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Saffron Pickled Shallots

Condiment

One of my new favorite restaurants is Gato. I’m a big Bobby Flay fan and have been for years. It was a real disappointment when he closed Bolo several years ago, I loved the food and ambience. Gato makes up for that loss in a big way. One of my favorite small plates is Mussel and Clam Salad with Saffron Pickled Shallots. The entire dish is sublime, but those saffron pickled shallots really blew me away. I knew I had to try and replicate the recipe!

It’s a Quick Pickle!

This is a quick pickle recipe and super simple to make. Boil water, vinegar, sugar, salt and saffron for 5 minutes.

Condiment

Dump in the sliced shallots and cook and another 5 minutes. Then let them steep in the pan off heat for 15 minutes.

Condiment

I thought these saffron pickled shallots would be a real treat on chicken liver pate and sandwiches, especially tuna. Strew a few shallots in salads and include a little of the pickle brine in the dressing.

Use a mandolin or vegetable slicer to make slices of uniform thickness. These keep for a couple months in the refrigerator. Store in a mason jar or reuse an old pickle jar.

Condiment

Recipe
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Saffron Pickled Shallots

Condiment

Use a mandolin or vegetable slicer to make slices of uniform thickness. These keep for a couple months in the refrigerator. Store in a mason jar or reuse an old pickle jar.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x
  • Category: Condiment
Scale

Ingredients

1 cup thinly sliced shallots
1 cup cold water
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoons granulated sugar
¾ teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads

Instructions

Combine the water, vinegar, sugar, salt and saffron in a medium-size saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil.

Once the sugar and salt are dissolved and the brine is a golden, stir in the shallots and simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and let steep for 15 minutes.

Place in a storage container and once completely, cover and store in the refrigerator.

Keywords: pickled shallots, saffron shallots, condiment, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free

 

The Wedding Shower

I sat in my hotel room waiting for Claire – we were on our way to Margot’s Wedding Shower! I hadn’t given much thought to the event because Claire kindly handle everything, from LA, freeing up more time for me to devote to the wedding planning. In those quiet few minutes, I realized what a milestone this day was.

I had a sneak preview the day before of the details Claire created and was excited to see her vision come to fruition. She had so many thoughtful and beautiful details worked out. And Bryan, Claire’s boyfriend, executed her ideas creating beautiful graphics on all her “props.” I was excited to participate in such an important day for Margot. Frankly, I was beaming with pride for both of my girls, and the anticipation of the day was thrilling.

Claire and I got to the venue an hour before the shower to set up. The event was held at Talaula’s Garden in Washington Square, Philadelphia. It was a hot and very humid day, so the event was inside. A pity because they have such a lovely outdoor garden. However, the restaurant is adorable and the AC was much appreciated.

From the minute we walked into the venue, we were warmly greeted and told to make ourselves at home. The florist was putting the finishing touches on the tables.

Claire went around and put the table names, menu card at each setting.

Including a clever ad libs she created especially for Margot “Marg Libs,” that everyone got to help her write her vows to Andy!

I put up the sign “Margot is getting married.”

Lined up the Prosecco splits with the adorable straw attached with a flag that read “Sip Sip Hurray!”

Jane (Andy’s Mom) and Susan (Jane’s sister) contributed their own homemade touch to the décor. These two are amazing. They made a beautiful towel cake, which I had never heard of!

They also made dozens and dozens of mustache and lip cookies! This is the theme of their save-the-date card and wedding invitation.

While we were working, I watched a women assemble a beautiful cheese spread. It was as artistic in design as it was in taste.

Our first guest was very special. Across the street from their childhood home, were twins – Erica and Kristina. They felt like my own children. They’ve moved away to their respective jobs and we don’t get to see them often, so having Erica there was wonderful. We spent lots of time just hugging, trying to make up for lost time.

More friends and family poured through the door and the party was on. Margot showed att 11:15 – the shower wansn’t a surprise, but the location was.

A very happy, excited girl!

Hors d’oeuvres

Spanakopita with yogurt
Hummus on crisp chickpea canapés (VEGAN)
Saffron arancini with lemon aioli

Specialty Cocktail

A gin-St. Germain-cucumber drink that is fizzy (either with soda water or sparkling wine) and Bloody Marys.

Wine 

Walnut Block “Collectables” Sauvignon Blanc 2016 Marlborough, NZ
Domaine du Chapitre Côtes du Rhône 2015 L’Ardeche, FR
Rosé

Claire also arranged for “Pop Up Polaroids” to come and take photos during cocktails, including some fun props. Everyone got into the spirit and we have loads of great group photos in addition to the ones I took.

Luncheon Menu

Then it was present time. No wilting flower, Margot enthusiastically and emotionally opened so many wonderful and thoughtful gifts. While Margot loves receiving gifts, you should know that the smallest present is as much appreciated as something monumental. She realizes that a gift is a reflection of affection and she is so appreciative of every little detail.

It was fun to watch her facial expressions, tears of joy and her innate silliness. This particular picture shows just what a nut she is – they got a pet hair vacuum and she’s hugging it!

It was a perfect day filled with so much love and laughter and there is nothing better than being surrounded by your closed family and friends.

Both MOB (me) and MOG (Jane) were delighted with the outcome!

Change of Venue

Country Club of Darien

 

The last thing you want when planning a wedding is a last minute change of venue! It sounds like a recipe for disaster.

We had quite the shock when we got the tent estimate. The cost represented three-quarters of our wedding budget, which I can assure you is quite generous. I sent the proposal to the kids and Andy’s response was a simple “I just died.” I felt his pain. Margot, to her credit, was weepy and agitated when she called, but she held it together. I told her to let Daddy and I talk and I would get back to her.

With what I had no idea. Yes, we could always add money to the budget, but that didn’t solve the problem of spending so much money on tents for a few hours. I went online to search for wedding venues in our area and started sending requests for availability on September 16, 2017. I sent about a dozen emails.

Country Club of Darien

The Country Club of Darien

Unbelievably, about an hour later, the wonderful, amazing Erika Catering Director from a country club in Fairfield County, called and said she might be able to help; she said “sit tight and I’ll get back to you.” At 3pm she called, said it was a go and could we come and look at the site. My husband and I arrived at the club by 4pm.

Country Club of Darien

The venue is beautiful! There is a gorgeous lawn overlooking the golf course for an outdoor ceremony, weather permitting.

Country Club of Darien

Garden along the lawn.

Country Club of Darien

Rooms for both the bride and groom and their attendants to prepare.

We were treated to a cocktail and a nosh before leaving, delicious! Erika was so accommodating and helpful.

We got home and called the kids and told them about our tour and I sent them the photos I took with my iPhone and scanned the menus and other info Erica had provided. They agreed to come up the following Saturday for a lunch and tour.

Country Club of Darien

Thankfully they were as delighted with the venue as we were. The setting and clubhouse are charming. We were treated to a lunch, again delicious food. I had an amazing saffron mussel soup, chock full or mussels.

Country Club of Darien

After working out the details, we signed the contract the next Saturday. Our change of venue is confirmed. Do I need to tell you how relieved I was!!!!

Everyone is telling me how much easier it will be with the change of venue; I think they may be right!

 

Chicken Liver Pate

Chopped Liver

Chicken liver pate wasn’t something I was familiar with growing up. My mother made calves liver for dinner often (TOO often). It was slightly overcooked and chewy with that livery taste. I was frequently left at the table because I hadn’t finished my dinner. I eventually learned to cut it into tiny pieces and swallow it whole with my milk – kids always find a way!

Aunt Roz

My husband’s Aunt Roz recently passed away. She was the one who made chopped liver for the Jewish holidays. I was at her home once when she was preparing the pate and I got to see firsthand how she made it. I only remember butter, onions and livers. I didn’t have the foresight then to know how important it is to to write down family recipes. So, left to my own devices I’ve created a recipe I think works.

Chopped Liver

Saffron Pickled Shallots

I reproduced Bobby Flay’s saffron pickled shallots, which he serves with one of his small plates Mussel and Clam Salad topped with saffron pickled shallots at his restaurant Gato. It’s absolutely delicious! I thought what a great way to top the chicken liver pate in addition to the grated egg white and egg yolk.

Chopped Liver

Sam

After my mother-in-law passed away many years ago, my sister-in-law and I split the Seder and Rosh Hashanah holidays. As the shiksa (a non-Jewish woman), I opted for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. No dietary restrictions on the menu.

One year I decided to think outside the box. I researched the holiday and found that sweets were “traditional.” I did know not to put raisins in the Challah, which would upset my father-in-law Sam; but it never occurred to me not to use sliced apples (a traditional Rosh Hashanah ingredient) for the pate instead of crackers or bread. A tart, crisp Granny Smith apple is a great foil for the rich pate.

Chopped Liver

Well, my father-in-law pulled my husband over and said to tell me not to do that again. Chopped liver went on crackers! I never served apple slices again, but it is an interesting and delicious way to diversify the pate.

So, thank you Aunt Roz and Sam for setting me straight on the ABCs of chopped liver!

 

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Chicken Liver Pate

Chopped Liver

Push the egg white and egg yolk, separately, through a fine sieve for best results. Try the pate on tart apple slices for something a little different.

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Ingredients

  • Pate
  • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sliced onions
  • 1 pound chicken livers, cleaned and rinsed
  • ¼ cup Cognac
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Garnish
  • grated egg white
  • grated egg yolk
  • saffron pickled shallots

Instructions

  1. Pate
  2. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Stir in the onions and cook until the onions begin to brown on the edges.
  4. Pour in the cognac, stir to release the brown bits in the pan.
  5. Add the chicken livers, herbes de Provence, salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until the livers are slightly pink in the center.
  6. Scoop this into a food processor and puree.
  7. Place into 3 small ramekins.
  8. Garnish
  9. Top each ramekin with one of the garnishes: grated egg white, grated egg yellow, and saffron pickled shallots
  10. Serve with thin slices of brown bread, crostini, crackers or apple slices.

Notes

Store covered in the refrigerator.

 

Mediterranean Braised Lamb Shanks

We started March with almost summer-like temperatures in the mid-70s and now the first day of spring, we’re expecting a snow storm! I decided to take advantage of the hopefully last cold days to make Mediterranean Braised Lamb Shanks in the slow cooker. Always make a braise the day before, the flavors are much better and it gives you an opportunity to easily remove the fat before reheating.

DSCN5030

Eric went to Stew Leonard’s and picked up some beautiful grass-grown lamb shanks from the Amish country. For the Mediterranean flavors, I’m using sundried tomatoes, Dijon mustard, herbes de Provence, saffron and a lovely Italian red wine. I had ¾ cup of cornmeal in the cupboard and decided to make a soft polenta with some sautéd shaved Brussels as my sides.

DSCN5027

The snow came Sunday night and it was a beautiful sight to wake up to this morning! The sun glistening on the snow-covered limbs and a brilliant blue sky. The snow didn’t even stick to the paved surfaces and the barely three inches we got are melting away quickly!DSCN5036

 

Goodbye Winter!

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DSCN5041

 

Happy Spring everyone!

 

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Mediterranean Braised Lamb Shanks

A flavorful Mediterranean Braised Lamb Shank recipe for the slow cooker. Cook the day before to allow the flavors to come together and to let the fat set for easy removal.

  • Prep Time: 45 mins
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours 45 mins
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Lamb
  • Method: Stew/Braise
Scale

Ingredients

  • 8 Lamb shanks
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced carrot
  • 8 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 1 cup sundried tomatoes, not packed in oil
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons dried herbes de Provence
  • Pinch saffron
  • 1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup stock or water
  • GARNISH
  • ¼ cup pitted and sliced Nicoise olives
  • ¼ chopped rosemary, thyme and parsley
  • zested lemon peel

Instructions

  1. Generously season both sides of the lamb shanks.
  2. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven and brown the lamb shanks in batches.
  3. Add a little more oil if needed and stir in the onions, celery, carrots and garlic. Cover and sweat for 5 minutes, stirring once.
  4. Add the wine, sundried tomatoes, mustard, herbes de Provence and saffron, stir to combine, bring to a boil and reduce by three-quarters.
  5. Stir in the tomatoes and stock/water. Add the lamb shanks, cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, until fork tender.
  6. Combine the olives, herbs and lemon peel. Plate the lamb and sprinkle the garnish over the top.

Keywords: stew, braise, lamb stew, slow cooking

Biscotti Cookbook Update – Chapter 4 Sweet Nutty Biscotti

 

Here are Chapter 4 recipe titles for my upcoming biscotti cookbook!

Chapter 4 – Sweet Nutty Biscotti

Almond Biscotti
Anise Almond
Apricot Saffron Biscotti
Banana Bread Biscotti
Blueberry Almond Biscotti
Candied Orange Peel Dried Cranberry Biscotti
Cinnamon Pecan Biscotti
Fig & Sage Biscotti
Granola Biscotti
Hazelnut Dried Fruit
Mango Toasted Coconut Biscotti
Maple Pecan Bacon/ Biscotti
Maple Walnut Raisin Biscotti
Passion Fruit Biscotti
Pear Biscotti