January 18, 2008

New York: Il Bastardo

Meeting up with Jackie Cantor, the talented editor who bought Ladybug Farm, at Il Bastardo was an unexpected pleasure. I was surprised to find such a lovely restaurant just a few blocks from our office that I had never known was there. I suspect I will visit it much more often.

I started with a lovely spinach salad with mushrooms, bacon, and goat cheese. But the main dish of pan seared trout with marinated artichoke, almond, sage, and dry white wine was just perfect. The fish was flaky, the almonds toasted on to give it great texture. I very much enjoyed it (though I had hoped to try A Voce -- perhaps on a future trip).

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New York: Molyvos

Molyvos is one of my favorite restaurants in the city and I'm glad that lunch with author Jo Ann Ferguson afforded me the opportunity to revisit it. My number one choice in dish would be their Rabbit Stifado but that's only available on their dinner menu. So, instead, I had:

appetizer: Saganaki -- this is a cheese dish covered in Ouzo and then "set on fire!" and doused with lemon juice. I've only had it once before (while at the Seton Hill conference). The cheese in this one was saltier and I had the sense that it was home-made.

main dish: Molyvos' lamb sandwich -- this a lovely dish with marinated lamb and yogurt in a wrap with veggies

dessert: baklava -- of course -- this is my #1 favorite dessert (the 2nd being creme brulee)

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January 11, 2008

Angry Chicken

I have long admired Morimoto. He is always one of my favorites to watch on Iron Chef and comes up with so many amazing variations. So, with coupon in hand for a significant discount, I could not resist this cookbook while I was holiday shopping last month. I was then determined to make something from it sooner rather than later, so my New Year's Even dinner was as follows:

Angry Chicken
from Morimoto: The New Art of Japanese Cooking

2 whole bone-in chicken legs
spicy yogurt marinade*
1 cups chicken stock
assorted fresh hot green and red chile peppers
1 TBSP oil
lime wedges for serving

*Spicy Yogurt Marinade
1/4 tsp black peppercorns
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/8 tsp coriander seeds
1/8 tsp cardamom seeds
1/2 tsp chile powder
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cups hot sauce, preferably Frank's
2/3 cups plain yogurt
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 1/2 TBSP soy sauce

Trim any excess fat from the chicken. Rinse and pat dry. Place the chicken in a large bowl. Measure out 1/2 cup of marinade and reserve for sauce; refrigerate in a small container.

Pour the rest of the marinade over the chicken. Turn the pieces to make sure they are well-coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 and up to 24 hours.

About 1 hour before you plan to serve the chicken, preheat oven to 450 F. Remove the chicken from the marinade and arrange the pieces on a baking sheet. Discard the marinade.

Roast for 40 minutes, until the chicken is tender and lightly browned and the juices run clear when pricked with a knife. Transfer the pieces to a platter and keep warm.

While the chicken is roasting, make the sauce. Boil the chicken stock in a medium saucepan over high heat until reduced to half. Whisk in the reserved marinade and cook until just heated through. Do not boil or the yogurt will separate. Keep the sauce warm.

As soon as the chicken is done, preheat the broiler. Toss the chiles with oil to coat lightly and spread them out on a broiler rack or small baking sheet. Broil the chiles about 4 inches from the heat, turning them a couple of times until they are blistered and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

To serve, layer the chicken and chiles in a large platter. Pour the sauce around the chicken. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze over chicken.

Notes: This is supposed to be Morimoto's version of tandoori. Apparently he was influenced by frequent visits to his restaurant in Mumbai. The hot sauce gives it an enduring heat but his recommended brand isn't as sharp as some others. Very yummy. And, then, because I wanted to, I made Molten Chocolate Cake for dessert.

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January 4, 2008

Tuna with Lemongrass Sauce

Tuna with Orange, Ginger, and Lemongrass Sauce
from Bon Appetit (April 2000)

2 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons minced fresh lemongrass*
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/4 cup chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce

4 6- to 7-ounce tuna steaks
Additional olive oil
8 teaspoons sesame seeds

Whisk 2 tablespoons orange juice and cornstarch in small bowl to blend. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, ginger, lemongrass, garlic and crushed red pepper; sauté until onion is light golden, about 3 minutes. Add 3/4 cup orange juice, stock and soy sauce and boil until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 4 minutes. Whisk in cornstarch mixture; boil 1 minute. Remove from heat. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Brush tuna steaks with olive oil. Coat each side of each tuna steak with 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, pressing gently to adhere. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add tuna and cook until opaque in center, about 3 minutes per side. Bring sauce to simmer. Transfer tuna to plates. Serve with sauce.

*Available at Asian markets and in the produce section of some supermarkets.

Notes: This was good, but I wanted it to have a more pronounced citrus flavor. I'm thinking of adding some lemon zest next time around.

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