living it up on Mardi Gras (or all winter long)

February 12th, 2013

 child with Romanesco Cauliflower fettechini with Gorgonzola  for Mardi Gras 

living it up (on Mardi Gras) in a savory and seasonal way:

Romanesco Cauliflower fettechini with Gorgonzola 

Romanesco cauliflower is in the markets right now and the tight, pointed green curds are nutty tasting and delicious. Given that we have two celebrations in one week – Mardi Gras and Saint Valentine’s Day – a little culinary indulgence in a tasteful, seasonal, and savory way inspired this week’s simple pleasure: Romanesco Cauliflower fettechini with Gorgonzola. (However, if you prefer to celebrate Mardi Gras with something sweet, try making traditional beignets !  recipe here.) 


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Just put your lips together and blow: almond and dandelion greens pesto

September 29th, 2011

Crushing Pesto

Just put your lips together and blow: almond and dandelion greens pesto (with pasta and roasted chicken)

“One man’s weeds are another’s dinner,” I thought, as I plucked the dandelions growing alongside the sidewalk while a man stared at me as I weeded his front property.  While he saw a runner picking weeds, I saw culinary possibilities. I blew on the feathery flowers (just for fun) and as the fuzzy petals hit the breeze I wished that more people used dandelion greens in their cooking repertoire rather than pass them up. Although I did not eat these (you never know what kind of fertilizer they had…) it was this wish which was the inspiration for this week’s simple pleasure: almond and dandelion greens pesto. Read the rest of this entry »

Mother’s Day, 2011

May 5th, 2011

Mother’s Day, 2011

classic tomato sauce and a very personal
recipe from a chef to her daughters:
living women eat pasta, crêpes, and bread

The inspiration for this week’s “simple pleasure” is Mother’s Day and my own two daughters. The recipe is not a brunch recipe but a “mother” sauce: classic tomato sauce. Tomato sauce is one of the five foundational sauces in French cuisine from which several “daughter” or “small” sauces are created. It is the perfect companion for pasta, bread, meat, calamari, vegetables (i.e., eggplant, mushrooms and squash), and even eggs. The sauce is simple to make any time of year.  It is one of my daughters’ favorite sauces and, in general, a crowd pleaser. The recipe is in a companion post for your printing convenience. The inspiration for the post is explained below.

Je vous souhaite un bon appétit and a very Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers.

LM Read the rest of this entry »

classic tomato sauce

May 5th, 2011

classic tomato sauce


makes 6 cups

what you need:

2  28 ounce cans of San Marzano plum tomatoes with juice
(or in the summer 4 pounds fresh Roma tomatoes from your garden)
olive oil (as needed)

1/2 cup diced pancetta (or ground veal)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup diced onions
1/4 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup diced celery
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 sachet (1 bay leaf, Italian parsley, 5 peppercorns)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt (or as needed)
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper (or as needed)

for your pasta

fresh egg pasta (as needed)
fresh basil chiffonnade (optional)
freshly grated aged Parmesan cheese (optional)
crushed and dried Pepperoncino flakes (optional)

how to:

  • Prepare Tomatoes.  Place tomatoes in a food mill fit with a fine disc.  Set aside.  Discard seeds and skins.
  • Render Fat. In a stockpot or large saucepan over a medium-high flame, add pancetta and cook until fat is rendered.  Drain off excess fat. If you eliminate the pancetta, heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the pan.
  • Sweat Aromatics. Add garlic. Once fragrant, add the onions, carrots and celery.  Cook until tender.
  • Simmer. Add the tomatoes and juice that were passed through the vegetable mill.  Add olive oil, salt and sachet.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer until it reduces to the consistency you want (about an hour).  However, do not over-reduce
  • Purée.  Remove sachet and discard.  Use a blender or immersion blender to purée sauce.
  • Adjust Seasoning. Taste.  Add salt and/or freshly ground black pepper as needed.