Ziti with spicy chicory and toasted Parmesan breadcrumbs

I often throw together this pasta (a one-stop meal!) when I’ve had a long, busy day. The only thing I need to buy is the chicory – the rest of the ingredients have a permanent spot in my pantry – so I don’t even have to come up with a shopping list.

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Are you planning a Hanukkah party this year?

Take a look at my feature for the 2010 holiday issue of Rockland Magazine. In it, I share my thinking on how to blend a little tradition with a lot of glamour and make this year’s Festival of Lights your brightest one yet.

My mission is always to apply a little creativity to local, seasonal ingredients. This being a Hanukkah party, potato latkes are certainly on the menu – but with a gourmet twist.

And, thinking seasonally of course, I created two other latkes as well: butternut squash-leek latkes with cumin for an exotic flair; and beet-scallion latkes with a cayenne-spiked crème fraîche.

No holiday party is complete without some bubbly – after all, what drink says celebration more than sparkling wine? For this party I’m serving two spectacular sparklers: The Blanc de Blancs from Lieb Family Cellars on the North Fork of Long Island; and the Brut Rosé from Graham Beck Winery in South Africa.

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This tartine with shiitake mushrooms and shallots is served with a slice of ripe beefsteak tomato and drizzled with a luscious cheddar fondue. Plated with baby arugula, escarole hearts and a lemon vinaigrette, it’s plain irresistible…

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