Category

FOOD

RADISHES WITH FRESH BUTTER

Years ago, my mother Nellie taught me the most important thing in cooking – the best dish is the simple dish – minimal ingredients prep, least heat treatment, uncomplicated spices, less touching and arranging.

This French dish embodies this principle of minimalism in cooking!

WHAT YOU NEED:

Radishes
Sea Salt
Fresh Farm Butter

HOW TO PREP

Wash radishes, pat dry.
Slice in a dish.
Add a dollop of butter.

Salt as needed!

Voila!

Beautiful, simple, amazing!

SIMPLEST SOURDOUGH BREAD

This hardly is a recipe of my invention – I am not a baker at heart anyway, but it is a recipe I love and have made many times – the famous Jim Lahey no knead sourdough, adapted here by one of my favourite chefs, Mark Bittman.

Most of the times when I have baked this gorgeous bread, I have served it two my friends three ways always hot off the Dutch oven –

1. With just churned butter from the (famous for its lovely pies!) Mennonite farm in Honesdale, PA, sprinkled with my dad’s favourite condiment, the Dalmatian Coast’s wonder salt Vegeta.

2. With roast bone marrow.

3. Or homemade Macedonian ajvar, the way my grandmother Maria made it! – mashed up fire roasted peppers, tomatoes and a little carrots (my mother thinks the carrots add sweetness).

WHAT YOU NEED:

• 3⅓ cups/430 grams all-purpose or bread flour, plus more for dusting
• Generous ¼ teaspoon/1 gram instant yeast
• 2 teaspoons/8 grams sea salt
• Cornmeal or wheat bran, as needed

HOW TO MAKE:

STEP ONE
– In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt.
– Add 1½ cups/345 grams water and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky.
– Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.


STEP TWO
Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles.
– Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice.
– Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

STEP THREE
– Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball.
– Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal.
– Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours.
When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.


STEP FOUR
– At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees.
– Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats.
– When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven.
– Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is OK.
– Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.
– Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned.
– Cool on a rack.

STEP FIVE

STUFF YOUR FACE! 😉

ROASTED MARROW BONE AND BLACK GRAPES

There aren’t many dishes that are simpler and more fragrant, gorgeous, and delectable than roasted bone marrow. My mother Nellie – an absolute genius when it comes to roasting whole animals and organ meats – made it only rarely but it left an indelible mark on my palate and my consciousness.

I make it often in the winter, and when I bake a nice loaf of sourdough (always the NYT recipe) the two are a rare feast indeed.

I use my large red dutch oven (present from mom!) to cook the bread and a copper skillet to cook the bones with spices and occasionally – one of my favorite side dishes/flavours/textures – roasted black grapes. When both come out of the oven – oh my god! It is pleasure and nurture and contention all rolled into pure joy of being alive and happy. Especially on those romantic Upstate NY days when daylight is short, snowflakes fly in the air, the light globes inside are golden warm, the woodstove crackles… And you know Christmas is coming!

ROASTED BONE MARROW WITH CINNAMON, BLACK PEPPER & BLACK GRAPES

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 4-6 marrow-rich bones – split long ones or smaller round pieces
  • Ground cinnamon, to taste (I use lots)
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste (same)
  • A hint of cumin (if you want)
    All of the above spices can also be replaced by Ras Al-Hanout
  • Black grapes – as many as the heart desires, but they are just for flavour really (btw, any grapes will work, I just love black grapes!)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil – Extra Virgin, Unprocessed
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Slices of crusty bread (toasted if desired, but I prefer fresh to dip in the fat!) for serving.

HOW TO COOK
1 Preheat your oven to 400°F.

  1. Put the grapes in a skillet that has enough room to add the bones, sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil (lighter on the olive oil) and roast for about 25-30 minutes.
  2. After25-30 min, add the bones to the skillet, sprinkle with spices, save salt.
  3. Roast all together for about 20 minutes more or until marrow sizzles.

To serve, place everything into a nice serving platter, invite friends to the table, pour some red wine and start eating while hot/warm!

Scoop marrow and roasted grapes onto toasted bread, sprinkle with a pinch of coarse sea salt, or scoop the spiced marrow fat with tasty bread chunks, and savor the melty, fatty delight!

Here is a pic of the NYT recipe bread, right outta the oven!