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Game Day Drumettes

2 Feb

photo(30)According to Claire Joyes, editor of Monet’s cooking journals, Monet had “perfected a ceremony” for his favorite fowl. He would remove the wings, sprinkle them with nutmeg, ground pepper and coarse salt, and hand them over to his cook to be flame-broiled. Since duck wings can be very tough, the James Beard Foundation blog has a recipe suggesting multi-step cooking.

Here’s a recipe that younger Super Bowl fans can help make. Not quite wings, but just as delicious.

Crazy-Leg Drumsticks (Drumettes)
From Kids Cook 1-2-3 (Bloomsbury, 2006)

The nice herby taste comes from pesto—an uncooked Italian sauce made from fresh basil, garlic and pignoli nuts. You can find it in any supermarket. A dusting of Parmesan cheese turns into a crispy coating.

1/3 cup prepared pesto
4 chicken wings and 4 drumettes
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Spread pesto all over each chicken leg to cover. Sprinkle cheese all over leg (except the bottom where they will sit on the baking sheet—you don’t want the cheese to burn). Lightly press the cheese onto the chicken so it will stick. Add freshly ground black pepper.

3. Lightly spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Place legs on baking sheet.

4. Bake 35 minutes until chicken is crispy and golden. Makes 4 servings.

Super Bowl Recipe Countdown (Day 3)

30 Jan

wingsRosemary-Lemon Chicken Wings (From Little Meals, Little, Brown 1993)

Move over, Buffalo; here’s a Tuscan-style recipe for chicken wings bathed in olive oil, rosemary and garlic, resting on a bed of escarole. The marinade makes a quick dressing for the crunchy, bitter greens.

16 chicken wings (about 2 1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup fruity olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons whole fresh rosemary leaves
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 head of escarole
8 thin lemon slices

Remove wing tips and discard. Cut chicken wings in half. In a bowl, mix oil, lemon juice, bay leaves, rosemary, garlic, salt, and Tabasco sauce for marinade. Add chicken wings and cover. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove wings from marinade. Pat dry. Put on baking tray and cook in oven for 25 minutes. Put under broiler for 5 minutes until golden brown.

Heat marinade just until it boils.

Line platter with escarole leaves. Pile chicken pieces in center. Drizzle platter with warm marinade and garnish with lemon slices.

Super Bowl Recipe Countdown (Day 2)

29 Jan

miso 008Miso-Ginger Chicken with Scallions

I created this recipe years ago for Real Food magazine and didn’t remember how good it was! I made it the other night for “the food maven” (I mean who isn’t these days?) and a bunch of friends. Love at first bite…and the second…and as delicious the next day right from the fridge. I even brought a few pieces to a neighbor. (A rare thing for me to do.) It is a great do-ahead dish because it marinates for at least 8 hours and bakes at a super-high temperature for under 20 minutes.  (And a flash under the broiler).  That’s it!  I bought two large packages of small chicken thighs (24!) and piled them high on a platter when they were all dark golden brown and crispy.  A shower of slivered scallions finished the dish.  It is the white miso (known as shiro miso) that tenderizes the flesh to make it silky and lush.  Miso is also a “flavor carrier” and helped the garlic and fresh ginger permeate every crevice. Shiro miso, and mirin (sweetened rice wine) can be found in Asian markets, health food stores and most supermarkets.  Great with beer, sauvignon blanc, chilled sake, and even beaujolais. The recipe is easily doubled and tripled and is great hot, warm, room temperature, or chilled.

1/2 cup shiro miso
3/4 cup mirin
4 large cloves garlic
3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
12 chicken thighs (with skin, bone-in)
8 scallions

Put miso, mirin, garlic and ginger in food processor. Process until smooth. Put chicken in a large bowl and pour marinade over chicken. Finely chop white and green part of 5 scallions and stir into chicken. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours. Preheat oven to 450. Transfer chicken with some of its marinade to rimmed baking sheet. Bake 18 to 20 minutes (depending on size of thighs) and then broil 1 to 2 minutes until dark golden brown and cooked through (do not overcook.) Finely sliver remaining scallions and scatter on top.  Serves 6

Wow, Thanks!

25 May

Okay, so once in a while I look at my Amazon reviews.  To date there are 45 reviews for Radically Simple with an average just short of five stars.  And honestly, I don’t know more than three of the people who wrote the reviews.  But just this morning (and it’s still very early), I gazed upon a review written by someone I want to know!  Written on May 20, 2011, and titled, “Great Weeknight Cookbook,” it goes as follows:

“I am a grad student, wife, new mom, and teacher so my days are pretty packed but cooking dinner is very important to me.  This cookbook gets five stars because it has so many delicious recipes that can be easily prepared on busy weeknights.  The cookbook also gets five stars because I am a foodie and want to prepare meals that taste complex and are different from the standard fare.  The Poulet au Creme Fraiche in particular was super delicious.  I have made many chicken recipes that call for some variation of cream and mustard, but never had I made chicken that came out so moist and with the skin so crisp and wonderful.  There are a few recipes that call for spice mixtures such as ras el hanout and za’atar and I think these recipes are what some reviewers are complaining about when they say some ingredients are hard to find.  But in reality they are easy to make oneself with spices that normally can be found in a supermarket, buy on-line, or if you live somewhere big enough for a spice shop or international store just buy in person.  I live in a very small town and these spices are always in my pantry.  UPDATE:  I just made the Perciatelli with French Breakfast Radishes, Bacon and Greens.  This was soooooo good, this recipe alone makes the book 5 stars and a must have.” 

With many thanks to AnthroWA, she’s some busy lady, for taking the time to write a review, and for taking the time to “cook the book.”   I haven’t made the chicken for awhile so guess what I’m cooking tonight?  And tomorrow?  (Answer: Perciatelli).

Poulet au Creme Fraiche
(adapted from Radically Simple)
Super succulent!  My favorite accompaniments are steamed basmati rice to sop up the juices and a simple salad of watercress and orange dressed with walnut oil.

1 cup creme fraiche
1/4 cup strong French Dijon mustard
1 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, plus more for garnish
1 large garlic clove
3-1/2-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces

Stir together the creme fraiche and mustard in a large bowl.  Add the thyme, garlic pushed through a press, and 1 teaspoon salt.  Add the chicken and mix well.  Set aside at room temperature for 2 hours or up to 6 hours in the refrigerator.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Transfer the chicken, with some of the marinade still clinging, to a rimmed baking sheet.  Roast for 45 minutes, until golden and cooked through.  Serve sprinkled with thyme.  Serves 4

Korean Fried Chicken

8 Apr

Last night, quite unexpectedly, we went to KFC for dinner.  Not the one you’re thinking of but… the other one, known as KyoChon Fried Chicken.  At the corner of 32nd street and Fifth Avenue, it begins, or ends, one of New York’s youngest, hippest, most bustling night crawls lined with smartly-designed restaurants, tea rooms, tiny clothing boutiques, and the Korean equivalent of Whole Foods. “Korea Town” may not be very big, but it is very exciting.  As you enter KyoChon, you immediately feel 10 years younger (or older) depending on whether you’re my husband or daughter.  It is très chic with woven plastic walls, moody lighting, ultra-modern seating, cool colors, with fabulous music videos pulsating on the walls as you await your Korean beer or technicolor soju cocktail. Soju is a distilled beverage, generally rice-based, native to Korea whose taste (or lack thereof) is similar to vodka. You LOL as you read what it says on the door as you arrive, that “only 2 people in the world know the recipe.”  One must be Mr. Won-Kang Kwon, who invented the double-dipped frying technique for supernal crispy chicken in 1991.  The other person is probably his investor. It’s funny to think that only 2 people know about it because Mr. Kwon’s single humble restaurant now occupies 1000 locations in Korea, China and the U.S.  Those guys really know how to keep a secret!

Drumsticks and wings are the highlights because they cook quickly.  Often they have a thin coating of rice flour or potato starch or corn starch mixed with various Asian spices.  Sometimes they have no coating at all. They are fried twice – the first time only partially cooked, the fat shaken off, and then left to rest a bit.  Then they are fried again.  Partial frying means that the chicken parts don’t need to spend as long in the hot fat for the inside to cook while the outside dries out and darkens. The result is an ultra-thin, ultra-crispy crust that – at its best – shatters when you bite into it.  It is precisely the opposite of Kentucky Fried Chicken, which comes encased in a thick breading that frequently is crisp on the outside and gummy where the breading meets the chicken. This method was, reportedly, introduced in the U.S. by a chain called Bon Chon, but they’ve been overtaken by a company called KyoChon.  Not all KFC joints adhere to the crackling crust ethos and sometimes you find the chicken parts coated with some sweet and gooey substance. Some fry-shops give you a choice of dipping sauces, some offer a choice of hot or not, some season their birds with nothing but salt and pepper.  So there’s no real orthodoxy – just addictive chicken.   And it’s authentic, and educational, to order a side dish of pickled daikon, sliced paper-thin and strewn with black sesame seeds –it’s “just the thing” to temper the very spicy (if you wish), delicious fiery glaze.  Order half of your chicken with it and half without.  So much fun.  See you there.

KyoChon – 319 5th Avenue.  NY, NY  212-725-9292

Chicken So Good, It Melts In Your Mouth

1 Mar

Last week I had lunch with an expert.  I don’t, and can’t say this about most people because most of them are just like me — barely approaching “expert” in the field(s) we’ve deemed our life’s work.  But this expert truly is.  She’s also great fun to be with and very smart.  Robin Adelson, whose blog I wholeheartedly recommend, is, as she states, “first and foremost a mom.”  But she is also the Executive Director of the Children’s Book Council, the national trade association of children’s book publishers, and Every Child a Reader, the industry’s literacy foundation.  Impressive, right?  She also has three beautiful daughters (one of whom went to middle school with my beautiful daughter) yet finds the time to read every book she recommends and write a philosophical blog to boot.  A lawyer-turned-children’s literacy advocate, Robin’s expertise also finds its way to the kitchen.  She is a voracious hostess who has strong opinions about food so, when she speaks, I listen.  Needless to say, I was delighted to learn that her new favorite “go-to dish” for family and friends is my “Almost Confit” Chicken, adapted from Radically Simple. My recipe serves four.  Robin makes it in huge disposable aluminum roasting pans to serve 40!  She recommends it highly because it tastes very rich and fattening, yet there is no additional fat added to the recipe. It is astonishingly simple to prepare and you might even call it child’s play.   Two of my books, Kids Cook 1-2-3 and Eat Fresh Food: Awesome Recipes for Teen Chefs (published by Bloomsbury) reflect my burgeoning interest in making every child a cook.  Maybe Robin and I can work on this together.  Reading and cooking have always been (still are!) two of my favorite things.  Both lifelong skills and lifetime companions.

Why not make this tonight with your child(ren)?  Confit is a preparation in which a protein is cooked in its own fat or in copious amounts of oil, after which it is usually crisped. Here is a much healthier approach but one that yields exceedingly succulent results–so good, it melts in your mouth.

“Almost Confit” Chicken with Melted Garlic

8 large bone-in chicken thighs, 8 ounces each
14 large garlic cloves, peeled
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
6 fresh bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
freshly ground nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Put the chicken in a large bowl.  Press 2 garlic cloves through a press and rub into the chicken.  Add the thyme leaves, bay leaves, allspice, white pepper, and 1-1/2 teaspoons salt.  Grate some nutmeg over the chicken and toss.  Place the chicken in a roasting pan, skin side down.  (I use an enamel paella pan.)  Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake 45 minutes.  Turn the chicken skin side up and scatter the remaining garlic cloves around.  Re-cover and bake 1 hour longer.  Turn on the broiler. Uncover the chicken and broil several inches from the heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the skin is crispy.  Discard the bay leaves and garnish with thyme sprigs.  Serves 4

V8 Soup

5 Feb

Two nights ago, I gave a small dinner party at my house.  Although the style of my cooking has become rather simple, the aggregate of dishes and the worry behind cooking for the man who is writing Julia Child’s newest biography (to coincide with her 100th birthday next year) and the general manager of what-will-surely be one of New York’s hippest hotels, the Hotel Williamsburg (in Williamsburg!), the pressure was on.  Along with their wives, we were a group of six, chatting about world events, the mystery of Mustique, how courses on the Beatles have became mainstream in American colleges (our guest Bob also wrote the definitive book on the Beatles), and the journey of finding a chef for the hippest new hotel in New York.  We sipped those apple ginger-pear martinis I keep talking about, ate white hummus, and “devilled pecans” and tried to guess what-the-heck was in the tea cup I served in the living room before sitting down to dinner. More about that in a moment.  Dinner began with a dish of “tiradito” the Peruvian equivalent of sashimi but with a shimmering sauce of lemon, garlic and oil.  It was accompanied by a tiny timbale of potato salad vinaigrette, a handful of lightly dressed arugula and bits of radicchio (remember when that was exotic?) and a drizzle of beet vinaigrette. The main course was “My Opinionated Way to Roast a Chicken!” with (a foaming chive-garlic butter sauce), Moroccan carrot puree, steamed spinach and a roasted garlic custard.  Dessert?  A slice of my Venetian Wine Cake (with rosemary, red wine and olive oil — and it is the ONLY recipe I don’t divulge), with lemon-buttermilk sorbet, pineapple flan and creme fraiche.  To drink?  Rose champagne with the first course and a bottle of almost-impossible-to-find Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon 1986 with the chicken.

But the real intrigue centered around the soup in the tea cup.  I called it “Tomato-Anisette Cappuccino.”   Dearly loved, everyone took a guess at identifying its ingredients.  But no one would ever make a soup from V8 juice, anisette, and fish sauce, but me.  It was topped with salted whipped cream and snippets of fresh tarragon.  And it takes only five minutes to make.

Tomato-Anisette Cappuccino
You can make this with “original” or spicy V8.  If using the original, you might want to add a few splashes of chipotle Tabasco for more intrigue.

1/2 cup heavy cream
4 cups V8 (or other tomato-vegetable juice cocktail)
1/4 cup anisette liqueur
1 teaspoon Thai fish sauce
snippets of fresh tarragon for garnish

Using a wire whisk, whip the cream with a large pinch of salt until thick but not stiff. Set aside.  Put the V8 in a large saucepan.  Bring to boil, lower heat to medium and add the anisette.  Simmer for 3 minutes.  Stir in the fish sauce, salt, pepper and hot sauce, if using.  Pour into soup cups and top with whipped cream and tarragon. Serves 4 to 6

Note:  And speaking of fish sauce, tomorrow morning I will give you the world’s simplest recipe for fabulous “devilled pecans” — perfect for Super Bowl munching. Make sure you have Thai fish sauce, pecan halves, and sweet butter at the ready.

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