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xoxo, 

Lindsay

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Entries in Recipes & how-to's (54)

Tuesday
Jul102012

Recipe:  Hand-Pies

There was a time when I used to collect jams.  The only reason I stopped was because my refrigerator became filled with too many barely-touched jars.  It broke my heart when I had to throw away some of my favorites due to mold, or simply because they had not been touched in (gasp) years.  After all, there are only so many things that you can do with spreadable fruit. 

When I was visiting my family in California last week, I noticed about five jars of homemade jam in the fridge.  Each about 3/4 of the way full!  What a waste, I thought to myself.  Then, a light bulb went off in my head:  I could run out to the store - buy some pre-made dough - and make individual hand-pies in an array of flavors, using the jams.

And that's exactly what I did...

...

Recipe: The Lunch Belle's Hand-Pies

Ingredients

  • Pilsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust (package contains 2)
  • 4-6 tablespoons of your favorite jam(s) - I used two flavors, plum and peach, and even combined them in to a single hand-pie!
  • Optional
    • Egg wash:  1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon of milk
    • Granulated sugar

Method

*Makes 4 hand-pies

Cut pie dough in to four equal parts.  Form each of the four parts in to a ball.  Using your hands, or a rolling pin, press or roll the dough out in to a flat, circular shape.  In the middle of each circle, top with 1 tablespoon of jam, in a single dollop.  *Note:  You can add up to 1 teaspoon more, per hand-pie, if you find that 1 tablespoon is not enough jam.

  • To make a half moon-shaped pie:  Unite outer perimeters of the circle and secure by gently pressing with your fingers.  Create a design by stamping the pricks of a fork over the secured dough.
  • To make a tart:  Fold the outermost 1/4" portion of the circle's perimeter in to itself and secure with gentle finger presses.  Make sure that there is enough of a barrier/wall so that the jam does not leak while baking.  Spread the jam towards the edge of the perimeter.
  • To make a flower/star:  Fold the outermost 1/4" portion of the circle's perimeter in to itself and secure with gentle finger presses.  Make sure that there is enough of a barrier/wall so that the jam does not leak while baking.  Using your thumb and index finger, pinch "petals" along the perimeter.  Spread the jam towards the edge of the perimeter.

Place your hand-pies on to a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake according to the directions on the pie dough box, or until golden brown.  *If you really want to make your pies look pretty:  Prior to baking, "paint" the exterior crust with an egg wash.  Don't have a culinary brush?  Use your fingers!  Gently sprinkle the egg wash-basted crust with sugar.   

Enjoy for dessert or for a lovely, light breakfast!  Delicious both warm or at room temperature!

~~~

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle

Wednesday
Jun272012

Oh, what a night! A recap of the 3rd Annual SAVEUR Summer BBQ

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending the 3rd Annual SAVEUR Summer BBQ:  Global Food Tasting Event.  Encompassing the circular, open-air rotunda at the Boat Basin Cafe, 15+ of the country's top chefs - and friends of SAVEUR Magazine - served up their own unique spins on barbecue.  Wait, it gets better:  Each food item was paired with one of two specialty Grey Goose cocktails, a Brewery Ommegang beer, and a wine from Dona Paula.

Here's a list of the chefs who came out - the restaurant(s) that they represent - and the BBQ-themed dish(es) that they made:

  • Chef Chris Cosentino, Incanto:  Calabrian Lam & Corned Lamb Heart Panino
  • Chef Shea Gallante, Ciano:  Maine Lobster Alla Griglia
  • Chef Susan Feniger, Border Grill, STREET:  Chilled Yakisoba Noodles w/ Pickled Green Vegetables & Green Sriracha Skirt Steak
  • Chef Teddy Folkman, Granville Moore's:  Chicken & Waffles
  • Chef Gavin Kaysen, Cafe Boulud:  Blackened Grilled Shrimp & White Polenta w/ Pico de Gallo
  • Chefs Warach Lacharojana & Patharaphon Phutpha, Spice Group:  Grilled Esarn Pork Jaw
  • Chef Anita Lo, Annisa:  Green papaya Salad w/ Pork Jerky
  • Chef Seamus Mullen, Tertulia:  Pulpo A La Brasa, Grilled Octopus w/ Summer Squash
  • Chef Sisha Otruzar, Riverpark:  Grilled Brisket Quesadillas
  • Chef Francois Payard, FPB:  Chocolate BBQ Macarons and Toasted Marshmallow Milkshakes
  • Chef Andy Ricker, Pok Pok:  Marinated Flank Steak w/ Galangal Chili Paste
  • Chef Ben Pollinger, Oceana:  Blackened Louisiana Shrimp w/ Mirliton Salad
  • Chefs Max & Eli Sussman, Mile End Deli, Roberta's:  Peanut Butter Cheesecake, Raspberry Jam Gelato, Fried Banana
  • Chef KN Vinod, Indique Heights:  Masala Lamb Chops
  • Chef Damon Wise, Monkey Bar:  BBQ'd Tri-Tip
  • Chefs Chen-Hua Yang & Shao-Lung Huang, Mr. K's, Maruko Sushi & Tea:  BBQ Pork Sausage, Hot Stone Beef BBQ, & Mushroom Melody

Inside of the open-air rotunda at Boat Basin CafeI made an attempt to photograph every chef's offering but, while some pictures were lost due to bad exposure/lighting, others simply weren't taken.  Sorry, guys, I was just too afraid to sample Chris Consentino's "Calabrian Lamb & Corned Lamb Heart Panino"...

Below, please enjoy my gustatory photo tour of everything that I ate, chronologically, at the 3rd Annual SAVEUR Summer BBQ:  Global Food Tasting Event:

Grey Goose Cherry Noir "Hamptons Punch"Chef Teddy Folkman, Granville Moore's: Chicken & WafflesChefs Chen-Hua Yang & Shao-Lung Huang, Mr. K's, Maruko Sushi & Tea: BBQ Pork Sausage, Hot Stone Beef BBQ, & Mushroom MelodyChef Gavin Kaysen, Cafe Boulud: Blackened Grilled Shrimp & White Polenta w/ Pico de Gallo Chef Susan Feniger, Border Grill, STREET: Chilled Yakisoba Noodles w/ Pickled Green Vegetables & Green Sriracha Skirt SteakChef Francois Payard, FPB: Chocolate BBQ Macarons and Toasted Marshmallow Milkshakes Chefs Max & Eli Sussman, Mile End Deli, Roberta's: Peanut Butter Cheesecake, Raspberry Jam Gelato, Fried BananaChef Andy Ricker, Pok Pok: Marinated Flank Steak w/ Galangal Chili PasteChef KN Vinod, Indique Heights: Masala Lamb ChopsChefs Warach Lacharojana & Patharaphon Phutpha, Spice Group: Grilled Esarn Pork JawChef Shea Gallante, Ciano: Maine Lobster Alla GrigliaChef Anita Lo, Annisa: Green papaya Salad w/ Pork JerkyChef Ben Pollinger, Oceana: Blackened Louisiana Shrimp w/ Mirliton SaladChef Damon Wise, Monkey Bar: BBQ'd Tri-TipChef Sisha Otruzar, Riverpark: Grilled Brisket QuesadillasMe and my "rover," Emily...

Dishes that made me swoon (...so much so, that I turned around and grabbed seconds):

  • Chef Susan Feniger, Border Grill, STREET:  Chilled Yakisoba Noodles w/ Pickled Green Vegetables & Green Sriracha Skirt Steak
  • Chef Gavin Kaysen, Cafe Boulud:  Blackened Grilled Shrimp & White Polenta w/ Pico de Gallo
  • Chef Sisha Otruzar, Riverpark:  Grilled Brisket Quesadillas
  • Chef Francois Payard, FPB:  Chocolate BBQ Macarons and Toasted Marshmallow Milkshakes
  • Chef KN Vinod, Indique Heights:  Masala Lamb Chops
  • Chef Damon Wise, Monkey Bar:  BBQ'd Tri-Tip

Chefs that made me swoon/drool:

  • Chef Chris Cosentino, IncantoPhoto found on Incanto dot biz
  • Chef Shea Gallante, CianoPhoto found on nymag dot com

Personal highlights from the event (...aside from all of the delicious food I consumed):

  • Catching up with Chef Marc Murphy, and getting introduced to his adorable Director of Communications, Emily
  • The fact that, despite the predicted forecast, the weather remained precipitation-free.
  • I took some seriously awesome food photos!
  • I ran in to my good buddy, Dana.
  • I scored the recipe for my favorite cocktail of the eve, Grey Goose Cherry Noir "Hamptons Punch!"  See below...

 

Grey Goose Cherry Noir "Hamptons Punch"

 

Ingredients :

  • 5 parts GREY GOOSE Cherry Noir Flavored Vodka 
  • 4 parts fresh-squeezed white grapefruit juice 
  • 3 parts strawberries
  • 1 part basil simple syrup (recipe below)
    • To make basil simple syrup, combine equal parts sugar and hot water with 10 fresh basil leaves. Steep until dissolved and cool.

Method:  Thinly slice strawberries and place in a punch vessel.  Add remaining ingredients and chill for two hours.  Serve over ice, and present with strawberries.


~~~

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle

Friday
Jun222012

Notes on (hosting) a dinner party: Celebrating the season, entertaining tips

Last Tuesday evening, I hosted a small dinner party at my apartment.  To honor the fact that the next day was, at least according to the calendar, the official "first day of summer," I chose a menu that reflected the warm and bountiful season upon us:

**White winesArneis, Rioja

**Imported and domestic cheeses:  Dried pears, walnuts, sliced baguette and pecan/raisin bread

**SaladBlueberries, Feta, and Mint

**EntreeRick Bayless' Quick-Fried Shrimp with Sweet Toasty Garlic

**Sourdough bread (to dip and sop-up all of the garlicky goodness from the shrimp dish)

**Dessert:  Homemade key lime pie

...

After I play hostess, I always seem to have a plethora of tips/shortcuts in my head that I intend to write down.  For the next time I have people over.  But, more often than not, I don't actually take the time to sit down and jot notes.  Until today.

Here are some of my tried-and-true entertaining tips for all of you fabulous hosts/hostesses out there:

  • Prepare your menu:  If you don't have the budget to offer your guests a meat/poultry/fish/vegetarian option, then find out, ahead of time, if anyone has any allergies/dietary restrictions.  God forbid you serve shellfish to an allergic, or present pork to someone who's kosher/halal.
  • Fresh flowers:  I buy 2-bunches from Trader Joe's - divide them in to various smaller bunches - and place multi, colorful bouquets all over my apartment.  Flowers smell nice, brighten up your space, and last for about a week!
  • Tidy up!  If you don't have ample time to clean, I understand.  However, at least make your bathroom a priority:  Clean your toilet bowl and have an extra roll of toilet-paper handy/in a logical location.  Use a Windex-like spray to wipe your mirror clean of toothpaste and water stains.  And, if you're really type-A, provide paper hand-towels by your sink.  I hate having to wipe my just-washed hands on someone's gnarly shower towel!  Blech. 
  • For casual get-togethers:  Use paper/plastic plates, napkins, utensils, and cups.  Everything is disposable and makes cleanup *much* less of a nightmare. 
  • Do as much as you can ahead of time:  Block time out of your busy schedule to prepare/cook as many of the items on your menu as possible, within reason.  For this most recent gathering, I made the key lime pie on Sunday afternoon.  Thank goodness, because crushing graham crackers by hand took me a good 20-minutes! 
  • Write down what you're serving and what you're serving it in:  Jot down every appetizer, beverage, entree, and dessert.  Assign a serving dish and serving utensil to go with each.  You may realize that you do not, in fact, have a soup ladle or something as common as a bottle opener!  
  • Do not make plans the night before:  It was tough, but I managed to keep my Monday evening free so that I could attend to any last-minute cleaning - organizing - and prepping.  Since I get off of work at 5pm and my guests would arrive on Tuesday night between 7/7:30pm, I did not want to rush/stress any more than I had to day-of.
  • Clean as you go:  This is a priceless tip that I learned while interning at the Marriott WTC in college.  Especially when cooking, don't let dishes, utensils, cups, etc. pile up - clean them as you use them. 
  • Once all of your guests arrive:  Give them about 30-ish minutes to enjoy a beverage(s) and appetizers.  I like to serve the "main course" at the 30-minutes-post-everyone's-arrival mark.

Food tips:

  • Have fresh plates/bowls/utensils on-hand for each course:  I prefer plastic and paper products for entertaining, as most of my gatherings are on the casual-end of the spectrum.  Plus, I do not have enough dishes or glassware to serve more than 4-guests at one time.  Sigh.
  • Cheese plate:  An hour before your guests are scheduled to arrive, take your cheeses out of the fridge and arrange on a platter (I like to follow Artisanal's "Cheese Clock").  Accompany with proper knives/spreaders.   
  • Bread:  For a crispy crust and a warm interior, heat oven to 200-degrees F.  Place sliced and/or whole bread on a cookie sheet and allow to warm for approximately 12-minutes (for slices) and 15-20 minutes (whole), respectively.  If you have less time on your hands, raise the temperature to 300-degrees, and cut warming times in half.

OK, so now you've read mine; do you have any great entertaining tips to share?  I'd love to hear from you!

~~~

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle

Thursday
May172012

Recipe: The world's best Matzo Ball Soup

Matzo Ball Soup.  It's the ultimate Jewish comfort food. 

Have you ever noticed that no two bowls of matzo ball soup are alike?  Well, that's because every Bubby/restaurateur/home cook has his or her own variation on the classic.  Perhaps it's mixing seltzer water with the matzo meal (...this creates fluffier 'balls).  Or maybe it's adding rice/noodles, vegetables, or shredded chicken to the broth, in hopes of creating more bulk.  Do you have a specific variation?

Just like many of you, my matzo ball soup recipe is mirrored after that of my beloved late grandma's.  There was just something about her version that had so much more depth and flavor than everybody else's.  And it wasn't until she passed that I figured out Grandma's secret weapon:  Dill.  She used a lot of dill. 

Mimicking Grandma's heavy hand on the dill weed jar - coupled with my own unique spin on the classic - I think that I've created the world's best bowl of matzo ball soup.  And I'm confident that you, too, will agree!

This recipe is dedicated to you, Grandma Jean.  xoxo

...

Ingredients, serves 4-5

*Note:  While I do use all of the contents included in the Manischewitz box (pictured below), I've changed some of the quanities and ingredients to suit my taste.  Having made this soup and followed my own directions hundreds of times, I am confident that my instructions will work for you, too.  My point is this:  Do not follow the directions on the back of the Manischewitz box.  Follow mine, instead!

  • 1 box of Manischewitz Matzo Ball & Soup Mix
  • 32 ounces of chicken (or vegetable) broth ~ This adds so much flavor to a recipe that, otherwise, just calls for water!
  • 32 ounces of water
  • *Optional:  1 cup chopped carrots (about 1" cuts)
  • *Optional:  1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons dried dill weed ~ Grandma's secret weapon!
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • *Optional, to be added when soup is complete:  1 cup cooked and shredded chicken and/or 1 cup cooked noodles of your choice

Photo: Manischewitz

In a 3-quart pot, add packet containing Manischewitz soup mix, broth, water, *carrots, *celery, and 1 tablespoon of dill weed.  Stir to combine.  Bring to a boil.

In a small bowl, mix the eggs and oil.  Add 1 tablespoon of dill weed and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.  Add packet containing matzo ball mix, and stir with a fork until evenly mixed.  Cover and place in refrigerator for 15-minutes.

With clean hands, form matzo batter in to balls (about 1" in diameter) and carefully drop the balls in to the boiling soup. 

Reduce flame to a simmer, and cover tightly for 20-minutes.

*Optional:  Add 1 cup cooked and shredded chicken and/or 1 cup cooked noodles of your choice.

Enjoy!

~~~

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle

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