Stephen Fries: Easter and Passover are around the corner
I know spring is around the corner when ads for gefilte fish, matzo, ham, and Peeps appear, and the supermarkets fill their shelves with these holiday foods. Passover coincides with Easter this year. It begins on March 30 at sunset, with the first Seder, and ends April 7. Easter is on April 1. They are both spring holidays that include meals celebrating tradition and provoking memories.
Thinking about what Easter brunch recipes to share with you, I thought back to the recipes prepared at a C.O.O.K. event at Gateway Community College featuring John Barricelli. He is the owner of The SONO Baking Co., 101 Water St., South Norwalk and 49 Tokeneke Road, Darien, www.sonobaking.com.
For Greater New Haven residents, the bakery attends City Seed’s markets www.cityseed.org on Saturdays and Sundays, with easy access to SONO Baking artisanal breads and pastries.
John Barricelli, a third generation baker who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, worked at prestigious New York City restaurants; River Café, Le Bernadin and The Four Seasons and at The Elms Restaurant & Tavern in Ridgefield, Conn. He spent some time with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, becoming a featured chef on Everyday Food and Everyday Baking on PBS. The forward to Barricelli’s first book, “The SONO Baking Company Cookbook: The Best Sweet and Savory Recipes for Every Occasion” (2010, Clarkson Potter) was written by Martha Stewart. In the forward, she praised his cooking style and skills and his contributions to the PBS shows and her magazines.
It was impressive to see Barricelli among the chefs and cooking show hosts on PBS http://to.pbs.org/2otSqkn such as Jacques Pepin, Martha Stewart, Todd English and Lidia Bastianich. Speaking of Lidia, check out her book signing and private reception in New Haven at http://bit.ly/2j24HH9.
John attributes his interest in baking to his great-grandfather, whom he never met, but whose old recipes were handed down to him by his grandfather. John’s philosophy is to start with the best possible ingredients, techniques and equipment to yield the best possible product.
Once you try these perfect Easter brunch recipes, I think you will be seeking out both of Barricelli’s books. His second one is “The Seasonal Baker: Easy Recipes From My Home Kitchen To Make Year-Round.” (2012, Clarkson Potter). For the recipe for Caramel Bread Pudding, visit http://bit.ly/2GQiYTw
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon coarse salt
½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup grated Jarlsberg cheese, divided
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
2 tablespoons ice water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 large shallots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds cherry tomatoes (yellow, red and orange, if
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, beaten for egg wash
To make the crust: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter and pulse until it resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 seconds. Add ½ cup of the Jarlsberg cheese and thyme, and pulse until just combined. With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed tube in a slow and steady stream, a little bit at a time until the dough just comes together. The dough should not be wet or sticky. If the dough is too dry and doesn’t hold together, add a little more water.
Turn dough out onto a clean work surface. Wrap in plastic wrap, shaping it into a flattened disk. Chill for at least 1 hour.
Place an oven rack in the middle position. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick silicone baking mat; set aside.
To make filling: heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion, shallots, and garlic and sauté until tender, 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, toss tomatoes with the flour, sugar, salt, and pepper until well coated. Add onion mixture and toss until well combined. Pour the tomato mixture into a 10-inch pie plate; set aside.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the chilled dough to a 12-inch round. Place it on top of the tomato mixture and tuck any overhanging dough underneath. Brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of Jarlsberg cheese. Use a knife or scissors to cut a vent in the crust. Set the pie plate on the prepared baking sheet and bake, rotating the sheet about two-thirds of the way through the baking time, until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling, 45-55 minutes. Let cool completely before serving. Serves 8-10 as an appetizer.
Individual Chicken Pot Pies
You will need 4 ovenproof ramekins or bowls that each could hold 1 ½ cups of filling.
Herbed Pate Brisee (pastry):
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
¼ cup ice water
1 whole chicken, 3-3 ½ pounds*
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
½ large red onion, chopped fine, about 1 cup
3 ½ ounces shitake mushrooms, stemmed and quartered, about 2 cups
3 carrots, cut into ½ inch dice, about 1 1/3 cups
1 parsnip, cut into ½ inch dice, about 1 cup
2 tablespoons brandy
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups milk
¾ cup frozen peas
¾ cup frozen pearl onions
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 egg, slightly eaten for egg wash
To make pastry: In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt, and thyme. Add the butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed tube in a slow and steady stream, a little bit at a time until dough just comes together. The dough should not be wet or sticky. If the dough is too dry and does not hold together, add a little more water. Turn dough out onto a clean work surface. Wrap in plastic wrap, shaping them into flattened disks. Chill at least 30 minutes before using.
To make filling: rinse chicken. Put into a pot just large enough to hold the chicken comfortably, and add water to cover. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat and skim the foam that is floating on the top of the water, Add one tablespoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, 40-45 minutes. Remove chicken from pot with a large slotted spoon and let cool. Pull meat from the bones; discard skin and bones. Strain the stock through a fine strainer. Measure 2 ½ cups, and set aside separately. Refrigerate or freeze the remaining stock for another use.
In a large saucepan, heat the butter over medium-low heat. Add red onion, mushrooms, carrots, and parsnip; season with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes to soften. Add brandy and simmer to evaporate. Add flour, stir to blend with the butter, and cook for 30 seconds. Add reserved chicken stock, bring to a simmer, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add milk, bring to a simmer, and cook until vegetables are tender and the sauce has reduced to the consistency of a thick white sauce, 7-10 minutes. Add peas, pearl onions, thyme, parsley, and shredded chicken. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange a rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick silicone baking mat.
Roll dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut rounds slightly larger than the diameter of your ovenproof bowls or ramekins. Place the rounds on another baking sheet and set aside in refrigerator.
Ladle chicken mixture into the ramekins. The mixture should come all the way up to the top of the ramekin so that the crust doesn’t sink into the filling and soak. Top each with a round of dough, tucking the excess around the edges of the ramekins. Brush with egg wash. Use a knife or scissors to cut a vent in the crust. Set the ramekins on the prepared baking sheet and bake, rotating the sheet about two thirds of the way through the cooking, until crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling, 30-40 minutes. Makes 4 individual pot pies.
* Authors note: If short on time, buy a roast chicken and shred 3 firmly packed cups, and use 2 ½ cups of canned chicken stock.
Send us your requests: Which restaurant recipes or other recipes would you like to have? Which food products are you having difficulty finding? Do you have cooking questions? Send them to me: Stephen Fries, professor and coordinator of the Hospitality Management Programs at Gateway Community College, at email@example.com or Dept. FC, Gateway Community College, 20 Church St., New Haven, 06510. Include your full name, address and phone number. (Due to volume, he might not be able to publish every request. For more, go to stephenfries.com.)
“Chefs of Our Kitchen” 2018 Series begin with: A culinary take on “This Is Us”: Siblings Elena Fusco, owner/founder of Bin 100 (Milford), Gennaro “Gerry Iannaccone, owner/chef at Goodfellas; and their nephew, Paul Iannaccone, co-owner/chef at Ristorante Lucé (Hamden) March 7, 6 p.m., Gateway Community College, 20 Church St., New Haven. 203-285-2617. $85. Tickets at http://bit.ly/2j24HH9 . Enjoy a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception, then watch the chefs demonstrate the preparation of popular dishes from their restaurants, which will be served. Guests receive recipe cards signed by the siblings. The recipes demonstrated will be prepared by Gateway Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management students.
Open Roads Beer Dinner, March 12, 6 p.m., Two Roads Brewing Company 1700 Stratford Ave., Stratford, 203-335-2010, $70. Join us for an evening of great food, provided by Christie Caters- Farm to Table Catering paired with Two Roads beer. The menu theme is “Around the World” and each course will be paired with an 8ounce pour of a Two Roads brew. Doors open at 6 p.m. for a welcome beer on Two Roads. Menu and tickets at http://bit.ly/2HWw9Ug
Consiglio’s Cooking Demonstration and Dinner: March 15, 6:30 p.m., Consiglio’s Restaurant, 165 Wooster St., New Haven, 203-865-4489 (reservations required), $75 (beverages, tax and gratuity not included). Learn how to make saffron crab cake, winter fennel salad, three onion soup, pesto rubbed skirt steak pinwheels, chocolate pastry ravioli.
Easter Baking Favorites Cooking Class, March 18, noon-2:30 pm.. Chef’s Emporium, 449 Boston Post Road, Orange, 203-799-2665. $65. Whether you are hosting Easter dinner or bringing a dish to an Easter celebration, you can’t go wrong with these traditional Easter favorites. Pizza Rustica is a delicious savory pie filled with your choice of favorite Italian cheeses and cured meats. And what is Easter without sweet treats? You will also learn how to make a traditional sweet Ricotta Pie and Italian Easter cookies… just like “Nonna.” Tickets at http://bit.ly/2t29BhK.