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Celebrity Chefs, Food + Recipes

DIY Crackers: Olive Oil Crackers or Carta Musica Recipe

May 5, 2020
Carta musica olive oil cracker

I needed some unleavened bread yesterday, and didn’t feel like risking my health by squeezing into one of my little neighborhood markets for them.

So I went looking for recipes, and quickly found this exceedingly simple and delicious one. Or rather, the esteemed Mark Bittman found it, I’m just at good at Google.

The original recipe is from Sardinia, the island off Italy that’s renowned for olive oil and honey. This wispy flatbread is called carta musica which means sheet music in Italian. If you get creative and infuse the dough with soft herbs and flowers, like they do in this Food & Wine story, it will look more like sheet music with pale sheets with dark lines. (And they say this same dough can be used for ravioli too)

If you’re in need of matzoh as you celebrate Passover, or just want fresh crackers without having to go to the store, this is the recipe for you.

They’re round in Bittman’s recipe, but otherwise, these are almost identical to the olive oil flatbread crackers that are often sold in the cheese department.

Use a high-quality olive oil with lots of zesty green flavors, this is one of those ultra-simple recipes where every ingredient counts. Just four ingredients and about 30 minutes time, and you’re done.

Next time I make them, I’m going to cut the dough in strips, and sprinkle with seasonings like ground black cumin seeds, zata’ar, pink peppercorns or truffle salt. They’re good plain, with cheese, topped with hummus, labneh, fresh cilantro and spices or even scrambled eggs.

When you discover how quick and easy these are, you’ll be making your own olive oil crackers too.

Carta Musica or Olive Oil Matzo

Makes 12 round crackers

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup olive oil

1/2 cup purified water

Preheat the oven to 500° Fahrenheit. Get your cookie sheets out.

Add the flour, salt and olive oil to a food processor or your KitchenAid mixer with the paddle attachment. Turn it on, then add the water. Process for a few minutes and the dough with form a nice little ball.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and form a log. Cut it in half, and then cut each half in thirds. Then cut each piece in half again. Hopefully you’ll wind up with 12 little lumps that are about the same size. Now’s the time to even them up if you like.

Flour your rolling pin lightly and roll the first one out, getting it as thin as possible without tearing. If you hold it up, you should be able to see light through it. Roll out a couple more, then place them on your cookie sheet.

Sprinkle with salt or whatever seasonings you’d like on top. Place the sheet into the oven and set the timer for 3 minutes. When the timer rings, your flatbreads will be starting to get bubbly and a tiny bit brown on the edges. Flip them over and set the timer for 2 minutes, since the second side cooks much faster.

 

Remove the first set from the oven and let them cool on a baking rack. Repeat with the remaining dough, or save some in the freezer for later.

Adapted from the Olive Oil Matzo recipe in The New York Times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrity Chefs, Dinner Tonight, Food + Recipes

Eat + Repeat: Nigella’s Asian Flavoured Short Ribs

March 31, 2020
simply nigella asian flavoured short ribs

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one and make a purchase, I earn a small commission, at no cost to you. 

You never know when you’ll discover one of those genius recipes that’s so satisfying that everyone wants to eat it again and again. I scored when I tried this Nigella Lawson recipe for Asian Flavoured Short Ribs from her cookbook Simply Nigella: Feel Good Food.*

Nigella Lawson forever summer book

Photo credit: Maria Hunt

I interviewed Nigella years ago when she was on a press trip for her book Forever Summer*. She was smart, engaged and lovely all around. She was plenty striking too, with black hair and a pale yet rosy complexion that defined peaches and cream. I don’t recall her outfit, but I do remember her aquamarine ring with a stone the size of a medjool date for what at the time was her secret engagement to Charles Saatchi. Most of all, I liked her down-to-earth approach to baking and cooking and her deliciously original recipes that cut out all the unnecessary steps, because who wants to spend extra time in the kitchen? (If you love baking, you’ll adore her first book, How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking.)

This recipe calls out beef short ribs, but I’ve remade it with boneless pork ribs and a beef chuck roast and it was still delicious. And the sauce is so flavorful, it can revive those meats you’re unearthing from the deep freeze right about now.

She recommends serving these short ribs with brown rice and green beans. But they’re also good with potato salad, pureed sweet potatoes or a spinach salad tossed with sesame dressing. Beverage Pairing: Since they have a little spice, these short ribs will be wonderful with a richer malty Belgian dubbel ale or any off-dry (slightly sweet) sparkling wine such as the delicious red Ottouve Gragnano from Italy.

Nigella’s Asian Flavoured Short Ribs

SERVES 6-8

5 lbs. beef short ribs

1 cup hoisin sauce

2 cups water

4 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 cup Chinese (Shaoxing) rice wine

2 tablespoons Chinese 5-spice powder

1 tablespoon dried chilli flakes

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

4 fat cloves garlic, peeled and finely grated or minced

TO SERVE

1 fresh red chili, finely chopped

2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

3-4 limes, cut into wedges

● Preheat the oven to 300 Fahrenheit. Place the short ribs into a large pan.

● Mix together all the remaining ingredients and pour over the ribs.

● Cover with a layer of baking parchment or greaseproof paper, tucking it in tightly to seal as best you can, before putting on a lid, or cover the top of the pan with foil and seal the edges securely. Cook in the oven for 4-4½ hours: the meat should be tender and starting to come away from the bones.

● Transfer the ribs to a vessel that will fit in the fridge later to cool, and then tenderly remove as many of the bones as possible, before covering and refrigerating for at least 1 day, or up to 3 days.

● Before you reheat them, remove the hard layer of fat that will have formed on the top (I do this with my hands, encased in a pair of disposable vinyl gloves, CSI-style), transfer to a large ovenproof dish that you can also serve the ribs in–I use a ceramic dish–and reheat, covered with foil or a lid, depending on what you’re cooking in, at 400 Fahrenheit for 1 hour, or until piping hot. (MH Note: I reheated them under a low broiler because I think oven ribs need some crispy edges.)

● Scatter some finely chopped red pepper and cilantro over the ribs on serving, and put some lime wedges on the table so that everyone can squeeze this sour juice into their rich, sweet stew, to taste.

Adapted from the Simply Nigella recipe on Daily Mail Online.

Photo credit: Simply Nigella

 

 

 

Celebrity Chefs, Food + Recipes

Drew Barrymore Has a Wine Brand… But Did You Know She’s a Foodie?

April 18, 2013
drew_barrymore_eric_ripert
Actress Drew Barrymore is the latest celebrity to go into the kitchen with culinary legend Eric Ripert and share a dish. - Photo by Eric Damassa

Actress Drew Barrymore is the latest celebrity to go into the kitchen with culinary legend Eric Ripert in his Reserve Channel show and dish on cooking, work and life. – Photo by Eric Damassa

 

We all know Drew Barrymore as the actress who’s grown up on screen, from E.T. to He’s Just Not That Into You, which also earned her an executive producer credit. But did you know she’s also emerging as a bonafide foodie?

I had the chance to meet the lovely Barrymore, 37, a couple weeks ago when she popped into Pebble Beach Food & Wine festival to talk about her Barrymore Wines and her love of cooking. In case you haven’t tasted it, Barrymore’s pinot grigio is a light and refreshing wine she says is “feminine” sourced from the Tre Veniezie in Italy. But now she’s turning up the heat when it comes to her status as a culinary trend-setter.

In a special webisode that appears today, Barrymore cooks and has a great time cooking and chatting with dreamy French chef Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin restaurant fame. They explore her family history, knife skills and how the shape of the wine glass changes the flavor of a wine. Here’s the link if you want to watch Drew Barrymore in On the Table with Eric Ripert or you can watch it below.

Her dish? Clams Montecito, a buttery mix of clams, garlic, parsley and Barrymore pinot grigio that’s served over crusty French bread. It’s the dish she loves to make when she’s having a girls’ weekend at her estate home in the tony enclave of Montecito near Santa Barbara, where Oprah Winfrey also has a home.  She loves cooking for friends and it really became important when Barrymore and husband Will Kopelman were expecting their daughter, Olive. Keep reading to the end to try her recipe.

Drew Barrymore signs a chalkboard with her recipe in an On the Table With Eric tradition. Photo by Eric Damassa

Drew Barrymore signs a chalkboard with her recipe in an On the Table With Eric tradition. Photo by Eric Damassa

Drew Barrymore is just one of of the stars that has appeared on the show with Ripert, which is fun to watch because the guests like Roger Waters, supermodel Chrissy Teigen, Tom Colicchio and Elizabeth Olson get to share their thoughts on anything from food to politics to life and goof off a bit too.

This isn’t the first time the actress from a legendary Hollywood family has cooked on air: Drew made an Indian-spiced pasta dish in on The Ellen Degeneres Show and paired it surprisingly with her pinot grigio. And it appears it won’t be the last. When we talked at Pebble Beach, Drew told me she adores cooking shows. And now she’s executive producer through her company Flower Films on the new show called Knife Fight , which debuts on April 23 on the Esquire Channel. In the meantime, here’s her dish Clams Montecito:

Drew Barrymore’s Clams Montecito 
1 stick of butter
5 cloves of chopped garlic
1 large jalapeño (with a few seeds)
1 cup of Barrymore Wines Pinot Grigio
1 lemon
1 Bag of Manila clams – the smaller the better.

Melt butter and add garlic and jalapeño.  Cook for 3-4 minutes on medium heat in a saucepan and add Barrymore Wines Pinot Grigio.  Cook down for about 5 minutes. Remove from stove and squeeze lemon into butter mixture. Set aside.

Turn on grill to medium high and spread clams on cookie sheet and spread around until they open.

Warm butter up if need be and toss onto clams and coat. Serve with warm baguette for an appetizer, or pair with pan-seared cod fish to create an entree.

Recipe serves two

 

Celebrity Chefs, Food + Recipes

The Five Best Things I Ate at Pebble Beach Food & Wine

April 23, 2012
bass_cheek_cimarusti

My second visit to Pebble Beach Food & Wine last weekend was amazing; I think it’s now my favorite food and wine festival. I love the fact that it attracts great chefs from all over the country along with some of the best wines in the world. And since it’s in California, it feels a lot more relaxed than Aspen.

During the Grand Tasting, guests have three hours to eat and drink their way through two large tents. The trick is to figure out which chefs are doing the best morsels, and get there early, before the line gets too crazy. Here are the best things we ate:

1. Michael Cimarusti’s Striped Bass Cheeks

Cimarusti is a master at seafood of all sorts. A trip to his LA restaurant Providence is well worth it, both for the creative and technically perfect two-star Michelin food and the surprisingly stylish decor. I loved the ethereal ceramic circles that sprouted from the walls like sea anemones. His main dish was a perfectly tender – (perhaps sous vide) striped bass tenderlon paired with pickled enoki mushrooms, carrots and miso mayo. But the fun part was the “Cheek Bar” around the side, where Cimarusti handed out the succulent bass cheeks to guests he liked including Roy Yamaguchi and yours truly.

Douglas Rodriguez’ Sweet Corn Arepa was topped with a runny egg and chicken hash.

 

2. Douglas Rodriguez’ Sweet Corn Arepa with Soft Egg and Chicken Hash

To me, Cuban-American Chef Douglas Rodriguez will always be the king of Nuevo Latino style food; that mix of Latin American flavors and tropical ingredients. I love, love, love everything in his book Nuevo Latino, it’s the Bible for cooking creative Latin food people will be craving years later. So we got sucked into standing in a long line for his dish, but fortunately it moved quickly. The arepa was sweetly corny and satisfying; the egg added richness while the chicken hash spiced things up. We chatted with the chef and I asked him if he ever took my advice and opened a restaurant on the West Coast. Dougie, I’m sorry but Scottsdale is NOT the West Coast.

f fried bread

Nancy & Matt of Mozza in LA served an out-of-this world burrata caprese with a side of fried bread.

3. Nancy Silverton’s Deconstructed Caprese

Team Mozza seemed to have had a rough night; the crew including Matt Molina wore baseball caps with the brims pulled down low; Silverton had on these massive round sunglasses  à la Iris Apfel. Platters of lightly roasted cherry tomatoes and mounds of golden bread cubes filled the back work table. Matt scooped out the creamy burrata, another cook added bright pesto and a tomato to each plate. Then Nancy crowned it with the bread and a sprig of basil. Actually, I think the chef should have called this a deconstructed panzanella, since the piece of bread fried in olive oil was what made this dish. Whatevs, it was the most stunning bite of the day. I’ve since become obsessed with homemade pesto – I’ll post my version soon.

Richard Reddington’s warm and fragrant arancini rested atop a lamb Bolognese sauce.

4. Richard Reddington’s Arancini with Lamb Sugo

Richard Reddington is the other amazing chef in putting Yountville on the culinary  map thanks to his consistently well-executed and striking seasonal cuisine at Redd.  That’s why it’s my favorite place to eat. He’s been been in an Italian state of mind ever since opening Redd-Wood which serves up handmade pastas, upscale wood-fired pizzas, and Italian-esque meaty dishes a couple months ago. If you haven’t been, the cocktails featuring Italian amari and spirits are first-rate and so is the service, led by Nick Dedier, formerly of Ad Hoc. This crunchy outside, creamy saffron rice inside arancini in a nuanced lamb sugo is one of the apps from the Redd-Wood menu. It’s also the kind of thing that makes you want a whole plate of Bolognese.

 

Imagine eating a hot, cinnamony buñuelo stuffed with rice pudding – that’s what Dahlia Narvaez did.

5. Dahlia Narvaez’ Rice Pudding Turnovers with Banana Ice Cream

Not only did Team Mozza create the most delicious savory bite of the day, they also served up the most creative and memorable dessert. Mozza’s Executive Pastry Chef is Dahlia Narvaez, and when my friend Jen — the super-talented designer and artist of Gonzalez Grafica — spotted her name, she rushed over. I’m so glad she did, as I loved the way Narvaez did a mash-up of two favorite Latin desserts: rice pudding and buñuelos. The result was a warm crunchy turnover dusted in cinnamon and sugar with creamy rice pudding inside. A scoop of banana ice cream was added for good measure.

 

Celebrity Chefs, Food + Recipes

Experience the Magic of Pigs & Pinot with Chef Charlie Palmer

March 8, 2012

Chef Charlie Palmer is hosting a series of events celebrating pinot noir and pork during March at Hotel Healdsburg.

Don’t you love the way some combinations of food and drinks are just perfect together? Milk just begs for cookies, pizza needs beer, and according to celebrity Chef Charlie Palmer, pig likes pinot noir. He should know.

His Pigs & Pinot benefit that started seven years ago as a fun way for Sonoma food lovers and Pinot makers to come together to raise money for charity has become the hottest ticket in Healdsburg. Tickets for the March 23-24 event at Hotel Healdsburg sold out in about five minutes.

But don’t despair. Dry Creek Kitchen is hosting a series of events this month that celebrate the wonderful flavors in both pork and pinot noir. Chef Valette is creating a three-course Sonoma Neighbor Dinner Menu of some of his best por dishes for $36; it’s $51 paired with two wines. Sommelier Drew Munro has added more international pinot noirs to the wine list, and can help pair them with a la carte pork dishes that will be featured during March.

The little benefit became big news when contestants on Top Chef: Las Vegas were challenged to create pinot-loving pork dishes.

“We got about 5,000 email sign-ups on the website and the tickets sold out in 3 minutes,” says Circe Sher. Her family owns the Hotel Healdsburg, where Palmer has his Dry Creek Kitchen restaurant.

On a recent bright and cool Thursday, I drove up to Healdsburg for a Pigs & Pinot preview event. A group of us gathered in the sun room off the main lobby, where we sipped and nibbled on Chef Dustin Valette’s housemade charcuterie and sipped Cuvée Aureole by Iron Horse before a Pigs & Pinot preview tasting.

Winemaker Daryl Groom led us through a competitive blind tasting of 16 of the pinot noirs competing in the Pigs & Pinot judging. Some were elegantly earthy and floral, others were bold and so big they tasted more like syrah.

After choosing a winner, we sat down to a delicious luncheon that starred a roasted porcini velouté (that’s a velvety soup to the rest of us) with crispy coppa ham that sang with the earthy 2008 Soter Mineral Springs Pinot Noir from Oregon. The juicy pork tenderloin wrapped in prosciutto and daubed with violet mustard was well-suited by both the 2009 Rochioli Three Corner Pinot Noir and the jammy 2009 Kosta Browne Kanzler Vineyard Pinot.

To make reservations for your own pork and pinot experience at Dry Creek Kitchen, call 707.431.0330.