Tuesday, August 24, 2010

San Sebastián, Spain

San Sebastián, Spain

As many of you know, I am lucky enough to be studying abroad for the fall semester in San Sebastián, Spain.  San Sebastián is on the northern coast of Spain in what is known as the Basque region, extremely close to France.  Pictured above is the main beach of San Sebastián, just a few short blocks from where I´ll be living!  I arrived here on Sunday, August 22nd and lost a little faith in the San Sebastián airport since it took them until today to deliver my suitcase.  Regardless, I´ve really been enjoying myself while getting to know the other sixty five students in my program and exploring the city.  For the next week I´m living in a dorm and then moving into an apartment with two friends on September 1st.  So for those of you who are wondering whether or not my blog will continue during the semester the answer is YES, I will be cooking and blogging as much as possible for the next four months!  But that won´t begin until the first of September :)

I recently recieved the most amazing cookbook I have ever read.  It´s called The Food of Spain: a Journey for Food Lovers.  It has incredible pictures, maps, and of course recipes of all of the amazing food that I´ll be ingesting over the next few months.  In the introduction, the author states:

     "The Basques are well known for their love of food - and this shines through in their dishes and the star-studded restaurants of their capital, San Sebastián.  And no wonder - they have access to such wonderful produce: Draw a circle 100 kilometres around San Sebastián, and you will find the best seafood in Spain, the vegetables of Navarra, foi gras from the Landes, and the truffles of Perigord.¨

Could I have chosen a better place to study abroad? I dont think so!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Oven Roasted Salmon with Cucumber Dill Sauce

Hey guess what?  I'm celebrating over 50 followers and over 600 blog views!!!

That may not sound like much but I am pretty darn excited :)  So, what more reason to give my blog what it has lacked up until this point - a fantastic fish dish!

Oven Roasted Salmon
with Cucumber Dill Sauce

For those of you who think you don't like fish, and especially for those of you who do, this salmon is so delicious and easy!  Salmon and dill are a classic combination.  However, most of the cucumber dill sauces that I have tried in the past involved a LOT of mayo.  Way more mayo than I care to ingest in a lifetime.  So, I've lightened up this sauce but trust me when I say it is not lacking in flavor whatsoever.  The sauce is tangy and very refreshing!  And the salmon is flaky and cooked to perfection.

2 1/2 lbs salmon fillet
1/3 cup chopped fresh dill plus six sprigs
1 medium cucumber
12 ounces greek yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.

Slice the large fillet of salmon into six evenly sized smaller fillets.  Spray a 9 by 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.  Place the salmon fillets in the dish, sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper and lay one sprig of fresh dill on each fillet.  Place in the heated oven for about fifteen minutes until pink, opaque, and medium rare.

While the salmon is in the oven, combine the greek yogurt, mayo, and dijon mustard in a medium bowl and mix well.  Slice the cucumber in half and use a spoon to scoop out all of the seeds.  Finely chop the cucumber halves and finely mince the clove of garlic and add both to the yogurt mixture.  Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice of both halves into the bowl.  Chop the fresh dill, add to the mixture and mix well.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator to chill for as long as possible.  

Right before serving, remove the cucumber dill sauce from the refrigerator and season with salt and pepper.  Wait until the sauce is chilled before seasoning because foods tend to taste differently when they are cool as opposed to room temperature.  Before serving the salmon, remove the sprig of dill, and top with a healthy spoonful of cucumber dill sauce.  Enjoy!

Footnote:  I know I left the sprig of fresh dill on the fillet in the top picture but that was just for aesthetic beauty...you don't need to eat it.  Also, in writing this post I learned that the word refrigerator does NOT have a letter d before the letter g.  20 years old and still learning to spell!

Oven Roasted Salmon With Cucumber Dill Sauce on Foodista

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Beer Marinated Flank Steak with Chimichurri

Beer Marinated Flank Steak with Chimichurri

Anytime my brother Dan and I get together it's an occasion for us to cook (or at least eat well and talk a lot about food).  So, when he and his girlfriend Lauren drove out east for a couple days we made sure to do just that.  Being a firefighter, Dan often cooks for his fire department in the South Bronx and of course, cooks at home as well.  We collaborated on this recipe and I am super excited to share it with my readers!  I usually describe chimichurri sauce as sort of a hybrid between pesto and vinaigrette.  It's composed mainly of herbs like a pesto but has the red wine vinegar to give it a tangy bite like a vinaigrette.  However you describe it, paired with flank steak it's delicious!


1 1/2 to 2 lb flank steak
2 cans of beer (we used Budweiser)
1/3 cup worcestershire sauce
1 cup parsley
1/4 cup cilantro
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Cross-hatch marks courtesy of Dan's grilling skills.
In a large tupperware or casserole dish place the flank steak.  Pour both cans of beer over the meat then add 1/3 cup worcestershire sauce.  Allow to marinate for at least one hour but preferably several. 

After the meat has marinated, grill over medium direct heat for 7-9 minutes on each side, flipping once.  Remove the meat from the grill and let it rest on a cutting board for at least ten minutes.  This keeps all of the juices from flowing out during the slicing process and keeps the steak juicy.

While the meat is resting, combine parsley, cilantro, olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, salt, cumin, and red pepper flakes in a food processor.  Purée until smooth.  The sauce should be of similar consistency to a pesto or salad dressing.

Use a sharp knife to slice the flank steak into long strips.  Always slice against the natural grain of the meat to ensure tenderness. You could substitute skirt steak in this recipe if you prefer a fattier cut of meat, however, my preference would definitely be the flank steak.  Drizzle the meat liberally with chimichurri sauce.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Three Berry Crumble

Three Berry Crumble

Needless to say, after the Great Chefs DInner I felt like the weekend needed to be topped off with something delicious!  My absolute favorite store-bought dessert in the world is the Three Berry Pie from Tate's Bake Shop in Southampton.  You've probably seen the Tate's cookies sold up and down the east coast in cellophane sleeves with those green Tate's labels.  So, to pay a little homage to Tate's Three Berry Pie I created Brigid's Three Berry Crumble.  And I have to say, it can compete with Tate's any day of the week because it is delicious.  Holy crap it was good.  If I do say so myself...


6 oz. fresh blueberries
12 oz. fresh raspberries
15 medium fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Juice of half a lemon
3 heaping tablespoons corn starch

For Crumb Topping

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup oats (instant is fine)
1/4  cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick cold unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.

In a large mixing bowl combine fruit, honey, cinnamon, corn starch, and lemon juice and stir with a spatula.  Once the ingredients are well combined, use the back of a large spoon to press down some of the fruit so that it becomes mushy and starts to combine with the corn starch and thicken.

In a small mixing bowl combine flour, oats, brown sugar, white sugar,  and cinnamon. Stir until well combined.  

Take the butter out of the fridge and slice it once lentgh-wise.  Rotate the stick of butter and slice it again lentgh-wise so that you have made four smaller sticks of butter.  Then, make small slices (about ten should do the trick) down the stick of butter so that you end up with about forty small cubes of butter.  Put these cubes of butter in with the other ingredients for the crumb topping and mix well.  

Pour the large bowl with the fruit mixture into a nine inch pie plate.  Then with a large spoon, evenly distribute the crumb topping over the fruit mixture.  It may look like a lot of topping but trust me it isn't!  It's the perfect amount :)  Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until the berry mixture is bubbling around the edges and the topping is golden brown.  Enjoy!

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Great Chef's Dinner

I am a verrrrrrrry happy camper this week because, as some of you may have heard, I had the pleasure and good fortune of being able to work at the 2010 Great Chef's Dinner in Bridgehampton, New York.  The Great Chef's Dinner is a charity benefit for the Jeff Salaway Scholarship Fund at Hayground School.  I got to work at the dinner because I've been a counselor at the Hayground School Day Camp for the past few summers.

Included in the event is a two hour cocktail hour with the chefs, with hors d'oeuvres prepared on site by prominent executive chefs of the Hamptons like Vittorio Assaf of Serafina, Christian Mir of Stone Creek Inn, Jason Weiner of Almond and many others. After the cocktail hour is an exclusive four course dinner cooked by Eric Ripert, extremely successful executive chef of La Bernardin in New York City and guest judge on Bravo TV's Top Chef.  Chefs Marc Meyer, Laurent Tourondel, Miche Bacher, and Emily Wallenjack of other prominent New York City restaurants also contributed to the dinner. On the guest list for the event were Jon Bon Jovi, Star Jones, and Richard Gere among others. Yes I'm name dropping, so sue me.

At the cocktail hour, I was able to taste several dishes cooked by the chefs such as Vittorio Assaf's Carciofi e Parmigiano Insalate (which is Italian for awesome artichoke salad) and Colicchio & Sons' Pork carnitas with spicy eggplant caponata.  But my favorite dish of the night, hands down, was the Lemon Verbena-Peach and Berry Crisp with Goat Cream Cheese from Claudia Fleming of the North Fork Table and Inn.  However, I have to say that the highlight of my evening was meeting and chatting briefly with Bravo TV's Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio!  He was so nice, bouncing his baby son Luca on his knee and smiling as I spoke.  I was on a high for the rest of the night.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Chili Chicken Mango Kebabs

Chili Chicken Mango Kebabs

So, it was brought to my attention that everything on my blog so far has been vegetarian. Which is great for those of you who are vegetarian!  However, I, most definitely, am NOT a vegetarian.  So I wanted to remedy the meatless nature of my blog up until now.  These kebabs, quite honestly, might be the perfect summer meal.  They are citrusy, spicy, use fruit that is in season, and of course, you grill them!  

The marinade is deceptively simple with definite flavor imparted on the meat and mango after just a couple of hours.  The original recipe is actually from Williams-Sonoma and was suggested to me by my friend Liz.  I tweaked the marinade and added some grape tomatoes into the mix!  I love the way grape tomatoes get once they have been grilled. They are so sweet and juicy and literally almost bursting with flavor.  I happened to run out of mango slices for the last few kebobs and so popped a few chunks of green bell pepper onto the skewers and they tasted just delicious!  


6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
Zest of 1 lime
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into large cubes
3 large mangoes cut into large cubes
About 15 grape tomatoes
10-12 wooden skewers depending on how full you like your kebabs

Put the olive oil, lime juice, lime zest, chili powder, sugar and salt in a shallow baking dish and stir until well combined.  After dicing chicken breast and mango, place into the baking dish with the marinade.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate in the refrigerator from anywhere between one and a half hours to four hours.  You can't marinate for much longer than that because the citrus acid in the lime juice actually starts to cook the chicken.  

Toward the end of the marinating process, you probably want to soak the skewers fully in water for ten to fifteen minutes.  By water-logging the skewers you prevent them from burning on the grill.  Once the chicken and mango have marinated, string onto the skewers by alternating pieces of chicken, mango, and whole grape tomatoes in any order you like.  I happened to go tomato-chicken-mango-chicken, but feel free to mix it up however you want!

Heat the grill to medium-high heat and place the skewers on the grates.  Grill over indirect heat, turning once, for 6-8 minutes on each side depending on how big your chicken pieces are.  Remove from the grill. Enjoy!