Wild Mushroom and Leek Fritatta

The first thing you will need for this dish, David, is a duck. You could hide in a blind for several days while you wait for a wild mallard to cozy up or you could head to your local hatchery and grab a Khaki Campbell by the downy feathers. Once you’ve told the duck who’s boss and started collecting eggs from under the cushion of the duck’s overstuffed arm chair, you’re off to the forest to forage for mushrooms.

I suggest you pick up a book on wild mushrooms and study it while you’re waiting for your duck to start laying. This way, it’s more likely you won’t poison the petite flower you’ve invited to your country home for the picnic.

Serve this delightful dish with a dandelion salad plucked from the meadows and pair it with a Chardonnay aged in stainless, or a dry prosecco. Finish the meal with a strawberry lemonade.

10 duck eggs
1 pint of wild mushrooms like chanterelles or ceps, brushed, trimmed and sliced
1 leek, sliced, washed, rinsed and dried How to
2 Tbs olive oil for the saute
2 Tbs butter for the glass baking dish
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 Tbs fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup shaved Parmigiano Reggiano
3 passes of a nutmeg seed on your nutmeg grater
2 pinches of sea salt to taste
Hungarian Paprika

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Butter a 9″ glass baking dish, round or square. Make this decision carefully David, presentation is key.

Saute the leek in olive oil with a sprig of rosemary until the leek is translucent and soft, about 5 mins. Add the mushrooms and saute for about 5 minutes more. If this is your first date the petite flower, finish the saute with 1 Tbs butter.

Beat and Layer
In a glass bowl, beat the eggs with the thyme leaves, nutmeg and sea salt.

Layer the mushroom saute in the baking dish, then the shaved Parmigiano and pour the egg mixture on top. Dust with paprika and bake for approximately 30 minutes until the eggs are set. I start checking it after 20 minutes. It’s better to undercook it slightly than to let it dry out in the oven.

Allow the frittata to cool for at least 15 minutes or up to several hours.


Bruschetta No. 17

June 2, 2009

Wild Mushroom and Raw Milk Cheese Bruschetta

You can make this bruschetta with any number of wild mushrooms, David. My personal favorite for this dish would be Morels, but you could use Maitake, Black Trumpet, Saffron Milk-Cap or even the recession busting Yellow Oyster all to a similar erotic effect.

Standing in the middle of the sidewalk on 5th Avenue, you should gmail group chat 6 lovelies from your iPhone to recruit your harem. Make wild tapping, zooming and other finger motions while you block the flow of traffic. You’ll meet at least 3 more iPhone carrying princesses.

Bruschetta of Wild Mushroom and Raw Milk Tomme
Amuse Bouche for a Harem of 6 to 9

1/4 cup of mushroom stock
1 pound of wild mushrooms, brushed, trimmed and sliced
1 bunch of ramps trimmed and coursely chopped if you’re whipping this up during the Spring season in the Northeast or 1 goodly sized leek chopped fine if you’re in the South of France later in the Summer
3 Tbs high quality butter
1/4 cup white Bordeaux
1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves
Sea salt
Several crispy stiratos, baguettes or ciabattas
1/2 lb raw milk tomme
I like to use Cato Corner‘s French Tomme, a Tomme de Savoie or the ever so coveted Tomme de Crayeuse

Add the mushroom and ramp trimmings to your pot-au-feu. Melt the butter on low heat and saute the ramps for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute for 2 minutes more. Add the wine, the stock, salt, a few rosemary leaves trimmed from your local church gardens and simmer for 5 minutes, reducing the liquid by half. Stir in the thyme leaves, taste and adjust for salt.

Add a schmear of your favorite tomme to the toasted bread. Top with a tablespoon of the mushroom mixture and feed your harem. Serve with a porron of Saint-Émilion. Gloat.

Tropical Whiteboy

May 18, 2009


This concoction, David, is essentially a mojito with more score power. I’ve replaced the rum with gin, the lime with orange and added Fee Brothers’ West Indian Orange Bitters.

Invite her over for afternoon cocktails in your tropical gardens and whip these up in large glasses. Be sure you don’t put out any snacks to make their effects even stronger. Keep the conversation flowing by telling her that you’ll whisk her from your St John beach house to your mountain getaway in Tobago while you dial up Bunji Garlin on your iPod.

Don’t forget your aviators and make-shift limbo pole.

2 Tbs raw sugar
1 and 1/2 slices sweet orange or satsuma
8 spearmint leaves
2 dashes orange bitters
3 ounces high-quality dry gin like Junipero or Hendricks
2 ounces sparkling mineral water
Cracked ice

Muddle the sugar orange slices and mint in a large glass. Add the bitters and fill the glass 3/4 full with ice. Add the gin. Add a little more gin. Mix by pouring into a large mixing glass, add the sparkling water and stir. Pour the mixture back into your serving glass, top with a sprig of mint and dance from your garden bar to where your date is standing looking at your beautiful orchids.

If you walk around Park Slope dressed in a chef’s coat with these amuse bouche on Mother’s Day, David, you’ll have a line around the corner. I suggest you make your Google calendar public, hire a resident Nanny and buy a stroller/bike rack for your sublet.


1 pound of fresh white anchovies from the Adriatic
1 cup extra-virgin Sicilian olive oil
1 tablespoon aleppo
1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
2 garlic cloves, sliced paper-thin
2 tsp sea salt
Juice of one Sicilian lemon
1 dozen quail eggs
2 loaves of Sullivan Street Ciabatta
Alder wood smoked sea salt
Parmigiano Reggiano

If you have time, David, fly into Rome, drive East to Pescara and rent a boat with nets. If you don’t, walk down 7th Ave to Russo’s and buy a small container of their ready to use alici.

If you decide to catch your own, trim the fins. With your razor sharp filet knife, slit each fish along the belly from head to tail, remove the entrails and rinse well. Cut off the heads and pull out the spine and pin bones. Separate the two fillets, rinse and dry. Arrange the fillets in layers and cover with the lemon juice. Marinate for 4 hours.

Remove the anchovies from the lemon juice, rinse and pat dry. Wash out the dish and dry well. Return a single layer of cured anchovies to the dish and add garlic, olive oil, aleppo and sea salt.

If you decide to go to Russo’s, bring the alici to room temperature 1 hour before serving.

Preheat the oven to 250. Cut the ciabatta in 1/2 slices. place on an open rack and toast for 10 minutes. Rub both sides with whole garlic and turn. Toast for 10 to 15 minutes more.

Temper your egg frying pan. Crack the quail eggs and fry’em up. Lay 3 fillets on each toast. Top the fillets with the shaved Parmigiano, the quail eggs and a pinch of the smoked sea salt.

Stand on the corner of 6th Avenue and Union Street outside Union Market in your chef’s coat as if you’re the Executive Chef of the Market. Accompany your samples with an Albariño, your Twitter name and your sublet address.

Fettucine with Ramps, Asparagus and Shaved Lemon

Some girls like it rough. They beg for a tug of the hair, the two-handed choke or a double-backhanded-bitch-slap. Well, this recipe is not for them, David. Just toss those cave women a slab of raw meat and hose out their cage once a week.

This recipe is also not for women who claim to be “gluten intolerant”. Feed them a loaf of wheat bread which you’ve claimed is spelt, then kick them to the curb because they’re all a bunch of liars who jump from one fashionable food allergy to the next.

Use this recipe when you’ve found a keeper, David. She’ll stick around.

1 lb of fresh fettucine from Raffetto’s
8 ramps chopped finely
1 pound of asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves cut with your kitchen shears
1 lemon shaved on your mandoline
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup of Sauvignon Blanc
3 Tbs high-quality unsalted butter
Sea salt
Olive oil
A couple of turns of the pink peppercorn mill
Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano

Bring a large pot (10qt.) of water to a boil.

Cut the lemon in half and shave each half on your mandoline.

Melt the butter in a 6 qt. saute pan and add the ramps. Saute for 3 minutes until the whites are translucent and the greens are wilted. Add the asparagus and stir to coat. Saute for 1 minute more. Add the white wine, shaved lemons, lemon juice and salt. Simmer for about 4 to 5 minutes until the asparagus are tender, but crisp.

When the water boils, add 3 Tbs of salt and a teaspoon of olive oil. Add the pasta and stir. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Drain immediately, add the pasta to your saute pan with mint and toss. Add the fresh cracked pink pepper and taste for salt. Garnish with shave Parmigiano Reggiano and serve with the Sauvignon Blanc or a young, red Côtes du Rhône.


I know you don’t generally think of Grandmothers as sexy, David, but when Jennifer’s Great Grandmother began making soup one morning not only did I see her in a different light, I thought she was a sexy beast.

When I first met her the effect she had on me was that of most Mediterranean grandmothers. She smelled a little funny, but was extremely nice and her pinches only yielded minor bruises on my right cheek. Everything changed the first warm day of Spring when I spied her in the garden hunched over in her wheelchair pulling baby carrots from the rich, dark soil. What a woman. It didn’t matter she had no legs. By the time she wheeled the soup from the kitchen to the dining room table, I was considering polygamy. Jennifer just laughed at me, smacked my jaw shut causing me to bite my wagging tongue and said, “Eat your soup.”

Conchetta made many pots of soup that Spring and they were all called Zuppa della Nonna Conchetta but they only resembled each other in name. The first one she made on that beautiful, Spring day was my favorite. It was also the simplest. A few baby vegetables from her garden, dried chickpeas from last year’s harvest and rosemary from her window box.

R.I.P. Nonna Conchetta, 1897–1993


The Chickpeas
1 lb dried chickpeas
12 cups of water + water for soaking
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
sea salt

Sift through the beans and discard stones, debris and runts. Rinse the ones that made the cut under cold water. In an 8 qt stockpot, cover the chickpeas with 2 inches of water. put the lid on and store in cool spot overnight.

The following day, toast the cumin seeds in a small cast iron skillet and grind them in a mortar and pestle. Strain the chickpeas and add 12 cups of fresh, cold spring water, the bay leaf and the ground cumin.

Bring beans to a boil, skimming off any foam that develops, and then reduce to a simmer for about 1.5 until almost tender. Add the sea salt to taste (don’t be shy) and simmer for another 15 or 20 minutes

Strain the beans and reserve the liquid.
The Stock
6 baby onions and their tops
The stems from 1/2 pound of crimini mushrooms
3 spring garlic bulbs and their tops
12 pink peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 three to four inch rind of Parmigiano Reggiano
2 Tbs Sicilian olive oil
The reserved cooking liquid from the chickpeas
8 cups of water

In the 8 qt. stock pot, saute the whites of the onions in olive oil until translucent. Add the reserved cooking liquid from the chickpeas the water  and the remaining ingredients. You should have about 4 quarts of liquid in your pot. If not, add additional water.
Bring the stock to a boil and simmer for 1 hour. Strain and reserve the stock.

The Soup
6 baby onions and their tops, minced
3 spring garlic bulbs and their tops, slivered
8 baby carrots, about 6 inches long, cut diagonally, about 1 inch long
6 new potatoes, about 2 inches in diameter, diced
1/2 pound of crimini mushrooms caps, sliced thinly
8 leaves of young mustard greens, about 6 to 8 inches long, sliced thinly crosswise
1/3 pound of small casarecce or other smallish pasta for soup
1 branch of rosemary, about 6 inches long
6 branches of thyme
3 Tbs Sicilian olive oil
Sea salt
1 cup of dry Italian white wine
Juice of 1 lemon
Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
A hand full of parsley leaves

Heat olive oil in your stock pot over medium heat. Add the baby onion and saute until translucent. Add the garlic and saute 1 minute more. Add the potatoes, carrots, mustard and mushrooms. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes and add 2 pinches of salt.

Add the white wine and turn the heat to medium-high. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the broth, chickpeas, rosemary and thyme. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes on low heat.

Turn the heat to medium-high, bring to a low boil and add the casarecce or other smallish pasta that takes 10 minutes to cook.

Turn the heat off and add the lemon juice. Taste for salt. Remove the herb stems with tongs. Let the soup sit covered for at least 2 hours.

Reheat the soup before serve. Garnish with fresh parsley leaves, grated Parmigiano Reggiano and serve with slices of toasted baguette rubbed with fresh garlic cloves.

Choose a red from Puglia or a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Cheers!


There are many ways to work this batter form Spanish Fly, David. For the ladies without a sweet tooth, top them with whipped cream hot out of the iron. In the morning, top them with warm mango syrup. After New Sashimi and Pumkin Sage Risotto, top them with Coconut Gelato and lick her plate clean.

The Coconut Gelato
Makes about a quart

1 Machete, sharpened
1 pair of 3/4 length white pants with frayed hem
1 Fresh coconut
3 cups farm fresh milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream

Don the 3/4 length pants. Shimmy up the tree with the machete in your teeth. Cut the coconut and let if fall into the sand. Cut the green skin away from one end of the to reveal the nut. Cut the top of the nut and drain the liquid into a small saucepan. Scoop out the meat and grate it.

Cook the coconut milk over low heat until reduced to a syrup, about 20 minutes.

In a large saucepan, combine the milk and grated coconut. Bring to a boil, remove pan from the heat, cover and let steep for 1 hour. Pour through a cheesecloth and press the solids. Reserve the milk, and discard solids.

Cream the egg yolks and sugar until think and pale yellow, about 3 to 5 minutes. Bring the milk back to a simmer. Add half of the milk to the creamed egg yolks, and whisk until blended. Return mixture to the saucepan with remaining milk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.

Remove saucepan from the heat, and immediately stir in cream. Pass mixture through a sieve set over a large bowl. Place bowl in an ice water bath, and chill. Add reduced coconut milk. Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker.

The Waffles
Makes 4 waffles

3/4 cup of whole wheat pastry flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon raw sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cardomom seeds
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
A pinch of grated nutmeg
A tiny pinch of cayenne chile powder

A pinch of salt

6 oz. melted dark chocolate 85–99%

1 cup farm fresh milk, warmed
2 whole eggs, room temperature
5 tablespoons butter, melted

Turn on your waffle iron. Toast and crush the cardomom seeds. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Beat the eggs in another medium bowl and add the warmed milk. Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until smooth. Finally, fold in the butter and the melted chocolate.

Spoon the batter into your steaming waffle iron and cook for 1.5 – 2 minutes until crispy. Top the waffles with coconut gelato serve immediately.