50 Women Game Changers in Food: #17, Dorothy Hamilton

If you're interested in a career in the food industry, then you might consider buying a book called Love What You Do. After all, our game changer of the week, Dorothy Cann Hamilton, wrote the book and parlayed her wanderlust and love of food into a successful career. 

When Ms. Hamilton was in high school, she dreamed about going to Europe. Being a determined woman, she got a student loan and went to college in England. While there, she befriended some French girls and during their visits to France, she got hooked on French food.
Then came the Peace Corps in Thailand from 1972 to 1974 where she was introduced to Asian cuisine. When she finally returned to the US, without job skills or opportunities, her father gave her a job at his trade school. Dorothy worked her way up and eventually became an expert in student financial aid. She was invited to see the top trade schools in Europe and France, where she saw the top professional cooking school, run by the French government.

Inspired by these premier vocational schools, Ms. Hamilton convinced her father they should create a culinary trade school in NYC. They actually paid the French government for the curriculum, brought over the teachers and the French maintained the quality control. So The French Culinary Institute was born in 1984. Quite a success story!

Hamilton was the creator and host of Chef’s Story, a 26-part television series, which debuted on PBS in April 2007, and the author of the companion book, Chef’s Story. Her book on culinary careers, Love What You Do: Building a Career in the Culinary Industry was published in the fall of 2009.

Most recently, she was inducted into the Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America by the James Beard Foundation and was nominated for the Entrepreneur Award of Excellence by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. She has been knighted by the Association Internationale de Maîtres Conseil dans la Gastronomie Française, inducted into the James Beard Foundation Hall of Fame and awarded the Silver Spoon by Food Arts magazine in recognition of her leadership in the American restaurant community.

Because Dorothy Hamilton is not a chef, finding a recipe today was difficult. However, I ran across an interesting article in Food and Wine 
where she discussed a problem we all have: watching our weight while still enjoying food. She turned to the staff at FCI to help her.
André Soltner, the dean of classic studies at the FCI (and the former chef and owner of Lutèce) offered the following recipe. 

While preparing the artichokes is a bit time consuming (To see how I prepare my artichokes, click HERE; I don't clean them the way the recipe suggests.) 
keep in mind you can refrigerate the leftovers. I halved the recipe and ate it for two dinners and a lunch. With certainty this is not the most colorful or enticing dish to photograph, but I'll definitely make it again. The flavor of the broth was sensational.  
(One serving is 193 cal, 8 gm fat, 1.1 gm saturated fat, 23 gm carb, 5 gm fiber)

Artichoke, Cauliflower and Mushroom Barigoule 

Recipe courtesy André Soltner, the dean of classic studies at the FCI


1 lemon, halved, plus 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
8 large artichokes 
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
1 large white onion, thinly sliced 
3 small carrots, thinly sliced 
5 small garlic cloves, halved 
2 bay leaves 
2 thyme sprigs 
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds 
1 1/2 cups dry white wine 
1 1/2 cups water 
3/4 pound cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets (4 cups) 
3/4 pound white mushrooms, quartered if large 
Salt and freshly ground pepper


Fill a large bowl with water and squeeze the lemon halves into it. Using a sharp knife, halve the artichokes crosswise. Discard the tops. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, pull off the outer green leaves until you reach the tender yellow leaves. Scrape out the hairy choke with a melon baller or spoon. Trim and peel the base and stem, then quarter the heart and add the artichoke quarters to the bowl of water. Repeat with the remaining artichokes. 
In a large deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and carrots and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened but not browned, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaves, thyme and coriander seeds and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine, water and the 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the carrots are barely tender, about 3 minutes. 
Drain the artichokes and add them to the skillet along with the cauliflower and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and cook over low heat until tender, about 20 minutes. Uncover and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Transfer the vegetables and broth to shallow bowls and serve. 
Make Ahead. The barigoule can be refrigerated overnight. Warm before serving.

Join Mary from One Perfect Bite and all the other participants in this fun series.

Val - More Than Burnt Toast 

Joanne - Eats Well With Others
Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed
Susan - The Spice Garden
Claudia - A Seasonal Cook in Turkey
Heather - girlichef
Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney
Jeanette - Healthy Living
April - Abby Sweets 
Katie - Making Michael Pollan Proud
Mary - One Perfect Bite
Kathleen -Bake Away with Me
Viola - The Life is Good Kitchen
Sue - The View from Great Island
Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds
Amy - Beloved Green

 - Ciao Chow Linda
Nancy - Picadillo


The End of Our French Polynesian Adventure: Taha'a

No...this isn't where we've just been, but it's the last post on French P0lynesia. The Nevis post will be coming soon.

Our final island, Taha'a (pronounced Ta–ha-ah), was recommended by the travel agent. We shouldn't have listened. It was lovely and so was the resort, but definitely a mistake for a mom and daughter to have spent so much time there. I'm glad we saw it, but it was another honeymoon resort and on this island, we ran into some American-hating British. Quite overt they were about it too. We also weren't terribly happy with the service...a superior attitude, which, at these prices, was quite a mistake. 

Do I sound like I'm always finding fault? Well, here's some good news: for once, the food was wonderful.


There's no airport on Taha'a, so we landed on Raiatea and took a 35 minute boat transfer to our hotel, Le Taha'a Island Resort & Spa, the only Relais and Châteaux destination in French Polynesia.

Raiatea and Taha'a are two islands enclosed in a single barrier reef. Taha'a, slightly smaller and less populated than Raiatea, has a population of around 4500 people. Taha'a is the only island in the Society Islands that can be completely circled by boat inside the protected lagoon. Taha'a's nickname is the "Vanilla Island"- because of it's constant rich aroma of vanilla. In fact, the Island boasts a full 80% of all Tahiti's Vanilla production and is also inundated with pearl farms. Because we had already visited both, we didn't go on any tours here.

On the map below, notice where Le Taha'a Resort is located...on a motu, upper left

Our resort's main selling point is its location on the small, stunning islet of Motu Tautau, off the coast of Taha'a. (Taha'a itself is just 34 square miles.) The resort faces the island of Taha'a on the lagoon side and offers an unsurpassed view of Bora Bora island on the ocean side.

You can walk 100 yards into the water here and still be only knee-deep. The surrounding waters are also advertised as "calm" which, unfortunately, was not the case while we were there.

We adored our overwater suite...it was the most elegantly appointed of any resort we visited. The woodwork was beautiful. I tried to take photos of as much of the paneling as I could. Everything was very nautical, even the entrance to the lobby, which you can see in the slideshow....an outrigger canoe with sail. Another fun little aside: guests in overwater suites can request breakfast brought to the room by canoe. No, we didn't do it, but we saw it being delivered quite often to other bungalows. It was quite a lovely ceremony, actually.

And yes, that's a glass floor for viewing fish at the foot of the bed.


There are three restaurants (important, since there's nowhere else to eat), tennis courts, a lovely swimming pool which I ended up using each day because of the wind. It may seem that there's no reason to leave the resort (which we didn't), but a visit to mainland Taha'a may be your one chance to see what French Polynesia was like before it got so popular; locals say this island is what Bora Bora was 20 years ago.

The resort’s indoor-outdoor main restaurant, Vanille, is named after the fragrant brown beans that are cultivated on Taha’a island. We ate breakfast there every morning and it was a delight. For lunch, we always ate at La Plage--“the beach”-- which served light fare like sandwiches and salads. It was located near the pool area. In addition, Manuia Bar was located beside the pool and they whipped up cocktails, juices, and smoothies.

We had two choices for dinner: Vanille or Ohiri, their upscale (and shockingly expensive) restaurant. The food at Ohiri was fabulous. We had a couple festive buffets at Vanille which were lovely.

The bar had entertainment each night which was most enjoyable. One night, while enjoying a buffet at Vanille, there was a floor show. Part of the show was an extraordinary man covered with tattoos. Face included. Not a square inch of skin left unadorned. (That I could see anyway. :) ) He was quite famous in these islands. I've forgotten his name and I wish I had taken a photo, but it was dark and the tattoos would never have shown up. I remember him climbing an extremely tall  palm tree right to the top directly in front of us, using nothing but his feet and hands.

Tattooing is an important part of the culture of the Polynesian islands. South Pacific Islanders have been decorating their bodies with symbolistic art for many hundreds of years, if not thousands... In fact, it's popularly believed among historians that the first and oldest Tattoos known to man were from the South Pacific Islands, (probably the Marquesas). Originally, tattoos indicated genealogy, rank and wealth as well as strength and ability to bear pain. Twelve year old boys were tattooed to prove they were men, while girls were tattooed to indicate sexual maturity. Tattoo artists had an honored place in society. 

(No, we didn't get one!)

As far as the diving was concerned, Tracy said some dives focused on shipwrecks or submerged caverns, but most were coral reef dives. Most of the good snorkeling took place in a short inlet that ran between the lagoon and the ocean. Photos below; these are views from the inlet towards the ocean and Bora Bora and the other towards the lagoon.

What did we remember most about Taha'a? Sadly, the rudeness of the young British honeymooners stands out. But because I hate to end our Polynesian Adventure on a bad note....I'll remember how esthetically beautiful this particular resort was and the excellent quality of the food. If you were going on a honeymoon, this would be the perfect choice.

You've been patient with these many posts...I know how time consuming it can be to read from start to finish. But I did want to share with you. We had such a delightful time at every island, each different in its own way, but Huahine reigns supreme in both our minds!

(For all the previous adventures, check the sidebar.)


Marion Cunningham's Fresh Ginger Muffins

Would somebody mind telling me why Marion Cunningham didn't make Gourmet's list of 50 Women  Game Changers? Several women on that list quote her, cook from her books and post her recipes frequently. Hello out there? 

Although I have three of Cunningham's cookbooks, her Breakfast Book is the most thumbed-through. I've got so many post-its stuck in the book it almost looks like I'm working my way through Julie/Julia style. Anyway, I'd marked her fresh ginger muffins ages ago as something to try. I've seen them posted here and there to rave reviews and I finally got around to making them. 

I know, they don't look like anything special, do they? Boring even. Au contraire! The flavors sing loud and clear when you bite into one. In fact, the entire house was filled with the most divine fragrance while they were baking. Wouldn't it be marvelous if you could click and sniff these photos like those old scratch and sniff bits in magazines? 
And isn't it interesting that Ms. Cunningham used unpeeled fresh ginger? I've just got to say it: I think these may be some of the best muffins I've ever tasted.

So run, do not walk, to the store to buy some fresh ginger and lemons and get these made. Not kidding, people. And eat them warm. Trust me on this one.

Fresh Ginger Muffins

From The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham

A 2 ounce piece unpeeled fresh gingerroot, scrubbed clean
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons lemon zest (from two lemons) with some white pith
8 tablespoons butter (1 stick), room temperature ( I used salted butter)
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350. Grease the muffin tin. This recipe made 12 regular sized muffins.

Cut the unpeeled ginger into large chunks and place in a food processor. Process until it is in fine pieces. You should have around 1/4 cup. (Better more than too little.) Place the ginger and 1/4 cup sugar in a small pan over medium heat and stir until sugar is melted. It doesn't take long, so don't leave the stove. Remove and allow to cool.

Put the lemon zest and 3 tablespoons sugar in a processor and process until it is finely grated. (I didn't do this step because I used a microplane for the lemon zest and it was finely grated already, so I just added the sugar.)  Mix in with the cooled ginger.

Beat the butter  and add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Beat until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well. Add the buttermilk and mix until well blended. Add the flour, salt and baking soda. Beat until smooth. Fold in the ginger mixture by hand.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, fill them 3/4 full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm.


50 Women Game Changers in Food: #16, Maida Heatter

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you'll already be aware I'm a Maida Heatter fan from way back. I have every cookbook she's ever published......my mother gave me most of them, hot of the presses. So this post is a particular pleasure for me.

Briefly, here's the skinny on Maida:
Does the name Heatter ring a bell? That’s because she's the daughter of radio commentator Gabriel Heatter who became famous during World War II broadcasts with his: “There is good news tonight.” catch phrase. 

Maida never started out to be a chef – she didn’t even attend a culinary school - but she credits her great baking talent to her mother, trial and error and her love of good cookbooks. Maida actually has a degree in fashion illustration and was designing and making jewelry as a hobby- which soon turned into a business. She married pilot Ralph Daniels in the late 40’s and in the 60’s when her father became ill, she and her husband came up with the idea of opening a coffee shop in a chic Miami Beach neighborhood. 

The coffee shop was named Inside and Maida made all the pastries served there. It was quickly a hit and soon grew into a full scale restaurant. Ms. Heatter also taught baking classes; I remember my mother always regretted she had not driven the 45 minutes to Burdine's in Miami to take them. One day Craig Claiborne (who was then food editor of the New York Times) tasted Maida’s desserts and talked her into writing a cookbook. Her first was titled Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts and was published in 1974- the same year she and her husband sold the restaurant. She has since been the recipient of the following James Beard awards:

1998 Cookbook Hall of Fame "Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts"

1988 Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America

Now in her 80’s, she is still baking away in her Miami Beach kitchen, as energetic as ever. Oh...and did I mention she is a famous chocoholic? She's also been inducted into the Chocolatier Magazine Hall of Fame. :) She has one cookbook with nothing  but chocolate recipes!

Aside from the fabulous recipes, what you'll love best about Ms. Heatter's books are her instructions. They leave nothing to the imagination and the veriest novice can create a spectacular dessert. At the end of this post, I've listed links to some of Ms. Heatter's recipes I've posted.

My daughter was still home when I mentioned I was doing the 50 Women Game Changers and that Maida was on the list. What should I make? There was no question in her mind...Chocolate Cracks. I had forgotten how much my kids loved this cookie. They are crisp on the outside and brownie-like on the inside. I am not a chocoholic so don't make the recipe very often now they're gone. But Tracy wanted to take some back to New York with her and they travel well, so that's what I baked. After all, what better way to introduce you to Ms. Heatter than something made with chocolate?

Chocolate Cracks
From Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts

3 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, firmly packed
6 ounces (3/4 cup) butter
2 tablespoons water
12 ounces (2 cups) semisweet chocolate morsels or 12 ounces (squares) semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 eggs

Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a large, heavy saucepan over moderate heat, cook the sugar, butter and water, stirring over heat until they are partially melted. Remove from heat and stir until chocolate is completely melted. Transfer to large bowl of electric mixer and let stand for about 5 minutes to cool slightly.

On high speed, beat in the eggs one at a time. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the sifted dry ingredients, scraping bowl with a rubber spatula and beating only  until dry ingredients are absorbed. Let dough stand for about 10 minutes or longer until it can be handled easily.

Adjust oven rack high in the oven. Preheat oven to 350. Cut aluminum foil to fit the cookie sheets. ( I use parchment paper)

Using a heaping teaspoonful of dough for each cookie, roll between your hands into shiny and moist looking balls. Place two inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet.

Bake 12 to 13 minutes, reversing position of the pan during baking if necessary to insure even baking. Tops will feel dry but not firm. Do not overbake. Cookies will crisp as they cool. With a wide metal spatula, transfer to racks to cool.

Maida Heatter recipes I've posted:

Palm Beach Orange Ice Cream
Indian River Sweet Orange Bread
Frozen Grand Marnier Mousse
Cranberry Ice Cream
Moosehead Gingerbread
Pumpkin Ice Cream
Southern Nut Cake
Blueberry Ice Cream
Date Espresso Loaf

Join Mary from One Perfect Bite and all the other participants in this fun series.

Val - More Than Burnt Toast 

Joanne - Eats Well With Others
Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed
Susan - The Spice Garden
Claudia - A Seasonal Cook in Turkey
Heather - girlichef
Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney
Jeanette - Healthy Living
April - Abby Sweets 
Katie - Making Michael Pollan Proud
Mary - One Perfect Bite
Kathleen -Bake Away with Me
Viola - The Life is Good Kitchen
Sue - The View from Great Island
Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds
Amy - Beloved Green

 - Ciao Chow Linda

Nancy - Picadillo


Coconut Yogurt: Quickie #2

When we were in Nevis recently, I had fresh fruit for breakfast every morning. Each day, there was a new yogurt flavor on the plate. One morning, it was coconut yogurt. I'm a sucker for anything coconut and this yogurt was so good it would make you think "island time" all year round. I requested it every morning and before we left, I asked if there was a recipe of some sort they might be willing share. The sous chef was sweet enough to bring it out to me in person along with her card. Later, when I opened up the envelope with the recipe, I did not expect to see just two simple ingredients: Greek yogurt and cream of coconut. Talk about quick! (Although as you'd expect from Four Seasons, their fruit plate was much more glamorous than the one I made below....just for me.....with whatever fruit I had in the fridge.) 

So I bought a little can of cream of coconut and some Fage Greek yogurt and mixed until I got the proportions exactly as I remembered them. You can fiddle with them to your taste; you want it to be dipping consistency. Not too thick but not runny. Taste it as you slowly mix in the coconut cream. You'll find a point where it's somewhat sweet and tastes like coconut. Greek yogurt is thick enough so you can add a surprising amount of cream of coconut. A thinner yogurt would not work.

My kids frequently ordered the coconut muesli there and raved about that as well. I imagine that recipe is a little more involved (and I neglected to ask for the recipe), but I'm working on it and will let you know. Or perhaps, if I send this post to Allison, she'll be kind enough to email me that recipe too?  :)

Coconut Yogurt

Courtesy of Allison Smith-Mason, Sous Chef at the Four Seasons, Nevis

Brands I used:
Fage brand Greek yogurt
Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut


Combine to your taste


Mini Puff Pastry Croissants: Quickie #1

A while back I turned on the TV to watch an episode of Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network. A show I'd never seen was on just before it: Dessert First with Anne Thornton. She was making croissants the easy way with puff pastry. Frozen puff pastry is such a time-saver and this recipe reminded me of Ina Garten's ambrosial puff pastry sticky buns, although not quite as decadent. These simple croissants would make a super company breakfast as you can make them the night before, refrigerate and bake them in the morning. I tried them recently and we loved them. Easy peasy and why haven't I made these before?! (You probably have.) Biting into one of those warm crusty almond croissants was a little mouthful of heaven. 

Ms. Thornton got a tad carried away with her cutting directions so I just did it freehand, but I'll include her involved instructions below. I only had semi sweet chocolate chips in the house, but it worked, although next time I will use a piece of bittersweet chocolate. The almond croissants ought to have had some sliced almonds on top, but I didn't have any of those either. Next time.....

Chocolate and Almond Croissants

Adapted from Dessert First with Anne Thornton

1 (17.3-ounce) package or 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed 
Flour, for dusting, if needed 
4 (1/2-ounce) semi sweet chocolate bars, each broken into 4 equal pieces
1 large egg, beaten 
Sugar, for sprinkling 
1/2 (7-ounce) package almond paste, divided into 1/2 to 1 teaspoon pieces, shaped like a log or rolled into a ball 
Almond slices, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. 

Place 1 sheet thawed puff pastry on the work surface like a sheet of paper or portrait. If the puff pastry is very sticky, very lightly flour the work surface. Using a pizza cutter or kitchen shears, cut the puff pastry in half, widthwise. Using a ruler as a guide, make an indentation at 2-inch intervals (for the base) across the bottom of each puff pastry half. Cut each half into 8 triangles, with the base of each triangle measuring 2 inches. (They will be very long isosceles triangles.) You'll end up discarding the 2 end pieces to get the most out of your puff pastry piece. This sheet of triangles will be reserved for the chocolate croissants. Repeat the cutting for the second puff pastry sheet that will be used for the almond croissants. 

For the chocolate croissants: Place 1 chocolate piece just above the 2-inch edge of 1 pastry triangle, folding the dough over the chocolate as you tightly roll up the dough, enclosing the chocolate. Repeat with the remaining puff pastry and chocolate. Place the pastry rolls on the baking sheet, seam-side down. Cover the croissants with plastic wrap and place the baking sheet in the refrigerator until the dough firms up. (You can make these croissants 1 day ahead up to this point.) 

Just before baking, remove the croissants from the refrigerator, brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle lightly with sugar. 

For the almond croissants: Place 1/2 to 1 teaspoon almond paste, shaped like a small log, just above the 2-inch edge of 1 pastry triangle, folding the dough over the almond paste as you tightly roll up the dough, enclosing the almond paste. Repeat with remaining puff pastry triangles and almond paste. Place the pastry rolls on a baking sheet, seam-side down. Cover the croissants with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until the dough firms up. (You can make these croissants 1 day ahead up to this point.) 

Just before baking, remove the croissants from the refrigerator, brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle lightly with sugar and sliced almonds. 

Bake until the pastries are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. 


50 Women Game Changers in Food: #15, Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso

My copy of Silver Palate has seen better days, but that's always the way to find a favorite recipe....look for the dirty pages! There are quite a few of those in this wildly popular cookbook by Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso with Michael McLaughlin. Between them, Lukins, Rosso and McLaughlin introduced many Americans to French, Southern and Eastern European cooking techniques and ingredients. 

In the 1970s, after Lukins had spent some time at the Cordon Bleu in London and had worked with chefs in France, she returned the New York and started a catering business. In 1977, she co-founded (with 
Rosso) a gourmet and catering shop in NYC called The Silver Palate. McLaughlin managed the Silver Palate and when owners Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins decided to write their first book, he created many of the recipes. Lukins sold her interest in The Silver Palate in 1988 when it was sold to new owners and the store finally was closed in 1993.

After 11 years working together, Rosso and Lukins split up in the 1990s in a widely-reported feud, although they were reunited in 2007 to publish a new 25th-anniversary edition of The Silver Palate Cookbook. Lukins passed away in 2009. Rosso and her husband Bill own an inn in Saugatuck, Michigan. She gives cooking lessons there.

McLaughlin stayed in the background (this poor photo was hard to come by) for the most part and left the Silver Palate in 1984 when he opened the Manhattan Chili Company in New York’s Greenwich Village, a restaurant that showcased Southwestern cuisine. Michael died in Santa Fe in 2002.

To honor these "game changers" I chose to make a seafood salad I've been making for years. What I like about this recipe is you can dress it with different salad dressings. A basil 
purée or a sherry mayonnaise are the two I use the most; I like them both, or you could use any recipe for a basil pesto you may have.  I chose to use the sherry mayonnaise this time. I also like to add tomatoes as it seems to call out for some additional color.

Pasta and Seafood Salad
From The Silver Palate Cookbook

1 pound raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 pound bay scallops, rinsed
3 squid, dressed
1/2 pound corkscrew or shell pasta (I used cavatelli here, but I do prefer corkscrew or something unusual.)
1 cup peas, defrosted
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1/2 cup minced purple onion
1/2 cup olive oil
4 Tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper
1 cup black olives, preferably Kalamata or Alfonso


Boil scallops and shrimp in boiling salted water for 1 minutes. Boil the squid and tentacles for 3 or 3  minutes. Then cut squid body in 1 inch rings. Be sure to use the squid tentacles! Cook pasta, drain. Mix all ingredients in a salad bowl and toss with sherry mayonnaise or the basil purée. Top with black olives. Serves 4-6.

Sherry Mayonaise

1 whole egg
2 egg yolks
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 chup sherry vinegar
salt and pepper
2 cups corn oil
Combine egg, egg yolks, mustard, vinegar in processor. Season with salt and pepper and process 1 minute. With motor running, dribble oil in a steady stream. When done and thick, refrigerate.

Basil Purée
7 cups washed and dried fresh basil leaves
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
Purée in a food processor, cover and refrigerate


Classic Bouillabaisse

While my daughter was here last month, she asked if we could make bouillabaisse; she'd always wanted to. We sat down, perused my cookbooks and finally surfaced with a recipe from Eric Ripert's Avec Eric

It's definitely a classic. Tracy made the rouille first and refrigerated it. A couple days later, we bought our fresh seafood, made the fish stock in the morning and the bouillabaisse for dinner. It was fun and fabulous, but..... we were disappointed with the rouille....not nearly flavorful enough. It lacked pizzazz.  So the next day, we punched it up with a few additions and ate it for lunch. Huge improvement. I've made our corrections in the recipe below.

Below, the bouillabaisse was served in a large family style dish with a heaping spoonful of Eric's rouille in the middle. The second photo was taken the next day, after we made our changes to the rouille and this time we mixed it into our individual soup bowls. 

Adapted from Avec Eric by Eric Ripert


For the bouquet garni
3 Italian parsley sprigs
2 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1  1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns

For the bouillabaisse:

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds fish bones and parts from white-fleshed fish such as halibut or monkfish
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup Pernod
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small fennel bulb, diced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 cup diced tomato
1/2 cup dry white wine
large pinch saffron threads
fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
12 small new potatoes, peeled and cut in half
1 small leek, tender green parts only, cut in 1/4 inch dice
1/2 cup diced fennel
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 pound firm white fish filet such as monkfish or halibut, cut in 2 inch chunks
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound mussels and/or clams, scrubbed, soaked and mussels debearded
country white bread
rouille (recipe follows)


Wrap the parsley, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns in some cheesecloth and tie. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot and add the fish bones and parts and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and saute another minute or so. Delaze with the Pernod and add the onion, celery, fennel and garlic and saute until the vegetables are soft, stirring often, for 10 minutes.
Add the diced tomato, wine and saffron and enough water to cover the ingredients. (about 5 cups) Add the sachet and cook for about half an hour. Remove the sachet and any large fish bones and season with salt and pepper.
With an emersion blender (I did mine in my processor) puree the soup and then strain through a fine mesh seive.
Place the soup in a medium pot over medium heat and add the potatoes, leek, fennel and onion and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes.
Add the clams and simmer another 5 minutes. Season the fish and shrimp with salt and pepper. Add the shrimp to the bouillbaise and cook until they turn pink. A couple minutes. Add the fish along with the mussels and simmer until the fish is barely cooked and the mussels are opened.
Serve the bouillbaise over toasted country bread with the rouille. Serves 4.

The Rouille:


2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon saffron threads
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 roasted and peeled red pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
6 tablespoons canola oil
6 tablespoons olive oil
large pinch of cayenne pepper (more to taste, or use harissa)


Combine the water and saffron threads and allow to soak until the saffron threads are moist, about 5 minutes or so.
Place the saffron mixture along with the egg yolks, lemon juice and garlic in a blender. Season with salt and pepper and blend about 30 seconds. With the machine running, add the canola and olive oils slowly, creating a thick emulsion.
Remove from blender, add the red pepper, parsley and cayenne to taste. Transfer to a sealed container and keep refrigerated for up to a week.



Never Forget

My daughter lived/still lives 4 blocks from ground zero. On 9/11/01 while she was working out on the rooftop of her gym, they watched as a plane hit the north tower. Like most who witnessed that first plane, they couldn't believe their eyes and were merely confused and puzzled,  but went downstairs, turned on the TV and soon got the horrific news. 15 minutes later, Tracy had left the gym and as she reached the corner of Bleeker and Laguardia Place (you New Yorkers will know where this is), she saw the second plane go into the south tower. By the time the first tower collapsed, everyone realized what had happened and they were in a panic and running. We were speaking on cell phones at this point....in the background I could hear the terror in people's voices. She asked me what was being reported on the news as everyone around her thought there would be further attacks and bombs would soon follow. I can only imagine what she and other New Yorkers lived through during those hours and I will never forget how terrified I was for her. She took refuge that night with a friend. The police allowed her to return to her apartment on 9/12 to get clothes but after that, she was unable to return to her apartment for a couple months. She was one of the lucky ones.

At 8:46am this morning, ten years ago, American Airlines Flight 11 was flown into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

At 9:03am this morning, ten years ago, United Airlines Flight 175 was flown into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

At 9:37am this morning, ten years ago, American Airlines Flight 77 flew into the Pentagon.

At 9:59am this morning, ten years ago,  the South Tower collapsed.

At 10:15am this morning, ten years ago, the official notification of the downing of United Airlines Flight 93 into a field at Shanksville, Pa. was received by the feds.

At 10:28am this morning, ten years ago,  the North Tower collapsed.

This is a day to honor the 2,977 innocent men, women, and children who lost their lives. Let nothing overshadow their memories today.

                                                                      Let me introduce you to Tribute in Light:

Artists Julian LaVerdiere and Paul Myoda worked on the 91st floor of the World Trade Center’s north tower. Like most of us, they watched the towers collapse. After the September 11th attacks, the pair wanted to fill the void. They collaborated to create “Tribute in Light,” an art installation of searchlights pointing skyward, creating the impressive towers of light where the Twin Towers once stood. 

My daughter knows Julian, one of the artists (she actually got to turn the lights on once) and she worked hard to raise money for the project. LaVerdiere and Myoda have re-imagined their work for the cover of TIME’s “Beyond 9/11” Special Commemorative Edition.

The first two of the following photos were taken with an iPhone as Tracy walked along a couple nights ago. You can see the lights in the background.
The last two she took several years ago.

Please God, let everyone be safe on this anniversary.


50 Women Game Changers in Food: #14, Elizabeth David

One of the first cookbooks I received as a newly-married 
(it was a gift from my mother) was French Country Cooking, so Elizabeth David is an old friend. She is credited with changing the way the British middle classes ate by introducing a generation of British cooks to Mediterranean food such as pasta, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, salami, aubergines, red and green peppers and courgettes. Her descriptions of dishes caught the imagination of a post-war generation. 

Ms. David's earlier cookbooks are remembered not only for the recipes, but for vividly described landscapes and the harbors and marketplaces of the Mediterranean. Articles in Vogue, House and Garden, The Sunday Times and The Spectator helped to spread her influence throughout a country whose culinary efforts resulted mainly in fish and chips and spotted Dick. 

Many chefs, including Simon Hopkinson, Jamie Oliver and Alice Waters, say David was a great inspiration to them. 

"Her esthetic is about simplicity and a kind of fragrance," Ms. Waters said. "She had a great sense of the seasons and always about life around the table -- the setting, the conversation. It was always more than just the food because her recipes were not very specific, to say the least. I remember being frustrated, but it made you think."

Ms. David led rather a racy life for the times (she was born in 1913 and died in 1992) which was never much talked about, but exposed in an unofficial biography by Lisa Chaney. After a patrician, cosmopolitan upbringing, Ms. David studied art in Paris, became an actress, and ran off with a married man with whom she sailed in a small boat to Italy, eventually making their way to Greece where they were nearly trapped by the German invasion of Greece in 1940. They escaped to Egypt where they parted. She then worked for the British government, running a library in Cairo. She married there, but the marriage didn't last long. It appears she led a spicy private life, but she certainly learned valuable lessons from cooks in France, Italy, Greece and north Africa.

 After the war, David returned to England, and, dismayed by the gloom and bad food, wrote a series of articles about Mediterranean food that caught the public imagination. Books on French and Italian cuisine followed, and within ten years David was a major influence on British cooking. 
 Her cookbooks were, in addition to the recipes, wonderful pieces of travel writing. In 1960, Mrs David published her masterpiece, French Provincial Cooking, a book that may be read as literature, as a work of reference, and as a splendid and representative collection of recipes.

Because I had some fresh raspberries in the fridge and not too much time, I chose a quick and simple dessert recipe from Summer Cooking, an interesting collection of seasonal dishes relying on fresh ingredients and fresh herbs. 

The recipe was entitled Raspberry Shortbread....the shortbread part intrigued me. I always think of shortbread as a kind of thick cookie (which I couldn't imagine with fresh raspberries) and as expected, this certainly didn't result in a cookie. Perhaps the British definition of shortbread is not the same as mine? At any rate, this shortbread turned out to be more of a fruit crumble. And while it certainly was tasty, I confess I've made crumbles I liked better.
I have posted her recipe and instructions verbatim.

Raspberry Shortbread

From Summer Cooking by Elizabeth David

6 ounces flour
3 1/2 ounces moist brown sugar
2 ounces butter
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pound raspberries
a little white sugar

Put the raspberries in a fairly large shallow pie dish, strew them with white sugar. Cut the butter into very small pieces and crumble it with the flour until very well blended. Add the sugar, ginger and baking powder.

Spread this mixture lightly over the raspberries and smooth it out evenly, but do not press down.
Bake in the center of a medium oven for 25  minutes. Can be served hot or cold and is excellent.

Join Mary from One Perfect Bite and all the other participants in this fun series.

Val - More Than Burnt Toast

Joanne - Eats Well With Others
Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed
Susan - The Spice Garden
Claudia - A Seasonal Cook in Turkey
Heather - girlichef
Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney
Jeanette - Healthy Living
April - Abby Sweets
Katie - Making Michael Pollan Proud
Mary - One Perfect Bite
Kathleen -Bake Away with Me
Viola - The Life is Good Kitchen
Sue - The View from Great Island
Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds
Amy - Beloved Green
Jeanette - Healthy Living

- Ciao Chow Linda


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