I've been subscribed to the CIA's Kitchen & Cook newsletter for some time, and mostly I've just read it for the technique articles, though they have a number of excellent recipes in each issue. Finally, though, the time to cook has come.
2 star anise
1 qt chicken broth
2 carrots, peeled and quartered
2 chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
1 TBSP butter
1 tsp chopped chives
Simmer the star anise and the carrots in the chicken broth in a small saucepan until their flavor has infused into the liquid, about 20 minutes. Lower flame to just under a simmer.
Lay the chicken breasts into the pot. They should not touch, and should be covered by at least 2 inches of liquid. Cover the pot tightly. Leave pot over the lowest flame possible for 10 minutes. Turn off flame and leave the pot undisturbed for 20 minutes more.
In a small pan, heat a few tablespoons of the poaching liquid; whisk in the butter and chives. Transfer the poached chicken to serving plates; serve with the carrots and drizzle with the butter-chive sauce, garnished with star anise.
Located at 266 Newbury street, Tapeo lays claim to being the only authentic Spanish restaurant in Boston. It's a busy place on the weekends, and they don't take reservations. I attempted to go there once before (when I was in town for a conference last summer) and the wait was well over an hour. This time I was determined to be more stubborn, and luckily for my starving dinner companion, they quoted only 25 minutes.
It seemed like a no-brainer to order from the tapas menu and get a wide sampling, so here's what we tried out...
Setas y Caracoles (Snail in Herbed Mushroom Nest)
Albondigas de Salmon (Salmon Balls w/Caper Sauce)
Codorniz de Castilla (Broiled Herb and Garlic Quail stuffed with Bacon)
Conejo Escabechado (Braised Rabbit w/ Red Wine, Juniper & Garlic)
Queso de Cabra Montanes (Baked Goat Cheese w/Tomato & Basil)
The goat cheese came out first and was a perfect start with the roasted taste of the tomatoes complimenting the tangy flavor. Not far behind were the salmon balls and the snails (which are a special of the month). We disagreed over which of those was the best (I liked the snails more), but they were both very good. However, the rabbit and quail put the rest of them to shame. The rabbit had a delicate hint of spices, and was so tender it just fell apart on the plate, and the quail was quite possibly one of the best things I had tasted in weeks. The servings were reasonable and the five samples we ordered definitely filled us up, which was too bad because I had been tempted by the Lomito al Cabrales (Pork Tenderloin w/Blue Goat Cheese & Mushrooms).
We only passed up dessert because we had leftover baklava from Cafe Jaffa waiting for us. I whole-heartedly recommend the place. Unless you can't stand a high level of din. I might nominate it for most noisy restaurant I've ever eaten in, and we were protected by the back corner wall. It's worth it, though. The food just can't be beat. I sure hope I get the opportunity to go there again.
This week I took another pass at Jennifer Garner's Shrimp and Orzo. This time I substituted a large shallot for the onion and vermouth for the white wine. With extra feta sprinkled on top. Very good. I'm reminded of how simple and relatively quick this recipe is. And it tastes good too.
Keeping track of forthcoming culinary and related books....
Chef and restaurateur Cecilia Chiang with Lisa Weiss's CECILIA CHIANG: Recipes and Reminiscences, a collection of stories and recipes from the chef whose Mandarin restaurant was the first in San Francisco to serve the authentic flavors of the Beijing-Shandong and Sichuan-Hunan regions, to Ten Speed.
Author of Making of a Chef and Soul of a Chef (and co-author of the French Laundry Cookbook) Michael Ruhlman's book covering every aspect of food and cooking in dictionary format, to Scribner.
Madeline Scherb's A TASTE OF HEAVEN: A Guide to Food and Drink Made by Nuns and Monks, about the divine candies, cheeses, liquors, beers, breads and other comestibles created by nuns and monks in America and Europe, to Tarcher.
James Beard Award winner, Time magazine columnist, and Food and Wine Magazine award winner for her blog Veritas in Vino Alice Feiring's THE BATTLE FOR WINE AND LOVE (OR HOW I SAVED THE WORLD FROM PARKERIZATION), a chronicle of the author's crusade against wine critic Robert Parker's palate and her search for real wines around the world, from the last riojas in Spain to true champagne, to Harcourt.
JUDGMENT OF PARIS author George Taber's CORK: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow, examining the controversy in the wine world as screw-top bottles are becoming more common and threatening a billion dollar business that dates back to the Roman Empire, to Scribner, for publication in October 2007.