Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Rosemary is for remembrance

If you plan to visit Philly, please visit White Dog Cafe. I'm probably going to butcher everything descriptive about this restaurant, but please try for yourself....My understanding is that the restaurant focuses on organic, natural foods. The restaurant also serves as a community building social activism center. The food is amazing. The restaurant is laid out in adjacent row houses near one of the universities in Philly....Duchess of Narbert, HELP, I can't remember which university!?!?!?! I've been twice now and would go back again and again. The price, a little steep ($17-$29), but well worth it. The first time I went with my dear dear Duchess of Narbert (who's getting married very soon!!!) and Lord and Lady Brandenburg-it my first visit to Philly...I ran up the stairs at the museum, ate a cheese steak and had an all around great time...and Le Bus!. That visit, I had some duck with a fruity/savory sauce on a rice pilaf type thing...(oh my!) My second time, I had roasted chicken and mashed potatoes (mama!). Please go, you'll be a happier person for it. That was my cosmopolitan, jet-setting visit...literally I flew into Philly International Airport, was picked up by the Duchess, we had dinner at White Dog, then back to the airport and back home....ok so it was a 3 and half hour layover...shut up!!!

Rosemary is for Remembrance, and some great memories!

The following dish comes from the White Dog cookbook that I picked up after my first visit. There is a gift shop/book shop attached, called The Black Cat. Seriously, do yourself a favor!!!! GO! I know there are people who read this blog who have gone, please post your comments on the restaurant for our non-White Dog Cafe visitors.

Smoked Chicken in Rosemary Cream with Bow-Tie Pasta
from: White Dog Cafe Cookbook by Judy Wicks and Kevin Von Klause
(serves 4 to 6)

1/4 unsalted butter
2 large white onions, thinly sliced

Rosemary Cream:
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 small yellow onion, peeled
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
5 black peppercorns
2 whole garlic cloves, peeled

1 lb bow-tie pasta
1 TB olive oil
2 TB minced garlic
1 TB chopped fresh rosemary
1 boneless skinless smoked chicken breasts, cut into bite size chunks
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1. Carmelize the white onions: heat the butter in a large saute pan set over medium heat. Add the white onions and cook until golden brown and caramelized, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes. Reserve.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the Rosemary Cream: combine the cream, yellow onion, rosemary, bay leafs, peppercorns and garlic in another saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Strain the cream and discard the solids. Keep warm until ready to serve. Otherwise, cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate overnight.

3. When ready to serve, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the pasta until just firm to the bite, about 10 minutes. Drain and reserve.

4. In a large saucepan or saute pan set over medium heat, heat the olive oil until it ripples. Add the minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken, toss, about 2 minutes. Add the cream, onions, chopped rosemary, cheese, salt and pepper. Toss to combine, and cook, stirring, until heated through, 4 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately on warmed plates or bowls.

From the book: When this many toothsome ingredients are combined, the meal is guaranteed to be a smash hit. If you're not a rosemary fan, try flavoring the cream with basil, thyme or oregano instead. The cream and carmelized onions can be prepared one day in advance. This makes the final assembly quite simple.

NOTES: OK, I didn't have smoked chicken, so I used a pre-roasted chicken from the store, skinned it, and pulled the meat off...barbaric, you bet, but worth it for a weeknight meal. So, one roasted chicken instead of 4 large smoked chicken breasts. Also, the original recipe called for the following, to be added with the cream in step four...I don't like them, so I didn't use them: 3 cups coarsely chopped broccoli rabe, 1 cup sun dried tomatoes, rehydrated and thinly sliced and 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted. I can see adding regular broccoli. The rabe is too bitter for my tastes, so I won't use it. I don't love regular broccoli, but could use it. The sundried tomatoes...I've had them and didn't like maybe not. And I don't like walnuts either. Would I substitute for the tomatoes and walnuts...probably not. But as I said, i could see broccoli working out really well.

The chicken, the store bought roasted worked really well, but the final dish had a sweetness to it that, although nice, could have been cut with something. Perhaps a bit extra parmesan cheese? I feel that the natural sweetness in the onions and cream really were pronounced with the rosemary, which is funny because I make an au gratin potatoe with virtually the same cream sauce and they do not taste sweet? Maybe extra Parm or finding a way to smoke the chicken?

OK....that's that...GO TO WHITE DOG IF IN PHILADELPHIA, CITY OF BROTHERLY LOVE!!! I'll be there in a week and a half for the wedding of the Duchess to her lovely, sweet soon to be husband! Oy!, I should have had that bottle of wine....or the glass of Frangelico!....LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!

OH! And happy birthday to Lord Brandenburg...I raise my glass to you! Cheers!


Emily W. (soon to be Emily L., a.k.a. The Duchess of Narberth) said...

I rarely drool over dinner as early as 9:00AM, but the mere mention of the White Dog Cafe gets my salivary glands really going. White Dog (located on the University of Pennsylvania campus, to answer Scott's question) is truly a unique animal (so to speak). I often have a hard time deciding what to order there but am comforted by the fact that I know everything on the menu is good, so you really can't go wrong. Take Scott's advice and stop in for a bite next time you're in Philly. You won't be sorry.

Dancer in DC said...

Word! I had some delicious nut-crusted white fish. So good! They also serve local beers, which is great.