From Grand Central Station in New York City, we traveled on the Metro-North Railroad (MNR) line that follows along the shores of the Hudson River to Tarrytown. It’s a longish walk from the depot to Phillipsburg Manor and so a stop at Muddy Water Coffee and Cafe at 52 Main Streetfor lattes and pastries was in order. The restaurant, located in historic downtown Tarrytown, is cozy and comfy with original tin ceilings, wood floors, and a small garden tucked away in the back. Then it was on to the manor and old gristmill dating back to 1850. A note to those that make the journey. Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow (yes, the Sleepy Hollow where the Headless Horseman rode) are built on steep hills and if you’re so inclined (and I was on the way back to the depot) Tarrytown Taxi is a cheap and easy alternative to getting around.
For those who visited the mill and buy some of the grain ground there, HHV provides recipes including the following for Pumpkin Cornmeal Pancakes re-created from the travel accounts of Swedish botanist Peter Kalm, a Finnish explorer, botanist, naturalist, and agricultural economist, who journeyed to Colonial America in 1747 to bring seeds and plants that might be useful to agriculture. In his description of foods eaten by the Colonists, Kalm described a thick pancake “made by taking the mashed pumpkin and mixing it with Corn-meal after which it was…fried.” He found it “pleasing to my taste.” Further recipes are including from HHV for recipes from an article titled Cooking with Cornmeal Fresh from Philipsburg Manor’s Gristmill .
Pumpkin Cornmeal Pancakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup confectioner’s sugar, plus extra for the topping
1/2 teaspoon dried ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2½-3 cups milk
Butter for frying
Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Combine eggs and pumpkin. Beat into the dry ingredients. Add the milk slowly to make a smooth batter.
Heat some butter in a frying pan and pour some of the batter in. Swirl the batter around to make an evenly thick pancake. Cook on both sides until brown.
Serve hot, dusted with confectioner’s sugar.
Light Corn Bread
1/4 cup sweet butter
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 egg yolks, beaten
1¼ cups buttermilk
7/8 cup cornmeal
2 cups cake flour, sifted
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 egg whites, beaten
Cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the egg yolks. Mix dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Stir in the buttermilk and the mixed dry ingredients alternately. Fold in the stiffly beaten whites last. Bake in a greased, floured 8 by 11 by 1½-inch pan about 20 minutes at 375 degrees F.
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1½ cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs (lightly beaten)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8″ baking pan and set aside.
In large mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; stir until well mixed. Add buttermilk, eggs, and shortening; mix until smooth (about 1 minute).Pour batter into pan. Bake 30 minutes (until lightly browned); toothpick inserted in center should come out clean.
Serving suggestion: Top with fruit and whipped cream.
My friend Phil Potempa writes these encyclopedia-sized cookbooks based upon growing up on a farm and his years—still counting—as a food and entertainment columnist, currently for the Chicago Tribune Media Co. Well, his latest, Back From the Farm: Family Recipes and Memories of a Lifetime Vol. 4, is no different. I didn’t weigh it but it’s hefty and thick with 576 pages. Chocked full of recipes, photos, and anecdotes, the book is a compilation of Phil’s food and entertainment columns that takes us from growing up on the family farm in La Pierre, Indiana to hanging out with celebrities and everything in between such as local baking contests, chef interviews, chili cook-offs, ethnic celebrations, and readers’ favorite recipes.
“There are a lot of ways to read these books,” Phil tells me, noting that some people tell him they go straight to the index and look up the celebrity names while others leaf through the book, stopping at recipes that look interesting and still others are intrigued by stories of Potempa’s farm relatives. After all, who could resist recipes with such names as “Granny Wojdula’s Nine-Day Sweet Pickles,” “Jim Nabors’ Mom’s Split Green Pea Soup,” “Bob Hope’s Favorite Chicken Hash,” or “Blondie Wappel’s Favorite Pink Champagne Cake,” which implies that Blondie must have had several recipes for cakes made with pink Champagne. Now that’s really drilling down on an ingredient.
San Pierre, for anyone—and that’s most of us—is a small dot on the map consisting of less than 200 people according to Wikipedia. It’s where the Potempa still spends time with his family (he also has a place in Chicago) and is the center of Indiana’s mint growing industry and where the North Judson Mint Festival is held every year. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Services third nationally for spearmint production and fourth for peppermint production. Much of their mint ends up as oil and is sold to Wrigley, Colgate Palmolive, and Proctor & Gamble for use in their products. In other words, when you brush your teeth with a spearmint flavored toothpaste it might have come from San Pierre which is some 50 miles away.
Asked what his favorite story was, Potempa names Phyllis Diller, a housewife from Lima, Ohio who hit it big as a comedian in her late 30s and had a career that continued on until her death in 2012 at age 95. Her schtick included donning a fright wig for wild blonde hair, downplaying her good looks with bad make-up, and, with a cigarette in a long holder, cackling out jokes about her life including her poor domestic skills. She was considered the first woman stand-up comedian and like Joan Rivers, another first in the field, was expected to make fun of herself to be successful.
“One of her lines was that she used a smoke detector as a way of timing her dinners, when it went off, she knew the food was ready,” recalls Potempa. “In actuality, she was a great cook.”
Indeed, Diller opened a food production business, though as far as I can figure she only sold cans of her chili which came in three varieties—beef, chicken, and vegetarian. But don’t look for it in the grocery store and even Amazon doesn’t carry it as her food company is closed now. But the recipe for her chili is a popular search item on Google and is included in Potempa’s book.
The two both shared a love of cooking and Diller helped Phil with his first From the Farm cookbook.
Describing her as his first celebrity interview, Potempa says that over the years when she was performing in Northwest Indiana or the Chicago area she would invite he and his family to attend her shows and then visit her backstage afterwards.
“She was really a friend, I’ve been to her home and it was so wonderful to see my cookbooks in her fire red kitchen,” says Potempa about one of his visits to her home in the tony Brentwood, California city near Los Angeles.
Strong Bow Inn
Another fav story was told to him by his good friend Russ Adams, a 1978 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York, who worked at the Strongbow Inn, a Valparaiso Restaurant that was started by Adams’s grandparents on the site of their turkey farm and for more than 75 years was a favorite stopping point for dinner no matter what time of year. Adams recalled when Los Angeles Dodgers Manager Tommy Lasorda came into the kitchen to see what was going on. He’d ordered a turkey sandwich and told Russ to “load it up! And make it like you’re making it for your brother.”
Russ also told him about the time his Grandma Bess was at the hostess stand sometime in the late 1950s and came face-to-face with a portly man waiting to be seated, who looked very much like Oscar winning actor Charles Laughton. When Bess mentioned how much he resembled the famous actor, he told her, in a very cold and stiff English accent: “Madam, THAT is because…I AM CHARLES LAUGHTON.”
Interestingly, Colonel Harlan Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, frequented the Strongbow Inn whenever he was in Northwest Indiana visiting his key local fast-food franchises says Potempa. Popcorn King Orville Redenbacher of the popcorn powerhouse ate there every year when he’d return home. In all, the restaurant served more than 250,000 pounds of turkey a year but one of the most requested recipes from the place that Phil received was for their Blue Cheese Dressing.
Phil wrote in one of his columns that he never expected to get the dressing recipe with its secret combination of ingredients because the Strongbow Inn restaurant used to bottle and sell their dressing in their lobby waiting area, displayed on a rack near a small freezer where a frozen version of their signature turkey pot-pies and gravy could also be purchased. But with its closing that changed and the recipe is below as are several others.
Phyllis Diller’s Chili
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
1 pound ground beef (chuck is good)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium bell pepper, chopped (see note)
10 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 or 3 dashes tabasco sauce or to taste
1 (28 oz) can chopped tomatoes
2 (15 oz) cans s & w kidney beans, undrained
Garnishing – if desired
1 white onion, chopped
2 cups mild cheddar cheese, shredded
In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, warm oil over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef, breaking it up, and cook, stirring occasionally, until beef is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
While the beef is cooking, peel and chop onion. Set aside. Core and chop bell pepper. Set aside. Peel and mince garlic cloves. Set aside.
Once the beef is cooked through, add the onions, bell pepper and garlic. Cook until vegetables are softened, about 3 or 4 minutes.
Stir in the seasonings and tomatoes. Reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer the chili until it begins to thicken slightly, about 20 to 30 minutes.
Stir in the kidney beans with their juices. Simmer an additional 10 minutes or until heated through.
Adjust to taste.
Peggy’s Easy Beef and Noodles Supper
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 1/2 pounds cubed beef stew meat
2 quarts water (divided use)
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups sliced carrots
2 cups chopped celery
2 teaspoons mixed seasoning blend, like Mrs. Dash
6 teaspoons beef bouillon paste (or equivalent using cubes)
1 (16-ounce) bag of Amish egg noodles (grocery shelf variety, not frozen)
Heat oil in bottom of a large soup pot and lightly brown beef and onion. Add 1 quart of water and simmer for 1 hour. Add carrots and celery, beef base and seasoning blend and add remaining 1 quart of water and simmer 1/2 hour. Finally add dry noodles and cook according to instructions, about 1/2 hour. More water can be added as needed during cooking time.
Makes 10 servings.
Blondie Wappel’s Favorite Pink Champagne Cake
Makes 18 servings.
1 (16.25-ounce) package white cake mix
1-1/4 cups pink champagne
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 egg whites
3 or 4 drops red food color
Pink Champagne Frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
3-3/4 to 4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup pink champagne
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 or 4 drops red food color
For the cake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together dry cake mix and champagne in a large bowl; add oil, egg whites and food color and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Lightly grease and flour the bottom of a 13-inch by 9-inch shiny aluminum pan. Note: The baking temp has to be adjusted for glass, dark or nonstick pans or alter baking times and pan prep according to the directions on the cake mix package.
Pour cake batter into pan and spread evenly. Bake for 25 to 29 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely before frosting.
To make frosting, cream butter with an electric mixer in a medium bowl and gradually add the rest of the frosting ingredients, beating at medium speed until the frosting is of a smooth consistency. Spread frosting evenly over cooled cake.
Decorate as desired, including possible garnish with pink and white sugar crystals.
Forbidden Apple Cake
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 sticks Imperial margarine, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups unpeeled apples, cored and diced (a firm, slightly tart baking apple is best)
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)
1 cup golden raisins (can be soaked in 1/2 cup good rum for one week for a “sinful” addition)
Powdered sugar for dusting.
Note: Seal rum-soaked raisins in a glass container at room temperature for one week, ahead of time. If using the rum version, omit cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray 10-inch bundt or tube pan with non-stick cooking spray. Beat oil with margarine. Add sugar, eggs and vanilla. Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add apples to flour mixture and stir a few times to coat. Add raisins and nuts, if using, to egg/oil mixture. Stir flour/apple mixture into egg/oil mixture until well blended. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 75 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool 30 minutes, invert onto cake plate. When completely cooled, dust with powdered sugar. Makes 10 slices.
Strongbow Inn Bleu Cheese and Garlic Dressing
Makes 5 cups
1 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon oregano
4 cloves garlic, peeled
3 cups vegetable oil
Cheesecloth and string
1 cup crumbled bleu cheese
Prepare a piece of cheesecloth cut into a small square.
Combine salt, pepper, sugar, oregano and garlic, wrap in cheesecloth, fasten, and tie. Use a mallet or rolling pin to slightly pound the contents of the tied cheesecloth.
Place the cheesecloth bundle in a large quart-canning jar. Pour 1 cup of the cider vinegar over the spice bundle, seal jar and allow spices to steep overnight on kitchen counter.
Remove spice bundle, squeezing out excess liquid before discarding bundle.
Add three cups vegetable oil to vinegar mixture to fill jar and drop in the crumbled bleu cheese.
Store dressing in refrigerator and stir well before serving.
Philip Potempa can be reached at email@example.com or mail your questions: From the Farm, PO Box 68, San Pierre, Ind. 46374.
This article originally appeared in the Herald Palladium.
One of the wonders of New York City is the constant discovery of hidden treasures. And so it was when we came across the Katharine Hepburn Garden, a small fenced wonder of brilliant hydrangeas, viburnums, Mountain Laurel, dogwoods, flowering perennials, and groundcovers bordering the narrow pathways of this tiny garden. Located in the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, the several times I’ve been there, the gates been unlocked and I’ve wondered through this delightful hidden-in-plain-spot in the city. Hepburn, the noted actress who delighted audiences for decades, loved gardening as the text, part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project, that’s a posted within the park, tells us. But it doesn’t mention Hepburn’s penchant for making brownies and I’m sharing the recipe here as well.
From the Park’s sign:
Katharine Hepburn was born on May 12, 1907, in Hartford, Connecticut. She graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1928 and in the same year she made her professional debut in a minor role in a Baltimore stock company production of Czarina. By 1932 she was a star on Broadway in The Warrior’s Husband, followed in the same year by her screen debut opposite John Barrymore in A Bill of Divorcement. On Broadway Ms. Hepburn originated the Tracy Lord role inThe Philadelphia Story(1939) before taking it to Hollywood a year later. In 1942 she starred opposite Spencer Tracy in Woman of the Year and began a twenty-five year relationship which included working on nine classic films.
Ms. Hepburn won numerous honors for her acting. She was nominated for twelve Academy Awards and garnered four Oscars for best actress. In 1962 Ms. Hepburn won the best actress award at the Cannes Film Festival for her performance in Long Day’s Journey Into Night. In the 1970s she worked in television, where she and co-star Laurence Olivier earned Emmys for Love Among the Ruins.
Hepburn was passionate about flowers and gardening beginning during her childhood in West Hartford. On Sunday afternoons the Hepburn family went for drives and walks in the hills west of the Connecticut River and during these country excursions that children competed to see who could spot the first Lily of the Valley, Bloodroot, Columbine, or Pink Lady’s Slipper.
When Ms. Hepburn moved to Turtle Bay with her husband Ludlow Ogden Smith in 1932, she transplanted wildflowers from her parents’ home to her backyard garden. She joined the Turtle Bay Association in 1957, and for more than thirty years she fought to halt the destruction of trees, to defend the sidewalks from encroaching development, and to protect mid-blocks from high-rise construction.
On May 12, 1997 community members gathered to dedicate the Katharine Hepburn Garden in Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza. The naming pays tribute to her lifelong love of flowers and gardening and thanks Ms. Hepburn for her commitment to the park and the neighborhood. A wide variety of species were used in the border planting. The plant list included birch, dawn redwood, and dogwood trees; mountain laurel, witch hazel, viburnum, rhododendron, hydrangea, and abelia; as well as numerous perennials, groundcovers, and ferns.
Katharine Hepburn’s Brownies, recipe courtesy of the New York Times.
½cup butter (1 stick)
1cup chopped or broken-up walnuts or pecans
Pinch of salt
Heat oven to 325 degrees.
Melt butter in saucepan with cocoa and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a large bowl. Whisk in eggs, one at a time. Stir in vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine sugar, flour, nuts and salt. Add to the cocoa-butter mixture. Stir until just combined.
Pour into a greased 8 x 8-inch-square pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Do not overbake; the brownies should be gooey. Let cool, then cut into bars.
This famous recipe makes a rich, gooey brownie as it only uses one-fourth cup of flour.
On July 21, the Selection Committee presided by Jérôme Bocuse met to decide which countries in the Asia-Pacific region would qualify for the Grand Final of the Bocuse d’Or, a two-day biennial world chef championship. Named in honor of Paul Bocuse, the renowned chef and restauranteur who was the recipient of the coveted France’s prestigious “Meilleur Ouvrier de France,” the Bocuse d’Or is considered one of the most prestigious gastronomic competition in the world.
Held in Lyon, the home town of Bocuse, the next competition is scheduled for January 22 and 23, 2023 and is held during Sirha Lyon, the World Hospitality & Food Service trade show. Lyon, the capital city in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France is nestled at the confluence of the Rhône and Saô rivers.
According to Inés Carrayrou of Monet+Associates Agency for the Bocuse d’Or Americas 2022, each team vying for a chance to participate in the Grand Final was required to submit a recipe based upon a main ingredient and make a presentation. 24 chefs will ultimately be selected and during the intense two-day competition will have just five hours and 35 minutes–and not a second longer–to prepare their dish which is then presented ‘à la française’ on a tray or platter. Each entry is exquisite and the winner recieves what the Bocuse d’Or website describes as “the most beautiful trophy in the world of gastronomy.”
5 TALENTED TEAMS JOIN THE WINNERS OF THE PREVIOUS 2022 SELECTIONS
The five winning countries are:
Australia – Alexander McInstosh China – Nick Lin Japan – Tomoyuki Ishii New Zealand – William Mordido South Korea – Hwang Byeong Hyen
The teams, the recipes as well as the theme plates they’ll be preparing will be announced this fall.
Listed below are the teams that qualified for the different continental selections.
Bocuse d’Or Europe 2022
1st: Denmark – Brian Mark Hanse 2nd: Hungary – Bence Dalnoki 3rd: Norway – Filip August Bendi 4th: Sweden – Jimmi Eriksson 5th: Iceland – Sigurjón Bragi Geirsson 6th: Finland – Johan Kurkela 7th: France – Naïs Pirollet 8th: United Kingdom – Ian Musgrave 9th: Switzerland – Christoph Hunziker 10th: Belgium – Sam Van Houcke
Bocuse d’Or Americas 2022
1st: USA – Jeffery Hayashi 2nd: Canada – Samuel Sirois 3rd: Chile – Ari Zúñiga 4th: Colombia – Carlos Pajaro 5th: Mexico – Marcelo Hisaki
“Paul Bocuse was the incarnation of French cuisine,” said then-French President Emmanuel Macron in 2018 when Bocuse passed away in Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or, in Lyon, where he was born and operated his main restaurant. Bocuse, credited with changing French cuisine with the introduction of nouvelle cuisine, a lighter, fresher approach to the classic cookery of France.
Melt the butter in a double-boiler, stirring it with a whisk. Let cool for a few seconds. Add the salt and mix. Add the confectioners’ sugar. Mix. Add the flour in a steady stream, while continuing to mix. Once the dough begins to come together, take out the whisk and continue to mix with a spatula. Work in the baking powder.
Break the egg into a ramekin, beat it with a fork, then pour it into the dough. Mix it until the dough comes together into a ball. Flatten it slightly, put it on a plate, and leave it to rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
If you prepare the dough the day before, remember to take it out of the refrigerator a bit before you want to use it, so that it is not too hard.
You can also make the caramel several hours in advance. There is no need to reheat it before arranging the apples.
Step 2: Caramel
Heat the sugar over high heat in a saucepan. When the sugar has turned a nice, golden color and is beginning to foam, mix it with a wooden spoon. Add the butter. Mix until the butter is melted.
To make a successful caramel, wipe the pan out carefully before starting the process. Move it around during the cooking of the sugar, but do not use any utensils.
The caramel should have a good color without becoming at all brown. Allow 3 to 4 minutes or so.
Pour the caramel into a 8-inch (20-cm) metal baking dish. Split the vanilla pod in two without separating the two halves. Put it into the pan, right in the middle, to form a “V”.
Step 3: Tart
Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Peel and core the apples. Cut them in half vertically. Arrange the apples, standing them upright in the pan. Fill in the center, and fill up any gaps.
It is important for the success of the tart that the apples are all the same thickness. Peel them immediately before cooking to make sure they do not oxidize when in contact with the air.
Place the pan in the bottom of the oven and cook for 1 hour. Check that the apples are cooked. Allow to rest for 10 minutes, then chill for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Place the dough on parchment paper, and flour it lightly. Roll it out into a circle about 1/8-inch (3-mm) thick. Lay the lid of the dish upside down on the pastry, and cut the pastry out to the same interior dimensions as the lid. Cut away the excess.
Prick the surface of the dough all over, using a fork. Trim the greaseproof paper to within 1/2 inch (12 mm) of the edge of the dough. Slide the dough, on the paper, onto a baking tray. Bake for 10 minutes. Lay the cooked pastry on a cooling rack. Allow it to cool and harden.
It is always helpful to use parchment paper: there is no need to butter the pan, and the transfer of the pastry base is easy.
After 10 minutes of cooking, the pastry will still be soft. It hardens completely when cool. Handle it with care!
A few minutes before serving, gently warm a serving plate. Place the pastry disk over the apples. Unstick the apples by holding the pastry with one hand and turning the pan from all angles.
When the apples are unstuck from the bottom, turn out the tart. Lay the plate upside down over the pan, invert, and lift the pan away. The tart is ready to be devoured!
This recipe was originally published in “My Best Paul Bocuse” (Éditions Alain Ducasse).
Special guest blogger Kathy Witt is back with another great road trip.
Legend holds that fairy doors are magical portals and, while humans can’t travel into this realm, they can at least find the tiny doors if they know where to look.
That place is Dublin, Ohio, home to the very first Irish Fairy Door Trail in the United States and a land of enchantment itself, from its picturesque historic downtown, where cheery gift, toy and sweet shops line bricked-paved streets, to the bustling blocks of Bridge Park – an entertainment wonderland with fun, games and gastronomy.
Dublin embraces its Irish through this experience and others, including the Celtic Cocktail Trail, a 19-stop libation celebration with an Irish twist. And it brings a touch of Brigadoon with its many waterfalls and water features, including Indian Run Falls, located minutes from downtown.
Following the Irish Fairy Door Trail (www.visitdublinohio.com/things-to-do/fairy-door-trail) is something-for-everyone fun and the perfect way to get acquainted with downtown Dublin. From high-energy North Market Bridge packed with local merchants, including a 75-year-old confectionery, to the quieter historic district with its locally owned shops, the trail meanders across the S-shaped suspension bridge spanning the Scioto River, past architecture both contemporary and centuries old and into the happy-go-lucky vibe of this community.
Make sure to stop at Kilwin’s – where you can watch Candy Chef Carolyn Gasiorek hand-dip apples or shake sprinkles onto handmade chocolates; the Cheesecake Girl (a bonus trail stop); and Dublin Toy Emporium, where mom and former educator Enas Lanham has created a world of pure joy and imagination with plush puppets, science kits, books, puzzles, arts and crafts kits and more.
Find the tiny fairy doors hidden among French macarons, boxes of chocolates and candles, clothing and tea towels, make note of the name of the resident fairy on your passport, available at the Dublin Visitor and Information Center (www.visitdublinohio.com), and earn an Irish Fairy Doors of Dublin t-shirt.
With its separate bed, seating and workspace areas as well as mini-refrigerator, microwave and coffee maker, the SpringHill Suites by Marriott (www.visitdublinohio.com/hotels) is ideal for multigenerational family stays. Plus, it’s well located in the Bridge Park area with easy access to the Irish Fairy Door Trail and Celtic Cocktail Trail and the shops, restaurants and waterfalls of the surrounding area.
Reservations include complimentary buffet breakfast and free Wi-Fi and parking, among other amenities.
Dublin revels in its Irish attitude through official “Irish Approved Businesses” that include numerous eateries, like the come-as-you-are Dublin Village Tavern (www.thedublinvillagetavern.com). This neighborhood pub is a favorite among locals and visitors alike for its congenial atmosphere, friendly waitstaff and full-on Irish dishes.
Begin with Hooley Eggs, a deep-fried delicacy featuring a hard-boiled egg wrapped in Irish sausage, then move onto braised beef shepherd’s pie, slow-cooked in Guinness and loaded with veggies piping hot beneath a mashed potato crust. The full bar stocks dozens of Irish whiskeys, plus Guinness and other Irish imports and craft beers on tap, wine, Irish coffee and specialty cocktails.
Finding fairy doors is hard work but Dublin has just the place to chill after checking off all the stops: Zoombezi Bay Waterpark (www.zoombezibay.columbuszoo.org). From thrill-ride slides to Tiny Tides – a heated-water playground for little ones – Mexican-style street tacos and ice cream to margarita and daiquiri bar, an afternoon here can be as crazy or lazy as you like. Adding appeal are shaded cabana rentals, furnished with chaise lounges and dining tables/chairs.
The Dublin Irish Festival (www.dublinirishfestival.org) takes place August 5-7, 2022, in the city’s Coffman Park. It is the largest three-day Irish festival in the world and features seven stages of entertainment with Irish musicians and dancers; storytelling, folklore, music and hands-on workshops; 100 vendors selling everything from kilts to jewelry to handmade instruments; and a menu of foodie options from traditional Irish fish and chips to festival faves to food trucks, pizza and more.
This dish was concocted in the late 1700s/early 1800s by creative and frugal Irish housewives intent of finding a delicious way to use up their leftovers.
2 lbs. chuck road, cubed
4 carrots, medium dice
3 medium yellow onions, medium dice
4 ribs celery, medium dice
1 C peas
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 TBSP fresh rosemary, minced
1 TBSP fresh thyme, minced
1 1/3 C Guinness beer
1/4 C Worcestershire sauce
1 1/4 C beef stock
Prepared mashed potatoes
2 TBSP panko bread crumbs
2 TBSP grated parmesan
Place a large frying pan over high heat and add a thin layer of olive oil. Season the meat with salt and pepper and fry, stirring, in two or three batches, until nicely browned. Once cooked, place meat in colander to drain off the fat.
Place pan back over medium-high heat and add a little olive oil. When hot, fry the onion, celery, garlic and thyme, for 8-10 minutes, until soft and golden. Add the browned meat, peas and carrots. Stir constantly for 4-5 minutes.
Add the Guinness and Worcestershire sauce and boil until the liquid has reduced by half. Pour in the stock and return to boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 20-25 minutes, by which time the mixture should thicken. Continue to simmer for another 5-10 minutes if it doesn’t seem quite thick enough.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Spoon mixture into casserole dish. Spread mashed potato on top of meat. Top with panko breadcrumbs and parmesan. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.
Kathy Witt is an award-winning travel and lifestyle writer who writes a monthly syndicated travel column for Tribune News Service, is a regular contributor to Kentucky Living, Georgia and Travel Goods magazines and RealFoodTraveler.com as well as other outlets like County. She is the author of several books, including Cincinnati Scavenger (Fall 2022) Secret Cincinnati andThe Secret of the Belles, and is working on another travel-themed book for Fall 2023 release. Kathy is a member of SATW (Society of American Travel Writers), Authors Guild and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.Kathy has a new interactive Cincinnati-themed book arriving summer 2022!
Cheryl Day’s take on the Bill Smith classic is a make-again (and again) recipe writes Dorie Greenspan in her July 1 bulletin. Here Dorie shares a great recipe from Day’s new cookbook for Atlantic Beach Pie that she describes as perfect for Fourth of July. I, for one, am definitely going to make this for the upcoming holiday.
Almost as enjoyable as the pie is Dorie’s background on the dish—and Dorie, you weren’t the only one who had never heard of this pie. I hadn’t either so at least there are two of us. Dorie also introduces us to a new cookbook, Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking. Now here’s one I am most likely the only one not to know about Day or her Back in the Day Bakery in Savannah, Georgia as Dorie has long been a big fan.
Since July 4th is coming up, I’d better cut to Dorie’s bulletin and the recipe for the pie. Please let me know what you think. Also, be sure to subscribe to Dorie’s newsletter. It’s the best and it’s free. I mean, really, what’s there to lose? Well, of course, your waistline but hey, save your calories for all the good things Dorie has to offer.
Here we go.
From Dorie Greenspan:
We just wrapped up choux month in Playing Around // xoxo Dorie — look at what we baked together! If you’d like join the group before the next project launches, click here to subscribe.
Am I the last person on the planet to discover the joys of the Atlantic Beach Pie made famous by Bill Smith at Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, a James Beard Foundation America’s Classic restaurant that featured fresh, seasonally-focused Southern cuisine. I’m thinking I might be. I’m also thinking I might not have ever come around to it had Mary Dodd not mentioned how much she loved the recipe for it that’s in Cheryl Day’s newest cookbook, Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking.
I might be slow on the recipe front, but I’ve been a Cheryl Day fan for a long time. Cheryl, who founded and owns the Back in the Day Bakery with her husband, Griffith, in Savannah, Georgia, is one of the country’s most important voices in Southern foodways – one of its most beloved too. She is a bestselling author, the co-founder of Southern Restaurants for Racial Justice, a legacy baker and an inspiring speaker – it was marvelous to hear her at the Cherry Bombe Jubilee this year.
It was funny that when Mary said the name of the pie, I thought that there was a Maida Heatter recipe for it – but I was wrong. Maida Heatter didn’t publish a version, but a million other people did. It’s cherished. And even if it weren’t as great as it is, it would be easy to have a soft spot for it because of the story that spins around it. I loved hearing Katie Workman on NPR/All Things Considered talk about the first time she had the pie – she called it an OMG, “When Harry Met Sally” experience.
THE SHORT SALTY BACK STORY
You can get a fuller telling of this story in a bunch of places – I love how Margaux Laskey wrote about it in The New York Times (subscription) – so I’m just going to tell you the part I like most.
While the name “Atlantic Beach Pie,” is Smith’s, he doesn’t claim the dessert as his own, saying that it’s served all over East and North Carolina, where it’s called Lemon Pie. Growing up, his mother – and evidently everyone else’s mom, too – was convinced that if you ate dessert after you’d eaten seafood, it would kill you. The one exception was citrus – life could go on after a citrusy sweet. And so, this lemon pie was the specialty at fish places along the coast.
And what a pie – it’s a quirky one.
SALTINES, LEMON JUICE AND SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK – WHODDA THUNK?
Everything about this pie is beachy, especially it’s saltiness. The press-in crust – which could be made from graham crackers, and I read that it was in many places – is made from crushed saltines, butter and sugar. It’s thick and salty-sweet and fun. The filling, which was traditionally lemon, but which can be a mix of lemon and lime (or why not all lime?), is satiny and jiggly, slip-through-your-teeth smooth and reminiscent of lemon-meringue pie – gets its shimmy from egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk. (Remember how Jessie Sheehan used sweetened condensed milk in that terrific recipe for potato-chip and pretzel fudge, and called the canned milk her BBF – her Baking Best Friend?)
As for the topping – as near as I can tell, it was meringue, until it wasn’t. (Meringue makes sense, since you’re using yolks for the filling and will have whites left over.) Bill Smith opted for whipped cream and Cheryl Day, (scroll down for her recipe), went for whipped cream tanged-up with buttermilk – a genius partner for the sweet filling. (Hold onto the recipe – it’s a nice way to get the flavor of crème fraîche when you can’t get crème fraîche.) In some recipes, the pie gets a grating of lemon or lime zest, and in many it gets a light shower of flaky sea salt. The constant is the see-saw sweet-salty balance. Oh, and the life-saving power of citrus.
PIE FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ATLANTIC
Maybe I could have searched all over Paris and nabbed Saltines, but when you want to bake a pie, you want to bake a pie. I was going to go with a graham-cracker base, but I found some crackers that did the trick. They weren’t salty enough, but that was an easy fix. And just because I could, I topped the pie with little meringue stars straight from the supermarket shelf. I love a country where you can buy meringue ready-to-go.
Would this be a good Fourth of July dessert? Yes? Good for a picnic? Yes? Good for a weekend brunch? Also yes. It’s an over-again recipe – a dessert you’ll make over and over again.
Happy weekend to all. I’ll see the members of the Playing Around club back here on Tuesday – that’s when I’ll tell you what the project for July is (so excited) – and we’ll all be back here together on Friday. Sweet, sweet wishes to everyone.
The crust: For the fun of it – the saltiness, too – you should try the pie with Saltines. But if you can’t find them or don’t think you’ll like them, jump on the graham-cracker-crust bandwagon. You can use a food processor to crumble the crackers, but it’s easily done by hand, and you won’t have a machine to clean when it’s over. Cheryl says: When you make your crumbs, be sure to leave a little texture, rather than making a fine dust. Make sure your butter is super-soft because you’re going to smush it with the crackers to get a pressable mixture. (Mary melted and cooled the butter. I smushed it. Good both ways.)
The citrus: Cheryl goes with all lemon juice and some others, including Food 52, suggest all lemon, all lime or a mix. Mary made hers with all lemon and I went with some of each. (I’m a well-known sucker for lime.)
The topping: The allure of Cheryl’s Buttermilk Whipped Cream is great – also it’s such a smart way to add some tang to a sweet dessert. But thrift suggests meringue (some history does, too). And no one would turn down straight-up whipped cream. Mary made the buttermilk cream and loved it. I used store-bought meringues because I could. You don’t need me to tell you that you should do what you’d like.
My store-bought meringues
The finishing touches: Cheryl’s pie is gorgeously pristine – I love how she covers the top with beautifully piped little rounds of that ethereal cream. But grated zest is a possibility as is a few shiny pieces of flaky sea salt here and there.
Makes 8 servings
For the piecrust
• About 60 saltine crackers from about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 sleeves of crackers (190 grams) to make 2 1/2 cups crumbs (see above)
• 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 6 to 8 tablespoons (85 to 113 grams) very soft unsalted butter
For the pie filling
• One 14-ounce (300 ml) can sweetened condensed milk
• 4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
• 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
• 1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh lemon juice (or see above)
For the whipped cream
• 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
• 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
• A pinch of fine sea salt
• 1/4 cup (60 ml) buttermilk
To make the piecrust: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350-degrees F. Have a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan at hand.
In a medium bowl, blend together the cracker crumbs and sugar. Add the butter and mix with a fork (or your fingers or a combination of both) until the crumbs are moistened.
Press the mixture evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pie pan.
Bake the crust for 12 to 15 minutes, just until golden brown and firm. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.
To make the filling: Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325-degrees F. Place the baked piecrust on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
In a large bowl, whisk the condensed milk and egg yolks together until smooth. Add the lemon zest and juice, whisking until combined.
Pour the filling into the crust. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until the filling is puffed up at the edges and the center no longer looks wet but still wobbles slightly when jiggled; it will continue to set as it cools.
Cool the pie on a wire rack for 1 hour, then refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours, or overnight.
To make the cream: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), whip the cream, sugar, and salt on medium speed until the cream starts to thicken. Add the buttermilk and beat until the cream holds nice soft peaks. Use immediately.
STORING: The pie can be refrigerated, loosely covered, for up to 3 days.
PLAYING AROUND: I’m guessing that you’ll find lots of ways to use the salty crust and the excellent sweet filling separately and together. I think the crust would be terrific with a chocolate pudding filling and I think the filling would be terrific as a pudding. Of course you could make the pie in a different shape or size, play around with different toppings or just go straight to the freezer and scoop some ice cream over it. I think you’ll have fun with this one.
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Barbara Costello didn’t do social media when she first helped her daughter by posting a cooking video on TikTok.
“I thought TikTok was all about dancing,” says Costello, the mother of four and grandmother of eight, who is known as Grandma Babs. Her first post was in April 2020 during the pandemic. Nine months later she had 200,000 followers. Now it’s closing in on two million.
“By the time we hang up, you’ll probably have 20,000 more followers,” I tell Costello who is in the car with her daughter, Liz Ariola, on their way to a book signing.
I’m only half joking.
Besides TikTok followers on her Brunch with Babs site, Costello also has 660,000 followers on Instagram. In comparison, I have 1989. Not that I’m jealous.
Costello, who is 73, is considered a granfluencer—a growing trend of older people who are kicking it on social media. And now she has a cookbook, “Celebrate with Babs: Holiday Recipes & Family Traditions” featuring one hundred of her tried and true handwritten recipes that she pulled from her wood recipe box.
“I started collecting recipes before the internet,” she says. “You used to go over to someone’s house for dinner and leave with recipe cards of what was served that night.”
The book is divided by holidays and celebrations which are a big deal in the Costello family.
“We’re Italian and we like big noisy get-togethers,” she says. “My mom was one of nine and I have 21 first cousins. Even after Bill and I got married there were so many of us that we still sat at the children’s table when everyone got together.”
Originally from the Chicago area, Costello taught middle school in Schaumburg before the family moved, ending up in Connecticut where they’ve lived for decades. Costello opened her own pre-school (they called them nursery schools back then) in the basement of her house. She thinks the skills she learned as a teacher and administrator are part of what connects her to her audience. And she is all about connections.
“I still get invited to the weddings of my preschoolers,” she says. “And many of them have remained friends with their pre-school classmates and they’re at the weddings. I think that’s wonderful after all those years.”
Costello describes herself as having gone from zero to 60 miles-per-hour.
“I never expected this,” she says. “People ask me if I have a business plan and I say what’s that? I’m making it up along the way.”
It was Ariola who got her mom in the business. Social media savvy, Ariola writes the popular mom blog Mrs. Nipple blog (get it—aureole/ariola) and asked her mom for help during her pregnancy. Despite morning sickness, Ariola was trying to launch a TikTok channel and got her mom to agree to film three videos while her two grandchildren were napping.
The first video showing Costello making her grandmother’s Greek chicken recipe garnered 100,000 views. Somewhere along the line, one of her viewers was a cookbook editor. The rest, as they say, is history.
Even though the book is divided into holidays, each section with a special memory or anecdote, Costello says they recipes are good for everyday as well.
“Recipes are recipes,” she says. In other words, you don’t have to wait until Easter to make marinated leg of lamb, apricot glazed ham, or Grandma’s Easter Bread.
Bonding Over Meals
Even though she was a working mom, Costello always made family meals.
“People didn’t do fast food like they do now,” she says. “And I think it’s very important for families to eat together.”
Indeed, one of her hopes for her cookbook and her social media popularity is that it will encourage people to cook more and enjoy dinner together. In the meantime, she’s going to keep cooking.
“My mom is always over the top when it comes to celebrations,” says Ariola, noting her mother’s tendency to make way too much food.
“Being raised in an Italian family,” says Costello, “ I learned that the worst thing that could happen is that there wasn’t enough food to feed everyone.”
That certainly won’t happen on her watch.
“I always look forward to our grandkids’ first birthdays,” writes Costello. “My daughter loves showering her sons with smash cakes when they have that special birthday. She strips them down and lets them go at the cake. It’s a ton of fun to see how their little personalities shine in this moment. This is not only the favorite of my one-year-old grandson Scooter, but also a hit with my toddler-aged grandkids, too. Even I love it! I’ve made this recipe as just a loaf when not celebrating a special one-year-old in the family. The cream cheese frosting and the cake are the perfect combo.”
15 minutes, plus 2 hours to cool
1 smash cake plus 1 loaf (serves about 9)
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
½ cup pure maple syrup
2 (4 oz containers unsweetened applesauce
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of fine kosher salt
Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Natural food coloring (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and line 2 (4-inch) ramekins or cake pans, and 1 (9 x 5-inch) loaf pan with parchment paper.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the maple syrup and applesauce. Beat until well combined.
3. Using a fine-mesh sieve, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into the wet mixture. Stir until combined. Spoon the mixture into the ramekins until three-fourths full. Pour the rest of the batter into the loaf pan.
4. Bake the smash cakes for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Bake the loaf for an additional 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand for 15 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Make the frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter until well combined. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth and creamy, scraping the side of the bowl once or twice during mixing. If desired, beat in a few drops of natural food coloring of your choice.
6. To assemble the smash cake, place the bottom half on a serving plate. Spoon frosting over. Add the remaining layer. Spread frosting over the top and side of the cake. Add decorations of your choice. To serve the loaf, spread the top and sides with frosting, and cut into slices to serve.
Broccoli Salad (from the Summer Barbecue chapter)
This easy, crisp, classic vegetable salad is a must at any summer barbecue, picnic, or pool party. This is an old recipe I’ve been making for over forty years. The flavors meld beautifully, and the fresh crispness of the veggies, the creaminess of the dressing, and the ease of making it ahead, make this recipe a winner in all categories.
15 minutes, plus at least 1 hour to chill
2 bunches of raw broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets (about 8 cups)
1 small red onion, chopped
1 lb. crisp, crumbled bacon
½ cup chopped, toasted pecans or walnuts
1 cup golden or brown raisins
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
In a large bowl, mix the broccoli, onion, bacon, nuts, and raisins.
In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar.
Toss the dressing with the broccoli mixture. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Looking for a last minute Father’s Day gift? Consider this.
Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and #1 New York Times bestselling author Sammy Hagar recently released his first cocktail book – and it’s everything needed for a home bar. Sammy knows that some of life’s greatest memories are made over cocktails, and “Sammy Hagar’s Cocktail Hits: 85 Personal Favorites from the Red Rocker” chronicles Sammy’s storied life with drinks inspired by that journey – from the laidback beaches of Cabo and Hawaii to the dazzle of Hollywood and Las Vegas. Priced at $29.99 for hardcover and $19.99 on Kindle, this book covers everything from tools of the trade and glassware to bases and purees. And it has a forward written by Guy Fieri. For recipes from the book, see below.
Hagar, who is not only a legendary rocker but also a spirits entrepreneur also has introduced Sammy’s Beach Bar Cocktail Co.with a line of ready-to-drink (RTD) top-shelf sparkling rum cocktails in a can.
Hagar’s award-winning Puerto Rico-made Beach Bar Rum steeps island flavor into the cocktails, which come in four playful twists on classic flavors: Tangerine Dream, Pineapple Splash, Island Pop and Cherry Kola Chill. Made with all-natural ingredients and sweetened with agave, each flavor is under 130 calories and five grams of sugar per can.
Tangerine Dream – A refreshing blend of tangerine and vanilla cream; the classic Creamsicle.
“There’s nothing better than a Creamsicle.”
Pineapple Splash – The slight sweetness of pineapple, followed by the kick of jalapeño.
“I like it sweet, with some Jalapeño heat!”
Island Pop – The fruity flavors of cherry, pineapple, and citrus, pack a Hawaiian punch.
“That classic Hawaiian style punch!”
Cherry Kola Chill – That classic soda fountain flavor of cherry cola with a hint of spice.
“My take on that classic Cherry Cola vibe.”
A celebration of beach life, Sammy’s Beach Bar Cocktail Co. supports charities behind beach and ocean clean-up initiatives.
Sammy Hagar LIVE: Check Sammy’s tour dates here – if your dad’s a mega fan you can give him tickets to any one of shows, all held in outdoor amphitheaters through the end of summer, and you can even ship him a four-pack of top-shelf sparking rum cocktails to take with him in a cooler.
Buy online at http://sbbcco.com/ and at major retailers, grocers, big box stores, restaurants and bars in California, Nevada and Texas now; Florida in June; and additional states coming soon.
Santo Sunrise (featuring Santo Mezquila)
1½ ounces Santo Mezquila
4 ounces fresh orange juice
Splash of grenadine
Splash of Blue Curacao
Garnish: Half wheel orange slice
In a tall glass filled with ice, add the mezquila, orange juice, grenadine, and Blue Curaçao. Stir well and garnish with a fresh halved orange wheel.
Guava Martini (featuring Santo Blanco Tequila)
1½ ounces Santo Blanco Tequila
1 ounce fresh pineapple juice
1 ounce guava juice
Garnish: Fresh lime wheel, dusted in Tajín
In a cocktail shaker, fill with ice and add the tequila, pineapple juice, and guava juice. Shake well and strain into a chilled martini or coupe glass. Garnish with a fresh lime wheel dusted in Tajín.
Kir Royale (featuring Sammy’s Red Head Rum)
1 ounce Sammy’s Red Head Rum, divided
4 ounces chilled champagne
Garnish: Fresh lemon twist
Add half the rum to a chilled champagne flute. Slowly add the chilled champagne until ½-inch from the top. Top with the remaining rum. Garnish with a fresh lemon twist.
Da Kari (featuring Sammy’s Beach Bar Platinum Rum)
1 large piece fresh pineapple, rind removed
2 ounces Sammy’s Beach Bar Platinum Rum
½ fresh lime, squeezed
1 ounce Simple Syrup
Rim: Lime and cane sugar
Garnish: Fresh lime wedge
Run a fresh lime wedge around the rim of a chilled martini glass. Then roll the moistened rim in cane sugar and set the glass aside. In a cocktail shaker, add the pineapple. Using a muddler, gently (yet firmly) muddle the pineapple. Then add the rum, lime juice, and simple syrup. Fill the shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into the prepared martini glass. Garnish with a fresh lime wedge.
Sold in four-packs
12 oz/355 ml
A QR code on every can reveals a special video message from Hagar, himself.
“What I remember from eating my grandma’s food is after eating, you feel good,” says Jew whose original family name was spelled Jiu but was changed when the family moved here when going through customs. “That sensation is what I want people to experience. Understanding that chefs back in old China—they were considered doctors too, where they were healing people and giving remedies to fix your ailments. A lot of it was basically what they were feeding you. I try not to take it too seriously, but there are things I feel like as a chef, I feel like it’s my responsibility to make people feel good afterwards too.”
But those years cooking Cal weren’t wasted.
“Cantonese cuisine and California cuisine really align in how ingredient-driven the food is and how minimal—the goal is to do as little to a perfect ingredient,” says Jew. “Finding that perfect ingredient and thinking of the cooking method to showcase its natural flavors the most, to me, is very Cantonese and Californian. I’m using that mentality to bridge the two together.”
A bio major, Jew says it starts with the ingredients.
“There are just some classic things we want to reinterpret,” he says. “There isn’t a lot of specific recipes for a lot of things. Chop suey just doesn’t have really any recipe to it. We’re taking the creative freedom to do our version of that, or even something like egg foo young.”
Anything that needs slow braising will do well in a clay pot. The porous clay distributes an encompassing gentle heat all while sealing in the juices. The slightly alkaline clay also keeps proteins loose and tender. I appreciate a clay pot for its kindness to cooks. It holds heat so well that you can set it aside off-heat for an hour or two and come back to find everything inside still nice and toasty. And if you don’t have one, a small Dutch oven with a tight lid will do. Lion’s head (獅子頭, shī zi tóu in Mandarin) are a classic Chinese meatball (the bumpy texture looks like the curly manes of mythical lions). We use savory ingredients ingredients—mushrooms, seaweed, and a blend of pork—that compounds the sīn flavor exponentially. Use whatever delicious fungi you’ve got. Sometimes I drop a handful of fresh cordyceps (蟲草花, chóng căo huá) sautéed with garlic, or shave matsutake as in this recipe. For the bacon, choose an intensely smoky kind. You can use a meat grinder or hand-chop everything old-school.
Active Time — 1 hour, 15 minutes
Plan Ahead — You’ll need about 3 hours total, plus time to make Chicken Stock; pre-soak the clay pot for 2 hours
Makes 4 to 6 servings
Special Equipment — Meat grinder (optional), soaked 9-inch clay pot or a small Dutch oven
Lion’s Head Meatballs
3 oz / 85g nettles or stemmed lacinato kale
1 tsp neutral oil
4 oz / 115g skin-on pork belly
12 Savoy cabbage leaves, thick stems trimmed
12 oz / 340g pork shoulder, cut into 1½-inch pieces
3 oz / 85g pork back fat
3½ oz / 100g medium-firm doufu
4 tsp peeled and minced ginger
1½ Tbsp light soy sauce (生抽, sāng chāu)
1 Tbsp powdered milk
1¼ tsp freshly ground white pepper
1 tsp fish sauce
1½ cups / 360ml Matsutake Broth (recipe follows)
2 Tbsp neutral oil
3 oz / 85g fresh wild mushrooms (such as matsutake, black trumpets, or chanterelles), chopped if large
½ rosemary sprig, about 2 inches long
3 Tbsp toasted pine nuts
1 fresh matsutake mushroom, very thinly sliced or shaved with a mandoline
To make the meatballs: While wearing thick gloves, strip the leaves from the nettles and discard the stems.
In a wok or a medium frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the neutral oil until shimmering. Add the nettles and a pinch of salt and cook until wilted but still bright green, about 1½ minutes. If using kale, this will take about 3 minutes. Finely chop and set aside.
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Line a baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels.
Remove the skin from the pork belly. Add the skin to the boiling water and blanch for 30 seconds to firm up. Using tongs, remove and set aside. Add the cabbage leaves (work in batches, if needed) to the water and blanch until just wilted, about 30 seconds, then transfer to the prepared baking sheet to drain.
Place the pork skin, pork shoulder, belly, and back fat in a single layer on a plate and put in the freezer until the surface is just frozen but the center is still soft enough to be ground, about 15 minutes.
If using a meat grinder, grind the fat and skin through a fine grinding plate (⅛-inch / 3mm holes) into a large bowl. Switch to a coarse grinding plate (¼-inch / 6mm holes). Regrind about half of the fat-skin mixture back into the large bowl, then grind the shoulder and belly through the same grinding plate. Mix gently to combine. Regrind about half of the pork mixture again. Grind the doufu through the coarse grinding plate into the large bowl.
If chopping by hand, separately mince the pork belly skin, pork belly, pork shoulder, pork fat, and doufu using a chef’s knife or cleaver (two if you got ’em). Transfer to a large bowl as each one has formed a sticky paste and then mix well.
Add the nettles, ginger, soy sauce, powdered milk, 1½ tsp salt, pepper, and fish sauce to the bowl and use your hands to mix until well combined and a sticky paste forms but the meat is not overworked.
Divide the mixture into six portions. Roll each portion into a ball that is firmly packed and smooth. Wrap a cabbage leaf around each meatball, leaving the top exposed (save the remaining cabbage leaves for the clay pot). Refrigerate until ready to cook, up to 4 hours.
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Place the wrapped meatballs in a single layer in a soaked 9-inch-wide clay pot or small Dutch oven. Tuck the remaining cabbage leaves between the meatballs, then add the broth. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
Transfer the pot to the oven and bake uncovered until the meatballs are browned and cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, warm a wok or a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the neutral oil and let it heat up for a few seconds. Add the mushrooms and rosemary, season with salt, and stir-fry until the mushrooms are browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Discard the rosemary.
Spoon the stir-fried mushrooms and any oil left in the pan over the meatballs and top with the pine nuts and shaved mushroom. Serve immediately.
Makes 1 ½ cups / 360ml
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, sear the bacon until dark golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the onion to the pan and sear until very browned on one side, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the heat to medium-low; add the seared bacon, chicken stock, both dried mushrooms, and kombu; and simmer until reduced to 1½ cups / 360ml, about 1 hour.
Fit a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Strain the broth and discard the solids. Stir the fish sauce into the broth. Let cool, transfer to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
On a weekly basis, my mom would cook corned beef with cabbage, or chicken à la king, or sausage lasagna. It was too expensive to travel internationally, but we got to eat all over the world from our kitchen table. When she cooked food from her childhood, though, she would make us this steamed fish, topped with ginger, green onions, and fermented black beans. The flavor of steamed fish in Cantonese cuisine is all about sīn tìhm (鮮甜), the essential flavor of a fresh ingredient in combination with a pure, smooth sweetness. The final lashing of hot oil in this dish infuses the green onions and ginger into the flesh of the fish and enriches the soy. Take care not to overcook the fish; I like to turn off the heat in the last minutes of cooking and let the steam finish the job. The flesh should pull off the bone in tender morsels, not flake. I always score round, fleshy fish to help it cook evenly. Then I steam the fish only until the thickest flesh right behind the gill area is not quite opaque or, as Cantonese cooks say, “translucent like white jade.”
Active Time — 20 minutes
Makes 4 servings
Special Equipment — Steamer, 9-inch pie plate
1 Tbsp fermented black beans (optional)
One 1½-lb / 680g whole fish (such as black bass or Tai snapper), gutted and scaled
large handful aromatics (such as thinly sliced ginger, green onion tops, and/or strips of fresh citrus zest)
¼ cup / 60ml high-smoke-point oil (such as peanut oil)
In a small bowl, cover the black beans (if using) with water, let soak for 30 minutes, and then drain.
Prepare a steamer in a wok or a large, lidded pot following the instructions on page 167 and bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat.
Meanwhile, using kitchen shears, cut off the gills and the fins (careful, sharp!) on the top, bottom, and sides of the fish. Run your fingers over the skin, especially near the gills and belly, toward the head to check for any last scales; remove the scales with the edge of a spoon or the back of a knife.
On both sides of the fish, make eight 2-inch-long parallel slits into the flesh, not quite deep enough to hit bone, starting about 1 inch from the gills. Place the fish in a pie plate. (The fish can hang over the edges so long as everything fits in the steamer. If not, cut the fish in half to fit and hope none of your guests are superstitious.) Tuck some of your chosen aromatics into each slit, then stuff the remaining aromatics in the cavity. Top the fish with the black beans.
Place the pie plate in the steamer, cover, and steam until the eyeball is opaque and the flesh of the fish is white and flaky at the thickest part near the head and first slit, 10 to 12 minutes.
While the fish is steaming, in a small heavy-bottom saucepan over low heat, slowly warm the oil.
When the fish is ready, remove it with the pie plate from the steamer. (Reassemble as a whole fish if you cut it in two.) Drizzle with the soy sauce, then top with the ginger and green onions. Turn the heat under the oil to high and warm until it just starts to smoke. Immediately pour the oil over the fish, getting as much of the ginger and green onions to sizzle as you can. Garnish with the cilantro and serve with a spoon big enough for drizzling the juices.
For this recipe, I prefer medium Chinese eggplants, the pale purple, slender ones that are ten to twelve inches long, over similar-looking but more bitter varieties. This calls for oil-blanching and, because eggplant is basically a sponge, brining them for an hour first until they are saturated but not bloated. During frying, the water turns to steam and makes the eggplant creamy and not at all oily.
Cooking is really the study of water. It takes water to grow everything, of course, and so the amount of water that remains in an ingredient after it is harvested or butchered dictates how it will heat through in the pan, whether it will soften, seize, crisp, or caramelize. You’re adding water when you use stocks, vinegars, or alcohol. You’re creating barriers to water with starches. How you cut ingredients and the order in which you add them to the pan is about controlling how and when they release the water inside them. Even the shapes of cooking vessels are about releasing or retaining moisture. When cooking with a wok, changes to water happen so quickly that split-second timing is essential.
¼ cup / 5g packed Thai or opal basil leaves, torn in half if large
Trim and discard the eggplant ends, then cut into thick wedges, like steak frites—first cut crosswise into three 3-inch chunks, then halve those lengthwise repeatedly until you have 1-inch-thick wedges.
In a large bowl, combine 1 qt / 950ml of the water and the salt and whisk until the salt is dissolved. Add the eggplant, making sure it is submerged, and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
Fill a 5-quart or larger Dutch oven with the neutral oil and secure a deep-fry thermometer on the side. Set over medium-high heat and warm the oil to 375°F.
Meanwhile, drain the eggplant and dry very well with paper towels. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ¼ cup / 60ml water, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Set this sauce aside.
Add the sliced garlic to the oil and fry until crisp and light golden brown, about 30 seconds. Use a spider to transfer them to a paper towel to drain.
Check that the oil in the Dutch oven is still at 375°F. Set up for the second fry by setting a dry wok or large skillet over high heat.
Carefully slide all the eggplant into the oil. Stir until the eggplant has darkened and caramelized at the edges, about 1 minute. Remove the eggplant with the spider and drain well over the Dutch oven, then transfer to the screaming-hot wok.
Immediately add the chopped garlic and most of the chile rings (reserve a few for garnish) to the eggplant in the wok and toss everything to combine. Add the reserved sauce and continue to toss until the sauce thickens to a glaze and the eggplants are browned at the edges, about 1 minute. Add most of the basil leaves and toss until wilted.
Transfer the contents of the wok to a serving platter. Crumble the fried garlic and scatter it over the eggplant with the rest of the basil and chile rings. Serve immediately.