Monthly Archives: September 2010

Taste of the West Village

Now that fall is officially here, I feel the time is right to share a few of my impressions of this event, which took place Sunday on what was probably one of the last ultra-sultry days of the year!  I visited with a couple of New York Kitchen favorites, and met some new future participants whom I look forward to bringing to you.  All parties dished out some pretty amazing food, and a good time was had by all.

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Recipe: Panzanella

As summer draws to an end and the evenings start too cool, I am reminded of one of my favorite pastimes:  outdoor dining.  When visiting my friends Betsy and Drew in London last month, I had the pleasure of eating Panzanella with them in their garden.  We were joined by Liz, my gallerist who also happened to be visiting from New York.  Thanks to Betsy, I am able to share with you here her surprisingly simple yet very tasty recipe for bread salad.

You will need a large bowl and a small bowl.

A one or two day-old baguette (preferably a loaf that’s tasty to begin with!)


Tear the bread into bite sized pieces, and

drizzle flavorful olive oil over the bread bites until you coat them lightly, use your hand to stir the pieces around.


-really ripe tomato, cut into bite-sized pieces

-finely diced celery (only if you love celery- which I do!)

-one garlic clove, finely minced

-sherry or balsamic vinegar (whichever is of better quality and better tasting)

Look and see how much olive oil you used and let that be your gage as to how much vinegar you use.  If you are not a “by sight”cook, about two tablespoons should do it.

Add more olive oil, salt, freshly ground black pepper.

Mix the tomatoes and seasonings with your hand so that you can squeeze them a bit (what fun)!

COMBINE the tomato mixture with the torn bread.

Cover this with a plate or lid of some sort and allow to sit for an hour, or for as long as it takes to get the bread soft and toothsome.

Before serving add freshly torn basil leaves (a handful) and some cubed fresh mozzarella cheese.

Adjust salt, pepper and possibly add some piment d’esplette before serving.

Also, as this is a leftover salad, add any olives, fresh squeezed lemon, grilled fish, hard boiled egg or lettuces.

This makes a fabulous accompaniment to cold roast chicken or some other tasty bird.  Enjoy!

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This Basque restaurant, which is in its second year, was opened by the chef couple Alexandra Raij and Eder Montero.  Chef Raij, born to Argentinean parents living in Minneapolis, learned the value of good food at an early age from her mother who is an excellent cook.  Raij believes that cooking is its own language, and that making food for someone can be an expression of love.  After meeting while working at the Spanish restaurant Meigas in the late 90’s, she and her husband, a native of Bilbao, travelled to Spain where she was deeply impressed with the lifestyle and culinary culture.  Delivering the experience of the convivial family table was important in creating a menu that is the couple’s signature version of traditional Basque cuisine. Pictured are the “Pulpo” octopus carpaccio, and the signature special “Txanquetes” salad with baby arugula and poached egg.  When dining out, the couple enjoy eating at Degustation in Manhattan, and Franny’s or Roberta’s in Brooklyn.  240 Ninth Avenue

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Chef Scott Bryan worked in the New York kitchens of Gotham Bar and Grill, Bouley, Le Bernardin and Lespinasse, and was the executive chef and co-owner at Veritas for years.  As one would guess, he is extremely assured and yet he is completely unpretentious.  He believes in clean, pronounced flavors that stand alone, and says that there should be no more than two good ideas on a plate at a time.  When asked about the restaurant business, the chef will tell you he was hooked from the get-go.  He finds in cooking an exciting mix of creativity, improvisation and adaptation where one receives instant feedback, or gratification, for the hard work.  When going out to eat, Chef Bryan likes to frequent places like Sushi Yasuda, Shorty’s .32 in Soho, or his old haunt Le Bernardin.  When eating at home, he prefers to keep it simple and might make some pasta with sausage and broccoli rabe.  60 3rd Avenue

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Anthony Bourdain

Thanks to my good friend Trevor who ran into Anthony Bourdain while dining at Dublin’s Chophouse, I have just received this great dedication and copy of Bourdain’s book Nasty Bits!  I am a big fan of Bourdain’s biting humor (pun intended) and am excited at the chance to include him on this blog, however remotely.

In other news, we are grateful to The Heavy Light and Fine Cooking for their mentions of New York Kitchen this week.

Have a great weekend!

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