Sweet Potato Streusel Squares
from Bon Appetit (July 1995)
3 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 large), peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup half and half
1/3 cup chopped crystallized ginger (about 1 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Cook sweet potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain; return to same pot. Stir potatoes over medium-high heat until excess liquid evaporates. Remove from heat. Add butter and sugar and mash potatoes until almost smooth. Mix in half and half, eggs, ginger and vanilla. Season with salt. Spread in prepared dish (filling will be about 1 inch thick).
Rub together sugar, flour and butter in medium bowl until moist crumbs form. Mix in pecans and coconut. (Filling and topping can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover separately and refrigerate.)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Sprinkle topping over filling. Bake until filling is set and topping is brown, about 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.
Notes: Made to contribute to Christmas Dinner this year. Very different from some of the other sweet potato dishes I've tried -- sweet, almost more like a dessert than a side dish.
A classic Belgian brasserie, located in the heart of the Chelsea district, Markt has very comfortable food with an air of European home-cooking. I started with the lobster bisque - it tasted rich but the texture was overly smooth and lacked the chunks of lobster that give the soup substance. The shrimp croquettes were perfect -- breaded and fried lightly with evocative taste. I split the creme brulee with a co-worker and it was quite enjoyable.
Tia Pol is a classic Spanish tapas restaurant. I wouldn't recommend it for a romantic dinner. It's noisy and the space is narrow, perhaps even slightly claustrophobic. However, the food is absolutely amazing. Because it was tapas and I was there with two other people, I got to try quite a variety of dishes, among them a couple specials plus the following:
*pinchos morunos lamb skewers - exquisitely seasoned and tender
*chorizo con chocolate palacios chorizo with bittersweet chocolate - chorizo isn't usually my favorite (I've had it on pizza and been unimpressed) but this pairing was excellent
*patatas bravas rough cut potatoes with spicy aioli
I think I could eat here every week!
Located at 307 Spring Street, Giorgione is owned by Giorgio DeLuca, who first helped create the groundbreaking Dean & DeLuca. It's classic Italian.
I started with the artisinal cheese plate, which included the pecorina brinata (a sheep's milk aged 6 months), caserficio dell atta Langa Latur (a mixture of soft cow, sheep and goat's milk from Piedmont), and a parmigiano reggiano (cut from DOC wheels). From there, I moved on to the cheese tortellini in roasted duck broth. The waiter recommended the panna cotta for dessert, which could not be beat. And the classic cappuccino was perfect. My lunch companion, editor Kristin Weber, had the thin-crust margherita pizza, cooked in a wood oven. She granted me a piece and it was delicious.
The decor is classic and elegant and the custom-made fireplace adds warmth and personality. Service was prompt and excellent.
1/2 pound bay scallops
1 TBSP oil
2 TBSP minced shallot
1/4 cup minced leek, white part only
3/4 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup white wine
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 TBSP butter
1 TBSP lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
Saute the scallops in a little bit of oil until just opaque.
Heat the remaining oil over medium heat in a saucepan. Gently cook the shallot and leek until they are completely tender, but not brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in the rice and coat well with oil and vegetables. Deglaze the pan with the wine and bring to a gentle boil. Add the stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until just absorbed. Repeat until stock is almost gone and rice is al dente, about 20 minutes.
Stir in reserved scallops, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Notes: An interesting variation. Sweeter than the usual versions I've tried. Might need some kind of herb addition.
1 1/4 inch thick piece pancetta, chopped finely
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 yellow turnip, diced
2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
6 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp dried marjoram
salt and pepper to taste
Cook the pancetta in a soup pot over low heat, until all the fat is melted and the meat begins to crisp, about 6-8 minutes.
Add the carrot, celery, onion, and turnip. Cover and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.
Add the mushroom, potatoes, and broth. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, 10-12 minutes.
Add the herbs and season with salt and pepper. Serve in heated bowls.
Notes: Last winter I very much intended to get into making soups and freezing leftovers for quick meals. For various reasons, it didn't happen, so I was more determined this winter. This was my first attempt and I think it came out pretty well.