Bakey, Bakey

22 Oct

Did you know that Ace Frehely recorded a disco-era paean to New York City?

The Brooklyn Bridge

It’s a giddy, stompy, bizzarly addictive nugget of shuffling guitar-driven goodness. And some kid named Davey decided to load it onto his iPod and listen to it while dancing around on the Brooklyn Bridge on a heart-achingly beautiful New York city day, complete with backup dancers. Don’t believe me? Click here.

Why do I mention this? Because, well, much like Ace, I feel like I’m back in the N.Y. Groove.

Grand Central Terminal

I had a wonderful weekend with my aunt and cousin. We had a beer on Stone Street, walked over the Brooklyn Bridge at sunset (if you can’t stand the swarms may I recommend you try the other bridge) and ate dinner at La Maisson du Couscous, possibly the best restaurant in Bay Ridge, and definitely worth the trip from anywhere.

Grand Central Terminal

On Sunday morning, bright and early, I bounced around the house organizing and planning. We were heading to the Bronx to see the chrysanthemums and I had to get everyone rounded up and to Grand Central in time to catch the proper train. I sent text messages and left voice mails, I kissed the Boy and left him with a few minor errands to run and then I jumped on the train.

City Hall Fountain

The MTA, for once, was voluminously accommodating in getting me to my destination. I got to Grand Central with almost half an hour to spare, so I got a coffee and wandered around taking pictures, relishing the opportunity to be a tourist in my own town for once. And then I waited, and waited, and waited.

City Hall Fountain

The train had been gone for quite some time when I got the call, we weren’t going to the Bronx after all. Instead we strolled around lower Manhattan and laughed and ate and laughed some more. By the time they left I felt revived, revitalized, more in love with New York than ever and ready to get back into the groove.

The Woolworth Building

When I got home the Boy had two quince roasting in the oven. The house smelled amazing: Flowery, delicate, perfumed with that aroma only a baking quince can release. After a quick kip on the couch I was back in the kitchen chopping and dicing and ecstatic to be there.

The Woolworth Building

I roasted a huge bulb of fennel with a lemon. I pulled smoked turkey meat off of a slippery, cold leg. And then I squished and baked and tossed my way into one of the most exquisite dinners to come out of our kitchen in a very long time. The smoked turkey meat, mixed with golden onions and spices were stuffed into the quince, and the roasted fennel was tossed with radicchio, onions, chiles, mint and fennel fronds and dressed with the roasted lemon juice.

Battery Park Ducks

I never could have come up with these combinations on my own. The quince are supposed to be stuffed with lamb, but the Boy had picked up the turkey legs at the greenmarket. The combination of sweet and smoky sounded appealing, so I used them instead.

Smoky Stuffed Quince

And the salad? A true team effort. He wanted the fennel thinly shaved and tossed with the radicchio and mint. I wanted it roasted. So we did both. An utterly perfect salad, born out of compromise.

Roasted Fennel & Lemon, Radicchio, Chile & Mint Salad

And so I’m back, back in the N.Y. groove. It only took a little stepping outside of it to get back into it.

Head below the jump for the recipes for Smoky Stuffed Quince and Fall’s Perfect Salad.

Smoky Stuffed Quince

prep time: 20 minutes ~ cooking time: 2 1/2 hours

  • 1 Quince large per person, washed and fuzz rubbed off
  • 1 medium Onion, chopped
  • 1 small head Garlic, roughly minced
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 large Smoked Turkey leg, meat removed from bone and chopped into small pieces
  • 1/4 tsp Allspice
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika (hot or sweet, your call)
  • Salt & Pepper

Place the washed quince in a baking pan lined with foil and roast, whole for 1-2 hours in a 325°F oven until soft and squishy to the touch. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Cook the onion and garlic in the olive oil until golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then add to the turkey meat. Add the spices, season with salt and pepper and mix to combine.

Cut the quince in half and carefully remove the core. Quince retain heat very well. Remove enough of the flesh to allow for easier stuffing and add the quince flesh to the turkey meat mixture. Stir to combine and stuff each quince. Return to the oven in the foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 325°F for 30 minutes.

To serve: Give each person half a quince and drizzle with a little good extra virgin olive oil. Enjoy!

Adapted from The New Book of Middle Eastern Cooking by Claudia Roden.

Fall’s Perfect Salad

prep time: 30 minutes ~ cooking time: 1 hour

  • 1 large Fennel bulb, fronds removed and sliced into 1/4″ thick wedges, washed and dried
  • 1 Lemon, washed and cut into 1/4s
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Radicchio, washed and torn into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 Onion, thinly sliced into half moons
  • 1 Jalapeno (or less), sliced into very thin half moons
  • Fennel Fronds
  • 1 bunch of Mint, washed and finely chopped
  • Salt & Pepper

Toss the fennel and lemon with the olive oil in a large oven-proof pan and roast in the oven at 325°F for an hour stirring once or twice.

Just before serving mix the radicchio, onion, chile, fennel frond and mint together in a large bowl. Remove the fennel from the oven, set the lemon aside and pour the fennel and oil into the bowl. Carefully squeeze the roasted lemon juice over the salad and toss quickly to mix. Serve with additional extra virgin olive oil, just in case. Enjoy!

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15 Responses to “Bakey, Bakey”

  1. Maninas October 22, 2007 at 10:55 am #

    I loved your photos! Especially the one of the leaves in the fountain!

  2. Luisa October 22, 2007 at 11:22 am #

    Hooray! (and look at that tiny moon in the first pic – perfection!)

  3. mary October 22, 2007 at 12:46 pm #

    Oh my, you’ve pulled at my heart strings, I’m missing NYC fiercely now. The quince and the salad look delicious.

  4. Lydia October 22, 2007 at 8:20 pm #

    Love the pix of the ceiling at Grand Central. Last year, for the first time ever for this native New Yorker, I took a walking tour of Grand Central and learned so much about the building. Thanks for your beautiful recipes and photos, too.

  5. Christina October 22, 2007 at 9:47 pm #

    She is back, indeed, and in fabulous form.

    Your fall is spectacular.

  6. izzy's mama October 22, 2007 at 10:17 pm #

    Are those smoked turkey legs from DiPaola’s Turkey Farm by any chance? I am always intrigued but usually just buy the spicy sausage or smoked breast..That meal does look enticing!

    And La Maison De Couscous.. How long would it take me to get to Bay Ridge from Jersey City? I have been longing for some great Moroccan food ever since Fez on West 4th Street closed (now Mary’s Fish Camp).

  7. ann October 23, 2007 at 6:50 am #

    Hi Maninas (or should I say Dobar dan!) — Thanks for stopping by! I love your pictures too, they remind me of vacation, and I can’t wait to follow along with your blog. So cool!

    Luisa — I’m so glad someone noticed that. It was ridiculously picturesque.

    Mary — That’s what I’m here for! The salad is ridiculously good, as were the quince. I love that there’s a savory application for quince out there.

    Lydia — I’ve always wanted to do that! So I take it it was worth it then. Grand Central is so wonderful.

    Christina — thanks. Did you watch the video? I think for some reason, that you in particular would find it relatively amusing.

    Hi Izzy’s Mama! — You are correct, they are from DiPaoloa’s. They’re delicious, but have a lot of funny connective tissue that make them a little difficult to remove the meat. I think next time we’re going to go with thighs. But the flavor? Awesome. Like smoked pork loin, but totally healthier.

    And the Maison. I don’t think it would be that long of a drive actually. Just go north on one of those Jersey roads (seriously, sorry, I’m terrible with directions), drive swiftly through Staten Island, take the Verrazano and then turn right on 77th St off of 4th Avenue. (Or if you believe google maps, drive into Manhattan and then into Brooklyn)
    Oh, and it BYOB, but allow at least an hour and a half for dinner. The owner’s a funny guy!.

  8. izzy's mama October 23, 2007 at 8:41 am #

    Thanks for the directions..but just because we live in Jersey doesn’t mean we have a car! Jersey City is like Brooklyn, cars aren’t necessary, besides I am an awful driver. So we would have to take the subway to Bay Ridge. I am guessing it would be about an hour and 1/2 from our house, maybe a bit less.

  9. Julie October 23, 2007 at 2:35 pm #

    Great, great pictures! I love the bridge picture and the Grand Central pictures but my favorite may be the fountain picture. And like izzy’s mama I’m wondering how long it would take me to get to La Maison De Couscous. (A little longer from Baltimore than Jersey City but it sounds like it’s totally worth the trip.)

    Dinner sounds fantastic. The roasted lemon with the salad is such a good touch! Where do you buy your quinces? I have been looking for them and never see them.

  10. ann October 23, 2007 at 8:22 pm #

    Doh! Sorry Izzy’s Mama… I guess living in the Brooklynonian suburbs are getting to me, everyone but us has a car around here!

    Julie — Thanks! I love that fountain, it’s right in City Hall park, and it’s just so… perfect. If you come to Brooklyn, I’ll gladly accompany you to the house of cous!

    Quinces — Many older orchards sell them because they still have the trees that have been growing for ever and ever. If you want me to find someone that’ll ship, just drop me an email, that’s the kind of recon I’m more than happy to do!

  11. Toni October 24, 2007 at 1:28 am #

    Ann, you’ve inspired me in so many ways. You always include a visual tour of your surroundings in your posts, so I decided to try that one on this evening. Love your photos! Don’t know that I could choose a favorite – the leaves in the water? (Very abstract.) The first 2? Hard to choose. And then there’s the recipes. You’ve outdone yourself! This sounds like a meal I would have ADORED!!! You be ‘da bomb, girl!

  12. Christina October 24, 2007 at 8:32 pm #

    YES! I did watch the video. I want to dance to that song on the Brooklyn Bridge. Watching it certainly made me smile–for some reason, the guy running by the dancers about 1 minute into the video made me laugh out loud.

  13. ann October 25, 2007 at 10:03 am #

    Hi Toni — I’m so flattered! And your photo essay is wonderful, even if it’s of such a sad subject. I love that leaves in the water picture too. It was hard to choose which one I liked best, there’s two others that were great too… I bet you would love the heck out of that salad! You must try it!

    Christina — Thank god someone watched it! OMG the first time I saw it I cried I laughed so hard. And the song? I mean, it’s a disco ditty from a guy in KISS! It’s just too awesome. Glad I made you laugh :-)

  14. Terry B October 25, 2007 at 10:08 am #

    Lovely pictures and lovely words as always, Ann. And thanks for the weirdly wonderful video. I immediately shared it with a Brooklyn buddy. With all the fabulous New York experiences I’ve had, walking the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan remains one of the most memorable.

  15. ann October 25, 2007 at 7:33 pm #

    TerryB — Glad to spread the Brooklyn love! It’s good stuff :-)

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