Meal Train to Georgia

There are a few things I find myself saying often these days. Among them are, “Hi sweets, still married?” “My pants are tight.” “No, please don’t set me up with him, I already made out with him.” And, “My friend just had a baby.” Concentrating on the last one, my friends and I put together meal trains for the new parents, as infants can apparently be overwhelming. It was my turn to make dinner for one couple and their 5 week old Georgia* on Monday and I went with shrimp tacos.

Shrimp Tacos

serves 4-6
1 lb shrimp, peeled and cleaned
½ onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ jalapeno, chopped
2 scallions, chopped
2 T ginger, chopped
½ head red cabbage, chopped
½ pineapple, chopped
1 mango, chopped
1 tomato, chopped and salted
2 bananas, sliced
1 T olive oil
Heat the olive oil in a pan on med high. Add the onions, garlic, scallions, and jalapeno, and saute until translucent. (2-3 min.) Add the cabbage, mango, tomato, and bananas, and cook through, stirring, until the cabbage is wilted, about 5 min. Add the shrimp and ginger and cook for another 5 min, stirring, until shrimp are just cooked through but not over cooked. Remove from heat.

1 can fat free refried pinto beans
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T olive oil
½ c jack cheese, shredded
Heat the beans in a small sauce pan over low heat. While they are heating up, saute the garlic in the olive oil in a pan on med high heat over a different burner for about a minute or until the garlic is starting to lightly brown. Add the olive oil and garlic to the beans and stir through. Add the cheese to the beans and stir through. Remove from heat.

2 avocados, diced
2 heirloom tomatoes, chopped and salted
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
½ lime, juiced
2 scallions, finely chopped
½ jalapeno, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Place the tomatoes in a bowl. Add the garlic, scallions, and jalapenos, and mix. Add the avocado and lime juice and mix. Season to taste.
Warm some flour tortillas. Spread some of the beans on one half. Fill with some of the shrimp. Top with guacamole. Fold and enjoy!

*names have been changed for privacy


Super Bowl Meal – Packers vs. Steelers

O.K. The big day is near!
I’m packing up and heading to Dallas for a relaxing getaway to visit my Texas cousins. And maybe for some sports thing… And snow angels.
Here’s what’s on the menu for the SU PA BO!!!!!

B.J. Rahi Tuna Sliders with Wasabi Chris Creamoeatu
The “Big Guy” Dish!

Chris Kemoeatu - G PIT

B.J. Raji - NT GB

Hot Chicken Greg Jennwings Balls with Cool Mike Cabrallace Blue Cheese Dressing
The “Go Long” Dish!

Mike Wallace - WR PIT

Greg Jennings - WR GB

Figgy Hood Bruschetta
Well now I know what school yard nicknames my future son has to look forward to. All good. Ziggy Zucker is going to be a bad-ass.

Ziggy Hood - DE PIT

RaChardonnay Mendenhall Poached Peaaron Rodgers
I know, I know, my east coast friends are screaming and twitching. See, back in New York we give vowels distinct pronunciations. Aaron nor Erin rhyme with Pear-in where I come from. But I’m doing it! The Pearon Rogers is on the menu! Raise your hand in the “air” if you “care” what rhymes with “pear.”

Aaron Rodgers - QB GB

Rashard Mendenhall - RB PIT

LaMarrgarita Woodley
I’m making it as woody as possible.

LaMarr Woodley - OLB PIT

B.J. Rahi Tuna Sliders with Wasabi Chris Creamoeatu

Serves 4-6
Tuna Balls
1 lb ahi tuna, ground or finely chopped
¼ t lemon zest
¼ t lime zest
¼ t blood orange zest
1 T lemon juice
1 T lime juice
1 T blood orange juice
¼ c scallions, finely chopped
1 T ginger, finely chopped
1 T black sesame seeds
1 T toasted sesame oil
1 t chili sesame oil
1 t chili paste
1 T panko breadcrumbs
olive oil

Combine the tuna, citrus juices and zests, scallions, ginger, sesame seeds and oil, chili paste and oil, panko, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix well, using your hands or a fork.

Heat some olive oil in a pan on medium high. Scoop out a small handful of the tuna mixture and form it into a mini burger patty shape. Cook the patties in the oil for a minute on each side. Flip to cook the other side.

After another minute, transfer the patties to a paper towel lined plate to drain and cool. They should just be cooked through.

Wasabi Cream
½ c mayonnaise
½ c plain yogurt, greek style
1 T wasabi paste
½ lime, juiced
1 t garlic, chopped
1 avocado

In a blender, combine the mayonnaise and the yogurt until smooth. Add the wasabi, lime juice, salt, and garlic. Blend until smooth. Add the meat of the avocado, cut into small chunks. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender in between pulses to incorporate everything.

Now I’m still working to lose those damn 10 pounds from last year. (Who knew the 10 in 2010 was going to be so prophetic?) So I’m still limiting my carbs. You can go ahead and shmear some of the wasabi cream onto a mini dinner roll and sandwich a tuna burger in there to make a slider, but I’m just going to dip and eat. I don’t miss the bun, really. (though I clearly missed my weekly manicure…)

Hot Chicken Greg Jennwings Balls with Cool Mike Cabrallace Blue Cheese Dressing

Serves 4-6
I admit it. I’m not a huge chicken person. Telling me something “tastes like chicken” is not a hard sell. Sure, I’ll eat it, and there are certain places where I’ll always order it (e.g. Quatorze Bis on 79th and 1st), it’s just not my favorite. Largely because I’m not that into… wait for it… the bones. So while I love the taste of chicken wings and quite enjoy getting all messy in a bar, I wanted to find a way to do this sans bones. Behold the Chicken Wings Balls!

Chicken Balls
1 lb of chicken, ground
¼ c hot wing sauce (if you can’t find some, mix together equal parts (2 T) hot sauce and (2 T) melted butter)
1 T garlic, minced
1 T flour
3 scallions, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 400. Combine the chicken, hot sauce, garlic, flour, scallions, salt and pepper in a bowl. Form the mixture into little meatballs, coat with olive oil, and place on a foil-lined tray. Bake the chicken balls until cooked through, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain.

Blue Cheese Dressing
1 c Cabrales blue cheese, chopped finely (thank you Bobby Flay for introducing it to me!)
½ c plain yogurt, greek style
1 T lemon juice
1 T chives, chopped

Throw all of the ingredients into a blender and blend, blend, blend until smooth. Transfer to a dipping bowl.

Figgy Hood Bruschetta

Serves 8-10
1 baguette, sliced into ½” pieces
1 ½ c fresh ricotta cheese
2 T honey
¼ lb prosciutto
1 c figs
1 c water
1 c sugar
½ c brandy
¼ c mint, chopped
2 T c chives, chopped
1 T heavy cream
1 lemon zested
olive oil

In a small pot over medium high heat, combine the water, sugar, and brandy. When it starts to boil, reduce the head to low and add the figs. Simmer the figs for at least 30 min. Transfer the figs and enough liquid to cover them to a sealed container and refrigerate. Let stew overnight.
Combine the ricotta, cream, zest, honey, mint, and chives in a bowl and mix until well blended.
Brush the bread slices with olive oil and grill them until slightly browned.

Spread some of the ricotta mixture onto each slice. Then fold a piece of prosciutto on top. Slice the figs in half lengthwise and place some of them on next. Finish off with a light SWOOPS.*
*SWOOPS = Season With Olive Oil, Pepper, and Salt

RaChardonnay Mendenhall Poached Peaaron Rodgers

Serves: 3

1 btl (750) Chardonnay white wine
1 c water
2 cinnamon sticks
1 t peppercorns
1 T cloves
2 star anise
1 c sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 orange, juiced
1 orange, peel
3 pears, peeled

Pour the white wine and water into a pot on high heat. Add the cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, cloves, star anise, sugar, vanilla, vinegar, and orange. Stir. Once it starts to boil. Reduce the heat to low and add the pears. Simmer the pears in the poaching liquid for at least an hour, turning occasionally to make sure all sides of the pear gets bath time. Once the pears have started to soften, transfer them to a bowl and pour the liquid through a strainer to cover them. Cool, and serve.

LaMarrgarita Woodley

2 oz. tequila
1 oz. woody water*
1 lime, juiced
1 oz. pear (or orange) liquor
shake of salt
* To make the woody water, boil 1 c water, ½ c sugar, 4 sprigs rosemary, 4 sprigs thyme, 4 sprigs oregano, and 4 sage leaves in a pot. Simmer for 2-4 min. Strain and cool.

Throw all contents into a shaker with some ice. Shake it up. Pour into a glass and down.


Final Monday Night Matchup Menus (Last Week’s) – New Orleans Saints!

I’m in Vermont with the boys during the storm! We’re making a Saints meal in my country house. The Saints are one of my favorite teams so it’s nice to end the season in their honor. Here’s what I’m throwing together:

Starter: Drew Brie with Marques ColStone Ground Crackers

Marques Colston - WR NO

Drew Brees - QB NO

Side: Jeremy Shiitockey with PiHeirloom Tomatoes

Pierre Thomas - RB NO

Jeremy Shockey - TE NO

Main: Fire Grilled Tracy Porterhouse

Tracy Porter - CB NO

Drew Brie with Marques ColStone Ground Crackers

We’re starting off easy. Cheese and Crackers.

Jeremy Shiitockey with PiHeirloom Tomatoes

3 c shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 box baby heirloom tomatoes, sliced in half
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T lemon oil
olive oil

Salt the tomatoes. Heat some olive oil in a pan over medium high. Throw in the scallions and onions and cook until translucent, about 2-3 min. Add the mushrooms and cook another few minutes until the shitakes have absorbed the liquid and released it. Add the garlic and tomatoes and stir in. Season with salt, pepper, and the lemon oil. Stir. Cook for another few minutes and serve.

Fireplace Tracy Porterhouse

Porterhouse steak
fireplace grill

Liberally season both sides of the steaks with salt and pepper. Build a fire. Once it’s died down so that the flame is still going but is below the grill, place the steaks on the fire. Cook each side for about 4-5 minutes, depending on the height of the flame and your desired cook level, I like medium rare.
Don’t play with the steaks on the fire, it ruins the crust.

Now Man Up! And Chow Down!!

Zucker MOT XXmas Dinner

We hosted an all girls (XX) MOT Xmas dinner. Was my dad psyched or scared?

Jim and the Ladies

He was fine, because here’s what we noshed on:
Laney’s cheese plate from Murray’s
Joy’s salami from Katz’s
Betti’s Spinach Mushroom Lasagna
Jordan’s Meat Lasagna
Simple Salad
Green Beans and Tomatoes
White Peppermint Bark
Semi Peppermint Bark
Lemon Gingerbread Blackberry Trifle
Chocolate Terrine

Here is the bulk of the recipes. Enjoy!

Jordan’s Meat Lasagna

Serves: 12-15
1 box lasagna noodles (we used big fresh ones), boiled and soaking in water and 2 T olive oil.
2 eggs
15 oz. ricotta cheese
4 c fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
1 c Parmesan cheese
1 lb ground beef
½ lb pork sausage, decased
1 large eggplant
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 T tomato paste
½ c fresh parsley, chopped
½ c fresh basil, chopped
2 jars marinara sauce (favorite store bought is Rao’s, but you can make your own)
Halve the eggplant lengthwise. SWOOPS both flesh sides, place in a foil lined tray skin side down and roast in a preheated oven at 425 for 30 min (or until cooked through). Let cool and scoop out the flesh from the purple skin. Discard skin and set eggplant meat aside.
In a large fry pan, heat add 1 T olive oil and cook the onions until translucent (med high heat). Add the garlic and the two meats (beef and pork). Cook until meats are browned. Stir in the tomato paste. Season with salt and pepper. Add the eggplant flesh and mix well to incorporate into the sauce. Reduce heat and simmer 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Mix ricotta, eggs, parmesan, basil, and parsley in a bowl.
Preheat the oven to 375.
Spray pan a non-stick spray.
Assemble the layers of the lasagna as follows:
1) Layer of marinara sauce
2) Layer of noodles (mine are so big I only need 2-3, just use however many it takes to complete one layer.
3) Layer of the ricotta mixture
4) Layer of the meat sauce
5) Layer of the sliced mozzeralla
Reapeat 2-3 times depending on the depth of your pan and the thickness of your layers.
Add an extra layer of Parmesan to the top mozzerella layer.
Bake for 50 minutes covered with foil, remove foil and cook another 5-15 minutes till cheese is melted and lasagna is
Let sit for a least 30 minutes to set before you cut it.
I prefer it room temperature or as leftovers the next day! It can be too soupy if it’s too hot.
At our party I had a “slight disagreement” with my mother over this. She wanted it served warmer, I said I didn’t. I agreed to have her put it in the oven to warm at 200. A half hour later my dad said there was something burning in the oven; she had put it in at 500. Then made a huge deal and apologized to everyone because I made her feel she had “ruined my dish.”
My friend Leslie said, “Jord, don’t worry, the lasagna’s great. It’s not that badly burnt. She didn’t burn it on purpose.”
I said, “No, she didn’t burn it on purpose, but she went against what I asked on purpose.”
“You just completely summed up and described the inherent basis of every mother/daughter relationship,” said Leslie.
All good laughs in the end.

Betti’s Spinach Mushroom Bechamel Lasagna

adapted from Emeril’s recipe
2 lbs fresh spinach
5 T butter
¼ c shallots, minced
1 T garlic, minced
1 lb portobello mushrooms, chopped
1 t salt
1 t pepper
¼ c flour
4 c milk, whole
¼ t nutmeg, fresh grated
3 c Parmesan cheese
15 oz ricotta, fresh
1 c grated mozzerella
1 c fresh mozzerella
1 lb fresh lasagna noodles, cooked and soaking in a dish of water and olive oil.
Preheat oven to 350.
Boil spinach in salted water for 2 min. Drain and squeeze dry in a mesh strainer. Finely chop. Set aside.
In a large pan, melt 1 T butter on med high. Add the shallots and garlic. Stir and cook for one minute. Add portobellos, some salt and pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes until the mushrooms have cooked. (You know this when they’ve released their juices and soaked some back up again. Remove from heat and set aside.
For the bechamel, melt 4 T butter in a saucepan on medium heat. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon to make a roux, about 2 min. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly until thickened, about 3 min. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Stir. Add 1 c Parmesan and stir. Cook for 2 min. Remove from heat and set aside.
Combine the ricotta and shredded mozzerella in a bowl and fold in ¼ c of the bechamel.
To assemble:
Prepare a lasagna dish with non-stick spray.
Layer 1) Bechamel sauce
Layer 2) Noodles
Layer 3) Mushrooms and spinach
Layer 4) Fresh mozzerella
Repeat layers ending with mozzerella on top and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 min. Uncover and bake another 10 min until top is golden brown.
Let rest for at least 20 min before serving.

White Peppermint Bark

16 oz. white chocolate
1 c peppermint candies, crushed
1 t peppermint extract
In a double boiler, melt down the white chocolate. Place peppermint candies in a sealed ziplock and crush them into little bits by using a meat pounder (or a hammer). Stir the little peppermint pieces into the melted white chocolate, along with the peppermint extract. Line a tray with some wax paper using a knife along the edges for a snug fit. Pour the chocolate onto the wax paper and spread into a thin even layer. Refrigerate until hardened, at least an hour. Break into various sized pieces and you have your bark!
The Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bark is made the same way except the white chocolate is replaced with semi-sweet chocolate.

Lemon Gingerbread Blackberry Trifle

adapted from Bobby Flay’s Recipe
There are four layer components to the trifle. Make each separately.

3 c flour
2 T ground ginger
2 T baking soda
1 ½ T ground cinnamon
1 t ground cloves
½ t ground nutmeg
big pinch salt
3 T minced crystallized ginger
10 T unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c golden brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs
1 c molasses
1 c boiling water
1 T grated lemon peel
Preheat to 350 degrees F.
Spray a sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line bottom of pan with parchment or wax paper; use knife to trim edges for a snug fit. Spray paper. Sift flour and next 6 ingredients into medium bowl. Mix in crystallized ginger. Using an electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in brown sugar. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Gradually beat in molasses, followed by 1 cup boiling water. Beat in grated lemon peel. Gradually beat in sifted dry ingredients. Pour batter to prepared pan. Bake until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the pan sides. Flip upside down onto a rack to remove from sheet. Peel off paper. Cool for at least 30 min. and cut into 1-inch cubes.

Whipped Cream:
2 c heavy cream
2 T confectioners sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1 T dark rum
With an electric mixer, beat heavy cream until it starts to thicken. Add the sugar, vanilla, and rum. Continue beating until you get stiff peaks and it turns into whipped cream. (Don’t overdo it, you’ll get sweet butter…)

Lemon Curd Filling:
6 meyer lemons
2 c sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
6 large eggs
1 c meyer lemon juice
big pinch salt
Peel the zest off of the lemons but don’t go too thick, you don’t want the white pith in there. Put the zest in a food processor and grind. Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and beat in the sugar and lemon mixture. Add the eggs 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until well combined.
Pour the mixture into a saucepan and cook over very low heat until thickened (about 10 min.), stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken. Remove from the heat and cool or refrigerate for at least an hour.
Fold in half of the whipped cream until combined. Refrigerate both the curd and the remaining whipped cream (to use as top layer of trifle).

Blackberry Sauce:
2 pints fresh blackberries (or 1 bag frozen)
1/3 c sugar
2 T raspberry liquor
1 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ t cinnamon
Place blackberries and sugar in a medium saucepan and cook until the berries are soft and the sugar has melted. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour through a strainer into a bowl. Stir in the liquor, lemon juice, and cinnamon.

Using a trifle bowl, start with an even layer of gingerbread cubes, top with a layer of the lemon curd mixture, and a layer of the blackberry sauce. Repeat until you get to the top of the bowl. Put the remaining whipped cream in a layer as the top. Cover and refrigerate for at least a few hours hours before serving.

Chocolate Terrine

½ c pistachio nuts, shelled and peeled
½ c raisins
½ c dried cherries
½ c glazed oranges
6 oz bittersweet chocolate
½ c sugar
1 c butter cookies, crumbled
4 T water
1 c cocoa powder
1½ sticks butter
1 T Grand Marnier
1 egg
2 egg yolks
Grease a rectangular terrine shaped mold.
In a bowl, mix together the nuts, fruit, and cookie bits. Set aside.
In a double boiler, melt the chocolate. Set aside.
In a saucepan, combine sugar and water and stir over low heat until dissolved into a syrup.
In another bowl (can use an electric mixer), combine cocoa powder and softened butter. Stir in the sugar syrup, melted chocolate, and Grand Marnier. Add the egg and yolks and mix well. Fold in the nuts, fruit, and cookies. Pour the batter into the mold and press to set. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Run a knife along the sides of the terrine. Dip into a bowl of warm water. Invert mold and slide terrine onto a platter. Return to the fridge for 30 min. When rehardened, slice terrine into ½” slices and serve.

Week 15 Wrap Up and Monday Night Matchup Menus: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings

It’s a Brett Chevre running theme:

Brett Favre - QB MIN

Johnny Lox and Goat Cheese Stuffed Matt ForTaters

Matt Forte - RB CHI

Johnny Knox - WR CHI

Visanthe Panko Crusted Goat Cheese and Tomato Salad

Visanthe Schiancoe - TE MIN

and a Guavaris Jaiquirison for the cocktail

Tavaris Jackson - QB MIN

Johnny Lox and Goat Cheese Stuffed Matt ForTaters

4 oz. smoked salmon, finely chopped (Yes, technically this is not lox, it’s nova; lox is cured and nova is cold-smoked, but I like it better.)
4 oz. soft goat cheese
3 T dill, finely chopped
2 T tarragon, finely chopped
2 T chives, finely chopped
3 T scallions, finely chopped
1 T lemon zest (1 small lemon)
2 T lemon juice (1 small lemon)
12 small potatoes (new or creamers work well)
1 c black sesame seeds
olive oil

Boil the potatoes until slightly tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and let cool. Slice them in half and scoop out the middle using a melon baller or a paring knife, making them into tiny little bowls. Discard the center (or save for mashed potatoes!). Dip the shells into some olive oil and place skin side down on a foil lined tray. Broil the hollowed potatoes until brown and crisping, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven and drain on paper towel lined platter.
In a bowl, combine the smoked salmon, chevre, dill, tarragon, chives, scallions, lemon juice and zest until well incorporated. Scoop a little of the salmon mixture and roll it into a ball. Place the black sesame seeds on a plate. Roll the salmon filling ball in the sesame seeds until nicely covered. Pop the sesame coated salmon ball into a potato shell. Repeat with the rest. Aren’t they cute?!?!

Visanthe Panko Crusted Goat Cheese Salad

2 oz. chevre log
2 Roma tomatoes, slow roasted
1 Persian cucumber
½ avocado
2 T pea sprouts
1 head frisee
1 T dressing of choice
1 c panko breadcrumbs, seasoned with parley, salt and pepper
1 egg
½ c flour
olive oil

Using unflavored dental floss, cut the goat cheese log into discs ½” thick. Place flour in a bowl. Beat egg with a t of water in another bowl. Place seasoned panko in a third bowl. (You can toast the panko in the oven at 425 for five minutes beforehand to bring out the flavor.) Dip each goat cheese disc into the flour bowl and fully cover. Then dredge it in the egg and then the panko to fully coat. Place coated cheese on a wax paper lined tray. Repeat until all of the goat cheese is coated in the breadcrumbs. Place the wax tray in the freezer for at least 2 hours.
When you’re ready to make the salad, heat some oil in a pan on high heat. Cook the frozen cheese in the oil until browning. Flip and brown the other side. Remove to a paper towel lined plate.
Throw some washed frisee in a bowl. Coat with dressing of choice. Add a few halved roasted tomatoes, sliced and salted cucumber, avocado, and pea shoots. Place the panko coated goat cheese on top. Enjoy!

Guavaris Jaiquirison

2 oz light rum
1 oz lime juice
1 oz simple syrup
1 oz guava, muddled

Muddle guava in shaker. Add rum, lime juice, and simple syrup. Pour over ice.

Week 15 Wrap Up

And then there was one. Smack and Cheese made it to the GG2FF Su Pa Bo! (Thank you Vick, Nicks, Marshall, and Jets D!)
Fat Sweaters got knocked out by Eat Prey Destroy. (Like I’d have started Garrard over Brady…)

Ex Latke

I’m a latke girl. Fried potato mixture adorned with any numerous divine trimmings is worth 8 days of presents to me.
So I always try to come up with fun flavors.

Last year, in NYC we had mushroom, triple onion, zucchini/carrot, and goat cheese. This year I made sweet potato/beet, bacon/leek, spinach/ricotta, and butternut squash/cinnamon.

Dear God, the bacon leek latkes were a hit. Just sayin. – JZ

My Hannukah party also happened to coincide with my ex’s (from last year) episode of Millionaire Matchmaker airing on Bravo. So it turned into latke, wine, and screening party. It was a pretty brutal episode. Most people realize that reality TV is still TV, and hence is manipulated to not really be reality. But the poor guy really got a beating. I feel bad.

Here are the recipes for the latkes:

Sweet Potato and Beet Latkes

Sweet Potato Beet Latkes

3 sweet potatoes (They’re light in color – the orange guys are the yams. Both look like turds to me though. You can’t even take me to the market.)
3 small beets
1 yellow onion
1 c flour
3 eggs
ice on hand for oil splatter burns (latke making is not for the meek)
Peel the potatoes and the beets. After they’re peeled you can put them in a bowl with water to prevent color change. Shred the potatoes and the beets. Using a Cuisinart is not cheating. I’ve done both ways to humor myself. Cuisinart wins. Throw grated sweet potatoes and beets in a colander. Grate the onion. Add it to the colander. Sprinkle with a ton of salt. Seriously, at least a T, potatoes need salt. Grind some pepper and let it drain for a bit. Whisk the eggs. Squeeze out excess moisture and transfer to a big bowl. Add the eggs and flour and mix everything with your hands until well combined. Pour some oil (I usually use canola) in a fry pan and heat it to high. Spoon a little of the latke batter into the pan and press down with a spatula to form a little pancake. Depending on the size of your pan and the size of your pancakes you can make 2 – 6 at a time. When the under side is starting to brown, flip them over and cook the other side. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Serve with plain yogurt or apple sauce. Fine, serve with sour cream too. (These ARE the veggie ones though, just sayin.)

Bacon and Leek Latkes

BACON leek latkes

4 lbs. potatoes (I use golden russet)
2 lbs. bacon
2 leeks, finely chopped, rinsed and drained
1 yellow onion
½ c chives, finely chopped
1 c flour
3 eggs
ice on hand for oil splatter burns (latke making is serious business)
Place the bacon strips on a foil lined tray and put in a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes until crispy. Remove from oven, transfer to a paper towel lined plate and crumble. Set aside.
Peel the potatoes. After they’re peeled you can put them in a bowl with water to prevent color change. Shred the potatoes and the onion. Again, using a Cuisinart is not cheating. I’ve done both ways to humor myself. (That’s what she said.) Cuisinart wins. Throw grated potatoes and onions in a colander. Sprinkle with a ton of salt. I don’t measure because I don’t want to know how much I’m using. Ignorance is bliss in this case… Grind some pepper and let it drain for a bit. Whisk the eggs. Squeeze out excess moisture and transfer to a big bowl. Add the bacon, leeks, chives, eggs and flour and mix everything with your hands until well combined. Pour some oil (I usually use canola) in a fry pan and heat it to high. Spoon a little of the latke batter into the pan and press down with a spatula to form a little pancake. Depending on the size of your pan and the size of your pancakes you can make 2 – 6 at a time. When the under side is starting to brown, flip them over and cook the other side. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Serve with sour cream. Brag about your bacon latkes.

Spinach Ricotta Latkes

The Spinach Ricotta was the crowd fave

3 lbs. potatoes (I use golden russet)
1 lb. box of baby spinach, finely chopped
1 8 oz. container of ricotta cheese, drained
1 yellow onion
½ c chives, finely chopped
1 c flour
3 eggs
ice on hand for oil splatter burns (latke making aint no joke)
Peel the potatoes. After they’re peeled you can put them in a bowl with water to prevent color change. Shred the potatoes and the onion. Do everyone a favor and just use a Cuisinart. Throw grated potatoes and onions in a colander. Sprinkle with a ton of salt. Don’t pay attention to the massive amount you used. Grind some pepper and let it drain for a bit. Whisk the eggs. Squeeze out excess moisture and transfer to a big bowl. Add the spinach, ricotta, eggs and flour and mix everything with your hands until well combined. Pour some oil (I usually use canola) in a fry pan and heat it to high. Spoon a little of the latke batter into the pan and press down with a spatula to form a little pancake. Depending on the size of your pan and the size of your pancakes you can make 2 – 6 at a time. When the under side is starting to brown, flip them over and cook the other side. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Serve with any topping that makes you happy.

Butternut Squash Latkes

Butternut Squash Latkes

2 lbs. potatoes (I use golden russet)
1 butternut squash, peeled and seeded
1 T cinnamon
1 yellow onion
½ c tarragon, finely chopped
1 c flour
3 eggs
ice on hand for oil splatter burns (latke making at your own risk)
Peel the potatoes. After they’re peeled you can put them in a bowl with water to prevent color change. Shred the potatoes, squash, and the onion. Fine, you’re hard core, use a hand grater. But if you use a Cuisinart, don’t look to me to call you lazy. I try to use equal parts potato/squash. Depending on the size of the squash you may not use all of either one. Throw grated potatoes, squash and onions in a colander. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Use your own judgment on seasoning. Whisk the eggs. Squeeze out excess moisture and transfer to a big bowl. Add the cinnamon, tarragon, eggs and flour and mix everything with your hands until well combined. Pour some oil (I usually use canola) in a fry pan and heat it to high. Spoon a little of the latke batter into the pan and press down with a spatula to form a little pancake. Depending on the size of your pan and the size of your pancakes you can make 2 – 6 at a time. When the under side is starting to brown, flip them over and cook the other side. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Serve with chocolate sauce. Kidding. Use what you like.

Monday Night Matchup Menus: New York Jets @ New England Patriots

OK, this is the 2nd Monday night game for both of our teams this week! If you don’t want to repeat making the Tomato Bready or the Mark SanCheese Dip, here are some more options!

Watercress Welker Salad with Dijon Branch Dressing

Deion Branch - WR NE

Wes Welker - WR NE


LaDainian Tomlinson "L.T." - RB NYJ

Dirty Antonio CroMartini

Antonio Cromartie - CB NYJ

Watercress Welker Salad with Dijon Branch Dressing

1 T garlic, minced (I make mine slightly pasty with salt and the back of a knife)
2 T dijon mustard
2 T lemon juice
6 T olive oil
Splash of hot sauce
freshly ground pepper

½ c pecans
1 T butter
1 t cayenne
½ t Hawaiian salt

½ c pepitas
1 t Hawaiian salt

1 pear, diced
1 head watercress
1 c baby arugula

Put all of the ingredients in a jar, secure the lid, and shake!

Melt the butter in a pan on medium heat, add the nuts and the spices and stir until well coated. Toast in pan for a few minutes but do not let the pecans burn. Remove from heat.

Toast the seeds in a pan on medium heat, stirring so they don’t burn. Add salt and stir. Remove from heat when the seeds are browning.

Rip the leaves off of the stems of the watercress head. Throw in a bowl with the arugula. Add the pear, nuts, and seeds. Dress with Dijon and toss to coat well.


1 T chipotle mayo
½ avocado, sliced
4 strips bacon, crispy
2 plum tomatoes, slow roasted
½ c arugula
2 slices bread (I use whole wheat or sourdough)
4 leaves basil
2 slices, cucumber
1 soft boiled egg, sliced
olive oil
aged balsamic vinegar

To make the chipotle mayonnaise, add 1 c mayo, 1 t adobo sauce, 1 chipotle pepper, ½ lime, juiced, salt and pepper to a blender. Blend until smooth.

To make the bacon, place the bacon strips on a foil lined tray and place in a 425 degree oven for about 15 minutes until crispy. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain the strips.

To make the tomatoes, slice the plum tomatoes lengthwise and place skin down on a foil lined tray. SWOOPS the seed side and drizzle with a little balsamic as well. Cook in a 275 degree oven for about 3 – 4 hours, depending on the size of the tomatoes, until they are about half way shriveled, not completely dry.

To prepare the cumber, peel the dark skin off. Then using a cheese slicer, make vertical strips of the cucumber to get thin strips of the cucumber lengthwise. Season with salt.

To prepare the egg, place an egg in a pot and fill with water. Bring water to a boil. Once water is at a rolling boil, cook for 5 minutes. Remove egg and run under cold water. Crack and peel the shell. Slice the egg. The whites should be cooked and then yolks should still be dark yellow and slightly soft, almost runny.
To prepare the lettuce, toss arugula with olive oil, salt, pepper, (SWOOPS) and some aged balsamic vinegar. I sometimes go to town and use TRUFFLE SALT!!! MMMmmmmmmm!

To arrange the sammie: Spread some mayo on one slice of bread. Add a layer of avocado. Add a layer of egg. Add a layer of cucumber. Add a layer of basil. Add a layer of bacon. On the other piece of bread, add a layer of dressed lettuce and a layer of tomatoes. Close the sandwich. I like to weight it down in a heated pan to toast the bread and press it all together.
Add extra bacon if L.T. gets a TD!

Dirty Antonio CroMartini

2 oz vodka, good (I like Belvedere, but had Grey Goose in the house leftover from a recent guest.)
1 oz olive juice (the brine from the can or jar)
3 blue cheese stuffed olives
splash hot sauce

I stuff my own olives and I don’t make a piping bag out of a plastic ziplock, I use my fingers. Take a pitted green olive and some crumbled blue cheese and stuff some of the cheese in the hole of the olive until it’s almost bursting.
Put some ice in a shaker. Add the vodka, olive juice, and hot sauce. Shake, Shake, Shake! Sift the liquid out of the shaker and into a martini glass. Poke a toothpick through three blue cheese stuffed olives and stick in the glass. And good for you if you don’t spill it. To me, martini glasses are the stilettos of barware: best looking, least functional.
Extra shot of vodka if Cromartie gets a pick!

Now Man Up! And Chow Down!

SF @ ARI Cooking Video with Special Guest Dava Krause

Jordan Zucker shows Dava Krause how to cook up the SF/ARI meal.

All recipes were posted HERE!

Dava asked a bunch of excellent questions during the cooking session.
We’ve compiled them and put them in the “tip jar.”

Tip Jar

Dava: What is the difference between baking and roasting?
Jordan: Just temperature. Baking is generally around 350 degrees and roasting is generally around 425, it’s a higher temperature.
Dava: So we’ve got the oven on 5 past 420.
Jordan: Good to go.

Dava: Are the seeds OK to keep in the chili peppers?
Jordan: Yes, the seeds have all the heat. We’re infusing the oil with the heat and then straining the peppers and seeds out.
Dava: These are super small peppers anyway, it seems like they’d be hard to deseed.
Jordan: Well if we wanted to you could do it. Just slice them vertically and scrape the seeds out.

Dava: Is this the only way to infuse?
Jordan: Another way would be to not heat it, and just let the peppers sit in the oil for a few days.
Dava: OK, but that’s like you’re planning dinner 5 days in advance.
Jordan: Ya, you’re making jars of it.

Dava: I feel like I always over or under use garlic.
Jordan: When you cook garlic it’s not as big of a deal. Raw garlic runs the risk of being overpowering.

Dava: Why are you doing the tarragon herb last?
Jordan: Tarragon is a leafy herb. Leafy herbs get added at the end, you don’t cook them. Woody herbs can be included in the cooking process. Some leafy herbs are basil and tarragon. Some woody herbs are thyme and rosemary.
Dava: How do you know they’re woody? They’re happy to see you?
Jordan: Ya, and by their construction. They have sticks and wood elements and a woodier flavor.
Dava: Ah, ya, they’re more tree looking. The others actually look like leaves.

Dava: So we’re just lucky that this lemon doesn’t have seeds.
Jordan: Yes, but no, there are lemons that are bred to be seedless. I think it’s done the same way they make a pineapple which is the only fruit I can think of that doesn’t have seeds. It’s done by cross-pollination.
Dava: It’s an infertile lemon.
Jordan: Ya, it’s the mule of the citrus.
Dava: This lemon needs to adopt.

Dava: Peeling the squash seems difficult.
Jordan: It wasn’t the easiest, but you know, we’re all still alive.
Dava: Is there an easier way to deal with this butternut squash than peeling it?
Jordan: Well if you don’t need to uphold the shape of the flesh, like if you’re mashing or pureeing it, you can just simply slice the whole gourd in half and roast it in its shell and then scoop out the meat.

Dava: Talk to me about the blue cheese chunk size.
Jordan: Since we’re melting the blue cheese into the polenta we can keep the chunks bigger. If I were putting the blue cheese in a salad, I would crumble it into smaller pieces. I think with blue cheese a little bit goes really far. Size isn’t as important in this dish, believe it or not.
Dava: It’s the motion of the cheese.
Jordan: Ya, the motion of the ocean.

Dava: So folding is basically gentler stirring.
Jordan: Yes, you’re basically taking the spoon and lifting a little bit of the contents of the pan and dumping it on top of itself.

Dava: I’m always afraid I’m going to over cook the fish or under cook it…
Jordan: Ya, more of a risk to over cook it because under cooked salmon is actually still tasty.

Jordan: Pour some of the sauce into the pan.
Dava: The heat’s not on.
Jordan: That’s OK, you don’t want to have heat on an empty pan, I think it ruins it.

Jordan: You can remove the fish from the heat when it is a little underdone because it will continue to cook a bit even after it’s off the heat.
Dava: Is all fish like that?
Jordan: Everything that you’re cooking will always continue to cook a little longer when it’s off the heat because it’s still hot. That’s why if you want something to stop cooking immediately, you throw it into an ice bath.
Dava: Oooh, like asparagus!

Dava: For round 2 of the salmon, do we resauce when we replatter?
Jordan: Yes, keep the extra sauce on the side and add more to make sure the fillets are always fully bathing in it. But that lowers the temperature of the pan so keep an eye on it to adjust cooking time.

Dava: Would you just use sesame oil to flavor something but not to cook?
Jordan: Yes. Sesame oil is concentrated. A little goes a long way. Canola or olive, etc. you can have as a base and use a lot of it, but sesame would be too overpowering.

Thanks for tuning in!

Monday Night Match Up Menus: San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals

Here’s our menu for the week. Stay tuned for the video with special guest, Dava Krause!

Roasted String Beanie Wells

Beanie Wells - RB ARI

Frank Gorgonzola and Squash (Frank Gourd) Polenta

Frank Gore - RB SF

Mike SingleTeriyaki Salmon

Mike Singletary - HC SF

Larry Gin Fizzgerald

Larry Fitzgerald - WR ARI

Roasted String Beanie Wells

1 lb. beans
1 clove garlic
2 T tarragon
1 T shallots
1 T lemon, juice and zest
2 T chili infused olive oil

Preheat your oven to 425. That’s 5 past 420! Which is about how old we’ll all be by the time Beanie’s knee heals.
Wash beans, snap off ends. It’s not hard, it’s just tedious, but it’ll give you something to do while you’re waiting for Beanie’s knee to heal. See where I’m going with this? OK, no more nagging injury references.
Mix in a bowl with other ingredients except the tarragon. TOSS!
Line in single layer on a foil lined baking sheet.
Roast for 8 – 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle the tarragon on top. TOSS!

Frank Gorgonzola and Squash Polenta

3 c broth
1 c yellow cornmeal
½ stick butter (4 T)
½ c milk
4 oz Gorgonzola, crumbled
1 butternut squash – roasted in small cubed pieces

Bring broth to boil. Add cornmeal and stir well. Lower heat to med low and simmer and stir for 20 min. Turn off heat. Stir in the rest of the ingredients.
I like it in a porridge consistency. If you want it thicker, use less milk.

Mike SingleTeriyaki Salmon

2 ½ lb salmon fillets cut into 6 pieces
1 c mirin
2 c soy sauce
1 c pineapple juice
6 T brown sugar
2 T ginger
½ c vinegar
2 T garlic
1 t red pepper flakes
2 T sesame oil

Whisk together the mirin, soy sauce, pineapple juice, brown sugar, ginger, vinegar, garlic, red pepper flakes, and sesame oil in a bowl to make the sauce.
Place the fillets in a plastic ziplock bag.
Add half of the sauce to bag to marinate overnight. Reserve the other half.
When you’re ready to cook the salmon, add some of the reserved salmon to a sauté pan (enough so fillets will be half way submerged), and put heat on med high.
When sauce is bubbly, add 2 fillets at a time and cook for 3 minutes. Flip fillets and cook another 3 minutes on the other side.
Repeat with two more fillets at a time, adding more sauce to the pan when it’s getting low.
I don’t like my salmon overcooked. I’d rather have it undercooked than overcooked. I think that’s with most meat and fish but especially salmon. You don’t want it raw but just slightly cooked through so it’s a dark orange/pink inside.

Larry Gin Fizzgerald

2 oz gin (I use Hendrick’s)
½ lemon, juiced
1 egg white
2 T rosemary syrup (1 c water, ½ c sugar, 4 sprigs rosemary – boil. Simmer for 2 min. strain. Cool.)

Add all contents to shaker with ice except for the soda water. Shake Shake Shake. Pour into a glass and top with a splash of soda.
Often this drink is called the sloe gin fizz, but since we’re naming it after Larry it didn’t seem fitting.
People get weirded out by many things. Raw egg is one of them, but I just feel like the alcohol and citrus will kill any traces of salmonella, so I think it’s fine. A wise bartender at Hog and Rocks in San Francisco taught me that. It had taken me over 9 hours to get up there this summer because the 5 was closed due to the fires, so I didn’t have down time to change; I had to go straight to the restaurant and was in major need of a drink. And a bartending lesson apparently.

There you have it!
Hope you enjoyed this week’s match up menus.

Now Man Up! And Chow Down!

Thanks G. 2nd Night 2010

We get it. Thanks g. isn’t a Jewish holiday. You’re only supposed to celebrate one night. This isn’t Rosh or Passover… We don’t care. We’ve adopted a tradition of doing 2nd night thanks g. It’s not family, just friends. There’s no turkey, just a full on fall menu.
Here’s what we made this year:
Arugula Salad with Persimmon, Fennel, and Pomegranate
Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Radicchio
Roasted Cod with Candied Quince and Spinach
Ginger Garlic Brussles Sprouts (Zucker staple)
Beets and String Beans
Cranberry Sauce (this dish keeps my parents married)
Roast Loin of Veal w/ Cognac and Shallot Vinaigrette

For the life of us, my mother and I can’t remember what we made for dessert and there’s this mysterious pot of whipped cream that shows of in some of the pictures… Anyone?

Arugula Salad with Persimmon, Fennel, and Pomegranate

Serves 6-8
½ lb arugula
2 persimmons, sliced (we like hachiya persimmons – the acorn shaped one)
1 bulb fennel, sliced
1 pomegranate, seeds of
2 T fig balsamic vinegar
¼ c olive oil
¼ c pecan flour (just drop pecans into food processor until flour like consistency)

Plate some arugula. Layer a few slices of persimmon on top of each arugula bed. Add a few slices of the fennel. Sprinkle some pomegranate seeds on top. The dust with some pecan flour. Drizzle some of the balsamic and olive oil on each plate. Finish with a small pinch of salt and pepper on each. Serve.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

(inspired by NYTimes recipe)
Serves 6-8
1 5-ounce can pure pumpkin puree
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 c flour
1 T salt (at least)
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
4 medium onion, finely chopped
2 small head radicchio, sliced into ¼” strips (about 2 cups)
2 T chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, eggs, flour and 1 T salt. Mix well to make the gnocchi batter.
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about five minutes; remove from the heat and set aside.
In a large pot, boil water. When the water comes to a boil, salt it. Using a teaspoon (or two), scoop up the dough and form a dumpling, then slide the dumpling off the spoon and drop it into the boiling water.

Continue forming dumplings until the pot will hold an even layer of them. When the dumplings are ready, they will float to the top of the water.

Then lower the heat to medium low and simmer for about four minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the saucepan with the onion. Repeat with the remaining dumpling dough until they are all cooked.

Return the saucepan with the onion and gnocchi to medium-high heat. Toss in the radicchio and stir gently until wilted, about two minutes; season with more salt and pepper to taste. Top with the parsley. TOSS! Serve.

Roasted Cod with Quince and Spinach

Serves 6-8
2 lbs cod
2 lbs quince
1 c sugar
2 lemons
1 T butter
1 lb spinach
olive oil
extra lemons on hand
Fill a bowl with water and add slices of lemon to it. Peel, core, and chop the quince. Add to lemon water.
In a saucepan, heat 1½ c water and add the sugar and juice of a lemon on med high. When boiling, transfer quince from cold lemon water to boiling sugar water. Cook until tender (about 15 min.). Remove from heat and let cool. The quince will now be in a syrupy liquid.
Preheat oven to 425. SWOOPS the cod filets. Place on foil lined tray and roast for 10-15 min until flaky. Do NOT overcook the fish.
Heat olive oil in a pan on med high heat. Add spinach and saute until wilted. Season with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Plate a bed of spinach on each. Place a cod fillet on top and spoon some of the quince on top.

Ginger Garlic Brussles Sprouts

Serves 6-8
1 carton brussels sprouts
2 T fresh ginger root, chopped
2 T garlic, chopped
2 T olive oil
1 lemon

Cut off root end of each sprout and peel leaves off until you’re left with a little yellow cabbage head. Discard middle cabbage head and keep outer leaves. Rinse leaves in a colander; shake to drain, but not completely dry.
Heat oil in a skillet on medium high heat.
Add sprouts, and cook 1-2 min until bright green. Add ginger, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook another 4 min. Transfer to a serving platter and squeeze some lemon juice on top.

Roast Beets and String Beans

Serves 6-8
6 medium beets, roasted, peeled, and cut into ½” cubes
6 oz string beans, boiled for 2 min.
¼ c dill, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T mustard
2 T red wine vinegar
¼ c olive oil
salt and pepper

In a small bowl whisk together the mustard,garlic, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and whisk until a creamy consistency is achieved.
in a large bowl add the beets, string beans, and dill. Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables.

Betti’s Cranberry Sauce

Serves: not enough according to Dad (but about 6-8)
1 12 oz bag fresh cranberries
4 T orange juice
4 T red wine
2″ vanilla bean, split
1 apple, peeled, cored, chopped
2 T sugar
1 lemon, zest of

In a large sauce pan, cook the cranberries, OJ, wine, sugar, lemon zest, and apples over medium low heat until the cranberries pop (the skins will split). Add the vanilla bean and simmer for five more minutes. Let cool to room temp and serve.

Roast Loin of Veal w/ Cognac and Shallot Vinaigrette

Serves 6-8
1 loin of veal (2.5 lbs. eye of the round)
3 sprigs thyme
olive oil
3 T cognac
3 T walnut oil
3 T shallots, minced
1 T thyme, chopped
3 T parsley, chopped
Preheat oven to 375.
Season loin with salt, pepper, and thyme. In a heavy saute pan (that the veal fits in), heat olive oil. Add veal and saute until golden on all sides, searing so the juices seal.
Transfer loin to a roasting pan and put in oven. (You can line with foil for easy clean up but not necessary to cook.) Roast until medium rare (about 10 min).
Remove from oven, set aside, cover with foil.
Whisk vinaigrette ingredients. Deglaze saute pan (add ingredients to the pan and keep on very low heat).
Slice veal, pour vinaigrette on top.