Category Archives: Heather Platt

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

Summer Seafood: Seared Scallops with Chickpea Couscous, Warm Summer Tomatoes, Hazelnuts and Tarragon Aioli

Seared Scallops with Chickpea Couscous, Warm Summer Tomatoes, Hazelnuts and Tarragon Aioli. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Seared Scallops with Chickpea Couscous, Warm Summer Tomatoes, Hazelnuts and Tarragon Aioli. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

I ate too many snails once. I don’t regret it. They were delicious. It was 2003. I was a young, naive étudiante américaine  living in Paris and traveling with an utterly fabulous group of cooler-than-I-will-ever-be French bohemians to a man named Nico’s  oceanfront house in Bretagne. It’s a long story. And  it’s  also called Brittany if you’re American, but I like to pretend that I’m French. America had just begun the guerre en Iraq (war) and I had spent the winter in Paris bundled in French-looking jackets and a blue beret (no joke) that matched the color of my eyes in an attempt to blend in so as to avoid the angry questioning that many Parisians had for Americans at that time.

Nico and his girlfriend Celine were the kind of people who I simultaneously did not understand and yet totally admired. They spent half of their time in Madagascar. They did not want to live in the U.S. because it was not enough of a “bordel” (translation: whorehouse) for them. When asked what she does for work replied “we work with oils,” and one time handed me a plate of the most delicious ratatouille I have ever tasted in my life which we ate while watching the sunset on the balcony of her Paris apartment. Needless to say, a weekend in Bretagne with them was a privilege. And as I quickly learned, Bretagne is like the Vermont and Maine of France, speckled with cows, delicious cheese, cider and fresh seafood all-in-one. Did I mention that Nico was a chef?

On our first morning there, he woke everyone up and insisted that we walk down to the water because the tide was low. Using the given tools we dug up  treasures from the sea. Coquilles St-Jacques (sea scallops), Les huîtres (oysters) and my favorite of all; bulots (sea snails) were caught  for lunch. Bulots are different than the escargot you’ll find at your neighborhood French restaurant. Bulots are meatier, tougher and chewier. We ate the oysters raw and Nico steamed everything else and made a simple homemade aioli for dipping. On that beautiful sunny day in Bretagne, I ate more than my fair share of bulots mayonnaise.

I haven’t eaten bulots since then, been back to Bretagne or spoken to anyone on that holiday in about ten years. It was one of those trips where the only souvenir I have of it are the memories and the occasional really strong craving for homemade aioli with my seafood. So a few nights ago while preparing to make scallops with summer tomatoes and hazelnuts, I just couldn’t stop thinking about those bulots and Nico’s delicious aioli. So this quick summer dish of pan-seared sea scallops gets a special flourish at the end. A dollop of fresh made aioli as a tribute to Bretagne.

Enjoy!

Heather

 

Seared Scallops with Chickpea Couscous, Warm Summer Tomatoes, Hazelnuts and Tarragon Aioli

Serves 4

for aioli:

  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup grape seed oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup tarragon leaves

In a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic and salt to a paste. In a cold metal bowl place the egg yolk. Gradually whisk in the oil one drop at a time whisking constantly to make the mayonnaise.  As the mayonnaise becomes thick you may whisk in the remaining oil in a slow steady stream. If the mayonnaise becomes too thick, you may add a drop of cold water. Fold in the garlic paste, lemon juice and cayenne pepper. Set aside and refrigerate if necessary.

 

for couscous

  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 3 large carrots, julienned
  • 1 cup whole wheat couscous
  • kosher salt

In a medium saucepan, bring the half of the vegetable broth to a boil. Add the chickpeas and cook until softened, about 30 minutes. Add the remaining vegetable broth and return to a bowl. Add the couscous and carrots, remove from heat and cover. Let stand while you make the scallops.

for scallops

  • 1/3 cup coarsely  skin-on hazelnuts
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • pound large sea scallops, side muscle removed, patted dry
  • 1 pint mixed colored mini heirloom tomatoes
  •   2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 350°. Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast until fragrant and  golden brown, about  8 minutes. Remove from oven and coarsely chop. Toss them with 1 teaspoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Season scallops with salt and pepper and, using tongs, place in the pan. Sear on until golden brown and just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.

Add tomatoes and shallot to the pan , season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 6 minutes. Mix in the red wine vinegar.

Place a large spoonful of the chickpea couscous on the center of each plate. Spoon the tomatoes and shallots over the couscous. Place the scallops on top of the couscous, sprinkle with hazelnuts and finish with a dollop of aioli and tarragon leaves.

 

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Filed under Dinner, Eggs, Fish, Heather Platt, In Season, Lunch, Main Course, Summer

The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook: Kale Salad with Asian Peanut Dressing

The VT farm table cookbook 3mbb

Kale Salad with Asian Peanut Dressing. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Kale Salad with Asian Peanut Dressing. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Amee Farm Organic Kale. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Amee Farm Organic Kale. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Amee Farm. Pittsfield, Vermont. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Amee Farm. Pittsfield, Vermont. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

A few months ago, I received an exciting email from a woman named Tracey Medeiros. Tracey lives in Vermont and is a freelance food writer, food stylist,  recipe developer and tester. She is quite frankly, my dream job personified.  She had  found me  on the internet and, noticing that I’m a food-oriented person from Vermont, asked  if I would like a copy of her latest cookbook The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook.  Once my palpable envy of her career/life  subsided, I responded with an obvious and extremely grateful “YES and thank you!” The truth is that I already owned her first  wonderful cookbook Dishing up Vermont. It was one of those cookbooks that I’d flipped through over and over again. The charming pictures of Vermont farm animals, inns, restaurants and the beautiful dishes it’s chefs had created with the local and seasonal produce, cheese, eggs, meat and poultry would make me hungry and homesick all at once.  When I received The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook in the mail from Tracey’s publicist, it had the same effect on me.  With a strong urge to make hearty winter dishes like Vermont Cheddar Soup, Sauteed Sea Scallops in a Smoked Bacon and Maple Cream Sauce and Amber Ale-Braised Highland Chuck Beef Roast, I ignored the 90 degree weather and the palm trees swaying outside the window of my Los Angeles apartment and headed to my local farmers market. The results,  albeit weather-inappropriate were always delicious.

Now, several months later, I am here in this magical moment in Vermont known as late June. The mountains are more verdant than ever, the buttercups are decorating the fields like yellow sprinkles on a bright green cake, the humid heat of summer has not yet arrived but the cold is long gone. The sun seems like it will never set and a cool breeze makes for restful nights. So what better time to continue cooking from my new favorite Vermont cookbook? And seeing as I was married last weekend here amidst the glory of the green mountains and proceeded to  happily indulge in food (I can’t seem seem to get enough cheese!!) and beverage, it seemed appropriate to eat a salad made of local kale.

Almost of the ingredients for this refreshing and nourishing salad were purchased at the East Warren Community Market in Warren, Vermont. This is my all-time favorite place to buy food. Everything on the shelves is made locally with love and the store is so perfectly curated that the manager once told me that she didn’t carry a certain kind of popcorn because she didn’t like the packaging. The feta I used is from Maplebrook Farms in Bennington, Vermont and I substituted pine nuts for the pepitas.

Enjoy!

Heather

 

Kale Salad with Asian Peanut Dressing. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Kale Salad with Asian Peanut Dressing. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Massaged Kale Salad with Asian Peanut Dressing

by Tracey Medeiros

serves 4

  • 1/3 cup pepitas (or walnuts or sunflower seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 bunch green kale, stemmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup Asian Peanut Dressing (recipe follows)
  • 2 small peaches, pitted and diced
  • 2 ounces Maplebrook Farm feta cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)

Place the pepitas, oil and salt in a medium skillet and toss to coat. Toast over medium heat until the pepitas turn light brown and start to pop, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside on paper towels.

In a large bowl, combine the kale and 1/2 of the dressing. Using your hands, massage the kale until it is bright green and slightly softened, 2 to 3 minutes, adding more dressing to taste. Top with the pepitas, peaches and feta. Serve at once.

Asian Peanut Dressing

Makes 1 1/3 cups

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 4 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 4 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar

Whisk together all the ingredients until combined.

Post wedding pics 055

 

maplebrook farm, feta

east warren community market

East Warren Community Market. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

East Warren Community Market. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

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Filed under cookbooks, Dinner, Heather Platt, Lunch, Main Course, Raw, Salad, Side, Vegetarian

For the Love of Lamb: Rosemary and Anchovy Leg of Lamb with Flageolet Gratin

Photo Credit Heather Platt

Anchovy and Rosemary Roasted Lamb with Flageolet Gratin. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

There is a special place in my culinary heart for lamb. It’s a reminder that spring is almost here and we can all gather around a beautiful giant roasted leg of it, drink red wine and share in it’s gamey deliciousness. It’s allure  could be related to the fact that I did not grow up eating it, or because over the past few years at Lucques we’ve roasted an entire one on a spit in our patio in front of guests, letting that smokey lamby smell waft over most of West Hollywood. Or maybe because it’s often prepared with some of my very favorite ingredients; anchovies, garlic and rosemary. Whatever the reason, I love it.  So when faced with the task of having some women friends over for dinner recently, I had to make it.

It has been some time since I’ve have a group of ladies over for a big piece of roasted meat. In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s been awhile since 3MBB has been active. During this time of absence, I have learned two things. A) how to manage a restaurant full-time and B) planning a wedding is insanely expensive, stressful (but fun!) and also like a full time job. So that puts me at two full-time jobs…and no time for blogging. However, last week, I licked the last envelope, stuck on the last stamp and shoved a giant box of chubby, (but oh, so beautiful) cream-colored envelopes onto the counter at the US Post Office and thought, “you little guys are about to not be my problem anymore.”

A deep breath and huge sigh of relief later, it occurred to me, I’d have time to cook again. So naturally,  I invited eight girls over for lamb. Three showed up, because it’s LA and that “how we do” here, apparently. But it was lovely. And since I can no longer seem to cook anything without incorporating the genius of my favorite chef-boss,  I served the rosemary, anchovy and garlic marinated lamb over a bed of Suzanne Goin’s flageolet gratin from Sunday Supper at Lucques.

Enjoy!

Heather

Rosemary and Anchovy Leg of Lamb

serves 6

  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 7  anchovies, drained
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 (3.5lb)  leg of lamb
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper

Begin my marinating the lamb. Mince the  garlic cloves and anchovies  then place in a mortar and pestle and mash to a paste. Place the paste in a small bowl and stir together with oil and rosemary. Pat lamb dry and using a sharp knife remove all but a thin layer of fat. Transfer, fat side up, to a rack in a roasting pan. Make several small 1-inch-deep slits in lamb with a  knife, then rub marinade over entire surface of lamb, pushing some marinade into slits and inside the cavity. Tie the lamb leg with kitchen twine snugly and let marinate, loosely covered with aluminum foil, at room temperature 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Sprinkle lamb all over with Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Roast  in the middle of the oven for 60 minutes  to 1  1/4 hours for medium-rare. The meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of lamb registers 125°F . Let stand 30 minutes before slicing.

Serve with Suzanne Goin’s Flageolet Gratin from Sunday Suppers at Lucques

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Filed under Dinner, Heather Platt, In Season, Main Course, Meat, Spring, Uncategorized

Episode 1 of The Three More Big Bites Show: Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Port Sauce and Potato Goat Cheese Gratin

I absolutely love cherry season! It sounds dorky, but it’s true. I look forward to it all year and it doesn’t last very long, so it’s important to make the most of it while it’s here.  Cherries are such a special, sweet, succulent fruit. And they always remind me of the happiest time of year, the beginning of summer. We usually think of cherries as a dessert item, (mmm..I do love a good cherry pie), but I love to come up with savory ways to use these sweet/tart treats. And one of my favorite ways to do that is to make a super easy Cherry Port Sauce served over Pork Tenderloin.

Pork Tenderloin

This time, I’m serving it with goat cheese gratin. And though gratin is typically served in the winter, with heavier fare, it also makes for a wonderful summer dish because it can be made ahead of time and serves as the perfect summertime side for all kinds of grilled meats.

Enjoy!

Heather

cherries

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Filed under Dinner, Heather Platt, In Season, Main Course, Meat, Summer, Videos

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!

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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.

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