Posts from December 2020

Feeling Crabby, Think Louisiana Sunshine with Garlic Crabs Recipe from Mosquito Supper Club by Melissa Martin

Feeling crabby! Think Louisiana sunshine with Garlic Crabs recipe from Mosquito Supper Club (Artisan Books, April 2020) by Melissa Martin.

Garlic Crabs with Parsley and Lemon

Serves 2 to 4

In Louisiana, when temperatures start rising to sweltering highs and the brackish water heats up, it’s peak crab season. From June to September, you can open just about any icebox on the bayou and find a tray of boiled crabs. We eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are endless ways to eat leftover boiled crabs. You can eat them cold, stew them, throw them in gumbo, or roast them like this, with garlic and lemon. The crabs are already cooked, so you are just warming them through and creating a delicious sauce that will be partially baked on. You’ll need lots of crusty bread or rice to soak up the buttery, garlicky jus.



Leaves from 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley

12 garlic cloves, peeled

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

6 boiled large or medium blue crabs, halved and cleaned of their gills and lungs (see Note)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon cracked black pepper

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons hot sauce, preferably Original Louisiana Hot Sauce

3 bay leaves (see Note)

½ cup (120 ml) canola oil

½ cup (1 stick/115 g) unsalted butter

Crusty bread or cooked rice, for serving


Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).

On a cutting board, combine the parsley, 6 of the garlic cloves, and the lemon zest. Finely chop them together, transfer to a bowl, and set aside.

Put the crabs in a large bowl and season with the salt, black pepper, cayenne, and hot sauce. Add the bay leaves.

Warm a large cast-iron skillet or ovenproof sauté pan over medium-high heat for 3 minutes, then add the oil and the remaining 6 garlic cloves. Cook until the garlic becomes fragrant, then use a slotted spoon to transfer it to a plate; set aside.

Working in batches to avoid crowding the skillet, add the crabs to the hot oil and cook until starting to brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes, then flip and cook until starting to brown on the second side, about 3 minutes more. Transfer the crabs to a roasting pan and repeat to brown the remaining crabs.

Add 2 tablespoons of the butter to the skillet and let it melt. Return the crabs to the skillet and turn them to coat evenly with the butter. Transfer the crabs and the reserved garlic to the roasting pan and place the pan in the oven. Roast, flipping once after 3 minutes, until the crabs are golden, about 6 minutes total.

Remove from the oven and add the remaining 6 tablespoons butter and the parsley-garlic mixture to the pan. Toss until the crabs are evenly coated. Season with the lemon juice and serve with crusty bread or rice.

Note: A cleaned crab is a live crab that has had the top shell, gills, and back flap removed. Ask your fish market or seafood purveyor for fresh cleaned crabs, or ask if they’ll clean some crabs for you if they’re not already on hand.

Note: I like to leave the bay leaves in the final recipe. They’re not meant to be eaten, but it makes for a beautiful, rustic presentation.

(“Excerpted from Mosquito Supper Club by Melissa Martin -Artisan Books- Copyright © 2020. Photographs by Denny Culbert")

Italian Capon Christmas Recipe for New Year, Cappone Di Natale with Bra Sausage from Old World Italian

Italian Christmas recipe for New Year's table, Why Not?  Christmas Roast Capon with Chestnuts, Marsala, and Bra Sausage from Old World Italian 'Recipes and Secrets from Our Travels in Italy' (Clarkson Potter, September 2020) by Mimi Thorisson.

Cappone Di Natale Ripieno Con Salsiccia Di Bra

Christmas Roast Capon with Chestnuts, Marsala, and Bra Sausage

Italians like to eat fish during the holidays, but like in many other countries, Italian Christmas traditions often involve stuffed birds. This is the recipe I cooked last Christmas, with a Piemontese touch. A fatty bird stuffed with goodness, including chestnuts (one of my favorite foods), Marsala from Sicily that adds sweetness, and Bra sausages, famous for their flavor and quality and made from lean veal and a little bacon.

Serves 6

Old World Italian_ Capone di Natale_Page_1_Image_0001


Stuffed capon

1 whole capon

(4½ pounds / 2 kg), entirely deboned (ask your butcher to prepare)

2¼ pounds / 1 kg chestnuts, cooked and peeled

1 slice stale bread, crust removed, torn into pieces

⅓ cup / 80 ml whole milk

10 ounces / 300 g ground pork

½ pound / 230 g bra (veal) sausage, casings removed

2 large eggs

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons / 100 g grated parmesan cheese

⅓ cup / 80 ml dry marsala wine

12 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon grated nutmeg

fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 ounces / 140 g pancetta, sliced (about 20 pieces), or thinly sliced bacon

extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons / 30 g unsalted butter, at room temperature gravy

⅔ cup / 160 ml white wine

3 tablespoons / 45 g unsalted butter

1 tablespoon cornstarch, sifted

fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1 Prepare the stuffed capon: Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C.

2 Clean the capon and pat dry.

3 Place half of the chestnuts in a bowl, mash them with a fork, and set aside.

4 In a small bowl, combine the bread and the milk and soak until softened. Squeeze out the excess milk.

5 In a large bowl, combine the ground pork, sausage meat, and soaked bread. Add the eggs, Parmesan, Marsala, sage, mashed chestnuts, and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well.

6 Lay the capon skin side down on a work surface and spread the filling over the flesh, then roll up, starting from a long side. Wrap the top part of the rolled capon horizontally with the pancetta. Tie the roast in several places with kitchen twine. In a roasting pan large enough to hold the bird, drizzle a little olive oil. Place the rolled bird in the center of the roasting pan and drizzle with more olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Dot the bird with the butter.

7 Transfer to the oven and roast, basting the bird regularly, until cooked through, about 2 hours. About 15 minutes before the end of cooking, add the remaining chestnuts to the roasting pan. Transfer the bird to a cutting board and the chestnuts to a bowl, cover the bird with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes.

8 Meanwhile, make the gravy: Place the roasting pan over medium heat. Add the wine and deglaze the pan, stirring constantly. Scrape up all of the browned bits and bring to a boil. Add 3 tablespoons butter. When the butter is melted, add the sifted cornstarch and whisk it into the sauce. Cook until glossy and thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

9 Carve the capon into slices ¾ inch / 2 cm thick and serve with the gravy and chestnuts on the side.

Note: Instead of capon, you can also make this recipe with a chicken or a turkey, adjusting the stuffing amounts and cooking time. For the Bra sausage, you can use an herbed pork sausage

(*Recipe reproduced with permission from Old World Italian 'Recipes and Secrets from Our Travels in Italy' -Clarkson Potter, September 2020- by Mimi Thorisson. Photograph by Oddur Thorisson)

Smaller Party Still Needs Amuse Gueule, Fig and Cheese Toasts from Modern Comfort Food by Ina Garten

A smaller party still needs Amuse-Gueule, Fig and Cheese Toasts by Ina Garten from Modern Comfort Food (Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House- October 2020).

Fig & Cheese Toasts


Fig and Goat Cheese Toasts


(1-pound) loaf country bread, halved, and sliced crosswise ³⁄₈ inch thick

1 (8.5-ounce) jar good fig spread, such as Dalmatia (see note)

8 ounces plain creamy cheese, such as goat cheese or cream cheese

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 ripe fresh figs, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise

Microgreens Syrupy balsamic vinegar


Toast the bread in a toaster and while still warm, spread the fig spread on each slice to cover it entirely. Place the cheese in a bowl and heat in the microwave for 30 to 45 seconds, until it’s creamy and spreadable. Spread a layer of the cheese on the fig spread, leaving the edges of the fig spread visible. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Cut each toast crosswise to make appetizers that will be easy to eat. Lightly drizzle each piece with the balsamic vinegar, and top with a few microgreens. Serve at room temperature.

Note: I prefer fig spread, which has less sugar than fig jam or fig preserves, but of course you can use either. Choose a fig spread that is quite thick or it will be hard to spread the cheese on top

(* Recipe courtesy of MODERN COMFORT FOOD. Copyright © 2020 by Ina Garten. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Photo by Quentin Bacon)

Breathe Better with these Spiced Turmeric Mashed Potatoes from Simply by Sabrina Ghayour

Breathe better with these Spiced Turmeric Mashed Potatoes from 'Simply' by British-Iranian chef, food writer and culinary teacher, Sabrina Ghayour (Mitchell Beazley, October 2020).

Spiced turmeric mashed potatoes with cilantro

I’ve always loved mashed potatoes, but this is the next level taste-wise. It’s so comforting, and I’m not sure how it could be improved. I am mad about turmeric and it’s no secret that I love chiles, and the natural sweetness of the potatoes means they can handle the spices and chile heat easily. This is a dish I can’t recommend enough, even if you are simply looking for an alternative to your usual mashed potatoes on the side.

Serves 6 to 8

Spiced turmeric mashed potatoes from Simply


4½lb russet potatoes, peeled and halved, or quartered if large

 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

½ cup butter

1 to 2 teaspoons chile flakes, to taste

¾oz fresh turmeric, scrubbed and very finely grated

1 small pack (about 1oz) of fresh cilantro, finely chopped

sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper


Cook the potatoes in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 15 to 20 minutes, or until cooked through. Drain in a colander and set aside to steam dry.

Place the saucepan over medium heat, add the cumin and mustard seeds, and toast them for a few minutes, shaking the pan until they release their aroma. Add the butter, chile flakes, and turmeric and stir until the butter has melted.

Return the potatoes to the pan and season generously with salt and pepper, then mash with the spiced butter until just combined (I like to keep some chunkiness in the texture). Check and adjust the seasoning, and when you’re happy with it, add the cilantro and mix well to serve.

Simply delicious with:

Spice-rubbed Spatchcocked Squab (see page 55) or Yogurt & Spice Roasted Salmon 
(see page 62). 

(* Recipe from 'Simply' by Sabrina Ghayour -Mitchell Beazley, October 2020- Photography Copyright Kris Kirkham...Reproduced with permission)

10 Plus Years after Slow Planet and In Praise of Slowness , Carl Honore now brings us 30 Days to Slow

10 plus years after Slow Planet and In Praise of Slowness , Carl Honore now brings us 30 Days to Slow (November 2020, Carl Honore)  his step by slow step guide to a saner life.

30 days to slow

He is continuing his take on The Hare and The Tortoise, that little fable from all the way back to 1668.

It seems that Carl Honore 'Slow Planet' which I mentioned in Do revolutions start on Friday? back in March 2008 is no longer live.

I did my best to incorporate some of that thinking into Mediterranean Work and Play, my new venture.

Sheep Stories, From Awassi, The Comeback Kid, to Black Faced Manech, A Mountain Dweller via A Field Guide to Cheese

Sheep stories, from Awassi, the comeback kid, to Black Faced Manech, a mountain dweller via A Field Guide to Cheese (Artisan Books, September 2020) by Tristan Sicard.


The Awassi is indigenous to the Middle East (Syria, Turkey, Israel) yet found his way to the United States. 

The Black Faced Manech can be spotted in the French and Spanish Pyrenees as well as Portugal.

As for A Field Guide to Cheese, it will teach you everything you wanted to know and more about cheese history, geography, taste, pairings and much more.

You will find yourself going back to that cheese well of a book throughout the year and those to come.

(*Excerpted from A Field Guide to Cheese by Tristan Sicard -Artisan Books- Copyright © 2020. Illustrations by Yannis Varoutsikos.”

Let Light Shine with these Stained Glass Snowflake Cookies, Merry Christmas 2020!

Let Light Shine with these Stained Glass Snowflake Cookies.

Stained glass snowflake cookies

Feeling crafty Recipe is Here (from December 2011) archive.

Merry Christmas!

(* Image and Recipe from Gifts from the Kitchen by Annie Rigg reproduced courtesy of Kyle Books, September 2011/ Photos by Catherine Gratwicke, all rights reserved)

Ralph Shadowed Me Today in New York, Ralph Ellison that Is, A Visible Invisible Man

Ralph shadowed me today in New York. Ralph Ellison that is.

Ralph ellison

I was delivering holiday treats on corner of Riverside Drive and 150th Street midday today.

A tribute to Ralph Ellison was hiding in plain sight down the street from where I was double parked, a visible invisible man.

Spread Holiday Cheer with this Merry Evergreen Sparkler from Very Merry Cocktails by Jessica Strand

Spread holiday cheer with this merry Evergreen Sparker recipe from 'Very Merry Cocktails' by Jessica Strand (Chronicle Books, September 2020).


This pleasingly piney drink will be a satisfying way to spread cheer after a day of decorating or a walk in a wintery forest.


Merry evergreen sparkler

Ingredients and Directions:

    • 2 oz [60 ml] gin
    • 2 oz [60 ml] Rosemary Syrup (BELOW)
    • 2 oz [60 ml] fresh lemon juice
    • Club soda, for topping off
    • Rosemary sprig, for garnish

Fill a tumbler glass with ice. Pour the gin, rosemary syrup, and lemon juice into an ice filled shaker. Shake vigorously. Strain into the glass, leaving about 1 in [2.5 cm] of space at the top. Top off with club soda and garnish with a rosemary sprig.

    • 1 cup [200 g] sugar
    • 8 oz [240 ml] water
    • 3 rosemary sprigs

Combine the sugar, water, and rose­mary sprigs in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a rapid boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and let cool. Strain the syrup and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Makes 12 oz [355 ml].

(* Reprinted from 'Very Merry Cocktails' by Jessica Strand with permission by Chronicle Books, 2020 -Photography by Ren Fuller)