Some dishes from recent months

Just some recent cooking… have not had time for regular food posts.

Ruth Rogers’s spaghetti carbonara, from the River Cafe Cookbook, with the addition of fresh spring peas (this was from last May). I recommend the combination.

Madhur Jaffrey’s recipe for Keralan shrimp with coconut from the sadly out of print A Taste Of India, which covers India’s regional cooking. This is the first time making it that I was able to find a critical ingredient, kodampoli or “fish tamarind.”

It is a dried fruit from southwest coastal India and imparts a complex sour flavor – a more interesting one than regular tamarind.


I served the shrimp with another Keralan dish, a pachadi made with spinach and yogurt. Like many dishes from Kerala, this one plays bitter and spicy chile flavors off the creamy saltiness of the yogurt. It’s a great combination.

Tripe florentine. The recipe comes from Marcella Hazan with some alterations, and is not for the faint of heart. That said, it’s nothing compared to the famous Julia Child episode where she makes tripes à la mode de Caen and has several entire beef stomachs on display to explain exactly what’s going on.

Another Hazan, this one much simpler: spaghetti with tomatoes and tuna. It was summer and I dressed it up with some fresh basil from the garden.

Bourbon Red heritage turkey for Thanksgiving. I did a combination of a dry brine and a very fast roast in a convection oven. Onions and apples inside for moisture, paprika, salt and pepper on the outside, and massive amounts of butter.

Spinach, mushroom and cheese omelet. The recipe is from Miriam Ungerer’s Good Cheap Food, and is all about French technique, which she sets apart from the usual American version with its much browner, dryer outside. Obviously I didn’t completely succeed in avoiding brown. Lots and lots of shaking the pan.

Another one from Ungerer, which she calls poached chicken à la creme but which seems to me like classic American comfort food. Essentially you poach a chicken with its giblets plus vegetables, garlic and herbs until it’s falling apart (much like preparing chicken for tamales), and then use the resulting stock, along reserved fat, heavy cream, lemon juice, sherry and mushrooms to make a luscious sauce. The addition of the peas was my idea.

This is a daunting Persian dish from Najmieh Batmanglij’s New Food Of Life called gormeh sabzi. There are several variations in terms of the meat, but the key ingredients are an enormous amount of fresh herbs (parsley, coriander and chives) which you fry down in oil, and a quantity of dried limes plus fresh lime juice. The dried limes are wonderfully sour and pungent and the aroma of the frying herbs is overwhelming. We made this one with boneless leg of lamb, but it can also be made with lamb shanks, chicken or just kidney beans.

Another Persian dish, this is a variation on rice tahdig where the bottom of the rice pot is lined with potato to form a crust of its own. It’s a nice change from regular tahdig.

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