Sunday, October 14, 2012

LE MIDI - Greenwich Village new restaurant gem!

Yes! I recently had dinner at Le Midi after they've opened about 2 weeks.  The scaffolding that surrounds it did not make it easy for me to find.  But fortunately I went up the ramp to read the menu posted on the glass window when a lady opened the door to greet me.

Yes! I found the restaurant.  It has a giant screen on the left as you enter with black and white silent movie playing.  The Chef was from Larry Forgione's An American Place.

The menu is striking! It combines Chef Smith's country-French style dishes with Italian and American twists.

Here's what I ordered:
This is a very generous rendition of a Caesar's salad but in small portion (which I like).  He combined it with some frisee (usually Romain lettuce), lots of grated cheese, homemade croutons of lighter bread yet crisp, and chunks of pork lardon or chunky pork bacon - homemade and not cured.

My second course was homemade scrumptious mushroom ravioli with a "to die for" light sauce served with cubes of sweet breads and shaved cheese.
 My stuffed quail came with legs crossed on a light cabbage salad with squash puree.  Inside was....

was a delicious wild rice stuffing with foie gras.  The sauce was perfect.  It had such a French flavor to it.

This is a place I highly recommend.  They present value, flavor, creativity and the price is fair for what it has to offer. I am a cook and I know what it takes to prepare and assemble the dishes I just had.  I appreciate going out to spend a little to treat myself.  The calibre of his food is not as exorbitant as some places that simply add a chandelier, a name, a stuffy maitre'd and uniformed mascots to serve.

What to wear? Casual and trendy.

Restaurant and Bar
11 E 13th Street
New York, NY
(between University and Fifth Avenue)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Peas Soup - Minted

This is definitely an all-year round healthy soup.  I've always liked peas even as a child.  You can imagine how I like this recipe without having to use any cream in it.  And without cream it will last a few days longer in your fridge.  I use Vita Mix, a blender that purees so fine you would think it was liquid in the first place.

1 to 1-1/2 lbs of frozen peas
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2-3 TB of unsalted butter
3-4 cups of chicken stock
1-1/4 cups of fresh mint
Fleur de Sel (1-2 Tsp)

In a pot, melt butter and saute the chopped onion.  When translucent but not golden brown, add the frozen peas and chicken stock till it boils.  Soon as it boils, add the mint and cook only for 30 seconds more and remove from heat.

In batches, process in a food processor such as a Vita Mix.  Season with Fleur de sel, stir and serve.

Can be served hot or at room temperature.

May also dribble some heavy cream for decoration on top.  Or you could whip cream mixed with some sour cream to place a TB on top when serving.
Minted Peas Soup served

Monday, October 8, 2012


Continuing with Le Taste of France, the event last weekend that I attended; I watched the Chef from D'Artagnan demonstrate how to cook foie gras.

There are 3 categories in grading the liver.  They are graded A, B or C.  A, being the best and most perfect of all.  B has imperfection and C is plain liver.

Before foie gras became commercialized, she said that the ducks get to a certain age after a few weeks where their appetite is high.  They could eat non-stop.  Slowly, they would take the ducks at that stage to another pen to eat all day as much as they want.  Therefore, these ducks do not need to be forced fed as they would eat as much if they found food in the wild on their own.

At the event, she demonstrated the many things you could make from a duck.
Please click below to watch the video:

Determining how fat the liver is:
The thighs and legs of the duck are cut up to make duck confit. 
The foie gras is removed from the duck and sliced.
She seasons it with fleur de sel generously on both sides.  Then puts in in a very hot pan to cook for 1 minute or 2 on each side.

This is the liver that came from the duck that she cut up ready to be cooked.

The foie gras (Grade A liver) was cooked in a very hot pan for about 1 minute or so on each side.
Do not over cook it.  These ones used for demonstration were thicker than usual; so it was cooked a little over a minute on each side.
By the way, you need a good pan to cook the foie gras in.  See link.

For a Short History of Foie Gras:

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Duck with Fig Sauce by Chef Pierre Landet

Last weekend, we attended the taste of France which was held at Pier 54 in New York City.

Although it started past 30 minutes later, it was an enjoyable moment to feel transplanted to France for the afternoon.

The official currency was Marianes.  One had to buy Marianes (tickets) which had a dollar value for each Marianes which was equivalent to 2.  A little bit challenging to calculate to buy food and beverage with.  It would have been simpler to just equate each Marianes to $1.

We went for the food experience and was delighted to have done so.  Chefs from restaurants, some of whom traveled from afar participated in this weekend event.

Besides the food, there were cooking demonstrations.  Here's one of the cooking demonstration we watched:
Above is Chef Pierre Landet, a native of Toulouse, France who has served at several Michelin Star restaurants such as Taillevent in Paris; where I've dined.  He is knowledgeable in both French traditional and modern cooking.  He currently has a restaurant in the north part of New York City called Le Marina near the Hudson River.  He has earned the title Maitre Cusinier de France.

He used duck breast which he scored and seasoned with salt, sugar and pepper.  Then he placed it in a hot frying pan with skin down to cook for about 10 minutes.  Then he turned the duck over to cook another 7-10 minutes.

Please click below to follow his recipe for the duck with fig sauce:

The sponsor for the cooking demonstration was D'Artagnan, purveyor of French food.
While the duck is cooking, he cuts the figs, which is currently in season, into halves.  Please click below to follow the recipe.

He removed the duck breast and put it aside while he made the sauce.

Ingredients for the sauce:
Figs, sugar, armagnac, butter, stock, demi-glaze (or demi-glace)

First he puts sugar in the frying pan on medium high heat.  When it starts to caramelize, he added the figs.  Then he added the armagnac.  Let it evaporate a little bit then added the demi-glaze and stock.
He covered the pan to cook the figs for about 5-10 minutes.
When done, he added lots of butter till it became slightly thick in consistency.

Then he cut up the duck breast before adding the sauce:
Please click below to watch him plate the duck breast.

This is typical French cooking.  As for myself, I have made duck breast using a similar recipe with dried cherries instead which I soak in wine or brandy for about 20 minutes before adding it in the sauce.
La Marina
  • 348 Dyckman St
    Manhattan, NY 10034 (on the Hudson)
  • Tel. 212 567 6300