As you are reading this, I will be away on a retreat focused on a new discipline called "contemplative care" at the Garrison Institute in Garrison, New York --a beautiful monastery located on the banks of the Hudson River. This three-day retreat is based on meditative practice, teachings, and silence, and is related to the work I do with hospice. During these three days, why not browse the blog -- there are 75 consecutive posts (surely you have missed a few!) -- and choose three you most enjoyed. Let me know your thoughts. Perhaps you will even try a new recipe, or two. I will be back in touch on Monday with renewed energy. A thought while I'm away. Think about cooking in silence. I often do. You will be amazed how resounding the "sounds of cooking" in the kitchen can be. Namaste.
I don't really mean pig out in the sense of the word overindulging, but I do mean the preparation of one of my favorite pork roasts. Since it requires 18 hours in your oven, it is the perfect dish to serve at the stroke of midnight -- at the very same moment that you sing Auld Lang Syne and kiss your partner under the mistletoe. Instead of shouting "Happy New Year!" however, you may instead scream "Let's eat!" The vapors streaming from your kitchen at this point will be so intoxicating as to leave all formalities aside and have you rushing to the groaning board (a word whose derivation is most interesting.) Let's figure this out and I'm telling you now so you can get the ingredients today. If you put the pork shoulder in the oven tonight (Thursday, December 30th) at midnight, the irresistibly crackly sphere of meat will be ready for indulging at 8:30 p.m. tomorrow night -- Friday, Dec. 31st, the early hours of most New Year's Eve festivities. That's fine for many of you who like to eat at a reasonable hour, leaving you enough time to position yourself in front of some fireworks. For those of you who are glued to your big screen television to watch the ball drop from the center of Times Square in New York City and join the world's choral countdown, then you'll need to put the pork in the oven around 4 a.m. (Friday, Dec. 31st). That could present a problem, or not, but it is no different than what many Americans do on Thanksgiving Day. I can't tell you how delicious this pork roast is. Flavored with fennel and cumin seed, garlic and fresh lemon, the skin becomes so crispy and the pork flesh stays so very moist because of the very low temperature at which it cooks. There's a little kick at the end from hot pepper flakes and the whole thing goes amazingly well with champagne, whose celebratory bubbles cut through unctuous succulence and tempers the salinity. Serve with a pot of oil-slicked bay-scented lentils (good luck in Italy) and a simple arugula salad splashed with balsamic vinegar (and maybe some crumbled blue cheese with pickled red onions!) A simple carrot puree -- for color and contrast -- would also be nice. Crank up the music and bring in the new year on high.
Here's what you need to do: 18-Hour Pork Shoulder with Fennel, Garlic & Lemon If you put this in the oven before you go to bed, it will be ready for dinner the next day -- all crackly, succulent and irresistible.
10-pound whole pork shoulder, skin on 2 large heads garlic, cloves separated and peeled 3 tablespoons fennel seeds 3 tablespoons cumin seeds 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes 2 lemons
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Make deep slits in the pork skin, about 1 inch apart, going through to the flesh. Combine the garlic, fennel, cumin, pepper flakes and 2 teaspoons kosher salt in a food processor; process until coarsely ground. Spread the mixture all over the pork, making sure to pack some into the slits. Place the pork in a roasting pan. Roast for 30 minutes. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the pork and reduce the temperature to 250 degrees. Bake for 18 hours. Squeeze the juice of the second lemon over the pork during the last hour of cooking. When done, the skin will crackle and the flesh will be soft. Carve into thick or thin slices. Serves 8 (or more)
Happy almost New Year!
So it's three nights to the last day of 2010, and what a year it's been. Professionally speaking, I published my 12th cookbook Radically Simple (no simple task), wrote numerous articles for Real Food magazine and Bon Appetit; finished the arrangements for the procurement of the Gourmet magazine library and its donation to New York University (in honor of my mother); made a book deal for a close friend, mentored several young women and men in and out, of the industry (one great restaurant cook became a chef for Dean & DeLuca; one young woman working for a food website decided to get her masters in library science instead), continued my responsibilities as culinary consultant to the international consulting group, the Joseph Baum & Michael Whiteman Co., appeared on many national radio programs, and started to blog and tweet! Those are some highlights.
But the real highlights are the personal ones: an overdue trip to Israel to visit a longtime friend who was chief-of-staff to Prime Minister Begin (I met him when I was chef to Mayor Koch in 1978!); continuing my weekly work as a hospice volunteer (having the privilege of spending time with Frank McCourt before he died), going on several spiritual retreats at the Garrison Institute, ushering my 14-year old daughter to a Justin Bieber concert and waiting 7 hours in the parking lot; ushering that same daughter into 9th grade, making several wonderful new friendships (one with a neighbor who was Bruce Springsteen's manager, who later wrote the definitive book on the Beatles), strengthening old relationships, learning to meditate (I'm a real beginner), having a holiday meal with my son, Jeremy, at Oceana, hanging out with my brother and his wife in Hoboken (and passing big lines for the Cake Boss on the way to his house), cooking for more friends at home, and celebrating my 23rd wedding anniversary with my own personal cake boss, Michael Whiteman.
And then there are the restaurant highlights: going on a triptych of clandestine dining reviews with two of New York's best critics, having an amazing meal in Israel in a tiny restaurant near the market in Jerusalem called Mahane Yehuda, enjoying weekly breakfasts at L'Express and monthly lunches at Barbounia, exciting meals (or dishes) at Oceana, the Standard Grill, 11 Madison, the Breslin, Roberta's, Lincoln, Van Daag, Zuma in Miami, and even more exciting meals at friends homes including Anne Kabo (in Margate, New Jersey), the second Thanksgiving at the home of Katherine and Alan Miller (in Bethesda), the third Thanksgiving at the home of Geoffrey and Noa Weill, a Passover extravaganza at the home of Robin Shinder and family, a radically simple, yet delicious dinner at the Omskys, and a marvelous meal at the home of Debbie and Larry Freundlich with the legendary editor Judith Jones as a guest.
But hands-down the restaurant highlight of the year for me is...ABC Kitchen at ABC Home in New York City. Kudos to Jean-Georges' Vongerichten whose brainchild it was to support a sustainable, green, locavore mission in the most sophisticated way imaginable, and to his awesomely talented executive chef, Dan Kluger. May Dan get all the attention he deserves in 2011. More kudos to Paulette Cole and Amy Chender (CEO and COO of ABC Home) whose vision and passion made it possible to do it.
Best dishes of 2010? Well, that's a blog for another day.
For the first time in 20 years, I had saltines in the house (the ones in that big green tin) and made the Saltine Cracker Brickle from this week's food section of the New York Times (12/15). Not bad, actually. Part cookie, part candy, it was made from just a handful of ingredients. Such is the magic of butter, sugar and chocolate. The paucity of ingredients had me thinking about the cookies and confections I've created during the past two (saltine-free) decades! Some people are grateful for the three-ingredient gluten-free cookies I invented using roasted chickpea flour; beg for the little sandwich cookies made with Nutella; crave the simplicity of cinnamon crisps made, unexpectedly, from wonton wrappers; are intrigued by the cookies made from halvah, and charmed by the notion of "Cookies While You Sleep"-- crisp meringues that look like small snowdrifts. These are little gifts from "me to you," so that they can be "from you to yours." Maybe it's time to buy a nice big cookie jar. (The big green Saltine tin would also work!) Here are two favorites, but stay tuned for more!
Chickpea Flour Shortbread I first became familiar with chickpea flour in the south of France where I attended a cooking school run by Roger Verge. It is the essential ingredient used for making socca, an indigenous pizza-like snack, thin and pliable, and blackened from wood-fired ovens. This flour is also used for making fournade, a simple soup from Burgundy, and for panelle, little chickpea flour pancakes, familiar in the south of Italy. I became so enamored with the stuff that I started experimenting and created this addictive little cookie, perfect for gluten-free diets. Roasted chickpea flour can be found in Middle Eastern food markets and health food stores. Plain (unroasted) can also be used. Instead of sprinkling them with powdered sugar at the end, you can dust them with multi-colored granulated sugar for a "holiday look."
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar 2 cups roasted chickpea flour, plus more for dusting
Beat butter in bowl of electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add 1 cup confectioners' sugar and pinch of salt. Mix well. Stir in chickpea flour and mix until dough forms a smooth ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Sprinkle pastry board lightly with chickpea flour. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut out into desired shapes (I use a fluted cookie cutter), about 1-1/2 to 2 inches in diameter. Squares are also nice. Prick each several times with a fork. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 25 minutes until golden and just firm. Let cool. Sprinkle generously with remaining sugar pushed through a sieve. Makes about 36 cookies Sesame Seed-Olive Oil Cookies (from Radically Simple) These taste like cookies you might expect to find at an old-world Italian pastry shop. The olive oil gives them an interesting texture and flavor.
2 cups self-rising flour 2/3 cup sugar 2 extra-large eggs 1/2 cup olive oil 2 teaspoons almond extract 2/3 cup toasted sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Combine the flour and sugar in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil and extract. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until a smooth dough forms; it will be crumbly and slightly oily. Form the dough into small ovals, about 1-1/2 inches long and 3/4 inch wide. Roll the top and sides of each cookie in the sesame seeds. Place 1 inch apart on the baking sheets. Bake 25 minutes, until golden and just firm. Cool Makes 24
I'm appreciative, these days, when anyone takes the time to do anything "other directed!" Whether it's a hand-written thank you note, an email from a fan wanting to connect, or an unsolicited book review (especially the positive ones!), I think of the thought and effort proffered. "Doing onto others as you would have them do unto you," is a notion that generally informs my life and would probably modulate all of our behavior towards kindness. Aside from niceties, however, I get a major kick out of learning what recipes people choose to make from my books! I even enjoy the considered "critical" comments from someone I intuit knows their way around the kitchen. Now that Radically Simple has been out for not quite three weeks, there are 21 reviews on Amazon and a handful of other reviews on various sites. Out of 325 recipes contained in the book, those initial recipe choices not only reflect the personal preferences of the cook, but reveal other phenomenon of who we are, where we live, our skill sets, taste preferences, our general curiosity about new things, and our steadfastness for the familiar.
But perhaps other factors are at play. One's attraction to a particular photograph or to a title (many people like "The Little Black Dress Chocolate Cake"); a penchant for learning something new and making the effort to find an unfamiliar ingredient like za'atar (an intoxicating spice mixture from the Middle East made from dried hyssop, sumac and sesame seeds. It smells like Jerusalem and looks like marijuana and is available in many spice stores and online), Sriracha hot sauce or smoked paprika. Maybe it's the desire to be inventive, try a new combination of flavors, evoke a memory from another time or place, or daring to keep-it-simple, which is, after all, the philosophy of the book.
So here are some of your favorites so far -- beginning with breakfast and marching towards dessert -- Homemade Cream Cheese and Carrot Marmalade; Runny Eggs on Creamy Scallion Bacon Grits; Smoked Salmon, Basil & Lemon Quesadillas; Eggless Caesar Salad with Green Apple "Croutons"; Seared Salmon on a Moroccan Salad; Golden Fettuccine with Sardines, Fennel & Saffron; A Recipe from 1841: Macaroni & Tomatoes; Silver Packet Flounder with Miso Mayo; Salmon with Lime Leaves, Poppy Rice & Coconut Sauce; Sauteed Chicken with Roasted Grapes & Grape Demi Glace; Chicken with Za'atar, Lemon & Garlic; Big Juicy Sundried Tomato Burgers; Pork Loin in Cream with Tomatoes, Gin & Sage; Creamy Potato Gratin; Sweet Potato Puree with Fresh Ginger and Orange; and..."The Little Black Dress Chocolate Cake."
Equally interesting is what the print journalists choose: Food & Wine Magazine loved the Salmon en chemise (wrapped in smoked salmon) with its fresh tomatillo sauce; the Washington Post chose Crunchy Crumbed Cod with Frozen Peas; the Cleveland Plain Dealer selected Sauteed Chicken with Roasted Grapes; the Oregonian singled out Broccoli Soup with Lemon-Pistachio Butter, Chicken with Chorizo, Peppadews & Fino Sherry; Lamb Chops with Smoked Paprika Oil, Cumin & Arugula, and French Yogurt Cake with Nutella. The last recipe was also referenced by Faye Levy in the Jerusalem Post.
Perhaps we are what we cook.
French Yogurt Cake with Nutella This is very moist thanks to the yogurt and butter, but it is especially delicious thanks to the Nutella! Serve with raspberries, cherries, or whipped cream, or plain. Or dust the entire cake with confectioners' sugar pushed through a sieve.
1 stick unsalted butter 1-1/2 cups flour 1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder 3 extra-large eggs 1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt 1/4 cup Nutella
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter 9-inch springform pan. Melt the butter in a saucepan; set aside to cool. Mix together the flour, baking powder, and a large pinch of salt. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla until thick, 3 minutes. Add the flour mixture, yogurt, and melted butter; mix until smooth. Pour two-thirds of the batter into the pan. Add the Nutella to the remaining batter and beat until smooth. Pour atop the plain batter. Run a rubber spatula through the batter to make a marbled pattern. Bake 40 to 45 minutes until just firm. Cool on a rack. Release the side of the pan and serve. Serves 8
ROZANNE GOLD’S “RADICALLY SIMPLE”
325 recipes for brilliant flavors
with breathtaking ease
Pub Date October 26 340 pages, Rodale Books Available now on Amazon
Four-time James Beard award-winner Rozanne Gold redefines the idea of simplicity in the kitchen. By manipulating the interplay of time, technique and the number of ingredients, she creates a sense of ease in every recipe – with results that are both lush and liberating.
Gold revolutionized the food world with her acclaimed 1-2-3 cooking series that showed cooks how to make sophisticated dishes with just a few elements. Now she’s broadened her scope with a collection of new recipes whose procedures are expressed in 140 words or less. Not quite Twitter, but close.
From five-minute soups to ten-minute salads; new ideas such as freezing olive oil to emulsify a sauce; or cooking fresh fish on a bed of frozen peas!, Gold’s formidable expertise will enable home cooks to derive abundant pleasure without the burden.
All her dishes reflect the philosophy that perfect flavor and contemporary taste need not require an entire day in the kitchen or a complex list of ingredients. With Radically Simple, any cook can experience what many professional chefs like Rozanne have learned over the years – that the best food in the world often is the simplest.
“Radically Simple” is Rozanne’s 12th cookbook. A culinary trend-setter, she is a four-time winner of the James Beard Award and winner of the IACP/Julia Child Award. She was first chef to Mayor Ed Koch, consulting chef to Windows on the World and the Rainbow Room, and consults on high-profile restaurants around the world. For more information go to www.rozannegold.com or contact Rozanne at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Rozanne on www.facebook.com/rozannegold and on www.twitter.com/rozannegold