The Daily Dish

Stir-Fried Beef with Snow Peas & Shallots

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Photo: Scott Phillips
2 tsp. cornstarch
6 Tbs. homemade or low-salt chicken broth
1/4 cup ponzu sauce
1 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
1-1/4 lb. boneless beef rib-eye steaks, trimmed and thinly sliced across the grain (1/8 to 1/4 inch thick)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbs. neutral oil, like canola or vegetable
7 to 8 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems trimmed off, caps thinly sliced
1/2 lb. snow peas, trimmed
3 small or 2 medium scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
1-1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced (about 3 Tbs.)
2 medium cloves garlic, minced

In a small bowl, stir the cornstarch into 1 Tbs. of the chicken broth until smooth. Stir in the remaining 5 Tbs. broth, along with the ponzu and sesame oil.

Season the sliced beef with 1/2 tsp. salt and several grinds of pepper. Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a large skillet or stir-fry pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is very hot (it should shimmer), add the beef and stir-fry just until it loses its raw color, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the beef to a clean bowl. Return the pan to medium-high heat, add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil, and then add the mushrooms and peas. Stir-fry until the mushrooms are tender and the peas are crisp-tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the scallions, ginger, and garlic, and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Return the beef to the pan. Give the broth mixture a quick stir to recombine and then pour it into the pan. Cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Serve immediately.

Serve with plenty of steamed white rice.      

Chicken Marsala with Pancetta and Cream

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Photo: Scott Phillips
You can buy thin cutlets or ask your supermarket butcher to cut some for you. This recipe is easily doubled, but you'll likely need to cook the chicken in batches.

Olive oil
2 oz. pancetta (about a 1/4-inch thick slice), cut into a 1/4-inch dice
Flour for dredging (about 1/2 cup)
4 thin chicken breast cutlets, about 1/2 lb. total
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper, preferably on the coarse side
1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
2 to 4 Tbs. heavy cream
Minced fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)

Coat a large skillet lightly with olive oil and set it over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until just crisp and lightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat in the pan, and set aside.

Put the flour on a plate. Pat the cutlets dry. Season them on both sides lightly with salt and amply with pepper. Heat the skillet with the pancetta fat over medium high. Add more olive oil, if needed, to get about 2 Tbs. fat in the pan.

When the fat is hot, dredge a cutlet through the flour on both sides (see Tips for moist sautéed chicken). Shake off the excess flour and immediately put the cutlet in the pan. Do the same with as many cutlets as will fit in the pan without touching. Sauté the cutlets, turning once, until browned on both sides; if thin, they should cook through in just a few minutes total. Transfer the cooked cutlets to a plate and continue sautéing the rest, adding more oil if necessary. Transfer these to the plate as well.

Pour off the excess fat. With the pan over medium-high heat, add the Marsala and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the Marsala is reduced by about a quarter. Stir in the cream and boil until you get a nicely thickened sauce. Return the chicken and pancetta to the pan and turn the cutlets over to coat. Let them reheat for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Serve with the sauce and a sprinkling of parsley, if you like. 

Cheddar and Cauliflower Soup

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Photo: Scott Phillips

This creamy soup gets its body from pureed cauliflower, though some tender whole florets are added just at the end of cooking to add texture. Sharp cheddar and cayenne give the mellow flavor a little lift.Kosher salt

1/2 head cauliflower (about 1 lb.), cored and cut into 1-1/2-inch florets
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, small diced
1 medium clove garlic, minced
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. packed, freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cayenne
2 cups lower-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 sprigs fresh thyme
4 cups grated sharp or extra-sharp white Cheddar (about 14 oz.)
Freshly ground black pepper


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the cauliflower until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly. Trim the stems from 18 of the cauliflower pieces and cut the crowns into mini florets about 1/2 inch wide; set aside. Reserve the trimmed stems with the remaining larger pieces.

Melt the butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and 1/4 tsp. salt and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, 10 to 12 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook until the aroma subsides, 2 to 3 minutes. Increase the heat to medium, add the flour, nutmeg, and cayenne and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in the broth, cream, and 2 cups water. Add the thyme and bring to a simmer. Stir in the cheese until melted and simmer for 5 minutes to develop the flavors.

Remove and discard the thyme stems and stir in the larger cauliflower pieces and reserved stems. Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender. Return the soup to the pot, season with salt and black pepper to taste. Add the mini cauliflower florets and reheat gently before serving.

Variation: To dress up this rustic soup for a special occasion, garnish with a combination of 3 Tbs. toasted chopped walnuts, 1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley, and 1-1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest.

Serving Suggestion: Pair the soup with an assertive arugula salad with grapefruit and olives. The tangy acidity of the salad cuts through the richness of the soup. 

Rotini with Spiced Tomato and Meat Sauce

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2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
3/4 lb. ground beef (I prefer 85% lean)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
3/4 lb. dried rotini
1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, quartered lengthwise
1/3 cup packed chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil.

Heat the oil, garlic, and chile flakes in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the garlic is fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute, add the beef and cinnamon and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook the beef, using a large spoon to break it into small pieces, until it’s evenly browned, 3 to 4 minutes.

Put the pasta in the water.

Pour the tomatoes and their juices into the saucepan, lower the heat to medium, and cook for 5 minutes, using the spoon to break them into smaller pieces. Stir in the sugar, the olives, and all but 2 Tbs. of the parsley. Taste for salt and pepper and keep the sauce warm over low heat.

Finish cooking the rotini until it’s just tender, about 8 minutes total. Drain and add the meat sauce. Cook together, stirring well, for 1 minute. Serve immeadiatly, sprinkled with the remaining 2 Tbs. parsley. 

Tex-Mex Chicken with Chilies and Cheese

By Tony Rosenfeld
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Photo: Scott Phillips

Grab your skillet, your chicken breasts, and kick dinner up a spicy notch tonight. If you've got a little time, make homemade corn tortillas and turn this Tex-Mex dish into a wrap.

1-1/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1-1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3-1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
1 medium jalapeño, seeded if desired and thinly sliced
1 large clove garlic, minced
2–3 medium limes, 1 or 2 juiced to yield 3 Tbs. and 1 cut into wedges
1 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar

Position a rack about 4 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler to high. Toss the chicken with the chili powder, cumin, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Lightly dredge the chicken in the flour and shake off any excess.

Melt 2-1/2 Tbs. of the butter in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add the remaining 1 Tbs. butter, the corn, jalapeño, garlic, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring, until the corn begins to brown lightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken, lime juice, oregano, and 1/2 cup water. Cook, stirring, until the chicken is just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the Cheddar and transfer the skillet to the broiler. Broil until the cheese melts and browns on top, about 3 minutes. Serve with lime wedges.

Serve with rice pilaf.  

Grilled Ham & Gruyere Sandwiches

By Laura Werlin
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Photo: Scott Phillips
This is my take on the croque monsieur. I dropped the white sauce and added tarragon and Dijon mustard instead.

6 oz. coarsely grated Gruyère
2 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon or 1 tsp. dried tarragon
4 tsp. salted butter, at room temperature
8 slices (1/4-inch thick) egg bread, such as challah or brioche
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard; more for serving
4 thin slices (about 1/4 lb. total) Black Forest-ham

In a small bowl, mix together the cheese and tarragon. Butter all the bread slices on one side only. Put four slices, buttered side down, on a cutting board. Distribute the cheese over the bread and top with the ham, folding the slices if they’re large. Spread about 1-1/2 tsp. mustard on the unbuttered side of the remaining bread slices and set them, mustard side down, on top.

Heat a large nonstick pan or griddle over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Put as many sandwiches as will fit in the pan or on the griddle without crowding, cover, and cook until the cheese has just begun to melt and the bread is golden broown, about 2 minutes. Remove the lid and turn the sandwiches, pressing each one firmly with a spatula to flatten it slightly. Cook the sandwiches uncovered until the bottom is golden brown, about 1 minute. Turn them once more and press with the spatula again to recrisp the bread, about 30 seconds. Cut the sandwiches in half and serve immediately, with more mustard on the side.

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