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