April 7, 2015
Special to DC Metro Theater Arts
A small farm high up in the Tyrolean mountains gave Nora Poullion her first taste of organic foods. While their father tended to his business in Vienna during World War II, Nora, her mother and two older sisters were safely ensconced in a rudimentary chalet where they lived with a farmer and his wife who baked bread from their own wheat, grew their own vegetables, milked the cows for butter and cheese, and gathered mushrooms from the forest. They were joined there by two old family friends – – Jewish refugees fleeing from the Nazis. These were the experiences that informed the direction of her life.
In her poignant memoir Poullion allows us into her private world before she was recognized as an American culinary pioneer through her commitment to local, sustainable and organic food. The book takes us along on her journeys throughout Europe and later in the U.S. at a time that parallels the rise of the organic Food Movement. When food was becoming ever more distant and chefs were buying from huge wholesale suppliers, Nora began to cultivate relationships with local farmers – – something I learned firsthand when I interviewed her seven years ago at the Dupont Circle Farmers Market where she still shops each week for Restaurant Nora, the first certified organic restaurant in the United States.
A few weeks ago we reconnected for the launch of her new book, My Organic Life: How a Pioneering Chef Helped Shape the Way We Eat Today (Alfred A. Knopf – April 2015) written with Laura Fraser. As in her book Poullion spoke candidly over lunch about her early experiences in America. “I was astonished when I came to this country. Everything was packaged in plastic and there was no culture around food. Back then Pepperidge Farm was the gourmet bread!” You can well imagine how far removed this was to someone whose upbringing reflected the care and attention given to food in Europe. Remembering her first impressions she added, “I noticed how unhealthy people were. They just went to the doctor to get a pill!”
Hearts of Palm Salad with pineapple carpaccio, mâche, pistachios and yuzu vinaigrette
In the book Poullion recalls her arrival in Washington, DC in 1965 with her journalist husband, Pierre. As a young woman and newlywed she didn’t know how to cook. So charged with hosting his many ex-pat friends who excelled at cooking and entertaining, she turned to James Beard’s cookbooks for inspiration. By 1972 she had achieved such a stellar reputation for her French cooking and catering, that she began giving cooking classes. “Ralph Nader was my first student,” she recalled.
Area residents who have followed her career will remember her first restaurant inside the Tabard Inn, a small B&B in Dupont Circle. “I was stunned when twenty people came in!” she said of her first lunch service. One year later, after a stint flipping burgers in a local joint (No one can say she hasn’t paid her dues!), she and partner, Steven Damato, and his brother, Tom, opened Restaurant Nora. Later the trio enjoyed an eight-year run with City Café before turning it into the since shuttered Asia Nora.
Sake Glazed Black Codwith ginger miso emulsion, bok choy, shiitakes, snow peas and crispy yams
On this sunny afternoon she was seated beside her close friend of many years, Diane Rehm, the beloved NPR broadcaster. Rehm is one of the many notables – – from Jimmy Carter to the Obamas – – who have regularly patronized the restaurant.
Before our delicious lunch came to a close I begged (Yes, I really did beg!) for the recipe for the scrumptious dessert she served. It was a fabulous cake she planned to bake for Jacques Pepin’s upcoming 80th birthday tribute. Behold I give you Nora’s grandmother’s recipe for Austrian Chocolate Almond Cake. What I won’t do for my dear readers…
Austrian Chocolate Almond Cake
AUSTRIAN CHOCOLATE ALMOND CAKE WITH LIGHT WHIPPED CREAM
- 1 ½ cups almonds
- 4 ounces unsalted butter
- 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
- ¾ cup sugar
- 6 egg yolks
- ¾ cub breadcrumbs
- 6 egg whites
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Spread the almonds onto a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, until fragrant and toasted. Let the nuts cool. Coarsely chop the almonds.
- Butter an 8-inch spring-form pan with one teaspoon of butter and dust with some of the breadcrumbs.
- Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Combine the butter, sugar, and cooled, melted chocolate in the bowl of a mixer and beat until the batter changes to a lighter color and becomes creamy, about three minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice while beating.
- Add the yolks, one at a time, and continue beating. Lower the speed of the mixer and add the ground almonds and breadcrumbs.
- Beat egg whites* (see tips below) until soft but not stiff. Stir a third of the beaten whites into the batter, blending thoroughly. Gently fold in remaining whites, working quickly and carefully to incorporate all the whites without deflating the batter.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake 50 – 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The center of the cake can still be soft.
- Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a cake rack. Let the cake cool completely before adding the glaze. Serves 12.
For one 8-inch cake
- 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
- 3 ounces unsalted butter, softened
- 1 ounce of room temperature milk chocolate for garnish
- Melt semi-sweet chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water. Add the butter and stir until blended and smooth. Remove the glaze from the heat and allow it to cool and thicken to the consistency of thick cream.
- Brush the cake to remove any loose crumbs, and place both the cake and the cooling rack on a sheet pan to catch the chocolate glaze. Slowly pour a pool of chocolate glaze onto the center of the cake. Working from the center out, use a long metal spatula to spread the glaze evenly over the top and sides of the cake.
- For a smoother look, you can glaze the cake a second time. Scoop the excess glaze from the sheet pan and reheat it in a small double boiler. Pour it through a sieve, if necessary to remove any cake crumbs, and cool it slightly to thicken a bit. Pour the glaze again onto the center of the cake and allow it to spread without using a spatula.
- With a vegetable peeler, shave off some curls of the milk chocolate and sprinkle them on top of the cake. Allow the glaze to set for 2 hours at room temperature or at least 20 minutes in the refrigerator.
LIGHT WHIPPED CREAM
- 4 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon superfine or confectioners’ sugar
- Fresh mint for garnish
- Whip the egg white until it holds its shape. Whip the cream in a separate bowl until it forms soft peaks, then add the sugar. Continue to whip the cream until it forms soft peaks again. Fold the egg whites into the cream.
- Assembly: Cut 4 pieces of the cake and put one piece on each of four dessert plates, garnish with a dollop of the light whipped cream and a sprig of mint.
This is my grandmother’s recipe for a traditional Austrian cake, called Rehrueken. The name means “venison saddle” because the cake is usually baked in a long, half-roll pan to imitate a saddle of venison.
No matter what you do, this cake never fails. Under-baked, it tastes like a brownie. The original Viennese recipe uses almonds, but sometimes I make an Italian version, substituting pine nuts and serving it with an Amaretto cream or ice cream. I have made an American version using pecans and a bourbon whipped cream or ice cream.
The simple glaze always works, and my customers and family love it. Our neighbor in Vienna, the daughter of a famous restaurant owner, gave me this glaze recipe.
You can flavor the whipped cream with any kind of liqueur or with a few drops of pure vanilla, honey, rosewater or a pinch of cinnamon.
It is important not to over-beat the egg whites. Whip them just until they keep their shape. If over-beaten, they are difficult to fold in thoroughly and over-beaten eggs can cause the cake to rise too high, crack, and fall as it cools.
April 4, 2015
Special to DC Metro Theater Arts
Sour Cream Rhubarb Pie from Butter Baked Goods
As the owner of the pink-and-pistachio colored bespoke bakery Butter Baked Goods in Vancouver, Canada, Rosie Daykin is realizing her dream. After ditching a successful career as an interior designer, Rosie returned to her lifelong passion turning her pretty cabbage rose-wallpapered bakery café into a worldwide business enterprise. In her first cookbook, Butter Baked Goods – Nostalgic Recipes from a Neighborhood Bakery (Alfred A. Knopf 2015), Rosie shares secrets of some of her most irresistible delicacies dividing chapters into breakfast indulgences, pies, classic cakes, muffins, cookies, bars, brownies and cupcakes. There are recipes for butter creams and frostings, and even her coveted recipe for Butter’s famous gourmet marshmallows found at over 300 retailers across North America.
What I loved about this book is Janis Nicolay’s soft focus photographs of dozens of Rosie’s simple homemade desserts like Sticks and Stones Cookies, Chocolate Nutella High-Top Cupcakes, Bumbleberry Pie and Butterscotch Maple Pecan Scones.
Just in time for spring, we’ve giving you her recipe for Sour Cream Rhubarb Pie. Happy baking!
As Rosie describes it, “This recipe came to me from my dear friend Margie. We became fast friends the day our family moved onto the block. You couldn’t ask for a better neighbor, and when I found out she was a keen baker I knew she was one for keeps! I think this may be my all-time favorite pie. The combination of sour cream, rhubarb and crumb topping is so good, it should be illegal.”
SOUR CREAM RHUBARB PIE
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream and vanilla, then add to the flour mixture.
- Place the rhubarb in the prepared pie shell. Pour the egg and flour mixture evenly over the top.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for 30 minutes more.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the crumb topping and mix with a fork until crumbly.
- Remove the pie from the oven and sprinkle the crumb topping over the top. Return to the oven to bake for another 15 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned.
- Remove from the oven again and allow the pie to cool slightly before slicing.
- 1 Butter’s All Butter Pastry single crust pie (page 192)
- 1 1⁄4 cups sugar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
- 3 cups rhubarb (fresh or frozen), cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
- 1⁄3 cup sugar
- 1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1⁄4 cup butter, softened
MAKES: 1 pie, about 8 to 10 slices
YOU WILL NEED: (9-inch) pie dish
“Margie has frozen this baked pie. She tells me that once it is defrosted and warmed slightly in a 200°F oven, you would never know it had ever been frozen.”
December 6, 2014
Special to DC Metro Theater Arts
Elisabeth de Kergorlay
Elisabeth de Kergolay has led a charmed life with nannies, chateaus and pied-a-terres, though that’s never stopped the beautiful young countess from using her entrepreneurial spirit to bring fresh ideas to America. Take for example her early investment in Le Pain Quotidien, the rustic chic French bakery café she invested in with Belgian chef and founder Alain Coumont in 1990. Since then the well-known communal table eatery with four locations in the DC area, has skyrocketed to 200 outlets in 17 countries. She clearly knows a great idea when she sees it.
Recently de Kergolay launched a frozen food emporium in New York City that is poised to recreate the same success she has enjoyed through her earlier business foray. Fashioned after the popular Paris store Picard, Babeth’s Feast opened on the Upper East Side in early August. The groundbreaking store offers high-end frozen foods and cooking demonstrations. Where has this clever idea been?
After learning about her venture at the opening of Daniel Boulud’s new DC outpost DBGB, Whisk and Quill was highly intrigued to learn more about this novel concept.
Jordan Wright – What is your past experience with food?
Elisabeth de Kergolay – I grew up around food, and being around Daniel when I was young was a great experience.
Tell me about your inspiration for Babeth’s Feast? How long has it been in the planning stages?
It was based on the concept of Picard from France. Arriving in New York in 2008, I like many other French people wondered, ‘Where’s the frozen food store? Where’s the Picard?’ When I realized there wasn’t one, I thought it had been tried and failed. But actually it had never been tried! So I thought about it a lot and spoke to quite a few people and decided to go ahead. I knew there was a niche for this, though it took several years to achieve. We had to do absolutely everything from the ground up – – creating and positioning the brand, selecting the products and designing the packaging.
The idea was to have a full range of products. We like to think of ourselves as a frozen grocery store where you can get anything you want for every meal of day. We have 400 products divided up into 10 different food categories. For sourcing and creating the recipes we have our chef, Susie Cover, who develops the recipes. Initially we made a list of what we liked of French-inspired foods then adapted them slightly to suit American tastes. We make over half of our products. Some are made by Susie, and some by private label, others are manufacturers’ brands made by companies who are specialists in their field. Of course we want our own products to be predominant in the future, but for the moment the remaining products are manufacturers’ brands. For that we select small companies who are specialists in their field.
Has Daniel been involved with Babeth’s Feast?
Daniel wrote a recipe for our cabbage soup using our fantastic lobster tails – – something new we had brought in for the holidays. We work with a lobster manufacturer in Maine to assure the most impeccable quality. In the future I want to explore having other chefs create dishes for us.
Are all the foods prepared?
Mostly, but some are unprepared cuts of meat and sausage and things that we source locally from the Hudson Valley. Also all our fish are raised sustainably. For uncooked products we help the customer with recipes.
Who creates the recipes?
Susie does. We brainstorm together to come up with different dishes and then she comes up with a recipe. Most of the original ones we did were traditional French, but we have moved on to curries and other things. We taste new dishes with our store team and our board to decide which we like. For the best local products, Susie also visits the food shows. For example, our ice creams are from Maine and New York, our meat-based products are prepared in Connecticut, and we produce our soups and quiches in New York.
Are they made in the sous vide style?
Ours are flash frozen, but some of the products we carry are made sous vide.
How are they readied for the table by the consumer?
Usually we have three options – bake, microwave or pan-warmed as with our velouté soups. Of course if it’s a gratin, it needs to be baked.
Do you sell any fruits, herbs, lemons or salad fixings to complement the dishes?
We have a selection of frozen herbs that have been very successful from the day we opened, like chopped onion, garlic and shallot, as well as sauces and spreads. And we have a pantry category as well. We carry crackers for the spreads, jams for our breads and sauces for our meats. Some of the jams are ours and some are French brands that are not yet known in the US.
Do you find customers buy your products to take to their weekend homes for entertaining?
Absolutely. I think the customer has yet to get used to the idea of having things in advance for special occasions as well as for regular use for whenever you need them. For me, although I still like cooking, perhaps I won’t make a side dish. I might make some fish or meat that I’ve purchased elsewhere to complement some of the side dishes that I keep in my freezer. It’s a whole way of mastering the use of frozen food. It answers many needs.
Do you ship to customers who might not have access to high quality foods?
We ship nationwide by FedEx. It’s packed in dry ice. And we deliver around Manhattan too.
What are the most popular items?
So far mostly the main courses like Coq au Vin, Veal Blanquette, Chicken Provençal and Chicken Tarragon. Also side dishes like Susie’s gratins and her favorite savory crumbles. She’s made three this season – one with Brussels Sprouts, one using tomatoes and another with butternut squash.
|Coq au Vin
||Fig and Caramelized Onion Puffs
What surprised you the most since you’ve opened?
I think really the time and the interest that people spend in the store looking before buying. When I shopped at Picard in France I was single and going out all the time, I didn’t spend a lot of time looking.
People are learning that we have a tasting area where we sample all day long. It was something that was indispensable to the success of the store. Because when they try they “get it”, and it’s so satisfactory for us. We know there’s a certain stigma attached to frozen food because the offerings haven’t been great. In France people choose to go to the frozen food store. It’s not considered a last resort.
I looked at your online calendar and your upcoming cooking demonstrations sounded exciting. I was especially captivated by the one called “Comfort Food” featuring Cauliflower Blue Cheese Velouté, Lamb Shanks, Sweet Potato Écrassé, and the Banana Apple Crumble. Are you also teaching your clients to cook at home as well as purchasing the products?
We show them how to pull it all together. When we give a demonstration we’ll use a few different products to create a meal. We want to keep it simple. We also show people how to plate the foods and show them tricks as how to serve it in their own dishes.
What other helpful tricks do you use?
We use a color code for each category of product. The idea behind this was to see exactly what the product is when it’s in the freezer. Like the breakfast products are coded yellow. That way you can see immediately what you have without having to rummage around.
Babeth’s Feast is at 1422 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10028. For more information visit www.BabethsFeast.com
December 2, 2014
Special to DC Metro Theater Arts
World-renowned chef and international restaurateur Richard Sandoval has penned his latest cookbook, New Latin Flavors – Hot Dishes, Cool Drinks (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) just in time to spice up the holiday season. Most of you will be familiar with his DC Latin/Asian fusion restaurants Zengo, Masa 14, El Centro D. F., but also Ambar with its flavor-forward Balkan dishes, La Sandia in Tyson’s Corner, or the chic, sleek Toro Toro, a churrascaria that opened downtown this April. With thirty-eight successful restaurants worldwide from Dubai to Paris and New York to Mexico, Sandoval’s empire is a testimonial to his delicious contemporary Latin cooking.
Richard Sandoval serving up churrasco at Toro Toro – Photo credit Jordan Wright
In his fifth cookbook Sandoval has given us a collection of 125 inspired recipes that draw from the rich culinary traditions of Mexico, Peru, Venezuela and Argentina. Gorgeous photographs from Saveur photographer Penny De Los Santos grace the pages and highlight the mouth-watering recipes. For the first time Sandoval has tailored a cookbook expressly for the home cook spanning his repertoire of quesadillas, ceviches, arepas and enchiladas plus delicious Latin-inspired cocktails. Think tequila, mescal, cachaça, rum and pisco. Do you feel a party coming on?
Whisk and Quill caught up with Sandoval after he had dodged a blizzard in Denver to get to his DC book launch.
Whisk and Quill – What direction do you think food is going in today?
Sandoval – I think after the recession people’s ways of eating have changed dramatically. The last ten years it went very forward with all these molecular restaurants. I wanted to go retro. You know, back to our roots, back to comfort food and local ingredients, to make people feel comfortable again.
Would you agree that some of the best dishes from the past have been ruined by modernization? Although now I see more chefs returning to the classics but putting their own spin on it.
Absolutely! That’s always been my approach. A lot of my Latin cooking started with my grandmother in her kitchen. I would take dishes, like the mole, and interpret them in my way. I took the roots of these recipes and kept them the way they were meant to be.
What are your favorite ingredients?
I’ve always loved chiles and you’ll always see chiles in my cooking. But as far as cuisines, in the past three or four years I’ve been doing more Peruvian. I love it. And I love Thai food. I’ll be opening a restaurant in mid-January at the new City Center here in DC. It’s called Mango Tree. We brought a chef from Bangkok who worked at one of the other Mango Tree restaurants. I plan to take the roots of their cuisine, tweaking it a little bit as far as my flavor profile and presentation, but leaving the core as it is, maybe just changing the heat level and the balance. I’m incredibly excited. The restaurant already exists in London and Bangkok and Dubai. It’s classic Thai. I’ll just be readjusting it to what I do.
How do you begin to create a fusion dish? Do you start with a single ingredient or do you use your palate’s imagination?
I start with a single dish. The first fusion restaurant I did was Zengo, and Zengo means ‘give and take, back and forth’ in Japanese. It was two chefs, two cultures. First I would do a Latin dish. I hired an Asian chef to work with me and I would give it to him and he would ‘Asianize’ it. Then he would create an Asian dish and give it to me and I would ‘Latinize’ it. It’s two chefs collaborating. It wasn’t just me reinventing Asian, or what I thought it was. This way it made more sense to me.
Why is this book important to you?
When had my first Mexican restaurant twenty years ago, it was doing modern Mexican cuisine – – with more forward thinking. In this book I went retro with more traditional food and more comfort food. It’s very accessible to the home cook. It was very important to me to make sure that when people buy this book, they see it’s about having fun, that it’s not overly complicated where people would look at a recipe and say, ‘Ohmygod, I’ve got to go to Williams Sonoma to get the equipment and will I be able to find the ingredients?’ I wanted to be sure I made it very accessible and very fun.
Who would you most like to dine with living or dead?
I’ve always been very intrigued by Nelson Mandela. How someone can spend so much time in jail and then be able to come out and forgive. Most people would not be able to let go of what happened to them. He just kept moving on with his life and changed his country with his strong spirit and by sharing his ideas.
What if I asked you to name a woman?
Wow! I’ve always liked Shakira! She’s a beautiful woman and a great artist and I love her music.
Maybe she could sing to you.
I don’t think her husband would appreciate that!
We’re fantasizing here.
Okay, I could cook for her and she could sing to me.
Here are a few recipes to spice up any holiday party.
||Striped Bass Tiradito
||Grilled Tostada with Beef Salpicón
- 1/2 cup (2.0 g) dried hibiscus flowers
- One 3-inch (7.5-cm) cinnamon stick
- 1 cup (200 g) sugar
- 1/2 cup (130 g) tamarind pulp, broken
- into pieces (see Notes)
- Two 4-inch (10-cm) pieces fresh or
- frozen sugarcane, peeled and cut into
- 12 sticks (see Notes; optional)
- 24 fresh or drained bottled tejocotes
- (see Notes)
- 2 ripe guavas, cut into 12 wedges
- (see Notes)
- One 375-ml bottle (1. cups) 100%
- agave tequila, brandy, or light rum
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) orange-flavored liqueur,
- such as Grand Marnier
- 12 pitted dried plums
The Mexican warm fruit punch of the holiday season, ponche is sometimes nothing more than spiced syrup with booze. My family recipe is better, and infused with the tropical flavors of hibiscus and tamarind.
Serves 10 to 12
 Bring 2. quarts (2.5 L) water to a boil in a large nonreactive saucepan over high heat. Remove it from the heat and add the hibiscus flowers and cinnamon stick. Let them stand for 5 minutes. Add the sugar and tamarind and bring them to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often to break up the tamarind, for 5 minutes. Strain the liquid into a large heatproof bowl, pressing hard on the solids; discard the solids.
 Return the liquid to the pot. Add the sugarcane, if using, and bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the liquid at a brisk simmer for 5 minutes. Strain it again to remove any tamarind debris.
 Return the tea to the pot and add the tejocotes and guavas. Simmer until the guavas are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tequila and liqueur and simmer just until the mixture is hot. Remove it from the heat, add the plums, and let them stand for 5 minutes. (Do not add them earlier or they will get too soft.)
 To serve, return the pot to very low heat to keep the ponche warm. Ladle the ponche into mugs, adding the fruits to each serving. Serve it hot. Notes You can substitute 1⁄3 cup (75 ml) tamarind concentrate for the tamarind pulp. If neither is available, use . cup (120 ml) fresh lemon juice. Fresh or frozen sugarcane is available at Latin groceries and large supermarkets, and is often sold peeled. If the thick skin needs to be removed, use a large knife to chop the cane into manageable 4-inch (10-cm) lengths. Stand the pieces on end to cut away the peel. Cut the sugarcane lengthwise into thick sticks. Tejocote is a small round stone fruit (that is, with a large seed in the center). It is sold fresh at Mexican groceries around Christmas time, and in jars year-round.Kumquats or crabapples are good substitutes because they are similar in size to tejocotes. You may want to alert your guests that the tejocote seeds can be spit out. Pineapple guava, about the size of a large lime, is the most widely available variety around Christmastime. If it is not available, substitute about one-quarter of a pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into bite-size pieces. Goya, the leading Latin food product manufacturer, sells a nonalcoholic ponche in a jar with enough tejocotes, sugarcane sticks, and guavas for this recipe. Drain and discard the liquid—you really just want the fruit. Leave the tejocotes intact, but cut the sticks and guavas as needed to yield twelve pieces of each.
|with Ponzu, App le & Radish Tiradito de lubina rayada con salsa ponzu, manzana y rábano
- 1/2 Granny Smith apple, peeled
- 2 large radishes, trimmed
- 14 ounces (400 g) skinless striped
- bass, cut on a diagonal into .-inch
- (6-mm) slices
- 1Ž2 cup (120 ml) Ponzu, homemade
- (page 48) or store-bought, chilled
- Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
- Sriracha, for serving
Tiradito is the South American version of ceviche, and it often has Asian influences, such as the ponzu in this recipe. It is one of the lightest (and quickest) first courses you’ll ever make, yet at the same time, it is one of the most flavorful. There are many good brands for sale, but it is also easy to make your own (page 48), and it is worth the minimal effort for this recipe, where it plays such a big role.
 Just before serving, use a V-slicer or mandoline to cut the apple and radishes into julienne. (You can also use a chef’s knife.) Combine them in a small bowl.
 For each serving, fan the bass on a chilled
serving plate with a rim. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the ponzu around, but not on, the bass.Top each with one-quarter of the apple mixture and the grated lemon zest. Serve immediately, with the Sriracha on the side.
|tostada con salpicón de res
For the Salpicón Dressing:
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) distilled white vinegar
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 3 tablespoons minced red onion
- 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano,
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black
- 3/4 cup (180 ml) olive oil
- For the Grilled Tortillas:
- 6 corn tortillas
- Canola oil, for brushing
- For the Salpicón:
- 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, cored and
- 1/2 seedless (English) cucumber,
- cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) dice
- 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and cut into
- 1/2-inch (12-mm) dice
- 4 radishes, cut into 1Ž4-inch
- (6-mm) dice
- 1/2 cup (90 g) drained nonpareil capers
- 1/4 cup (5 g) coarsely chopped fresh
- 3 cups (645 g) Shredded Beef Filling
- with Tomatoes and Chilies (page 175),
- at room temperature
- 2 ripe Hass avocados, thinly sliced
There are many different versions of salpicón, the hearty salad that is a specialty of both Mexican and Colombian cooks. The constants are shredded meat (or poultry or chopped seafood) and a sharp dressing. I like to serve it on grilled tortillas for a smoky crunch that everyone loves. (The tortillas can also be fried in oil, if you wish.)
 Make the dressing: Whisk the vinegar, lime juice, onion, oregano, salt, and pepper together in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil.
 Grill the tortillas: Prepare an outdoor grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat. For a charcoal grill, let the coals burn until they are covered with white ash and you can hold your hand about 1 inch (2.5 cm) above the cooking grate for about 3 seconds. For a gas grill, preheat it on high, then adjust the heat to 450oF (230oC). Or preheat a stovetop grill pan over medium-high heat.
 Lightly brush the tortillas on both sides with oil. Place them on the grill and cook, with the lid closed as much as possible, turning them occasionally, until they are crisp and lightly charred, about 2 minutes. Remove them from the grill.
 Make the salpicón:
Toss the lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, radishes, capers, and cilantro with the dressing in a large bowl.
 Place a tortilla on each of six dinner plates. Divide the lettuce mixture among them, topped by the beef. Top them with the sliced avocado and serve immediately.
Shredded Beef Filling with Tomatoes & Chilies Ropa vieja con tomates y chiles
- 2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more
- as needed
- One 2.-pound (1.2-kg) beef brisket,
- fat trimmed to 1⁄8 inch (3 mm)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 4 jalapenos, seeded and coarsely
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- One 28-ounce (785-g) can fire-roasted
- 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
- . cup (5 g) finely chopped fresh
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon mesquite-flavored liquid
- smoke (optional)
Slowly simmered with tomatoes and jalapenos, this braised brisket is called ropa vieja (“old clothes”) because the shredded meat looks like raggedy clothes. There will be about a cup or so of the cooking liquid left over—be sure to save it as a sauce for pasta or polenta. You may even want to serve this as a main course with Mashed Potatoes with Oaxaca Cheese (page 145).
Makes about 4 cups (910 g)
 Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat it to 350oF (175oC).
 Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the brisket all over with 1 teaspoon salt and . teaspoon pepper. Place it in the Dutch oven, fat-side down, and cook it, turning after 5 minutes, until it is nicely browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the brisket to a plate.
 If needed, add another 1 tablespoon oil to the Dutch oven. Add the onion, jalapenos, and garlic and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring them occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and their juices with the oregano and bring them to a boil. Return the brisket to the Dutch oven and add enough hot water to come about three-quarters up the side of the meat. Bring it to a boil over high heat.
 Cover the Dutch oven and transfer it to the oven. Bake until the brisket is fork-tender, about 2. hours. Transfer the brisket to a carving board, tent it with aluminum foil, and let it stand for 10 minutes. Set the cooking liquid aside.
 Using a sharp knife and your fingers, shred the brisket with the grain. Roughly cut the shredded beef across the grain into bite-size pieces. Transfer it to a bowl. Skim off the fat on the surface of the cooking liquid. Stir in about one-third of the cooking liquid to lightly moisten the shredded beef. Add the cilantro, lime juice, and liquid smoke, if using, and mix it again. Season the beef to taste with salt and pepper. (The beef can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months. Reheat it before using.)
November 16, 2014
Special to DC Metro Theater Arts
Aglaia Kremezi fairly floats into the room. Wisps of casually arranged auburn hair delicate as ripe corn silk are tempered by a pair of serious wire-rimmed frames that hint at her former life as an editor and journalist. She is utterly composed and cheery all at once. This well-known authority on Greek cuisine has come to the States to promote her newest cookbook, see friends and consult with Michael Costas, Executive Chef at José Andrés’ Greek-inspired restaurant Zaytinya.
After penning five cookbooks on the foods of Greece, Kremezi has of late directed her attention to vegetables, broadening the subject by including the whole of the Mediterranean. Kremezi lives with her husband, Costas Moraitis on the small Greek isle of Kea. For this cookbook she has put together 150 Mediterranean plant-based recipes tested in her kitchens at Kea Artisanal, where she conducts cooking vacations for students from around the world. Many of these historically authentic vegetarian dishes are far more lavish than meat-based dishes.
Cookbook Author, Aglaia Kremezi, chats with Whisk and Quill – Photo credit by Jordan Wright
Whisk and Quill – What do you think of the current shift to a more vegetable-based diet?
Kremezi – I think that it starts for the wrong reasons, because people think they have to eat healthier, and afterwards they consider the flavors. To me it’s the opposite. I far prefer the flavors of vegetables to the flavors of meat, even though I’m not vegetarian.
How many of your recipes are gleaned from early culinary sources and how many are tweaking through doing?
It’s both really. As you know, because you are a chef too, you take inspiration from this, that and the other and you add your own personal touch. They have my personality but they are taken from various countries from all over the Mediterranean and from friends’ kitchens.
I hear you and Paula Wolfert are great friends and that you Skype regularly. Do you ever cook together?
Oh, yes, in Sonoma and Connecticut. I’m on my way to Sonoma now to spend time with her before I go back to Greece.
The photos in your new book are so vivid, I want to eat the pages.
Penny De Los Santos took the photographs. She’s been to Kea for Saveur and I knew her work. I did take a few of the pictures, but she took all the rest. They are all taken in our house, garden and our outdoor kitchen. In the photos she used the plates given to me from my mother and our tablecloths, cookware and pottery that we have collected over the years.
The photographs are supposed to be the ‘hooks’ to draw people into the kitchen and make them cook, because people have neglected cooking. They rely too much on take out. A lot of companies are very quick to bring vegetarian products to market, but you never really know what’s in them.
Can you tell me some herbs or seasonings that are your favorites?
I like both the Aegean Herb and Hot Pepper Spice Mix, and also the Lebanese Seven-Spice Mixture. That one has cinnamon, cloves, coriander, ginger, allspice, pepper and nutmeg. It’s very aromatic and a bit spicy. It’s the basic spice in Lebanon and they use it in tabbouleh. Both spice recipes are in the book. Also I make my own preserved lemons and there is a recipe for that too in the book.
What are your favorite kitchen tools?
Wooden spatulas and spoons, my mandolin, a very good knife and scissors. I have scissors everywhere! I even use them when I am baking bread to score the tops of the loaves. It works better than a razor.
Your book is going to make readers want to plant their own gardens in order to harvest the many vegetables and herbs you spotlight in your seasonally-inspired recipes. Do you get most of your fresh ingredients from your garden?
Yes, especially herbs. Our seasons are different than yours. Now we are planting lettuces. I just was in Japan and got some kun choi seeds. And we have 10 or 12 kinds of oregano, like the Lebanese zaatar, which is a cross between oregano and thyme. I love farmers markets too. I was at the Dupont Circle Farmers Market on Sunday and today I’m heading over to the market in Penn Quarter to buy apples.
Tell me about your cooking classes on Kea.
It was my husband’s idea. Because we had the garden and we live in the middle of nowhere. We are on the more remote part of the island, the north side. It’s not the side with all the villas like the Hamptons. It is where we can have a garden and it’s less exposed to the harsher weather. Also it was nice to have people from all over the world come and join us every now and then. We love having people around our table.
We have six-day classes. We cook and eat and taste wines and cheeses and honeys from all over Greece. We also do hikes and make travel arrangements for guests who want to explore other islands.
Why do you think this book is so important?
The whole idea started from the interactions I had with the people in our classes. I found that things that I didn’t even think of showing people how to cook – – things I considered self-evident – – like how to braise green beans with tomatoes and onions for example. But they were amazed and they were asking me for the recipes. I realized that people don’t really know how to cook vegetables at all. In the book I have all these variations from country to country around the Mediterranean. For example, I give recipes for two entirely different eggplant spreads, both the Arab and French Provencal versions. Each use roasted eggplant. It’s an example of what I’m trying to do in this book. It’s these variations that really interest me. I do a lot of research and call up my Turkish friends for advice and suggestions.
Kremezi will be in DC at the Sips & Suppers event on January 24th and 25th 2015 along with Alice Waters, Joan Nathan, David Chang, Mike Isabella, Spike Gjerde, Cathal Armstrong, Erik Bruner-Yang, Michael Friedman, Carla Hall, Haidar Karoum, Charles Phan, Jamie Leeds and Peter Jacobson.
Tunisian Chickpea Soup (Leblebi)