WORKING GIRL DINNERS! One Pot Oven Miracle Lemon Roast Chicken and Potatoes

RECIPE: Lemon Roast Chicken and Potatoes
Lemon Roast Chicken and Potatoes

Lemon Roast Chicken and Potatoes

My grandmother’s sister used to make the most amazing lemon chicken–a whole chicken, on the phone, with whole round potatoes roasted underneath.  This is the working girls’, not retired aunt’s, version: chicken legs (yes, you can use breasts instead) and potato wedges, roasted together on a single foil-lined tray (no clean up!).  The whole thing takes about 3 minutes of time to prepare, and then it’s a waiting game, until the chicken skin is golden and blistered and the potatoes are crispy and steaming hot.  The oven really is magic.

Lemon Roast Chicken and Potatoes
serves 2

Lemon Roast Chicken and PotatoesINGREDIENTS

  • 2 whole bone-in, skin-on chicken legs

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1 thick slice lemon

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon

  • 4 Yukon Gold potatoes, cut in 6

  • Lemon zest to taste


Preheat oven to 450°F.  Wash and dry the chicken with paper towel.  Season with salt and pepper, and then lightly dress by squeezing the lemon slice on the chicken.  Rub the chicken with 1 teaspoon olive oil per leg.  Toss the potatoes with the tablespoon of oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Arrange everything in a single layer on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet, and cook for 45 minutes.


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Categories: 60 Minutes, Cheap, Easy, Eat, Main Courses, Poultry, Recipes, Series, Watch, Working Girl Dinners

Franglais: Very “Nice” Chickpea Dip

RECIPE: Very "Nice" Chickpea Dip
Very Nice Chickpea Dip

Very Nice Chickpea Dip

Get the whole story at the Huffington Post.

I remember the first time I went to the circus, I thought it was a spectacle.  It was all purple cotton candy and glittering acrobats and kneeling white horses.  And then the last time I went, the man sitting behind me stood up, walked down the aisle to the center of the ring, got down on one knee, and proposed to the woman right behind me.  Under the big top, with clowns grimacing behind him.  Just call him the ringmaster.  I wanted to turn around, and mouth at the woman “run!”  It was certainly a spectacle. Continue reading

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Appetizers & Hors D’Oeuvres, Cheap, Dips, Spreads, Preserves, Easy, Eat, For a Crowd, Franglais, Series, Vegetarian

MEATLESS MONDAY The Secret Ingredient (Coconut): Red Veggie Curry

RECIPE: Red Veggie Curry
Thai Red Veggie Curry

Thai Red Veggie Curry

Get the whole story on Serious Eats.

In the last few weeks, we’ve seen coconut as a sweet flavoring for rice pudding and as a crispy coating for shrimp, but it’s also a perfect vehicle for sauce. Continue reading

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Categories: 30 Minutes, Cheap, Easy, Eat, Main Courses, Meatless Mondays, Series, The Secret Ingredient, Vegetarian, Vegetarian

French in a Flash: Pasta with Sweet Pea Pistou and Chèvre

RECIPE: Pasta with Sweet Pea Pistou and Chèvre
Pasta with Sweet Peas and Chèvre

Pasta with Sweet Peas and Chèvre

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

It’s April, so no matter what happens, it’s officially spring. Pistou is a sauce from the south of France made from fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, and sometimes cheese and tomato. It’s so garlicky that whatever pasta it finds itself wrapped around falls limp on the plate in garlic shock overload—in a good way.

I put a little twist on pistou by adding sweet peas. The sauce is whizzed together in the food processor while the pasta cooks on the stove. It’s pungent from the garlic (must have the garlic), sweet from the peas, and salty from the Pecorino Romano (not quite French, but a must). The thick pistou clogs the twists of the corkscrew pasta and gushes as you bite into it. And as a final oh-my-gosh, I add creamy fresh goat cheese, a big springtime ingredient, that melts its tanginess into ribbons that fleck the hot pasta.

You could eat this in a big bowl by itself or serve this with anything—next to baked chicken or grilled fish, or anything simple like that. You will certainly have a spring in your step after this one.

Pasta with Sweet Pea Pistou and Chèvre
serves 4 to 6

Pasta with Sweet Peas and ChèvreINGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound fusilli pasta

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, packed

  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1/2 cup coarsely grated Pecorino Romano cheese

  • 1 pound thawed frozen peas

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 ounces fresh goat cheese


Bring a large pot of water to boil, and salt the water.  Cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente.  Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water.

Meanwhile, whiz together the garlic, basil, and pine nuts in the food processor until completely obliterated.  Add the olive oil and Pecorino, and whiz to combine.  Add the peas, and season with salt and pepper.  Puree until completely smooth.

Spoon the pea pistou into a large bowl.  Use a spider to lift the hot fusilli into the bowl, and toss.  You will probably need to add 2 to 4 tablespoons of pasta water to loosen the sauce.  When the pasta is thoroughly tossed in the sauce, crumble in the goat cheese, and toss it enough to warm it through, but you still want to see pockets of the cheese.


If your peas are still frozen, run them under hot water in a colander.

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Cheap, Easy, Eat, French in a Flash, Main Courses, Recipes, Series, Sides, Starches, Vegetarian, Vegetarian

Make Some Room: Where to Eat in New Orleans

I was in Katrina…Part I.  Part I being the episode where the hurricane passed over Florida and didn’t do anything–we had a couple of lightless hours, long enough for a game of Clue, and a can of Chef Boyardee.  We couldn’t believe it as we watched the monster the little hurricane would become, and what it did to the city I had always wanted to see.

Finally, a few months ago, I made my way to New Orleans.  Sorry, I’ve been keeping this story in my back pocket.  The first thing that struck me was how much damage there still was.  Having lived in Florida, I know that hurricanes can be slow things to clean up.  But it was clear that in some places, all efforts had stopped.  But in the French Quarter, where we stayed, what struck me the most is how many times I heard the words “Thank you.”  Hoteliers, restauranteurs, waiters, locals: Thank you for coming to see out city.  I had never thought of it as charity!  I was just so excited to finally arrive.  So, if I can say anything back to New Orleans, it’s thank you for one of the most gut-busting weekends I’ve ever had in my life.

I don’t know what other people go to New Orleans for.  I went for the food.  And if that’s why you’re going, then this is where you’ve got to eat.



The Central Grocery

My first meal–and what should have been my last from the size of it.  You can buy a half muffuletta, but Mr. English and I were like, please.  We need a whole one.  Don’t do that.  It was this huge sesame loaf, stuffed with salami, mortadella, provolone, swiss, and olive salad soaked with oil and briny capers and pickled veggies and herbs.  It was amazing, and a true testament to American enormity.  But afterwards, I felt like a Pepcid AC commercial.  I had to lie down…and eat a praline.

923 Decatur St
New Orleans, Louisiana 70116

Laura’s Candies

Across from the W is this little candy shop.  The pralines, especially the creamy chocolate ones, are to die for.  They’re made with half and half, sugar, and pecans.  That’s “peecahns”.  They are like crisp, sweet fudge.  If you’re there, and you don’t need to have a praline for sentimental purposes, get the Mississippi fudge–a morass of chocolate, caramel, and pecans.

French 75 at Arnaud’s

What’s amazing in New Orleans is the gentrification of it all.  Just steps from Bourbon Street and its plastic beads and peep show posters are these ancient establishments of dinner jackets and cocktail napkins.  I had the Contessa: Boodles gin, Aperol, grapefruit juice, cranberry cordial, and an orange twist studded with three cloves.  You’re not going to find cocktails taken so seriously anywhere else.  And for Mr. English–an Abita beer, made close by.

K Paul’s

You can find Chef Paul Prudhomme’s blackening spice in every supermarket now, but this is where the original blackened fish accident happened.  Legend has it that a chef left a fillet of redfish in the skillet just a little too long–and the blackened fish shot to fame and fortune.  I had it, with vegetables, and the best mashed potatoes, and a smoky pepper butter.  You also have to get the shrimp remoulade with fried green tomatoes–so spicy and crunchy and good.  You won’t get food this good in such a warm, casual atmosphere at any other New Orleans institution!

Café du Monde Beignets
Café du Monde Beignets

Café du Monde

I had been waiting my whole life for this, mostly I think because my middle name is beignet.  Or, it should be.  You can taste the grease on them–but that’s okay.  Square and fluffy and distinctly fried, the beignets are tumbled under an avalanche of powdered sugar that you snort on everyone around you, and inevitably inhale.  It’s amazing.  There’s only two things on the menu!  Beignets and beverages.  I kept going back–don’t let the line intimidate you, it goes fast.  If you don’t want to be such a tourist, go to the window, order a bag of beignets to go, and take it down to a bench on the Mississippi.

The Water at the W French Quarter

I drink a lot of water, so when water is the show stopper, I have to say something about it.  If you want a great hotel, do check out the W in the French Quarter.  It has this very moody central courtyard that was my respite from running around and eating.  But in reception, they had the best “spa” water: steeped with grapes, strawberries, citrus, and fresh mint.


This is a cheffy darling, I gather.  Very gourmet.  It’s a lovely, sophisticated little establishment.  I had eggplant caviar and tapenade.  Caesar salad.  Perfect pink lamb with red wine sauce and goat cheese.  And a lemon lavender semifreddo.  It’s very perfect food, but not red-beans-and-rice.  If you need a respite from all the gumbo, this is the place to go for something a little grown up.

Jambalaya at the New Orleans School of Cooking
Jambalaya at the New Orleans School of Cooking

New Orleans School of Cooking

Go and take Sandra’s class.  You get beer, biscuits, tea, and Miss Sandra teaches you to make a real roux, gumbo, jambalaya, and pralines.  She explains all about Emeril’s holy trinity of onion, celery, and green peppers–but did you know garlic is the pope?  That’s what Sandra will teach you.  You’ll leave stuffed with equal amounts of fat, personality, and flavor–plus their gourmet store is the perfect place to stock up on beignet mix, blackening spices, and the works.


One of my best friends from Le Cordon Bleu is from Louisiana, and he now works in New Orleans.  He told me about Galatoire’s, which is one of the dinner jacket and cocktail napkin places I was mentioning earlier.  I was the youngest person there by a generation, but it was so full of life, and history, it this big, cacophonous room, that I felt like the old fogey.  The best thing about New Orleans is how cheap expensive food is–all I ate at that meal was oysters, crabs, and champagne, and while it’s not a cheap restaurant, I spent about what a chicken would have cost me out in New York.

Po' Boy

Fried Shrimp and Oyster Po' Boy

Po’ Boys

The place I went to for a po’ boy wasn’t the place in New Orleans, so I’m not going to both listing it.  The point is, just drop into any ol’ place and get one.  I could not believe that I got a footlong baguette stuffed with fried oysters and fried shrimp, about 20 or 30 of each, with mayo, lettuce, pickles, and half a bottle of Crystal hot sauce for less than $10.  It was voodoo magic.

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Categories: New Orleans, Restaurants, Voyages

Win a FREE Copy of Gwyneth Paltrow’s New Cookbook: My Father’s Daughter

My Father's Daughter

My Father's Daughter

I was just having a look around Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook, and I love it.  I knew I would love it because I’ve always loved her, from my first date (Shakespeare in Love) to Goop to Glee.  She gave Cee Lo a run for his money.  But as for the book, really the book, I love that the recipes are unpretentious and without gimmick–they just look like good food that she makes at home in London.  Fish tacos.  Chinese duck.  Chicken and dumplings.  And I love the balance–there’s a “no-fry” French fry recipe, and a deep fried French fry recipe.  There’s Gruyère, but also Vegenaise (my mother would LOVE her).  There’s no guilty food or healthy food–just lovely food made good for you at your discretion.

But more than that, I actually love the writing of it.  Each recipe is forwarded by a little blurb about her family, or her memory of what inspired the dish, or what friend or relative first served it up, and it is all very raw and honest and real, with her casual bantering inflection bubbling up through the prose.  When she writes of her father’s pancakes that the recipe “is so truthful to his pancakes that it’s almost hard for me to eat them, I keep expecting him to walk into the kitchen,” my throat caught.  Because that is what food is to me, and all of us.  The little memory, through tastes and smells and sights, that we can recreate from our happy past, when sometimes not all the parts of that past are still here.

I am if nothing else, like Gwyneth, my father’s daughter.  Our birthdays are days apart.  We are the same size.  We think the same things, like the same things, cry at the same things.  We are both weepers!  And great seafood aficionados.  And New Yorkers.  We like music and food.  We share these things, and talk about them, all the time.  It is from that love, that I know many daughters have, that made Gwyneth’s book so palpably poignant, because I get it.  My father taught me to cook too, even though he is a gourmand who can’t boil water.  We stuck a fatty piece of steak under the broiler 25 years ago, and it ignited like the great fire of a small New York kitchen, and we’ve never cooked together since.  But we have dined together extensively, all over the world, and we talk about where we’re going for dinner over the New York Times crossword puzzle at breakfast.  And the hours in front of the Food Network that we have both logged–well, I think it’s safe to say my father is the reason you are reading this.  I think his equivalent to Bruce Paltrow’s perfect pancakes is the great New York Eggplant Parmigiana–that dish will forever mean my dad to me.

I have one copy of this truly beautiful and heartfelt book to give away to one happy reader.  Leave a comment about the one thing your dad taught you to make, or to eat, or to love, and I will choose at random among the comments.  I can’t wait to hear all your stories.

This giveaway has closed and the winner has been contacted.  Thank you so much for all your comments.  They are wonderful!

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Categories: Finds

So Long Sushi: The Merits of Hot Japanese Food


Haru, NYC

Of course, lately, we have all been thinking of Japan.  And though it might seem gauche to say so, those thoughts have taken me more frequently than usual to my favorite Japanese restaurant.  Normally, it’s always the same thing.  King Crab Gyoza, and a Golden Passion Roll, with charred white tuna and yuzu tobiko.  But I had been eating too much of it.  Sushi is like teenage love.  It’s one of those things you obsess over for weeks, and then eat and eat and then you just need a break.  I needed a break, but I found myself, again, sitting in my favorite Japanese place.

That’s when Mr. English suggested, let’s get udon.  My father and I looked at him with utter disbelief.  No one had overthrown the imperialist reign of the King Crab Dumplings and Golden Passion Roll in years…years.  “I’m in.”

I ordered the tempura udon.  A cauldron of broth emerged from the kitchen, full of these thick, white noodles, soft and yet chewy.  Steamed spinach floated like a raft above it all.  The broth was one of those things I know it would be impossible for me to ever recreate.  So savory, and yet slightly sweet.  Brown with I have no idea what.  Clear, and light and luscious.  On the side were battered prawns and squash and broccoli, that I dunked into the soup.  It was just so vitally good.

I usually have Japanese food because I want sushi.  And I want sushi because I want to be healthy and virtuous.  I loved the feeling of being in a Japanese restaurant just to eat Japanese, something I could never recreate at home, and something that wasn’t particularly overwhelmingly great for me.  Now I can’t stop ordering udon.  I hope this won’t lead to a premature breaking off of another culinary puppy love, but I just can’t stop myself.  So, this is just a little PSA to say, next time you’re ordering sushi, look at the rest of the menu.  Japan has a lot of great stuff going on.

For great, and I mean really great, udon or soba in NYC,

check out Haru.


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Categories: Finds, New York, Restaurants, Voyages