recipes

Recipe: Orange Bread

My aunt recently gave me a whole trove of recipes from my late grandmother. Hand-written on index cards, they contain some midcentury curiosities we would probably never want to eat again (deviled egg casserole, anyone?), but also a few gems that might otherwise be forgotten.

As soon as I came across this recipe for orange bread, I remembered eating it as a child in her kitchen, though that was a long time ago now. My grandmother had a meat grinder bolted to the kitchen table for grinding her own hamburger meat. This recipe used that grinder on orange rind to mince it into small pieces. (Now everyone would freak out about E. coli before doing that.) You can do the same with a food processor. Whether or not you want to “test for doneness with broom straw,” as her original recipe suggests, is up to you. (more…)

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Recipe: Chicken Fricassee with Mushrooms and Leeks

One blustery day in Paris I was craving French comfort food – not so much a specific thing, but the idea of it. There would be chicken and leeks and mushrooms and a very French sauce.

We were renting an apartment with a kitchen, but I didn’t want to buy a bunch of groceries we’d just have to throw away later, so the recipe would have to be simple. So this is a chicken fricassee-slash-coq au vin blanc, made without chicken broth or lots of extraneous ingredients. Instead, white wine, butter and cream do all the work. Serve with rice for a comforting meal with a French accent.  (more…)

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The Copycat Chef: Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage

This weekend, the Mignorelli stall at the Union Square Greenmarket featured a sign that read:

Winter Over
Broccoli Rabe $3.50

I don’t know if that’s really the particular variety of broccoli rabe, but thank God this long New York winter is over. It’s time to get cooking with one of the first non-root-vegetable vegetables to finally make an appearance at the markets. One dish we’ve seen at a lot of NYC restaurants recently is the Apuglia standard of orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage. Though it is often priced at $12 and up on menus, it’s ridiculously easy and inexpensive to make at home. (more…)

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The Copycat Chef: Slow Cooker Green Turkey Chili

It’s not always a restaurant I’m copying as the Copycat Chef – sometimes it’s a friend. One Sunday afternoon over a Ravens game, fellow Baltimoron Twann described a delicious green chicken chili he was going to make later that day. I immediately thought of it on the day after Thanksgiving when faced with pounds and pounds of leftover turkey. The recipe, adapted here for a slow cooker from Spark Recipes, works well with many types of leftover roasts, so keep it in mind when faced with your own holiday leftovers. They can be transformed into a spicy tomatillo chili and frozen for dinner throughout the winter.  (more…)

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The Copycat Chef: Toffee Macadamia Nut Cookies

This recipe came about after I ate a particularly memorable cookie made with toffee chips and macadamia nuts a long time ago at City Bakery, where they have the most amazing chocolate chip cookies. The recipe is easy – it’s basically a riff on the classic Nestle Tollhouse recipe, which you can alter to include all kinds of things instead of just chocolate chips. The hardest part is finding the key ingredient, Skor bars, crazy popular in the ’80s but now limited to just a few drugstores. I found some at CVS. (more…)

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Recipe: DIY Maryland Crab Feast

For some non-Marylanders, the task of opening and eating a hardshell crab can be daunting. But for the truly obsessed, eating them is just the beginning. What if you didn’t just steam and eat the crabs yourself, but caught them from the Chesapeake Bay for a DIY crab feast? This weekend we took the boat out with my brother and his wife, an experienced crabbing team, and learned how to catch them.  (more…)

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Recipe: How to Roast a Pig

How to Roast a Pig

Last Saturday we had the pleasure of heading out to Brooklyn for my friend Matt Gross‘s annual pig roast. As you might imagine, roasting a pig is no small endeavor. But if you have the right equipment, it can be done – and chances are you will have many friends willing to help you cook it and eat it.  (more…)

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Recipe: Mom's Pie Crust, Food Processor Version

I gave my mom a food processor for Christmas last year, but I couldn’t really sell her on the whole food processor idea until I showed her how to use it to make pie crust. This time consuming mother-daughter holiday project, which usually involves two blunt dinner knives, a can of Crisco, billowing clouds of flour, and a generous pinch of cursing, could be much easier if we just made the dough in the food processor.

Fast forward to this summer, when the beloved writer Nora Ephron died and her NYT obit listed the things she once wrote that she would miss most out of life:

“Taking a bath

Coming over the bridge to Manhattan

Pie.”

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Recipe: Strawberry White Wine Punch

One of my favorite offerings at the Swedish midsummer festival is the delicious, refreshing and affecting strawberry wine punch served at Gigino. But because of our lamentably retro liquor laws, it can only be enjoyed on the restaurant patio, not in the park, even though the two are part of the same property.

This year I took matters into my own hands and made my own strawberry white wine punch, based on this recipe from Epicurious, to serve at a picnic in the park. I tweaked it by adding sparkling white wine and an interesting liqueur I had lying around the house, Marie-Framboise raspberry cognac. You can buy it online or substitute kirsch, another Scandinavian staple. Adding flavored cognac or brandy nudges the drink closer to sangria, but it still tastes predominantly of berries. There is no need to use expensive wine or champagne, since you’re just adding sugar to it. Put it in an unmarked container, serve in opaque cups, and if anyone asks, it’s lemonade with strawberries in it.  (more…)

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Recipe: New Old-School Meatballs

Recently I’ve been fascinated by the Meatball Shop. I’ve never actually eaten there, because there’s always a line out the door, and every time the owners open a new branch, an additional line forms out of an additional door, with no impact on still crowded original Meatball Shop. And they don’t take reservations, which to me is not a comforting quality for a comfort food place. Still. The place is insanely popular. (more…)

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Recipe: Slow-Cooker Beef Barbacoa Tacos

I’ve been craving homemade tacos ever since Tanya Steel, former model and EIC of Epicurious and Gourmet Live, told Fashion Week Daily that her favorite Epicurious recipe is this one for pork tacos made in a slow cooker. When five friends were coming over for dinner, the opportunity presented itself to cook up a whole slew of tacos. But true confession: I really love Chipotle’s beef barbacoa tacos. Surely there had to be a way to make this style of tacos in a slow cooker to make the whole dinner less of a hassle.

I took a recipe from California’s Café Pasqual and merged it with the Epicurious version. You can put the beef in the slow cooker before leaving for work in the morning and finish it when you get home, or even make the whole thing a day ahead of time. Either way, it’s set it and forget it.  (more…)

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The Copycat Chef: Asparagus with Deep-Fried Egg

asparagus-egg-recipe-1

This spring, ABC Kitchen served up a delectable appetizer of wood-grilled asparagus topped with a crispy, runny, just-slightly-spicy deep fried egg. It’s the sort of miracle work with eggs that you’d expect from a James Beard award-winning restaurant, but when we started craving it afterwards, we wondered if there a way to recreate this dish at home. (more…)

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The Copycat Chef: Garlic and Rosemary Lamb Chops

In springtime I always start craving lamb with garlic and rosemary. But if you don’t have eight or more people to feed and several hours to spare, there’s not much reason to roast a whole leg of lamb. The solution: lamb chops for two, marinated and grilled for a short amount of time with the same intense flavor. This recipe is just as good for a casual weeknight meal as it is for a special occasion like Easter.

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The Copycat Chef: Roasted Vegetable Antipasto

One of the best things about many Milanese restaurants is the antipasti bar. You pay one fixed, economical price for a buffet plate full of vegetables, olives, calamari, salumi and cheeses, rather than order antipasti item by item as in New York. It’s a much cheaper and easier way to get a mealtime supply of veggies.

Antipasti Plate, Primafila

When I came back to the U.S., I couldn’t find a recipe that replicated the roasted zucchini in the delicious antipasti plate at Primafila, a little pizza place on a side street off the Duomo, pictured above. This recipe for a mix of roasted vegetables came close, but here’s a revised recipe, simplified further, which can be served as an antipasto or as a contorno. All fresh vegetables need is a little olive oil, lemon, pepper and salt to become the perfect side dish.

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The Copycat Chef: Penne with Ricotta and Pancetta

Down the street from me in Milan was a little neighborhood trattoria, La Ragazza, that served the most delicious pasta. The rich pancetta and tomato sauce in their signature penne dish included lots of creamy, fresh ricotta – a combination you don’t see often stateside. The only problem was, when I returned from Milan, La Ragazza was no longer down the street from me, and I was still craving their house specialty. So I set to Googling, and found the traditional recipe from an Italian pasta blog, Pasta Recipes Made Easy. Success! Here it is re-envisioned with American measurements and a few pasta-making tricks of my own.

La Ragazza’s penne is housemade and dried. If you can’t find this at a specialty pastaria near you (there are many more in Italy than here), use artisanal-quality packaged pasta.  (more…)

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