All posts filed under: Food

Bests and Favorites: Food of 2017

In no particular order other than jogging the old noggin, here are the dishes, drinks and food experiences I enjoyed the most in Fairfield County, CT, and beyond, in 2017.  Critera for inclusion: eaten in the last year. Samosas. Royal Guard in Norwalk makes crisp deep-fried samosas filled with spiced potatoes.  But that’s not all. The fish and chips are the best in Fairfield County. And the Pakistani chicken curry with warm, glistening naan makes up for the lack of atmosphere in this little hole in the wall. I reviewed Royal Guard for the Hartford Courant. Cochinita at Los Poblanos in Norwalk. I’ve written about Los Poblanos for the Hartford Courant and CT Bites. It’s a big favorite of  my friends, one of whom lived in Mexico. We refer to the restaurant as “Juan’s.” Juan is the chef-owner. He, his wife and children are lovely people. I love Mexican food. Could eat it every day. Here are a couple of my favorite dishes at Mexican places in Bridgeport. I wrote about my favorite ethnic restaurants in Bridgeport here. Carnitas with grilled jalapeno at La Mexicana, Bridgeport Carnitas tacos …

Village Tavern

It’s the first restaurant you’ll see driving into Ridgefield, the sort of place you hope to find in this gracefully affluent town. Inside, there’s a long copper bar and a relaxed, clean, comfortable vibe. A friend and I went to Village Tavern the other day to catch up with Bruno DiFabio, the restaurateur. I’ve written about Bruno a number of times over the years. He’s a master pizza maker who also owns Amore in Stamford. Bruno always has got something new going on. Beneath Village Tavern is his Romolo Gastro Pizza. My friend raves about the lasagna Bolognese at Romolo. Village Tavern menu has burgers, lobster rolls, Caesar’s salad, all the things people want, and it also has what we wanted: homemade pasta. This is corn flour penne with Parmesan cream and porcini. My friend loved the silky texture of the pasta. I didn’t try it because it had truffle oil, and as those who know me know, I can’t stand the stuff. But I loved the tagliatelle Bolognese. The homemade pasta curled around the ragu of ground pork, veal and beef. It was warm and …

Roasted Pepper Salad

One of the first dishes I ever learned to make is still one of my favorites. Giuliano Bugialli’s insalata di  peperoni e capperi, pepper salad with capers. The recipe comes from Bugialli’s Foods of Italy, which was published in 1984, yet remains contemporary, filled with classic regional recipes and gorgeous photographs by John Dominis. It’s a book I’ve enjoyed sitting with, reading and looking, and standing over, checking instructions. My copy opens to the pepper salad dish, and as I flip through the pages, I see how much I learned from Foods of Italy, how many  techniques I use years later.     The colorful salad of silky, sweet bell peppers, tangy capers and fresh mint and basil, can be an hors d’oeuvre, a side-dish, an addition to a sandwich. It goes well with anything. The first step is grilling the peppers. My most recent version of this dish expanded beyond bell peppers, and included some spicy long peppers from Sport Hill Farm. If you’re roasting the peppers inside, under the broiler, here’s an excellent technique I learned from Bugialli’s recipe: place a …

Best Tomato Season Ever

This long, warm summery fall has extended tomato season in our little garden. Last year, we harvested only green tomatoes. This year, we’ve had the best harvest ever, growing this heirloom variety for first time. I don’t know their official name. My husband grew them from seeds he saved from an heirloom tomato we bought from Sport Hill Farm the previous summer.  They’re multi-colored, showing shades of yellow, orange, pale green, blushed with red. They grow to be over a pound.  The sweet flavor takes well to quick sauces filled with fresh herbs.  They also slice up beautifully as a side dish for dinner, or for sandwiches. For a size comparison, here’s one of our Peachy Giants (which is what I’ve named them because when I chop up a quart to freeze, they look a lot like the quarts of frozen peaches)  with tomatoes we got at the Black Rock Farmers Market. Of course, those tomatoes were delicious too. Juicy and ripe. Sliced, sprinkled with salt, drizzled with olive oil, and scattered with fresh herbs, basil, chives, fresh mint, …

Bringing Something to the Party

What to bring to a summer party? I got beautiful carrots and beets from the Black Rock Farmer’s Market. The beets came from Sport Hill Farm. My friend Red Bee Marina, who was hosting a little gathering in her garden, suggested coleslaw, but the carrots were too cute to shred. So I cleaned them up, blanched them, and pickled them whole. The brine was one cup of apple cider vinegar, one cup of warm water, salt, pepper, onions, ginger, herbs from the garden–lemon balm, thyme, marjoram, chives–and a little honey. Beets Because it’s summer and I didn’t want the house to get too hot, I boiled the beets. (Roasting in the oven is my preferred method.) After they were tender, I slipped off the skins, sliced the beets, and put them in brine.The carrots and beets rested in the brine, in the fridge, from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., till we left the house. I repacked them in Ball jars for travel. After a glass of prosecco, everyone went to Marina and Vic’s garden, and picked greens for pesto.  I picked mint and …

What to Forage Now: Dandelion Leaves and Wild Onions

My basic theory of gardening is that plants want to grow. And if they want to grow — if they spring up on their own and we can eat them, don’t interfere. That means dandelions in the yard and vegetable garden (they grow strongest in the sun). Wild onions have shot up everywhere too. I’m very much against poisoning them.  Pulling up “weeds” is the most effective way of dealing with them (despite what you’ll read on the internet about vinegar solutions). Dandelions aren’t “weeds” to me. Picking and eating dandelions in the early spring is an ancient ritual. They are filled with minerals and vitamins, and are good for the liver. Dandelion leaves can be bitter. The are less bitter when small and the flowers haven’t bloomed. Large leaves from blooming dandelions can be cooked to mellow their flavor and make them tender. Dandelions don’t have poisonous lookalikes, according to Wildman Steve Brill, an expert forager who leads tours in New York and Connecticut. Chicory looks like dandelion and is edible, so if you’re foraging, you’ll probably pick up both. To …

Lunch at The Modern

A great meal, the three-course prix fixe at The Modern in New York City. First, an amusing amuse bouche. Glasses of shredded, dehydrated beets, into which the server poured warm broth. With it, a bowl of fresh cheese with beet chips.  A waiter appeared with a tray holding six adorable mini rolls. I think the waiter told us we could have as many as we wanted. We demurely (so I like to think), took one, a pretzel roll for Paula, and a whole wheat roll for me. It was light textured, slightly sweet. My first course, sea bass with sunchokes and watercress. No words needed. Paula started with this gorgeous salad. There’s burrata beneath the leaves. For my second course, beef with marrow, celery root and black truffle. A waiter holding a little copper saucepan spooned truffle sauce onto plate. Paula’s second course was seared salmon. Sensible girl. It had Meyer lemon confit, endive and radicchio. And then, dessert. I had chocolate marquise with earl grey ice cream. Paula’s dessert was ricotta cannoli with picked rhubarb and crème fraiche sorbet. …