Tastes of the Week

June 11 thru June 18, 2012 A sensational lunch at Lincoln (at Lincoln Center) prepared by chef Jonathan Benno (formerly at Per Se), sponsored by DeBragga, affectionately known as New York's Butcher. The lunch celebrated the efforts of Niman Ranch family of farmers whose community of more than 725 farmers raises their cattle, hogs, and lambs with utmost care. They have changed the standards of sustainable practice and have influenced a new generation of farming systems. The menu rocked with crispy pig trotters, "testa" (headcheese), ravioli d'agnello (lamb neck, tongue, sweetbreads, and pecorino) in a lamb sugo, 40-day dry-aged ribeye of beef, with greenmarket tomatoes, arugula and balsamico, and for dessert, something intelligently conceived and very delicious -- a triptych of chocolate torta with guanciale and sea salt, biscotti al lardo, and crostata ai frutti di bosco made with dry-aged beef fat! Fabulous! Much praise all around -- to DeBragga, Niman Ranch, the farmers, the chefs, and the beneficent earth.

Had a lovely young neighbor over for dinner. She's from South Carolina and told us about "chicken bog" (a native dish) and flounder gigging (a local past-time.) It may be time to learn more about the "low country lifestyle!" Katie's a vegetarian, though, and I made her "rutabaga steaks" while we ate my husband's ever-so-slow-cooked country ribs (smoked over charcoal and cedar).  We also enjoyed a last-minute carrot salad (julienned and lightly steamed) tossed with caramelized onions, balsamic vinegar, and slivered basil. Chicken bog, by the way, is a pilau of chicken, sausage, celery, and moist (but not soupy) rice and spices.

The most creative and best pizzas ever at the newly-decorated Keste on Bleeker Street. Imagine sinking your teeth into these:  Ricotta e Noci, made with "cream of walnut", fresh ricotta, homemade mozzarella, pecorino romano and basil, or Salsiccia e Friarielli -- made with rapini, Italian sausage, imported smoked mozzarella, and extra-virgin olive oil.  Keste has gluten-free pizzas (senza glutine), white pizzas, red pizzas, "night and day" calzone, and stuffed pizzas, too -- da morire (to die for.)

Fresh herring from Holland with Cantillon lambic beer.  A great pairing!  Thanks, Jimmy Carbone!  (As tasted on Cooking Today radio show).

Cold slow-cooked country spare ribs with roasted beets and white bean salad at home, washed down with Vinas de Balbo (bonarda-malbec blend) from Argentina.

Very good strawberries, lightly sugared and showered with slivered fresh mint from my window box. June is busting out all over.

Enjoy your own tastes of the week!

A Father's Day Steak

While I was "guest host" on Martha Stewart's "Cooking Today" Sirius XM radio show this week, we covered lots of topics including craft beer, olive oil from Chile, Julia Child's new biography, Dearie, written by celebrity author Bob Spitz, "genius recipes" with Kristen Miglore from food52, and radically simple cooking with New York Times "City Cook" columnist, David Tanis. It was a great week. We also listened to the "hot chill" music of singer/songwriter Audrey Appleby, whose two songs, "The Garden" and "Ladies Cheap Cocktails", had everyone in the studio smiling and begging for more! Check it out at www.magicdance.com. Audrey's new album soon to be released is called Ladies Cheap Cocktails. Should soar to the top of the charts. And there were lots of requests for my Reddened Rib Eye with Pimiento Cheese -- the perfect steak for Father's Day. The magical rub -- made from sweet paprika, smoked paprika, and sumac may require a trip to an upscale food store or spice market, but these are three ingredients I now always have in my pantry. You should, too. They make a ruddy crust for the steak that lights up your taste buds -- with sweet, sour, salty, smokey notes. Topping with homemade pimiento cheese makes this a sundae for a cowboy. It's a "hot chill" kind of dish.

Serve with a bowl of my amazing cauliflower-potato puree (recipe below). What looks like the most luxurious offering of buttery, smooth mashed potatoes is instead a puree of cauliflower bound with a bit of potato and sweet butter.  The underlying sweetness comes from garlic that gets boiled with the cauliflower.  Drink wine! Or drink beer! Lots of great suggestions on the show from beer maven, Jimmy Carbone, owner of Jimmy's No. Craft Beer Bar and Restaurant and co-founder of The Good Beer Seal awards.

Reddened Rib Eye with Pimiento Cheese (adapted from Radically Simple)

8 ounces very sharp yellow Cheddar 3 ounces pimientos from a jar, with 3 tablespoons brine 6 tablespoons mayonnaise 1 small cloves garlic 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika 4 thick rib eye steaks, about 12 ounces each 1/4 cup ground sumac

Preheat the broiler. Chop the cheese and put in a food processor with the pimientos, brine, mayonnaise, and garlic. Process until smooth; add salt and pepper. Chill. Mix together the sugar, both paprikas, and 1-1/2 teaspoons salt. Rub the steaks thoroughly with the mixture and let sit 10 minutes. Rub the sumac thickly on both sides of the steaks. Place on a rimmed baking sheet; broil as close to the heat as possible for 3 to 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare, or until desired doneness. Top each steak with a scoop of pimiento cheese. Serves 4

"Looks like Mashed Potatoes" (adapted from Eat Fresh Food)

1 large head of cauliflower, about 1-1/2 pounds 1 large baking potato 2 large garlic cloves, peeled 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 1/4 cup milk 6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cut the cauliflower into 1-inch pieces. Peel the potato and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Add the cauliflower, potatoes, and garlic to the water. Continue to boil for 16 to 20 minutes, until the vegetables are soft (but not falling apart.) Drain well in a colander and shake dry. Add the cauliflower, potatoes, and garlic to the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth and creamy.  Add the butter, milk, and 4 tablespoons of the cheese.  Process until very smooth.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately, sprinkle with the remaining cheese.  Or you may make the mixture ahead:  Spoon it into a shallow casserole and sprinkle it with 2 tablespoons cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until heated through and run it briefly under the broiler until golden.  Serves 6

Happy Father's Day.

Baking with Olive Oil: Cookies, Muffins, and more

I have had the pleasure of hosting Martha Stewart's radio show "Cooking Today" this week on Sirius XM 110.  We've been covering lots of hot topics, including the new fresh extra-virgin olive oil coming from Chile. Olive oil is a sacred ingredient -- first mentioned in the Hebrew Bible in the 13th century BC, but there is evidence that it has been cultivated for the last 4000 years. So, I pay close attention to its importance. I use only two cooking oils at home -- olive oil and extra-virgin olive oil. That's it! I use one for cooking, sauteing and baking, and extra-virgin olive oil for salads, cold preparations and for "finishing dishes." Adding a sheen of extra-virgin olive oil on a bowl of soupy beans, or pasta, or a vegetable stew is like adding layers of complexity and "meatiness."  I am known to use olive oil in unusual ways, too.  I freeze it and use it instead of butter to emulsify a dish or to spoon over hot pasta for great texture; I was the first to make olive oil ice cream for the International Olive Oil Council (along with the chef from San Domenico, Odette Fada in the 1980's!), and I bake with olive oil all the time. For the recipes that follow, I use a good-quality extra-virgin olive oil if it is not too heavily flavored, regular olive oil, or a combination of both.  Baking with olive oil is quite healthy and it results in a special textured "crumb." All the recipes are adapted from my book Eat Fresh Food: Awesome Recipes for Teen Chefs, and all use self-rising flour, so be sure to get some. This would be a great Father's Day gift from your teens to their dad and a great activity to do together: to cook the book!  Olive-Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies  These cookies look so professional -- like something you might find in an Italian bakery. The bonus is that they are much healthier than ordinary chocolate chip cookies. They are also delicious coated in sesame seeds instead of chocolate.

2 cups self-rising flour 2/3 cup sugar 2 extra-large eggs 1/2 cup olive oil 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract 6 ounces miniature chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Put the flour and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, olive oil, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture and mix until a smooth dough forms. The mixture will be slightly crumbly and a little oily. Knead several times on the counter. Form into 24 balls and then shape into small ovals that are 1-1/2 inches long and 3/4 inch wide.  Roll the tops and sides in miniature chocolate chips.  Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat pad. Place the cookies 1 inch apart. Bake for 25 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan. Remove with a spatula. Makes 24

Tender Muffins:  Country Pear, Cinnamon-Apple, or Blueberry These muffins are moist and delicate and can be made with ripe pears, tart apples, or fresh blueberries.  They are a cinch to prepare and last several days in a tightly covered tin.

1-1/2 cups self-rising flour 3/4 cup granulated sugar 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or 1-1/2 teaspoons if using apples) 1 extra-large egg 1/2 cup buttermilk 1/3 cup olive oil 1-1/4 cups diced peeled apples, or peeled ripe pears, or blueberries 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar (sugar-in-the-raw)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line 9 muffins tins with paper liners.  Stir together the flour, sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl.  In a medium bowl, beat together the egg, buttermilk, and olive oil. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir with a flexible rubber spatula until a batter forms. Gently stir in the fruit. Scoop the batter into the muffin tins. Sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Bake 25 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch. Let cool. Makes 9

Very Moist Zucchini-Banana Cake You will love this cake, also called tea bread, as its mysterious flavor and moisture comes from a ripe banana and a zucchini!  Nice with a scoop of homemade ice cream for dessert, or with a cup of coffee for a mid-morning snack.

1 large zucchini, about 10 ounces 2 extra-large eggs 3/4 cup turbinado sugar (sugar-in-the-raw) 2/3 cup olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1 very ripe medium banana 1/2 cup golden raisins 1-1/2 cups self-rising flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Wash the zucchini and dry; do not peel.  Grate the zucchini on the large holes of a box grater to get 2 cups.  Using your clean hands, squeeze the zucchini dry.  In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high for 3 minutes.  Add the oil, vanilla, and cinnamon and beat for 30 seconds.  Peel the banana and break it into small pieces. Add the banana to the bowl.  Beat until the banana is incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the zucchini and raisins, then slowly add the flour and mix well.  Lightly oil a nonstick 8-x-4-inch loaf pan. Pour in the batter and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until firm and golden. Let cool.  Serves 8

Be sure to listen to Martha Stewart Radio tomorrow at 3 p.m. or 6 p.m. on Sirius XM 110. I'll be interviewing Bob Spitz, author of "Dearie" -- Julia Child's newest biography, and will be drinking beer with Jimmy Carbone, owner of Jimmy's 43 Beer Bar and Restaurant in the East Village.

Tastes of the Week

Week of June 4th, 2012 So it's officially time for something. Not sure what. I am perusing everything I can. What am I saying?  I will be hosting Martha Stewart's Radio Show "Cooking Today" on Sirius XM next Monday, Wednesday and Friday -- June 11th, 13th and 15th. Lining up my guests now. Hot topics, chefs of the moment, genius recipes, the book du jour, food trucks in Paris, American chefs in Paris, Chipotles in Paris. And mangoes in India. Great article in the New York Times about it. Mangoes and monsoons. Reminds me to mention the captivating, charming movie "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" which takes place in India; Jaipur to be exact. I've been there. It's not as clean as it is in the movie but it is actually more magical. It's known as the pink city. I grew up eating mangoes. My grandparents had a big ol' mango tree in their backyard on Linda Lane in West Palm Beach, Florida.  Feeling nostalgic as I can remember sliding my teeth along the resin-y skin of the voluptuous orange flesh with the juices trickling down my arm. I was six at the time.

In my very first cookbook, Little Meals: A Great New Way to Eat & Cook, I created a recipe as an homage to my mumma and grampy -- Louise and Joe Gold. They were both from Hungary and loved to eat. My grandfather and his mother actually had a restaurant for awhile in Astoria, Queens on the second floor...somewhere. My grandfather, known for his extreme generosity, gave most of the food away. It's hard to stay viable with "free food" as your business model. He was known as an angel by those who came into his orbit. Both my grandparents died early and I miss them.  My grandmother was ten years older than my grandfather. My mother kept it a secret (it was her promise to her mother), all their lives; right up to, and including on, their tombstones.  Quite a love story, right?  Maybe I'll write a story about it someday.

But in the meantime, here is that recipe from Little Meals that is quite nice for the summer months.  It was always summer on Linda Lane.

Shrimp, Mango & Hearts of Palm Juicy, ripe mangoes trigger vivid images of my grandparents' mango tree. Up the street was a lime tree. And so this dish is dedicated to fond childhood taste memories.

1 pounds very large cooked shrimp, peeled 2 ripe mangoes 1 can hearts of palm, rinsed and dried 1/2 cup fresh lime mixed with 1 teaspoon ketchup 1 tablespoon finely minced jalapeno 3 tablespoons olive oil pinches of salt, pepper and sugar 4 packed cups of spring greens, mesclun or soft lettuces

Cut the shrimp into large pieces and place in a bowl.  Peel mangoes and cut into cubes the same size as the shrimp. Add to the bowl.  Slice hearts of palm 1/3-inch thick and add to the bowl.  Toss with lime juice, jalapeno and oil.  Balance the flavors with sea salt, pepper and sugar.  Toss and refrigerate 30 minutes.  Arrange lettuce on a platter or on 4 plates. Mound salad on top. Garnish with thin slices of lime.  Serves 4

I should really start making more of my own food. I understand it's quite good. Someone I haven't heard from in a decade called me out of the blue last week to tell me she made one of my recipes recently and just had to tell me how much she loved it. Then she told me she makes it all the time.  But last week she threw the prune-and-bay leaf stuffed pork tenderloin on the grill. She has a new boyfriend. Maybe that's why it tasted so good. Not sure really.  That's a very easy thing to mess up on a grill; a tenderloin is so narrow and easily overcooked.  But when you're in love, magical things happen and we imbue our food with qualities it might not really have. Here's the recipe anyway.  Barbara Biondo (who is one of the most talented calligraphers on the planet -- her company is called American Art Studio) also makes another recipe -- and this one is from Little Meals.  It's called Chicken Soup Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee.  I made it for one of my appearances a long, long time ago. Someday I will share that recipe, too.

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Prune & Bay Leaves ( from Recipes 1-2-3) In France, where the mention of prunes never causes a snicker, this dish would have a distinct bistro feel. Try with Hubbard squash and orange puree and crack open a bottle of white Burgundy.  For a different style, serve it with caramelized endive and bacon and enjoy a glass of Beaujolais.

8 California bay leaves 15 large pitted prunes 1-1/2 pound pork tenderloin

Place the bay leaves and prunes in a bowl.  Pour 1-1/2 cups boiling water over the top and let sit 15 minutes.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Make a 1-inch-deep slit along the length of the tenderloin, leaving 1 inch uncut on each end. Remove the bay leaves and prunes from the water and pat very dry.  Place the prunes in the bottom of the slit in a tight row. Crumble 1 bay leaf finely and sprinkle it over the prunes.  Roll the meat and tie it tightly at 1-inch intervals.  Season liberally with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Remove the remaining bay leaves in a row, under the strings.  Oil the bottom of a rimmed baking sheet.  Roast 30 to 35 minutes (or throw it on the grill as Barbara does!).  Let it rest 5 minutes before slicing.  Remove the bay leaves.  Serves 4

Upcoming events:  Pastry Chef Awards tonight; a dinner in honor of fresh figs at abckitchen; a dinner in honor of Chilean olive oil at Olives at the W; lunch at Gramercy Tavern, recipe testing for Cooking Light, pork chops for dinner tomorrow.

Enjoy your own tastes of the week.

A New Look at Basil

In the late 1970's, when curly parsley was not only the essential herb but the ubiquitous garnish, I remember my joy in the herbaceous perfume of fresh basil wafting through my cooking class in Florence, Italy. No one knew much about it then. Pesto had barely hit our shores and it was almost impossible to find in even the best supermarkets. Clearly things have changed and so it was exciting to be invited to be a guest on Martha Stewart's radio show "Everyday Food" the other day, to talk about basil and new things to do with it. Once upon a time, there was a serious issue of how to store it during the winter -- between layers of coarse salt, or suspended in olive oil and frozen, or whirled into pesto to use during the cold winter -- but thankfully, basil is now an essential herb, and ubiquitous garnish, and is available fresh all year long. During the course of the half-hour show, we talked about myriad new ways to use it, grow it, and discussed the different varieties available, from Thai basil, to holy basil, to chocolate, peppermint and pineapple basil. Sandy and I both agreed that it is the more generic "sweet basil" that has captured our hearts. The host of the show, Sandy Gluck, shared an idea for pureeing fresh basil into ricotta and using it as a base for bruschetta. My cheese-making buddy, Laurie Sandow, told me about a wonderful soda she read about using fresh basil, strawberries, balsamic vinegar and agave syrup. And in Radically Simple, there are a dozen hip recipes showing contemporary new ways to use it. And here is sampling of delicious ideas to get you started.

Wrap large shrimp in large basil leaves. Wrap tightly with  small strips of prosciutto. Saute in garlic olive oil.

Make fragrant basil butter: Process 1 stick sweet butter with ½ cup fresh basil leaves and a pinch of curry.

Swirl freshly prepared pesto into thick yogurt. Spread on warm grilled bread.

Grate yellow squash and zucchini on large holes of box grater. Saute in butter with lots of freshly chopped basil.

Cut a ½-inch-x-4 inch channel in thick swordfish steaks. Stuff with a stack of tightly-rolled basil leaves. Poach in olive oil.

Try basil mayonnaise: Process 1 cup homemade or store-bought mayonnaise with 1 cup basil, a clove of garlic and a few, optional, anchovy fillets.

Steep basil leaves in lemon vodka. Freeze.

Gently warm orange blossom honey. Add whole basil leaves. Stir and pour into mason jars.

Basil toasts: Bake ½-inch thick slices of baguette until crisp. Rub with a split garlic clove and fresh basil leaves until fragrant and “green”.

Morning snack: Spread lightly buttered toast with bitter orange marmalade. Sprinkle with a chiffonade of fresh basil.

Cut ripe peaches into thin wedges. Place in wine goblets. Splash with peach schnapps and julienned basil.

Strawberry-basil tea: Puree 1-pint strawberries with 8 basil leaves and sugar. Cover amply with boiling water. Steep 15 minutes. Strain into teacups.

Look for my basil-scrubbed toast, "green" corn, and many other basil recipes in the days to follow. Buy lots at your farmer's market this weekend and breathe deeply.

1-2-3 Holiday Apps

I thought I was invited to be on Martha Stewart's radio show "Morning Living" (Sirius.com) yesterday to talk about my new book Radically Simple (you know, the one that was just chosen as one of the top 10 cookbooks of the year by The New York Times.)  But no!  Instead I was asked to talk about my 1-2-3 cookbooks -- with the specific task of sharing three-ingredient appetizers.  It seems when Martha Stewart's drive-time audience was asked to share their favorite holiday appetizers, they all had three ingredients!  This amused hosts Becky and Kim to no end and so, presto!, I was quickly asked to come on the show.  Over the years I have developed hundreds of ideas for three-ingredient appetizers -- some quite conducive to holiday merriment.  Some of them are quite upscale and need no cooking whatsoever -- oysters on the half shell with oscetra caviar and a squeeze of lemon (that's three!), prunes soaked in brandy and filled with pate de foie gras, and chilled shrimp with wasabi creme fraiche (made by mixing wasabi paste with creme fraiche and sea salt.  Remember: salt, pepper and water don't count when doing the "1-2-3"!)  Others appeal to more ubiquitous tastes and include my addictive "peppery pecans" and sweet-and-sour glazed rib bits.  Recipes below.  One of the most magical recipes I know, however, is something I invented called Brie Croustades and you can top them with a dab of salmon caviar, pesto, tapenade, or just a sprinkling of finely chopped chives.  The croustades themselves are like tiny little popovers -- made from room-temperature brie and eggs, whirled in a processor and baked in small muffin tins.  They puff up and then settle back into little pillows.  They are wonderful with champagne. Enjoy the recipes below and please send me any ideas you have for three-ingredient holiday apps -- beginning today and going right through to New Year's Eve. My "team" will choose the best and someone will receive an autographed copy of Entertaining 1-2-3 or Christmas 1-2-3.  Your choice.  Hurry!

Rib Bits 16 individual pork spareribs, cut in half by butcher 1 cup unsulfured molasses 1-1/4 cups balsamic vinegar

Place ribs in large shallow casserole.  Combine molasses and vinegar in small bowl.  Add 1 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Pour over ribs; cover and refrigerate 2 hours, turning several times.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Remove ribs from marinade.  Transfer marinade to small saucepan.  Place ribs on 2 baking sheets.  Bake 40 minutes, turn and bake 35 minutes longer utnil tender.  Bring marinade to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer until thick and syrupy, about 20 minutes.  Remove the ribs from the baking sheet (discarding all the fat.)  Using a pastry brush, paint each rib with reduced marinade.  Serve with lots of napkins.  Makes 32

Radish Wreath with Goat Cheese and Toasted Cumin 18 medium red radishes, round as possible, with stems and leaves attached 6 ounces fresh firm goat cheese 2 tablespoons cumin seeds

Wash radishes and leaves and dry well.  Remove leaves from radishes, leaving 1 inch of stem attached to each radish.  Remove any spindly roots.  Refrigerate leaves until ready to use.  Cut radishes in half through the root and cut a tiny slice from the rounded bottoms so they don't wobble.  Place cheese in a food processor with 1-1/2 tablespoons water.  Process until smooth, being careful not to overprocess.  Mixture should be thick and creamy.  Spread cheese thickly on cut side of each radish. Arrange radish leaves on a platter to make a wide circle with a hole in the center.  Place radishes on leaves.  In a small skillet, toast cumin and 1/2 teaspoon salt 3 minutes around aromatic.  Sprinkle each radish with toasted cumin.  Makes 36 pieces

Red Pepper Frittata Bites 8 ounces very sharp white cheddar cheese 12 ounces jarred sweet salad peppers 9 extra-large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grate the cheese on large holes of box grater.  Spray an 8-x-8 inch pan with cooking spray; scatter cheese evenly on bottom.  Save 3 tablespoons liquid from peppers.  Pat pepper dry and evenly distribute on cheese.  Put the eggs, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and black pepper in bowl of electric mixer.  Beat 2 minutes, then add reserved pepper liquid.  Beat 2 minutes longer, until very light.  Pour eggs over peppers and bake 30 minutes, until just set.  Let cool and refrigerate until firm.  Cut into 16 squares and serve at room temperature.  Makes 16

Smoked Salmon Pillows 1 sheet frozen puff pastry 5-1/2 ounces Boursin cheese 4 ounces good-quality smoked salmon, sliced

Thaw pasty until pliable but still cold.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Roll out pastry so that it stretches to 10 by 10 inches.  Cut into 20 squarish shapes that are 2-1/2 by 2 inches.  Place 1 teaspoon cheese on bottom half of one square.  Tear off a piece of salmon to fit on top.  Be careful not to use too much, since the entire filling must be contained.  Fold top of pastry over filling to make a neat rectangular shape.  Using the tines of a fork, press down tightly on the three sides to make a little pillow.  Repeat with remaining squares.  Place on baking sheet and bake 20 to 25 minutes until puffed and golden.  Serve immediately.  Serves 20 Peppery Pecans 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 4 cups shelled pecan halves, about 16 ounces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large nonstick skillet, melt butter and add 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce and lots of freshly ground black pepper.  Add pecans and a large pinch of salt.  Stir and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, making sure the nuts are coated.  Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes, stirring often.  Drain on paper towels.  Toss with more salt, pepper, and remaining Worcestershire sauce.  Makes about 4 cups

Brie Croustades with Salmon Caviar 1/2 pound double-cream Brie cheese, chilled 3 extra-large eggs 1/2 cup salmon caviar, pesto, tapenade, or finely chopped chives

Cut rind from cheese and discard.  Let cheese sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put eggs in food processor.  Cut cheese into 1-inch pieces and process with eggs until very smooth and thick.  Coat two 12-hole small muffin pans (2-inch diameter) with cooking spray.  Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon batter into each.  Bake 9 to 10 minutes until croustades are puffed and golden.  Let sit one minute and top with a bit of caviar, pesto, tapenade, or chives.  Makes 24