Turkey Hash for a Cold Morning

November 14, 2011

Does anyone in your house eat the dark meat of the turkey?  In my house, they don't.  Most of it goes into the soup pot, along with the naked carcass, but I always keep some back to make this wonderful hash.  This isn't really a recipe – just a thrown together breakfast that makes everyone really happy. One helpful suggestion:  try to remember to boil the potatoes the night before and put them in the refrigerator – cold potatoes are so much easier to grate. 

 Grate 3 or 4 boiled potatoes (Yukon or white – not Russets) on the coarsest holes of a box grater.

Saute a couple of diced onions in as much sweet butter as you feel comfortable with (anywhere from 2 tablespoons to a stick),  until they’re just fragrant and translucent.  (If you want this to be spicy, add a chopped chile to the mix.)  Add the grated potatoes and a big handful of diced cooked turkey, generously salt and pepper, and cook this, turning now and then, until it turns into a golden brown hash (about 20 minutes).  

 Divide into 3 or 4 portions and top each with a crisp-edged fried egg.  If you have a little leftover gravy (and/or cranberry sauce) to add to the plate, so much the better. 






My Spicy Tuscan Kale

November 5, 2011

This is one of my absolute go-to recipes.  It's great with a roast, or a piece of fish, but you can also toss it into pasta for a quick dinner. If you want to make a vegetarian version, replace the anchovies with a few good dollops of miso – it works really well.  And if you want a vegan version, omit the Parmesan (although it will not, in my opinion, be as good).  Want it spicer?  Throw in more chiles.  And if you have good homemade bread crumbs in your freezer (I always do), it will taste especially wonderful. 

Tuscan Kale

3 bunches Lacinato Kale, (about 3 pounds), stems and ribs discarded, leaves torn into large pieces and washed 

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

4 flat filet anchovies in olive oil, preferably jarred variety

3/4 teaspoon red chili flakes

2 medium onions, large dice, (about 2 cups)

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

½ cup toasted breadcrumbs


Bring 4-6 quarts of water and 1 teaspoon of salt to boil in a large pot. Plunge the kale into the water and cook for one minute. The color will become a vibrant green within this time. Remove the kale to a colander under cold running water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a medium-large skillet over medium heat and add the anchovies, pressing and stirring them into the oil until they disintegrate. Add the onions, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper, and stir over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes until they become translucent and soft. Add the kale to the onions along with the garlic and the last tablespoon of olive oil. Stir occasionally until everything comes together in a soft mass for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and toss with breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.


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The Easiest Apple Crisp

November 4, 2011

Ashmead’s Kernel is an ugly apple – more brown than golden, with a thick skin. But I like the way it tastes, and it gives something as simple as an apple crisp real character.  You could, of course, use any apple for this, but try it with one of the old heritage apples – Esopus Spitzenberg, Golden Russet, Arkansas Black or Calville Blanc d'Hiver are some favorites – and see what a fine experience an apple crisp can become.  

 Nothing could be simpler than an apple crisp. Simply layer peeled, sliced apples into a buttered pie plate or baking dish, toss them with lemon juice and top them with a mixture of flour, butter, sugar and salt.  I cut most of a stick of sweet butter into 2/3 cups of flour and 2/3 cups of brown sugar that have been enlivened with a dash of salt, and pat it over the top of 5 or so sliced apples.  The cooking time is forgiving; you can put it into a 350 oven and pretty much forget it for 45 minutes to an hour.  The juices should be bubbling a bit at the edges, the top should be crisp, golden and fragrant.  Serve it warm, with a pitcher of cream. 





November 1, 2011

My plane did not land until nine at night, and I was expecting a hungry evening. What a surprise, then, to walk out of my hotel, near ten o’clock, and find East Fourth Street packed with people, the restaurants jammed, the air alive with excitement.  This was not the vision I’d had. 

I turned into Lola, a dark, sexy little place, for a perfectly lovely dinner. Crisp oysters.  Plump pirogi filled with beef cheeks.  Tender slices of tongue on suave slices of mushroom. A rare ribeye ringed with smoked onions and accented with blue cheese. Hearty fare – but wonderful – and served with one terrific wine after another. 

But it was the Greenhouse Tavern, the following day, that really blew me away. Jonathon Sawyer has created a fascinating menu, totally his own, and three days later I’m still thinking about some of his dishes.  He steams clams in butter and foie gras, then tosses in a hit of vinegar. The result is an entirely original version of surf and turf, clams in a velvet sauce that will haunt my dreams until the next time that I have it. 

He serves pasta in softly melted squash with crisp little bits of duck skin skittering across the top.  He offers up a pouch of paper and then stabs it with a knife until fragrant steam comes pouring out. Inside: plump chunks of porcini and silken slices of matsutake tangled into fregola with lots of butter.

His hominy is fried into crisp little bits and mixed with pickled red onion and lime juice; it’s a kind of magic trick, turning a drab vegetable into spicy stoner food.  Jonathan’s pork chop is fantastic, and he’s got a way with beets. The food went on and on, ending with a  deconstructed caramel apple that turned a sad American classic into a delicately delicious dessert. 

Afterward I wandered through the West Side Market a Guastavino-tiled hall that has been serving Cleveland for 99 years.  It’s a vibrant place that reminded me more of the great markets of Europe than anyplace I’ve seen in America. Some of the purveyors have been there since the start, and they’re still turning out old-time, hand-made smoked meats and charcuterie that’s hard to find anywhere else. I arrived home with a suitcase filled with obscure German and Hungarian sausages – a fine way to remember Cleveland.