RECIPES AND MORE FROM AN URBAN KITCHEN

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Wanderers


August has been a complete whirlwind of European adventures, and one of the best months to date. We've spent long, warm, sunny days in Norway (both Stavanger and Oslo), France (Cannes, Monaco, and Antibes), and right here in beautiful Switzerland, doing some hiking, lake-lounging, and wandering through the magical forests and wide open fields that seem to be everywhere. It's hard to believe there's just over a week left of summer, which is extra motivation to soak in and really appreciate every precious second. I'll be back in NYC by Labor Day, but not before a couple of jaunts to Barcelona and Amsterdam to cap off this hectic, perfect season.

Here are some favorite iPhone snaps from the month. They're in this order, if anyone's curious: Monaco, Antibes (at the Hotel du Cap Eden Roc), Bern, Stavanger, Oslo, Zurich, and Mount Pilatus. xo

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Summer Pasta Salad


Some of my most favorite summer memories revolve around pasta salad. Pasta salad is to summer what turkey is to fall. Or something like that. I've been working from Zurich, Switzerland for the last couple of weeks, where the sun is shining and "lake life" is something that people here do on the reg. Lake Zurich is right in the middle of the city and it features icy cold, crystal clear water paired with many a grassy knoll to spread a blanket out on to while away whole morning and afternoons, and sometimes evenings too. It's not uncommon to see very serious-looking businessmen and women come meandering by after work, strip down, and jump right into the water. It's a good life out here.

With a body of water as good as that, one really needs a good pasta salad recipe, since one can rarely be persuaded to move one's ass once firmly planted lakeside. So, I went to the market, picked up a batch of the freshest, ripest summer tomatoes on the block and tinkered around in the kitchen until I came up with this beauty of a salad. It includes a lot of my most-loved ingredients including the aforementioned tomatoes, Lucques olives, soft goat cheese, and loads of herbs. I made a nice, big batch, most of which is sitting in separate tupperware containers in the fridge as I type, waiting for tomorrow, when I'll tote one of those babies with me to the lake to nibble on all day long. Doesn't get much better. xo

Summer Pasta Salad
Ingredients:
12 oz. of your favorite small pasta (i.e. penne, orecchiette, et al.)
3 cloves garlic, skin on
12 oz. (or a bit more!) cherry tomatoes, a mix of colors
6 oz. crumbled goat cheese (feta or any soft goat cheese)
1 handful of your favorite olives, pitted
2 tablespoons fresh chives
1 handful fresh basil
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil. Throw in the pasta and cloves of garlic, boil until al dente, drain and run under cold water to cool. Put the pasta into a large bowl, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and toss to keep from sticking. Put the garlic to one side to use for the dressing.

Chop the tomatoes, olives, chives, and basil into pieces about half the size of the pasta and add to the bowl along with the goat cheese and mix all together. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins and mash into a paste with the back of a wooden spoon. Place into a small bowl and add the vinegar, oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle this over the salad and mix well.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

CA Creative on Career Contessa


Very honored to have been featured on Career Contessa! Read all about my digital agency, CA Creative, and other career stuff, right this way: CLICK ME!


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Vineyard Chicken


A couple of months ago, I flew to New Orleans for the wedding of one of my best friends in the world, and spent the majority of my time there eating. Surprise! I ran rampant around that gorgeous city chugging chicory coffee, plowing through a scary number of steaming hot beignets, nibbling on praline bacon, buying multiple bottles of hot sauce, and swigging Everclear slushies at inappropriately early times of day (when on Bourbon Street....).

By the time I left, I was thoroughly in love with the place, and convinced it was one of the greatest food cities on the planet. And so, of course, I picked up a spiral bound copy of River Road Recipes, the community cookbook compiled by The Junior League of Baton Rouge, and dedicated to Louisiana cooking. The book was first published in 1959, so the recipes in there reflect that time period, and are satisfyingly simple and, at times, downright odd (anyone in the mood for some turtle soup?). I'd forgotten how good old-school, homespun cooking could be, and how fun it was to read recipes that sound like they could've been scribbled on a piece of notebook paper by your grandmother.

This Vineyard Chicken, submitted by a Mrs. Ronaldo Coco, gets it's winsome name from the white wine that infuses it, and it is honestly one of the best chicken preparations in recent memory. It's also dead easy--the instructions don't exceed six sentences--yet, somehow gives you a batch of fall-off-the-bone tender chicken nestled in a delicious sauce made of wine, paprika, lemon, and butter. That sauce is like gold--spoon it over your rice or potatoes or whatever you may be serving this dish with.

You go, Mrs. Ronaldo Coco.

Vineyard Chicken
Ingredients:
1 3 lb. chicken, butchered into 8 pieces (or 3 lbs worth of legs and thighs)
1 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
3 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup minced parsley

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Place chicken, skin side down, in large casserole. Blend all other ingredients together and pour over the chicken. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove the foil and discard. Turn chicken skin side up; increase temperature to 375 degrees and bake for 30 minutes, basting a couple of times. Increase temperature to 425 degrees for the last 30 minutes of baking time, basting a few times. Serves 4.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Favorite Things 07.07.14


I haven't done one of these posts in a while. Here are just a few of the things I've been loving lately, including one perfect denim jacket, milk bottles as glasses, an old-school radio with amazing sound, and a sleek backpack from everyone's favorite break-through brand.

1. This precisely ripped Acne jean jacket is the jean jacket of my dreams. So soft and oversized and comfortable.
2. Uribe is a new jewelry line out of London. I love their slightly skewed version of classic gold hoops.
3. Beautiful new cookbook from the gal behind Jewels of New York.
4. I've finally gotten the hang of the Fujifilm x100s (a photog favorite), and I'm loving it a lot.
5. Perfect backpack that will be coming with me on all summer travels.
6. Spontaneously purchased these bright-blue-lensed Ray Bans a couple of weekends ago, and they haven't left my face since.
7. Really good true red polish. Jin Soon is the best.
8. Recently discovered Orlebar Brown's swimsuits. Amazing fit.
9. Milk bottles as glasses.
10. Old-school kitchen radio with fantastic sound.
11. One of my favorite hand soaps in a great, beachy scent.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Roasted Salmon with Potatoes and Herbed Creme Fraiche


Salmon is, without a doubt, my absolute favorite fish. I eat it smoked on a bagel, slathered with homemade sriracha and roasted, seared in golden olive oil, and wrapped snugly in a heavy-duty foil packet with a smattering of herbs and veggies and thrown into the oven. And if you stumble upon the good stuff--salmon that is fresh and fatty and in-season, it doesn't really matter what you do to it, it will taste like butter and please the toughest dinner crowds imaginable.

You'll want to shop for wild salmon because the wild stuff > farmed, every single time. Unfortunately, unless you live in Alaska or the Northwest, where fresh salmon will apparently jump out of the waters and into your bare, eagerly waiting hands, salmon is only in season from mid-to-late summer. Fortunately, that time is now, so carpe diem, and all that, because come fall, you'll be staring glumly at a glass case full of pale, farmed salmon serving as your only sad options. And you don't even want to think about the toxic, unsanitary conditions those poor little guys are raised in, believe me.

But back to happier times! Summer! Yay. Here is a new favorite way to utilize one of the best jewels of the season. This preparation takes a decidedly Nordic bent, and uses the brightness of fresh herbs mixed with a dab of creamy creme fraiche to season the fish, and pairs the whole thing with tender young potatoes. So good.

Roasted Salmon with Potatoes and Herbed Creme Fraiche
Ingredients:
Potatoes
1 1/2 lbs small, waxy potatoes, scrubbed
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Salmon and Assembly
1 1 1/2 lb piece of wild salmon, skin on
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Kosher salt
1/2 cup creme fraiche
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, dill, and/or tarragon, plus tarragon and dill sprigs for serving

Directions:
Potatoes
Place potatoes in a medium saucepan and add cold water to cover by 1"; season with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until tender, 15-20 minutes; drain and pat dry. Let cool slightly, halve potatoes and toss with oil; season with salt.

Salmon and Assembly
Preheat oven to 400 F. Place salmon, skin side down, on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet; rub with 1 Tbsp. oil and season with salt. Roast until medium-rare (mostly opaque but still slightly translucent in the center), 10-15 minutes. Break up salmon into pieces, removing skin if desired.

Whisk creme fraiche and chopped herbs in a small bowl; season with salt.

Spread herbed creme fraiche on plates and top with salmon, potatoes, and tarragon and dill sprigs; drizzle with oil.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Cracker-Crust Pizza


Over the course of the past few years, I've dabbled occasionally in homemade pizza-making. There have been times when I've come up with recipes that have been decent, and one or two that have been pretty good (and many, many more that have been downright dismal, ending in me violently throwing yeast down the sink--as violently as one can throw yeast, that is--and silent-screaming PIZZA SUCKS, which we all know is just not true).

The moral of my pizza attempts have largely seemed to point to the fact that no matter what, the pizzas that come out of my little home oven with max temps of 480 F would never, ever, ever come close to the fluffy, bubbly, chewy, super-charred-at-the-edges miracle of crust that places like Motorino or Roberta's or Best Pizza turn out so easily (and....deliver to my apartment so easily). Because, really, if I'm being perfectly honest with myself, the truth is that I've turned out some good home pizzas, but they were nothing like the stuff of the NYC/Brooklyn pros. And so, it was with a heavy heart that I slid my little-used pizza stone into the lower dregs of my overflowing pots and pans cabinet.

Until, that is, Amy Thielen came to the rescue with one perfect pizza recipe that wasn't even trying to be that elusive New York wood-fired thing of dreams. No, it's crust was thin, crunchy, flat, and totally different from what I was used to getting at my neighborhood pizzerias. It reminded me a little of frozen pizza (which I have an odd love for), but a million times better. It was entirely it's own thing, and so very delicious for it. (I could go into a life-lesson analogy here, but I'll restrain myself for the sake of your sanity and reader retention).

Apparently, this type of pizza is prevalent in all parts of the Midwest except for deep-dish loving Chicago. Who knew? It's also truly easy to make, as the dough doesn't require any yeast and just about 5 minutes of kneading time. Also, if you're feeling lazy or you're short on time, you can skip the sauce-making and just buy your favorite jarred kind. I've made it twice now in as many weeks, and I have a feeling that this thing is just getting started on the road to kitchen regular status. So many thanks to Lottie + Doof for publishing the recipe first and alerting me to its genius. xo

Cracker-Crust Pizza
From The New Midwestern Table, by Amy Thielen
Ingredients:

Pizza Dough:
3/4 cup cool water
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more as needed


Sauce:
2 tablespoons salted butter
1/2 large onion, diced
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes
1 large sprig fresh basil
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon sugar
Freshly ground black pepper

Toppings:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
8 ounces sweet Italian sausage (I used chicken sausage)
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 pound fresh mozzarella, shredded (3 cups)

Directions:
For the pizza dough, pour the water, oil, salt, and sugar into a large bowl. Add 1 cup of the flour and whisk until smooth. Switching to a wooden spoon, gradually add the remaining flour, stirring until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and knead until it is smooth and supple, about 5 minutes. Divide the dough into three equal pieces, shape each one into a rough disk, cover with a cloth, and let rest on a board for at least 30 minutes (and up to 3 hours) before rolling.

For the tomato sauce, heat a wide saucepan over medium heat and add the butter, onion, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Sauté until the onion is very tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Pour the tomatoes into a bowl and crush them with your hands. Add the tomatoes, 1/4 cup water, basil sprig, rosemary, sugar, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and a few turns of black pepper, and simmer until the sauce thickens and is no longer watery, about 20 minutes. Discard the basil.

Set a pizza stone on a rack on the bottom third of the oven and preheat the oven to 500°F.
Roll one portion of dough between two pieces of parchment paper into a round that is about 12-inches in diameter. Peel off the top layer of parchment. Fold over the edges of the crust and pinch the edge into a small roll, as you would crimp a pie.

Brush the dough lightly with olive oil, and then spread the top with one third each of the sauce, the sausage, and the basil. Top with one-third of the cheese. Slip a pizza peel beneath the paper and transfer the pizza to the pizza stone in the oven. Bake until browned on top and slightly charred on the edges, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer the pizza to a cutting board, swiping the paper out from underneath the pizza. Cut the pizza into small squares and serve immediately. Repeat the process to make two more pizzas.