Tuesday, December 24, 2019

What is the Legend of the 7 Fishes & the Recipes to Make

Do you wonder what is the history and legacy of the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve? And do you know how to cook this special dinner celebration?

If you’ve been baffled about the history and significance of the Feast of the Seven Fishes that’s celebrated on Christmas Eve -- and what to serve - Chef Marisa Iocca - the country’s foremost proponent of authentic yet playful cucina Italiana will explain and demonstrate.

What’s the Seven Fishes lore? Is it the seven days of the week? The seven sacraments? The seven hills of Rome? It’s all a mystery.

And yet…

Chef Marisa - is the award-winning chef and owner of Spigga restaurant who can interpret the La Vigilia - the never-ending fish feast celebrated by Italian Americans.

Do you prepare linguini and clams? Scungilli, calamari, anchovy? Or ...

Chef Marisa cooks with the best ingredients: especially high quality EVOO from Europe.

There are a number of other Meditierranean Holiday dishes, including, fried vegetables, fried potatoes, fried artichokes, fried squash blossoms, and more.

Not surprisingly, there are quite a number of fish dishes featured in my first book, The Hamptons and Long Island Homegrown Cookbook - my love letter to artisanal growers and the chefs they inspire to create seasonal, market-driven menus. After all, Long Island is surrounded by some of the best fishing waters anywhere.  T

There’s Arctic Char filets with miso, grapefruit, and yuzo; PEI Mussels; Rakmacka - contributed by Homegrown chef Joe Isidori.

Arroz de Choco (squid with rice) - contributed by Homegrown chef, Rosa Ross

A Spiced Fish and Vegetable Stew is a happy new take on traditional 7 Fishes meal; the Monkfish with Stewed Leeks - are both from the incomparable Chef Eberhard Müller, now of Satur Farms fame. And making this a “hat trick for Chef Eberhard, I also recommend Chef’s Tuna Tartar with Radishes.

Fluke Crudo - created by Chef Gretchen Menser

Pistachio-Crusted Halibut and a fabulous Grilled Octopus (one of my true favorite dishes) are recipe contributions from Chef Mitchell SuDock

Oysters - hands down, my favorite, especially when they are farmed locally. This pure, is from Cuvée Bistro & Bar owner and chef: Deborah Pittorino. And the classic Long Island Oysters with Mignonette Sauce - this is how I serve my oysters - from the oh-so-creative Chef Kevin Penner. I’m afraid for the “Out East” shellfish farming and the Peconic Bay oysters. I hope I’m wrong…

Speaking of Peconic Bay, these Bay Scallops with butter and lemon is pure joy from Nick & Toni’s chef Joseph Realmuto

Baked Seafood Sagaponack from our dear, late chef, Anna Pump. I adored her, her culinary creations, her indomitable spirit and generous support… And don’t get me started on her famous Lobster Salad that we made at on of the Homegrown booksignins at her Bridgehampton store.

Chef Starr Boggs - a beloved and true culinary star of the Hamptons created the Softshell Crabs with Southern Succotash recipe - after all, chef Starr originally hailed from what many recognize as the crab capital - the eastern shore of eastern Virginia. Chef Starr also contributed the recipe for the Basil-Crusted Swordfish

Striped Bass Grilled with Six Spices - from Greenport’s incredible chef: Robby Beaver

& Striped Bass Montauk - pan-roasted is a favorite - from Chef Michael Rozzi

The Grilled Swordfish Montauk Style with picatta-style sauce is a classic from Shelter Island’s Vine Street Café’s Chef Terry Harwood

The Tuna Crudo is also from chef Kevin Penner’s collection.

All dishes are made with local ingredients -- and love…

If you don’t already have access to the recipes via your much-used, sauce-stained pages of the Homegrown Cookbook, please reach out to me and I can share the recipe(s) you are hungry to make.


Sunday, December 1, 2019

How to Power Up Gourmet Food & Drink Recipes At Home: My Hands-On Review of Breville's Super Q Commercial Grade Blender

Breville Super Q Blender - photo courtesy of Angie Lambert
How often do you ask yourself if your kitchen blender is working for you? And by that I mean, not only working to fulfill your food and drink needs. But rather as your assistant - or as your very own sous chef, if you will.

Does your blender inspire you to create new and exciting dishes - from smoothies to gelato to cocktails? Bill and I were rather perfectly happy with our beautiful --and I thought plenty powerful blender/mixer. I do still love it and its design complements our country house’s blue-ish kitchen decor.

So when Breville asked me to review their Super Q™ - initially I was hesitant.
After all, I was very happy; fulfilled with my present mixer. What can I say? I’m a loyal Capricorn. But ok - I thought. I’m game to try out the Breville model for my loyal readers.

When the Breville box arrived at our Gotham apartment - it was a formidable size. The footprint was “woah.” This suggested that the Breville was more than what I had expected. In the end, Wow! is an understatement.

Let me just jump ahead. And I’ll get back to the more poetic review shortly.

The Breville Super Q is perfect. I didn’t expect to love it so much. (after all, see loyal notation above).

The jaw-dropping, muscular performance of the Breville is akin to a Ferrari - or whatever high-performance analogy you want to reference. (Feel free to drop in Corvette, Tesla, Falcon jet, Harley. You get the idea.) However, it can’t be overstated - this mixer is just so darn elegant and powerful. True Luxury!

What I found while reviewing this commercial grade blender is that it inspires you. That’s what I mean about it being your own personal sous-chef.

The technology is so powerful and the features so intuitive and ergonomic that It actually frees you up to make things you never thought you could. Do you like peanut butter? How about expanding your palate to whip up some Maple Pecan & Brazil Nut Butter, or Chunky Pistachio & Macadamia Nut Butter or Almond, Flaxseed & Chia Butter. In five minutes!

Or how about dough? There’s an entire chapter in the recipe book, “Magical Milling” that embraces Gluten Free Flour Mix to Flaxseed, Sunflower & Almond Meas (FSA Meal) to good ol’ Chocolate Chip Brown Butter Cookies!  (And be sure to order a sheet pan with rack for easy baking and broiling) 
I love making Exotic Spices & Pastes.

Initially, I asked if the Breville came with a recipe book. I was told no.
No worries. I knew I could create my own recipes for food and drink. (Wink.) I’m a food and drink writer, after all, and an author of two plus books on these topics. But after that quirky snafu I discovered that the unit certainly does have a lovely hard-cover “Simply SuperBlending” recipe book complete with gorgeous photos and easy-to-follow directions using both text and icons and measurements that are provided in both Metrics and the US customary Or Imperial system of units.

So. back to why you, dear sweet reader, would want to purchase a Breville Super Q to either replace your present blender standby, to add to your kitchen essentials and/or gift to family and friends for wedding registry or the holidays.

There is no denying the power of the Breville. I shared with the Breville folks that we love our indoor Breville bbq unit. It’s enduring good performance and design has served us and our guests for more than a decade. So there’s the trust factor engineered into the brand.

With regard to the Super Q, I put the put the Breville through its paces. My test-drive review was to see how it performed in what I thought were three key areas that represented what I think most home cooks indulge in. Recipes that fall into these categories:
  • Drinks
  • Savory
  • Wellness
I started with corn ice cream -- I’d made this previously for the last several years - posting in my food and drink column on the now defunct Examiner food site. Much to my surprise - the Breville eliminated a step - surely because of its power to pulverize the corn kernels making them silky and creamy in what seemed a miracle wave of the wand. Er, button. This was remarkable.

It saved time and made the corn ice cream smoother.
While my first time making the corn ice cream I used market purchased corn ears; this year I was blessed to be able to use our own homegrown corn ears

- so while it may be possible that the homegrown corn was a wee bit more tender, thus rendering the mixer/blender “easier” this year - I’m gonna disavow this element. (I only bring it up as full disclosure.) It’s the power of the blender, no question.  Check this out! 

You have to love all the accessories provided by Breville - here I can readily scoop out the blender to cooktop

As the author of The Art of the Garnish - I simply could not review the Breville Super Q without embracing its vroom to cocktails!

We determined to power up a up a libation or two. I wanted to stay true to Breville - and so profiled a drink from the “overlooked” recipe book - vs. using one of my book’s cocktails. While I do hope that all of you have purchased your copy of The Art of the Garnish (smile) I wanted to construct the product review as if I was you without the benefit of my garden-to-glass cocktail recipes.

I was drawn to the Margarita with cucumbers, in no small part because I wanted to use our garden/farm-ette’s prolific harvest of homegrown cucumbers.
Margarita Breville cocktail prep - Photo courtesy of Angie Lambert  

Bill and I asked our favorite neighbors, Eric and Angie to come up for a shared tasting. But then, Angie worked her magic taking these photos. Angie is a superlative photographer.

Woah! Not only did the Breville take us to the next level of cocktail mixology; Angie and her photos took us to the next level of imagery.

You can see the step by step mixing here:
Margarita Breville prep - Photo courtesy of Angie Lambert 

Plus, there was a kismet culinary moment that is worth repeating here. My husband’s name is Bill - as I mentioned previously. I texted him about the taste treat and success of the Breville Super Q blending for the Margarita. But yikes! Shortly after my text, I received a text back from one of the most-admired celebrity chefs: Bill Telepan who is now the executive chef at Oceana Restaurant. I had the honor to interview Chef Bill Telepan again not too long ago for Garden Glamour

Boy was my face red! I hit the send to a Bill that wasn’t my husband while describing how great the Breville is! And then - because Chef Bill Telepan is so cool - he merely wrote back that he was equally enamored of the Breville. He was mixing up a smoothie in his Breville! What are the chances?! High, it turns, out. I asked Chef Bill if I could use his kismet reply in the Breville review and he agreed to OK it. I think it’s all a rather telltale recommendation about how the culinary industry’s best use -- and love -- Breville. (Surely, it was a sign, yes?)
Breville assisted Margaritas - Photo courtesy: Angie Lambert

The other ~ and final ~ test drive as part of the rigorous process was for a soup. Seriously - at this point - I knew that no matter what I could throw at the vaunted Breville to test-drive there wasn’t anything that could daunt its performance. But I wanted - daresay needed -- to continue the full-throttle review.
Photo Courtesy: Angie Lambert 

There was one other category of food and drink in order to be “thorough.” But you know when you’ve found the perfect significant other that you don’t need to search anymore? Well, it was like this. Breville had me at “corn.” Yet, I’m a diligent reporter.

The gazpacho we made from our homegrown tomatoes and garlic and was more a test of pulverizing the tomatoes; blending the herbs, spices, and more. We froze the extraordinary blend; just indulging some now in November. Isn’t that an extraordinary value-add special treat to come from using garden-fresh edibles - blended to be used as a farm-fresh dish for any time you want - in any season?

Bill just made cucumber soup the other night - for Thanksgiving.
From this:

What did we love most about the Breville Super Q? It’s sleek. In design. And performance. The base is a marvel of ergonomic technology. Easy to read screen for speeds. Dial up or down knob. Timer stats readily visible.
Photo courtesy of: Angie Lambert 

Breville cocktail prep - Photo courtesy of Angie Lambert 

Starting with the plug. It’s one of the Breville signature features - the “Bouche” cutout base, ring pulls, plus round controls, you benefit from a complete finger control. Meaning you don’t need to “yank” the plug out of the outlet.

The Breville Assist Plug with the convenient finger hole makes it so much easier and safer to remove from the electrical outlet .
How thoughtful!

Then there is the equally thoughtful finger access on the lid. No more waffling and trying to tilt the top to take off. There’s a donut hole to allow your finger to capture the lid for ready input and pull out.

The Luxe Collection by Breville comprises 20 small kitchen appliances in four new finishes – Black Truffle (matte black), Sea Salt (matte white, the major emerging trend in appliances), Smoked Hickory (metallic dark gray) and Royal Champagne (metallic gold-tungsten) – in addition to classic Silver. The collection features Breville yet is even more elevated, expressing the company’s four core values – creativity, simplicity, excellence and insight – in its clearest voice to date.

There are so many impressive stats. The One Touch programs feature optimized time/speeds to produce the tastiest results. You can enjoy silkier dairy smoothies and smoother green smoothies thanks to the two smoothie programs. Do you know the difference?? The high pressure vacuum pump of the Breville Vac Q draws out the air from the jug before blending, to provide smoother textures, brighter colors and richer flavors to your blend.

The Super Q is compatible with the Vac Q vacuum pump. The Vac Q improves texture, colors and flavors for some of your mixes. For certain recipes flavors will be greatly enhanced providing smoother green smoothies, creamier spreads, delicate dips and silkier gazpacho soup. For milk based shakes, it's the air that's whipped through and trapped into the shake that gives that light and bubbly texture. The Vac Q is sold separately.

You can turn ice into snow with the pulse/ice crush, get creative with the frozen desserts function or make fast hot cold-to-hot soups easily with the soup one touch program.

The Smoothie blending was an eye opening, delicious experience. Do you know about microbubbles as the secret to super smoothies? Or that there is a distinction to be made for smoothies with bubbles and those sans bubbles?!

With a powerful 1800 Watt motor, the Super Q has the highest possible motor rating. With 186mph blade tip speed under load for quick results.

There are 5 one-touch settings.

There are 12, dizzying speed settings - for the vast variety of texture optimization you will explore.

The noise suppression technology is ahhhh - so welcome. I’m very sensitive to noise, so again, the folks at Breville have thought about every single customer feature…


The Super Q comes with a Personal Blender attachment

This way, you can mix up your own sized cup to go! How thoughtful is this, too!

It features an intelligent base that automatically recognizes the vessel and optimizes performance, whether you use the 68oz jug or the personal blending on the go cup.

The Super Q also comes with a Tamper and a Spatula.
Mixing it up & Straining -  Recipe from Breville, Photo Courtesy of Angie Lambert 

Breville® Limited Product Warranty

All Breville® products have at least a one-year limited product warranty, valid from the date of purchase. Should your Breville® product have a defect in product material or workmanship within the Warranty period, Breville® will arrange to have your original product returned to us, and either deliver an identical or comparable replacement to you, free of charge or apply such other remedy as described below. Some models may have longer warranty periods on the product or specific components so please consult the individual product warranty for complete terms and conditions.

I LOVE this blender. The Super Q is indeed Super. It’s the best blender you can own or gift.

I love the respect for the food and drink this blender demonstrates. And I love that the Breville folks have engineered features into the unit that I couldn’t have dreamed of.

Thank you. Enjoy your Breville. I now want to be a card-carrying Breville brand lover.

So glamorous!