Category Archives: Super Bowl

Winter Wonders: Javier’s Tomato Salsa

Javier salsa 2

It’s that time of year again.  That runny nose, sore throat, sneezing, I-never -want-to-get-out-of-bed time of year. It’s as if December was one fabulous month-long holiday party and January is the painful hangover day after.  Except, worse than a hangover, its contagious. In an attempt to combat this cold season, I’ve been stocking my kitchen with citrus fruits.  Blood oranges, cara caras, navel oranges, and the large and succulent oro blancos  are spilling out across my counter top like a still-life painting from the Italian Renaissance.   I take pride in my artillery of vitamin C. I admire these seasonal treats for their vibrant beauty and expected health-benefits. I’ll often just pick one up, give it a sniff, a little squeeze and toss it into the air and catch it.

But truth be told, my oranges and grapefruits did not save me from catching the worst cold I’ve had in years this winter. This is not to say that I’ve given up on them. In fact, this morning upon arriving at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market to tag along with the Lucques chefs, I told Chef de Cuisine Javier, “Ben (my boyfriend) has the cold now, I need to get him more citrus fruits and some orange juice from farmer Peter Shaner….” I was on a mission. Now Javier is probably the nicest chef you or I will ever meet. But when he needs to get a point across, he has the most sobering, deadpan, serious look on his face. “No. Dude. It’s chips and salsa man. You gotta make him chips and salsa.” I looked at him like he was joking. He wasn’t. Did I also mention that Javier makes the best salsa you’ll ever have in your life? Well, he does. And here’s his secret recipe for the alleged cold-buster.



Nov 2012 047

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Filed under Fall, Soup/Stew, Super Bowl, Uncategorized

Super Bowl Specials: Cornbread and More!

If you’re going to make chili, then you’re going to have to make some cornbread too. They go together. It’s hard for me to have one without the other. Cornbread is very quick and simple to make so please forget any mixes or store-bought versions. Just take that yellow cornmeal out of your perfect pantry and whip some up while your chili is simmering. You and your guests will be so happy to have some to dip into their hot bowl of hearty chili.

In addition to chili and cornbread, we have a few recipes here on 3mbb that would be great for a Super Bowl party.  So take a look and start cooking!  (And enjoy the game if you’re into that sort of thing.)



Super Bowl-Friendly Recipes:


Main Dishes



Serves 24

  • 2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup fine baking sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine (1 stick), melted
  • 2 large eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using room temperature butter, grease a 9 by 13 inch baking pan. In a large bowl combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate smaller bowl, combine milk, butter and eggs. Add milk mixture to flour mixture and whisk until smooth and combined. Using a spatula, pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of bread comes out clean.

Cornbread batter

Recommended Serving: With Chili

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Filed under Bread, Heather Platt, Super Bowl

Super Bowl Specials: Beef and Vegetable Chili

I love Super Bowl parties. I’m not going to lie, I rarely know which teams are going to play in the game or care much who wins. (I usually decide who to cheer for the day of.)  But I love the Super Bowl because it is yet another excuse to make food for a group of hungry friends. And by food, I mean chili.

I have a particular fondness for the hearty stew. As a kid growing up in Vermont we would spend most winter weekends on the ski slopes. And if you’ve ever been to Vermont in February you know that we’re talking a -30 degree wind chill factor and extremely icy slopes. In my early 20s I went skiing in France, my first time outside of Vermont, and realized that it could actually be a pleasurable experience. But the one thing that made my numb digits and nearly frost-bitten cheeks feel better was a steaming bowl of that delicious ski-area chili, topped with a handful of grated Vermont cheddar cheese. And as  I sat in the Vermont mountain top lodge savoring every spoonful as I gradually got feeling back in my fingers and toes, the chili somehow made the frigid weather and dreadful conditions all okay.

I write this now in Los Angeles with our windows and doors open on a sunny mild February day. But the pot of chili on the stove  is just as delicious and comforting as on those cold winter days on the slopes. It is the ideal Super Bowl party dish.  One big pot of chili can feed the entire crowd. So make it in advance and relax when your guests arrive!



Don't forget to serve it with a dollop of sour cream!

Beef and Vegetable Chili

Serves 12-14

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 small onions,  chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound 90 percent lean organic ground beef
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 cup low-fat sour cream, for serving
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated for topping
  • 1 cup scallions, sliced for serving

In a large (4- quart) pot over medium heat, melt the butter and add the garlic, onions, bell peppers, carrots, cumin, chipotle chili powder, oregano, and smoked paprika and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until the vegetables over medium-low heat until they are tender. Add the beef and break it up with a spoon. When the beef has been completely broken up and has cooked until brown, stir in the beef broth and beans. Then add the crushed and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to low and simmer for 1 to 2 hours. Ladle chili in to serving bowls and sprinkle with cheddar cheese, scallions and a dollop of sour cream.  Serve with a side of cornbread if desired.

Cook the garlic, onions, peppers and carrots and spices before adding the beef.

Serve with cornbread


Filed under Heather Platt, Soup/Stew, Super Bowl

Happy Birthday, Ben! Chocolate Layer Cake

I think of myself as more of a cook than a baker. This is probably a good thing for a few reasons. Number one being, it seems  more practical to make dinner every night than to be baking dozens of snickerdoodles every day. Also, I simply can’t handle cooking dinner and making dessert. It overwhelms me. It has to be one or the other so I usually choose dinner. And finally, I would probably be 500 pounds if I baked as much as I cook. That having been said, as my sweet boyfriend’s birthday approached I was very excited for the excuse to whip up something sugary and buttery. I asked him ten times what his favorite kind of cake is and he said chocolate each time. (I think I get repetitive when I’m excited.)

I remember this one time when I was teenager in my parents kitchen. I had just cooked something and thinking I was alone in the house said out loud to myself as I tasted it, “This is delicious, if I do say so myself.” And my dad yelled down from upstairs. “It’s okay to say so yourself!” Well, I have to say that despite my lack of experience as a pastry chef, this is the most moist delicious cake I’ve ever tasted. And there’s no better way to say Happy Birthday than with a gooey, creamy and delicious homemade chocolate layer cake, if I do say so myself.

Happy Birthday, Ben!

Chocolate Layer Cake

Serves 8-10

For cake:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter (1 tablespoon for greasing pans, 7 tablespoons melted)
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups fine baking sugar
  • 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

For frosting:

  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 350F. Using 1 tablespoon of butter, grease 2 (8-inch) round cake pans.

In a large bowl, add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix together with an electric mixer on low speed until combined. In a separate, smaller bowl, combine the milk, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the brewed coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pans and bake for 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for a few minutes until cool enough to handle then turn them upside to remove onto a rack to cool completely. If the cake is sticking in the pan, gently tap the sides and bottom of pan to loosen the cake.

While cake is baking and cooling, MAKE FROSTING.

In a large bowl, mix together with an electric mixer confectioners sugar, butter, vanilla extract, and milk. If frosting seems too thick, add more more milk. Reserve 1/2 cup of white frosting for decorating. Add cocoa powder and continue mixing with the electric mixer until frosting is smooth and creamy.

When cake is done cooling, place one layer bottom side (flat side) up on a flat plate. Using a spatula, place a heaping dollop of frosting on top of first layer. This will be the middle layer of frosting so be sure to put enough in. Carefully place the second layer of cake on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting on top and sides of the cake.

frosting the cake

Fill an empty plastic ketchup container with reserved white frosting and decorate as desired!



The best part! Decorating!

Proud baker

Happy Birthday Boy



Filed under Cake, Dessert, Heather Platt, Super Bowl, Uncategorized

Casually Elegant: Pork Ribs Braised in Red Wine

Heather and I made a version of these with our friend Douglas Ford, who used to be the sous-chef at Lucques, for my brother’s birthday party last year. And they tasted totally insane: tender, flavorful, rich without being heavy. They were a massive, massive hit.

So I decided to make a version of them for my family this Christmas — partly based on Douglas’s ribs, partly my own invention, and partly inspired by Daniel Boulud’s rib recipe on Epicurious. In a family first, we shook things up this year and went to a house in Palm Springs instead of back to the homestead in Boston. We each took turns cooking, and my assignment was dinner on the first night. Since I wasn’t sure how well-equipped the kitchen would be, I decided to cook this dish (which tastes better if you make it a day ahead) at home and drive it out to Palm Springs, sauce and all. My parents stopped by my apartment while I was reducing the sauce and were nearly knocked out by the smell. Seriously, this sauce is like crack.

These ribs, served with a parsnip puree and salad, made for  very merry Christmas indeed. Make these and wow your New Year’s Eve dinner guests!



Pork Ribs Braised in Red Wine

Serves 10

  • 3 large onions, halved, and finely sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 whole shallot
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 3 bottles dry red wine (use decent-to-good wine, it’ll make a difference)
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, divided in 2 parts
  • 2 qts. stock (I used chicken and beef stock)
  • 2 racks of baby back pork ribs, halved to fit in a skillet
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt
  • pepper

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, until they have released liquid, are translucent, and much-reduced. Add garlic and shallot to onions a few minutes in. Remove from heat and reserve.

In a stock pot, heat all but 1/2 or 1 bottle of wine until it just begins to boil. Then with a match, light wine on fire and let it flame until it burns out. Bring wine to a low boil and simmer.

In a skillet, heat oil until very hot. While oil is heating, salt and pepper the meat. Sear each section of ribs, meaty-side down first, until browned on top but not cooked through. Make sure to brown as much surface area as you can. After each batch, deglaze the pan first with a good splash of balsamic vinegar, then immediately with a good splash of wine. Pour wine and vinegar into the stock pot after each batch.

When all the ribs are seared, place them in the stock pot so they are completely submerged. Add onions, celery, and herbs and simmer on low heat for 2 1/2 hours, or until meat is tender and about to fall off the bone. The bones will feel loose to the touch and will be easy to remove with your fingers. (It’s prettier if you leave them in, though!) Remove ribs from sauce and refrigerate.

At this point, you can continue to simmer the sauce for 2-3 hours until it is reduced to 1 qt., then salt and pepper the sauce to taste and refrigerate overnight — or you can refrigerate the unreduced sauce and cook it down the next day. Either way, refrigerate the sauce overnight and skim the fat off the top if you like. (I didn’t skim the fat and the sauce was divine.)

Gently cut the ribs into single-serving portions and return to the stock pot to re-heat. Serve over parsnip puree, fried polenta, mashed potatoes, rice, or with crusty bread.


Filed under Christmas, Fall, Gluten-free, Main Course, Meat, Super Bowl, Winter

Cozy Winter Favorites: Truffled Macaroni and Cheese with Broccolini and Cauliflower

What is there to say about this dish really except “YUM!”? I had been craving and eager to make some dressed up mac and cheese for a while. I  made the mistake of mentioning it to my boyfriend a few weeks before I actually had time and an appetite amidst all of the holiday gluttony to indulge in making it. So every other day I’d hear, “Are you making mac and cheese tonight?” with wide eyes and an excited grin.  The great thing about this recipe is that it is loaded with veggies. So if your New Year’s resolution is to eat more vegetables, this one’s for you! And since I use milk instead of cream, it’s actually quite healthy, or healthier anyway. I don’t know if  it was the drawn out anticipation of this dish, or just that it really is that good (which personally, I think it is), but the entire casserole dish of this in my house was eaten in less than 24 hours.  And might I remind you, there are only two of us. It’s definitely fit for a special occasion and would make a wonderful New Year’s Eve dinner item served with a hearty winter salad.



Truffled Macaroni and Cheese with Broccolini and Cauliflower

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 cups broccolini, coarsely chopped
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup coarsely grated raw white cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup coarsely grated yellow cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup coarsely grated Gruyère
  • 3/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated, divided
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  • 1/2 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 10 ounces whole wheat penne (3 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons white  truffle oil
  • Kosher salt, and cracked black pepper to taste
Cook broccolini and cauliflower in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon or tongs, transfer cauliflower to bowl.  Set aside. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente; drain and reserve.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add broccolini and cauliflower; sauté until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Season with coarse salt and pepper.

In a 3-quart heavy pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Whisk in flour to coat onion. In a slow steady stream, whisk in milk until there are no lumps. Cook, whisking often, until mixture is thick and bubbly and coats the back of a spoon, about 7 minutes. Stir in cheddar cheeses, 1/2 cup of parmesan,  crème fraîche, and mustard until combined.  Season with 1 a pinch of  salt and 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper.

Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Spoon in half of pasta mixture. Pour half of cheese mixture over pasta. Add remaining pasta to dish and pour remaining cheese mixture over pasta. Drizzle with truffle oil and toss. Be sure that all pasta is immersed in cheese mixture. Sprinkle remaining parmesan on top and bake until top is golden, about 35 minutes.

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Filed under Heather Platt, Main Course, Pasta, Side, Super Bowl, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

How Do You Like Them Apples: Classic Apple Pie With a Pear-Raisin Twist

I just spent a week on the Isle of Wight off the coast of England, where I saw a lot of cool old stuff: old buildings (the village church is at least a thousand years old), cool old people, and Extra-Old (and therefore extra-good) Marmite.

And while England may not be renowned for its cuisine, I was blown away with the local produce. Every village has a local farm shop that sells fresh eggs in piles. (Like, you can choose your own eggs, sometimes with a bit of feather still on and usually laid that morning.) In the village I was in, the post office sells just-laid eggs if you know whom to ask! You can also buy local organic honey, butter (this is some real-deal butter, let me tell you), homemade sausages, cheeses, and seasonal produce in every village at prices comparable to what you’d pay in a regular store for regular stuff, and it all tastes amazing. Holy moly!

And then there is the incredible free produce all around you. On my second morning in Shalfleet, I got a bug up my bottom to pick some the end-of-season blackberries growing along almost every lane. (Fallen Fruit, eat your heart out!) Thinking the local graveyard might yield some juicy berries, my berry-picking team stopped by the really, really old church. There, we found a basket filled with apples for the taking, left over from harvest services. As soon as I tasted one, all I could think was: PIE! I left with nine or ten of them.

The clothes may not make the man, but the apples surely do make the pie, because this pie tasted insane.

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!



Classic Apple Pie With a Pear-Raisin Twist

For filling:

  • 4 large apples, peeled, halved, cored, and cut into ¼” slices
  • 2 ripe pears, prepared the same way
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1 pinch each of allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice

Combine ingredients, stir, and let sit for a few minutes while making the crust. If the apples aren’t flavorful enough, add a little extra lemon juice, sugar, and cinnamon.

For pastry (gluten-free):

  • 2 cups gluten-free flour mix
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. xantham gum
  • 9 tbsp. sugar
  • ¾ cup salted butter
  • 2 tbsp. ice water plus more if needed
  • milk (for brushing onto the crust)
  • additional sugar (for dusting onto the crust)

Pre-heat the oven to 375F. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in the butter using two knives, a pastry knife, or a food processor. When mixture resembles coarse meal or has pea-sized lumps, add ice water and continue to mix just until dough sticks together. (I used 3-4 tbsp. of water.) Flour your hands and form dough firmly into two equal discs. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1h and up to 1 day. (Can be made ahead.)

Place each round of dough on floured surface, and roll out with a floured rolling pin. There should be enough dough for both a top and bottom crust. Lay one of the rounds out on the bottom of a 9″ pie pan. Pour in filling, including juices, and cover with the second round. Pinch edges together, or crimp with a fork, and cut several slices or air holes into the top of the crust. Brush crust with milk and dust with sugar. (Note: this crust does not need to be pre-baked.)

Bake pie at 375F for 45-50 minutes, or until crust is golden brown, covering crust lightly with foil after 10-15 minutes so it does not burn.


Filed under Dessert, Fall, Gluten-free, Super Bowl, Vegetarian