Archive for May, 2011
There is nothing like the first BBQ of the season. And in my opinion it should be something simple, basic and yes, all American. Today we had just that. A classic Hamburger and Hot Dog BBQ in honor of Memorial Day Weekend. I went to our local farmer’s market near our house in upstate New York and bought ground beef from our own town of Stone Ridge, nitrate free uncured all beef hot dogs, classic potato salad and coleslaw fixings and away we went. My husband is a purest when it comes to grilling–no electric BBQ for him, just old fashioned charcoal briquettes that take a good 45 minutes to become that perfect grilling ash grey. To go along with our meal I brewed some camomile tea, loaded it up with fresh mint from my garden and made this refreshing iced tea that everyone loved. I made a slightly sweet coleslaw dressing to toss the slaw with and for the potato salad: cubed red potatoes, lots of fresh chopped herbs (also from my garden) and a light sour cream base. We sat down to lunch at about 4 PM – very late for lunch indeed, but very well worth the wait. It was devoured in a matter of a couple of minutes. Even my daughter, who calls herself a chickatarian (a chicken eating vegetarian) couldn’t resist not one but two hot dogs. And my husband who missed out on his Chicago Dog while we were in Chicago piled his hot dog high with onion, pickles and coleslaw. Very satisfying indeed. And now for a quick swim before we think about what’s for dinner!
Camomile Mint Tea
5 camomile tea bags
medium size bunch of fresh mint leaves
Steep tea and mint in boiled water for about 15 minutes. Pour into pitcher and chill. When thoroughly chilled, pour over ice. Sweeten if desired. Garnish with mint sprig and lemon slice. Makes about 5-6 glasses.
It has been said that you can judge a chef by how they cut an onion and how they roast a chicken. It just so happens that my favorite meal is a beautifully roasted chicken with a side of seasonal vegetables, I am not really a fan of gravy but I must admit I do indulge in the just out of the oven crispy skin.
My mother would share stories with me that it was tradition in her household for extended family members to come over for Sunday Dinner and my Nana would make roast chicken. I can think of nothing more delicious smelling than a chicken roasting in the oven.
The other wonderful thing about roast chicken is that leftovers can make a fabulous chicken salad or the quinisential chicken soup.
Follow this recipe for the the perfect meal for any day of the week but something about Sunday makes it that just that more special
The Perfect Roast Chicken
1 Free Range or Locally Farmed Chicken 2 1/2 -3 lbs
1 large onion
6 cloves of peeled garlic
2 t kosher salt
1 t ground black pepper
2 T olive oil
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary.
Clean the cavity of the chicken well. Place on a rack in a oven proof baker large enough to hold chicken. Salt the cavity with 1 t of salt and cut one lemon in half. Stuff lemon and herbs and garlic inside of cavity.
Cut onion into 8 wedges and place on bottom of pan. Coat chicken and onions with olive oil and sprinkle the rest of the salt and pepper over chicken and onions. Squeeze the other lemon over chicken and onions.
Preheat oven to 400 degress. Roast chicken for 1 1/2 hours. Let rest for 10 min and serve.
Write me and let me know if your family loves it as much as mine.
Twice a year at Kitchenette we change all our menus. We bring back seasonal favorites that have been on hiatus, we keep some of the tried and true and we always add a few new things. Ann and I wait a couple of weeks and then we visit both our uptown and downtown locations for dinner to try the food. We are always nervous as we wonder what will await us. We have gone a couple of times during the past years and had to do tweaking–the chicken needs more flavor, the tartar sauce more dill, the burger was overcooked. But not this time. This time at both places we were super impressed. Everything was just right. The new additions to our dinner menu like the ricotta stuffed crepes (our version of manicotti) or the crab cake were spot on. The Kitchenette favorites like the Macaroni and Cheese or Turkey Meatloaf were as good as they always have been. And the desserts–as usual to die for. But don’t just take our word for it, stop by for dinner and see for yourself. Whether you choose your standby favorite or venture on to a new item, we are sure Kitchenette will fit the bill.
I have planted my crops for this years harvest. I always like to try some new things from year to year. Rhubarb is on the new list as well as beets and potatoes. I love to watch the zucchini grow its beautiful blossoms and them develop into long green sqush. I also plant many varities of tomatoes, roma, beef steak, cherry and heirloom. Nothing is better than to pick a ripe tomato off the vine and eat it immediately when it is still warm from the sun. The bunnies often tend to get my collard greens and brussel spouts but how can you get mad at such a cute fuzzy creature. I hope everyone no matter if you have acres of land or just a flower pot on a window sill will plant something to watch grow. It is a wonder for our children to see and so much more delicious to eat.
We have been cooking eggs and making a living cooking eggs of every kind for over 17 years now. In fact, a friend of ours marvels at the fact that we have been so successful because, after all, we are just an Egg House. Well, we might be an Egg House but we are not just an Egg House. There is a definite art and philosophy that goes along with cooking eggs. First, once cracked, they must be very well beaten. It was once said to me that if you can’t hear the sound of the fork against the bowl when scrambling, then you are doing it wrong! Second, don’t mask the flavor and texture of the egg with milk or water and do not season your eggs until after they are cooked. The masterpiece of all egg dishes (except the souffle of course) would have to be the omelet. It is so complete once stuffed. Protein, vegetables even carbohydrates can be stuffed into an omelet to create the perfect little meal. And there probably aren’t too many things as versatile as the omelet. It can be stuffed with virtually anything–cheese, mushrooms, spinach, bacon. It’s only restrictions are your imagination.
Here is a recipe of my favorite omelette:
2 teaspoons butter
3 eggs, cracked into a bowl and very well beaten
2 pieces cooked crumbled bacon
1/4 cup sliced and cooked mushrooms
2 tablespoons shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
In a 9-inch skillet over medium flame melt butter. When it starts to sizzle pour in beaten eggs. Using a fork, pull the eggs as they start to cook fro the edge of the skillet into the center of the skillet. Continue doing this untill all the egg has set. Add the bacon, mushrooms and cheese to the center of the pan. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the omelette in half so that you have a semi-circle. Tilt your serving plate to touch edge of sillet and gently but quickly slide omelette onto plate. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with our homemade buttermilk biscuit (see recipe below) or some whole wheat toast.
I spend my weekends and any free time in my house in the country. It is located 90 miles north of NYC in the heart of the Hudson Valley. It is a feast for the eyes four seasons a year but my very favorite is the spring. Burst of color from forsythia and magnolia trees. Little brooks and streams are babbling with waters from melted snow and the birds are everywhere. Cardinals,blue birds,finchs and robins grace the sky. Now this is where my story starts. The winter had been particularly harsh in the country and piles of snow covered my property. When it was time to get rid of my holiday tree the yard had 2 feet of snow and I could not take it to the compost pile. There it sat on my porch growing browner and browner over the months. I was hoping a friend would help me drag it over to where it needed to go. Every weekend I would walk past it and mumble to myself how I really needed to move this eye sore. Here it is the 1st of May and I still have a dead tree on my porch. I put on my gardening gloves and was committed to doing this myself. Just as I approached the tree a female robin flew out of the branches and bolted away off my porch. I gently moved the branches from where she had been and there was the most perfectly and beautifully constructed robins nest with 3 brilliant blue eggs. I quickly called my daughter over to view this extraordinary sight. We both took pictures so we could show our luck to everyone.
I have made a career on cooking eggs and they are one of my most favorite meals so it does seem fitting that these lovely blue eggs will adorn my porch. The flip side is that my dead tree with be a fixture until these chicks are hatched and learn to fly!!
I have included a recipe for a Baked Egg Custard and a picture of Mrs. Robin’s eggs.
Baked Egg Custard with Tomatoes and Cheddar – serves 4-6
8 large farm fresh eggs
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 beefsteak tomatoes chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 cup grated parmesan
2 t Kosher salt
1 t ground black pepper
In a large bowl whisk together the eggs and the cream. Beat until eggs are frothy and cream is completely incorportated. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well. Prepare an oven proof dish that had a 6 cup capacity. Spray with a non stick spray and pour in custard mixture. Bake at 350 degress for 35 -40 min . The top will be golden brown and the eggs will be firm to the touch. Do not overbake as the eggs will not be creamy. This is a wonderful dish. It is like a crustless quiche and a huge crowd pleaser. It can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner .