Category Archives: Dinner

Valentine’s Day Dinner Ideas from ‘Heather Cooks!’

Let’s face it, there’s nothing more romantic than a home cooked meal and nothing more unromantic than eating over-priced pre-fixe menus in crowded restaurants. Here are some of my favorite things to make for my sweetie on Valentine’s Day (or any day.)

Creamy Spaghetti Carbonara:

Seared Scallops with Sage Brown Butter:

Butternut Squash Risotto:

Roasted Chicken with Herbs:

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Filed under Dinner, Heather Platt, In Season, Lunch, Main Course, Meat, Pasta, Uncategorized, Winter

More Cheese Please: Vermont Cheddar and Leek Soup

Vermont Cheddar and Leek Soup. Photo: Heather Platt

Vermont Cheddar and Leek Soup. Photo: Heather Platt

“Isn’t it funny how we all remember Vermont?” Said Nana into the land line phone in her nursing home apartment.

I’d called  her to tell her that her famous Limpa Bread recipe and the guidance she’d given me over the phone the day before had lead to the most perfect batch yet. So perfect that two entire loaves of the crusty, soft, brown goodness seemed to have already disappeared from our countertop. Mysterious, I know.

Nana was pleased. “Mmmm.” She said, imagining she could taste it too. “It’s the best warm, with butter…” she specified trailing off in thought into the fantasy of Limpa deliciousness.  And then it occurred to me. That’s where this came from. This utter obsession with achieving maximum deliciousness, the utmost joy from watching someone happily devour the food you made. I got that from Nana.

“Oh no, I never bothered with any recipes at the restrunt.” She answered after I inquired about the menu items at her and my late-grandfather’s Vermont eatery.

“How did you make everything?” I was blown away. The woman owned, managed and cooked, from scratch with apparently no guidance, everything on the menu at “Bischoff’s Restaurant.” In the 1940s and 50s, hungry skiers  and locals alike piled into cozy wooden benches to enjoy her cooking.

“I just made it and tasted as I went along.” She said matter-of-factly. “Have you ever made my split pea soup? I wrote it down for you somewhere.” I will get that recipe as soon as possible. But until then, this Vermont Cheddar soup will have to do. And it does.

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Filed under Appetizer, Dinner, Fall, Heather Platt, Lunch, Soup/Stew, Uncategorized, Winter

Just Can’t Get Enough: Teriyaki Chicken with Momofuku’s Pickled Vegetables

Teriyaki Chicken with Momofuku's pickled vegetables. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Teriyaki Chicken with Momofuku’s pickled vegetables. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

If you’ve ever dined at any one of the variety of restaurants in David Chang‘s empire, you know that he  always does it right.  I have had the Momofuku cookbook for many years. And as much as I have treasured it and taken pride in the fact that I frequented the original East Village noodle bar when it first opened around the corner from my apartment, I have been wary of the cookbook.  The photographs are stunning but the myriad of new ingredients and daylong preparations, though salivating, had me resorting back to my usual books.

But a recent pickle obsession has made me revisit the lovely wood and peach covered volume. Despite previously embarking on the art of Japanese pickles, I just couldn’t stop thinking about them, or more accurately, how to make them better. Sure enough on page 66, there is a recipe called “Vinegar Pickles, Master Recipe.” For some reason the words “master recipe” just made me SO happy. It’s like I could hear David Chang’s voice speaking to me “Look no further Heather, you have found the ONLY pickle recipe you will ever need.” I felt confident that it would be. And it is.

Teriyaki chicken is not in the Momofuku cookbook. This is my quick and easy weeknight  recipe for the busy home cook. Serve it with those Momofuku master pickles and it will not disappoint.  The pickles can be made up to a month in advance or served immediately. Chang recommends up to a week for “optimum flavor.”

Enjoy!

Heather

Teriyaki Chicken

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Filed under cookbooks, Dinner, Gluten-free, Heather Platt, Lunch, Main Course, Poultry, Quick and Easy

What’s Piroshki? Helen Mirren’s Cabbage Pie

Cabbage piroshki. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Cabbage piroshki. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

 

Pirozhki. Photo credit: Heather Platt

Piroshki. Photo credit: Heather Platt

A few months ago, I had the privilege of interviewing Helen Mirren about her role in the film The Hundred Foot Journey. All lovers of food and France should see this film immediately. I must warn you, however, that it will make you want to get on a plane and fly there immediately. It is a love story that focuses on the way in which food conjures up memories and emotions. So during my four minutes with Dame Mirren, I couldn’t help but wonder what dish brought up memories to her. When Helen answered, “My mother’s piroshki.” I was completely fascinated. I had never heard of this, much less tasted it. She went on to describe the warm cabbage pie that she enjoyed during her childhood.

Pirozhki dough. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Piroshki dough. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

I would never think to make Russian cabbage pie for myself. It sounds labor intensive and strangely daunting. However, I’m not sure if it’s the way Helen Mirren explained  it so deliciously with pure nostalgia in her eyes or the fact that I simply want to eat something that Helen Mirren ate, but I couldn’t help but grow hungry for it too. And seeing as I am part-Russian, my grandfather changed his name from Harold Plotnski to Arnold Platt, (not joking)I felt for the first time that I was connecting with my Russian heritage, surrounded by flour and potatoes while the smell of caraway seeds wafted through my house. Oh, and it tasted really good too!

Enjoy!

Heather

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Filed under Appetizer, Bread, Brunch, Dinner, Heather Platt, Lunch

When Life Gives You Giant Yellow Cucumbers, Make Pickles: Japanese Pickled Carrots and Cucumbers

Japanese Pickled Carrots and Cucumbers. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Japanese Pickled Carrots and Cucumbers. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

I absolutely love pickles. Even when I was young, I would beg my mother to buy me a jar of sweet pickles at the grocery store.  They were like crisp tangy candies that I couldn’t wait to get home and crunch between my teeth.  Years later, as a twenty-something living in New York City, I discovered the Japanese versions of my favorite treat. And for many years, I couldn’t eat at a sushi restaurant without ordering a giant plate of Tsukemono to start.

My favorite place to eat Japanese food, however, is not any of the myriad of NYC spots I frequented over my eight years in the Big Apple. It’s my sister’s house in Massachusetts. She and her husband Takeshi have the most impressive artillery of Japanese sauces, vinegars, spices, and seasonings that an ingredient-hungry cook like myself has ever seen. They also, amazingly, are members of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). So on a recent visit, when my sister reluctantly pulled out a huge bag of giant yellow cucumbers they had received from their farm-share, I knew just what to make. We served them Miso-Glazed Cod, white rice and an avocado salad and they were delicious!

Enjoy!

Heather

Japanese Pickles. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Nephew and Japanese Pickles. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Japanese Pickled Carrots and Cucumbers. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Japanese Pickled Carrots and Cucumbers served here with Miso-Glazed Cod. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

 

Japanese Pickled Carrots and Cucumbers

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Filed under Dinner, Gluten-free, Heather Platt, Lunch, Raw, Salad, Side, Vegan, Vegetarian

The Best Burgers on a Bun: Turkey Cheeseburgers with Caramelized Onions, Bacon, Manchego, Avocado and Spicy Aioli

Turkey Cheeseburger. Photo Credit:  Heather Platt

Turkey Cheeseburger. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

I never thought I would be writing about turkey burgers. How boring. I’ve never ordered a turkey burger at a restaurant, or really like them that much.  The idea of a “healthy” version of anything that is normally delicious tends to make me roll my eyes. But on a recent grocery shopping trip, my husband suggested that we ( meaning, I) make them for dinner. Instead of turning my nose up to such a non-traditional burger idea, I saw it as a challenge. How can I make this low-fat concept into something completely mouthwatering and delicious? Homemade aioli, avocado, caramelized onions, bacon and a perfectly ripe California avocado came to mind. Oh, and don’t forget the toasted brioche bun.

Enjoy!

Heather

Turkey Burger. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Turkey Cheeseburger. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

 

Turkey Burger. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Turkey Cheeseburger. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

 

Turkey Cheeseburgers with Caramelized Onions, Avocado, Bacon and Spicy  Aioli

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Filed under Dinner, Heather Platt, Lunch, Main Course, Meat, Poultry

Winner Winner Lobster Dinner: Steamed Maine Lobster 101

Steamed Lobster. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Steamed Lobster. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Despite growing up in a land-locked state, I have had the great fortune of having extended family who dwell along the seacoast in southern Maine.  Every childhood visit there involved a trip to the lobster pound to buy a dozen of the live little crustaceans followed by a casual family feast of the delicious delicacies. We sat around a table, excited with white plastic bibs tied around our necks and claw-crackers in hand. The Vermonters at the table would always ask the Mainers to show them how to efficiently extract the meat from the tail, claws, legs and torso. My cousin Ty would explain that her Aunt Wendy always ate the “green stuff” and as kids we would squeal with disgust and fascination. Now, like the legendary Aunt Wendy, I too eat the “green stuff.” This internal part of the lobster, called Tomalley, is actually the liver and pancreas of the animal. So that explains why I find it so flavorful, which it is, FYI. Aunt Wendy is a smart woman. A big bucket in the center of the table served as a sort of basket ball hoop for shells to be tossed after the precious meat had been consumed.

These lobster dinners, which were served with a 1/4 cup of drawn butter for dipping, toasted English muffins, corn on the cob and a fresh garden salad were all I ever knew of eating lobster. For many years I rolled my eyes at over-priced lobster on restaurant menus. In truth because I just couldn’t bear to eat it outside of this nostalgic familial context. And thanks to a recent tutorial from one of my favorite Mainers, I finally learned how to make it.

Enjoy!

Heather

live lobsters. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Live Lobsters. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Classic Steamed Maine Lobster Dinner

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Filed under Dinner, Fall, Fish, Heather Platt, In Season, Lunch, Main Course, Spring, Summer, Winter