Last month in Paris, I booked dinner at Semilla, a favorite Left Bank restaurant of mine. Every dish my husband and I sampled that night was beautifully prepared, but the one that stayed in my mind for days afterward was the roasted cod and Belgian endives.
The dish included fresh turmeric as well as seeds from passion fruit, neither of which was available in my local groceries. So, I made a few adjustments, using ground turmeric as a rub for the fish and replacing the passion fruit with lemon juice. Although not identical, this stateside version rivaled the French one in freshness and in taste. My husband, who is not a fan of pan-roasted fish, actually stopped between mouthfuls to declare the dish a winner. Continue reading
I’m excited to let you know that Sunday Roasts has been selected as a Chronicle Eye Candy book for the month of February. That means that you can purchase an E-copy of the book for $3.99 or even less using any of the six e-retailers below.
How great to have this book which features a year’s worth of delicious roasts and sides! available digitally on your favorite device. Want an idea of the many delicious recipes available? My post last week for Old Fashioned Pot Roast was straight out of the book!
Apple iBookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/sunday-roasts/id473942887?mt=11
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Betty_Rosbottom_Sunday_Roasts?id=AF2vrRZdd7wC&hl=en
Flying into Boston last week after a long stay in Paris, the first thing I noticed was how much colder it was. Winds were adding a blustery touch to the already freezing temperatures. When we arrived at our son’s house for the night, he had prepared a warming shepherd’s pie of root vegetables and beef topped with mashed potatoes. By the time we got to Amherst the next day, I was craving more robust dishes like this to stave off the cold. Coincidentally, my assistant Barb emailed a welcome home note, and mentioned that she was using a recipe of mine for old-fashioned pot roast, a hearty food to counter the season’s chill.
This pot roast is a favorite of mine. An inexpensive cut–a boneless chuck roast– is rubbed with crushed rosemary, basil, and red pepper flakes for extra flavor, then seared in hot oil. Next, the roast is slowly cooked several hours in the oven in an aromatic mixture of beef stock, red wine, tomatoes, and vegetables. In place of flour, some of those cooked Continue reading
Foie Gras, truffles, mushrooms, chestnuts, sausages–you’ll find these winter staples on restaurant menus throughout Paris at this time of year. And, since my husband and I have been eating out almost every night while here, we have indulged far too often in these rich specialties, We’ve savored foie gras and mushroom soup at Prémices in the 9th, tried pan-seared foie gras at Semilla in the 6th, sampled risotto with truffles at Les Fables de la Fontaine in the 6th, sipped cream of lentil and sausage soup at Anicia in the 6th, and enjoyed guinea hen with chestnuts at Le Casse-Noix in the 15th. After that gastronomic tour de force, we needed to lighten up, so for lunch recently I prepared a slimming yet delicious main course salad.
At the market, I found tiny haricots verts, and then picked up a ripe pear, a Belgian endive, and salad greens. The beans were blanched, the pear thinly sliced, the endive chopped and then all combined with the greens. I dressed this mélange in a refreshing lemon and shallot Continue reading
As 2016 arrived, my husband and I rang in the new year with good friends here in Pairs where I cooked a meal in the tiny but efficient kitchen of our apartment rental. Of course, since I’ve spent the entire last year working on Soup Nights (to be published this fall) I included a soup in the menu, and chose a long time favorite.
Broccoli soup with Curried Crème Fraiche is so versatile that you can serve it any season of the year. It’s a snap to assemble, takes only 15 minutes to simmer atop the stove, and is light yet totally satisfying. I buy packaged broccoli florets (a big time saver), sauté them with chopped leeks, and then simmer them in chicken broth until tender. The vegetables are then pureed and seasoned with a hint of cayenne pepper. However, it’s the crème fraîche scented with curry powder that is the secret to this dish’s vibrant flavor. The cream is swirled into the puréed mixture and also used as a garnish. Continue reading
Arriving in Paris for our annual winter visit this week, we wondered how we would find the city after a year of devastating events. We unpacked and then walked through our “quartier” happy to see familiar sights. People were busy catching buses and cabs, buying their newspapers, and yes, sipping coffees outdoors in cafes during a spell of mild weather. And, Parisians everywhere were buying their favorite foods to celebrate the new year. I’ll be cooking dinner for friends on New Year’s Eve, so I too was in many of the food shops. The scene at the Grande Epicerie (the incredible grocery store at Le Bon Marché department store) was as frenetic as ever, with shoppers stocking their carts with foie gras and champagne–traditional fare for this season.
As I was planning our menu for December 31, I came across several appetizers perfect for a New Year’s Eve celebration– Pistachio Goat Cheese Grapes, Blue Cheese and Almond Stuffed Dates, and Smoked Salmon with Lemon Crème Fraîche. All are chic enough for this special night, but simple and quick to prepare.
Happy 2016 and may this new year be filled with peace around the world, and with joy and good health for all!
Orange Spiced Pecans
Orange Spiced Pecans on the baking sheet
Diana’s Chocolate and Almond Toffee
The toffee as it is just starting to turn golden
Chocolate glazed toffee with crushed walnuts ready for the refrigerator
Chocolate Honey Sauce with Fleur de Sel
Melted chocolate, honey, and butter for the Chocolate Honey Sauce
If you are not one of those organized cooks (and I am certainly not this year!) who already has all their holiday baking and cooking completed, here are three easy recipes for homemade gifts of food that you can prepare at the last minute.
None call for hard-to-find ingredients and each requires 15 minutes or less of prep plus a few minutes more to bake or extra time to chill. Chocolate Glazed Toffee, Orange Spiced Pecans, or Chocolate Honey Sauce with Fleur de Sel would each make a thoughtful present for a host or hostess, or for teachers, neighbors, friends, or others whom you’d like to remember during the season of giving.
The nuts and toffee can be packaged in cellophane bags, tins, or coffee mugs, while the chocolate sauce is best in a glass container. Wrap in ribbons and add a personal note and that’s it. Homemade with love—the best kind of holiday gift!
Camembert Baked in a Wooden Box, Honey-Glazed Walnuts, Apple and Pear Slices
Claire and Liz, great helpers at the party!
Rigatoni with Spicy Tomato Sauce
Students around the table.
Orange cupcakes, molasses cake squares, and apple and dried cherry crumble
Two weeks ago, my husband and I hosted our annual dinner for his freshman class at Amherst College. Typically we have this party earlier in the fall, but this year because of scheduling issues, we planned it for the night before Thanksgiving break. That was my cue to choose a menu to usher in the holidays.
We began with roasted grape and goat cheese toasts and warm Camembert baked in a wooden box. These were followed by rigatoni with a spicy tomato sauce, a salad of mixed greens and shaved fennel, and a basket of assorted breads. Three desserts–spiced molasses cake squares, orange cupcakes with white chocolate frosting, and an apple and cherry crumble–ended the meal.
The students ate with adolescent abandon, returning for seconds and even thirds of every course. No dish, though, seemed to disappear as quickly as the Warm Camembert Baked In a Box with Honey-glazed Walnuts. I made two to serve with sliced apples and pears, and watched as our young guests dipped the fruit into the warm, meltingly smooth cheese without so much as a pause.
It was the easiest dish I prepared that evening. I removed the paper wrapping encasing the Continue reading
Our family will be with us for the long Thanksgiving weekend, and while our son will pick out the wines, I will, as always, be in charge of the menu. Each year I prepare roast turkey basted with herb butter served with dark shallot pan gravy accompanied by cornbread and leek dressing. These two dishes are so popular with our clan that there would be a revolt should I think of presenting the bird and dressing any other way. I have free range, however, when it comes to the rest of the menu.
This year, for example, I’m adding an Apple and Cherry Crumble with Ginger Crème Fraîche to our dessert table. Far easier than an apple pie, but just as tempting, it is made with diced Granny Smiths and tart dried cherries covered with a crisp golden topping that includes oats, walnuts, and brown sugar. What sets this crumble apart from others, though, is the crème fraîche scented with honey and freshly grated ginger drizzled over the warm meltingly tender baked apples. Continue reading
Because I have been doing copy edits for my new book, Soup Nights, for the past few weeks, I’ve spent more time in front of my computer than in the kitchen. As a result we’ve ordered take-out tacos and pizzas, and become familiar with far too many rotisserie chickens. On those nights when I have cooked, I’ve looked to recipes that take no more than 30 minutes to prepare, like fall burgers with sautéed mushrooms and aged cheddar. These burgers proved so popular with my husband that I’ve made them three times this month alone.
I believe that the secret to good burgers is using good ingredients, so I bought 85 % grass fed beef for mine, but any high quality ground beef will work. I also opted for tender, soft potato buns, and picked an aged Vermont white cheddar that melts beautifully. For the mushrooms I used fresh shiitakes and Baby Bellas. Continue reading