4 posts categorized "Books"


Things I Love

A Perfect Salad Bowl

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This vintage Dansk salad bowl was one of the best gifts I've ever received. It's a majestic creature - ten inches in diameter - and large enough to hold greens for a dozen people. But even if there are only two of us for dinner, the sight of this beautiful bowl sitting on my table is enough to make me happy. 

You can often find bowls like this on EBay. But my favorite place to shop for vintage Dansk kitchenware is Neven and Neven Moderne, a wonderful antique shop specializing in mid-century modern furniture, in Hudson New York. 



Things I Love

Fennel Pollen

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I wish you could smell the fragrance of this gorgeous yelllow-green pollen, which is filling the air as I sit here.  This jar's not new - it's been sitting in my spice cupboard for more than a year - but the scent is so powerful and fresh I can easily imagine myself onto a Tuscan hillside, with fennel spilling down the mountainside around me.

Fennel pollen, with its warm anise aroma, is a wonderful addition to a spice cupboard; it has an untamed wildness that improves so many dishes. Dust it onto chicken as it goes into the oven, or onto lamb chops just before serving. Sprinkle it into a pasta sauce to make it brighter. Fennel pollen loves goat cheese, it goes gorgeously with a bit of orange zest, and it's a great addition to an olive oil pound cake. It tames broccoli rabe, too, adding a sweet sultry note to the bitter greens. 

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Gift Guide Day Ten

One Fabulous Pepper Mill

I wrote about my favorite pepper mill in one of the last issues of Gourmet. I’m writing about it again because I still think it’s the best pepper mill you can buy - and there is no better gift.  A great pepper mill is just about the hardest thing to find - and you can never have too many.

What’s so great about this one? It’s easy to fill and clean.  It’s a truly handsome creature. It keeps grinding evenly for years - not just pepper, but salt and spices too.  But most importantly, it makes me happy every single time I pick it up

The downside?  I only know one place to buy Magnus Lindstrom's hand-crafted wood and ceramic mills, and they are not inexpensive ($80 to $120, depending on size).  Quantities are limited. Still, if you want to offer someone a unique present, this one would surely do.  Magnus Lindstrom pepper mill at Rubiner’s Cheesemongers 413-528-0488).





Tomato Pie

People have been bringing me tomatoes - fat, gorgeous red orbs, like Christmas ornaments - and this morning when I went into the kitchen the aroma just reached up and hugged me. I suddenly had this sharp taste memory of James Beard's Tomato Pie - a dish I used to make all the time when I was in my twenties. I haven't had it in years, but I had this urgent need to taste it, right now.

James Beard’s Tomato Pie

Begin by making biscuit dough. (I like buttermilk biscuits for this recipe, although any biscuit will do – even the ones that are in the freezer case of your supermarket.)

Buttermilk Parsley Biscuits Combine 2 cups of flour with 2 and a half teaspoons of baking powder and a half teaspoon each of salt and baking soda. Cut in 1/3 cup of butter until it’s the size of peas, and add a little flurry of chopped parsley (mostly it looks pretty). Stir in ¾ cups of buttermilk until the dough holds together, turn out onto a floured surface and knead a few minutes. Pat it into the bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie pan.

Cover the biscuits with 4 to 6 ripe tomatoes, sliced into nice fat rounds. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Shower a couple of tablespoons of shredded basil on top.

Mix a cup or so of grated Cheddar cheese with a cup and a half of mayonnaise and spread the mixture on top of the tomatoes.

Bake at 375 for about 35 minutes, or until it is golden brown.