About Me

I'm happiest when the food I make becomes a backdrop to a lively conversation. When I'm not cooking, I'm traveling or dreaming about travel. Come sit with me, and enjoy! Read more here.

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Monday
Jul212008

bordeaux: the festival

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Nestled in between 117,000 hectares of vineyards, the city of Bordeaux has the kind of sophistication you might expect from one of the great wine capitals of the world. It streams opera music in its public parking lots, its cafes bustle with students from 22 colleges, and it boasts a modern public tram that transports its million-plus inhabitants.

But when it comes to its annual wine festival, the city unveils an old-fashioned, country charm with rustic breads and cheeses, folk dance, and barrel racing.

When Paul and I arrived, we pulled our wine glasses from our red "Fete le Vin" cases and nestled up to our first booth for a taste.

The breeze from the Garonne river swept up and cooled our faces from the hot sun. Around us, young boys bounced soccer balls on their heads, and Quebec country dancers sporting black cowboy hats prepared for an afternoon show.

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A young woman with blond curly hair appeared and welcomed us with a smile. She offered to extend our coupons -- instead of two tastes per coupon, she would give us four at half the amount.

We happily agreed. She placed our wine glasses on a color-coded paper map of the region and started pouring a Chateau Barrabaque 2002 Fronsac.

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We rolled the strong but mellow red over our tongues while staring at the paper map of the Fronsac region, thrilled that we were drinking a wine made so close by.

After more tastings and a lot of people watching, we stopped midday to snack on the Bordeaux version of street food: salami and cheese out of paper cones. The freshly-sliced salami was rustic and fatty, providing a perfect flavor balance to the tannic reds we were drinking.

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We slurped our way through several of the 57 appellations of the region, knowing that, with the 9,000 wine-producing châteaux the region had to offer, we couldn't possibly taste them all.

Still, trying just a fraction was an extraordinary experience; and we couldn't wait to tell our friends all about it. We were staying with a group in a rented Dordogne house. We knew we better bring back some good wine so we strolled into the city center and found a small wine shop.

We told the owner that we wanted several bottles and could pay about 15 - 20 euros per bottle. He moved quickly through the store, grabbing bottle after bottle. At one point he paused. "Are you sure you don't mind another Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classe?"

"Please, not at all." He loaded us up with six Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classes and another six bottles from other appellations.

We drove back to our rented house, picked out a Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classe from Domaine de Peyrelongue winery, and poured a round of glasses. The wine was so complex, deep in flavor, and yet mellow that it seemed to have its own presence in the room. When we finished the bottle, our friend, Karl, placed it on the kitchen shelf and said that this was the wine to beat for the week.

Our group drank some terrific wines that week, but we never did find another bottle as tasty as that one. However, later that week, Karl and his wife, Valerie, phoned the winery on a whim and got a 45-minute tour with the affable owner Olivier Cassat, giving them the great story of the day.

We all had memorable experiences that week, but it was our little side trip to Bordeaux and that breezy afternoon festival that stuck with me most. The country charm we experienced that day and the great wines we tasted made me fall in love France all over again.

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Grand Conseil du Vin de Bordeaux invited the international Commanderies of Bordeaux and other wine brotherhoods to be part of the ceremonies.

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Organized by the Lussac Saint Emilion Club, this barrel-rolling contest blended sport with fun.

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Saturday
Jul122008

croque madame: therapy for the paris-deprived

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I have no problem with the cliché that Paris is the city of intertwined couples, art that will move you to tears, and food that you'll never want to stop eating. I happily embrace it. The only problem is that every time I go, I have the time of my life, discover myself anew, and then come home utterly depressed.

Could it be the city's markets filled with local cheeses and chickens with their heads still on? Or the quaint bistro in the 17th arrondissement that serves a casserole-size terrine of pate as an appetizer? Or maybe it’s biting into a croque madame served with a near liquid egg on top.

Sadly, it’s all those things, which is why when I returned last week to my frozen lunches at the office, I had an existential crisis the size of Paul Bocuse's chef's whites.

After moping for several days, I invented my own therapy: the Recreate What You Ate (RWYA) therapy. The premise is simple: 'if you can't order it, make it.'

When I thought about what I had enjoyed the most, my mind raced back to the croque madame we had at Cafe de la Mairie in the sixth arrondissement across from the Saint Sulpice.

The cafe, which is a hangout for writers and publishers and was a favorite haunt of the late French author Georges Perec, served us a croque madame made with a single slice of bread from the French master baker Lionel Poilane and topped with thin slices of smoked ham, Gruyere, and a glistening, barely-cooked egg. When we broke the yolk, the liquid spilled out onto the plate, moistening the toasted bread.

Here it is, at Cafe de la Mairie:

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While researching this dish, I tried a version made with two slices of bread and bechamel sauce. The classic butter and milk sauce is essential to provide enough moisture if you're squeamish about semi-cooked yolks, but I loved the simplicity of the Cafe de la Mairie version with the one wet yolk moistening the bread.

Here's my creation (serves two):

Croque Madame

2 slices pain de campagne*
2 slices of applewood smoked ham
Enough Gruyere to cover each slice of bread
2 eggs
Butter (about 3-4 tablespoons depending on the size of the bread)
Salt
Pepper
1 tomato

Place the oven rack about 10 inches from broiler. Turn the broiler on high. Butter each slice of bread. Place one slice of ham on each slice of bread. Layer each slice with Gruyere cheese. Broil for about 4 minutes.

Heat a nonstick pan over a medium flame. Coat the pan with about a tablespoon of melted butter. Crack each egg into the pan gently, so the yolk doesn’t break. Cover the pan for one minute. Uncover, and cook for two more minutes. Slide each egg on top of each slice of bread. Season the egg with salt and pepper. Garnish with tomato slices. To make it a full meal, serve with a lightly-dressed green salad.

*Pain de campagne, or "country bread," is typically a large round loaf made from a natural leavening that is similar to American sourdough but not as sour.

 

Sunday
Jun222008

sicilian peperonata in agrodolce

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There are many versions of the classic Italian dish 'peperonata' but the core ingredients are sweet bell peppers and onion. Other ingredients can include capers, olives, tomato, and mint.

I made this agrodolce (vinegar and sugar) version from Eleonora Consoli, a recognized authority on Sicilian cuisine, as a side dish to accompany salami and provolone timpano. The dish, adapted from FXcuisine.com, provides the perfect, sweet and sour balance to the rich, savory timpano.

François-Xavier, of FXcuisine.com, has a terrific blog posting on this. He writes that after years of studying Sicilian cookery, he finally visited the island and arranged a cooking lesson with Eleonora. "Mrs. Consoli received me in her huge Mediterranean kitchen in her home on the slopes of Mount Etna... you'll see how Sicilian mamas prepare sweet and sour peppers, a very typical course on the island, with a heavy Arabic influence."

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One of François-Xavier's many great photos of Eleonora in her kitchen.

I would love to one day meet and cook with Eleonora. She still offers cooking classes in an 18th century Sicilian house in an area known for orange and lemon groves. It's easy to dream about while making this dish.

Peperonata in agrodolce

Serves 12 as a side dish

12 bell peppers (4 green, 4 yellow, 4 red)
3 large onion
1 cup or more (to taste) of red wine vinegar
3/4 cup pinenuts
3/4 cup raisins
3 tbsp sugar
1 cup mint leaves, washed and torn

Wash, stem, and seed the peppers.

Peppers

Cut the peppers into 1-inch squares.

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Peel the onions and slice them thinly. Pour 3 tbsp olive oil in a dutch oven and add the onion and peppers.

Cook on a medium-high flame for 30 - 40 minutes.

Add the pine nuts and raisins.

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Pour in the red wine vinegar and the sugar and cover. Let it cook on a low flame until the peppers are soft, about 12 minutes.

Shred the fresh mint leaves by hand and add them to the cooked peperonata.

Pour onto the serving platter, cover, and set aside until dinner is ready. This dish is usually served lukewarm.

peperonata in agrodulce

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Sunday
Jun152008

paul's 'big night' timpano

Seven years after the Italian-themed movie 'Big Night' solidified our romance, we bring the movie's star dish - timpano - to life

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I noticed him right away while browsing an online dating site. His picture showed an athletic-looking man in his early 40s wearing a black T-shirt tucked into his jeans standing under an avocado tree on a bright, sunny day.

His profile read: “I love life, ideas, people with big hearts. I write. I paint. I am a jazz musician in addition to being a business consultant... I like Picasso, Diebenkorn, Mozart, Stravinsky, M.F.K. Fisher, Strunk & White, garlic and olive oil... I don't want to be the answer to my lover's life – I want to be the one with whom she finds the right questions.”

I knew I had to meet him.

I lived in Trinidad and Tobago, where I was working as a wire service reporter. He lived in Los Angeles.

I barely remember what I wrote in the e-mail introducing myself (other than to point out the obvious -- that I liked great food and jazz too). To my surprise, he wrote back. Our e-mails grew lengthier and more numerous, until we finally decided it was time to talk.

We set up a phone date, and agreed to treat it like a real date. I showered. He shaved. And we each poured a glass of wine before the call.

The call was schedule for 11 p.m. my time, 8 p.m. his time. The phone rang right at 11 p.m.

I took a gulp of wine. “Hello?”

I was nervous, but his voice, which had a playful, energetic quality, put me at ease.

The call lasted four hours. By the time we finally had to say goodbye, we were whispering.

That conversation led to hundreds more; first we would talk once a day, and then every morning and every night.

During one call, Paul said, “I love you,” and I said it back. We knew that the phrase meant what it meant at that moment and that there was a chance that the physical chemistry wouldn’t work. But we were willing to take that chance.

Two months after the daily phone calls and 'whisper dates,' Paul booked a flight to Port-of-Spain. I stood by the gate at the shabby, dimly-lit airport for more than an hour wearing tight, short, black pants; an elegant white button down top; and Mary Jane style high heels.

I waited, nervously shifting from one foot to the next. I had nothing to lose. We had already figured we would be great friends if it didn’t work out physically. He had even offered to sleep elsewhere, but I said that wasn’t necessary. If things didn't work, he could always sleep on the couch.

After what seemed like an eternity, he appeared through the doors. He wore a green, v-neck sweater, jeans, and black boots. He was overdressed for the Caribbean but very handsome. He spotted me right away and held my eyes as he walked toward me. Without speaking, he put his hand on my lower back, pulled me into him, and kissed me briefly on the mouth.

“Hi,” he said, smiling.

“Hi,” I said back, still locked in his embrace.

After hearing his voice for so long, seeing him in person was like suddenly putting on a pair of 3-D goggles at the movie theater. It was revealing and exciting and overwhelming all at once. We packed his suitcase into my car and we drove toward the sprawling city of Port-of-Spain with the windows open to the humid, Caribbean night air. As I steered onto the highway, he put his hand on my thigh, just high enough above the knee to show his desire, but low enough to be polite.

When we settled into my apartment, he unpacked three bottles of red wine, a few of my favorite magazines (Atlantic Monthly and Harpers), a Johnny Hartman and John Coltrane CD, and a DVD of the movie, ‘Big Night.'

We spent the first two nights adjusting our 3-D goggles into a real, cohesive vision and demonstrating that our physical chemistry would match up quite nicely to our telephone proclamations.

On the third night, we watched ‘Big Night.' We laughed harder than we needed to. The themes of family, authenticity, love, sacrifice, and great food, affirmed a set of values that would define our lives together.

That weekend in Trinidad led to our engagement to be married and our eventual move to the Washington, D.C. area, where Paul is from originally.

On the second night at our new apartment, which was empty save for a futon and a steaming hot carton of General Tsao Chicken, we watched 'Big Night' again on Paul's laptop. We laughed just as hard, and we knew once again that we had made the right decision.

Seven years later, as a gift for Paul’s 49th birthday, I recreated the dish that the movie made famous. Timpano, a deep-dish pie that includes layers of pasta, salami, provolone, meatballs, egg, and tomato sauce, reminded us of the time we first met and how the themes of abundance, appetite, and love still define us.

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Timpano

This recipe is inspired by the recipe in the book "Cucina & Famiglia: Two Italian Families Share Their Stories, Recipes, And Traditions" and adapted with a bechamel sauce, a variation on the tomato sauce, and Mario Batali meatballs.

Dough

4 cups flour
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
Butter
Olive oil
1/2 cup water, divided

Filling

2 cups Genoa salami, sliced from the whole salami at 1/4 inch, and then cut into 1/2 –inch sticks
2 cups Provolone cheese (aged 12 months), sliced at 1/4 inch and then cut into 1/2-inch sticks
12 soft-boiled eggs, shelled, halved lengthwise
2 cups meatballs (recipe follows)
4 cups meat-based tomato sauce (recipe follows)
2 cups béchamel sauce
12 cups cooked ziti (cooked the time on the package minus 2 – 3 minutes)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese

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Cook the pasta until just slightly undercooked, drain, and immediately cool with ice cubes and cold water.

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Transfer to a bowl and mix with olive oil.

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To make the dough, place flour, eggs, salt and olive oil in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook or a large capacity food processor. Add 3 tablespoons water and process. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, up to 1/2 cup, until mixture comes together and forms a ball. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead to make sure it is well mixed. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes.

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Flatten dough on a lightly floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough with flour and roll it out, dusting with flour and flipping the dough over from time to time, until it is 1/16-inch thick and is the desired diameter.

Generously grease the timpano baking pan with butter and olive oil. Fold the dough in half and then in half again, to form a triangle, and place it in the pan. Open the dough and arrange it in the pan, gently pressing it against the bottom and the sides, draping the extra dough over the sides. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

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Timpano was historically cooked in enamel wash basins. I hunted around and finally found this 14-inch enamel basin from Kolorful Kitchen.

Bechamel sauce (makes about two cups)

2-1/2 cups milk
1 shallot with 1 bay leaf stuck to it using 1 – 2 whole cloves
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Combine the milk, shallot, and nutmeg in a saucepan over low heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes, uncovered, to infuse the flavor into the milk. Discard the shallot, bay leaf, and cloves.

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Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a medium, heavy saucepan over low heat. Stir in 4 tablespoons all-purposed flour.

Cook uncovered stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon or spatula, over medium-low heat until the roux is fragrant but not darkened, 2 – 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and slowly mix in the milk, about 1/2 cup at a time. Turn the heat back on and simmer 8 – 10 minutes. Do not boil. Season with salt and pepper.

Meatballs (make in advance)

3 cups day old bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
1-1/4 lbs ground beef
3 eggs, beaten
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup grated pecorino cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
1/4 cup pine nuts, baked for 8 minutes in a 400 degree oven
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2-1/2 cups basic tomato sauce (3/4 cup tomato paste, 1 cup water, 2 cups tomato sauce cooked together for about ten minutes)

In a shallow bowl, soak the bread cubes in water to cover for a minute or two. Drain the bread cubes and squeeze with your fingers to press out the excess moisture (make sure you do this well). In a large bowl, combine the bread cubes, beef, eggs, garlic, pecorino, parsley, toasted pine nuts, salt and pepper, and mix with your hands to incorporate.

With wet hands, form the mixture into 12-15 meatballs, each smaller than a tennis ball, but larger than a golf ball. In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until almost smoking.

Add the meatballs and, working in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pan, cook until deep golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook all the meatballs for 30 minutes.

Set aside the meatballs and allow to cool. Save the sauce for another use.

Meat-based tomato sauce (make in advance)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb boneless beef chuck, cut into chunks
salt
fresh ground black pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup dry red wine
2 (28 ounce) cans peeled plum tomatoes, with juice, passed through a food mill (if you don't have a food mill, push the tomatoes through a medium-mesh strainer with a wooden spoon)
1/2 lb mild Italian sausage
1 pinch hot red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon chopped oregano leaves

Warm olive oil in a Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Brown beef on all sides, about 10 minutes.

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Remove from Dutch oven and set aside on a plate. Stir onions and garlic into pot. Reduce heat to low and cook 5 minutes until onions begin to soften.

Add the wine, browned meat chunks, tomatoes, sausages, and pepper flakes and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook 2.5 hours, stirring occasionally and skimming off the fat as necessary. Remove from the heat and remove meat and sausages from sauce. Cover well and save for another meal.

Assembly

Have salami, provolone, soft-boiled eggs, meatballs, and tomato sauce at room temperature. Toss 6 cups of the drained pasta with 2 cups of the tomato sauce.

Distribute 6 cups of the pasta on the bottom of the timpano. Top with 1 cup salami and 1 cup provolone.

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Add 6 soft-boiled eggs and 1 cup meatballs.

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Add 3/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese. Pour about 1 cup tomato sauce over these ingredients.

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Mix another 6 cups of pasta with the béchamel sauce and pour it over top of the layer of Pecorino Romano and tomato sauce.

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Top with 1 cup salami, 1 cup provolone, 6 soft-boiled eggs, 1 cup meatballs, and 1/3 cup Pecorino Romano cheese.

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Pour any remaining tomato sauce over these ingredients. Fold the dough over the filling to seal completely. Trim away and discard any double layers of dough.

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If there's not quite enough to cover the top, take the trimmed dough pieces, form a ball, and roll it out to form a 'lid' to cover.

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Bake about 1 hour until lightly browned. Then cover with aluminum foil and bake about 30 minutes until timpano is cooked through and dough is golden brown. Remove from oven and let rest for 30 or more minutes. (Depending on the timing of the evening, you can let it rest for up to an hour or more with the foil on; it stays nice and hot.)

About 20 minutes before serving, grab the timpano pan firmly and invert it onto a serving platter. (We put the platter upside-down on top of the timpano and then inverted it.)

Remove pan and allow timpano to cool for 20 minutes longer. Using a long, sharp knife, cut a circle about 2-3 inches in diameter in the center of the timpano, making sure to cut all the way through to the bottom. Then slice the timpano as you would a pie into individual portions, leaving the center circle as a support for the remaining pieces. Since we were serving 11 people at one time, it helped to have a second person hold together the slices with a spatula to prevent the pieces from falling apart.

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Serve with peperonata in agrodolce from FXcuisine.com.

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Sunday
Jun012008

going fishing? try fish meuniere with capers

I had been planning a fishing trip to Alaska with my dad and brother when a small cut on my dad’s hand turned into a infection, sending him to the hospital. Thankfully, he was fine. But the trip was called off.

This was sad because the three of us had prepared for weeks. Both my dad and brother are great cooks and they had planned every dinner except one. For that dinner, Dad challenged me to make a delicious meal from our fresh catch of char or trout (char is in the trout family but tastes more like salmon). He gave me a list of ingredients he would have on hand and said I would need to cook on a propane burner or on the campfire.

I turned to the French for inspiration and found the classic recipe, fish meuniere (muh-NYAIR), which can be prepared in about 10 minutes. The bright flavors of lemon and capers accent the fish flavor beautifully and the brown butter adds a savory, satisfying element.

I didn’t get to go to Alaska, but found this great recipe, which Dad, who is better now, can make at home while planning for our next trip next year.

Fish Meuniere with Capers for Dad

Serves 2

2 8-ounce pieces of char (skin on is fine)
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper

Brown butter sauce

2 tablespoons butter
Juice from 1/2 lemon
As many capers as you want

Season the filets with salt and pepper and leave them sit for five minutes until the filets glisten with moisture (the salt will draw out the moisture). Julia Child recommends this technique so that the flour will coat the fish more evenly.

Dredge the filets in flour so they are thinly coated.

Melt the butter in a non-stick pan until it foams. Lay the fish, skin side up on the pan and cook on medium for 4 minutes. Flip the fish and cook for another 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover for an additional two minutes.

To make the brown butter sauce, heat the butter in a separate pan and cook until it turns to a nutty color. Turn off the heat and add lemon juice and capers.

Plate the fish and pour the sauce over the fish. Voila, fish meuniere!

This recipe is also great with trout.

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Saturday
May172008

no more crumby crab cakes


Many know Chef Michel Richard through his enormous coffee table cookbook “Happy in the Kitchen.” If you have the book, you also know that he’s a genius in food science and innovation.

I discovered Richard’s no-crumb crab cakes not from the elephant size book (you won’t find this recipe there) but at the St. Michaels Food and Wine Festival I attended on Maryland’s Eastern Shore a couple of weeks ago. The French-born chef uses scallops and unflavored gelatin to bind the crab cakes. His tartar sauce takes the dish a step further, brightening it with flavors of fresh ginger, chili, and leeks. Richard himself was unable to attend so he sent Cedric Maupillier, the (now former) executive chef of his Washington D.C. bistro ‘Central', to demonstrate this magic.

Meet Cedric:

Cedric Maupillier

Cedric Maupillier

Meet the crab cake he made, which demonstrates in its form and simplicity why he is Central's executive chef.

Cedric Maupillier crab cakes

The recipe Cedric handed out at the festival lacked a few details, so I have adapted it with a few tips you might find useful.

Hint: Try this tartare recipe with any fish. It's delicious!

Crab Cakes with Leek Tartare

1 pound jumbo lump crab meat
2 large scallops
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tsp mustard seed
1 package unflavored gelatin
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

For the tartare
2 ¾ pounds leeks (about 4), about 1 to 1 ½ inches in diameter
1 shallot, minced
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vineager
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
½ tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon chopped pickled ginger
2 tablespoons minced chives
3 drops Tabasco sauce
fine sea salt, or to taste
freshly ground black peper

In a blender, blend the scallops with the mayonnaise (if you chop the scallops first, a hand blender works fine). Dissolve the gelatin in two tablespoons of warm water. With a spoon, mix the scallop mixture and the gelatin together in a bowl with the crab meat very tenderly. Add the mustard seed and salt and pepper.

Roll out a sheet of plastic wrap and pour mixture in. Wrap the mixture so it forms a small (2-3 inch diameter) tube and twist and tuck the ends so it’s contained. Store in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

Make the tartare.

Cut off the dark green tops of the leeks and discard or set aside for another use. Cut off and discard the root ends. Cut each leek lengthwise in half. Place each half cut side down and slice crosswise into 1-inch pieces. You should have about 1 ½ cups of leeks.

Fill a large bowl with warm water and add the leeks. Using your hands, separate the layers of leeks, and swish them in the water; the sand and dirt will fall to the bottom of the bowl. Let stand briefly. Then, with your hands or a skimmer, lift the leeks from the water without disturbing the sediment that has settled to the bottom.

Set a steamer basket in a pot over simmering water. Place the leeks in the basket, cover, and steam for about 8 minutes, or until they are almost translucent. Spread the leeks evenly on the lined pan, and place in the refrigerator to cool quickly.

Chop the leeks until they are a thick, mushy consistency. Wring out all the water by using a double layer of cheesecloth (I used a chinoise and pressed out the water using a wooden spoon).

Combine the leeks, shallot, and olive oil in a medium bowl. Stir in the vinegar, followed by mustard, mayonnaise, sugar, ginger, chives, Tabasco, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

Remove the crab cake roll from the refrigerator. With a sharp knife, divide the tube into equal parts so each slice forms a crab cake (I like mine about an inch thick). Remove the plastic wrap.

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Make sure each cake is packed tightly (you may need to gently push in the sides). Brush the crab cakes with olive oil and sauté each side on a non-stick griddle until golden brown (about two minutes per side). I like using a griddle because you need to flip them gently and the griddle allows you to flip them closer to the surface.

Place the crab cakes on an oven-proof plate and cook in the oven for five minutes.

Serve with tartare sauce and a squeeze of lemon.