Tag Archives: Tyler Florence

Salmon over Mustard Braised Brussels Sprouts

Salmon over Mustard Braised Brussels Sprouts

It’s done! Here’s hoping your Christmas was happy, safe, delicious, and free of heated political discussions. Now we all turn to spending gift cards and thinking about our New Year’s plans, right?

Matt and I tend to keep things low-key on New Year’s Eve, usually small gatherings and sometimes it’s just us. As much as I love seeing friends on NYE, I’ve found it can also be very fun to have a romantic night with your love, too. Sometimes we’ve gone to nice restaurants, but some years we’ve stayed in and cooked a fancy meal.

Salmon over Mustard Braised Brussels Sprouts

This recipe made me think of that. It could not be more perfect for a romantic date. It’s seasonal, mostly light and healthy with a little decadence thrown in for good measure; it’s fancy-sounding and gorgeous to look at – it’ll remind you of dining at a fine restaurant, only more intimate and much less expensive.

It’s so delicious. Salmon and Brussels sprouts may sound like an odd pairing, but it really works. Wonderful contrasts of flavors and textures here, and the best part is that it’s so easy and fast to throw together! I highly recommend this for a date night, whether it be NYE or any random Saturday. Enjoy!

Salmon over Mustard Braised Brussels Sprouts

Source: adapted from Tyler Florence Family Meal by Tyler Florence

4 thin slices of pancetta, chopped
½ lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 tbs unsalted butter
1 large shallot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups heavy cream
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tbs yellow mustard
1 tbs whole-grain mustard
2 salmon fillets
Olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Handful of gourmet, kettle potato chips
Thyme leaves, for garnish

Place a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisped. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Add the butter to the pancetta drippings, then the Brussels sprouts. Cook until the sprouts are tender and charred, then add the shallot and garlic. Cook 1 minute more, until softened. Add the cream, thyme sprigs, and both mustards. Stir to combine and cook over medium heat until reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat a smaller skillet over medium-high heat and drizzle in some olive oil. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Place the salmon in the hot skillet, skin side down, and cook until crisped, about 4 minutes. Flip and cook the other side another 2-3 minutes, until medium-rare inside. Remove to a plate.
To assemble, spoon half the Brussels sprouts mixture onto a dinner plate and place a salmon fillet on top. Place some potato chips on top of the salmon, then sprinkle the crisped pancetta over all. Garnish with thyme leaves. Repeat on a second plate. Serve immediately.

Cornish Game Hens with Sausage Red Wine Sauce over Polenta #SundaySupper

Cornish Game Hens with Sausage Red Wine Sauce over Polenta

Welcome to Sunday Supper! Our theme this week is Libational Recipes, a fun one indeed. Who doesn’t love cooking with an alcoholic beverage of some sort? I certainly do.

So in choosing which recipe to feature today, I wanted to keep with the December-appropriate theme I’m doing all month long, so today I’m posting a dish appropriate for a small but elegant Christmas dinner gathering, or perhaps a small holiday dinner party. Game hens are so adorable, and I think it looks so lovely and fancy to give everyone their own little baby chicken on their plate.

Cornish Game Hens with Sausage Red Wine Sauce over Polenta

Then the adorable game hens swim in this velvety, luscious, rich red wine sauce with savory sausage and sweet red grapes for the whole sweet-salty yin-yang thing we all love. All atop a mound of creamy, cheesy polenta. It’s really a beautiful dish. One I hope you all enjoy!

Cornish Game Hens with Sausage Red Wine Sauce over Polenta

Source: slightly adapted from Tyler’s Ultimate by Tyler Florence

{One Year Ago: Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Muffins with a Cream Cheese Glaze}


4 (1-1 ½ lb.) Cornish game hens
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
2 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature

Olive oil
½ lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
2 tbs all-purpose flour
2 cups red wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 ½ cups halved red seedless grapes
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

5 cups chicken stock
1 ½ cups instant polenta
¼ cup heavy cream
1 ½ tbs unsalted butter
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
Fresh flat-leaf parsley, to garnish (optional)

Preheat your oven to 400 F. Grease a rimmed baking sheet and set aside. Season the outside and cavities of the game hens with salt and pepper. Using kitchen twine, tie the legs together, then tie the wings flat against the body. Dot the butter all over the game hens, then carefully transfer them to the prepared baking sheet. Roast about 45 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of one breast registers 165 F.
Start the sauce as soon as you get the birds into the oven. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil, then crumble in the sausage. Cook until no traces of pink remain. Dust the flour over the sausage and stir to combine. Add the wine and stir quickly to scrape up any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Then stir in the chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and keep it at a simmer for about 20 minutes, until the sauce is thick and velvety. Add in the grapes right before you’re ready to serve. If the grapes make the sauce too thin, boil it on high heat, stirring frequently, for a few minutes to thicken it up.
Make the polenta: bring the chicken stock to a boil in a large stockpot. Sprinkle in the polenta and whisk quickly to combine and make sure there are no lumps. It will thicken up in minutes. As soon as it thickens, turn the heat to low. Add in the cream, butter, cheese, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve, cut the strings off the game hens. Mound a few spoonfuls of polenta onto 4 dinner plates. Rest a bird on top of each, then generously spoon the sauce over the birds. Garnish with parsley if desired.


Savory and Sweet Libational Dishes

Libational Desserts

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Veal Oscar

Veal Oscar

Happy Friday! I’m wrapping up ASPARAGUS WEEK with a doozy of a good one, y’all. This dish is elegant, beautiful and delicious. A perfect option to have in your arsenal of tricks for when your boss is coming for dinner (does that still happen, ever?), or to make something special for your significant other, or to impress a hot date. Because this one is very impressive, y’all.

Veal Oscar

veal oscar

One recipe note: this does call for making béarnaise sauce. And béarnaise sauce can be tricky to make. I scrambled the egg yolks on the first go and had to start over. The other tricky part is that once you’ve made the sauce, you have to let it sit while you make the rest of the dish, and keeping béarnaise sauce at the perfect temperature so it doesn’t break on you can be a tightrope walk. So, if your sauce isn’t cooperating 100%, I say it’s perfectly fine to use a dollop of mayonnaise or a few drops of heavy cream to help it out. I mean, come on, you’re making this meal to impress your boss or to get laid, not to take a final exam at the French Culinary Institute. In this instance, a little cheating is perfectly okay and you should not feel bad at all.

Veal oscar

Okay, now for our recap of ASPARAGUS WEEK!

First up, I began the week with an insanely delicious Shaved Asparagus Pizza. There are no words…

Shaved Asparagus Pizza






Then, I took a little detour from Asparagus Week by participating in the fantastic Secret Recipe Club and showed y’all a Homemade Pizza Sauce, which will forever replace the canned stuff for me.

Homemade Pizza Sauce






Wednesday we got back to asparagus with a Grilled Asparagus Panzanella, which I shared over at my friend Tara’s blog, Noshing with the Nolands. It was awesome, and a perfect way to usher in some warmer weather.

Grilled Asparagus Panzanella






And yesterday, I became a member of the Department of Redundancy Department by sharing Shaved Asparagus and Spinach Salad, which was beyond amazing so I stand by it.

Shaved asparagus and spinach salad






And here’s an asparagus recipe round-up from the blogosphere! Enjoy!

Asparagus and Cheese Tart from What Megan’s Making
Asparagus, Artichoke and Shiitake Risotto from Smitten Kitchen
Baked Parmesan Asparagus “Fries” with Lemon Garlic Aioli from Simply Scratch
Caramelized Leek and Asparagus Salad from Cupcakes and Kale Chips
Egg, Country Ham, Asparagus and Leek Pizza from Farm Fresh Feasts
Pesto Tortellini Salad with Asparagus from The Kitchen is my Playground
Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus from Cooking on the Front Burner
Roasted Asparagus with Bacon Vinaigrette from The Texan New Yorker

Veal Oscar

{One year ago: Slow Cooker Refried Beans}

Source: adapted from Tyler Florence Family Meal by Tyler Florence

¼ cup chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1 large shallot, minced
¼ cup champagne vinegar
¼ cup dry white wine
3 large egg yolks
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Kosher salt and black pepper

8 very thick asparagus spears, bottom 2 inches removed
4 veal cutlets, about 3 oz. each
About 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tbs unsalted butter
1 shallot, peeled and sliced into thin rings
Canola oil
Fresh tarragon leaves, for garnish

First, make the BEARNAISE SAUCE. In a small saucepan, combine the tarragon, shallot, vinegar, and wine. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until reduced by half, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Fill a medium saucepan with water and set it over medium to medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer.
Place the egg yolks into a stainless steel mixing bowl and whisk vigorously for a few seconds, until pale yellow and fluffy. Place the bowl over the pot of simmering water, making sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl. While whisking continually, SLOWLY pour the melted butter into the egg yolks. Continue whisking vigorously until the sauce is smooth and emulsified, about 10 minutes. Turn the heat down on the water if necessary. Stir in the shallot mixture and season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm (turn the heat on the saucepan to low) until ready to serve. While you’re working on the veal, stir the sauce occasionally to see how it’s doing. If it’s too thick, use a little heavy cream; if it’s breaking on you, use a dollop of mayonnaise.
Now make the veal. Fill a high-sided large skillet with a few inches of water. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Drop the asparagus into the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain the asparagus and either plunge them into a bowl of ice water, then remove once they’ve cooled, or drain them into a colander and run them under very cold water until they have cooled. Set aside.
Place each veal cutlet between 2 sheets of parchment paper (or 1 large sheet folded in half). Using the smooth side of a meat mallet to pound each cutlet to an even ¼-inch thickness. Cut each in half cross wise. Place 1 asparagus spear on each cutlet half and roll into a cigar.
Place about 1 cup flour in a shallow dish or plate and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the veal rolls in the flour by rolling them across the plate. Tap off the excess. Repeat with each asparagus spear and set them all on a plate.
Place the remaining flour in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Separate the shallot slices into rings, discarding the smallest ones. Add to the bowl of flour and toss until coated. Set aside.
Wipe out the skillet you used to blanch the asparagus, and melt the butter in it over medium-high heat. Add the veal rolls, making sure not to crowd them, and cook, turning at least once, for about 8 minutes total. Remove to a plate and set aside.
To the drippings in the skillet, add enough canola oil to make a nice film across the entire bottom of the skillet. Add the shallot rings and fry for just a couple of minutes, tossing a few times, until browned and crisp. Remove with a spider or slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate.
Now you are ready to assemble this bad boy. Line up the veal rolls on a platter and generously spoon béarnaise sauce over them. Sprinkle some crispy shallots on top, then garnish with some torn tarragon leaves. Serve immediately, two veal rolls per person.

Coconut Bread

Coconut bread

It. Is. Still. Cold. STILL!!!! Apparently the groundhog never got the memo that we’re nearing mid-March and it’s supposed to be spring. And everyone’s patience is wearing thin. Just so you know, Mr. Groundhog.

shredded coconut

coconut bread

I suppose I’ll just have to console us with this uber-yummy, perfect coconut bread. Anything coconut makes me think of the Caribbean, despite the fact that too many slices of this bread will make you want to hide your bikini in the bottom drawer and pretend it doesn’t exist. That being said, it is completely and totally delicious, very moist and tender and perfectly coconut-y. You can slice it and eat it as is, or if you really don’t care about that bikini, toast it and slather it with a pat of butter.

Coconut bread

And we can all use some visions of the Caribbean right now, don’t you think? Oh yes…

Coconut Bread

So y’all enjoy this one, it’s soooo tasty, and very easy to throw together for a week of breakfast or just a lovely snack.

Coconut Bread

{One year ago: Broccoli Cheese Soup, Buttermilk Macaroni and Cheese, and Tex-Mex Cheesy Chicken Tart}

Source: lightly adapted from Tyler Florence’s Real Kitchen by Tyler Florence

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbs baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 stick (8 tbs) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon
1 ½ cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 ½ cups unsweetened shredded coconut
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat your oven to 375 F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest. Pour in the coconut milk and whisk to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and whisk until just combined. Fold in the shredded coconut.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and place it on a baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 20 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove the bread to a cutting board and let it cool completely before slicing. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve.

Banana Pudding

Banana Pudding

Sunday was a bittersweet day for me. Sweet because it was Matt’s birthday. Sad because, as I’m sure you’ve heard or read by now, popular radio DJ Kidd Kraddick passed away very suddenly.

assembling banana pudding

Kidd Kraddick hosted the nationally syndicated radio show “Kidd Kraddick in the Morning.” But since he was Dallas-based, I knew of him long before his show went national. He was a Dallas radio icon, simply part of our lives. Whether you were a rabid fan or just an occasional listener, no one hadn’t heard of him.

bowl of banana pudding

banana pudding - the classic

His morning show was hilarious. My fondest memory of it was when I was driving with I *think* my sister, and the show’s theme that day was why men can imitate electric/electronic noises and women cannot. So he would have a man call in, and then he would give them a noise to imitate, like machine guns. And the guy would give a respectable machine gun imitation. Then a woman caller would be on, and Kidd would say, “okay – machine gun. Go!” and the woman would try her best but pretty much all that came out was “duh-duh-duh-duh-sshhh-duh-duh-duh-juh-juh-juh-juh”. And this went on and on. Lawn mowers. Blenders. Chainsaws. At one point I started to fear driving the car into a ditch we were laughing so hard.

a bite of banana pudding

Kidd Kraddick not only brightened people’s commutes, he was extremely philanthropic. His charity Kidd’s Kids, did incredible work with terminally ill children and teenagers. His passing will leave a gaping hole in so many lives. My heart goes out to his daughter, his coworkers, friends and family.

bowl of Banana Pudding

I think some good old comfort food is called for today. Banana pudding is one of my childhood favorites. And just like Kidd Kraddick, it was something of a fixture for me while growing up. This is the best version I’ve ever tried. The pudding part is completely from scratch. It’s messy and delicious. Rest in peace, Kidd. Always loved, never forgotten.

Banana Pudding

{One year ago: Homemade Ranch Dressing}

Source: adapted from Tyler Florence Family Meal by Tyler Florence

2 cups half-and-half
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup flour
½ tsp salt
3 egg yolks
2 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tbs plus ½ tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 (12 oz.) box vanilla wafer cookies
3 ripe bananas, sliced ¼-inch thick

Make the pudding: combine the half-and-half and granulated sugar in a medium glass bowl. Set it over a small pot of simmering water. Whisk in the flour and salt until combined, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Whisk the egg yolks in a separate bowl. Gradually add half the half-and-half mixture, stirring constantly to temper the eggs so they don’t scramble. Now whisk the egg mixture back into the half-and-half mixture, pouring slowly. Place it back over the simmering water.
Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture has thickened to the consistency of a thin pudding, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and 2 tbs vanilla extract. Set aside to cool for 20 minutes. It will thicken as it cools.
Make the whipped topping: pour the cream into a clean bowl and beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add the remaining vanilla and the confectioners’ sugar. Beat on medium-high until stiff peaks form. Set aside in the refrigerator.
Assemble the pudding: line a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate with vanilla wafers. Top with half the banana slices and half of the cooled pudding. Make a second layer, starting with vanilla wafers, then the rest of the bananas, and the rest of the pudding. With a spatula, spread the whipped cream over the top and smooth it out. You can serve it immediately, but know that the pudding will be runny still. It tastes best if you let it sit overnight in the refrigerator first.

Penne alla Puttanesca


As I’ve mentioned before, I am not the least bit Italian, nor did I grow up near any Italian-American enclaves, so true, traditional Italian food wasn’t really in the culinary repertoire when I was a kid. Sure, we had some, but it’s the dishes everyone had, like marinara sauce over pasta, spaghetti and meatballs, meaty lasagna, alfredo, and the occasional chicken parmigiana. And that was pretty much it.


Moving to New York, a city with a huge and legendary Italian community, has taught me much about Italian food, and I’ve been quite happy and eager to learn. One dish I knew nothing about as a child, including its existence, is puttanesca sauce.


Puttanesca sauce is usually served over pasta, long or short cut is fine. And it has quite the colorful history. The dish was born in Naples, Italy, and strictly translated, puttanesca means “in the style of the whore.” Yeah…

As is true with most classic dishes out there, the exact origin isn’t entirely agreed upon, but there seem to be three working theories, none of which are terribly flattering, and all of which involve brothels.


Some say that the working women in the brothels made this very fragrant sauce, then placed it in open windows so the smell would waft down to the street, and this is how they would lure the men in. Others think that the women made this sauce for the men who were, um, standing in line awaiting their turn, so they wouldn’t get hungry or bored and leave. And still others say that the prostitutes made this sauce for themselves to eat; since it is made so quickly and easily, they would have plenty of time to make it and eat it between, uh, appointments.


Whatever the exact history, we do know that this is quite flavorful, and ridiculously easy to throw together for a very delicious weeknight meal. And unsavory name aside, it really is very tasty and healthy. So please, forget everything you read here and make this one tonight. You and your family will love its intense flavor and how fast you’ll be able to sit down to dinner.


Source: adapted from Eat This Book by Tyler Florence

1 (16 oz.) box penne pasta
Olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 anchovies
1 cup black olives, such as kalamata, pitted and roughly chopped
1 tsp dried red chile flakes
3 tbs capers, drained
2 (28 oz.) cans whole, peeled tomatoes
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, torn
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Generously salt it, then add the pasta and cook to al dente according to package directions.
Put a large skillet over medium heat and add a thin film of olive oil to the bottom of it. Add the garlic and anchovies and cook, using a wooden spoon to break up the anchovies until they seem to dissolve in the oil. Add the olives, red pepper flakes, and capers, and let that cook for 2 minutes, stirring often.
Toss in the tomatoes with their juices and use a potato masher to crush them. Bring to a low simmer. Add the basil, then season to taste with just a pinch of salt and black pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese. Taste for seasoning. Remember to go easy on the salt at first because the anchovies, olives and capers are already salty.
Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the sauce. Toss with a large spoon or tongs, then pour the whole pasta dish into a serving bowl. Garnish with extra basil if you wish and serve extra cheese at the table.

Chocolate Crepes with Rum Whipped Cream

This is Part 1 of the Dining at Bar Americain series.
Part 2: Shrimp and Grits
Part 3: Tilapia with Chile Butter and Ricotta Grits Cakes
Part 4: Molasses Mustard Pork Chops
Part 5: Roast Chicken with Honey Mustard Black Pepper Sauce and Hatch Chile Spoonbread

About a month ago, my sister and brother-in-law came up to visit us for a wonderful and too short weekend.  It was such a fun visit, which included a Rangers/Yankees game (yes, I put Rangers first!), a beach trip to Fire Island, and dining at Bobby Flay’s famous eatery, Bar Americain.  We all tremendously enjoyed that dinner from appetizer to dessert.  I own Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain cookbook, and it includes all the dishes we ordered for the table that night.  I thought it would be a terrific excuse idea to spend a week, and subsequently a blog series, making and blogging all the dishes we had.  Since life is short, we’ll have dessert first.

We split two desserts among the table: lemon curd crepes with blueberry sauce, and a deconstructed deep-dish chocolate pie with graham cracker crust and rum whipped cream.  Since we are watching our calorie count around here, I knew I would only make one of them, but choosing between the two became impossible, so I decided to combine them in a sense and make chocolate crepes with rum whipped cream.  It was a good decision.

I know of no one who dislikes crepes, and making them at home is easier than you think.  The batter is done up in the blender, what is easier than that?  And while flipping them like the pros do is a little difficult, with practice it becomes doable.  You can also cheat and flip them with a thin spatula.  It works, I do it often, and I feel no guilt over it.  You shouldn’t either.

Stay tuned for the rest of this series!

Crepes – , Real Kitchen, by Tyler Florence
Rum Whipped Cream – , Bar Americain Cookbook, by Bobby Flay


1 cup milk
1/4 cup very cold water
2 eggs
1 cup flour
2 tbs cocoa powder, plus extra for garnish if desired
3 tbs sugar
Pinch of salt
3 tbs melted butter, plus more for sauteing the crepes

Combine the milk, water, eggs, flour, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt in a blender. Blend on medium speed for 15 seconds, until batter is smooth and lump-free. Scrape down the sides and pour in the 3 tbs melted butter. Blend again just for a second to incorporate. Refrigerate the batter for 1 hour to let it rest.
Put an 8 to 10 inch crepe pan or nonstick skillet over medium heat and brush it with a little melted butter. Pour 1/4 cup of batter into the pan and swirl it around so it covers the bottom evenly. Cook 30 to 45 seconds, until the batter sets. Lightly bang the edges of the pan with a wooden spoon or something similar to loosen the crepe, then flip it and cook another 30 seconds. The crepes should be pliable and not crisp. Slide each one onto a plate or platter and repeat until all the batter is used up. Cover the stack of made crepes with a towel to prevent drying out.
To serve, fold each crepe in quarters, then dollop each with a little whipped cream. Sprinkle a pinch of cocoa powder over each dollop if desired.


2 cups heavy cream, very cold
2 tbs powdered sugar
1 tbs rum
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine the cream, sugar, rum, and vanilla extract in a large bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer or whisk until soft peaks form.

Spicy Coleslaw

This coleslaw recipe didn’t accompany the Pulled Pork Sliders recipe.  But I can never have a pulled anything sandwich without coleslaw.  It’s just not right.  I have to have that crunchy texture contrasting with the almost creaminess of the barbecue slathered meat.  Plus, it makes me feel less guilty because coleslaw is full of vegetables.

As a child, I vehemently put cabbage on the “Not Touching That with a Ten Foot Pole” list.  I thought cabbage was bitter and bland.  It’s now one of my favorite vegetables.  I love it raw and crunchy in a slaw or salad, and I also love it wilted and cooked.  So coleslaw and I have become very good friends in recent years.

We liked this particular version so much that I decided to serve it alongside the barbecue chicken we made for my sister and brother-in-law on their visit.  My sister gave it the highest compliment possible when she said, “Observe: I hate coleslaw, and I’m going back for seconds” as she piled another mound of it onto her plate.  Of course that made me very happy, but it also illustrates just how much bad coleslaw exists out there.  Megan is not a terribly picky eater, and she has always been a good veggie eater, even as a child.  (Yes, she made me look really bad growing up!)  When most of us think of coleslaw we think of the terrible stuff served in a paper cup at cheap restaurants.  It is always so bland and watery, except for the times when it’s salty and gloppy.  I don’t touch it either.  But I’ve come to appreciate making coleslaw at home.  It’s not very involved, you probably already have the dressing ingredients in your pantry or refrigerator, and it will not even compare to the awful paper cup stuff that you could barely even call food.

You can slice your cabbage with a knife, but I’ve found that a mandoline makes for the best results.  It’s thin and extra crunchy that way.  And mandolines aren’t terribly expensive anymore.  You can pick up a hand-held at any kitchen supply store for not much money at all.

Source: slightly adapted from Eat This Book, by Tyler Florence

1 head of green cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, peeled and grated
2 green onions, chopped
1 fresh red chile, sliced
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 tbs cider vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
Pinch of sugar
1/2 tsp celery seed
Several dashes of hot sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the cabbage, carrots, green onions, and chile in a large bowl. In another bowl, mix the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, and sugar and stir to combine. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss gently to mix. Season the coleslaw with celery seed, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Ideally chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours before serving, but I didn’t do this either time I served it and it was fine.

Yield: 8 to 10 cups

Pickled Donut Peaches

August is National Peach Month!  So happy National Peach Month everyone! I, like most everyone, love peaches.  I grew up eating peach cobblers, and that is still one of my favorite desserts.  You can expect to see a recipe for one pop up on this blog in the coming weeks.

I began this month long celebration with donut peaches.  These cuties have an even shorter season than regular peaches.  They are shaped differently than the normal, round ones.  They are circular and flattened, and they do look kind of like a donut, hence the name.  Lately I’ve jumped on the pickling bandwagon, but haven’t been too adventurous with it.  I’ve pickled cukes and jalapenos, but that was about it.  I decided it was time to spread my wings, so I pickled some donut peaches.  Pickling anything is easy enough, and these were no exception.  And the technique for removing skins will work on regular peaches too.

They’ve been sitting in my fridge, looking all pretty and begging to be used.  I’m not completely sure what one does with pickled donut peaches, but I really like the combination of peaches and pork, so I think they’ll accompany some brined and grilled pork chops, or maybe a pork tenderloin.  I’ll let you know how it turns out!

Source: Family Meals, by Tyler Florence

12 to 14 donut peaches
2 large lemons, very thinly sliced and seeds removed
8 cups white vinegar
2 cups sugar
8 whole star anise
10 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks

Bring a large saucepan of water up to a boil over high heat and fill a large bowl with ice water. Blanch the peaches in the boiling water for 15 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to remove them, then immediately transfer them to the ice bath to stop the cooking process. Once cool, peel the peaches but leave them whole. Divide the peaches and lemon slices between 2 wide-mouth pint canning jars. I used deli containers. I also halved the recipe.
In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, star anise, cloves, and cinnamon sticks and bring just to a boil over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Pour the vinegar mixture over the contents of the jars, filling them to 1 inch of the rim. Divide the whole spices as evenly as possible between the 2 jars. Quickly screw the lids in place and let cool to room temperature. Once cool, store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Makes 2 pints

Creamy Smoked Trout on Pumpernickel Toasts

Yesterday, I wrote a big, long blog post detailing my thoughts on the whole Chick-Fil-A incident.  After reading another blog post and seeing a few Facebook debates, I scratched it all.

My original post was about the lack of civilized discourse happening on both sides.  But reading some things today and last night have made me rethink my position.  Can you really have a civilized discourse when an entire class of people are having their rights trampled so badly? Some people still think so.  I must admit, I don’t know the answer.

But I do know two things: 1) I am heterosexual, and therefore unqualified to speak about what it is like to be gay in this country; and 2) I am not going to sit here and nonchalantly tell them how to act or how to feel, given what is happening.  I have many gay friends I would never want to insult, and I also do not wish to insult the scores of gay people I’ve never met and who have done me no harm.  So I will just say that yes, Dan Cathy is entitled to his opinions and his First Amendment rights.  But I and others have every right not to give money to his business, because we don’t want our money being spent on causes we oppose.

I’ll leave you with this recipe, because it embodies New York, and I’m happy to be a New Yorker right now.  New York allow gays to marry, and Mayor Bloomberg acted admirably in this whole brouhaha when other mayors (ahem, Boston, ahem, Chicago) did not.

This dish is a riff on a New York classic, lox and bagels.  I had never eaten lox before moving here.  I was always a little sketched out by smoked salmon.  I’m so glad I changed my mind, because lox is one of the more delectable things I’ve ever tasted.  There’s a deli in my neighborhood that serves it up every morning, and we occasionally indulge.  This dish is similar and definitely a nod to the original.  It uses smoked trout instead of smoked salmon, and pumpernickel toasts instead of bagels.  A dressing of sour cream, mayonnaise and horseradish stands in for the cream cheese.  We gave it major thumbs up.

Source: Eat This Book, by Tyler Florence

3 smoked trout fillets, about 1/2 lb total, skinned and flaked
2 small tart apples, cored and cut into matchsticks
1 handful fresh chives, minced
2 celery stalks, minced
1 tbs horseradish
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Juice of half a lemon
Kosher salt and black pepper
12 thin slices of cocktail sized pumpernickel bread, toasted until nice and crispy

In a large mixing bowl, toss together the flaked trout, apples, chives, and celery until well combined. In another bowl, whisk together the horseradish, sour cream, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Pour this into the bowl with the fish and fold the two together. Be careful not to break up the trout too much.
To serve, mound some salad atop each toast.