Grillo Center Labyrinth

Grillo Center Labyrinth
Meander and Meet....designed by George Peters and Melanie Walker of Airworks For more information contact Susan at

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Saturday Morning Walkers - Feburary 12, 2007

Hi everyone,

Missed you all on Saturday AM - Jack and I arrived in NY on Friday afternoon. Before I share the culinary details of our weekend, I'll fill you in on books and food for this past week.

Book Report: I did finish Jenna Blum's book, Those Who Saved Us - I highly recommend it. It is difficult to read at times but it is a fascinating story and well worth it

Cooking Report:
Several weeks ago, I mentioned Ina Garten's Ribollita Soup but didn't include the recipe - here it is:

1/2 pound dried white beans, such as Great Northern or cannellini
Kosher salt
1/4 cup good olive oil, plus extra for serving
1/4 pound large-diced pancetta or smoked bacon
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
1 cup chopped carrots (3 carrots)
1 cup chopped celery (3 stalks)
3 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes in purée, chopped
4 cups coarsely chopped or shredded Savoy cabbage (optional)
4 cups coarsely chopped kale
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
4 cups sourdough bread cubes, crusts removed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving

In a large bowl, cover the beans with cold water by 1 inch and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to soak overnight in the refrigerator. Drain the beans, plac e them in a large pot with 8 cups water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered 45 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon salt and continue to simmer about 15 minutes, until the beans are tender. Set the beans aside to cool in their liquid. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large stockpot. Add the pancetta and onions and cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, 1 tablespoon of salt, the pepper and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the tomatoes with their purée, the cabbage, the kale and basil and cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, for another 7 to 10 minutes. Drain the beans, reserving their cooking liquid. In the bowl of a food processor, purée half of the beans with a little of their liquid. Add to the stockpot, along with the remaining whole beans. Pour the bean cooking liquid in a large measuring cup and add enough chicken st o ck to make 8 cups. Add to the soup and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Add the bread to the soup and simmer for 10 more minutes. Taste for seasoning and serve hot in large bowls sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and drizzled with olive oil. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Other winners this week:
Portuguese Kale Soup - originally served by Rita Sharp at our book group: a wonderful hearty soup. I used Chorizo instead of linguica. It is recommended that if you anticipate freezing this soup you do so before you add the potatoes.

1 pound linguica, sliced or diced
1 Spanish onion

8 cloves garlic

1 cup lentils, rinsed and picked over

1 pound kale, torn by hand, stems removed

12 cups low salt chicken or beef stock

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes - add more or less to taste

1 cup red wine

1 pound potatoes, unpeeled, cubed

salt to taste

1. Cook sausages and chopped onion over medium heat, until sausages are rendered of fat and onion begins to wilt and starts to brown slightly, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

2. Add garlic cloves, and cook, covered, over low heat for 10 minutes.

3. Add lentils, kale, 10 cups stock, red pepper flakes, and wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, partially covered, for 1 hour.

4. Add 2-4 cups additional stock and potatoes; stir and continue to cook, uncovered, over low heat for at least 2 hours. Salt to taste.

Yield: 12 cups

Golden Sauteed Veal with Arugula and Tomato Salad - this is elegant and relatively light - I use Panko breadcrumbs. If you don't want to use veal, you could easily substitute turkey cutlets - just be sure to pound them very thin.

A perfect NY weekend:

Friday night - dinner at Dinosaur Barbecue in Harlem -

We shared Fried Green Tomatoes for an appetizer - Yum! - they were lightly breaded, fried and topped with grated Parmesan cheese. We all had ribs which were outstanding. They have terrific sides - I particularly loved the Syracuse Salted Potatoes - tiny boiled potatoes with a Cajun and Garlic sauce. We all shared a piece of Peanut Butter Pie with an Oreo Crust - my Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie is better! I'll share that with you soon. What a fun place!

Here's the history of Syracuse Salt Potatoes

Saturday breakfast at Libby's - scrambled eggs, bagels, bialys and lox - my favorites!

Saturday lunch in Connecticut at The Restaurant at Rowayton Seafood - perfect spot overlooking the Five Mile River - Libby and David had the New England Clam Chowder and Lobster Roll, Jack had fried clams and I had the chowder and a crabcake (not quite like a Maryland crabcake but pretty good). Here's a review from the NY Times

We did a driving tour of some of the most amazing neighborhoods and houses in the Greenwich and Westport areas - of course, Violet (the dog!) came along for the ride. She's gotten so big! She seems to be a real trooper and quite an attention getter!

After a rest back at our hotel, we joined Libby and David for dinner in Brooklyn - we ate at Dressler's the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. It is a relatively new restaurant and one of L & D's favorites. It was outstanding! The decor is great - lots of intricate ironwork and wood - fabulous chandeliers! Here's a review from the NY Times

Libby - Lamb ragout, David - Scallops, Jack - Raviolini , Susan - Rouget (strips of a fish I'd never had before - sauteed and golden brown) served with braised fennel, capers and kalamata olives.


Libby - Day Boat Cod with white asparagus, wild mushroom vinaigrette & truffle oil
David - Braised Short Rib & Grilled Aged Rib Eye with horseradish whipped potato, onion jam, spinach & Bordelaise
Jack - Grilled Duck Breast & Braised Duck Leg with wild mushroom risotto, Duck confit Crepinette, Escarole & Red Wine Gastrique - not sure what all of that is but it sure was delicious
Susan - Raviolo filled with Butternut Squash-Ricotta Filling, Wild Mushroom & Mushroom Broth

Dessert: We shared two chocolate wonders!

Chocolate Tart with Soft Marshmallows and Coffee Ice Cream
Peanut Butter Cup - Chocolate Foam and Peanut Brittle Ice Cream

Sunday - Breakfast was a simple Continental breakfast at our hotel
Libby, David and I had lunch at a great place in Brooklyn - Relish -
This is a very hip place housed in an authentic old diner - very cool and great food - I had a fantastic burger, Lib had a grilled chicken sandwich and David had eggs benedict.

Dinner was with our family in New Jersey - my niece, Christine, outdid herself with a wonderful roast beef dinner (Nana Laura - my mom would have been proud!) - everything was delicious but the biggest hit was her corn pudding - we were scraping the bowl!

1 pkg. Jiffy cornbread mix
1 8oz corn (drained)
1 8 oz creamed corn
8 oz sour cream
1 stick melted butter
2 tbls. sugar.

bake @ 350 for 60 mins.

I'm back home now and will re-group until I leave for LA on Friday - what a whirlwind!


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