People are always asking me, “What is your specialty?”. Recently, I’ve been saying baking. As I was reminded, I did write a cookbook about cakes (coming soon). However, one of my most favorite things to do is to have a fabulous meal out and then go home and recreate it. I especially love great finds when I’m traveling and can meet with the chef and get their recipe or tips for re-creating it at home.

I just got back from a fantastic trip to New York City, with girlfriends, and I brought home some great ideas and a couple of tips. One of my friend’s son is the Head Sommelier at the Standard Grill, Rocco Di Spirito’s newest endeavor, at The Standard Hotel, in the Meat Packing District. We had an amazing meal and lots of wine! There were the things we ordered and the things that were sent to the table, by our favorite sommelier. Let me just whet your whistle a little. We had an amuse bouche of Hamachi (yellow tail) and caviar. We had Beet Tartare, Jamon Iberico, and Asparagus with a Creamy Cashew sauce. We had Rocco’s Risotto that is so special only he can make it!

I am working on cracking the code for that risotto but I think I have come close to his Beet Tartare. It is so delicious and fresh. I recommend serving it with a hearty cracker. I made it for friends the other night and one of the guys who “doesn’t like beets” ate almost the whole bowl! Think outside the box, try it.

This dip is sweet and savory and so easy to eat. You definitely get a hit of horseradish but the rest of the ingredients play a magnificent game of hide and seek. It wasn’t at all salty but there was salt. The heat was too subtle to be pepper. Was the tart flavor lemon or vinegar? My investigation began.

On our last day there, we were enjoying Chelsea Market. It’s one of my favorite places in NYC. There is lots of cute places to shop and it feel a little like a foodie paradise with the kitchen shops and artisan food places. Plus the New York Food Network Studios are at Chelsea Market so I feel close to my people when I’m there.

We stumbled in Miznon the Chelsea market outlet of Israeli Chef, Eyal Shani. You may not know the name but you can pretty much give him credit for the cauliflower craze. His famed roasted cauliflower boasts only four ingredients but it is special. When I first looked at the menu and saw “Lavan”, a pita sandwich with cauliflower as the star , I couldn’t have imagined the specialness that awaited me.

The cauliflower had lost all the sulphur aroma and was simply sweet. It was creamy and buttery. There was a small kick of heat but just on the tip of the tongue, nothing overwhelming. The tahini was perfect! Not too much garlic, not too much lemon. Once I figured this recipe out, I knew it would be in regular rotation! I’ve also included a recipe for Schwarma “style Chicken. It makes a great meal with the cauliflower. Have the beet tartare as you’re appetizer.

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do. Next up I am going to recreate The Lamb’s Club Pastrami. This may take some time but man was it good. If there is a restaurant recipe you want me to try and recreate message me. I always love to hear from you!

Vegan Beet Tartare
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Vegan Beet Tartare
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Into a large bowl, grate beets on the large hole side of grater box. I don't like the food processor for this.
  2. Stir in all ingredients, except parsley. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust flavoring. I added a little more Dijon, but it is personal preference.
  3. Right before serving stir in chopped parsley. It adds such a great fresh flavor. Serve with a hearty cracker. Store any leftovers, (doubtful) in refrigerator in a covered dish.
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Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini, Tomato Salsa, and Chives
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Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini, Tomato Salsa, and Chives
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Wash cauliflower and remove large, tough leaves. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a rolling boil. Place cauliflower in pot, cover and boil until just tender. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Remove cauliflower from water and let cool slightly, Just until you can handle it. Put cauliflower in a glass or ceramic baking dish. Pour olive oil into a shallow bowl and dip hands in. Let excess oil run off and start massaging oil into cauliflower. Work it into all the nooks and crannies. Drizzle any remaining over the top and season with salt and pepper. Place cauliflower in preheated oven and bake until top just starts to brown. About 20 minutes.
  3. While cauliflower is baking, make tahini sauce. Using a mortar and pestle or, carefully, an edge of a knife mash the garlic into a paste with 1/4 tsp. salt. Stir tahini well, to get solids off bottom of can, and pour into a medium bowl. Add in garlic paste and start whisking in lemon juice. Start with a little and add more as it "catches". The sauce will continue to thicken as it sits. If you need to thin it out you can whisk in a little water or more lemon juice. Adjust seasoning.
  4. You can cut the cauliflower into florets and toss with the tahini sauce, then serve with salsa and chives. I poured the sauce on a platter, ladled the salsa over the sauce and sprinkled chives over that. Then I place the cauliflower over that. The cauliflower is so tender that It can be cut with a spoon and scoop up sauce as you serve.
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Schwarma "style" Chicken
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Servings Prep Time
6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Schwarma "style" Chicken
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. In a large ziplock bag pour the oil, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, allspice, cinnamon and turmeric and stir together to make a paste. Add the chicken and toss and massage to coat evenly. Let marinate at room temperature for at least 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick spray. Arrange chicken, in a single layer, on baking sheet and roast until browned and cook through, about 30 minutes. I turn it half way through. Let chicken stand for 5 minutes before serving.
  3. I serve this chicken on a platter with lettuce, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers. I have pita on the table.
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