Thursday, June 30, 2011

Gluten and Lactose Intolerance

Come the hot summer heat, we, the intolerant don't have much trouble with wheat, but many cold summer soups are drenched in dairy. Coconut milk can help with some particularly if they are robust enough to dim the coconut taste. Various gazpachos and other vegan soups, borscht without cream for example work splendidly. Non vegans may want to thicken their soups with egg yolks or use a sstarch such as arrowroot. Soups with rich stock that gels are beautiful and festive. However, I often heed my Russian grandmother's words and remember that hot soups as well as hot tea push the body into emergency mode and that air drying cools. Only the kitchen gets hot. Eat outdoors.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Exotic ingredients

Making foods from different cultures almost always leaves me with odds and ends of special ingredients which I then try to use in other ways. That is how I found out that tamarind paste (Asian) goes well with harrisa (Middle Eastern) and Coconut milk (far east). As in the old slogan, "try it, you'll like it. The combined flavore go well with chicken, fish and pork. Use the seasonings to taste.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I just realized that I had left the thinly cut across garlic scapes from two-days-ago's recipe. I have now added them. For those without a garden or at a different season, a greater quantity of chives can be substituted. Scapes are the green shoots that are out growth of those pesky green germs in oldish cloves of garlic. Their peskiness is off set by these old cloves being planted to make new heads. They can be cut off the plant when about eight inches long. This will not hurt the plant.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Another Happy Kitchen Accident

Actually, this started out because of a mix up. I thought that i had invited some people over for drinks. It turned out that they thought it was for the following week. So there I was with a pound of peeled shrimp and only two extra guests who would now have dinner instead of cocktails. What to do.
Once again I rummaged around in the kitchen. I found an open jar of harissa left from another meal and a opened can of Thai coconut milk--the thick kind--I always have some chicken stock around from boiling up the carcasses of the many chickens that I roast. So this is what I did. However, unless you like to eat your sauce with a spoon as I do, you might want to cut the sauce ingredients in half. Rice is essential for the sauce in any case.

Sauce ingredients:
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup Thai coconut milk
2 tablespoons harissa

1 pound cleaned shrimp--smaller are better
1/3 cup canola oil

At this point, it goes very quickly. It's a good idea to have the rice ready.
Put the oil in a ten inch saute pan. Let it get to the shimmering stage. Put in the shrimp and cook tossing them around until the outsides are opaque. Pour in the remaining ingredients and cook for about two minutes or until shrimp are cooked through. Serve and eat.

Happy Kitchen Accidents

That's what I call the dishes that occur when I find myself without my usual ingredients for a dish and am too lazy to go out or am in the country far from a store.
This past weekend we were going to be four for dinner. I had a steak and asparagus from the garden for a main course, but couldn't think of what to make for a starter. Then, i realized that I had seven large scallops left from a prior meal. A little skimpy to serve on their own. Rooting around provided me with a red and a yellow bell pepper and a bottle of ginger teriyaki sauce. I removed the hardish exterior muscles from the scallops and cut them in half from side to side making two thinnish rounds out of each. I seeded the peppers and cut them top to bottom into thinnish strips. I sauteed the pepper strips in canola oil until about half cooked without browning.
I added some snipets--about a heaping tablespoon of garlic shoots that the present guests had brought.I added the scallop pieces and cooked until opaque and stirred in a dollop of the sauce. It was quick, pretty and enough for four and was declared delicious.
Next will be a recipe for an accidental shrimp dish.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mexican with Class

Yesterday night we were going to seee Arcadia at the Barrymore Theater. We were looking for a good place to eat before the 7:00 curtain. A quick reading of the current Zagat for New York City brought us to Hell's Kitchen at 679 Nineth Avenue between 46th and 47th streets. ( 212 977 1588).
The name is not for a hot sauce but for what this area of the city was called in the old days. I really think it is worth while going too--even without theater. Be sure to reserve; it is small and gets crowded.
It is both definitely Mexican and creative at the same time. They make their own tortillas both wheat and corn. They were very sensitive to my gluten problem. The wait person suggested that I have plain white corn tortillas rather than having fried as chips to dip into my excellent guacamole. She explained that they are fried in the same oil as food using wheat and there was a slight risk of contamination.
Similarly, they spontaneously substituted a delicious papaya salsa with chunks of fruit for a forbidden side dish.
The salmon I ordered was well seasoned without having the spice overwhelm the fish. The fish also came moist and slightly under cooked as requested.
There were many other alluring dishes that I will try another time. I will stick with the excellent anajo margarita; but there is a large selection to choose from.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Cocktail Party

Today is a beautiful hot day in the country. Dinner will be minimal. Last night after the jam-packed opening of my friend, Wolf Kahn's. A large group of us headed back to his studio. Then began the nightmare of the gluten intolerant, a cocktail party with hors d'ouevre that were meant to substitute for dinner. Everything was on pieces of bread or wrapped in wheat noodles. We went out to dinner and that is why there will be a chapter in the forthcoming book filled with food that is safe for me. It also has no dairy food in it as there aree even more people who are lactose intolerant than the gluten intolerants.
I think that there can be good and delicious food for cocktails that don't proclaim their restrictions.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Disgrace...Doughnut holes

Today, I was mortified. I was asked by the art director at Artisan Books which will publish my forth coming book, The Intolerant Gourmet, which is about all kinds of food from snacks through main courses to desserts to make some of my delicious Chestnut Doughnut Holes to be photographed for the back cover of the book. These are particularly tasty snacks due to the subtle sweetness of chestnut flour.
I have made them at least a dozen times and they were light and crisp and gobbled up. I'm a fanatic about having my recipes work. Well the first batch was a disaster. I made another but it wasn't perfect. I realized that things to be fried crisp don't work well in desperately humid weather such as we are having. I got just enough to get some decent pictures. If you make them from the recipe in the book which is, of course, gluten and lactose free, do it in late fall or winter.
Then you won't be ashamed as I was. I must add that the misshapen, crisp bits were not discarded, but eagerly eaten by those around.
Good luck and try a soup or stew without flour as a thickener.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Paper Towels in the Kitchen

I never thought of paper towels as equipment--merely a convenience. Now I have found two new uses for them. The first is in the microwave. I had run out of plastic wrap and wanted to cook some cauliflower in the microwave. I layered three sheets of colorless paper towel and wet the thoroughly and proceeded to microwave as usual. Perfect result.

The second trick--usage--was shown me by my assistant, Clara Park, for the forthcoming book, The Opinionated Palate. When putting a hunk of meat to marinate in the refrigerator, cover it with paper towel that hangs into the marinade. The towel wicks up the marinade keeping it moist without turning.