Nom Wah Tea Parlor’s Shrimp Fried Rice

by Hilary Gauntt on February 15, 2018

Wilson Tang took over this almost century-old New York Chinatown dim sum house from his uncle. With some careful updating while keeping the charm and authenticity, he has a raging success on his hands which has spread to locations in other cites. He partnered with Chinese-American chef Jonathan Wu, whose simple shrimp fried rice takes minutes to make (once you have the cooked rice) and I thought was surprisingly delicious.

I had a big slug of leftover rice from our favorite Thai take-out rotisserie chicken dinner, and bags of shrimp and peas in the freezer. When Food and Wine Magazine featured this recipe in their Comfort Food Edition last month, dinner was solved. I tried to forget that the bag of frozen peas had been used to ice a shoulder injury; it didn’t seem to matter!

1 1/2 cups long grain rice, rinsed and drained

Kosher salt

7 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided

12 raw medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped

5 medium eggs, beaten

1/2 tsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

3 Tbs. light soy sauce

In a medium saucepan, bring 2 1/4 cups of water to a boil. Add the rice and a generous pinch of salt, and return to a boil. Stir once; cover and simmer over low heat until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, and let steam for 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork, and spread on a large baking sheet to cool completely, about 30 minutes.

In a very large skillet or wok, heat 2 Tbs. of the oil until shimmering. Add the shrimp, and stir-fry over moderately high heat until nearly cooked through, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate.

In the same skillet, heat the remaining 5 Tbs. of the oil until shimmering. Add the eggs, and stir-fry over moderately high heat until small curds form and the eggs are nearly cooked, about 2 minutes. Add the rice, sugar, pepper, and a generous pinch of salt, and stir-fry until the rice is hot, about 3 minutes. Add the shrimp, peas and soy sauce, and stir-fry until the shrimp are cooked through and the peas are hot, two to three minutes. Season with salt and serve immediately. Serves 4-6.
Note: I added a sprinkling of green onions and cilantro, which I would do again.


Dorie Greenspan’s 3-Ingredient Almond Crackle Cookies

by Hilary Gauntt on February 7, 2018

Dorie is a world famous baker with numerous cookbooks, twice winning “Cookbook of the Year”. She lives in NYC, Connecticut and Paris, and is most known for her cookie recipes and French family fare. “It takes longer to preheat the oven than to put these cookies together” she says.

These cookies were a revelation to me; gluten-free, fat-free, guilt-free and irresistible! Perfect with a cup of tea, or in my case as a light bite of crunchy sweetness after a heavy Superbowl Mexican menu. I actually would change the name to 4-ingredient cookies, because a sprinkle of sea salt over the tops right after removing the pans from the oven makes a huge difference, I think. A few drops of vanilla in the batter is also a nice idea. You could add anything else to this if you wished; chocolate chips, raisins, etc. but they are wonderful just plain. Toasted nutty flavor with just a touch of chewy sweetness.

6 Tbs. (75 grams) sugar ( I used brown)

1 large egg

1 1/4 cup (125 grams) sliced almonds (blanched or unblanched)


Position the raks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat it to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Have a small cookie scoop or a teaspoon at hand.

Whisk the sugar and egg together in a bowl for a minute or so, until well-blended and just a bit thick. Add the almonds and whisk until evenly coated with the mixture. You need to use the batter right away- it separates as it stands. In fact, it’s good to give the batter a stir or two as you’re spooning it out.

Each cookie needs 2 teaspoons of batter. Scoop the batter onto the baking sheets, leaving at least 2 inches of space between the mounds of batter, and flatten each mound with the back of a fork.

Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating the pans midway through baking. The cookies should be toasted-almond beige, and dry and crackled on top. Transfer the baking sheets to racks and let the cookies cool for about 10 minutes.(Important to let them cool so they won’t stick!) Carefully lift the free-form cookies with a wide spatula.

Note: If your kitchen is cool and dry, you can keep these in a tin or paper bag overnight. Keep them longer and they might soften, a condition easily reversed: Place the cookies on a lined baking sheet and warm them in a 350 degree oven for about 6 minutes. Cool on the sheet. Makes 20 cookies.

Made these again with grandson Hunter, aged 5, who really thought chocolate chips were necessary, not optional. Have to say adding chocolate really improved an already great cookie; these are the only 3 left and not for long! And don’t forget that sprinkle of sea salt!


Smoked Salmon with Crispy Shallots and Dilled Cream

by Hilary Gauntt on January 30, 2018

I bought Diane Rossen Worthington’s first cookbook “Seriously Simple” while on vacation in 2002. She has followed that up with “Seriously Simple Holidays” and later “Seriously Simple Parties”, and all three are full of great ideas for entertaining along with uncomplicated recipes and tips to reduce party anxiety. She clearly loves hosting groups large or small and is delighted to share what she’s learned.

This appetizer is a good example of her style. Uncomplicated and delicious, but with something extra that makes it memorable. In this case it’s the thinly sliced shallots sauteed in butter until brown and crispy that make this special. I’m sure they would be gorgeous if you followed her direction to have each salmon slice “rolled up like a rose” but without a picture to follow (odd since the book is full of beautiful photos) I just laid the slice on top and doubt anyone minded.

To make the sauce: Combine the sour cream, dill, and lemon juice in a small bowl and stir to blend well. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and saute for 3 to 5 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown, stirring the shallots to make sure they don’t burn. Drain on paper towels and then transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Arrange the bread or crackers on a platter. Place a small spoonful of dilled sauce on each. Arrange a salmon slice, rolled up to look like a rose, on top of each bread slice or cracker. Top with a dollop of the dilled sauce and sprinkle with the crispy shallots. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Note: You can make the sauce and shallots up to 2 hours ahead. Refrigerate the sauce and leave the shallots at room temperature. Instead of bread or crackers, I used crisp Parmesan toasts that my market sells, which were really wonderful in that an hour later they retained their crunchiness. Once the platter was ready to go, I grated some lemon zest over the toasts for a little extra flavor.


Rum and Honey-Roasted Cayenne-Cumin Carrots

by Hilary Gauntt on January 22, 2018

PR whiz and bi-coastal hostess extraordinaire Susan Mactavish Best hosts large house parties several times a month, making much of the staggering amount of interesting food herself. Sunset Magazine featured her parties over many pages recently and it all looks pretty amazing. This recipe jumped out at me as quite a unique appetizer; she describes them as “sweet, hot, salty and juicy, and very popular.” Since I wasn’t having 125 people over for drinks anytime soon, I cut the recipe down to 10 carrots instead of 50 and we had them for dinner. Really delicious with the feta adding a richness to this vegetable dish. I will give you her party-size recipe and you can cut it down as you see fit. She leaves on a couple of inches of the carrot top, but those look kind of unappetizing I thought, so I trimmed them off.

50 medium carrots with green tops (about 6 1/2 pounds)

1 cup dark rum (or bourbon, or even tequila)

1/2 cup EACH maple syrup (or molasses, agave or honey) and extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 to 2 tsp. cayenne

1 tbs. ground cumin

About 1 tbs. kosher salt

1 cup EACH crumbled feta cheese and chopped cilantro

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup honey

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Trim carrot greens to about two inches, then scrub or peel carrots and heap in 2 rimmed baking sheets. Mix rum, maple syrup, and oil and pour over the carrots. Mix cayenne, cumin, and 1 tbs. salt, sprinkle over carrots, and turn them with your hands so everything gets distributed. Divide among 4 rimmed baking sheets in a single layer.

Roast carrots (in two batches if you have one oven) until thoroughly tender and browned, 45 to 50 minutes depending on how big they are. Roll them over halfway through to brown evenly. If the pan starts getting dry, splash in 1/4 to 1/2 cup water.

Heap a layer of carrots on a rimmed serving platter. Scatter half of feta over them, then half of cilantro. Add the remaining carrots, then drizzle with juices from the pan. Mix lemon, honey, and salt to taste and drizzle that on too. Sprinkle with the rest of the feta and cilantro. Makes 50.
To make ahead: Roast the carrots, up to 1 day, and chill (bring them to room temperature before serving), or a few hours ahead and keep at room temperature. Arrange on a platter with toppings shortly before serving.


Jamie Oliver’s Wife’s Favorite Beef Stew

January 16, 2018

Jamie is one of my culinary heroes. As busy as he was running restaurants all over the world, writing cookbooks, and starring in television shows; he took on the challenge of improving England’s school lunches. Then left his young family for months to come to West Virginia and take on ours, not receiving the warmest […]

Read the full article →

“Healthyish” Quick Tomato Chicken Curry

January 9, 2018

Knowing everyone is wanting to undo a little of the damage they did over the holidays, Bon Apetit is offering a selection of recipes this first half of January that they label “Healthyish.” Two weeks of “just so happens to be healthy” dinners. In other words healthy, lighter ingredients without sacrificing flavor. After seeing lots […]

Read the full article →

Bring on 2018 !

December 28, 2017

Well, it’s been a wild ride in 2017…floods, fires, hurricanes, mass shootings, terrorist attacks, and the most appalling, inescapable in-your-face politics of my adult life. So we will ring in 2018 with a sigh of relief and a prayer for a return to less chaotic world. For someone who enjoys starting the day with the […]

Read the full article →

Chicken Roasted with Potatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, and Herbs

December 21, 2017

This is my adaptation of a flavorful, simple chicken casserole from Julia Moskin of the New York Times. Her version had you wrapping the roasting pan in tin foil to bake, then removing the foil and running it until the broiler to brown the chicken. I much prefer roasted chicken and vegetables to the slightly […]

Read the full article →

Sausage and Potato Roast With Arugula

December 8, 2017

I had to try this recipe from Food and Wine magazine as these are three of my favorite foods! And it is such an easy one dish supper, perfect for a cool Fall evening. You just roast everything on a sheet pan until browned and tender, then tip it all into a large serving bowl […]

Read the full article →

Jessica Seinfeld’s Meatballs Marinara

November 30, 2017

This is another recipe from Mrs. Jerry Seinfeld’s “Food Swings” cookbook. I don’t sense any Italian heritage here, but somehow she has come up with a darn good meatball recipe. If you want to see a grin and get a “WOW” from any male walking into your kitchen, have the sheet pan filled with over […]

Read the full article →