Wild Mushroom, Smoked Bacon & Comté Quiche

The old-fashioned quiche has been a bit forgotten. Not that it really ever went out of style in France and home cooks still do make them there but it’s regarded as rather ordinary. The ones to get though, are the high-crusted quiche with slightly crinkly top you buy by the slice in good bakeries. They’re excellent. When done right a quiche is the essence of luxury, again using the most common ingredients.  I’ve tried quite a few versions of quiche over the years and besides the classic quiche Lorraine which stars and co-stars ingredients from my favorite food group: smoked bacon, cheese, cream and eggs, this one with the addition of Comté, sauteed wild mushrooms and slightly caramelized onions might be my favorite of all.

When it comes to quiche I’m pretty partial to bacon. Smoked bacon to be exact and a touch of nutmeg. It’s what gives it its character. I’m so freaking hungry. Call me a purist but I’m not a big fan of throwing in every tired vegetable from the fridge either. Make a soup instead. Let’s give quiche a chance, shall we? (Oh no I didn’t)

Read the rest of this entry »

Scallops & Carrots

Pfeww. What a week this has been. I will spare you the details but while hurricane Sandy was raging outside I took the time to organize food photos I’ve taken over the past year or so. At least that’s what I did until we lost power but that’s another story. I came across this dish I made after spending too much time browsing through the pages of the beautiful Eleven Madison Square Park cookbook which you must buy if you haven’t already done so.

It reminded me talking to a cook at Eleven Madison Park once about their style of plating and he told me that they were asked to think outside the box and taught to build whimsical miniature amusement parks on the plate. I had leftovers. So I built a miniature amusement park of my own.

Read the rest of this entry »


Takoyaki is a ball-shaped Japanese dumpling that’s so good even a planet was named after it. I wanted to recreate this popular street snack ever since I visited Osaka and Kyoto a couple of years ago. It’s been a while but I just can’t forget tasty foods. I can forget my own phone number but not delicious things. It kind of tells you where I set my priorities.

I got around to make some pretty damn good Okonomiyaki last year which is another specialty from this area of Japan but this was next on my to-do list. Takoyaki is usually filled with octopus, pickled ginger and green onion and served with kewpie mayonnaise and a sweeter and thicker version of Worcestershire sauce. It’s finished with a very generous sprinkling of ao-nori and dried bonito flakes. Delicious! It’s also open to many variations so feel free to experiment a little with the technique.

Read the rest of this entry »

Butternut Squash Agnolotti w/ Brown Butter, Sage & Pecorino

With temperatures cooling and days getting shorter, the fall season is upon us. People are enjoying the crisp days of autumn but also spending more time in the warmth of the kitchen. With all this coziness in the air one might be inclined to procrastinate but I remembered what Master Yoda once said: “brush up on your pasta skills, you will”. So I dragged my butt to the kitchen for a little practice. I think making agnolotti from scratch is a nice little week-end project you might enjoy too.

Agnolotti is a type of ravioli typical of the Piedmont region of Italy but with a better, clever design. The pasta sheet is folded twice over the meat or vegetable stuffing and pinched to create little pillows with the perfect ratio of pasta to stuffing and a built-in flap to catch the sauce. Genius! It is also found in smaller size, when it is called Agnolotti al Plin. ‘Plin’ means a ‘pinch’ in the local dialect. Whoever invented this folding technique deserves the Nobel prize of… pasta.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sous-Vide Egg w/ Sunchoke Velouté, Crispy Proscuitto & Hazelnut

This dish was inspired by a photo Wandering Eater took a few month back at a cooking demo by Paul Liebrandt. New Yorkers know him as a culinary wunderkind for his unique but precise style of cooking at Corton. The dish in question was a sous-vide egg with a white asparagus velouté and crispy parmesan. Quite a simple dish but one that struck a cord with me for the luxurious pairing of a custard-like sous-vide egg and a rich and smooth velouté with a crunchy component. I apparently haven’t forgot about it because that’s the first thing that came to mind when I came across some sunchokes at the market the other day.

Sunchokes are also called Jerusalem artichokes and although they don’t come from Jerusalem and are not really artichokes, they do have a similar flavor. They are actually the root of sunflowers, know in Italy as girasole which somehow was corrupted to Jerusalem. Say girasole quickly 10 times and you’ll understand why.

Read the rest of this entry »