Friday, January 14, 2011

New Year's Resolution

To write weekly posts... a funny thing happened in December: I got super busy cooking and discovered that it's just too exhausting planning, prepping and catering parties and then memorializing them with blogs, pictures and recipes.  In other words, I wimped out.  And it was a fantastic holiday season.  Many new clients, that of course, become more like friends and family after the fact and lots of delicious new recipes that I have promised to share with our fans. 

So count on it... with photos.  But in interim I'm going to start with what I consider to be the top ten recipes from 2010 that had people seriously on their knees begging for more.

1.  Starting with numero uno, this incredibly easy appetizer wowed every person who tried it.  And one lovely guest in particular at a birthday party remarked, "this is so amazing I just want to rub it all over my body."  Maybe that's not the most appetizing thought but she was sincere and I never tire of how enthusiastically people share their kudos and love for the food I prepare.  An aside: after my New Year's party that doubled as a very special 50th birthday party, my client texted me the next day to the effect that is was the best birthday she had ever had and I was so overwhelmed by her gracious and generous words that I did... burst into tears.  I never... repeat never... got this kind of love and appreciation when working in the film business.  So once again, I am so grateful to have both jobs as one truly offsets the degree of discomfort Hollywood can inflict on even the most successsful of playuhs!

Oh the recipe... I digress.

Inspired by lovely Michael Chiarello this is my version of his Cannelini Beans with Arugula served on Crostini.  Once you start making this, I gaurantee it will be a staple at every party.

2 cans cannelini beans rinsed and drained
4 cloves of garlic sliced wafer thin.
1 bag of arugula roughly chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of a Meyer Lemon
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup roughly crumbled Gorgonzola

1 loaf good crusty bread a la Filone not baguette as you need some real estate to laden with the beans.
4 T butter
4 T Olive Oil
Dash of Salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Slice the bread at least 1/3 inch thick.  Line cookie sheet with parchment.  Melt butter and olive on top of the stove in a small saucepan.  With a brush, give the bread slices a good coating of the oil and butter.  Sprinkle a little salt over all.  Bake in the oven until golden brown and crunchy.  Do not undercook as you want the bread to hold up under the moist beans.

In a large and wide skillet (you don't want to mash ingredients but gently turn them together) coat the pan with the olive oil and bring it to a sizzle.  Toss in the garlic and cook until translucent. Do not brown or it will taste bitter.  Sprinkle in the salt and pepper flakes and cook until they are aromatic.  Now add the beans and just warm.  Add the lemon juice and in batches turn in the arugula.  The arugula will wilt just like spinach.  When this happens sprinkle the gorgonzola and turn a few times -- it should not melt or be fully incorporated.  Instead, it should be soft little bits of warm flavorful cheese here and there. 

Put your warm crostini on a platter and heap generous portions of the beans and serve.  Be prepared for lots of  "Oh My Gods" and "This is Amaaaaazzzzziinnnnng." 

Shout out to Lauren Iungerich and Tracy Vonvechery this one's for you! 

Bon Appetit,


p.s. on deck is my version of a hoisin glaze for fish that had a table of women recently begging me to open a restaurant.  I'm thinking on it. 

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