In Tomato Heaven with Cabbage Tabbouleh
I love tomatoes – served any way that is possible. I’ve been known to simply salt them and eat them like apples – one bite at a time (I always remember my Father eating them like that) or if they’re tiny then I just pop them in my mouth and enjoy their natural sweetness. Delicious! This recipe stopped me because of the beautiful colors from the tomatoes and mint AND it’s so easy. It would be great for a BBQ. It was created by Anissa Helou and published in bon appétit July 2014. Serves 8, all you need is a room full of friends and family to enjoy!
- 1 cup bulgur (not quick-cooking)
- ½ medium head green cabbage, cut into 1”-thick wedges, then very thinly sliced crosswise (about 4 cups)
- 1 small sweet onion (such as Vidalia), finely chopped
- 4 cups assorted small tomatoes, halved, quartered if large
- 3 cups coarsely chopped fresh mint
- ¾ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or ½ crushed red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt
Place bulgur in a large bowl and add 1½ cups boiling water. Let soak until softened and water is absorbed, 40–45 minutes.
Toss bulgur, cabbage, onion, tomatoes, mint, oil, lemon juice, and Aleppo pepper in a large bowl to combine; season with salt.
DO AHEAD:Tabbouleh (without oil and lemon juice) can be made 4 hours ahead. Toss with oil and lemon juice just before serving.
Time to Spice Up Your Lemonade
Many of my best party food memories are from Sunday BBQs when the kids were growing up so when the weather changes and it begins to get hot outside I start thinking about those BBQs and fun get-togethers. Then I try to figure out what would be a good adult-beverage for an afternoon outside with my friends and family now that everyone’s grown up. This adult lemonade will fit the bill perfectly this summer. It’s easy to make, isn’t too sweet (even with the St. Germain) and has bubbles which automatically make anything fun. Muddling is a bar technique used to release the essential oils from herbs and fruits to deliver the maximum impact on the drink. It’s basically gently crushing (with what amounts to a wooden pestle) the items against the glass – press and give a ½ turn of your wrist. This was created by Alison Roman and published in bon appétit June 2013. This recipe serves 6.
- 10 large sprigs tarragon
- 2 lemons, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3/4 cup gin
- 3/4 cup St-Germain (elderflower liqueur)
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- (1) 12-ounce can club soda
Muddle tarragon sprigs, lemon slices, and sugar in a large pitcher. Add gin, St-Germain, lemon juice, and club soda. Add ice and stir to combine. Serve over ice.
Food Memory in the Making: All you need is your favorite skillet.
This recipe for gnocchi on a skillet is so quick and easy. The big plus is that it looks beautiful on the plate – color in the dish is always important as we eat with our eyes. It reminds me of a favorite food memory – the first time I ever tasted Gnocchi – they were so soft and delicate. I found this recipe on a fabulous website, thekitchn.com, in a list called “23 Romantic Recipes” that appeared earlier this week. One of the best things about this recipe is that you can use store-bought gnocchi. And if you already have a skillet, you’re good to go! Gnocchi is a dough dumpling that is usually made from a coarse, purified wheat that’s also used in pasta and couscous, among other things. Add in just about any type of Italian sausage you like. And as for me, the spicier the better! The recipe also suggests finishing with grated fresh Parmesan cheese. You can do that, it’s not necessary if you’d rather not have cheese, but trust me it adds a wonderful taste to the dish. This recipe serves 4.
- 1 pound gnocchi
- Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 9 ounces (about 3 links) cooked chicken sausage, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick coins
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
- 1 to 2 ounces fresh basil, julienned (1/2 to 1 cup loosely packed)
- Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling; cook the gnocchi for 2 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and toss with a drizzle of olive oil.
- Heat a 10-inch or larger cast iron skillet over medium heat with a light drizzle of olive oil. Add the sausage and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until it begins to brown. Push the sausage into a pile at the edge of the skillet and turn the heat up to high.
- When the skillet is quite hot, add the tomatoes, skin down, crowding them in if necessary. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until they are blistered, then stir in with the sausage. Cook for 2 more minutes, until both tomatoes and sausage are slightly browned. Stir in gnocchi and cook just until all is combined, but the tomatoes have not broken down into sauce.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
Cooking tip: a cast iron skillet is preferred only because it will give you the best color and sear to the sausage and tomatoes but any skillet will work as long as it does NOT have a non-stick coating. That will interfere with the browning.
There are only three types of glasses that you absolutely need in your bar at home:
The old-fashioned short, squatty, wide base glass, that typically holds about 6-10 ounce drinks.
Then there’s the highball glass (often referred to as a tumbler) that will serve a an 8-12oz drink. These are taller than the old fashioned glass squat ones.
And the Martini glass – think James Bond here). An inverted cone bowl with a slender stem and wide flat base. This one can be anywhere from 6oz to the HUGE Margherita glasses you find at your neighborhood Mexican restaurant with a busy Happy Hour.
I Love Good Noodle Kugel
ctually, I love anything with noodles. Traditionally, we make kugel for Chanukah. Kugel is a traditional Ashkenazi Jewish recipe for a baked pudding or casserole – using either egg noodles or potatoes.
- 1 pound wide egg noodles
- 8 eggs
- 2 cups sugar (Mom uses 1 1/2 cups)
- 2 pounds full-fat cottage cheese, creamed or large curd
- 2 sticks (1 cup or 8 ounces) melted unsalted butter or margarine (Mom uses 1 1/2 sticks butter)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Dash of salt
- Optional: 2 cups canned cherry pie filling (Comstock is specified)
One thing I know is that sometimes the food that I’m craving is not at a restaurant close by – wherever I am. It doesn’t matter what city I’m in, whether I’m traveling or at home, this holds true. There are a lot of Italian restaurants close to where I live, including my favorite that is within walking distance from my house. But if I want Indian cuisine, I get in my car and drive about 15 minutes away to a favorite place in Culver City. If I want to try the newest American place, it might be downtown or Santa Monica or in one of the beach cities- all perhaps at least 30 minutes away. And, here’s the kicker, if I want great Dim Sum I drive over an hour.
That’s just the deal. Good food is worth the travel miles – it’s worth the gas and the traffic. If you want good food in a particular cuisine, you might need to drive. Just be prepared to do it. You can’t always find what you’re looking for close by. I’ve found that the drive is part of the whole dining experience. Gather your good friends together who are up for an adventure and GO. You won’t regret it. At least, I never do.
Easy Brined Rack-Roasted Chicken
I have no idea why, but I’ve always thought that a simple roast chicken would be so hard to do well. It’s one of the reasons I’ve never attempted it. I do crazy other stuff, but somehow this one thing has been scary for me. Well, that and I only like white meat chicken and have always felt that it would be a waste to make a whole chicken. But, I do have plenty of friends who love chicken legs, as well, so I really have no excuse other than my fear.
After reading the September 2015 issue of Bon Apetit, I have no excuses left. They featured a recipe from Dai Due in Austin, Tx – the Rack Roasted Chicken and it kills two birds (sorry!) with one stone. You get a perfectly roasted chicken AND amazing roasted vegetables all at the same time. Make sure that you use the Dai Due Master Brined Chicken recipe (found in the same issue) in this recipe. Brining a chicken adds huge flavor with very little effort. I’m going to make this for my next Sunday dinner with friends!
- 1½ pounds small fingerling potatoes
- 1 pound small shallots, peeled
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- [url href=”http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/dai-dues-master-brined-chicken”]Dai Due’s Master Brined Chicken[/url]
- Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 425°. Arrange potatoes and shallots in a roasting pan or baking dish just large enough to fit them all in a single crowded layer. Drizzle with oil and season with a little salt and pepper, then toss to coat. Place pan on lower rack, then set chicken, breast side up and tail facing oven door (this will make it easier to remove when it’s done), directly on rack above vegetables. Roast chicken and vegetables until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of chicken thigh registers 165°, 35–45 minutes.
- Insert a long-handled wooden spoon into the chicken’s cavity and carefully tilt the bird toward you to allow juices in cavity to drain into pan below. Remove vegetables from oven, then, using spoon, remove chicken from oven and place on top of vegetables. Let rest 10 minutes before carving.
Serving size: 2