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KCBS Foodie Chap Podcast:
Nigella Lawson food enthusiast, television personality, and journalist, is the author of eight bestselling books including Nigella Kitchen, Nigella Fresh, Nigella Christmas, Nigella Bites, Feast, How to Be a Domestic Goddess , and How to Eat, which have sold more than 6 million copies worldwide.
Her books and groundbreaking iPhone app and television shows on Food Network, E! Entertainment Television, and Style have made her a GLOBAL household name.
She hosts an innovative new culinary competition series, The Taste, with Anthony Bourdain, Ludo Lefebvre, and Brian Malarkey on the ABC Television Network.
She lives in London with her family.
“Cooking to me is pleasure”
- Nigella Lawson
A dozen years ago I was booked with Nigella on a morning show here in San Francisco. She arrived for that early AM shoot with a smile, a bag of food and said “lovely to meet you, let’s get to work and make our tummies happy”. It was love at firstbite though I cannot for the life of me recall what we prepared and ate that morn.
I have had the joy of getting in Nigella’s way in the kitchen on a handful of occasions since. It’s a little like being around my bossy big sister and I love every bloody admonishment, every single ticking off.
Only when Nigella visits, my friends do line up to offer up their homes for Nigella to cook in. “Pick me pick me I have the best kitchen my pals cry. Nigella is “a home cook” so it is fitting always that we cook in a normal home for our segments. Thanks Sumi and Tony.
Most recently we cooked at the home of dear friend Mary Risley. Nigella was so impressed by Mary’s kitchen and lovely garden she said “I may have to kill her and move in but Mary can stay, I’ll find a spot for her”. The good humor, smart oratory, the movie star looks and her sheer brilliance in the kitchen are all part of the Nigella package.
We met at Nigella’s “Cooks with books” appearance at Left Bank in Larkspur for our Foodie Chap chat (THANKS Book Passage). Chef Roland Passot’s Left Bank team recreated some of the recipes from her latest “NIGELLISSIMA” book. It’s a love letter to the pleasures of cooking. All recipes inspired by her love of Italy and Italian cooking. Every dish was a tasty success and some 80 or more people got to say “I had lunch with Nigella Lawson”. I know I will be saying that until the end of my days.
4 Tasty Questions With Nigella Lawson
1. Cooking to you is about …?
2. It’s midnight, I go to your home, I go to your fridge, apart from you, what else will I find there?
Bacon to make a bacon sandwich, you have to dip the white bread in the bacon grease.
3. Outside the kitchen, what is your most absolute pleasure?
Being with people
4. Last supper, you can have a couple of guests, dead or alive, famous or not, who will they be and what will you eat?
Well, I have no desire my last night on earth to meet celebrities, I just want to be with my family and I would start eating and carry on eating until you chopped my head off, or whatever particular grizzly end you have in store for me. Roast chicken, mashed potatoes, roast potatoes, fries because afterall we aren’t worrying about tomorrow, lots of fantastic cheese, enormous amounts of bread, a beautiful Californian wine, and I think some blackberries and heavy cream and some sambuca kisses. And then maybe at the end I might have a quick bit of filet steak and then I’m gonna carry on and then I think maybe a bar of really fantastic chocolate.
Tagliata For Two
The French and the Americans may be proud of their steaks but, for me, the Italians win hands down. Nothing can compare to a tagliata (pronounced ‘tally-ata’) in its full glory: a vast, juicy, rare steak, big enough for a tableful of people, cut into thin slices (tagliare simply means to cut) and served most often over arugula and with some Parmesan shaved on top.
I’ve given recipes for just such a dish before, but it seemed to me that it might be possible to downsize a little, making this a more easily accomplished dish for a midweek meat feast. That’s to say, instead of going to the butcher and asking for a huge hunk of steak cut specially, you can make 1 supermarket strip steak (it still should be good meat, or don’t bother) stretch to feed 2 of you with no suggestion of scrimping; and the ‘marinade’ is really a post-cooking dressing, so can happily be used as such. This is fabulously fiery, and the cherry tomatoes somehow serve as both condiment and accompaniment. Of course, you could add potatoes steamed would be good to stab with a fork and use to soak up the piquant juices, though the Tuscan Fries on p.138 are the greedy person’s obvious choice but I am happy with nothing more than some bread alongside. My son (whose absolute favorite this is) thinks likewise.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus some for oiling
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano just under a teaspoon
kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon
table salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 new york strip steak (approx. 12 ounces)
8 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
few sprigs fresh oregano, to serve (optional)
Heat a grill pan, or cast-iron or heavy non-stick frying pan.
In a small dish that can take the steak snugly later, combine the extra-virgin olive oil, red pepper flakes, dried oregano, salt, and red wine vinegar.
Oil the steak lightly and put it in the hot pan and cook for 2 minutes on each side, then remove it to the dish of spicy marinade and sit the cooked steak for 2 minutes a side in the dish. Your steak will be rare, but that’s the way it’s meant to be, although if you want to cook it for longer, I won’t stop you.
Remove the steeped steak to a board, ready for slicing, and while it sits there, arrange the cherry tomatoes, cut-side down, in the marinade dish. Cut the steak into thin slices on the diagonal and arrange on a serving dish or 2 dinner plates.
Smush the tomatoes around in the marinade, then pour them, and the marinade, over the ribbons of meat. Add a few leaves of fresh oregano, if you can get them, and serve immediately.
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