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"It's so beautifully arranged on the the plate – you know someone's fingers have been all over it." – Julia Child

Posts from the Summer Category

 Are you thinking what we’re thinking? It’s just too hot and sunny to wait for the weekend. Go for it!

Summer lovin’…

THE PLAYA

Serves 1

The classic Sex on the Beach is made with vodka, peach schnapps, orange or pineapple juice, and cranberry juice. This variation relies on seasonal peaches, infused liquor, and bitter Campari for a decidedly more sophisticated cocktail.

1 peach, scrubbed, pitted, and cubed, or ¾ cup frozen peaches
1 ½ ounces vodka or gin
1 ½ ounces fresh orange juice or pineapple juice
1 ½ ounces Campari
½ ounce Chambord or crème de cassis
½ cup ice cubes
Maraschino cherries, orange wedges, or pineapples cubes, for garnish

` In a blender, pulse peach, liquor, juice, Campari, Chambord, and ice cubes until well blended. Garnish with maraschino cherries, orange wedges, or pineapple cubes and serve immediately.

FOR THE CLASSIC SEX ON THE BEACH:  In a shaker, combine 1 ½ ounces vodka, 1 ounce peach schnapps, 1 ounce Chambord, 2 ounces pineapple or orange juice, and 1 ounce cranberry juice. Add a handful of ice cubes, shake, and pour into an ice-filled glass. Garnish with Maraschino cherries.

Get ready for fireworks! This 4th of July we’ll be making hot dogs with a little more than just ketchup and mustard. We can’t decide which is our favorite. Tell us what you settle on!

 

POTATO SALAD WITH HOMEMADE RANCH DRESSING
Serves 10

Fresh, fresh, fresh! We’re getting ready to perk up basic potato salad with a series of recipes, but we couldn’t wait and broke this one out for the weekend festivities. No more powdered spice mixes or bottled dressings! This dressing is all fragrant herbs. Take note of the 2-step dressing process: your potato salad will have more flavor than ever.
4 pounds new potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1 ½ inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 bunch dill, chopped (about 1 cup)
½ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
½ cup parsley leaves, chopped
Worcestershire sauce
Fresh lemon juice

– Place the potatoes in a large pot and add enough cold water to cover them. Add 1 tablespoon salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the head to medium and simmer the potatoes until fork-tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and spread them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle them with the vinegar and oil and gently stir them with a rubber spatula.

– While the potatoes are cooling, whisk the buttermilk and mayonnaise together in a medium bowl. Whisk in the garlic, dill, cilantro, and parsley and season with salt and pepper. Add Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice to taste.

– Pour about half of the dressing over the potatoes and stir gently to combine — while warm, the potatoes will absorb the dressing.  Reserve the rest. When the potatoes come to room temperature, transfer them to a large bowl and refrigerate until chilled. When ready to serve, add the reserved dressing to the potatoes and adjust seasoning, as food tends to lose flavor when cold.

 

GRILLED FRANKS’N’BEANS
Makes about 6 cups beans

Sure, you can buy canned baked beans, but these are sparkler-dazzling. Also, you probably have most of the condiments in the recipe lurking in your pantry already. Make them a couple of days in advance and reheat them in a cast iron skillet or a disposable foil pan right on your grill when you’re ready to serve. Add a little water to the beans if you need to loosen the sauce up a bit.
For the Beans
1 tablespoon lard or vegetable oil
2 slices smoked ham, cut into cubes
2 slices bacon, chopped
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
6 tablespoons molasses
1 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons brown mustard
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup water
4 (15.5-ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
– Heat the lard over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or other large pot until shimmering. Add the ham and bacon and cook, stirring, until crisp and brown. Add the onion, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and brown sugar and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Whisk in the molasses, then the ketchup, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and water.

– Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and stir in the beans. Cook until the sauce is thickened and the beans are warmed through, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and adjust with vinegar and Worcestershire sauce, if desired.

For the Franks
Franks, of your choice
Hot dog buns
Brown mustard

– Grill the franks outdoors or cook them on a grill pan, or even a standard skillet with a pat of butter, until they’re nicely browned.  Place them in the buns and top them with baked beans and mustard.

L.A.-STYLE BACON-WRAPPED HOT DOGS
Serves 6

I can’t get enough of this recipe. My soon-to-be sister Whitney took me to downtown L.A. years ago and introduced me to these hot dogs. They were cooked on a bunsen burner on a sheet tray, right there in the middle of a busy street. There was a huge bowl of fresh guacamole on a cooler in the front, surrounded by bottled Jarritos sodas. Bacon-wrapped, grilled, topped with charred onions and jalapeños, and topped with creamy guacamole, you’ll have a line of customers at your own grill. Oh, and, yeah, there are chicharrones in the guacamole.

For the Hot Dogs and Jalapeño-Onion Topping
6 jalapeño peppers
Vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 hot dog sausages
¼ cup cornstarch
6 slices bacon
6 hot dog buns
Mayonnaise, for serving

– Set a grill or grill pan to high. If using a grill, set a large cast iron skillet on the grill to preheat. You can also use a grilling basket. Drizzle the jalapeños with oil and set them directly on the grill, if using. Season the onions with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.  Cook them in the preheated cast iron or on the grill pan, stirring occasionally, until caramelized. Transfer to a serving platter.

– Roll the sausages in cornstarch. Wrap 1 bacon slice around each sausage: the cornstarch will glue them together. Cook the hot dogs in the skillet until the bacon is crisped and browned.  Tuck the sausages into buns spread with mayo, and top with the onions and jalapeños. Serve with guacamole.

For the Guacamole
Makes about 3 cups

4 ripe avocados, pitted
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ yellow onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
Juice of 2 to 3 limes
Worcestershire sauce
Pork cracklings, crushed

– Scoop the avocado flesh into a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Mash with a potato masher or a large fork to desired consistency. With a rubber spatula, fold in the onion, jalapeño, garlic, and cilantro. Stir in the lime juice and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Adjust seasonings, top with the cracklings, and serve.

ITALIAN SAUSAGE AND PEPPERS
Serves 4

4 bell peppers in assorted colors, seeded and sliced
1 large onion, sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
4 fresh Italian sausages
4 sturdy rolls, split in half

– Set a grill or grill pan to high. If using a grill, set a large cast iron skillet on the grill to preheat. You can also use a grilling basket. Toss the peppers and onions together in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.  Cook them in the preheated cast iron or on the grill pan, stirring occasionally, until caramelized. Transfer to a serving platter.

– Poke the sausages a few times with a fork and lightly coat with oil. Grill until lightly charred and cooked through. Transfer them to a cutting board and cut the sausages into thick slices.

– Brush the insides of the rolls with oil and grill them just long enough to toast.  Stuff the rolls with the peppers and onions and sausage. Serve with banana peppers and pickled vegetables if desired.

This was our tiny guest at the shoot: Paloma. Little but with a dinosaur appetite! Yes, this is a very kid-friendly post.

 

 

Father's DayFather's DayThis Father’s Day focus on spending time with your dad rather than slaving away in the kitchen.  It’s summer — time to get the grill out.  These beef skewers are easy to make, casual to serve, and completely satisfying, especially when paired with our chimichurri and homemade mayo.

It’s really a nonrecipe: start with good steak, like NY strip or ribeye. Upgrade with dry-aged steaks— a bit more expensive but extra-flavorful, just like a steakhouse. Cut the steak into 1 1/2-inch cubes and skewer them (if you’re using wooden skewers, remember to soak them for at least 15 minutes prior to using so they don’t burn on the grill), alternating with assorted mini-peppers and cipollini or pearl onions still in their skins. Season the skewers on all sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper and brush them with vegetable oil. Grill until nicely charred.

Serve them with grilled crusty rolls and a generous dose of chimichurri.

To make Homemade Mayo (it’s super-duper easy!) all you need do is whisk together 1 large egg yolk, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Very slowly, start whisking in 1 cup vegetable oil. Whisk, whisk, whisk, and voilá! MAYONNAISE! It really is superb, but, of course, we are very partial to Hellman’s :)

 

It’s Friday, and I’m going out. Although I don’t suffer from hangovers (knock on wood), I’m always thirsty for a Bloody on the weekends (with gin, please).

There are quite a few ingredients in this drink, so I suggest making it today or tomorrow, before your headache strikes in the wee, too-sunshine-y, why-don’t-I-have-blackout-curtains? hours of the morning after your parranda. You won’t even have to get it together to go out to brunch.

(Ice + premade Bloody + straw) + 10 (water + Advil) = Good morning

CLASSIC BLOODY MARY
A special sneak peek from our upcoming book, Summer Cocktails

Serves 1

Hangovers happen, and cures for them have been peddled and promoted for as long as the perpetrator has existed. Magic cures, potions, rituals, whatever the antidote is purported to be, the Bloody Mary has withstood the test of time as the companion to that morning misery. This Bloody is a stepping stone: add and subtract condiments to suit your palate.

 

For the Salt Rim
2 tablespoons coarse salt, such as kosher or Maldon salt, crushed
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon celery salt, optional
Finely grated zest of half a lime, lime half reserved

For the Cocktail
¾ cup V8, chilled
2 tablespoons clam juice, chilled
2 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish*
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons hot sauce
2 ounces gin or vodka
Ice cubes
Celery stalk, for garnish
Pimento-stuffed olives or Picholine olives for garnish
Beer chaser, optional

In a small saucer, combine salt, pepper, celery salt, and lime zest, rubbing zest into mixture with fingertips. Cut the lime half in two to make wedges, and run one along the rim of a chilled highball glass to dampen. Dip rim into salt mixture and reserve.

In a shaker, combine all ingredients and stir to combine. Adjust flavor with condiments to taste. Serve in an ice-filled highball glass and garnish with celery stalks and olives.

QUIT HORSING AROUND:
Freshly grated horseradish will be much sharper than prepared. If you’re unfamiliar with horseradish in general, think about eating wasabi or strong mustard. The nasal passage clearing effects are the same. The prepared version that you find in the refrigerated section of the supermarket will do in a pinch, but it will require a significant amount more to reach the heat level of the fresh root. Also, horseradish oxidizes quickly; don’t let it sit out once it’s grated.

AN INTERESTING THING:
There is some debate as to whether the original Bloody Mary was made with gin or with vodka. Allegedly, a Bloody made with gin is called a Red Snapper, but the famous King Cole Bar a the swank St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan claims the fishy moniker was the original name for the Bloody Mary, made with the usual vodka. Use and call it whatever you like — it won’t matter after a couple.

I always feel like I need to bring something to a party, aside from my sparkling personality. I’m a cook and a stylist, and it just wouldn’t do for me to show up empty-handed, or worse yet, with a store-bought dessert. Sometimes, I bring booze. When I do, I start stuttering through a series of excuses, “Oh! It’s been madness! All of this travel! I’m never home anymore! I…etc.etc.etc.” Ultimately, I’m sure no one cares, but I feel dreadful.

Enter this dessert. It’s one of those Key lime pie recipes that you can find in the Wild West that is the Internet, or even on the side panel of a box of Grahams or a tin of sweetened condensed milk. You can make this thing blindfolded, even those of you who proclaim themselves non-bakers. AND! While there is a crust recipe here, go ahead, get one of those ready-made things if you want.

Top this tart with the most seasonal fruits you can find, like raspberries and plums, and not only will this be a refreshing and delicious dessert, it’ll look very “wow!”

KEY LIME FRUIT TART

Makes 1 (9-inch) tart, serving 8

IF YOU’RE MAKING YOUR OWN CRUST:
1 ¾ cups Graham cracker crumbs
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

– Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl with a rubber spatula, then scrape into a 9-inch round pie plate. Press crumbs into bottom and up sides of plate.

– Bake until golden, 7 to 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack and reserve.

WHILE THE CRUST IS COOLING, MAKE THE FILLING and TOPPING
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened*
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest
Pinch salt
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, from about 12 limes
3 cups assorted fruits, such as berries and sliced peaches, plums, and nectarines

– With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese in a large bowl until light and fluffy. With machine running, gradually beat in condensed milk, lime zest, and salt. Slowly add the lime juice and beat just until mixture is combined.

– With a rubber spatula, scrape mixture into prepared pie shell. Top with fruits and refrigerate until chilled and set, about 2 hours. Serve.

*SOFT AND SUPPLE: Don’t try to beat this cream cheese when it’s cold: you’ll wind up with a filling that’s lumpy, like cottage cheese. If you’re in a rush and don’t want to wait for the cheese to come to room temperature, buy cream cheese in the carton with the foil wrapper on the cheese. Massage the cheese while still wrapped.

LobsterJust because we were working 16-hour days in the hot sun shooting our book for a week…Just because we were in a house full of insomniac women who slept on average 4 hours a night…Just because there was no amount of Tiger Balm and groaning that would relieve our sciatic torture and tingling appendages…Just because we didn’t wash our hair or shave our legs for a week…Just because we looked like Medusa’s less-attractive sister after a binge and a street fight…DOES NOT MEAN WE DID NOT EAT LIKE CIVILIZED LADIES EVERY SINGLE DAY.

That’s right. We may not have looked beautiful, but our food did, and oh! just wait until you see Summer Cocktails.

We ate most of the set food, and took advantage of the grill, breezy evenings, and as much of the fresh produce, local seafood, wine, and spirits from the North Fork’s farms, vineyards, and distilleries as we could.

This is one of the recipes we made (twice!). Note that while lengthy, there are several tips for preparing components a day in advance.

Happy summer!

Lobster

 

LobsterGRILLED LOBSTER with CREAMY GRILLED CORN AND POTATO SALAD
Makes 4 generous portions

FOR THE SALAD

MAKE THE DRESSING: You can do it a day ahead
You’ll need
12 fresh curry leaves
½ cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons masala powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Cholula, Valentina, or Chipotle Tabasco hot sauce (or more to taste)
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
½ cup cilantro leaves and thin stems, chopped
2 scallions, chopped
Finely grated zest and juice of 2 limes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

– Cook curry leaves in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until toasted and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and crush with fingers.

– Melt 2 tablespoons of the mayonnaise in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add masala and cumin and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Scrape into bowl with curry leaves.

– Whisk in remaining ingredients and adjust seasonings to taste with condiments, salt, and pepper.

INGREDIENT NOTES: Fresh curry leaves taste nothing like curry powder. They are smoky and fragrant, adding a unique backbone of flavor to numerous Indian dishes as well as this salad. Find them online, or at a store carrying Indian goods. If unavailable, proceed with recipe, but do try them at some point. Masal powder should be easy to find in the spice aisle of the supermarket. Try the international aisles if you’re having trouble, or go to http://www.Kalustyans.com

PREP THE POTATOES: Get them grill-ready up to 24 hours in advance
24 ounces small new potatoes (red or yellow jackets), scrubbed and cut into ½-inch thick slices, or halved if very small
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

– Place potatoes in medium microwave-proof bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Toss with hands to combine.

– Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and microwave until potatoes are tender, about 8 minutes, stopping halfway through to toss and redistribute potatoes. Be sure to do this with a dish rag or oven mitts as bowl will be hot.

– Carefully remove plastic from bowl, keeping face away to prevent any steam burns.  Reserve until ready for grilling.

NOTE: If boiling potatoes, scrub them but don’t slice them. Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water, adding ¼ cup salt to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, and, when cool enough to handle, slice into ½-inch-thick slices, drizzle with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Proceed with recipe.

FOR THE CORN
4 ears corn, shucked
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt

– Heat grill to high and with grill scraper and brush, clean grates.  Brush corn with oil and season with salt. Grill corn until charred in spots, rotating with grill tongs every 2 minutes. Transfer to wide bowl.

BRING OUT THE POTATOES: Once corn is off grill, carefully transfer potatoes with a slotted metal spatula or spoon in a single layer on the grill. There might be a few flare-ups when the oil drips onto the heat source, so do use grill-appropriate tools with long handles. Grill potatoes until marked, about 3 minutes per side, then transfer to a large bowl and cover to keep warm.

GRILL SAFETY TIP: Always open the grill while standing beside, rather than in front of it. Grill temperatures can soar beyond 500°F when closed and, especially with gas grills, when opened, heat rages out, just like infernal breath from a dragon’s mouth.

When cool enough to handle, hold corn by pointy end in a wide bowl or pie plate and, with a sharp chef’s knife, scrape off kernels by running blade firmly against the cob. Discard cob and repeat with remaining ears.

CLICK FOR A HOW-TO ON COOKING CRUSTACEANS
For this recipe you’ll need:
3 (1 ½- to 2-pound) lobsters
We were at the beach, and, if you are too, cook them in a pot of ocean water for impossibly tender, well-seasoned meat! Otherwise:
Cook lobster in a large pot of water and
½ cup salt

– Cook lobsters for 8 minutes and allow to sit for 5 minutes before you get cracking. Rinse them under cold water as some scum will inevitably have collected.

– Once the lobsters are cooked and you’ve picked out all the meat (it doesn’t matter if you have irregular bits here and there), brush it with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and grill them until bright red and marked, about 2 minutes per side. While grilling, if you like, add 6 scallions, scrubbed and brushed with oil,  and 4 jalapeño peppers, scrubbed and brushed with oil, to the fire. Cook them until well charred, chop, and add to salad.

IT’S TIME TO EAT
You’ll need:
1 head Boston/Bibb lettuce, washed and dried
1 bunch radishes, scrubbed and sliced
1 cup cilantro
Lime wedges

– Whisk salad dressing to recombine. Combine potatoes, corn, scallions, and jalapeños (if using) in a large bowl. Drizzle salad dressing over mixture a bit at a time, stirring gently with a rubber spatula to evenly coat. Add more dressing as needed. Stir in radishes.

– Use lettuce leaves as wraps and fill with potato salad and lobster. Garnish with cilantro and serve with lime wedges. And remember, always have Maldon or other flaky salt at the table for your guests!

Lemonade

Lemonade

Lemonade

Lemonade

BREAKING NEWS: We’re working on our second book!  Even as “Winter Cocktails” was enjoying its moment in the sun (or snow, rather), its summer mate was already being thought about. And drunk about.

Expect boozed up iced teas, milkshakes, and granitas, as well as classic cocktails and antidotes for those raucous summer nights we all indulge in.

Have a taste! This is one of the recipes in progress (much better than what that kid down the block is peddling).

AND! If you have any suggestions for the name, do tell. We’ll send you an autographed copy of the book when it’s out.

AS YET NAMELESS COCKTAIL
Makes 4 (about 4-ounce drinks)
4 ounces (1/2 cup) freshly squeezed lemon juice, from about 6 lemons
4 ounces (1/2 cup) demerara simple syrup*
6 tablespoons hibiscus tea*
4 ounces (1/2 cup) pisco
2 ounces (1/4 cup) Lillet blanc
2 ounces (1/4 cup) St. Germain elederflower liqueur
Ice cubes

– Combine all ingredients in a shaker (we sometimes use a mason jar) and shake vigorously. Strain into an ice-filled glass and garnish with a lemon twist, if desired.

– Cheers!

Be sure to follow the “Summer” girls on Instagram for behind-the-scenes #summercocktailsbook and for our usual shenanigans and wacky hijinks!
@tstriano @sacasastylist @misspaloma @emilyrickardstylist

Expect “Summer Cocktails” (Quirk Books) next year.

*For the demerara simple syrup: Combine 1 cup demerara sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar has dissolved entirely. Remove saucepan from heat and cool syrup completely. Syrup may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Yield: About 2 cups.
*Dried hibiscus flowers (or flor de jamaica) can be found in many specialty stores and also in the Latin American aisle of many supermarkets. Alternatively, order online or substitute with sachets of hibiscus tea. I like to use a 2-to-1 ratio of water to flowers. Bring the mixture to a boil, allow to steep off the heat for 30 minutes, then strain through a sieve and discard solids. Whatever amount you decide to make, store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

 

Guest Chef: Dean Sheremet

We spend a lot of time thinking of recipes and images to share with you on this blog, and sharing food, even if just virtually, is in effect the backbone not only of this blog, but the notion of food in general.

With that in mind, Cookin’ and Shootin’ will start introducing you to the chefs, creatives, and food lovers that inspire us (and sometimes, feed us!).

We start what will hopefully begin a delicious series with Dean Sheremet, fellow FCI graduate (ahem, we both graduated top of the class – just saying), Nobu and Jean-Georges alum, culinary TV presenter, and pal. This end-of-summer biyaldi, layered with vegetables, is a warm, deeply flavored, and robust dish that will bridge the gap between the seasons.

The recipe follows, as do details on where you can find Dean on social media, so be sure to add him to your list of people to follow. Lastly, a little Q&A, based on the ever-entertaining Proust questionnaire.

Cooking background: French Culinary Institute class of 2010, Nobu, Jean-Georges

Currently: TV projects, writing, recipe developing

What is your idea of perfect happiness, were it food? Any meal shared with friends.
And wine.

What is your greatest food fear? (Insert flashback) Not having mise ready at service.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself as a chef?  In the heat of service, I can be very stringent.

What is the trait you most deplore in fellow cooks? Laziness and lack of accountability.

What is your greatest food extravagance? The time I went to the French Laundry, and I wanted to experience everything. I couldn’t turn down the bread, and 21 courses later, I literally felt like I was going to throw up.

What is your favorite food journey? I’m still on it.

On what occasion do you lie in the kitchen?  I sometimes gloss over ingredients that I put in food that they may not eat. (Apologies to my vegetarian friends – read: duck fat).

What do you dislike most in a food’s appearance? I hate dead herbs on a plate. Or herbs on the rim of a plate. Actually, just any misguided herbs.

Which living chef do you despise the most? It’s more a quality than a person: Egotism.

What is your greatest food regret? Sending out overcooked salmon. Sorry, table 56.

What or who is the greatest culinary love of your life? Doing prep – it’s when I feel at peace.

When and where were you happiest cooking? Cooking on the line at JG, at a really high level, and cooking without fear.

What is the cooking talent you would most like to have? Patience.

What is your current state of mind? Restless.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I have a hard time letting go.

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be? I’d have my grandmother back on this earth.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Work ethic.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Working brunch.

What is the quality you most like in a man? Trustworthiness.

What is the quality you most like in a woman? Wit.

What do you most  value in your friends? Knowing they  have my back no matter what.

Favorite hero of fiction? Sherlock Holmes.

Who are your heroes in real life?  My grandmother.

What is it that you most dislike? Ignorance.

How would you like to die? Happy.

What is your motto?  Memento mori.

Ingredients

Mixing and Tasting

Assembly Time

Baked & Ready to Eat

END-OF-SUMMER BIYALDI

Serves 6 to 8

For the Orange Braised Fennel

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½  yellow onion, finely chopped
1 small fennel head, core removed and
Sliced thin
Finely grated zest plus 1/3 cup juice (from 1 orange)
¼ cup Sauvignon Blanc
1 cup ricotta cheese (your choice of skim or full-fat)

Heat the oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the orange zest and juice and white wine and cook until the liquid has almost evaporated, another 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Stir in the ricotta.

For Eggplant Purée

3 Japanese eggplant, diced (about 1 ½ cups)
½  yellow onion, finely chopped
Salt
3 garlic cloves, finely grated
Pinch of Aleppo or cayenne pepper
1/3 cup store-bought tomato sauce of your choice
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the eggplant, onion, and a bit of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is golden brown and onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the tomato sauce and scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Set aside to cool slightly, then stir in the vinegar and Aleppo pepper and pulse it in a food processor just until chunky. Season with salt and set aside.

For the Biyaldi and Assembly

2 small Japanese eggplant, sliced thinly lengthwise (ideally on a mandolin)
Olive oil
2 Gold Bar yellow squash, sliced thinly lengthwise (ideally on a mandolin)
Salt
1 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
½ cup plain panko
1 rosemary sprig, chopped (about 2 teaspoons)
½ cup store-bought tomato sauce

– Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

– Toss the eggplant with just enough oil to coat, and arrange the slices in a single layer on one of the prepared baking sheets. Roast the eggplant until golden and soft, about 10 minutes.

– While the eggplant is roasting, arrange the squash in a single layer over a few clean kitchen towels and season liberally with salt, after about 10 minutes, wipe them dry of any moisture and excess salt.

– Grease a 13- by 9-inch casserole with olive oil. Spread the bottom of the dish with tomato sauce. Arrange half of the sliced eggplant to the bottom of the dish, gently overlapping the slices. Dollop and gently spread, first, with some of the braised fennel, then with some of the eggplant purée. Top with a layer of squash slices, then repeat procedure with remaining ingredients.

– Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Combine the cheese and panko in a small bowl; drizzle enough olive oil to moisten the mixture. Remove the foil and sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs. Place under the broiler until the cheese starts to melt and the breadcrumbs gently brown

– Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Find Dean’s recipes at www.deansheremet.com and follow him on Twitter (@deansheremet.com) and Instagram deansheremet

And of course, you can find us cavorting on Instagram as well @tstriano and @sacasastylist

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