Suzi’s Blog

TBT Cookbook Review: The Shared Table by Don Pintabona

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In less than four weeks, we will have the next Super Bowl where Green Bay will defeat the Patriots. Trust me. You can bet on it. I have.

For Super Bowl events, we tend to stock up on nachos and chips and chicken wings. What if you want something “more” something this is actually a bit elegant?

There is no better place to look than The Shared Table by famed chef Don Pintabona. The first chef at The Tribeca Grill, he’s written books and opened restaurants and markets across the country. He was a chef hero in the aftermath of 9/11, a leader in the effort to provide great food for the workers on “the pile.”

This book is an amalgam of recipes from Don’s restaurant world and from his world travels. There are Italian family classics and shining examples of dishes that made The Tribeca Grill so outstanding under his leadership.

The recipes are big, designed for 6 or more people. And they are easily scalable to support 12 or 24. Just what you need for a super party.

If you want a party-specific dish, then Don offers Warm Poppy Crisps with Red Wine-Shallot Marmalade and Sesame Beef with Ginger Plum Sauce. Those two recipes are designed for 28-30 people. And those recipes are so sticky good that you’ll probably want to double them anyway.

What other signature dishes are to be found here? Well, you will encounter:

Homemade Gravlax with Mustard Sauce

Bruschetta of Preserved tuna, Anchovies, and Caper

Foie-Gras-Stuffed Figs with White Truffle Honey

Eggplant Cured in Lemon

Singapore Spicy Curly Noodles

Turkey Meat Loaf with Cranberry Glaze

Artichoke Bottoms Stuffed with Veal

Blue Crab Sauce for Pasta

Monterey Jack Spoon Bread

The Very Best Brownies

Ah, those brownies. Yes, they are unmatched. And they have a secret ingredient: Wondra Flour. I know, that Wondra sits on your shelf only for making gravy. Not anymore.

There is class and style on every page, in every recipe. Don’s subtitle to The Shared Table is Cooking with Spirit for Family and Friends. Share away. Everyone will smile.

Potato-Cheese Croquettes from Ikaria by Diane Kochilas

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Potatoes are New World. If you say Old World to me, I often think of Ancient Greece, about as far away from Peru as you can get. Yet, over the centuries, Old and New Worlds have grown quite close. Take those New World potatoes and combine them with Greek feta cheese — is there any more symbolic Greek food — and you arrive at these croquettes.

Now, Suzi and I tend not to do fried food. There is a mess and a lingering smell to be sure. But sometimes, some foods are so seductive that even if you are fry-shy it is hard to resist a combination like potatoes + feta + herbs + spices.

This dish can be a side, of course, but there is this tendency for folks to just each one croquette after another. So, it’s a lovely main course. Pair with a side and, of course, some Greek wine.


Potato-Cheese Croquettes

Yield: about 20

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound (450 g) boiling potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • ½ pound (225 g) Greek feta cheese, crumbled
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped fresh mint
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • All-purpose flour, as needed
  • Olive or other oil, for frying

Preparation:

In a pot, cover the potatoes with cold salted water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer I the potatoes until fork-tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain into a colander and set aside to cool completely.

Transfer the potatoes to a bowl and mash with a fork or handheld potato masher. Mix in the egg, feta, herbs, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Add flour if necessary to bind the mixture, kneading in 2 tablespoons at a time, until the mixture is solid enough to hold its shape.

Shape the croquettes into 1 ½ – inch (4 cm) oblong or round patties. Place on a plate, cover with parchment then foil, and refrigerate for 1 hour to firm up.

Spread about 1 cup of flour into a plate.

In a heavy nonstick skillet, heat 1 inch (2.5 cm) of oil over medium to high heat. Test to see if the oil is hot enough by tossing in a piece of bread. It should crisp up in about 10 seconds. When the oil is ready, start dredging the croquettes lightly in flour, shaking off any excess. Fry in batches in the hot oil, turning once with a slotted spoon, until golden. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat until the entire mixture is used up.

Serve hot.


Source: Ikaria by Diane Kochilas [Rodale 2014]

 

Cookbook Review: Savor, Sensational Soups to Fulfill and Satisfy by Amber Locke

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In three days, this exciting book from Amber Locke will hit the bookshelves. On line, you can get a head start now. You probably want to do that.

Amber Locke is a UK artist who creates geometric designs using fruit and vegetables. She has over 100,000 followers on Instagram. Look once, and you’ll follow too. Here’s a “berry” good example:

 

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In this successor to her lovely book Nourish, Amber answers two questions: can there be really new soup ideas and can soup be beautiful, as beautiful as art? The answers are yes and yes. Here is the proof, her Carrot, Couscous and Chard Soup.

 

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The recipes here overflowing with flavor, the pictures with color. Less than a dozen ingredients, an hour of time, and your kitchen will be radiant. Here are a dozen of the best ideas in Savor:

Curried Greens and Coconut with coconut cream, cinnamon, garlic, broccoli, and even tomato paste

Sweet Potato and Pear with cream cheese

Watermelon Gazpacho with cucumber, bel peppers and jalapeno

Raw Avocado and Cucumber

Purple Potato, the color a Roman emperor’s toga

Root Soup made from beets, carrots, and parsnips

Raw Bell Pepper, Orange and Tomato accented with carrot juice

Sparkline Pineapple with a Prosecco base and the punch of ginger

Chilled Persian Yogurt Soup with pistachios, pink peppercorns, dill, mint, and rose petals

Chilled Sweet Yogurt Soup with edible flowers and strawberries

Chocolate Puddle Soup made with cocoa powder and maple syrup, complete with strawberries, raspberries and pomegranate seeds

Spring Noodle with green chile, ginger, asparagus, peas and rice noodles

No, you haven’t seen these before. Or tasted them before. These are new soup adventures that await you. If you thought soup was something that comes out of a red, or a blue, can, then you’ve got an eye awakening experience before you. Savor is a notable book, as good as a soup book can be, as good as cookbook can be. Enjoy it. One bowl and a time.

Three days.