Skip to content


Photos, Recipes & CookTales For Those Who Enjoy Cooking

Monthly Archives: February 2012


A CookTale

My first attempt at preparing and eating Ramen. I was motivated to order them from a Ramen supplier in San Francisco after reading about how wonderful they were in a new magazine, Lucky Peach, published by the popular Asian chef, David Chang. He devoted the inaugural issue to Ramen, and it sparked my interest. I must say for a four minute meal, not including the Pork, it was satisfactory. The next time I eat it, it will be at a noodle shop that specializes in Ramen.


1 package of Ramen (any flavor)
2-1/2 cups of Water
6 oz of ground Pork
1 small Onion (finely chopped)
1 TB of Peanut Oil

METHOD For the Ramen

1. Fill a saucepan with 2-1/2 cups of Water. Bring it to a boil. Add the Ramen noodles & simmer for four minutes. Turn off the burners & add the contents of the two flavor packages included. Mix with a chopstick until combined.

METHOD For the Pork

1. Add a TB of Peanut Oil to a saucepan. Saute the Onion until it’s translucent & opaque.

2. Add the ground Pork & saute until it’s cooked through & has lost it’s raw color. Mix it together with the Onion.

3. To serve, transfer the noodles to a deep bowl, & top with the Pork & Onion mixture.


Serves 2

A CookTale

We purchase our Duck Confit legs fully prepared in a vacuum six-pack at our fine food market, Adams Fairacre Farm, in Kingston, NY. It not only saves a great deal of time & energy, but I’m certain that they are superior to what I could concoct from scratch.

INGREDIENTS For the Duck Confit

2 Duck Confit legs
3 TB of Honey
Kosher Salt & black Pepper


1 TB of EVOO
1/2 an Onion (chopped)
2 Garlic Cloves (chopped)
2 oz of White Wine or Vermouth
1 sprig fresh Thyme
1 (14.5 oz) can diced Tomatoes
1 (15.5 oz.) can of Butter Beans or Cannellini Beans, (drained)
Kosher Salt & fresh Black Pepper
1/2 oz fresh Parsley, chopped
1 oz of Butter


1. Preheat the oven to 400F.

2. To prepare the Beans, heat the EVOO in a large pan & sauté the Onion & Garlic until translucent & tender, about 7 minutes. Add the Wine, Thyme & Tomatoes & simmer for 15 minutes. Add the Beans & simmer for a further 10 minutes. Season with Salt & Pepper & add the Butter & Parsley.

3. Place Duck legs in a roasting pan. Drizzle on the Honey & roast the legs for about 10 minutes until heated through, basting with Honey half way through.


Spoon the Beans on the plate & top with a Duck Confit leg. Drizzling on additional Honey is optional, but desirable.

A CookTale

To those who remember Gino’s on Lex and 61st, I’m certain you’ll recall their famous Segreto Sauce. Never would they reveal the recipe – when asked their answer was always, “come back tomorrow”. Opened in the 40s, they closed after 65 years, and the Segreto Sauce closed with them. Before that regrettable event, I persuaded friends who were coming for the weekend to do their utmost to wangle a quart container from Franco, a partner and the chef. They did, and I transferred it into four 8 oz containers to be frozen and enjoyed as a wonderful reminder. Last evening, the last one found its way to the dinner table. I wonder if it might have been the last ever to be enjoyed anywhere? If Gino’s brings back memories to you, I’d love to hear about them.


Serves 2

A CookTale

On September 1, 2011, this delicious Scallop dish was originally posted. We knew that one evening we’d enjoy it again. Last evening, six months later, we did. Once again it took huge Diver’s from Gadeleto’s to take it from usual to unusual. The Thai sauce is simple to prepare as an addition to the pan juices. It won’t take six months to make it again.


3/4 lb of Diver Scallops
1/2 cup of Coconut Milk
1 TB of fresh Ginger (grated)
1 tsp of Sweet Paprika
2 Scallions cut to a fine dice
1/2 tsp of Sugar
1/4 tsp of Sea or Kosher Salt
1/4 tsp of White Pepper
2 TB of Butter
Parsley leaves for garnish


1. Rinse the Scallops & blot dry on paper towels.

2. Put the Paprika, Sugar & Salt in a small bowl. Top each Scallop with the mixture & set them aside.

3. Heat a large nonstick skillet or electric frying pan over medium heat. Add 1 TB Butter & when it stops sizzling, carefully add the Scallops, top side down.

4. Cook them for 2 to 2-1/2 minutes, then turn for another minute. Remove Scallops with a slotted spoon. Set aside & keep warm.

5. Add the Coconut Milk, Ginger & Scallions to the pan drippings. Cook for about 1 minute, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.

6. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in 1 TB Butter until the Butter melts.

7. To serve, spoon a pool of sauce onto the plate. Add the Scallops. Sprinkle with White Pepper (optional) & garnish with Parsley leaves

Note: For a more elegant plating, strain the sauce through a sieve.


Serves 2

A CookTale

With sushi grade Tuna, a recipe really isn’t required. My rule is simply do not overcook. The middle should remain deep red and the surface a light brown. A pleasing alternative to a slab of Tuna plunked on a plate are 2 oz cubes.The dipping sauce is an important addition – it contributes to every mouthful with its unique Asian flavor. As usual, it’s only one man’s opinion.

INGREDIENTS For the Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup of Soy Sauce
1/4 cup chopped Scallions
2 TB of fresh Lemon Juice
1 tsp of Sesame Oil
1 tsp of fresh Ginger (grated)
1/2 tsp of Cornstarch (dissolved in Water)

METHOD For the Dipping Sauce

1. Combine the Soy Sauce, chopped Scallions, Lemon Juice & fresh Ginger in a large bowl. Add the Tuna cubes to coat, & marinate in the fridge for about 20 minutes. Remove the Tuna & set aside.

2. Pour the remaining marinade into a small sauce pan & bring to a boil. Add the Cornstarch & water, stirring with a whisk to completely dissolve. Simmer for about 3-4 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Set aside


1 lb of sushi grade Tuna (cut into 8 2 oz cubes)
Lemon or Lime Juice
Sea Salt
Sesame Seeds
Scallions (cut to 3″ pieces)
Cilantro leaves
1 TB of Peanut Oil


1. Heat a cast iron pan to the highest setting.

2. Add the Tuna cubes four at a time, for 30 seconds a side. If you prefer slightly less rare Tuna, cook for another 30 seconds a side. Place on a warm platter.

3. Repeat with the four more Tuna cubes. . Place on the same warm platter.

4. To plate, spoon a bed of the reduced dipping sauce & top with four Tuna cubes. Add the Scallions, Sesame Seeds & Cilantro.


A CookTale

Cathie’s wonderful dad is 99 years old, actually in his 100th year, and as full of vim and vigor as a yearling. Yesterday was her day to visit. Left to my own devices, I squirreled through the freezer and came up with a bag of dumplings that I recently made.
That along with braised Napa Cabbage constituted my simple supper. For some odd reason, the pleasure I derive from making my own vs the simplicity of store bought continually drags me back to the kitchen counter. Actually with easily available dumpling wrappers, the preparation is quite easy.


12 oz of ground Beef or Pork
1 TB of Soy sauce
1 TB of Cornstarch
1 tsp of minced fresh Ginger
3/4 cup of Scallions minced (green & white parts)
1/2 tsp of Sugar
2 tsp of Sesame Oil
Pinch of Salt
About 36 round Dumpling wrappers (purchased premade)
3 tTB of Vegetable Oil
3/4 cup of Water

1 cup Chinese Rice Vinegar
1/2 tsp of minced fresh Ginger
1 tsp of Sesame Oil
1 TB of minced fresh Cilantro
1/4 cup of Soy Sauce
1 TB of Sugar


1. To make the dipping sauce, whisk together the Rice Vinegar, Ginger, Sesame Oil, Cilantro, Soy Sauce & Sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.

2. To make the Dumplings, combine the Meat, Soy Sauce, Cornstarch, Ginger, Scallions, Sugar, Sesame Oil & Salt in a bowl. Stir with a chopstick until just mixed. Fill a small bowl with a little water. Hold a Dumpling Wrapper in the palm of your hand & place 1 tsp of filling in the center. Dip your finger in the bowl of water& run it around the edge to help make a good seal. Lightly fold the wrapper over on itself, but don’t touch the edges together. Starting at one end, use your fingers to make a small pleat on the side of the wrapper closest to you, then press the pleat into the other side & pinch together firmly. Keep making pleats down the dumpling opening in this way until completely sealed. Repeat this process with the remaining filling and wrappers. Freeze any dumplings that you don’t intend to cook.

3. Heat 1 TB of the vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place as many Dumplings as you can, pleat side up in the pan so that they are just touching each other. Cover & cook for 1 minute. Decrease the heat to medium-low, pour 1/4 cup of Water into the pan, & cook covered, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until all the Water is absorbed by the Dumplings & their bottoms have lightly browned. Repeat this if necessary with the remaining Dumplings, Oil, & Water. 

4. Serve the dumplings with a side of the dipping sauce.

RECIPE Napa Cabbage

Napa Cabbage (Half a head)
1 small Onion (thinly sliced)
Chicken Broth
Kosher Salt & Pepper
1 tsp of a Chinese hot oil
Soy Sauce
1 TB of Vegetable Oil


1. Ina large bowl, shred the Cabbage, Slice the Onion & combine.

2. Ina large saute pan, add the TB of Vegetable Oil. Add the Cabbage & Onion, saute until beginning to soften, add the Salt, Pepper & Chinese hot oil. Mix together. Cover & cook until the mixture is completely softened. Adding a splash of Soy Sauce is optional.


Serves 2

A CookTale

Some time back, I enjoyed a week touring Morocco hosted by the director of Moroccan Tourism in the US. Needless to say, guided by this Moroccan tourism executive, I had an outstanding experience in this amazing country anyone would envy, and though so many years have passed, I vividly remember many details. Of them, the wonderfully different North African cuisine stands out. Just reading one of Paula Wolfert’s informative cookbooks on Moroccan cuisine might motivate you to call your travel agent. Last evening’s dinner was a far cry from what one could expect, but the ingredients and the seasonings were definitely Moroccan.


1-1/4 pounds ground Lamb
3 Garlic cloves (minced)
2 TB of Harissa, a spicy North African condiment (optional if available)
1-1/4 tsp of Fennel Seeds
1-1/4 tsp of ground Cumin
1-1/4 tsp of ground Coriander
1/4 tsp of ground Cinnamon
Salt ( as required)
1 TB of vegetable oil
1-1/4 cups of Chicken Broth or Water
1/3 cup of Raisins
1 cup of Israeli Couscous
1/3 cup of toasted Almonds
1/2 cup of chopped Cilantro + leaves for garnish
Zest of 1 Lemon


1. Toast Fennel seeds in a small heavy skillet over medium heat until fragrant & a shade darker, about 1 minute. Grind to a fine powder in grinder.

2. Mix together the Lamb, Garlic, optional Harissa, all the Spices (including the Fennel), & 1/2 tsp of Salt. Mix thoroughly with wet hands (do not overmix). Form into 6 thick Patties.

3.Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then cook the Patties, turning once for about 8 minutes total, for medium-rare.

4. While the Patties cook, bring the Broth, Raisins & 1/4 tsp of Salt to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, then stir in the Couscous. Let it stand off heat, covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork, stir in the Almonds, Cilantro, Zest, & Salt to taste.

5. Serve the Patties on the bed of Couscous. Scatter the Cilantro leaves.