Madeira glaze sit, don’t stir).
For the risotto, heat a wide pot or rondeau (flat bottom pot with tall sides) over medium-high heat and add 2 tbsp butter. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir the mixture together to coat the rice with the shallots and butter.
Add the white wine, lower the heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the wine has evaporated. Begin adding the mushroom stock, a large ladleful at a time. Continue to add the mushroom stock (slowly and continuously), stirring constantly until the rice is just cooked through and all the stock has been absorbed, about 20 mins. The rice should be slightly al dente but have a creamy consistency and not dry.
Stir in the reserved mushrooms, the remaining tablespoon of butter, chives, and parsley. Top off the risotto with Pecorino Romano and season with salt and pepper to taste.