Noo Yawk Birthday Feast

December 22nd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Birthday dinner for SJ. Restaurateur Daughter Victoria (Five Points, Cookshop, Hundred Acres) is a long time pal of chef Jonathan Waxman (you may have seen him on TV in one of his many appearances on shows like Top Chef , etc.). So, the birthday dinner was planned for his West Village restaurant, Barbuto. Victoria’s instructions were succinct: “Feed us, Jonathan.” And, so we were fed gloriously and sumptuously. The table for six (Birthday Boy, Exquisite Maiko, HG, BSK, Victoria and Zena B.) was served family style. First course was four big platters — fried brandade cakes with aioli; Italian charcuterie with crusty bread; a wondrous shredded kale salad shot through with a tart lemon-anchovy-pecorino dressing; a citrus salad enlivened with slivers of jalapeno peppers. Chilled prosecco. Second course: Two pastas — Gemelli with broccoli di rabe and tagliatelle with a rich, shredded pork ragu. Oh, my!! Much California Jackhammer Pinot Noir. Was difficult to pace oneself appropriately and do justice to the Third Course: Monkfish in wine sauce; rare, sliced steak; Jonathan Waxman’s signature roast chicken; crisp and crusty roast potatoes. With courage, fortitude and appetite, HG sampled all. Honest, straightforward cuisine at its best. Dessert was a perfect semifreddo. Gasps of contentment. Sighs of overindulgence. Happy, happy birthday SJ. Thank you, Beautiful Zena, for making a surprise appearance. Thank you, Victoria for creating this dinner. Thank you, Jonathan, for your warm hearted hospitality.

Salt Cod. Versatile. Delicious.

July 28th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

HG is a big fan of salt cod. It needs a good soaking in cold water (with frequent changes of the water). Then a gentle poaching or baking or whatever suits your fancy.

HG is a particular fan of the rich, luxury of a brandade (salt cod that has been pureed with some boiled potato, a lot of garlic, sweet cream and olive oil). Served with garlic rubbed toast (HG believes in keeping the vampires away) and chilled white wine it is a lush treat. You can get very good brandade at Balthazar, Five Points and Barbuto in downtown New York. The ultimate is at Rech, the classy brasserie in Paris.

Salt cod is good done in Mediterranean style — baked with thinly sliced onions, potatoes, garlic, olive oil and slivers of green olives. Try it cold as a simple Italian salad with parsley, garlic and olive oil. Or mix it with white beans. Salt cod makes great fish cakes.

When young, HG’s children, LR and SJ hated salt cod so much they stole a wooden box of the stuff from the pantry and buried it in the back yard. The years have made them change their minds.

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