Thursday, September 1, 2016

Brooklyn - A New Foodie Mecca

"Brooklyn Rustic - Simple Food for  Sophisticated Palates" by Bryan Calvert   Little Brown   304 pages   $30 

Calvert is the owner chef of a restaurant called "James" after his great-grandfather who was a chef at about the time the current building was constructed.  Soon after they opened, Lehman Bros. had a meltdown and James was losing money.  The intrepid chef decided that "simpler food means fewer cooks, fewer ingredients and lower costs."  What applies to a restaurant also applies to the home. 

One of his recipes reminded me of another one.

The Chef's Heirloom Tomatoes with Gin, Feta and Dill
2 lbs. mixed Heirloom tomatoes, stems removed
pinch of sea salt and pepper
2 T fruity, young olive oil
2 teas. gin (ed. note: chintzy)
1/4 cup coarsely-chopped dill
1 large shallot finely chopped (about 2T)
4 oz. sheep's milk feta, crumbled

Core the tomatoes and slice in 1.4 in. rounds -- salt and pepper them then lay them out in a bowl.
Drizzle all of the ingredients except the cheese over the layers, one by one.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes, gently tossing it once after 15 minutes.  Serve with crumbled feta strewn all over the tomatoes.

A Cut Out Recipe from God knows how long ago - Bloody Mary Tomatoes
bowl of cherry tomatoes, washed and stemmed, if any.
A packet of dry Italian salad dressing in a dish big enough to roll the tomatoes around in it.
1/2 cup vodka to dunk the tomatoes prior to rolling in the dry salad mix.  Serve with toothpicks at the ready.

This recipe appealed to me as am a big fan of dulce de leche, but I can't recommend the way the sweetened evaporated milk is turned into caramel.  It involves cooking the UNopened can in simmering water for THREE hours.  I think that has to be a surefire way to blow up the can and shower your entire kitchen with the contents.  Use your own judgement!  And be prudent.

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake with Sea Salt and Carmelized Apple slices

1 8oz. can sweetened evaporated milk - bring a pot of water to a simmer and add the can, making sure that the top of the can is covered at all times and cook for three hours.
12 oz. cream cheese, cubed and softened (no mention if it's okay to nuke it.)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
12oz. whole milk ricotta
4 1/2oz. crème fraiche  (once rare, now stocked at the supermarket)
3 large eggs
1 store-bought Graham cracker pie crust (or if you're into that kind of thing, make one.  I think you can duplicate "homemade" with dabs of butter and a quiet drift of cinnamon across the purchased crust, but am also almost too lazy to live.)

Start beating the sugar and cream cheese together, then beat in ricotta and crème fraise and then beat in the eggs one by one.  Time this so that your condensed milk is done and cooled so you won't burn your fingers - open the can and beat the contents into the other mix.  Set aside some of the caramel for the apples though. 

Now stick your "pie" in the oven at 325 for about 45 minutes, using a chopstick or skewer to check for doneness in the middle.

Saute apple slices dusted with powdered sugar in butter, place prettily on the pie and drizzle reserved caramel sauce over them.  Two quick grinds of sea salt and you're done. 

This just occurred to me - substitution:  beat together cubes of cream cheese and butterscotch sauce for ice cream,  add a bit of crème fraise, being careful not to get it too liquidy, slap it into a Graham cracker crust, treated as above, and top with the apples and leftover butterscotch sauce.

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