Holiday

Spanish orange & almond tart for Christmas

Last year for the holiday season we made saffron shortbread cookies, and we were feeling bad that we didn't have a new holiday cookie this year. We got to thinking about winter sweets and some of our all-time favorite flavors, and the two sort of came together. Some of the quintessential tastes of Spain are almonds, saffron, and bitter oranges. Why not adapt our standard linzer tart recipe to reflect that different range of flavors? Instead of hazelnuts in the dough, we could use almonds. Instead of vanilla, we could use saffron. And in place of raspberry jam, we could use Seville orange marmalade. (OK, we know that the marmalade is more a Scottish than Spanish flavor, but it does use the bitter oranges of...Read More

It’s always Thanksgiving at Hart’s

The motto at Hart's Turkey Farm is that “every day is Thanksgiving” at this family-dining fixture. It sits in Meredith, New Hampshire, on the west side of Lake Winnipesaukee. Truth is, the busiest days of the fall season are already over. The place was jammed over Columbus Day weekend. But they're gearing up for the onslaught of diners (probably around 1,600) on Thanksgiving Day. On a busy day, Hart's serves more than a ton of turkey and 40 gallons of gravy. Most diners choose the turkey plate with gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and a choice of vegetable and potato. It is available in three serving sizes with either all white meat, or a mixture of white and dark meat. The jumbo plate can even be...Read More
Saffron shortbread cookies for festive season

Saffron shortbread cookies for festive season

Peggy Regan of Salon de Té le Gryphon D'Or (www.gryphondor.com) in Montreal is the absolute mistress of shortbread, which you can enjoy at her tea room or order through the mail. When she gave us a shortbread recipe for Food Lovers' Guide to Montreal (see SOME BOOKS), she casually mentioned how the recipe could be adapted to add other flavors. She had in mind flavors like maple and almond. We happen to love shortbread cookies as an accompaniment to Spanish sparkling wine, or cava. So we wondered how another signature Spanish flavor -- saffron -- might taste in shortbread. Since we travel often to Spain, we tend to buy saffron when we come across a good deal or when we're in Consuegra, the premier saffron...Read More

Pimento Cheese for holiday South in your mouth

Chef Matthew Bell hails from Montana, but after about a decade in the South, he felt confident to head the kitchen at South on Main restaurant in Little Rock, Arkansas. It's a collaboration with the Oxford American, the magazine that chronicles the literary and cultural life of the South and is often called the ''New Yorker of the South.'' ''We are taking our cue from the magazine and keying in on the cuisine from all regions,'' Bell told a gathering of writers who previewed the restaurant and performance place while it was still under construction. ''Arkansas cuisine is a microcosm of the whole South with influence from the Ozarks and the Smokies,'' he said. ''We have a long growing season and close access to the...Read More

Basque treats: angulas for Christmas

Nothing says Christmas in Basque country like a nice plate of angulas, i.e., baby eels, also known as elvers, glass eels, or ''spaghetti with eyes.'' Threatened by overfishing and by Asian buyers who purchase the live elvers to raise on fish farms, angulas nonetheless remain a touchstone of Basque traditional cuisine. They are, however, expensive. We have a piece in the December 2011 Robb Report about fishing for and preparing angulas. We should note that we had a lot of help to research this story, especially from chef Fernando Canales of Etxanobe in Bilbao, eel fisherman and all-around outdoorsman and gourmand Txetxu Oliver, and chefs Juan Marí and Elena Arzak, who were good enough to sit down and talk with us at Restaurante Arzak about...Read More

Cooking with Comté

If you've ever eaten a croque monsieur in a cafe anywhere in France (my absolute favorite is served at the News Cafe in Paris at 78 rue d'Assas across from Jardin du Luxembourg), chances are you've eaten Comté cheese. The firm and nutty Comté is the largest selling hard cheese in France. I'd always figured that only a big factory could turn out enough Comté to satisfy the appetites of the fromage-loving French, but it turns out that Comté is still made pretty much the same way that it's been made for about a thousand years--that is, small-scale and personal. And the whole process is open to the public: from brown-and-white Montbéliarde cows grazing in buttercup-laden meadows, to milk delivery and early morning cheese-making in...Read More

A very Fortnum Christmas to you

Since business took me to St. James's Street in London (mostly to visit the iconic wine shop of Berry Bros. & Rudd, which has been there since 1698), there was no way I could miss visiting Fortnum & Mason (181 Piccadilly; tel: 0845.602.5694; www.fortnumandmason.com), practically around the corner. I could tell that Christmas was coming when I met chocolatier David Burns (above) just inside the front door, handing out samples of his chocolates. (The lavendar English cream that he gave me was as divine as I'd expected.) Burns and his wife Keely operate the small firm that has supplied handmade chocolates to F&M since the 1920s. By the first week of October, my favorite London purveyor of gourmet goodies had transformed its first floor into...Read More