When my adult children came home for Christmas I was reminded of how wonderful it is to sit down as a family at dinner and simply connect. Before they grew up and moved away we tried to at least eat one meal together at the table every day, a grace now missing from most of our daily routines, including mine.
Lorraine Wallace believes it is “important for everyone in a family to sit down together for supper” but knows how tough it can be. For years she juggled the needs of her family, including a blended family of six children and her husband, Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace.
In her new cookbook Mr. & Mrs. Sunday’s Suppers ($24.99), Wallace shares her recipes for foods like the Mediterranean chicken here — easy to prepare even on weeknights, yet heartwarming and delicious. There are soups, stews, casseroles, savory pies and Sunday suppers, along with a chapter on cooking for two.
Q. I thoroughly enjoyed a most unusual salad at Pistache French Bistro in West Palm Beach, made with beets. Can you get the recipe?
A. This is an intoxicatingly addictive salad that epitomizes the modern take on classic French cooking that characterizes the Pistache menu, but to make it precisely as the restaurant does would be daunting for most home cooks.
Chef de cuisine Isaac Cerny’s recipe, for example, calls for making ricotta from scratch, and he dresses the arugula garnish with a citrus vinaigrette that not only calls for reducing 3 cups of orange juice, 2 cups of lemon juice and 1 cup of lime juice by half, but also involves sweating shallots and pushing through a chinois and blending with a dozen other ingredients.
I’ve created a shortcut of the recipe here, but will email the full version from Pistache on request. I love the technique for roasting the beets — so much easier than peeling first. As to the citrus vinaigrette, I would either dress the arugula in a lemon-olive oil blend or skip altogether.
Q. Grace Villa asked for help finding a recipe for Angel Wings, a Christmas cookie her mother made in the early 1950s. She recalled the cookies were not only shaped like wings but were shiny white.
“She would give them to us with hot chocolate on Christmas Eve and tell us angels were all around us this night,” she said, and hoped someone could help her carry on the tradition with her grandchildren.
Readers came up with two possible answers.
“I wonder if they were baked meringue cookies that we made with egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar,” Eleanor Chilson wrote.
Mary Moorefield of Miami Lakes agreed, saying, “no other cookie stays really white and shiny.”
Sandi Pasadyn of Wellington sent her recipe for Angel Wings, which is made with a butter and sour cream dough that is rolled out, shaped in wings, and fried.
Margaret Krankowski of Medina, Ohio, points out that there are similar fried wing-shape cookies from many countries, and provided both her mother’s recipe for Polish chrusciki here, and a recipe she has used for a Scandinavian version flavored with rum, fattigmands bakkels.
That made me think of a fried cookie my Italian grandfather called cenci that was flavored with anisette and drizzled with honey and powdered sugar. I’d love to know of any other versions from other countries.
Send questions and responses to LindaCiceroCooks@aol.com or Food, The Miami Herald, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172. Replies cannot be guaranteed.
Roasted Golden Beet Salad
3 pounds golden beets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cup water
4 tablespoons ricotta
Lime juice to taste
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
1/4 cup canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 clementine tangerines
2 cups baby arugula
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 tablespoon minced chives
Salt and pepper to taste
Toss the beets with the olive oil and salt & pepper. Make a bag out of aluminum foil and place the beets in the foil with the water. Seal tightly and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven until easily pierced with a knife, about 45 minutes. Remove and let cool for 30 minutes. Take a dry towel and rub the skin off. Cut the beets in to 3/4-inch wedges and reserve.
Make the ricotta: Stir in fresh lemon and lime juice and zest to taste.
Prepare the pesto: Toast the pistachios in a 350-degree oven until fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool. Place in a food processor. Slowly drizzle in the canola oil with machine running until mixture reaches the consistency of chunky peanut butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To assemble: Have ready 4 chilled plates. Smear 1 tablespoon of the ricotta on the plate about 6” long. In a medium sized mixing bowl toss the beets, sherry vinegar, olive oil, shallots, chives and pistachio pesto. Season with salt and pepper. Place the beets on top of the ricotta. Place the clementines around the beets. Toss the arugula with citrus vinaigrette (see note in column) and place on top of the beets. Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 422 calories (52 percent from fat), 25.3 g fat (3.1 g saturated, 15 g monounsaturated), 4.8 mg cholesterol, 10.9 g protein, 43 g carbohydrates, 9.7 g fiber, 956 mg sodium.
Source: Chef Isaac Cerny of Pistache French Bistro.
Two (9-ounce) packages frozen artichoke hearts
1/2 cup water
One 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
2 bone-in split chicken breasts
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
4 tablespoons capers, with a little of their juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
Crushed red pepper flakes
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the artichoke hearts in a medium saucepan and cover with the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the hearts and set them aside.
Wash the chicken and pat dry using paper towels. Season the pieces with salt and pepper. Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, place the chicken in the skillet, skin-side down, and cook until well browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Flip the chicken and continue to brown, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken pieces, skin-side up, to a large deep baking dish or casserole. Add the cooked artichoke hearts to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally and taking care to scrape up any browned bits in the pan, about 6 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and capers to combine and continue to cook, stirring, until the tomatoes are just wilted, 4 to 6 minutes longer. Transfer the artichoke mixture under and around the chicken. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the remaining 1/4 cup oil with the lemon juice, oregano, garlic, and red pepper flakes to taste. Drizzle the mixture over the chicken and vegetables and return to the oven to cook for 5 minutes longer. Remove the casserole from the oven and let stand 10 minutes. Serve the chicken and vegetables family style. Makes 8 servings.
Per serving: 260 calories (51 percent from fat), 15 g fat (4.1 g saturated, 7.7 g monounsaturated), 73.7 mg cholesterol, 22.9 g protein, 9.1 g carbohydrate, 5.9 g fiber, 350 mg sodium.
Source: “Mr. & Mrs. Sunday’s Suppers” by Lorraine Wallace, reprinted with permission from the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Angel Wings (Polish Chrusciki)
6 egg yolks
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon rum (see note)
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 1/4 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder, optional (see note)
Vegetable oil for frying
Beat the egg yolks with the sugar, then stir in the rum and sour cream. Add the flour and blend well. Knead lightly on a lightly floured board until dough is smooth and no longer sticky. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes. Divide dough into 4 parts and roll out one at a time until very thin. (My grandfather would actually put the dough through a pasta machine; the thinner the dough the crisper the cookie). Cut in 4-inch by 1-inch strips. Place a slit in center and pull one end through to make a bow or wing shape.
Heat oil to 375 degrees. Add cookies a few at a time and fry until they puff up and float to the top, turning once to get both sides barely brown. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Store in airtight container. Makes about 4 dozen.
Note: You can flavor with vanilla, lemon, almond or rum extracts rather than rum (or brandy or other spirits) if desired. The baking powder produces a lighter cookie that blisters when fried, but is not called for in many recipes; it seems to vary from country to country.
Per serving: 21 calories (28 percent from fat), 0.6 g fat (0.3 g saturated, 0.3g monounsaturated), 23.2 mg cholesterol, 0.7 g protein, 2.8 g carbohydrates, 0.1 g fiber, 7 mg sodium.