Life is what happens when you’re making other plans, right? And so my little dinner party last night never happened. My star guest was feeling very under the weather and begged for another invite. No problem. Instead, Bob (the one writing Julia Child’s biography) and I decided to attend the book launch at Chelsea Market for Amanda Hesser, Melissa Clark and Dorie Greenspan. Three women I admire tremendously. I am close friends with Dorie whose new book Around My French Table is a gem. Ditto Melissa Clark’s charming new book and Amanda’s awesomely updated New York Times Cookbook. All three divas signed their books and Dorie made cookies to give away.
The event was a “charity do” with proceeds going to the impressive “Wellness in the Schools” program. Lots of chefs were there to not only lend support but to ply with us with some tasty offerings — we loved the pizza from Frankie’s 347 — made with puntarelle, anchovy and lemon. And the pickled devilled eggs from Gramercy were interesting as well — sour, salty and sweet. Delicious yogurt-coated lamb meatballs, too. Saw lots of food friends — Molly O’Neill, Florence Fabricant, Bill Telepan, and chef Michael Anthony from Gramercy. Hundreds of young passionate foodies as well — drinking beer and egg creams from Russ & Daughters — vigorously stirred by Nicki — the beautiful proprietress of the famed appetizing store. No wine though — so Bob and I bought a bottle of Cotes du Rhone at the Chelsea Wine Vault next door and divvied it out to anyone who was in need — like us.
So who ate the “opinionated way to roast a chicken” and the Moroccan-inspired carrot puree? My husband and daughter, naturally. She also enjoyed the Valrhona chocolate bar from the goody bag I brought home.
And speaking of chocolate…
Want to try a fascinating flavor combo? Try this one from Radically Simple…
Chocolate, Parmigiano-Reggiano & Red Grapes
I use this tasting plate as a “pre-dessert.” It stimulates conversation as well as your brain. Use 62 percent semisweet chocolate. Tasted with the grapes, the chocolate takes on cherry overtones; with the cheese, it finds a soul mate, and the cheese brings out wine-y notes in the chocolate.
4-ounce piece Parmigiano-Reggiano
4-ounce bar 62% top-quality semisweet chocolate
4 small clumps red seedless grapes
Arrange 1 ounce of cheese and 1 ounce chocolate on each of 4 plates; add grapes. Serves 4