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Monday, October 25, 2010

[Chef] Capon & Cooking with Fabiana

Saturday was a much savored day off for me and I decided to spend the first portion of it having brunch with Cynthia at Lure.

The streets of SoHo were awash and in a twitter; and there was a line waiting to enter the recently opened Moncler store on Prince Street.

I’d never brunched at Lure before and decided I’d order something available only on the brunch menu. (I wanted the lobster roll; another time, I guess) What stood out most, to me, was the biscuits & sausage gravy with scrambled eggs and hash browns.

The biscuits were fine (and different than I’d expected; their shape was more like patties than like biscuits) and the potatoes were fine as well. But the eggs: not even worth being on the plate. (perhaps I’d just ordered the wrong dish)

Cynthia ordered the weekend burger topped with fried egg and bacon and two bloody marys, for the table. I’d definitely had better bloody marys, before, but theirs did have some "clammyness," to them, which I liked.

Next on the weekend's agenda was 'happy hour' with Fabiana. We had originally planned on going to Woo Lae Oak, but they didn't have a happy hour menu; perhaps they only offer weekend happy hour during low season... I instead, told her to meet me at B&B.

I figured B&B would be a comparable choice since they have wine on tap for $8 and beers as well. However, they still only had a limited selection available (chardonnay and vermentino) of their barrel wines."It's not our fault; it's [the vineyard's]." That didn’t bother me though, I already had plans to order the caramel twist spiked shake.

Seconds after I'd placed the order with Melissa, I thought to myself: I should have made it a double. But nonetheless, the recipe was perfect; there was enough bourbon in the shake to balance out its wholesomeness. While Fabiana and I sipped our drinks, we noticed, on the specials menu: white truffle burger, $48. Melissa said, with shavings of truffles, just arrived Thursday, from Piedmont, Italy, the burger was selling like hotcakes. Too bad I had just had brunch...

While at B&B, Fabiana dictated to me the first recipe in a string of recipes which I'll feature on a new page, on this blog, called: COOK'S CORNER. COOK'S CORNER will feature simple recipes that almost any novice will have no problem mastering on their own--and they'll be tasty too.

Back in Fabiana's globe-trotting days, she often found herself in foreign countries, not knowing what kind of foods to buy for herself. But she did know that with three simple ingredients in your refrigerator, you will never go hungry. Tomatoes, eggs and cheese.

Here's one recipe, using tomatoes.

FABIANA’S 2-STEP MARINARA SAUCE (with infused oil base)

For the marinara:

2 cans crushed tomatoes (preferably with basil)

1 large yellow onion – diced small

5 cloves minced garlic

Salt, pepper and red pepper flakes – to taste

1 bunch of basil, leaves only, chopped (save 5, unchopped, for the oil)

1 fresh bay leaf

For the oil:

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Pinch of red flakes (or more, to your liking)

2 fresh bay leaves

5 whole basil leaves

5 crushed garlic cloves


  • Starting with cold olive oil cook all ingredients over low heat until the garlic is golden-brown.
  • Remove from heat; strain the oil, to be used in the marinara sauce; discard the solid ingredients.


  • Once the infused oil has cooled down a bit, add the onions and cook over medium heat until translucent.
  • With heat remaining on medium, one by one, add: garlic, chopped basil, tomatoes and bay leaf.
  • Simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes; do not stir during simmering.

This marinara makes a great base for other sauces, such as vodka sauce; add crème fraiche or sour cream.

Fabiana's next recipe: pâté!
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