– Spicy roasted macadamia nuts served with Aviation Cocktail (Kinsey recipe. Available on New York Times website.)

– Cow’s milk cheese made in Tipperary, Ireland. Served w/ bread from local Astoria bakery (that was AMAZING) and a Sicilian Iced tea (cocktail recipe from the blog "30 bucks a week". I used simple syrup I infused with fresh rosemary. It rocked.)

– Micro-green salad (kohlrabi and beet greens) topped with sauteed pea shoots and shallot and a rice wine dressing (my own concoction)

– Pork loin "coins" in a fig molasses and mustard cream sauce over a bed of purple new potatoes and baby carrots (both csa) roasted in a mixture of olive oil, butter, herb de provence, sea salt and pepper.
(wine w/ entree brought to LWD by sarahbird)

– Berry cornmeal cake w/ fresh whipped cream

Micro-green  Pea shoot Salad

– pre-rinsed and air dried (paper towels are good!) Micro-greens (small handful on each plate)
– Saute 1 cup of pea shoots (2 handfuls) w/ olive oil and 1 chopped shallot for 2 minutes and then put over micro-green beds
– Dressing is 1 tbsp olive oil, juice of 1/4 lemon, 3 tbsp. mirin. Drizzle over salads on plates.


LWD – Chez Troy

October 24, 2008

Sarahbyrd, Juli and Liz came over Wednesday night as it was my month to make the LWD dinner. Menu was as follows:

– Salad of red lettuce (csa), radishes (csa) with sardines and green wine.
– Crusty bread with spanish cheeses (bread was provided by Liz and cheeses were provided by Sarahbyrd)
– Braised beef shortribs with sauteed Tsa Toi (csa) on a bed of semolina polenta (made w/ leeks from the csa) served with Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale (provided by Juli. That stuff is yum!).
– Mitsu and pecan apple tart served with port.

Apple Pecan Tart

The tart was a variation on several simple apple tart recipes I found on the web:

– 1 sheet of puff pastry (I used Pepperidge Farms. They come in a double pack. One sheet makes four servings)
– two apples thinly sliced (put aside in lemon juice and water)
– 1/4 cup of pecans
– 2 (or 3:) tbsp. of softened butter
– 3 or 4 tbsp. of turbinado sugar

Place pecans and sugar in a mini-prep or grinder and fine grind (as much as possible. Can be rough. this is rustic.:). Then add butter and form a paste. Spread paste onto the puff pastry (laid out on a cookie sheet) but leave a bit of room at the edge of the pastry. Then layer on apple slices tightly. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 15 minutes (you will see that it is a golden brown on the puffed up edges of the tart). Let cool…as long as your self control will allow! and serve. You can add ice cream to this or whipped cream but it is really great alone. Serves 4.

Purple’s a fruit

July 23, 2008

 CSA Share – July 22nd

7 pounds of stone fruit. 

(Uh-Huh. What am I??? eh. My son seems to think peaches are reaaaaally weird. And they are. Like…they are squishy and slimy, really. And they have fur on the outside…like…that seems very close to rabbit on the page, doesn’t it? It just. Yeah. Can’t blame him. Except for the part where they TASTE good and they smell SO Good!! So…yeah, what is wrong with my child? Husband doesn’t like them. Also doesn’t like plums. oh. That is what is wrong with my child. right. So…in the end I’m gonna end up making a peach pie that I serve, probably, to some set of girlfriends that come to visit sometime or at a dinner gathering. The plums will mostly be given away. But hey. )

– 1 head of lettuce (Green Crisp)
– 1 pd. of green beans
– 1 head of radichio (sp?)
– 1 small bag of snow peas
– 1 bunch of GORGEOUS carrots

yea. hurray.


May 21, 2008

My friend Jess just posted the above on her blog. I am, apparently, able to make a gourmet meal with accidental ingredients.

NOT this week! Cooking at Chez Troy has been happening but things have been pretty chill. I pan sauteed some garlic and rosemary chicken breasts and served them on some spiced up cous cous with sauteed broccolini on Sunday night and I made pan seared steak in a wine butter sauce w/ garlic spinach and potato perogis as sides last night…that was good with a half-bottle of a BV Coastal Cabernet. Good times but simple.

Maybe I’ll go crazy tomorrow night:).

I’m all for people being adventurous and trying something new with food. I support recipes when they are really good recipes. The strongest NEED for a good recipe is in the baking category of cooking because when you get the amounts wrong in baking it is usually a major disaster. Sadness usually ensues.

Even in baking, though, there is wiggle room. I really feel the most important thing one should learn is how to cook from your own perspective of what tastes good together. Should you find yourself on a desert island or in a small kitchen in France with cookbooks only in French that say…you don’t read, you need to know more than how to boil water, that is for certain. You need to know what tastes good together and what ingredients are acceptable substitutes in a recipe. For example, the other day I baked these:

They are a favorite in my house since my friend, Sarah French-Johnston shared the recipe (and the blog).

Anyway, I didn’t have cream but I was dang well going to make these anyway. I looked through my fridge to find an acceptable substitute. I, at first, chose the sour cream and half and half with the intent to mix them (using 2/3 or the amount needed of sour cream and 1/3 half and half) but the sour cream was dead so… after tossing that out (and recycling the package!) I turned to the creme fraiche. I took the creme fraiche and mixed it with our 1% milk in the same ratio as the sour cream to half and half and my husband couldn’t tell the difference. The turned out LOVELY. 

Another and much easier example is my lentils recipe. I have a “pretty standard way” which follows and then I have a few variations that follow after that. You’ll see that really it is hard to screw this up unless you just have added things like… I don’t know…chocolate and lemon curd to your lentils…and even then you might be able to make some sort of health muffin out of that muck. Take a look:

Basic Lentils 

16 oz lentils – I use the french already steamed ones you can get in the produce section at Trader Joe’s. Always buy some when they have them in as they last about two months unopened in the fridge.

1 small onion diced
2 stalks of celery diced
2 small carrots diced
1/3 cup of broth

1 bay leaf
Fresh herbs (I use thyme and/or marjoram but rosemary is also soooo very tasty)
salt and pepper to taste

Saute your onions, celery, carrots and fresh herbs for a few minutes on medium heat. Add the rest of the ingredients and let simmer for 20 to 40 minutes.

Basic Lentil soup

Add a 32 oz. carton of broth to the above in place of the 1/3 cup.

Lentils with Kale

Add diced kale to the Basic Lentils recipe about 7 minutes befoe you take them off the heat.

Lentils with Chorizo

Start by browning the slices of chorizo and then start the Basic Lentils recipe. You can replace the above fresh herb suggestion with cilantro and add a couple of crushed garlic cloves.  Once you add the other ingredients and turn heat down to simmer, also add 1 tbsp OR MORE TO TASTE of cumin and 2 to 5 dashes of cayenne pepper. A little chili powder is also nice.-


Cheese on a budget may sound like a joke these days but it is possible. The other night I achieved GREAT THINGS with a little planning and some ingrained habits concerning shopping as a poor food lover.

I served the following:

– Montchego
– quince paste
– parm. reg.
– prosciutto
– new “La Tur” type cheese (w/ Goat, Cow and sheep milk)
– water crackers
– rosemary breadsticks
– dried cherries
– pistachios
– spiced nuts
– olives
– grape tomatoes

This was both the appetizer and the first course! Second course was my curry carrot soup with Creme fraiche dollops and some naan on the side. Dessert (that never happened because we were all talking so much) was supposed to be ginger ice cream with Calabrian fig molasses drizzled over it.

First of all, see the Tapas night entry. Notice any repeats? The Montchego, properly stored, lasted the week easily. Simply rough dice your left overs and put it on a serving plate. I then put a portion of parm pieces (approximately 1/5 pd. of the pd. we bought at DiPalo’s for $11. The rest will be snacked on for another week and the ends will be saved to grate on pasta for the month, probably), two tbsps of quince paste, a small handful of dried cherries and a tiny dish of pistachios on this plate. The quince paste was bought at Murray’s two months ago for $6.99. I have about 3 servings left in the container. It is used frequently with cheese but can also serve as a gourmet match on a PBand J (serving as the J). The dried cherries and all nuts were bought at Trader Joes.

ON another small plate I took 8 pieces of prosciutto (had already used the rest for sandwiches and snacks over the past few days) and rolled them into 8 individual rolls. On another small plate I took the new cheese (I had purchased a 1/2 round for $4.99 at DiPalos. After the evening I had 1/3 round left which is now in my fridge and will be snacked on, probably, tonight). On another small plate I put the homespiced nuts (I took 2 handfulls total of walnuts and pecans and toasted them in a skillet with 1 tbsp. of butter, 3 dashes of cayenne pepper, 2 dashes of salt and a little ground black pepper).

Finally, on another medium sized tray I put rosemary breadsticks, water crackers, baby tomatoes and a small bowl of olives in the center.
The rosemary breadsticks come in a box of 6 packs for $1.99 at the grocery store. I used 3 packs for this. I get my water crackers from Trader Joes ($1.29ish) or Whole Foods (365 brand is under $2) and used half a box. The olives were the other half of that two dollar container from Tapas night. The cherry tomatoes were a small portion of a $2.49 container I’d purchased and consumed throughout that week.

I highly recommend stocking up on dried fruit, nuts and crackers at Trader Joe’s. I also recommend breadsticks. I have MANY times put out a plate of rosemary breadsticks, dried cherries and some kind of nut/s when an unexpected visitor has come through and gotten oooo and aaaaah and “how did you manage?”. You can use these for salads. Use the crackers and breadsticks for snacks and soup nights. AND on and on and on and these just aren’t expensive, are good for you and keep the need for amounts of the expensive things like cheese and meat DOWN!

Total for an AMAZING spread of cheese and goodies for 4 (on a special occasion. Jared came up from DC to visit) =


(and making the soup and naan was around $9, the molassas is $8.99 for a years supply and ice cream was $4 so dessert cost $4.50 max)

That is a dinner party for 4 that comes in under $30.

Enjoy life cheaply.

Additional note: We had soup leftovers. Enough for bowls with sandwiches the next night for dinner and we have about 3 servings we can freeze still!


April 26, 2008

Last Friday night, my friend Deborah and I went to Aurora after a bit of imbibing. Deborah’s mother is from Florence and so she is my #1 go-to about Italian things, especially food. Truly authentic, relaxed lovely food…atmosphere is rustic, relaxed and COULD be a date place if you wanted and got a corner table. Lighting is VERY date condusive! I’m definitely going back with my husband. We started with a cheese plate which had 2 pieces of, I kid you not, 12 cheeses, plus bread, a cherry (?) confit, walnuts and honey. Usual suspects were spotted…talegio, ricotta salata… but a wide variety of really wonderful items. I spotted La Tur for certain and a pecorino, of course. Second item (we shared everything) was a frisee salad with a lemon vinagrette and a rabbit loin coined. The loin had been stuffed with cranberries and roasted. A dotting of chilis was on the side for you to enjoy with the dish or not. It was brilliant. The rabbit was perfectly moist and flavorful while the frisee was crisp and the dressing still carried a fresh tang to it even with the hot item placed on top. I enjoyed a Nero D’Avola which went perfectly with the rabbit and the cheeses. By then our neighbors, two gentlemen from Brazil, had made friends with us and shared a lovely wine called Rosso Di Costanza with us (harmless…the place is set up to be almost family style in seating…it is easy to engage neighbors in conversation and encouraged). That was a truly remarkable wine…the rich cherry finish was to die for…still taste it days later and only had a half-glass. We then enjoyed a dish of gnocci, crabmeat, baby tomato and a hint of lemon with crisp glasses of dry Italian white wine. We had NO room for dessert although I did have an espresso to stave off tipsiness from the 3 glasses of vino.

Over the past week, have been working for this elderly lawyer writing a book on company time. Had been trying to remember where I’d heard of this club he was writing a history of…:

For some reason I can’t seem to save the actual link but go to and type in “search for baker direction”. Article is about a club in Manhattan called the Century Club that has a traditional cookie it cannot do without.

SO on last Saturday morning, taking my wee babe to the bagel store on Ditmars I decided to look for the bakery. Turns out it is across the street from our bagel shop. I had to know if these cookies were worth an article in the New York times so we ventured in and I just went up and asked for the cookies. They are important. I’ve never really considered myself a macaroon fan but these cookies are crazy little almond joys. The Times reviewer did sum up the cookie pretty well although I didn’t get from them the degree of urgency I think these cookies require. The woman behind the counter simpered proudly when I asked for them, although I had half expected to be told that they only sell them to the club and not the public. As I left, I asked her if they had gotten the contract. They have! Turns out the cookies will then be available to me for quite SOME TIME! Yippee!