Arthur Schwartz: The Food Maven Arthur Schwartz: The Food Maven
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    I've been looking at the following list of recipes -- 10 recipes that my radio listeners and web-site visitors are repeatedly requesting - trying to see if there is a common thread that runs through them. The first group of Favorite Radio Recipes put up on this site had a decidedly New York flavor, but I don't see that here. About all I can say about the following group is that you guys certainly have a sweet tooth. Four of the following 10 recipes are desserts, including the third cheesecake recipe on this site. The Chocolate Cheesecake, truly the only chocolate cheesecake recipe I personally have ever liked (I know, I'm strange that way), joins the big, fluffy-ish one from my first cookbook, Cooking in a Small Kitchen (now permanently out of print), which is in the section devoted to my cookbooks. And then there's the small, seriously creamy cheesecake recipe I got from family friends Howie and Mindy Feinberg. When people ask me what foods I don't like or won't eat, I joke, "Chinese sea slugs and chocolate cheesecake," but this recipe is a gem. You can serve it to me anytime.

    The Key Lime Pie recipe from my sorely-missed Connecticut neighbor Marie Kalman is also a best of its kind. I can't tell you how many people have thanked me for finding the ultimate recipe for this popular dessert. I thank Marie for many things. As great as it is, this recipe is one of the slightest.

    Lemon Meringue Pie is an all-American favorite but it is rarely made as well as most of us would like. Mostly, the meringue weeps. To that end, I offer master baking teacher Carole Walter's tips to prevent meringue from weeping. Carole, who covers every imaginable base in her recipes and classes, teaches mainly in the New York metro area. But anyone can access her expertise in the two books she has written (so far): Great Cakes (Ballantine) and Great Pies and Tarts (Potter). In Great Pies and Tarts you will even find an instructional section, a primer for rank beginners, sort of a book within a book.

    Crème Brûlée French Toast is a new addition to all our repertoires because it is a recent invention. Following the popularity of true crème brûlée - eggy custard topped with a thin crust of caramelized sugar -- this custardy, sugary bread treat has become a signature dish of many bed and breakfasts around the country. It's too sweet for me in the morning, but to each his own.

    Whenever I am asked for a recipe for Osso Buco, which is braised slices of veal shank, the Milanese version being the most famous, I refer to the first recipe I ever used. It's in the Time-Life Food of the World series that was published in the 1960s. I've made other versions over the years, but it is still my personal favorite.

    You-Don't-Have-To-Be-Jewish Oven-Fried Chicken is a long story. Read it.

     I suppose Salmon Croquettes, oven-fried chicken, and many of the recipes in the first 10 Favorite Radio Recipes fall into the category of nostalgia food. I mean, who these days ever thinks to make salmon croquettes with canned salmon? One of my listeners did and it set off a wave of nostalgia in many of us, including me, who remembers fondly (once I'd been reminded) my grandmother making them. They were hardly a childhood favorite, but if I say so myself I think the recipe I cobbled together is quite good. Need I say that the croquettes are even better when made with fresh salmon? Next time you broil or poach salmon, make extra so you can prepare these for dinner the next day.

    This will come as a surprise to some: Portabello mushrooms are not wild and, in a way, were invented. They are mature cremini mushrooms, which, as one grower explained, "are like one chromosome away from being plain white mushrooms." To my taste, portabellas are bland, dry mushrooms -- not that I don't like them. But that's why I think Marinated Portabello Mushrooms is one of the best ways to serve them. In any case, my listeners are always asking for this recipe.

     It was no surprise that Original Cobb Salad made my top-20 most-requested recipes. It's an American classic and it has been recently rediscovered, turning up all across the country in stylish restaurants. Unfortunately, like Caesar Salad, it has become totally bastardized. I order it often and often get a plate that has no resemblance or relation to Cobb Salad. The recipe here is direct from the source: The Brown Derby restaurant of old Hollywood. See the recipe to get the story of its invention.

    Salmon Ceviche might also be called Marinated Salmon, or even Pickled Salmon. Anyway you call it, it is thin slices of raw salmon "cooked" by the acid of lime juice and flavored with shallot, red onion, hot peppers, and fresh coriander. It's an appetizer at a restaurant in my old neighborhood, near the UN and Grand Central, The Captain's Table, which is a charming, relatively inexpensive, seafood restaurant.

 
 
   

Chocolate Cheesecake 

   
Key Lime Pie
   
Lemon Meringue Pie
   
Crème Brûlée French Toast
   
Osso Buco
   
You-Don't-Have-To-Be-Jewish Oven-Fried Chicken
   
Salmon Croquettes
   
Marinated Portabello Mushrooms
   
Original Cobb Salad
   
Salmon Ceviche
   
 Bottom Corner  
 

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