And God forbid you are visiting Denver or not even visiting but hint at needing any sort of dining/food-related advice here. I will explain all of my likes and dislikes, share the basis of my knowledge, inquire into your preferences, lifestyle, and food quirks to recommend what I think will be a perfect dinner for you in Denver, a market you will love, a food specialty store that will change your life, a brunch or dessert that will blow your mind.
In the last two days, I shared my favorite spots in L.A. with my best friend who is currently there, my all time faves in San Francisco with my former boss, and I sent a couple from London, complete strangers, to Boulder's Cafe Aion and Frasca after merely sharing a table over a bite to eat at the Denver Civic Center open air market. Granted, all of these were solicited, well, maybe except for the couple from London. All they did was be friendly and seemingly interested in my obsession with food.
Now, I have received my fair share of less-than-solicited advice having been through law school, a pregnancy, and having a two year old. I realize that my compulsion might be at times annoying. So, I try to tone it down and contain my excitement with your travels and potential food adventures. Sometimes, my efforts fail.
I say now it's your turn! I am about to embark on a summer of amazing travels - starting this weekend with New York City and Brooklyn, continuing in August with Seattle and Vancouver, and ending with Chicago in September (I know, my definition of summer is loose). These are all amazing food cities. Amazing. And this is not my first visit to any of them. My only issue is too many places, too little time. I can tell you this- I am set on sampling Prune in New York, Delancey's in Seattle, Vij's in Vancouver, and Alinea in Chicago. Of course I have a whole list of others that I have been dying to try, that friends or favorite foodies have recommended - I go to some lengths with food research- but I want to hear from you- what is one place I should absolutely not miss ... and maybe tell me why.
In my quest to prepare for some of the trips coming my way, I tried out a recipe from Lumière, a (formerly Rob Feenie, now) Daniel Boulud restaurant in Vancouver, that I have not never experienced (yet!). I’ve had this beautiful cookbook for several years and I am sad to report that this is really the first recipe coming out of it. The recipes are beautiful but intricate and more appropriate for a dinner party where you want to impress your guests than for a week (or weekend) dinner at home with Mr. Pasta-maker -- not that I don’t like to impress him.
This recipe is mostly easy, particularly if you happen to have a cup of veal reduction or reduced mushroom stock. I did, and it did make a beautiful tasty difference.
Duo des Pommes de Terre [or ...Potatoes Two Ways], a Lumière-inspired recipe
Glazed New Potatoes
Ingredients: 12 oz assorted small new potatoes, skins on; 1 1/2 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock; 4 tablespoons unsalted butter; 1 clove garlic; 1 sprig thyme; 12 green onions, white and light green parts only, blanched; 3/4 cup veal reduction (or reduced mushroom stock); salt to taste.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Blanch the green onions in hot water for about a minute. Drain and set aside.
Place the potatoes (skins on), stock, 2 tablespoons of butter, garlic, and thyme in a casserole. Season with salt. Cover it and place in the oven, baking it until tender- probably 30-45 minutes. Check with a fork for doneness and return to the oven if needed.
Remove the potatoes from the casserole and set aside, keeping them warm. Place the liquid into a non-stick pan over medium-high heat and reduce until syrupy. Add the potatoes to the pan and shake often until the potatoes are well coated with the glaze. Add the green onions and heat for another minute to warm and glaze.
Bring the veal reduction to a boil and reduce it by half. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.
Ingredients: 1 1/4 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, skins on; 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1/2 cup milk, lukewarm; 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed; 3 tablespoons Mascarpone cheese; salt to taste.
Place the potatoes (skins on) in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer until tender, 20-25 minutes. Try it with a fork for tenderness.
Drain the water, allow to slightly cool (to avoid really scorching your fingers) and peel. Process it incorporating the butter and as well as the milk and cream through a ricer or food mill over a slightly heated pot- very low heat. This creates a smooth, silky, and consistent texture. Season with salt to taste.
Cover it and keep it warm without burning the bottom of the pot. Before serving, thin the mascarpone with a tablespoon (or more if needed) of milk, and fold into the mixture.
To assemble: place a spoon of the whipped potatoes on the plate and part of the glazed potatoes on the side. Drizzle some of the veal reduction around all of the potatoes. Serve by itself or as I did, with this lamb chop!
Make the potatoes ...and share your favorite places, especially in New York- my trip is just around the corner.
Photography by Jennifer Olson.