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  • Quinoa au Gratin

    This is an almost verbatim copy of a recipe by Paco Jimenez provided to students in my Culinary Institute of America Boot Camp in San Antonio. What doesn’t taste better with cheese?

    Serves 10.

    1/2 lb. quinoa
    2 garlic cloves
    1/2 cup white onion
    1/2 cup butter
    3 eggs
    1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
    3 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated
    1 cup cream
    Salt and pepper to taste

  • I recently attended a C.I.A. boot camp, and golly did I learn a lot. And no, I’m not talking about the spy agency next to the house I grew up in in McLean, Va. It was the Culinary Institute of America campus in San Antonio, started in 2009.

  • Moscow Mule

    How about a drink to start? Make this with our very own potato-based LIV vodka.

    Serves one.

    2 oz. LIV vodka
    1 oz. fresh lime juice
    Good ginger beer
    Lime wedge


    Combine vodka and lime juice in a highball glass with ice. Top with ginger beer and lime wedge. Go ahead, have two.

    Olivier Salad

    Serves six to eight.

    3 cups boiled, peeled, diced waxy potatoes

  • You know how when you order food in a restaurant and you wait and wait and wait and it’s been like 45 minutes, so then you get up to use the loo and lo and behold, your food arrives at the table? That’s what this column is about. Eastern European food. The hearty, heavy, frigid-weather cuisine that keeps the Georgians and Hungarians and their neighbors fortified during long miserable winters.

  • My friends Cindy and Jimmy have a huge glass jar filled with pistachios on their kitchen counter. When I say huge, I mean it. It is the size of a Southern church lady’s iced tea dispenser. And it’s always full.

    I find this comforting . . . and tasty. When I remarked on it the other day, Jimmy asked, “Why haven’t you ever written about nuts? They’re good for you!”

    So thank you, Jimmy, here it is.

  • Travel Snack

    This recipe is based on Union Square Cafe’s bar nuts, but I use a healthier, less fattening variety of nuts. I pack bags of this for long-distance travel and add dried cranberries or cherries and sometimes dark chocolate chips.
    Makes about 41/2  cups, more if you add dried fruit and/or chocolate.

    11/2 lbs. variety of unsalted nuts; I use:
    Pistachios
    Pumpkin seeds
    Sunflower seeds
    2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
    1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

  • I used to keep a menu book. No one seems to know what those are anymore. If you Google them, all you get are restaurant supply stores offering you big leather-bound menu covers, or books like “7-Day Menu Planner for Dummies” and “Dinner: The Playbook — a 30 Day Plan for Mastering the Art of the Family Meal.” In other words, all you find are books for people who hate to cook, or don’t have time, and probably don’t even want to sit down to dinner with their family and friends.

  • Butternut Squash With Ginger and Rosemary

    Here’s the recipe, again, for my oft-repeated butternut squash. I got it from my Korean stepmother-out-law. Figure that one out.

    Serves six.

    6 cups cubed butternut squash
    2 Tbsp. grated ginger
    1 tsp. dried crumbled rosemary leaves
    3 Tbsp. maple syrup
    4 Tbsp. olive oil

  •  Abraham Lincoln’s Favorite Chicken Fricasee

    This recipe is from one of my favorite books, “The First Ladies Cookbook,” which is “compiled and edited by outstanding culinary and historical Authorities.”

    It sounds more like fried chicken with gravy but it is called a fricasee in the book. I told you Honest Abe was not a foodie.

    No serving amounts given.

    2 to 3 fryers, cut up
    Salt, pepper
    Flour, for dredging
    1/2 pint cream

  • In honor of Presidents Day weekend, let’s take a culinary trip down memory lane. How our presidents dined and entertained, and how their wives handled White House-housekeeping, is not only historically significant, it is quite revealing.

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  • The following is excerpted from Laura Donnelly's restaurant review in this week's Star. More ideas for meals on the go can be found in the Star's Restaurant Guide: easthamptonstar.com/restaurants.

    It's Columbus Day weekend AND the Hamptons International Film Festival is on the East End so I know all of you ladies and gentlemen and black-clad cinephiles want to know where to eat. With movies being shown in 6 locations from Southampton to Montauk your dining options are plentiful.