Monthly Archives: August 2012

I Chat With Chef Anita Lo of Annisa, NYC

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“I’ve always been a fan of language in general. On some levels I think that literature is the highest art—it excites the imagination, which had no borders to it.”

Today a particularly lovely interview goes live on Serious Eats NY: a chat with Anita Lo of Annisa. The 25th in this very special series, it’s another one that makes me feel so fortunate to be so welcomed into the kitchens of some very generous, talented, hard-working people.

And head here for a roundup of my favorite quotes and stellar images (from my rockstar partner, Brent Herrig) with the chefs in e series thus far.

Happy Monday!

Grapefruit Sponge Pie: Burwell Recipe Swap!

Dunt-duh-nuh-naaaaaaah!

(That’s me typing out the sound of a trumpet announcing the arrival of something new!)

This morning I published this post with some whinging about being tired and un-creative. When I typed this post for the first time last night, my brain was beyond where wit and articulation are birthed. 24 hours later I’m still over-tired, but I don’t care.

Because I’ve just gone through the recipes submitted by this Burwell General Store recipe swap group, and I’m rejuvenated. I love this group of swappers. I’ve participated in thist monthly swap, organized by Christianna at the Burwell General Store, for well over a year now. But then our group got too large, so we split in two, then got overwhelmed with our own lives, then took a break, then joined up again, and now here we are!

We all write blogs for different reasons. We all read blogs for different reasons.

But if you’re looking for creativity and all-things-yummy, you’ve come to the right place this morning. Just click on that little froggy below to see variations of one simple, very old recipe from a vintage cookbook.

As I scrolled through the posts, pinning and commenting away, I met new blogging friends and reconnected with old ones.

It was a truly delicious night.

Oh, and this was my second swap today! Coincidentally my Milk Bar Mondays recipe was scheduled for today as well, and when that Grapefruit Pie didn’t turn out perfectly (one layer was perfection, the rest so not-right I couldn’t serve it to my boss family and tossed it in the trash) I wanted to give grapefruit another go. Hence this take on this recipe:

I was shocked that this worked! I just replaced grapefruit for the lemon and used the milk my boss can digest, and let some basic pastry knowledge lead to a more specific recipe than the one above. A light, spongy, fluffy layer of grapefruit-flavored custard-ness was on the table for breakfast today. It would do well for a dessert also, but on this steamy Monday with a house full of guests I’m cooking for in Amagansett, it did just fine.

Happy Double Monday, and welcome back to the Burwell Swappers,

– Jacqueline

And click on the little froggy below to check out the other Burwell swappers in their, likely, more creative variations!



Grapefruit Sponge Pie

(Lemon or lime would work perfectly too!)

  • 1 pie crust, unbaked
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 2 cups lactose-free, 2% milk
  • 3 Tbsp grapefruit juice
  • rind of one entire grapefruit

Preheat oven to 350°.

Cream the butter, sugar and egg yolks until smooth and bright yellow.

Add the flour, grapefruit juice and zest, and beat to combine.

Slowly pour in milk and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Fold into mixture.

Pour into shell and bake for 45 minutes, until set at the sides but still jiggly in the center. Cool completely before serving.

Grapefruit Pie: Milk Bar Mondays!

I’m on my 10th straight day of cooking in the Hamptons. I’m a sweaty, tired mess of a happy person. I am so sick of cooking food… until I make something that delights me and the people I work for. Then I remind myself that it’s pretty cool that I get paid (well) to cook food, which I love to do anyway.

Somehow in the insanity that is workdays that begin at 7pm and don’t end until 14 hours later, I was able to make this pie, today’s Milk Bar Mondays group recipe. Actually, I was able to squeeze in two pies in the two days, because this one didn’t quite work out. It also happens to be for a swap set for today, so check out my second grapefruit pie for the Burwell Recipe Swap: Grapefruit Sponge Pie!

Being that I’m not home with my arsenal of alternative ingredients and the family I work for doesn’t have any sensitivies, I figured this swap was a good chance to do a Tosi recipe as written and enjoy working straight from the book, as we don’t substitute unless absolutely necessary.

But then… Continue reading

String Bean and Arugula Salad with Macadamia Nut Dressing and Marcona Almonds: Summer of Salads (and private chef musings)

I’m in a relationship with a blue beach chair.

That is, I think it’s blue.

I’ve only met it at night, at 9pm at the earliest.

It’s one of many tucked under a long wooden walkway from the street across from the house where I work as a private chef (or private cook, as I prefer to call myself based on my skills compared to the chefs I interview for Serious Eats).

It could be green, for all I know. Or gray or black.

All I know is that it has a comfy headrest, and leans me back to the perfect angle. And, despite the dozens of chairs left by trusting locals and ready to be reached for, it’s the one I always grab, no matter where it’s ended up on the line.

I work for a good family, for which I’m very grateful. They have a beautiful home, and are respectful of who I am and what I do, which includes providing three healthful and impressive meals a day for a variety of diets put forth by themselves and their constantly rotating houseful of guests (they are very generous hosts). There are times I’m overwhelmed by the work – by the very early mornings and long days, by the constant focus that is timing food and constantly producing a creative variety of food. Some days it feels like just too much.

There have been a few moments I’ve sunk to the kitchen floor in exhaustion. And many moments when I’ve calculated the days until I can drive home to NYC and be in my own space, with my dog and my kitchen and my roommate and my desk and my dirty laundry and my neighbors and my bed!

But, no matter the lovely guests, the frantic preparation or the random quiet moments when I drive on crowded summer Hamptons streets…

… the day always ends in that chair.

I fill my Starbucks insulated cup with whatever wine I’ve bought and stashed in the garage fridge and throw on comfy clothes and head across to the beach. I bury my toes in the cold sand and look up at the cloudy/clear sky with the warm/cool breeze blowing on me, nestling into that blue/green/black/gray chair.

That chair has seen me through some medical shit I won’t go into. And through thinking I’m not worthy of this job. And through thinking I’m worth more than my salary. And through thinking that this job and me are actually quite fit for each other. And through thinking about him/her/it/them/there. And through long phone conversations, songs on repeat in my headphones and moments of quite contemplation when I just stare out at the crashing waves and have to trust that I’m where I’m supposed to be in that very moment.

For my birthday I was given a journal with many of the menus and odd stories about my time here – relayed in texts to a friend. Soon I’ll add my own scribbled notes to it. And, at the end of the summer, I’ll reflect back on the skills I’ve learned, on the dishes I’ve made that I look forward to making for my own loved ones, on how awesome my warrior dog who has shuttled between homes in my absence was, and how I made it through the summer.

That time of reflection is still a bit away.

But, until then, at least I know I have my blue/green/black/gray chair to look forward to at the end of the day…

… and more dish discoveries yet to come… like this salad.

String Bean and Arugula Salad with Macadamia Nut Dressing and Marcona Almonds

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (about 5 oz) baby arugula
  • 1/4 lb French string beans
  • 1/2 large red onion, cut into thin half-moons
  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped fine
  • 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp Macadamia nut oil (walnut or almond oil would work too!)
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • hefty pinch of kosher salt and a few healthy grinds of black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Marcona almonds (pistachios or pine nuts wouldn’t be the end of the world either)
  • 1 tsp herbs de Provence

Directions:

Place 2 Tbsp olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the string beans and cook until they just soften but before they brown, about 3 minutes. With tongs (one of my top five kitchen utensils), remove to a large bowl.

Add red onion and garlic, and cook until just softened, about 5 minutes. Remove to bowl.

Add almonds (or whichever nut is currently striking your fancy) to skillet, and toss them around a few times until they start getting all nutty and toasty. Add remaining tsp of olive oil and herbs de Provence and keep flippin em until they’re slightly browned and glossy.

In a small bowl, whisk macadamia nut oil, red wine vinegar, kosher salt and pepper until smooth and glossy-like.

Add arugula to bowl with warmed string beans, and toss to slightly wilt. Add dressing and toss to combine.

Pour into serving plate and garnish with almonds.

Gluten-Free EASY EATS Magazine Summer Issue (my feature!)

HOORAY for the launch of Easy Eats Magazine’s current summer issue!!!

I feel so fortunate to be on the editorial staff of this amazing publication, headed up by Edit0r-in-Chief Silvana Nardone, who not only is an amazing chef and sharp editorial eye, but who has also taught me (by example) how to delegate responsibility, trust the talents of others, live creatively and just chill the heck out about the details.

My feature in the summer issue – a profile of Red Bee Honey Farm and 4 original gluten-free, honey-based recipes.

My feature in this issue is on Red Bee Honey Farm in Weston, CT. Between running back and forth to the Hamptons for my chef gig and managing my family’s business in Wilton, CT, I was able to catch a few minutes with owner / beekeeper Marina and steal some fun tidbits on what makes local honey so delicious. I was sold, immediately. I started noticing the different hues and flavors of the delicious honeys of the northeast, and stopped raising an eyebrow at the extensive prices.

More than anything, this new attention has changed the way I cook with honey. From something as simple as whisking a bit of clover or blueberry honey with some fresh lemon, mint leaves and bourbon to choosing which honey I want to focus in my dairy-free Honeybun Ice Cream.. I’ve been converted.

There are many reasons to become a subscriber to this ridiculously affordable, high-quality publication. So if you’ve got an extra dime and like good food… go for it.

Or if you wanna skip to the preview version of my article, head here.

Or for my four super-sweet featured recipes, check out my dairy-free Honeybun ice cream, roasted strawberry salad dressing, Sesame Honey chicken marinade and Lemon Honey Cranberry Granola Bars.

Or, if none of those ideas floats your boat, wrap your arms around yourself, squeeze and smile.

Why not, right?

Sweetly,

– Jacqueline

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