October 29, 2007

Steak with Shallot Sauce

Steak with Shallot Sauce
from The Steak Lover's Cookbook

3/4 pound boneless sirloin steak
freshly ground black pepper
2 TBSP butter
3 TBSP minced shallots
1 TBSP red wine vinegar
1 TBSP chopped parsley
1/2 TBSP steak sauce
1/2 tsp rosemary

Season the steak generously, patting the pepper into the meat.

Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add 1 TBSP butter. When melted, add the steak and sear until well-crusted on one side, approximately 6 minutes. Turn and cook 6 minutes more for medium rare. Remove and cover loosely with foil.

Pour the fat from the pan and wipe clean with a paper towel. Return the pan to medium heat and melt the remaining TBSP butter. Add shallots and cook until softened, about 2 1/2 minutes. Add vinegar and simmer for 3 minutes more. Add parsley, steak sauce and rosemary and simmer 1 minute longer. Pour any juices from the steak into the sauce and then serve over meat.

Notes: Last night I intended to make Siam Country Steak but missed the fact that I needed to marinade at least all day. So, this was the improv recipe, and I must admit that I was not at all disappointed. It turned out quite well - perfectly crusted. Accompanied by Sweet and Spicy Noodles from this recipe, which served as a nice counterpoint.

Posted by Jennifer at 7:59 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
October 28, 2007

Armenian Chicken in Yogurt Tumeric Sauce

Baked Chicken in Tumeric Sauce
adapted from The Armenian Table

3/4 cup yogurt
1/2 tsp ground tumeric
1 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 whole chicken legs
1/3 cup peas, steamed

Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a baking dish or oven casserole large enough to hold the chicken pieces without overlapping. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature or refrigerate overnight (but remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking).

Preheat oven to 375

Cover the baking dish, place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Turn the pieces over and bake 15 to 20 minutes more, depending on the size of the pieces, until the juices are golden.

Stir the peas into the sauce and pour over chicken.

Bulgur and Walnut Pilaf

1 TBSP butter
3 TBSP walnuts, coarsely chopped
3 TBSP white onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup coarse bulgur
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add walnuts and onions and saute, stirring for 3 minutes, until walnuts are slightly golden. Stir in the bulgur, decrease the heat to medium, and continue sauteing for 2 minutes, until bulgur is lightly toasted. Add the broth and salt, stir to mix, and bring to a boil. Decrease heat to low and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until liquid is mostly evaporated. Remove and let rest for 10 minutes, until fluffy and no longer moist.

Notes: Tasted very good even though the yogurt separated. Served with Bulgur and Walnut Pilaf from the same cookbook. The pilaf was excellent and would make a good side dish in many cases.

Posted by Jennifer at 7:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
October 27, 2007

New Haven: Ivy Noodle

Just prior to an extra and unexpected Vienna Teng concert (I'd been to one the night prior at the Iron Horse in Northampton and Vienna convinced me to attend the one in Westport), woj and Michael and I stopped off at Ivy Noodle to grab a bite to eat. I'd been here once before and suggested it as an alternative to Towne Pizza. I had the most lovely roast duck on rice and stole a taste of Michael's spare rib with black bean sauce on chow fun. Very yummy. This place is small so seating is always a risk, but the food is yummy and most affordable.

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October 23, 2007

New York: Basso 56

A restaurant that I utterly adored, Basso Est, has now moved to midtown and is called Basso 56. Lunch with an editor from Random House (it's only a block away) gave me the chance to try it at its new location and it certainly did not disappoint. The editor declared it her new "go to" place and I will hope to entice many other colleagues to try it out.

I started with the Rughetta e Pere Al Capreno, a salad with arugula, fennel, goat cheese, and pears in a champagne vinaigrette. Very tasty. My main entree was Fagottino alla Polpa di Aragosta, crepe purses filled with lobster and a confit, served with tomato and chive velute sauce. OMG. I ate every bit and didn't have enough room for dessert, even though I recall this place having most excellent panna cotta.

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October 22, 2007

New York: Tabla

A lunch date with a client who is vegetarian afforded me the opportunity to try out Tabla, an Indian restaurant known for its innovative cuisine. We stayed in the Bread Bar which has the more authentic menu. I had Parsi style mussels steamed in chili, tamarind and jaggery, which were absolutely exquisite and then treated myself to pear poached in saffron and served with an Earl Grey tea sauce.

I didn't know what jaggery was, but wikipedia, the always helpful, indicates it is "the traditional unrefined sugar used in India." Further, "Jaggery is used as an ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes across India and Sri Lanka. For example, a pinch of jaggery is added to sambar, rasam and other gravies which are staples in southern India. It is also a delicacy in its own right. The Indian chef and cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey writes about a "jaggery board", like a cheese board, as a dessert course in a Bengali dinner, with varieties of palm and sugar cane jaggeries offered, differing in taste, color, and solidity."

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October 12, 2007

Apple Risotto

Green Apple Risotto

2 TBSP butter, divided
1 tbsp virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced
3/4 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup apple cider
2 cups chicken stock
1/8 cup grated parmesan

In a saute pan, heat 1 TBSP butter and virgin olive oil until melted together. Add onion and cook over medium heat until soft and not yet browned. Add apples and rice and cook 3 to 4 minutes, until rice has acquired a pearly opaque quality. Add the wine and cider and simmer until evaporated. Add 1/2 cup chicken stock and cook until absorbed. Continue 1/4 cup of stock at a time, stirring constantly, until rice is al dente. Remove from heat and stir in remaining butter and the parmesan cheese. Serve with additional grated cheese on the side.

Notes: This was really interesting because most of the risotto recipes I've tried previously have been more towards the savory side, and this one was slightly sweet. And very good. I might be tempted to try adding some shiitake mushrooms to give the dish a bit more volume.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:16 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
October 9, 2007

Albany: Buca di Beppo

I took my sister to Buca di Beppo for lunch to celebrate her birthday. It's quite charming for a chain restaurant. I very much enjoyed the calamari and the homemade spaghetti sauce is to die for. (I really need to work on my own sauce.) The tiramisu family-size serving is truly intimidating. I think this would be a great place to go with a large group.

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October 5, 2007

Tuna, Trapani Style

Sweet and Sour Tuna Steaks, Trapani Style
from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan

2 1/2 pounds tuna, cut into 1/2 inch thick steaks
3 cups onions, sliced very thin
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup flour, spread on a plate
fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 TBSP chopped parsley

Remove the skin circling the tuna steaks, wash them in cold water, and pat dry with paper towels.

Choose a saute pan broad enough to accommodate later all the steaks in a single layer without overlapping. Put in the sliced onion, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 or 2 pinches of salt, and turn on the heat to medium low. Cook until the onion has wilted completely, then turn up the heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring from time to time, until the onion becomes colored a deep golden brown.

Using a slotted spoon or spatula, transfer the onion to a small bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan, turn the heat up to medium high, dredge the tuna in flour on both sides and slip them into the pan. Cook them for 2 or 3 minutes, depending on their thickness, then sprinkle with salt and pepper, add the sugar, vinegar, wine, and onions, turn the heat up to high, and cover the pan. Cook at high heat for about 2 minutes, uncover the heat, add the parsley, turn the fish steaks over once or twice, then transfer them to a warm serving platter.

If there are thin juices left in the pan, boil them down and at the same time scrape loose with a wooden spoon any cooking residue sticking to the bottom. If, on the other hand, there is no liquid in the pan, add 2 tablespoons of water and boil it away while loosening the cooking residue. Pour the contents of the pan over the tuna, and serve at once.

Notes: I made this for two tuna steaks that weighed in around 10 oz. and did the rest of the ingredients in half. It turned out really well. And it was a nice variation from some of the other recipes I've tried.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
October 1, 2007

West Hartford: Pho Boston

En route to a concert by Richard Shindell at U. of Hartford, dinner took place at Pho Boston in West Hartford. It touts itself as authentic Vietnamese cuisine. I haven't had very much of it, so I can't speak to its authenticity, but it sure was good.

Appetizers: Goi Cuon -- fresh spring rolls with mint, vermicelli, pork slices and shrimp served with peanut sauce. The last time I had spring rolls of this style was in Toronto and it had this huge salad exploding from it in order to give it height. This really didn't add to the experience. So, I'll pick the more authentic one because it was quite tasty. Also had Chim Cut Chien -- roasted quails. They were crispy and very tasty. I ate them with gusto.

Main Dishes: Sate Dac Biet -- AKA Pho Boston which was a special spicy sate with rare steak served in Vietnamese beef noodle soup. I only had one spoonful because this was Michael's entree, but it was very fragrant and rich. My entree was Ca Hap Gung -- steamed fish with ginger & scallion. The fish of the day was tilapia and they brought the whole thing with the head and tail still intact. It was so tender and flaky it fell apart on the plate. I ate the whole thing.

Drinks: Michael had iced Vietnamese coffee which tasted a little like really bitter coffee icecream. I had iced lemonade tea, which pretty much tastes like it sounds.

I would definitely eat here again. Probably for lunch on my next trip to A-Dong, the Asian grocery store in the same plaza.

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