Monday, November 30, 2009


Last year Thanksgiving was a 3 day long preparation and cooking-fest involving two kitchens, sixteen guests, three cooks, and about 25 dishes spread out over 4 hours of eating.  This year, I took it easier and had an intimate pot luck with a small group of friends.  I was responsible for the turkey and stuffing, and guests brought their own contributions.  Hope everyone had a nice holiday!

The cooking instructions for a wild turkey were very different than what I was used to.  I spent some time with my very helpful butcher going over the details.  I also cheated and used their ready made sausage and corn bread stuffing and their ready made gravy, both of which were excellent and, along with a friend's green chili mashed sweet potatoes, added a little flavor of New Mexico to the feast.  Since so much of my recipe here is prefabricated, I am substituting optional stuffing and gravy recipes you can use to make your own editions.  These are my best guesses.  Save for next year, I suppose!

Roast Wild Turkey with Cornbread Jalapeno Stuffing
(recipe from the Meat Hook, stuffing recipe adapted from the Gourmet Cookbook)
serves 6-8

1 eight pound wild breed turkey, pre-brined in butter and bourbon and salt from the Meat Hook
6 large carrots, cut in half
1 large fennel bulb, quartered
2 yellow onions, peeled and quartered
1 handful bay leaves
1 bunch parsley
1 bunch thyme
1/2 container organic chicken stock
1/2 cup brown sugar
sea salt
white pepper

Remove turkey from brining bag or pot, remove giblets for stock and neck for pan roasting from carcass.  Place bird on cooking rack and stuff with as many vegetables and herbs as will fit.  Place remaining vegetables and herbs in bottom of pan almond with turkey neck.  Pour stock in pan, and rub bird with brown sugar and salt mixture, sprinkle with white pepper.  Bake with breasts covered in foil in oven at 275 degrees for 2-1/2 hours.

Take turkey (on rack) out of pan for a moment, remove neck, vegetables and herbs from pan, skim off some fat for gravy stock, arrange stuffing in bottom of pan.  Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees and uncover breasts.  Bake for another 45 minutes or until thigh registers 160 degrees on meat thermometer.

Remove pan from oven and let sit for 30 minutes before carving, remove stuffing from pan and keep warm while turkey sits, before serving.

For Stuffing:
7 cups coarsely crumbled buttermilk corn bread
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings discarded
1 stick unsalted butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 medium fennel bulbs, stalks discarded and bulbs coarsely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, freshly ground
2 teaspoons dried thyme, freshly ground
2 teaspoons dried tarragon, freshly ground
fresh ground pepper
sea salt

Dry out bread crumbs/cubes in a 325 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.  Cook sausage in a non-stick skillet over medium heat, stirring and breaking up with a fork, until cooked through, 6-8 minutes.  Transfer to bowl with bread crumbs.  Melt butter in pan, add vegetables, jalapeno, salt and pepper to taste.  Cook until vegetables are soft, add fennel seeds, thyme and tarragon and cook for another minute.  Mix cooked vegetables with bread and sausage, set aside to be baked in turkey pan when ready.

A little late afternoon snack is important to tide your guests over.

For Gravy:
(recipe from the Gourmet Cookbook)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
turkey giblets (except liver)
1 celery rib
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
1 onion, quartered
4 cups water
1-3/4 cups organic chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Heat oil in 2 quart sauce pan over moderately high heat, brown giblets for about 5 minutes.  Add water, stock, vegetables, herbs, salt and pepper, bring to a simmer until reduced to about 4 cups, 40-45 minutes.  Pour stock through a sieve, let cool in fridge and skim off fat.  

Bring stock to a simmer again.  Skim some fat from the turkey pan (before removing vegetables and adding stuffing) and whisk together with flour and cook in heavy sauce pan over low heat, continually whisking to create a roux.  Add heated stock in a fast stream, whisking to prevent lumps, and then simmer, whisking occasionally until thickened.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Kale Salad with Pine Nuts and Currants
(recipe from Amelia Bauer)
serves 6-8

2 bunches green kale
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup currants
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Heat olive oil, salt, pepper in a large pan or wok on high heat.  When a drop of water sizzles in the pan, add kale, turning often to heat evenly.  Once all the kale has been folded in, add pine nuts and currants.  Continue folding kale until dark green and tender but not soggy, about 5 minutes.  Mix in cheese just before removing from heat and serve immediately.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Green Chili
(recipe from Amelia Bauer)
serves 6-8

4 large or 6 medium sweet potatoes
1 cup New Mexican hatch green chili, roasted and chopped
1/2 stick butter
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon molasses
sea salt
fresh ground pepper

Boil sweet potatoes until cooked, about 45 minutes.  Remove from water and peel.  Skins should shed easily after boiling.  Add remaining ingredients and mash together, leaving some chunks of sweet potato intact.  Serve!

Green Beans with Almonds and Lemon-Butter Glaze
(recipe from Amelia Bauer)
serves 6-8

1 pound green beans, tips cut off and left whole
1 cup sliced almonds
1/4 stick butter
1/2 fresh lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Bring water to a full boil in large pot, add green beans, and remove when beans turn bright green and are a bit tender but with some crunch left.  Remove from water, rinse under cold water, and set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt butter with salt and pepper over medium heat.  Add almonds and stir consistently until browned, about 3-4 minutes.  Once evenly browned, add juice of 1/2 lemon.  Remove from heat and toss with warm green beans in large bowl, serve immediately.

Potato and Leek Gratin
(recipe from Kate Thompson)
serves 6-8

3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
1 quart milk
4 garlic cloves, 3 thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
3 springs thyme
2 large leeks, tops removed, thinly sliced
grated nutmeg
2 cups grated Gruyere
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
sea salt
freshly ground white pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Rub a 9x13 baking dish with garlic, then with butter to coat.

Put the potatoes in a pot with milk, herbs, sliced garlic, leeks, and 2 teaspoons salt.  Slowly bring to a boil then simmer until potatoes are barely tender but not falling apart.  Discard bay leaf and thyme, drain and save the milk.

Place a single layer of potatoes, leeks and garlic in the baking dish.  Season with white pepper, a little nutmeg and cover lightly with cheese.  Repeat layers until all potatoes and cheese are used, ending with a layer of cheese.  Add milk to top layer of potatoes, about 1.5 cups,  dot top with bits of butter and bake until golden brown on top, about an hour.  Can be reheated a couple hours later if necessary.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I have been really neglectful of my little roof garden since the end of summer.  I set out this past weekend to clean up collected leaves, sort out the compost and plant some bulbs for next spring.

There were a few surprises.  First of all, blooms on things that should have long passed their peak, including this Dahlia, and the Azalea below.

I planted some Narcissus bulbs.

The warm weather over the last month has also forced last year's bulbs to start sprouting.  I buried in the hopes that I will still get some blooms in the spring.  We will see.  There seems to be an almost Mediterranean micro-climate on our roof that keeps things warm well into December, even on a normal year.

The compost was FULL of earthworms.  More interesting, though, was the new ecosystem that formed in the collected dirt and leaves piled up in the corners and behind pots.  Imagine if you left the natural accumulation for more than a season... you would have trees growing out of the roof in no time.

Cosmos still blooming.

Autumn colors.

Monday, November 23, 2009


The mystery cheese shop at 502 Lorimer Street opened this weekend. It turns out, Baba is not just a small cheese shop, but also a charcuterie, grocery and little cafe all rolled into one.

Shelves being stocked.

Great to have another neighborhood resource.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I have ordered my 'Wild Turkey' wild turkey from the Meat Hook for Thanksgiving. I hadn't planned on doing a Thanksgiving meal this year, hoping for an invite to someone else's celebration to spare myself the cost and cleanup. Last year's Thanksgiving was so spectacular, in conjunction with friends Julia and Chris, that I figured it couldn't be topped. In the end, however, my love of the holiday won over my wariness. I have to cook on my favorite food based holiday! Friends have banded together and we are all planning to contribute dishes, and since I specialize in turkey preparation, offered to find and cook the bird.

The Meat Hook is offering a wild variety of the traditional Thanksgiving meat. Here is how they describe it:

Our wild Turkeys are raised and slaughtered on a small local farm in New York state, fed a diet of alfalfa, barley and hay grown on the farm with no antibiotics or growth hormones in a free range environment. Wild turkeys are leaner and have a higher bone-to-meat ration but have a much richer taste than any turkey, heritage breed or otherwise, you've ever tasted. Our Wild Turkeys come pre-stuffed with country sausage stuffing, injected with bourbon butter brine and ready to roast with detailed cooking directions.

I look forward to roasting this noble bird to the best of my abilities. It will be an honor.

Image via google

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


After three weekends in a row of nearly solid reading, googling, researching, phone calls, emails guidebook indices, and currency conversion charts, I have the major details of our winter trip to the South Pacific booked.  Here is a little rundown of the itinerary:

We fly from New York on Christmas Eve, because that was the only day there were any seats available for purchase with miles.  It was a tight spot, because we have to be there by December 28th (the origin of this trip is boyfriend-work-related) and apparently Quantas books out 11 months in advance for mileage cash-ins, so we were lucky to get seats at all.  In any event, we fly Christmas Eve, which means we actually miss Christmas Day as a result of crossing the international date line!  We land in Melbourne on the 26th and have a few days to recover from the flight and jet lag, and to enjoy summer time by the hotel pool before the BF has to go to work.

The Australian portion of the trip is centered around work, so the schedule is a bit hectic:

December 26-29: Melbourne, Victoria
December 29-30: Lorne, Victoria
December 31: Hobart, Tasmania

January 1-3: We have a few days off, so are retreating to the Victorian countryside outside Melbourne (as close to the outback as I am going to get, I am afraid) and taking a few days at the Royal Mail Hotel and restaurant, made famous by Anthony Bourdain in his Melbourne episode of No Reservations.  I hope to visit some of his other featured food stops while in town as well.

January 4-5: Melbourne
January 6-7: Brisbane
January 8-10: Perth
January 11-14: Sydney

These days are going to be fun, but exhausting, I expect.  Luckily after Australia we are heading to New Zealand for some rest and relaxation on the North Island, and then some sight seeing on the South Island.

January 15-17: Mangonui, North Island, New Zealand at the house of friends.  I have been told about subtropical climate, sailing to abandoned beaches to swim with wild dolphins, eating good food, etc.  From here we fly to the South Island to see the sights.  We are staying in little hostels and motels (with a few punctuations of more luxurious accommodation here and there).
January 18-19: Picton and Queen Charlotte Track, South Island for some hiking, kayaking, and maybe wine tasting.
January 20-21: Kaikoura for some whale watching and cool tree houses at the Hapuku Lodge
January 22: Hokitika, on the west coast of the South Island
January 23-24: Lake Wanaka in the southern Alps
January 25-26: Te Anau, which we are using as a base to explore Milford Sound, the fjordlands, the glow worm caves, and maybe Doubtful Sound (we will see how motivated I can get my BF).
January 27: Queenstown
January 28: We are flying back to Auckland for a night before leaving the country.

And here is where things get a little crazy.  In order to get home with miles, we had to book with Air Tahiti Nui, with a layover in Tahiti.  Not a problem for me, getting to stay in Tahiti for a night... except when you are that close to what is, in my imagination, one of the most exotic, faraway destinations in the world-- Bora Bora-- you are obligated to go... even if it is the rainy season there (gulp).

January 29-February 2: Bora Bora (!)
February 3: Fly home...

When I was a kid I used to pour over old atlases, and I would dream up itineraries for month-long trips I never thought I would ever actually get to go on.  This, it is turning out, is one of those trips.  I cannot wait!

Images via, The Telegraph UK, and hawaii 5-0

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


It may still be under construction, but yesterday was it, nonetheless... opening day of the Brooklyn Kitchen Lab and the Meat Hook!  Take a look!

Sand bags and blue tape, some unfinished wiring (nothing that wouldn't pass inspection, though) and boxes and piles and whatnot... none of it means they can't start selling.

The meat case.  Only the beginnings, I am sure.

A charming old scale.

There will be so much more than just meat.  Here is the start of a library of classic cook books and periodicals.  They have old back issues of Gourmet I cannot wait to descend upon ravenously.

The beginnings of merchandising.  It felt like a little bit of a family and friends celebration/ hangout/ unpack, so I didn't stick around long.  I will be back this weekend to do some shopping.  And to order my Thanksgiving turkey.

Potential around every corner...

With some well placed shelves, decent lighting, and things in place, I can tell this is going to be a great local resource.  Congratulations to the team, and best of luck!

Monday, November 16, 2009


I had some friends over Sunday and decided to break in my new Gourmet (R.I.P.) cookbook.  The day started out cool and rainy, so I thought it would be great to try a Pot-au-Feu.  By the time I went to the butcher, it was sunny and 70 degrees.  So much for autumn stew.  In any event, the dish turned out great... and I added a marrow appetizer, inspired by St. John in London.

(recipe from the Gourmet Cookbook)
Serves 6-8, with leftovers for the week

5 quarts water
1 cup dry white wine
1 (3 pound) boneless beef chuck roast
3 pounds beef short ribs
Kosher salt
1 celery rib, cut into 4" lengths
1 bunch thyme
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon black pepper corns
1 teaspoon cloves
1 medium onion
6 medium leeks, roots left intact
2 pounds large carrots
1 pound parsnips, cut diagonally into 1" pieces
1 pound turnips, cut into 1" wide wedges
freshly ground black pepper

Combine water, wine, chuck roast, short ribs and 2 tablespoons kosher salt in stockpot and bring to a simmer. Skim froth, and reduce heat.  Keep at a bare simmer for 30 minutes.

Wrap celery, thyme, parsley, bay leaf, and pepper corns in a square of cheesecloth and tie into a bundle.  Stick cloves into onion.  Add cheesecloth bouquet and onion to pot and keep at a bare simmer for 1.5 hours.

Slit leeks to within 1.5" inches of the root ends.  Wash well and add to pot along with carrots.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Add parsnips, turnips and continue to simmer uncovered for 30-40 more minutes.

Bone Marrow and Toasts
(from the Gourmet Cookbook)
Serves 6-8

1 baguette, sliced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, halved
4 cups water, 4 cups broth from the pot-au-feu
8 pieces cross-cut beef marrow bones

While the Pot-au-Feu nears the end of its cooking, arrange slices of bread, spread with butter and sprinkled with salt and pepper, on a baking sheet.  Toast in oven at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.  Take out of oven and rub underside with garlic.  Set aside.

Bring water and broth taken from Pot-au-Feu to a simmer and place marrow bones in pot.  Add water as necessary too just cover bones.  Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, remove from heat and keep covered in pot to keep warm.

Set the table.  Remove the meat and vegetables from the Pot-au-Feu.  Set chuck on cutting board and let sit, covered with foil, for 20 minutes.  Put short ribs and vegetables on an oven proof platter and cover with foil.  Reduce oven to 250 and put in oven to keep warm.  Pour broth through a sieve twice, then keep over low heat and add salt and pepper to taste.

Horseradish Sauce and Dijon Sauce 
(from the Gourmet Cookbook)

1/2 cup finely grated horseradish
1 8 ounce container sour cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup minced shallots
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and fresh ground pepper

Mix horseradish and sour cream.  Mix mustard, shallots and oil.  Add salt and pepper to each to taste.  Serve with cornichons as an accompaniment.

Serve the marrow bones in a bowl of the reduced broth/ consume with coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley and sea salt, along with the toasts for the marrow.  As the main course, serve the sliced beef chuck roast with vegetables and short ribs, a splash of the broth, and the accompaniments.  Serve with a robust Bordeaux.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


As reported last month, the Brooklyn Kitchen Labs and the Meat Hook, Tom Mylan and Brent Young's new project, is opening up around the corner soon.  I just found out that it is in fact going to open late this weekend!

Follow the Meat Hook's every frantic pre-opening move on Facebook, Twitter, or on their blog.  Read details here and here about all the Lab is going to be offering and feel tingly with anticipation!

So exciting!

The Brooklyn Kitchen Labs and The Meat Hook are located at 100 Frost Street at Meeker Avenue in Williamsburg.

Image via Eating in Translation's flickr

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


St. John's Bread and Wine is all fine and good, but nothing compares to my one and only true love when it comes to nose-to-tail, locally sourced, delicious food: Marlow & Sons. I went with a friend a couple nights ago and it was phenomenal as always. It was also very dark as always, so bear with me (as a side note, I am excited to report I will soon be taking a little crash course in G10 photography and post production from a helpful friend, which should improve the images you see on AHFAH a bit, I hope).

I started with a glass of sparkling wine and some shared oysters. Then moved on to the carrot and frissee salad. It had gorgeous purple carrots, and while a little oversalted, was still satisfying.

No one does brick chicken like Marlow. It is a regular on the menu with varying sides, and the best chicken entree I have ever had anywhere. On this night it was served with a sausage stuffing style brioche. Mind numbingly good.

Dessert was a stock favorite as well: the chocolate and caramel tart with sea salt. Make your own with the recipe from Lottie + Doof (and admire their professional photography skills!). I had a glass of Amaro Nonino to finish it all up, then stumbled home.

Monday, November 9, 2009


It was a beautiful weekend in New York, and I took the opportunity to take a long walk to the Noguchi Museum in Long Island City.

Isamu Noguchi was a prolific artist, furniture designer, landscape designer, set designer and 20th century man of the world.  He studied with Brancusi in Paris, lived in Tokyo, New York, LA, Beijing, and Mexico, among other places.   Some of my favorite public art in New York belongs to Noguchi.  His studio in Queens was converted to a museum by the artist himself in the 1980's and recently underwent a massive renovation that closed the doors for years.  I hadn't been since I was in college.

The garden is simple and wonderful.

My favorite thing in the garden was this fountain.  I sat with it for an hour.  So peaceful.

Noguchi did set design for several Martha Graham productions.  This piece, created for the 1958 performance entitled Embattled Garden, is meant to symbolize an apple.

Here is a model for a playground he designed, in bronze.  When I was doing my thesis project in college-- an elementary school converted from an abandoned German social club on the Bowery-- I studied Noguchi's playground design along with Howard Gardener's theory of multiple intelligences, Christopher Alexander's super hippy-dippy but wonderful Timeless Way of Building, and the layout and design of my grandmother's house, which was a fantastic laboratory of educational fun.  Being at the museum brought me back to those days when I had so much time to think about things.  What a luxury.

This piece is just brilliant.  Anything with stone and water makes me happy, apparently.  Imagine a flower floating in one of those depressions.  Sigh.

Noguchi is best known in the design world for his paper lantern lights, copied the world over and available in rip-off form at Pier 1 and CostPlus (we have an authorized reproduction in our apartment from the museum).  Here, however, was a very special 1944 light sculpture entitled Lunar Infant.  I didn't remember this from my last visit, and it was a great surprise.

Find out more about the Noguchi Museum here.