Archive for the ‘Comfort food’ Category
This panini is Italian style, with broccoli rabe, sun-dried tomatoes, provolone, and Asiago cheese. Slice the bread thinly so that’s easy to eat. Enjoy!
|Broccoli Rabe-Provolone Panini|
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves, 1 sliced, 1 cut in half
- 3 cups chopped broccoli rabe
- 1 ½ teaspoons grated lemon zest
- Salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 4 oz. cremini mushrooms
- 4 slices rustic Italian bread
- 4 slices provolone cheese (deli sliced)
- 2 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 oz. Asiago cheese, thinly shaved
- Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a skillet. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add broccoli rabe; lower the heat and cook until tender, about 5 minutes (add a little water if the pan dries out). Remove from the pan. Mix in the lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
- In the same pan, heat 2 teaspoons oil; add the mushrooms and sauté until lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan.
- Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil; rub with garlic and sprinkle with salt. Toast in a skillet (preferably cast iron). Turn them over. On one piece, place a slice of provolone, half the broccoli rabe, half the mushrooms, half the tomatoes, another slice of provolone, and half the asiago. Turn the other piece over onto the filling. Press down and cook until cheese melts.
On Saturday February 25, 2012, I worked my last internship dinner at the James Beard House. I was so excited to get my hours completed so that I can get my diploma and move on. But I walked in there a little sad, too, knowing that it would be my last time, at least as a “student.”
This dinner was with Chef Jason Santos of Blue Inc. of Boston, and his theme was Modern Comfort Food. The idea was to take comfort foods, the kind many Americans remember from childhood, and “adultify” them—that is, to give them a modern take.
So, for example, one of the hors d’oeuvres was miniature corn dogs. But these dogs were made of kobe beef, which explains why I didn’t get that hot dog repeat action when I tasted it. I haven’t had a hot dog in more than 20 years, but the chef de cuisine, Brad, handed one to me after they were cooked, and everyone, including Chef Jason, was standing there watching. I felt obligated to taste it. But it wasn’t bad. Anyway, for that hors d’oeuvre, I cut up the hot dogs and skewered them on lollipop sticks, which I’d split in half for little mini munchies. Although, mixing the batter for the dipping of the dogs was the easiest thing I did all night, the frying was probably the most complicated because the Fryolater decided to be difficult on this night. Thankfully, I was not the one doing the frying.
The housemade ketchup was a flavorful sauce that was definitely a notch up from the store stuff. It was a nice balance of acid, sweet, and tomato flavor, and everyone was treated to a jar on their way out (I made sure to grab one for myself, too). The “pot roast” was actually short ribs, doughnuts were filled with fig jam, and…well, I really don’t know what the foie gras was supposed to represent but it was the focal point of a “PB&J”—it was served with a peanut purée, toast crumbs, and strawberry gelée. The Nutella powder on the seared scallops was another nod to childhood delights but served in an entirely new medium.
One hors d’oeuvre that was not on the menu was the deep-fried eggs. These eggs were soft-boiled, just until the whites were set, and I helped to very carefully peel them. This was a difficult task because they were truly just barely set and, therefore, so fragile that they broke open very easily. The other volunteer rolled them in flour, dipped them in beaten eggs, and coated them in panko breadcrumbs, and laid them out on a sheet pan. Later, they got lowered into Fryolater for a crisping. At that point, the hope was that they would not break in the oil. When diners cut into them, they got a yolky treat. Personally, I’m not a fan of runny yolks, but many people are and (I suppose) that was a delightful surprise for them.
I so wanted to try the pretzel rolls with mustard butter, but they all went like hot cakes. They were served as dinner rolls at the table but were made from pretzel dough, and the mustard was in place of butter. Needless to say, they were a big hit. They looked soooo good, too. Damn.
Probably the favorite part of the meal for most people was the soup course. This was Creamy Tomato–Goat’s Milk Soup with Pumpernickel Croutons and Micro-Basil, which was served in Campbell soup cans. No, really. The soup from the cans was dumped and was replaced with the homemade soup. I made the croutons, which I made really small to fit into the cans comfortably. The idea was to put a whimsical twist on an old favorite; people seemed to enjoy the whimsy.
The pre-dessert (which was a new concept for me) was a real throwback to after-school treats with a strawberry milkshake and jelly doughnut, and the dessert course was a holiday memory made up of Sticky Toffee Pudding with Gingerbread and Eggnog Ice Cream.
His wine director is Tricia LaCount, a really sweet person who mixed up some wild elixirs to accompany the menu. The most intriguing of her concoctions was the Amarena Cherry–Infused Vodka with Amarena Cherry and Peanut Butter Powder, which was essentially a liquid peanut butter and jelly sandwich (with a kick, of course). And the lingering flavor in the mouth really was like I’d just eaten a PB&J. I really would’ve loved to try her other drinks—especially the Chocolate Martini with Giant Marshmallow—but she had set up her bar in the atrium, removed from the kitchen, and I just didn’t have the time to chase anything down, so to speak.
And so went my last James Beard event. I walked out happy, proud, relieved, and sad. I really am proud of my work there and despite moments of sheer depression over things that I’d done not quite right, I think I did most things right. I’m going to look back on this experience fondly and, hopefully, as the start of a whole new chapter of my life.
Kobe Corn Dogs with Housemade Ketchup
Deviled Eggs with Tuna Tartare and Olive Tapenade
Buttermilk-Fried Chicken Fingers
The Anorexic Model — Pierre Ferrand Cognac with Lychee Bubbles, St. Germain, and Berry Garnish
For the Table — Pretzel Rolls and Mustard Butter
Caesar Salad with Crispy Egg, White Anchovies, Crème Fraîche Dressing, and Pickled Onions
Krupp Brothers Chardonnay 2009
Pan-Seared Scallops with Slab Bacon, Tabasco-Soaked Cherries, Nutella Powder, and Maple Aïoli
Krupp Brothers Black Bart’s Bride 2007
Creamy Tomato—Goat’s Milk Soup with Pumpernickel Croutons and Micro-Basil
Krupp Brothers Black Bart’s Bounty Syrah 2007
Foie Gras PB&J with Peanut Purée, Toast Crumbs, and Strawberry Gelée
I Know I Jamm Jamm — Amarena Cherry—Infused Vodka with Amarena Cherry and Peanut Butter Powder
Pot Roast with Carrot Purée, Blue Potatoes, Onion Ring Salad, and Horseradish
Krupp Brothers The Doctor 2007
Milkshake—Fig Jelly Doughnuts with Vanilla Bean Mascarpone
Sticky Toffee Pudding with Gingerbread, Eggnog Ice Cream, and Micro-Celery
Blonde Afro Puff — Chocolate Martini with Giant Marshmallow
Blueberry waffles. Belgian waffles. Buttermilk waffles. They all sound good, right? Waffles have become an American breakfast classic. And today is National Waffle Day. Happy, happy, joy, joy!
Waffles may seem like a contemporary invention, but they’ve actually been around quite a long time, some say as early as the ancient Greek period. The word waffle is derived from the word wafer. According to legend, during the Middle Ages, bakers wanted to compete with monasteries, where communion wafers were made, and came up with the waffle.
Waffles received a marketing boost when Thomas Jefferson bought a waffle iron in France and began serving waffles in the White House. Culinary history tells us that he began a waffle trend, and “waffle parties” became de rigueuracross the U.S. Belgian waffles became popular after they were introduced at the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens, New York.
The waffle iron was invented by Cornelius Swarthout of Troy, New York. He patented his “device to bake waffles” on August 24, 1869.
In the interest of keeping things healthy, here is a recipe for “Healthy Waffles,” courtesy of Waffle-Recipe.com. Enjoy!
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups skim milk or water
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat a waffle iron, and coat with cooking spray if necessary.
2. Sift dry ingredients – flour, flax seed, wheat germ, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
3. Beat eggs in a separate bowl.
4. Add remaining liquid ingredients – milk, oil, applesauce, and vanilla together and whisk until well blended.
5. Add liquid ingredients to flour mixture and stir until smooth.
6. Pour batter into waffle iron and cook until crisp and golden brown.
Hi, gang. January is National Soup Month. And why wouldn’t it be? In the summer, we may scream for ice cream, but in winter, soup is what really hits the spot. It’s warming, comforting, and re-energizing.
Frankly, I like soup any time of the year. Some look at me oddly when I eat it in the summer, but the fact is that eating hot soup (or any hot food) in summer actually adjusts your internal body temperature, making external heat more bearable. Then again, a lovely chilled soup can be quite refreshing in the sweltering summer heat.
Hi, all. I hope everyone had a fun, delicious Thanksgiving. Now, with the turkeys out of the way, the baking season begins and, as you can imagine, every day in December is some food holiday, most of which are for baked goods. December 3 was National Apple Pie Day. Practically an official national dessert, apple pie can be found everywhere, from small, out-of-the-way diners to fancy bistros. (In fact, Farmer’s Almanac readers voted apple pie as the national dessert.) I can’t imagine that there is anyone in this country who has not had apple pie at least once in their life. It’s like a rite of passage to sample a piece of the soft, sweet apples dusted with cinnamon and nutmeg and blanketed in a flaky, buttery double crust. It is on the list of American comfort food.
Apple pie also the kind of dessert that has no season or holiday associated with it—people will bake and eat apple pie any time of year. You will find it served just as readily at a Fourth of July barbecue as on a Thanksgiving table.
Hi, gang. Before I get into anything else, I just want to mention that I got a really cool review over at Savvy Vegetarian. Go check it out. YAY!
I’m very pleased to introduce my second guest blogger this week. Her name is Mary Griggs and she has an awesome food blog―very cleverly called Mouth Brothels―where she talks about all things food-related (a woman after my own heart) and offers fabulous restaurant reviews. She’s done me the honor of writing something up, so let’s get to it. Here’s Mary with her blog (and recipes) on grits.
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Hi, all. I’m away from home as I write this and I’m looking out the window at snow. Gee, snow, imagine that. It seems like winter just doesn’t want to let us out of its icy grip this year. I mean, here it is March, and instead of enjoying the spring air, I’m watching snow cover the ground. But the past few years have been freaky, haven’t they?