On January 31, residents of Chinatowns from coast to coast – as well as Chinese populations around the world – will hit the streets in celebration of the New Year. The holiday, also known as Spring Festival, marks the first day of the year on the Chinese calendar and is a time when families gather in celebration of their ancestors and the gods alike.
If you’re anything like us, you’ll look at this as a learning opportunity – and, of course, a reason to host a party. Follow our festive advice for an authentic Year of the Horse fete. Don’t have lion dancers on speed dial? We’ll let that slide.
Comfort food – pastas, bakes, casseroles – is family food. The only downfall? All. That. Butter. For those of you interested in getting the brood on a healthy track, we give you Chicken Pot Pie Casserole from the calorie-cutting blog Emily Bites.
Photos by Emily Koenigsberg
Besides packing her recipe with veggies, Emily Koenigsberg uses skim milk and light butter for the filling, and light half-and-half for the biscuit topping. The result? “A steaming hot bowl of hearty chicken and vegetables covered in a creamy, flavorful gravy and topped with crumbly biscuit pieces,” Koenigsberg writes, at just 303 calories per serving. Don’t clear the table just yet – that calls for seconds.
CIA grad. Top Chef winner. And today? This 35-year-old runs prestigious kitchens at EMM Group’s CATCH NYC, CATCH Miami, and The General in Manhattan.
On top of managing his many successes, the executive chef met with Rue for a quick cooking class. Here, watch him in action. Then, prepare your palate. You’re about to cook (and eat) like an expert.
Braised Beef with Chinese Broccoli
Chinese Braised Short Rib
5 pounds bone-in short ribs
1 large onion, diced
3 medium carrots, diced
1 bottle Cabernet red wine
1 cup tomato paste
6 thyme branches
4 bay leaves
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup soy sauce
1 quart water
2 tablespoons black pepper
6 pieces star anise
1 stick cinnamon
8 cloves garlic
1 cup scallions, sliced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 cup vegetable oil
Pat-dry the short rib and season with salt and pepper. Get the pan medium hot, add vegetable oil, and sear the beef on all four sides to caramelize. Set beef aside, add in the onion, carrot, and garlic, and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the wine, water, and short ribs. Add the brown sugar and soy sauce and bake in a 350°F oven for about 2 hours.
After 2 hours, wrap all the herbs and spices in a piece of cheesecloth and add to the short ribs. Let that cook for another hour and a half. When the meat is tender, remove the pan from oven. Set aside meat. Strain out the juice, reserve the vegetables, and let the liquid reduce to a light sauce consistency. Once the sauce is at the correct consistency, pour over the meat.
1 pound Chinese or regular broccoli
Bring a pot filled with about 2 inches of water to a boil. Add your steamer basket with broccoli florets. Cover and steam until slightly tender.
Best thing about this weekend? No work tomorrow. Second best? These flavor-bursting, savory-meets-sweet recipes from Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere. If this dish, and the fact that’s it’s Labor Day, isn’t excuse enough to pull out the grill one last time – we don’t know what is.
We’re wondering – is your mouth watering yet? Because today’s menu is bursting with Italian amazingness. Flavor of choice: pesto. And thanks to our latest foodie obsession, Love and Lemons, we’re thinking outside the basil-and-pine-nut standard.
“Go look in your kitchen and see what you already have,” Love and Lemons blogger, Jeanine Donofrio, writes. “You probably already have some kind of nuts, herbs, or greens to use as a starting point. More often than not, if I make a pistachio pesto, it’s not because I’m trying to be fancy… pistachios just happened to be the nut I had that day.” Try one of her many pesto alternatives with tasty ingredients like mint, cilantro, sun-dried tomatoes, and hazelnuts.
Call in the brood – avocado Caesar salad is on the table
As the holiday season approaches, big family dinners are top of mind. On our must-try list this week? Avocado Caesar salad, from our foodie friends at Food52. Essentially, it’s a traditional Caesar topped with rich parmesan, crunchy croutons, and tangy dressing – with one significant difference. Avocados. As one Food52 member, fiveandspice, so eloquently puts it, “everything is better with avocado. It’s a simple truth.”
Photo by James Ransom
When preparing, be sure to use a large head of fresh Romaine lettuce. Unlike leafier greens, Romaine is sturdy and will never wilt under heavy toppings. In true family style, serve it in a large bowl right on the dinner table. Give it a personal touch by offering extra toppings in smaller bowls to suit guests’ individual tastes.
Meet Chef Amanda Freitag. Executive chef. Chopped judge extraordinaire. Renowned New York foodie. And now she’s whipping up a recipe exclusively for Rue Members. Think mint, basil, olive oil, and a host of fresh, taste bud–tempting flavors. Then grab your chef’s hat and get cooking.
Grilled Zucchini and Tomato Panzanella Salad
Ingredients 3 zucchini, sliced lengthwise
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
1 cup day old bread, cubed
1/2 bunch fresh oregano, chopped
1/2 bunch fresh mint, chopped
8 basil leaves, chiffonade
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
Salt and pepper to taste
Wash well the garden-fresh zucchini and slice thinly lengthwise (getting about 5 slices from each). Season with salt, pepper, and olive oil, then place on a hot grill. Turn each slice on a diagonal until cross-hatched and then flip to do the other side. These will cook very quickly and do not need a lot of time on the grill; they should be like zucchini ribbons. Remove from grill and cool.
Tomato Panzanella Salad
Toss the bread cubes with the chopped oregano, mint, and a drizzle of olive oil and toast in the oven until slightly golden. Wash cherry tomatoes and slice in half once. For vinaigrette, simply combine the red wine vinegar with the olive oil and sliced garlic and season with salt and pepper. To serve the salad, first toss together the cherry tomatoes with the bread and then add in the zucchini and approximately 4 ounces of the vinaigrette. Let this sit for 5 minutes until the croutons start to soften, then add the basil.
Use the zucchini ribbons as the structure and make a tall pile in the center of the plate. Garnish with vinaigrette and additional basil.
Gina Homolka, founder of Skinnytaste, suggests “mayo haters” supplement with Greek yogurt and toss lobster with celery, shallots, chives, and lemon zest. Our mouths are watering already. For the chowder? Use regular milk instead of cream, and blend the soup for added thickness.
Whether served indoors or out, this duo makes for an authentically delicious summertime meal. So set up that Facebook invite – you’re about to impress the pants off your foodie friends.
Smell that? Yep – that’s grilling season in all its glory, emanating from yards and patios across the country.
When faced with charcoals and a flame, we have to admit – the all-too-predictable burgers-and-hot-dogs route is our MO. Blogger Emily Koenigsberg, however, proves that charbroiled flavors can be taken to epicurean heights. Meet: Thai Chicken Skewers with Peanut Sauce (pictured above).
This recipe is as easy to make as a classic shish kabab. But with an exceptionally delicious marinade (Koenigsberg originally wanted to name the dish “YUM, Make This Right Now”), these are the chicken bites that’ll blow every other cookout go-to out of the proverbial water.
Try these skewers yourself – the recipe (along with countless others) can be found on Emily’s lovely food blog, Emily Bites.