French in a Flash: Provençal White Bean Dip

RECIPE: Provençal White Bean Dip
White Bean Dip

White Bean Dip

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While in Napa recently, I found and loved a white bean dip at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon in Yountville, which came served with pain epi. It was creamy, mild, and mellow, but not bland at all. And it had a distinct advantage over butter—I could slather on as much as I wanted without guilt.

In my own concoction, I whizzed together white beans, olive oil, fresh herbs, and the star—a head of roasted garlic. Just buy good crusty French baguette, and you’ll start to feel a little like Thomas Keller yourself.

Provençal White Bean Dip
serves 4


  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 head roasted garlic

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • The leaves of 1 stem of fresh rosemary

  • The leaves of 3 stems of fresh thyme


Add all the ingredients to a food processor and puree until smooth.


To roast garlic, slice off the top quarter of the garlic, wrap in foil, and bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour.  Then, squeeze out all the flesh.

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Appetizers & Hors D’Oeuvres, Cheap, Easy, Eat, For a Crowd, French in a Flash, Recipes, Series, Vegetarian

Red with Hunger: Luke’s Lobster in NYC

Luke's Lobster Roll

Luke's Lobster Roll, with a Half Sour Pickle

I love New York.  Why go to India when I can eat at Tamarind?  Or to Japan when I can sip udon at Haru?  If I can get better exoticisms so close to home, then it certainly isn’t worth the trip to Maine, when the best lobster roll on Earth is just a few blocks away.

I thought that I had tasted the best lobster roll on Earth.  I won’t get into it, now that I’m jostling another one ahead, but it was in Paris, and it was stirred up with lime and orange zests, and handed over with a pile of goose-fat fries.  Not too shabby.  Amazing, even.  But my new favorite lobster roll has to be Luke’s Lobster, at home in NYC.

Maine Root Soda and Mrs. Vick's Chips

Maine Root Soda and Mrs. Vick's Chips

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Categories: New York, Restaurants, Voyages

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution: A Case for the Kitchen

Jamie's Food Revolution

Jamie's Food Revolution

I’m sick in bed today, and even though I slept until 11:30 (that’s UK time), I still have to fill the hours until I can quell the sniffles and headache with another massive dose of sleep.  So I snuggled down under the comforters and played 4 episodes of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, in reverse order, from a British TV website.  Having just come back from LA, I was miserable that I was missing the season.

I’ve always been a huge fan of Jamie’s: I love his casual attitude in the kitchen.  Look, on one episode, a kid dropped a frying pan full of chicken on the floor, and Jamie said, “Three second rule!”  That’s my kind of home cooking.  I think he’s charismatic.  And when his Italian restaurant opened in Oxford when I was in grad school, it was one of the few establishments in that town where I actually wanted to eat.  I wish he could do something about Oxford dining hall meals!  But why I particularly support his Food Revolution is because I remember so vividly the food we had at my elementary school growing up. Continue reading

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Categories: People

Working Girl Dinners: Chicken Paillard Salad

RECIPE: Chicken Paillard Salad with Arugula, Fennel, and Apples
Chicken Paillard Salad

Chicken Paillard Salad

Looks pretty gourmet, doesn’t it?  Thinly pounded, grilled chicken breast topped with an arugula, fennel, and apple salad.  No one would assume you threw it together on a George Foreman.

This is such an easy, healthy dinner.  Chicken paillard, inspired by French bistros, is just a thinly pounded (yes, you get to do the pounding!) chicken breast, lightly seasoned, and grilled in just 4 minutes.  Mound a simple lemony salad on top, and you have the perfect, light dinner.  The apple and fennel are crunchy.  The lemon and olive oil pools down into the chicken.  Guiltless and delicious.

Chicken Paillard Salad with Arugula, Fennel, and Apples
serves 2

Chicken Paillard SaladINGREDIENTS

  • 2 ½-pound chicken cutlets, pounded ¼-inch thick

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons

  • Salt and pepper

  • 2 cups baby arugula

  • ½ fennel, very thinly sliced

  • ½ Granny Smith apple, very thinly sliced

  • Zest and juice of ½ lemon


Preheat your countertop grill to the highest setting.  Rub the chicken with the 2 teaspoons olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Grill the chicken paillards, one at a time, until cooked through—about 4 minutes.  Toss the arugula, fennel, apple, lemon juice, lemon zest, and 2 tablespoon olive oil with salt and pepper.

Allow the chicken to cool just slightly, then pile the salad on top of the chicken.


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Categories: 15 Minutes, Cheap, Easy, Eat, Main Courses, Poultry, Recipes, Salad, Series, Soup & Salad, Watch, Working Girl Dinners

French in a Flash: Broccoli Gratin

RECIPE: Broccoli Gratin
Broccoli Gratin

Broccoli Gratin

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As much as I love vegetables (and I do), I admit there’s no better way to eat them than when they’re bubbling in hot cream and covered in melted cheese. Vegetables have for so long been the healthy thing that has to fill that corner of your plate to make a meal wholesome.  When they’re decadent, the meal takes on a special kind of indulgence.
I love cauliflower gratin, and this is my streamlined broccoli version. Baking the vegetables in crème fraîche, which doesn’t separate in the heat of the oven, means you don’t have to bother making a béchamel. The crème fraîche melts, and the cheese melts into it, without separating, so you have all the function of a béchamel, without the bother, and the whole gratin comes out lighter. Simply toss blanched broccoli with créme fraîche and grated Gruyère, then top it with more cheese and panko. The sauce pools and melts and cooks inside the little florets of the broccoli, and the top gets gooey and crispy.  I could sit down and eat a whole plate of it myself. You may want to double the recipe–especially if I’m invited!
Broccoli Gratin
serves 2 to 4

Broccoli GratinINGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups broccoli florets

  • 1/3 cup crème fraîche

  • 1 cup grated Gruyère

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 tablespoons panko


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Blanch the broccoli in salted boiling water for 2 minutes.  Drain.

Toss the broccoli with the cream fraîche, three quarters of the cheese, and salt and pepper.  Spoon the broccoli mixture into a greased baking dish.  Top with the panko, and the remaining cheese.  Bake until the top is golden and bubbling—30 to 35 minutes.


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Categories: 60 Minutes, Easy, Eat, French in a Flash, Recipes, Series, Sides, Vegetables

The Secret Ingredient (Ginger Jam) Part I: Gingered Sesame Noodles

RECIPE: Gingered Sesame Noodles
Gingered Sesame Noodles

Gingered Sesame Noodles

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When I first moved to Florida from Manhattan, there were a few things I missed.  Like winter.  And sesame noodles.
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Categories: 15 Minutes, Cheap, Easy, Eat, Main Courses, Recipes, Series, Sides, Starches, The Secret Ingredient, Vegetarian, Vegetarian

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RECIPE: Ginger Oven Ribs
Ginger Ribs

Ginger Ribs

I recently contributed to a few pieces to, the website for magazines like Real Simple, Cooking Light, Southern Living, Sunset, and Health.  When asked what my pick was for “the flavor you’ve got to have right now,” I chose my recent favorite Ginger Jam.  Click here for the piece, and be sure to try these delicious Asian-inspired ginger oven ribs. Continue reading

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Categories: Appetizers & Hors D’Oeuvres, Cheap, Eat, For a Crowd, Main Courses, Meat, Recipes