Category Archives: Spring

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

Continue reading

Leave a comment

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

Dinner Party for One: Lonely Girl Chicken with Quick Almond-Cherry Couscous and Parsley Garlic Sauce

 lonelygirl chicken 14Cooking is easy. I believe that anyone can make a delicious meal. Like anything in life, it’s a matter of desire. Clearly, I have no problem committing an entire day to ingredient sourcing, chopping, mincing, searing and slicing. It’s fun for me. I understand that it’s not for everyone. And even I have days when I really wish that a home cooked meal would magically appear on my plate. But even though we all differ in our cooking desires and abilities, one common thread remains; we all need to eat. And as far as I know, we would all prefer what we eat to be delicious.

 

 lonegirl chicken 3

 

But why does cooking have to be so polarizing? It seems that people are defined as those who cook and those who don’t. There must be some happy medium, some comfortable place halfway in between slaving over David Chang’s braised pork butt and simply running to the neighborhood ramen restaurant for takeout. My column Perfect Pantry was created to tackle this problem. How to cook when you don’t feel like going to the store. But along with ingredients, we need recipes.

The most challenging of these I-don’t-feel-like-cooking times are the nights alone. We’ve all been there. You are in your kitchen, hungry glancing back and forth from your phone to your fridge. The only thing in your freezer is gin. Because if you’re like me, you’re not a frozen-dinner kind-of-person. Is it worth making a mess if it’s just for me? Is there anything here to make? A steamed pork bun just sounds so good right now…Okay, maybe that’s just me. But recently I was in this position. My husband, a musician, has been on tour for most of the summer. So when my favorite person to cook for is away, I can’t help but feel uninspired.

But then I got to thinking about how this whole cooking obsession began in the first place. And I see a single twenty-something girl in her East Village apartment, blasting Belle and Sebastian songs on her stereo and cracking open a bottle of Pinot Noir while she comes up with a purpose for the treasures she rounded up at the Union Square Farmer’s market that day. A girl who cured her own loneliness by regularly throwing herself a one-woman dinner party and in the process, learned how to cook. So eight years later, I decided to channel that inner single girl. And on a hot summer night in Los Angeles, made myself a Bee’s Knees cocktail with the aforementioned gin and started cooking.

Enjoy,

Heather

 

lonegirl chicken 12

Lonely Girl Chicken with Quick Almond-Cherry Couscous and Parsley Garlic Sauce
Continue reading

2 Comments

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

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

2 Comments

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

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!

2 Comments

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

Suzanne Goin’s AOC Cookbook Preview: Alaskan Halibut with Carrot Purée, Asparagus and Pistou

Alaskan Halibut with Carrot Purée, Asparagus and Pistou. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Alaskan Halibut with Carrot Purée, Asparagus and Pistou. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

If you own Sunday Suppers at Lucques, you are already familiar with the best recipe for carrot purée ever. Suzanne’s recipe, which involves caramelizing the carrot coins in olive oil before puréeing  them into a smooth and silky consistency, is one of my all-time favorite things to make.   I’ve made it dozens of times in various contexts. So when I saw it pop up in her new AOC cookbook, this time with basil instead of cilantro, I couldn’t wait to make it again.

Although this recipe for Alaskan halibut with carrot purée, asparagus, and pistou is in the spring fish section of the book, it highlights something that Suzanne is famous for, dishes inspired by the best of what is in season, whatever that may be. And as Suzanne says in her book, “This is one of those recipes that really is a template, so feel free to substitute whatever vegetables are most beautiful in the market.” So you can feel free to make this delicious dish year-round. And, if you’re lucky enough to have any extra pistou left over after making this, you might find yourself putting it on everything else you eat, as a spread on sandwiches, tossed with pasta, drizzled over eggs or simply dipping some toasted baguette slices in it as the perfect pre-dinner snack. I certainly did.

Santa Monica Farmer's Market Carrots. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Santa Monica Farmer’s Market Carrots. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

3 Comments

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

It’s Not About the Glass: Christiaan’s Kumquat Margaritas


Cinco de Mayo might be over. But my love for margaritas is not. In fact, with summer steadily approaching, it’s about time we have some refreshing summer cocktails up our sleeves for all of those barbeques and beach parties around the corner. And the only thing more refreshing than a margarita, is a margarita with kumquats in it. This idea dawned on me on Cinco de Mayo while I stood at work, day dreaming about the margaritas I would like to be drinking that night. And to my great fortune, my friend, co-worker, and cocktail-maker extraordinaire Christiaan Rollich was there for reference. And before I could say “Kumquat Margaritas,” he had scribbled on to a cocktail napkin the exact measurements for the perfect kumquat margarita. Christaan was recently officially named Bar Chef for all of the Lucques restaurants and catering. A couple hours of his cocktail expertise is worth more than what most people I know pay for rent. But for a more affordable version of his drinks, check out Christiaan’s blog http://www.itsnotabouttheglass.wordpress.com.

Enjoy!

Heather

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Gluten-free, Heather Platt, In Season, Spring, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian

Kumquat Fix: Roasted Carrot, Kumquat and Avocado Salad

I’ll admit it. I’m a kumquataholic. This time of year kumquats are bountiful at the restaurant where I work. There’s a giant tub of them in the walk-in refrigerator and the bartender always has a perfect glass cup filled with halves of the adorable little citrus fruits. And whether I’m dressed in a white chef’s jacket helplessly searching for Tat Soy in the walk-in, or up front welcoming guests, the little orange gems are calling to me.  Normally, admitting that you have a habit of taking something that isn’t yours while others aren’t looking is a shameful confession. But with something as irresistible as the kumquat, can you really blame me? And quite frankly, no one does. Especially Farmer Peter Shaner himself, who grows the flawless kumquats we serve at Lucques. So when I saw at my local farmer’s market last week, a bushel of what appeared to be equally delicious looking kumquats, I bought a lot of them. And instead of hurriedly popping them in my mouth for just a moment of undeniable pleasure, I made this salad.

Enjoy!

Heather

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Appetizer, Dinner, Gluten-free, Heather Platt, In Season, Lunch, Salad, Side, Spring, Vegetarian