2 Flatbread for The Golden Globes

Having tried pita for a short rib flatbread-type appetizer recently I wondered why some companies call them ‘pita’ while others say ‘pocket pita’. ALL pita have a pocket. Redundant much? While the pita I bought had very good flavor, cutting them into wedges revealed the double-layers and made eating the appetizer harder than it could have been.

Today I’m using Naan

Flatbread 1: Shrimp ‘scampi’ with white wine poached shrimp, great olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, Manzanilla olives, grated Parmigiano Reggiano, and freshly ground black pepper layered on Naan that has been marked on both sides on a gas burner

Flatbread 2: Barbecue chicken with rotisserie chicken pulled and sauced with smoky barbecue sauce, quick pickle red onion, crispy Applewood smoked bacon bits and toasted sesame seeds layered on Naan that has been marked on both sides on a gas burner

Flatbread 2 might get some baby arugula because I have it on hand

Champagne or other favorite sparkling wine is always a good choice when you are serving foods with different flavors that a single wine might not be able to bring together.

Enjoy The Globes, or The Globs which is what they’re called around here!

Japanese linguine bowl

Traditional Italian pasta turned into a non-traditional noodle bowl

Feel free to add a few pieces of leftover cooked fish or poultry to the bowls before ladling over the soup

Quantities here make 4 bowls

For the pasta
80 Linguine (see Note)
1/3 cup House salt

For final plating and presentation
8 ounces sliced button mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon butter
House salt
Black peppercorns in a pepper mill
2 cups diced butter lettuce
Soy sauce
Sesame oil
Chili oil
10 scallions, green part only, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups prepared white miso soup per serving (see Note 2), prepared according to the package directions, kept hot

For the pasta
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring constantly, until the pasta is fully submerged. Bring to the boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender. Drain and keep warm

Meanwhile, add the chopped mushrooms and butter to a small saucepan, add a touch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Cook over medium high heat until the mushrooms have softened and are glossed with the butter, 10 to 12 minutes

For final plating and presentation
Divide the linguine, mushrooms and butter lettuce (and any leftover cooked fish or poultry if using) to individual bowls. Ladle in 1 1/2 cups miso soup and season with 1 tablespoon soy, 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil and 1/4 teaspoon chili oil. Garnish generously with sliced scallions

Serve Japanese linguine bowls piping hot with chopsticks and a big soup spoon

Note: About 20 noodles per person is a good balance between the pasta and the other ingredients

Note 2: You can find white miso paste in plastic tubs in the International aisle of most supermarkets

Steakhouse creamed spinach

Potatoes are not my favorite steakhouse side, my version of my favorite steakhouse creamed spinach is

Not only great with grilled steaks, but grilled pork, grilled chicken and heartier pan-seared fish … heck, even as a great filling in vegetarian tacos with rice and fresh-chopped vegetables topped with cilantro, parsley leaves and thinly sliced radish

2 pounds fresh curly spinach, coarse stems discarded and the leaves washed well and drained
1/3 cup minced shallot
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 cup half & half
3 1/2 tablespoons sour cream
1/3 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons House salt
Black peppercorns in a pepper mill

Bring a large kettle of water to the boil. Slowly add the salt followed by the spinach. Reduce the heat to medium, submerge the leaves and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Drain the spinach in a colander under cold running water. Drain completely and squeeze out any excess water. Transfer the spinach to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade. Pulse the spinach 5 times in 1 second intervals then let the machine run until all of the spinach is uniformly pureed

Heat a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium high heat for 2 minutes. Add the  butter, swirl to coat the bottom of the pan and reduce the heat to medium. When the foam from the butter has subsided, add the shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Whisk in the flour, whisking constantly, and cook 3 minutes

Slowly whisk in the milk, bring to a boil reduce to a simmer, whisking constantly, and cook for 3 minutes until thickened. Reduce the heat to medium low

Add the spinach puree, sour cream, freshly grated nutmeg, lemon juice, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Heat, stirring, until heated through

Creamed spinach should be served hot

Leftovers, if there are any, keep up to 2 days

Method of the week: Wedge salad

The recipe is in the method: make the dressing, cut the lettuce, dress the lettuce. Easy peasy

Puree 1 cup mayonnaise, 1 cup blue cheese crumbles, 1/2 cup buttermilk, 1 peeled shallot, zest from 1 lemon, juice from half the zested lemon, 3 shakes of Worcestershire sauce, a handful of parsley, a big pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade … conversely, mince the shallot and parsley and whisk together with the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl

Cut 2 chilled Boston lettuce into quarters. Plate 2 wedges among 4 chilled salad plates and divide the dressing over each serving

Press 3 hard cooked eggs through a fine mesh strainer with the back of a dinner tablespoon (you just made an egg mimosa)

Garnish the wedges with egg mimosa and crispy bacon


Dessert Monday: Almost-flourless chocolate cake

Dessert Monday: Almost-flourless chocolate cake

Because you have to have something to look forward to on Monday

1 tablespoon butter, for pan
3 tablespoons cocoa, for pan

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70% cacao), finely chopped
1 cup butter, cut into 1/4 inch dice
5 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
5 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Special equipment
Springform pan

Heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and flour with cocoa a 10 inch springform pan

Stir chocolate and butter together in a heavy bottomed medium saucepan over low heat until chocolate  melts and mixture is smooth. Beat eggs and sugar together in large bowl until well blended and mixture begins to thicken

Sift flour and baking powder over eggs and gently fold in. Gently fold in chocolate mixture. Pour batter to prepared pan

Bake cake 20 minutes then, carefully remove pan from oven and carefully over pan with foil. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs still attached, about 30 minutes longer. Uncover cake, place on a cooling rack and cool to room temperature, 3 hours (cake will fall as it cools)

Cut around perimeter of cake and release ring mold

Cut Almost-flourless cake into wedges and garnish with 10X sugar, Any berry coulis, whipped cream, fresh berries, or nothing at all