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Posts Tagged ‘Judith Choate’

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It’s been quite a while since I wrote my last blog post.  I don’t exactly know why I stopped. Maybe I felt I had run out of things to say. Maybe I just got lazy.  Maybe I wondered if I had been at it so long that I couldn’t write another recipe that was interesting.  But if I really wanted to speak the truth I think that after I lost my oldest son to lung cancer, my heart just wasn’t interested in doing too much of anything other than watching my grandchildren grow up, particularly our youngest granddaughter who is 15 years younger than our middle granddaughter. Watching her as she celebrates her birthdays gives us one more chance to feel the joy of watching a little one grow up to be an amazing adult.

One day last week the thought came to me that I’d like to be back at it.  So here I am.  I hope that I have a little stick-to-it still in my bones and that I will keep writing recipes for years to come.  More than anything, I would love to hear from you if you come across the blog. I would love to hear about the foods you enjoy, favorite recipes, and, of course, tell me if you enjoy the blog or even if you hate it.  If the latter I’ll try to do a better job.

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Judie

 

On Thursday, April 23. 2015 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. I will be doing a Hands-On cooking class entitled “Creating a Seamless Meal” at DeGustibus Cooking School at Macy’s Herald Square in New York City.  It is $150.00 per person and will include dinner, wine, a surprise gift, and lots of laughs.

The class is described as follows:

Join multiple James Beard Award-winning author JUDITH CHOATE as she brings her unparalled cooking to the DeGustibus kitchen.   You’ll have the time of your life as Judie embraces you in the true spirit of what cooking should be – sharing, caring, passion, and tradition – as she educates us on how to create an impeccable dinner party.  Learn the cooking techniques and equipment necessary to easily make the perfect meal and how to design a tempting plate and set a beautiful table.

 

I know it’s a wee bit expensive but I can guarantee some good eats and great wines.  In addition, I will be joined in the kitchen by Chef Ben Lee (recently of A Voce), one of the top young chefs in America today as well as representatives from Scanpan cookware and Global knives.  Together we hope to give you all the skill you need to be a star in your own kitchen.  If you can’t join us, I would appreciate it if you send this along to anyone that you think might like to cook along with us in the beautiful new DeGustibus kitchen located on the 8th floor of Macy’s Herald Square.  You can reserve a seat by calling 212-239-1652 or by visiting the DeGustibus at Macy’s website, http://www.degustibusnyc.com.  Hope to see you there!

 

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Steve loves this photo of me – why I don’t know.  But it might be because it amuses him and everyone I know that I can wield a knife and talk on the phone at the same time.  Looks like – in this instance – that I was putting together one of my impromptu fried rice meals, but I really don’t remember what I was doing.  I was probably on the phone with one of the many health professionals that have recently been part of our lives, but I could just as easily been gossiping with a friend.  I hope the photo amuses you as much as it does my family and friends.

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Every morning Steve and I head out at 7:00 a.m. for our morning coffee at JOE on Columbus Avenue.  The coffee is delicious enough to drink black and unadorned (although many morning drinkers seem to love their latte or cappuccino or, God forbid, a hazelnut mocha latte) and the baristas are the nicest, most thoughtful young people you could hope to have celebrate the start of a new day.  On this morning, the morning air was fresh and invigorating before the summer sun fired up the streets so the doors were open while the baristas got ready to open.  We moved the bench over to prevent eager customers from entering before the 7:00 a.m. bell and I sat guard.  A rather snooty looking guard I think, but I did keep all stragglers out.  When you are in NYC, find a JOE – there are now a goodly number of them – and tell the baristas I sent you.

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Steve showed me this photo and I said “That’s beautiful, but whose old hands are those?”  Guess what, they were mine —- sometimes I forget how many years I’ve been peeling, scraping, searing, and so on —– guess I’ve earned those old hands.

 

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Wonderful News!  Coming this fall from Welcome Books is An American Family Cooks, my dream book, featuring recipes and tales from my family of cooks.  My sons, Mickey and Chris, feature prominently with wine suggestions by Chris a special treat.  My grandchildren will also be found among the pages as will paintings from Steve Kolyer.  We will keep you posted on our activities as the October publishing date gets close.

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I’ve decided that I want to do a lot of cooking for gift giving this coming holiday season so I have begun looking through some of my old cookbooks for “new” old ideas.  In my original Gift Giver’s Cookbook (written with my dear friend Jane Green and published in 1970) I found one of my mom’s most favorite breads for gift giving – Boston brown bread – or, at least her version of it.  I made it for years but then, like many favorite dishes, it fell off my radar and had been forgotten.  One of the reasons might have been my mom’s requirement that it be baked in gold-lined No. 303 cans.  I rarely use commercially canned products so no longer had any cans in which to bake it.  But I went on a scavenger hunt and came up with cans I thought would do but being of a cautious nature (well, sometimes) I also had some small loaf pans on hand when I made my first return batch.  The photo should give you a good idea of my failure to find the right cans – but, since for some reason the bread tastes better baked in the can, I’m going to keep trying to find the correct No. 303 can.  In the meantime, the loaves tasted pretty good, too.  This recipe should be enough to make 6 No. 303 cans or about 5 small loaf pans.

 

8 ounces dark raisins

2 cups sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs, at room temperature

4 cups sifted flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped walnuts

 

Place the raisins in a heat-proof bowl and cover with 2 cups of boiling water.  Stir in the baking soda and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Combine the sugar, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle.  Beat on low to lighten.  Raise the speed to medium and beat until blended.

With the motor running, add the eggs, one at time, and beat to blend.  When well-blended, add the flour and salt and beat until well-incorporated.  Then, add the raisins along with their soaking water and beat to blend.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir in the nuts.

Carefully scoop the mixture into the cans, filling each one about half full.  (If you are using loaf pans, either coat them with Baker’s Joy or butter and flour them).

Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until the breads begin to pull away from the sides of the cans.

Remove from the oven and place on wire racks for 10 minutes before removing the breads from the cans by running a small, sharp knife around the interior of the cans and then popping the breads out.

Serve warm or at room temperature with butter or cream cheese or alongside Boston Baked Beans.

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Lately I seem to be on a bok choy kick, but who could resist this absolutely flowery bunch of purple bok choy that found its way into the kitchen?   I was going to incorporate it into some fried rice but decided it was just too pretty to not stand on its own.  So, I cut it into pieces and quickly sautéed it in a bit of grapeseed oil and butter, seasoned it with salt and pepper, and cooked it just until it wilted.  I added a good measure of ponzu sauce that I found in the fridge, gave it a toss, and served it up as a side to soft shell crab sandwiches we had made from our leftovers.  A simple, easy, and very tasty dish.

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The other morning a young man who is an every morning coffee drinker at JOE (along with yours truly), our Upper West Side coffee bar, excitedly reported that he “had the best coq au vin I’ve ever had”.  Which was followed by “But I’ve never had coq au vin before – what is it?”  And, that in a nutshell is how bloggers and tweeters and facebookers keep restaurants in or put them out of business!

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Here’s another great addition to summer picnics and barbecues.  These cupcakes seem to be a favorite for kids, big and little, alike.  You can top them with any frosting you prefer but this cream cheese recipe seems to be the winner.  With the 4th of July coming up, these are a perfect red, white, and blue dessert with some blue sprinkles on the frosting.

Makes 2 dozen

2½ cups all purpose flour

½ cup Dutch processed cocoa powder  

1 teaspoon baking soda  

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup sour cream  

½ cup milk

2 tablespoons red food color

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 

Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)  

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine the flour, cocoa, and baking soda. Set aside.

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle.  Beat, on medium, until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. When blended, lower the speed and add the sour cream, milk, food color and vanilla.

When well combined, gradually add the reserved flour mixture, beating until just blended. Do not overbeat.

Line two 12 cup muffin tins with paper liners.  Carefully spoon the batter into the paper cups, filling each about ⅔ full.

Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cupcakes comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and place the pans on wire racks to cool for about 5 minutes. Then, remove the cupcakes from the pans, place them directly on the wire racks and let cool completely.

While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the frosting.

When cool, top each cupcake with a generous coating of the frosting, swirling it around with a small offset spatula.

Store, airtight, in a cool spot for up to 2 days.

Cream Cheese Frosting

12 ounces full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Place the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle.  Beat, on medium, until very light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla and beat to blend.

Slowly add the sugar, beating well to incorporate.  When all of the sugar has been added continue beating until very light and fluffy.

Use as directed in the cupcake recipe or as frosting for any chocolate cake or cupcake.

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