Roasting A Chicken

Winter seems reluctant to arrive. A slight chill in the air betrays its intent.

At home I am putting the finishing touches on the first menu of January 2016. This menu is of special significance for it is the first menu of season 6 of 10 Chairs NYC 2016.

The sound of heat in the apartment trickles through the radiator. But I still feel slightly cold and decide to turn on the oven. No sense letting that heat source go to waste – roast a chicken!

Nothing fancy just lots of salt and pepper, maybe some herbs and yes potatoes to soak up all the delicious juices as the chicken roasts.
The chill subsides and I place the chicken in the oven on a bed of lemons and herbs. I return to my work on the menu. After a little time, my mind is drawn back to the cooking chicken as I hear the crackle of the skin and the smell of the herbs. Now, I can’t wait for a great lunch.
Memories fill me with every roast chicken I have cooked and eaten.

The most simple meal has made me warm and will feed me well. I give thanks to my best friend and to my husband and to all of my family who remain in spirit with me daily.

The next time you feel a chill remember that somewhere, someone is warm and roasting a lovely bird to take the chill away.

Be safe and warm for this holiday season.

Notes From The Chef

The last dinner of the year was designed to be the crowning glory for a very special 2015. The Wow factor dictated the choice of dishes as food is a great way to celebrate any holiday, especially the end to a wonderful year.

In October, I donated seats at 10 ChairsNYC to raise money for Ballet Academy East. As a former ballet dancer, I believe very strongly in supporting the dance and arts community. The auction winners, parents of young dancers who are committed to encouraging the arts joined us, also brought like-minded friends who encourage various arts.

With our international fame growing, this time Holland was represented by a young writer from Amsterdam whose wife found 10 ChairsNYC on line. Unfortunately his wife was unable to attend because she was traveling, but I look forward to meeting her in the new year.

The dinner reveled in the season.

Smoked fish is a great way to begin a festive meal. I house smoked the fish and created a pate with various herbs with a gently laid salad of meyer lemons, za’atar, and cucumbers on top, creating a scrumptious counterpoint.

As the base for chowder I used Kobocha squash in lieu of potatoes. The bisque-like base was enhanced with a white wine blend from Gonin whose color and flavor excited the palate and caught guests wondering: “what is that rich flavor of this chowder?”
Artisanal grits slowly stirred with shallots cooked in butter until decadent and creamy. This was artistically topped with a combination of mushrooms; chanterelles, shiitakes and black trumpets sautéed and finished with white wine, baby arugula. It paired so naturally with a soft Zweigelt from Austria.

The crowning dish, Osso Buco: veal shanks braised with aromatics, red wine and herbs. The perfect thing to serve with this was a saffron risotto with Acquerella Arborio rice, pearl onions and butter soaked carrots. The Montefalco Rosso wine added the perfect counterpoint for this rich decadent dish.

Dessert was challenging, since it needed to be light but rich. What else but a pudding with brown sugar and maple syrup instead of scotch, cognac with a caramel that I touched with a little Hawaiian pink salt. Nothing suits pudding like a sparkling wine and the Puianello Amabile Lambrusco was just the wine.

As everyone was exchanging pleasantries, cards, numbers, I sent them home with cocoa covered truffles. Truffles always produce good dreams. 10 ChairsNYC will now sleep while new and exciting dishes are conjured up until January. See you then.

Notes From The Chef

As 2015 draws to an end, I reflect on so many wonderful experiences. Looking ahead, I contemplate the future and embrace the coming new year. First some reflections of the past year with new and old friends. I welcomed a new guest from Norway and enjoyed food, wine and great conversation as if we had been friends for years. Birthdays, anniversaries, and promotions were celebrated. And let’s not forget the hunky firemen who showed up in the garden, luckily not for 10 Chairs, but for someone else’s oven. One of my guests had her photo taken with them and posted it on facebook. Another of my guests, through her hard work, love, and determination led her students to a performance for Michelle Obama at the White House.

Had 10 Chairs not existed, I would have missed out on all of these great experiences. So with the closing of the year, I look forward to creating future memories of food, wine , and laughter. Join me. Let’s ring in 2016 with old friends, new friends, and relationships yet to be forged. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year.

– Chef Patricia Williams

Ode to the Sea

I love winter food. Most people think summer is the best time for shellfish, lobsters, oysters, and clams. But the colder months permit us to enjoy the best of these crustaceans.

As I look to December for ideas, I think pumpkin and lobster bisque. Smell the pumpkins roasting in the oven and the lobster stock on the stove; that’s pure comfort from the chill in the air. Mushrooms, chestnuts cry out for braised meats and ragouts. Big bowls of oxtails and pasta on the table with winter kale to add some crispness to the dish.

Apples, pears, and quince for desserts baked, poached and roasted in cakes and pies. The winter months bring so many choices. There is just a light chill in the air now, however soon fall will morph into winter and with this the presentation of a new cornucopia of the wonderful foods of winter. Come with me to experience the comfort and warmth of a new season.

Let’s keep warm and comfortable in the cold.

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