Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Simple Classic Eggnog!

Tonight, after walking in the brisk night air and doing a little shopping.
I stopped by my favorite gourmet market and picked up fresh eggs, cream and milk.
The perfect night for homemade eggnog!

  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/4 cups Johnnie Walker Black
  • 1/4 cup spiced rum, I used Cuban Rum
  • 1 tsp  high quality vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg plus more for garnish
1. Whisk yolks with 1/2 cup sugar until creamy and sugar begins to dissolve.
2. Add cream, milk, whiskey and rum and stir to combine.
3. Stir in nutmeg and vanilla and chill well.
4. Whisk egg whites and remaining 1/4 cup sugar until stiff peaks form
5. Fold most of the stiffened whites to the cream and top with rest, sprinkle with nutmeg

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cold Winter Day Red Lentil Soup

I decided today that I would cook with red lentils, my first stop was Duel Specialty Store, the best Indian spice market around. They have everything. As I was checking out, I noticed fresh bags of Kaffir lime leaves. Perfect! Just what I needed to finish this soup. I roasted a young chicken with Smoked Spanish Paprika, Turmeric and Cumin and served as a second course with Saffron Rice.

6 cups chicken stock
1 pound red lentils, rinsed
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
1 small can whole stewed tomatoes
4 carrots, peeled and diced
2 Kaffir lime leaves, torn in half

  1. Saute onions, carrots and garlic in olive oil.  Add chicken stock, can of tomatoes, potatoes and lentils, bring to a boil in a large soup pot over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Stir and season with turmeric, cumin and cayenne , dash of black pepper. Continue simmering until the lentils are tender, about 10 minutes.Add lime leaves and cover, 10 more minutes.
  3. Serve in bowls and garnish with Italian parsley, served with toasted bread

Monday, October 18, 2010

How Wonderful To Come Across Husk Cherries

Husk Cherries are small orange fruit similar in size, shape and structure to a small tomato, but partly or fully enclosed in a large papery husk. Many Physalis species are called groundcherries. One name for Physalis peruviana is Cape Gooseberry.
I found this fabulous Gooseberry today at the Union Square Farmer's Market.  The taste is quite unusual, a cross between a tomato and a grape. An interesting acidity, followed by a smooth sweetness.
Great for salads. I just served in a beautiful bowl.
I love the yields of October!

Tri-Colored Carrot Soup: A Day In A Life

Wandering, looking for inspiration. With the days getting colder, soup has been on my mind. What better place to consider a recipe, but the Union Square Green Market. October, and root vegetables are in season!
I came across a Japanese vendor with wooden crates of three different carrots. A start!

 We then walked to the Madison Square Park Market, which will be open rain or shine until the 23rd. My favorite stall is Spices and Tease , with Francois' help, I purchased a small bag of his family's blend for soups, consisting of rose petals, spice, parsley, orange peel, and lemongrass*. Just what I needed. My final stop was Chinatown. I picked up fresh lemongrass, miniature brown Beech mushrooms, and cilantro.
Here is my recipe :
Tri-Colored Carrot Soup with Shredded Chicken
1 small whole kosher chicken, poached and shredded
A handful each of tri-colored small carrots, peeled and sliced
1 small onion
4 stalks of lemongrass, peeled to center and sliced lengthwise
1/2 package of Brown Beech Mushrooms from China.
2 tablespoons Spices and Tease spice soup blend *
sea salt and pepper
Garnish with cilantro leaves

Fill stock pot with water and bring to a boil, add dash of sea salt,  pepper, spice mixture , fresh lemongrass and 1/2 of onion . Add whole chicken and poach for about 40 min.
Remove chicken and shred.
Strain the stock.
Return stock to pot, add cup more water if needed, bring back to low simmer.
Add sliced carrots, mushrooms and remaining 1/2 of sliced (thin) onion, cook for another 10 min, until carrots are tender.
Place shredded chicken in bowls, pour hot soup over and garnish with cilantro.
The purple carrots give the broth a lovely deep color, with a  softening sweet note from the rose petals and lemongrass.

I followed up the evening with Roasted Chestnuts, which are just now coming into season.
Make "X" cuts into the chestnuts and wrap with foil and roast in oven at 400 degrees  for about 15 min or so.
I have purchased some really bad ones lately, this woman in Chinatown, hands down, had the freshest yet! She peeled some to show you.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Piment d'Espelette

I just had to!
I was picking up ingredients, that I needed, in one of my stops in NYC, when again,
a small bottle of this "chef's secret weapon" caught my eye, at $110 a pound, I purchased only 20 grams!
Piment d'Espelette, a sweet-hot pepper, produced in only ten small villages in France.
During the last weekend in October, thousands of people will crowd into the town of Espelette, in the Basque region of southwest France, for The Celebration of Peppers, honoring the area's most famous agricultural product: Piment d'Espelette.  

I decided tonight to try my hand at this Basque-Region Recipe:

1/2 cup olive oil
4 medium onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 green bell peppers, seeds and stems removed, chopped
2 red bell peppers, seeds and stems removed, chopped
4 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped, or can of whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
3 Tbsp piment d'Espelette, or more to taste (substitute hot paprika)
Pinch of thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
1 chicken, cut up, or equivalent chicken parts (2 breasts, cut in half; 4 thighs; 2 legs), skin on, bone in
(I have been purchasing Kosher chicken from a butcher, much better !!)
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large sauté pan and cook the onions and garlic for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bell peppers and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and Espelette powder and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the thyme, salt, and pepper and transfer to a bowl.
Wipe out the pan and heat the remaining 1/4 cup of oil. Brown the chicken in the oil until golden, turning often. Pour the pepper mixture over the chicken, reduce the heat, cover and simmer until tender, about 30-40 minutes. No need to add more salt to already salted Kosher chicken.
I am serving over Basmati Rice. Serves 6

I wish you could smell this dish simmering on my stove as I write this!!!!!!
Sipping on a glass of 2006 Clos Du Pape, Graves


Fall Is In the Air

As I turned down the drive, in the distance I could see all the ducks and chickens waiting for me, a feeling of revisiting my childhood every time I visit Stokes Creek Farm. The warmth coming from proprietor, Deborah, reinforces that nostalgia. This particular visit, Deb presented me with a braided basket filled with organic apples and her homemade Capt Morgans Spiced Rum Apple Butter. She told me this year has produced the best yield of apples. She attributes this to her ducks naturally fertilizing her tree. I bit right into one and I have to concur.  I loved tasting her apple butter spread on toasted challah bread!

What many of her customers know, from visiting her table at the Saturday Hampstead Farmers Market, is that Deb not only sells the freshest duck and chicken eggs, she makes her own body care products. Her goat milk oatmeal soap glides on like butter, perfect for dry skin. Just ask her about her goats!
You have to try her whole range of soaps,  her recipe for "elbow grease", lip balm and lavender base note perfume. She prides her products on simple healthy ingredients.

You can visit Deb at  Stokes Creek Farm and on Saturdays at Town of Hampstead Farmer's Market

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

An Evening In August

 I always think of  W.S Merwin's prose, "August", this time of year and certainly today at 92degrees.
We walked to the local farmer's market, on dry, brittle grass. We passed a  60 year old fig tree, laden with ripe figs and hornet's nests.
I decided to pull all the herbs and vegetables out of the fridge, strike the grill and make a Summer salad. I skewered and grilled,  Moroccan spice-rubbed beef,  corn and onions, prepared a  mixed salad of greens with various herbs with lemon/virgin olive oil dressing, slicing radishes, grilled and chilled red peppers, onions, cherry tomatoes.  I halfed figs and sprinkled with toasted,slivered, almonds and cardamon, chopped mint, touch of honey. We toasted, as the sun was setting, listening to the local college band practicing for football season, with a Saffron cocktail.

Saffron Cocktail
Make a simple syrup of  2 cups water, bring to boil and dissolve 1 cup sugar and large pinch of saffron.
Set aside and chill.
In chilled glass filled with ice,
add one part vodka,
one part saffron syrup
and fill glass with sparkling soda.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Forth Fortune

Tonight, as the sky is getting darker earlier, I glanced around my kitchen and considered the garden-grown melon, the bowl with ripe peaches, the platter of vegetables about to be grilled. The hardboiled, brown eggs simmering with onion skins and tea on the gas stove. The salted slice of tomato, just placed in my mouth. The tamarind chicken marinating in the fridge. The chilled bottle of Cava. Chickpeas soaking in water, to be later turned into hummus. I picked up my antique Kiddush cup and realized how fortunate I really am.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Watermelon Salad Middle Eastern Style

We had a yummy lunch at Israeli owned Hummus Place in the East Village. On the lunch menu was this Middle Eastern dish, Watermelon with Feta Salad. We opted to share the Hummus and make our own later for dinner. After walking a total of 10 miles, a ferry ride to Statan Island and back, we made our rounds to our favorite markets. Try this . Takes 5 min to prepare. So perfect for this time of year!
Watermelon Salad
1/4 watermelon cut in cubes, nice and chilled
 top with fresh feta cheese, cut in small cubes
 sprinkle with finely chopped fresh mint leaves
 sprinkle with Israeli Za'atar (a spice blend of sumac, sesame seed and Za'atar- a mountain herb which has a fragrance of savory oregano and thyme. This spice blend can be found in Middle Eastern markets.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Huevos Haminados

I love being introduced to recipes from other countries and cultures. Eric surprised me with this recipe after coming back from a weekend with his family. He had remembered eating these hard boiled eggs, as a child, and asked his Aunt for her recipe, one that comes from a branch of the family that lived in Baghdad.
For the Sephardic Jews of Spain, such foods are called haminado, based on the word hamin or oven. (Huevos,  Spanish for eggs). Each recipe varies from family to family, here coffee is added , according to his Aunt's recipe.
Since observant Jews refrain from doing work on the Shabbat , they employ techniques for slow-cooked foods that can be started Friday afternoon, and still be hot on their table. We started cooking this dish last evening and finally turned off the stove this morning. When peeled, the eggs have a wonderful smoky -coffee flavor with a hint of onion.

Huevos Haminados
Onion skins, as many as you can get your hands on, 6 cups, this will give you the desired coloring
2 tablespoons peppercorns
2 tablespoons salt
4 tablespoons of coffee
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 dozen eggs, Farm fresh is best!

Fill a large soup pot with onion skins, that have been washed, cover with water, and bring it to a boil. The  color of the water will change to medium brown. Then add the peppercorns, salt, and coffee. Turn down the heat to a simmer.
Gently lower the eggs in the water, making sure they are completely covered, and add more water if necessary. Cover the surface of the water with the oil, and then cover the pot with a lid. Let simmer, covered, until the eggs are a rich mahogany color, we left on simmer overnight, this creates a crackling color effect and makes the eggs richer in flavor.The longer you simmer, the darker the eggs .

Thursday, July 1, 2010

What is better than Strawberries and Mint Champagne on July 4th?

I tend to not do much on this particular holiday. I can't tell you the last time I ventured out into the crowds and the traffic to watch a firework display. This year, I think I will read and sip on this drink.....

Strawberry and Mint Champagne
1 lb fresh local strawberries
10 mint leaves
1 bottle champagne or sparkling white wine,
I am fond of Dibon Brut NV Cava from Cataluña region of Spain.

Puree the strawberries and mint leaves in a food processor.
Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl. Half fill a glass with the mixture and top up with champagne.
Decorate with a sprig of mint. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Eggplant with Pomegranate Dip

Collaborative Photography by Slava Pirsky and Anna Hayat

Since 1999, Anna and Slava have been working together on photographic projects.
Anna received her fine art education in Israel. Slava, originally from Russia, received his degree in fine arts in Russia.
They live in and work currently in Jerusalem, Israel.

Exhibition Opening: Sunday, June 27th . 4-7pm
Still Life Gallery 8173 Main Street Ellicott City, MD

I will be serving Israeli:
Barkan Classic Pinot Noir from Negev.
Golan, Sion Creek Red,  
Barkan Classic Sauvignon Blanc from Adulam, Israel
Zan Shiraz Rose' a wine dedicated to  "The White City"-the old section of Tel Aviv, an area with the largest concentration of Bauhaus architecture in the world!

For the Hors d'œuvre, I will be serving Eggplant with Pomegranate Dip and grilled wheat pita, pomegranates, fresh figs, and grapes.
Join Us !

Eggplant with Pomegranate Dip
3 medium eggplants
2 medium onions, peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1/2 cup virgin olive oil
4 medium local tomatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons pomegranate paste
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon angelica powder (use pinch of fennel seeds and celery seeds, if you don't have this)
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

Preheat oven to 350, prick eggplants with a fork and place on oven rack . Bake for one hour.
Let cool , peel and chop.
In a deep skillet , fry onions, garlic and 3 tablespoons oil. Add tomatoes, pomegranate paste and cook for 10 min over medium heat, add eggplant, and sprinkle with salt and pepper, angelica powder, and mint. Stirring occasionally , simmer over low heat for another 35 min, adjust seasoning.
Transfer to a serving dish and serve hot or cold.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Le Trésor Grey Sea Salt

I thought I would take a moment and express the importance of certain ingredients, especially salt. I have been using Le Trésor Grey Sea Salt lately. This natural unrefined salt comes from the prestigious salt ponds of Guérande, France.The grey hue comes from its extremely high level of minerals and nutrients. 
Try biting into a sun ripened tomato with a touch of coarse sea salt or sprinkled on sweet summer grilled corn. It gave a final touch to herb and lemon stuffed trout that I cooked on my coal fired grill last week! I am going to experiment with Himalayan pink salt next. Exotic salts have been treasured throughout history, consider using in your next recipe, before reaching for that boring salt shaker.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Bouquet Garni, It's Necessary!

My first job was at Crabtree and Evelyn, I was 16 years old. I remember coming across a box of Bouquet Garni in our food section. "What the hell is this, and why would anyone spend this much on a cheesecloth ball of herbs?" You don't have to spend alot. You don't have to go the classic route and buy a ton of herbs and wrap in cheesecloth. If you have started an herb collection for the summer, just snip what you like and put into a tea ball, or simply tie a sprig of thyme, a bay leaf and several stalks of parsley together.
Right now you can easily pick up herb bundles at the Farmer's Market for $1 each!
You just want to add a savory hint and be able to lift the bouquet garni away, without all the herbs floating about in your recipe.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Moules Mariniere

I made this the other day for a Summer cookout, and everyone seemed to enjoy.
Perfect for impromptu gatherings, serve with chilled white wine. I love wine from Languedoc .
This recipe comes from the Normandy region of France, where cider is sometimes used instead of wine.
Moules Mariniere
3 qt mussels
1 cup white wine
3 shallots very finely chopped
bouquet garni
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp coarsely chopped parsley

Clean the mussels. In a large pot (not aluminium) combine the wine, shallots, bouquet garni and plenty of pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 min. Add the mussels, cover and cook over a high fire, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 min. or until the mussels are open. Sprinkle with chopped parsley , stir and taste the liquid for seasoning.
  Serve the mussels in soup bowls and spoon liquid over them. Serve with grilled bread. Yummy to dip bread in the tasty broth!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Looking For A Light Summer Supper?

Ever get home from a Farmer's market and you have so many tomatoes,
you don't know what to do with them all?
Make this tart and serve with a Tomato, Basil , Red Onion and fresh Mozzarella Salad tossed with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil!
A great place to pick up homemade Mozzarella is from Di Pasquale's  .
Nothing better in the Summer then sun ripened tomatoes with basil and homemade mozzarella!

Tomato and Basil Tart
5 oz mozzarella, thinly sliced
4 large tomatoes, thickly sliced
1/2 red onion thinly sliced
10 basil leaves, coated in olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
for the pastry
4 oz flour
2 oz of butter
1 egg yolk
pinch of salt
1. to prepare the pastry, mix flour and salt , then rub in the butter and egg yolk. add enough cold water to make a smooth dough and knead lightly on a floured surface and place in a plastic bag and chill for an hour.
2. Preheat oven to 375. Remove pastry and allow to sit 10 min. and roll out to 8" round, press into an 8" tart pan. and prick with fork and bake for 10 min, firm but not brown. Reduce heat to 350.
3. Arrange the mozzarella slices over the pastry base, then a single layer of tomatoes, then the red onion, then the garlic and top with the basil. drizzle little olive oil all over. Sprinkle little salt and pepper.
Bake for 40-45 min. Serve hot.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I took back roads the other day and found an amazing family owned farm, Hills Forest Fruit Farm, off of Mt Vista Road in Kingsville, MD. I was lured by the hand made signs.
I was greeted by a welcoming gentleman, his wife busy wrapping bundles of asparagus. They reminded me of my grandparents. I asked them, "What do I do with Rhubarb?"
Yes, I know all about the traditional pies and jams, not my style, so I decided to spend my day off in the kitchen and come up with my own recipe that included Rhubarb.

Rustic Rose Wine, Strawberry & Rhubarb Croustades
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold water
Filling/ wine reduction
2 pints fresh picked strawberries, sliced
1 bundle of Rhubarb, peeled and cut into 1" slices
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup Rose wine

1. Make the crust: In food processor , pulse the butter, flour and salt until it resembles coarse meal.
Add the water and pulse just until dough forms. Divide into 6 pieces and flatten each into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 min.
2. Make the Filling: In a pan over medium heat, reduce the wine, sugar, strawberries and rhubarb. It will look like a thin jam. Chill slightly.
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each disk to a 6" round about 1/8" thick. Transfer 3 to a baking sheet. Spread the fruit reduction on the rounds and and fold 1-inch of dough over the fruit to form a rim.
4. Brush the crusts with the beaten egg and sprinkle with touch of sugar. Bake for 35-40 min at 375 or until crusts are golden, rotate pan half way through. Transfer to rack to cool.
Dust with confectioner's sugar and place a single sliced strawberry and mint leaf on top in the center.

Drink a glass of Rose while you are baking! and say" Bon Appetite! "

Thursday, May 20, 2010


"And suddenly the memory returns. The taste was that of the little crumb of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray, when I went to say good day to her in her bedroom, my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of real or of lime-flower tea." 
Proust, Remembrance of Things Past: Swann's Way

I decided today to share my Madeleine recipe. My friend, Kelly will appreciate this!
I always think of Proust when I am baking these little cakes, I even have an old Madeleine pan, as decor, in my kitchen. You will love taking that first warm bite.
This recipe comes from the Alsace-Lorraine region of France, Commercy to be exact.
3/4 cup + 3 Tbsp flour
1 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp orange flower water, or grated rind of 1 orange or lemon, or rosewater
1/4 lb butter, melted
25-30 medium madeleines

Sift flour with baking powder. Whisk the sugar and the eggs in a bowl until thick and light; then beat in
the orange flower water. Fold in the flour, sifting it over the egg mixture in three batches.
Sprinkle the melted butter over it and fold together as lightly as possible.
Chill the batter for 20-30 min.
Set the oven to 450
Thoroughly butter and flour the moulds.
Using a large spoon. pour into the moulds, filling them by two-thirds.
Bake for 5 min; reduce heat to 400
and bake for a further 5-7 min or until golden brown.
Transfer to a rack to cool.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Paprika Marinated Chicken, Sauteed Summer Vegetables with Toasted Israeli Couscous ,Served with Golan Heights Cabernet

My friend, Karen just moved into a new place and asked me to break in her kitchen. I decided to prepare a meal that was fast, fresh and healthy. Paprika Marinated Chicken, Sauteed Summer Vegetables with Toasted Israeli Couscous, and Mixed Greens with Lemon Vinaigrette. I was given a fabulous bottle of Golan Heights Cabernet! (thank you Anita).What a great wine and a perfect evening.

Paprika Marinated Chicken
6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 tablespoon Smoked Spanish Paprika
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 cup chopped Basil
2 Cloves Garlic crushed
Add everything to a zip lock freezer bag and massage chicken, rubbing all the ingredients together and pressing into chicken. Put in fridge for an hour. Then place each breast into a hot skillet. After a few minutes turn the breast and cook thoroughly. Place on cutting board and slice on diagonal. Place on bed of couscous, and dress each plate with side of Mixed Greens with cherry tomatoes .
Sauteed Summer Vegetables with Toasted Israeli Couscous
1 yellow zucchini chopped
A bunch of asparagus,  1/2" sliced on diagonal 
1 yellow and 1 green pepper chopped
1 red onion chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
Saute vegetables in little olive oil , dash of sea salt and pepper, add 1/2 tablespoon of paprika, dash of cayenne pepper. Saute till tender, do not overcook.
Toast the couscous in little olive oil, then prepare according to package. I use 1/2 chicken stock and 1/2 water, touch of salt and pinch of saffron threads.
When ready add to sauteed vegetables.
For the Lemon Vinaigrette I just whisked extra virgin olive oil, rice wine vinegar, juice of one lemon , sea salt and pepper . 
Simple and Tasty!
I have everyone hooked on quality paprika and Israeli Couscous! Buy Israeli wine! You will think differently about Kosher wine!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Simple French Breakfast

I have been saving this can of Chestnut Spread for a couple of weeks.  This morning I decided to open, since I only have two slices of this yummy bread left  from a loaf that I picked up in a bakery in Chinatown. Sweetened chestnut spread is a specialty of the department of Ardeche in the south east of France. Established in 1882 in Ardèche, France's most prominent chestnut region, Clément Faugier has remained a local family-owned business to this day.
It is made from chestnuts, pieces of candied chestnuts, sugar, glucose syrup, and vanilla , and is fat free! You can spread on toast, brioche, pancakes, perfect for crepes, scones, put on ice cream, use in baking.
Love it! 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Painting Asparagus

Today I decided instead of cooking, I would paint. I have carted two separate bags of fresh asparagus back and forth from work to New York for two weeks. Finally after confronting my fears, I set up my palette and started painting asparagus. For me there are two intimidating things in life, painting and mastering French cuisine.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Seared Tuna with Lavender Crust & Purple Potato Chips

 I started the day by trying to find the perfect image online of a field of lavender, to insert into an email for my Mother. This led me to thinking about cooking with lavender. I love how culinary flowers infuse a dish with a perfumed essence. I ventured over to Dual Specialty Store, an Indian and World Import on 1st Ave. They have everything! 
The name "lavender" is Latin from the word "lavare", and means to wash.
The Romans used lavender to scent and flavor jellies as well as other sweets.
Lavender has become a popular ingredient in cooking for both sweet and savory dishes. Desserts such as creme brulee are scented with lavender and as an ingredient for main courses like lamb and fish.  Try scenting sugar with lavender for baking or even adding to tea.

Seared Tuna with Lavender Crust
Use center-cut tuna, trim and cut the tuna into a block 2 inches across; then cut into 1-inch steaks. 
Crush the sea salt, peppercorns, fennel seeds and lavender with a mortar and pestle. Lightly oil the tuna with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil; evenly coat the tuna with the lavender-pepper mixture.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a saute pan. Increase the heat to high and place the tuna in the pan. Sear for 1 minute, then turn over carefully, reducing the heat to medium. Sear the other side for 1 more minute until medium rare. Remove from heat and immediately refrigerate the tuna for at least 1 hour.
Arrange the greens on chilled individual serving plates!!
Drizzle with Lavender Honey Mustard Dressing, I use a delicate Champagne vinegar. 
Thinly slice the tuna and arrange on top of the dressed greens,
with a side of Peruvian purple potato chips.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

South Brooklyn Pizza

The wind was so intense today, very strange weather for May. Walking home we passed a new pizza shop on 1st ave, South Brooklyn Pizza, a second location for this Carroll Gardens pizzeria. I was lured into the shop by the huge blocks of Parmesan and the homemade rounds of mozzarella, seen from the window. We ordered the Margherita, crispy crust, tangy  housemade sauce, generous slices of fresh Mozzarella, and excellent quality Parmesan ,drizzled Lira extra-virgin olive oil added at the end.  I was a little shocked at the price, $28 for a whole pizza, but I am so sick of cheaply made pizza, that I overlooked the price and enjoyed every bite! And let me tell you it is worth every $!

Spanish Baked Eggs

The morning came with rain and dark clouds. So much for landscape painting on the West Side. I decided to start the day with my version of Spanish Baked Eggs. Not unlike most mornings, I open the fridge and see what is at my disposal. Having stocked up earlier in the week at Huber's Farm, I had everything I needed.
1 onion sliced
2 tomatos, peeled seeded and chopped
1 pepper, green or red (i like red ) sliced
salt and pepper
1 clove crushed garlic
touch of red pepper paste
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp Spanish paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 cup water
4 eggs
(garnish with cilantro or flat leaf parsley)
Saute onion, till soft and little brown, then add sliced peppers and tomatoes and garlic. Continue to saute. Add salt and pepper, paprika and cumin. Pour in a little water and add the paste and stir. When peppers are tender and you have a nice sauce cooking, take a spoon and open an area in the sauce and gently drop your egg. After you drop all four eggs. Cover your pan, till eggs are ready. About 4 min. Depending on how you like your eggs. I like mine medium.
Take a ladle and spoon your eggs and sauce onto a plate, serve with toasted baguette.
A perfect rainy, Saturday morning breakfast! 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Camins del Priorat at Tinto Fino

This is a yummy wine!
Medium-bodied, velvety, flavors of plum, black cherry,
raspberry and currants spiked with pepper and spice.
You can find at my favorite wine boutique, Tinto Fino . They have the best selection of Spanish wine, located in the East Village on First Avenue,  in New York. The staff is very knowledgeable and friendly and the shop is so charming, you end up buying more than you came in for. They also ship! We bought all our wine for an open house here, and our guests were amazed by the selection.