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 Post subject: A simple shallot dressing recipe and a nice story
PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 2:13 pm 
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Location: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
From the Wall Street Journal:
http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-visit-to-novelist-and-restaurant-veteran-stephanie-danlers-kitchen-1462820865

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 Post subject: Re: A simple shallot dressing recipe and a nice story
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 7:55 am 
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Wino,

Summary? I'm not a WSJ subscriber.

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 Post subject: Re: A simple shallot dressing recipe and a nice story
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 10:38 am 
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Neither am I but I could see the article:

LIKE TESS, the narrator in “Sweetbitter: A Novel,” to be published by Knopf later this month, author Stephanie Danler worked in restaurants when she arrived in New York City, in her early 20s. She continued in server jobs to support herself through a Master of Fine Arts program at the New School in Manhattan, where she focused on writing her book on “the inner life of a restaurant—and not in the tawdry ‘Kitchen Confidential’ way.” Ms. Danler wanted to shine a light on the people in the front-of-house (as opposed to the kitchen), especially those who treat it as a career. “We have the chef explosion right now,” she said, “but being a server is another way of life.”

Eventually, the young woman who once thought of farmers markets as merely scenic discovered her own love of food and cooking. Now, in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, she lives in a 1920s cottage she describes as “a wild, wild place,” complete with a slanted foundation, deer and birds relaxing in the property’s small fountain and a “rock 'n' roll history” (a number of Fleetwood Mac band members lived there in the 1970s). Here she can both write and entertain. Those years of waiting on customers have made her an attentive host with impressive wine-opening skills and a well-developed palate for picking the right pour. And all that time spent in the company of chefs has given her firm ideas about how to handle cooking for a crowd.

The thing most people notice first about my kitchen is: my mom’s copperware from E. Dehellerin in Paris. She went to Le Cordon Bleu there in the ’70s. I have my grandmother’s Limoges china, too, and I use it all the time. It chips and it tarnishes.

The kitchen tool I can’t live without is: the corkscrew. It’s something I have in my purse, a 10-year-plus holdover from being in the restaurant industry. It’s also a box cutter. To be without one, I mean, there is nothing worse.

In my pantry you’ll always find: olive oil, anchovies, Maldon [salt], pepper and lemon. My pantry is what I think of as my gypsy kitchen. I have been moving around a fair amount and that’s what I bring with me. I put anchovies in everything—Bolognese, steamed kale. My secret for roast lamb: I cover it with anchovy oil before I put it in the oven. I take a tin to other peoples’ houses, even when they’re cooking. The Ortiz are the best.


My refrigerator is always stocked with: white wine, Parmesan and probiotics. And there’s always some sort of snacking cheese. When I’m cooking, my ritual is a glass of wine, and it always involves cheese as well. I like to sip on Fino Sherry when I’m prepping—Manzanilla La Gitana by Bodegas Hidalgo or El Maestro Sierra Fino. That’s my cue that I’m in a different zone. I’m tasting, this isn’t work. I’m relaxing.

The books I cook from over and over again are: the series of Canal House books Christopher Hirsheimer does with Melissa Hamilton. If I’m going somewhere for the summer, I bring their summer volume with me. When I’m traveling for the holidays, I bring the holiday one. They did the cookbook “Canal House Cooks Every Day,” too.

I collect: vintage cookbooks. I read them as narratives or novels. I started going to Bonnie Slotnick’s vintage cookbook store [in Manhattan] in my early 20s and she knows exactly what to pick for me. M.F.K. Fisher is one of the most underrated writers of the 20th century—not food writer, or woman writer, just writer, period. “The Gastronomical Me” is what every food memoir is based on, whether people know it or not.

The ingredients I’m most excited about right now are: the favas, the English peas, the snap peas and the California artichokes. May in Southern California, you have everything. The East Coast does some things beautifully and I’m sure I’ll miss them. I miss ramps. But the artichokes are overflowing at the market here. There’s an à la Grecque recipe in one of David Tanis’s books I use for them, a super vinegary poach that I love.

On weeknights, I typically cook: grain salads, white bean salads. Coming out of winter I do a ton of braised greens. ”Saltie: A Cookbook” [by Caroline Fidanza with Anna Dunn, Rebecca Collerton and Elizabeth Schula] is the kind of cooking I aspire to on weekdays—the bowls, the salads, the grains. I really don’t eat meat when I’m by myself. I’ll put an egg on top of a salad if I want something more. And then, when I’m working, cheese, cornichons and crackers. It’s my I-can’t look-up-from-my-computer-so-this-is-dinner dinner.

On weekends, I like to cook: big family-style meals. I’ll roast a chicken at least once a week. In the summer, I do a deconstructed niçoise with barely seared tuna—or sardines, or even poached cod—then blanched or raw vegetables. It makes everyone happy. Peppery young arugula, fingerlings, hard-boiled, soft-ish eggs, a big bowl of vinaigrette. It lets you showcase whatever’s fresh.

I love it when my dinner guests bring: flowers. Almost all my friends know to text me and ask what wine I want. I’m very happy to send them to my favorite wine store and say please get me a Muscadet, a Provençal Rosé from Bandol, a bottle of Crémant from the Jura. I’m part-time in New York and my shop there is Uva. Here, it’s Domaine LA in Hollywood.

The most underrated ingredient is: the shallot. It’s such an elegant onion even raw. It’s got that beautiful sweetness. Roasted shallots, or as the base in a vinaigrette, it changes everything.

When I entertain, I like to make: Marcella Hazan’s olive oil cake. Otherwise, in summer I do fruit, and in winter, citrus and nuts. I have visions of tables I’ve sat at in Spain or France, with nut crackers cutting into walnuts, and clementines and dark chocolate.

My cooking mentor was: Jody Williams. Her restaurant Buvette [in Manhattan] was my last job. There’s this rough, casual elegance. I don’t think she’s ever followed a recipe. Everything about her cooking is flavor. She’s always tasting. And Mani Dawes, who owns Tía Pol. She’s an incredible home cook. They both taught me how to be a gracious host by cooking simple, thoughtful food.

—Edited from an interview by Charlotte Druckman

Shallot Vinaigrette
Ms. Danler views this as more of an outline than a strict recipe. Adjust according to your preferences. She also routinely adds the following to the base of anchovies, shallots and vinegar: 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard; 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or chopped parsley or mint leaves; 1 tablespoon crème fraîche; a pinch of Aleppo pepper flakes.

Total Time: 5 minutes Makes: about ½ cup

1 medium shallot, finely chopped
2-3 tablespoons red wine or Sherry vinegar
Salt
2 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained and minced to a paste
Juice and zest of ¼ lemon
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Sugar, to taste (optional)
1. Put shallots in a small lidded jar. Barely cover shallots with vinegar. Sprinkle on a little salt. Add anchovies. Let sit at least 30 minutes.

2. Add lemon juice and, if necessary to loosen mixture, a splash more vinegar. Add lemon zest and olive oil. Screw top on jar and shake until emulsified.

3. Taste and add salt, pepper, more oil or a pinch of sugar as needed. Shake again before serving. Vinaigrette will keep 5 days in refrigerator.


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 Post subject: Re: A simple shallot dressing recipe and a nice story
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2016 4:25 pm 
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Thanks, Jean!

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 Post subject: Re: A simple shallot dressing recipe and a nice story
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2016 11:00 pm 
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I like the sound of that recipe, too, and it does look like a good recipe to build on. Something to top many of those summer salads with, when the garden starts producing.

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 Post subject: Re: A simple shallot dressing recipe and a nice story
PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2016 4:19 am 
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I simplified this, after trying the original method, by tossing everything in a small blender - same excellent taste in much less time. I will do it again this weekend witk a stick blender, which I am sure will be even quicker when factoring in prep-cleanup time :D ;)


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 Post subject: Re: A simple shallot dressing recipe and a nice story
PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2016 8:14 pm 
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That's what I was planning, wino. I have a container (around 3 cups) that the immersion blender fits into perfectly, and I use it for things like that all the time.

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 Post subject: Re: A simple shallot dressing recipe and a nice story
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2016 9:22 pm 
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I had just come in from a fairly long day out in the garden (naturally!), and had a bok choy I just harvested, plus some loose leaf lettuce. I washed it, and while it was draining and I was washing up, I was thinking that I really didn't want to spend much time on dinner - something fast, and then relax! And I remembered reading this! I didn't remember the exact recipe, but I was close! (I checked before I actually made it). I made about a double recipe, then made two salads, with the lettuce, and with the bok choy, with some chives and parsley added to both, and some very thinly sliced carrots and radishes to the bok choy (just because I had those there, not really thinking about it!). The dressing was delicious, on both; I ate all of the lettuce, and a little of the bok choy, figuring that will store well. I also have a little bit of the dressing left over.

I used ALMOST the last of my anchovies, so I'll have to get another batch of them. I don't know how I got so low on them, except that I don't use them so much in the winter, so I wasn't paying attention to them. Once all those things start coming in from the garden, I use them a lot!

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 Post subject: Re: A simple shallot dressing recipe and a nice story
PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 6:02 pm 
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Thanks for the ideas, I have not used bok choy in salads - it sounds delicious and will do so this weekend!


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 Post subject: Re: A simple shallot dressing recipe and a nice story
PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 9:11 pm 
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The bok choy I used had most of the greens removed (I saved tbem for a soup), and sliced across the stalks slightly thinner than 1/4". Leftover just one day, it was still fairly crisp, with a slightly different, but delicious flavor. I'll definitely do this again, maybe with some kohlrabi slices, in place of the radish, since those are almost ready out there.

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