Category Archives: Gluten-free

Cooking with an Idiot: Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Daniel is a genius. It’s also a bit of a miracle that we’re still friends considering after arriving at NYU from Vermont in the fall of 2000, I thought it was okay to wear my brown corduroy overalls to orientation. Daniel, who isn’t shy about his opinions, later admitted to having “judged me harshly” for the poor fashion choice. I’ve had classmates express vague recollections of what they remember as ‘a bear costume’ when they first met me.  I cringe realizing that it was actually those beloved overalls. Thankfully Daniel isn’t shallow and his first impression quickly subsided and fourteen years of friendship continues.

Some of the many stories I want to tell about Daniel include: his unlikely and very brave day on September 11, 2001, his hilarious experience as a rebellious second grader in Santiago, Chile and his stranger-than-fiction roommate in Madrid. But these are long, precious to me (and probably him), and beside the point. So I thought we could sum it all up with a couple of lists.

Things Daniel is good at:

1. Being a best friend. I had my heart broken for the first time during my Freshman year of college. As a result, I cried while in rest pose during yoga class (If you’re in drama school at NYU, you take yoga for credit, naturally.) While the tears streamed down my face onto my mat, arms stretched down my sides in proper Savasana, I felt a hand tap the top of mine, comfortingly.  Daniel on the mat next to me remained still but had reached out his arm just enough to tell me it was all going to be okay. And it was.

2. Writing stories.

3. Making me laugh so hard I can’t breath.

4. Planning trips to the beach. One time on a drive to Malibu, Daniel seemed so unnaturally euphoric  that I became sincerely suspicious and  had to ask if he had taken something.  “No! I just LOVE the beach.”

Things Daniel isn’t good at:

1. Math. Considering his genius in all other areas, this caught me off guard once in a New York City taxi cab. When I exited the yellow vehicle and realized Daniel hadn’t gotten out, I peeked back in to see him with one hand flexed, pushing down on the top of his head in utter confusion as if the pressure on his skull would somehow work as a calculator for computing taxi cab tip amounts.

2. Cooking.  “Is there enough for a hungry Dan?” He used to ask when I offered him whatever cafeteria-alternative I had cooked up in my dorm for my roommates.  “Mmm…it’s a revelation.” He has said with wide eyes while chomping down on corn on the cob with miso butter at my house. “I’m savoring every bite.” He has explained while my husband and I notice that we’re eating embarrassingly faster than him. The compliments certainly make me love cooking for Daniel. But when it comes to his own skills…He has a thing or two to learn. So we made this video.

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Filed under Gluten-free, Heather Platt, Lunch, Main Course, Meat, Summer, Videos

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.”



Teriyaki Chicken

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

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!



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

Summer Cocktails: Elena’s Spicy Gin Gimlet

ginlet 3I love cocktails.  I covet them.  And despite my obsession with attempting to master the art of cooking everything, for many years I simply couldn’t figure out how to make a drinkable one.  I knew from watching the talented bartenders at my place of work, that they involved alcohol,  juice and something sweet.  But every time I tried to squeeze limes, boil sugar and water into a syrup and mix it all together with whatever poison was in my freezer, it always came out terribly tart, sickly sweet, or disturbingly boozy.

“Cocktails are the next frontier for me.” I announced to my  boss Matt one day in the office. “I’m going to learn how to make delicious cocktails.” It was kind of an embarrassing thing to announce. After all, I had been watching our famous bar chef Christiaan Rollich create masterpieces for years. I knew what was in them and I knew how they tasted.

“It’s very simple.” He explained. “You should think of a cocktail as four parts.” A person with normal patience probably would have just ignored my stupidity and continued with their work. But Matt turned to me at his desk and explained in great detail the science of making a cocktail. “Take the classic gin and tonic, for example. It’s two parts gin and two parts tonic.” I hung on his every word. “A gimlet is two parts gin, one part lime juice and one part simple syrup. However, you have to be aware of  the concentration of your simple syrup.”  As he spoke I imagined myself in a mid-century modern living room, mingling with friends, laughing while sipping perfect gimlets out of vintage coupe glasses. It had finally clicked. Thanks to the most patient and knowledgeable restaurant general manager on the planet, I would finally be able to put the lovely silver bar set I had received as a wedding gift to good use.

So when my dear friend Elena came over for a Himalayan salt block pork chop dinner last week, I couldn’t wait to offer her a classic gimlet upon arrival. We sipped them as I cooked Peach and Bourbon Glazed Pork Chops with Summer Corn Salad.  But when we sat down to eat I noticed green bits floating in her drink.

“Did you add jalapeño and cilantro to your gimlet?” I asked, confused. “It’s not guacamole.” I reminded her.

“Yeah.” She said. “It’s so good.”

I had finally mastered the classic beverage and Elena added a hint of her heritage, making it even better.




gimlet 1


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Filed under Cocktails, Gluten-free, Heather Platt, In Season, Summer

Perfect Pantry: Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Hazelnuts. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

I was heavier in college. Or as my mom would say, “you look healthy!” Her sweet voice going up one octave as she tried to be honest and sensitive at the same time. The pitch of one’s voice always rises while stretching the truth.

It’s a common phenomenon, the so-called “freshman fifteen.” Or in my case, the freshman twenty-five. It makes perfect sense now. I had left the comfort of my home to be nourished only by strangely globular and flavorless cafeteria food followed by a tall sugar cone filled with sugary soft serve with sprinkles. Gross, I know.

Another contributing factor to the college chub was my chocolate addiction.  Addiction seems like a strong word but that’s really exactly what it was. I often walked many New York City blocks out of my way to purchase the high-end German milk chocolate bars with hazelnuts at the  specialty corner markets. I was hooked. And though I have loved hazelnuts for many years, this was my only association with them; those damn chocolate bars that made me fat at NYU.

But in recent years, I have discovered that these wonderful little brown nuts have a place in a lot of  healthier  fare. I love them roasted and sprinkled on salads of beets and goat cheese, on chicken like Skillet Chicken with Heirloom Tomatoes, Foraged Mushrooms, Arugula and Hazelnuts. and most recently on Seared Scallops with Chickpea Couscous, Warm Summer Tomatoes, Hazelnuts and Tarragon Aioli. And yes, once in awhile I still enjoy those delicious milk chocolate and hazelnut bars…just not every day.

Hazelnuts. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Hazelnuts. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Hazelnuts. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Hazelnuts. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

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Filed under Gluten-free, Heather Platt, Perfect Pantry, Vegan, Vegetarian

Suzanne Goin’s AOC Cookbook Preview: Grilled Snapper with Cous Cous, Apricots, Yogurt, and Pistachio Aillade

grilled snapper with cous cous, apricots, yogurt, and pistachio aillade. Photo credit: Heather Platt

grilled snapper with cous cous, apricots,
yogurt, and pistachio aillade. Photo credit: Heather Platt

Los Angeles Farmer's Market. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Los Angeles Farmer’s Market. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

In Suzanne Goin’s upcoming AOC cookbook, she explains the importance of combining flavors and ingredients in perfect harmony. “I am constantly working to integrate and unite ingredients so that the sum of a dish is greater than its parts.” This concept is something that has impressed me year after year at Lucques. When tasting new dishes I often notice our waitstaff’s eyes light up with amazement and delight. This dish of grilled snapper with saffron cous cous, apricots, yogurt and pistachio aillade is the perfect example of this notion. Delicious grilled fish, apricots roasted in honey, clove and star anise syrup and Suzanne’s famous pistachio aillade are all delicious on their own. But put them together atop a bed of saffron cous cous with spring onions and a dollop of yogurt and you’ve created something completely different, new and deliciously jaw-dropping.  Not to mention completely gorgeous on the plate! And I always recommend making extra pistachio aillade because you’ll want to eat it on everything, drizzled over salad or on a fresh baguette. Suzanne loves this sauce so much she even invented a sweet version of it for her desserts!


Filed under Dinner, Fish, Gluten-free, Heather Platt, In Season, Lunch, Main Course, Spring, Summer

Suzanne Goin’s AOC Cookbook Preview: Grilled Arctic Char with Arugula and Cherry Tomato-Anchovy Brown Butter

Suzanne Goin's Grilled Arctic Char with Arugula and Cherry Tomato-Anchovy Brown Butter. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Suzanne Goin’s Grilled Arctic Char with Arugula and Cherry Tomato-Anchovy Brown Butter. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Tomato season at Lucques  is up there with Cassoulet night and Rib Fest in terms of annual buzzed-about events. And though it’s not actually an event but a period of time from mid-summer to early fall, tomato-craving diners begin calling in late spring to ask, “Are the heirlooms in yet?” They sound so desperate and excited as if they just can’t wait another day to eat a tomato.  So even though I know the answer myself, I walk back to the kitchen to check with the chef. “A few more weeks!” he promises me. I know how they feel though.  There’s nothing quite like a beautiful heirloom or cherry tomato at the peak of it’s season. Growing up in Vermont, cherry tomatoes always flourished in our summer garden. I would stand next to the plants, which matched my height at the time, and eat those sweet tomatoes right off of the vine as if I had just discovered my very own candy tree in our yard. I know that it isn’t summer yet and so those fat and luscious heirlooms and perfectly sweet cherry tomatoes are not here yet, but I couldn’t wait to test this recipe. After a winter of hearty braised meats, rich and delicious purées of squash, carrots and potatoes, this recipe of grilled-arctic char, arugula, and Suzanne’s “go-to quick and easy sauce for summer” cherry tomato anchovy brown butter is a wonderful alternative. I would suggest, of course, to make it when Suzanne would, in late summer.  In testing and eating Suzanne’s recipes from her upcoming AOC cookbook, as well as from my years at Lucques, I am always impressed with the well-balanced variety of dishes on her menu and in her books.  As you will find in the AOC cookbook, due out in October 2013, there are recipes for every mood and season.


Filed under Gluten-free, Heather Platt, In Season, Lunch, Main Course, Summer