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"Love people, and feed them."
Neem Karoli Baba (Maharaji)'s full reply to his student
Ram Dass when asked to sum up his teaching

We'll be sharing recipes in this space from time to time both chef Andrew Dornenburg's original recipes which he cooks at home or with friends, or that he prepares for clients of his Manhattan catering company Andrew Dornenburg Private Dining.  Occasionally, you'll see us feature recipes that have appeared in one of our books.

It's A Lot Better Than The Alternative

As the hit Sundance thriller “Open Water” about a scuba-diving couple accidentally abandoned in shark-infested waters opens nationally in August, the movie (based on a true story) is likely to prompt the same terror of sharks seen nearly 30 years ago upon the 1975 release of Steven Spielberg's “Jaws.” However, award-winning cookbook author and chef Andrew Dornenburg asserts that it's possible to overcome the fear of shark: by biting one first.

The best-selling author of five culinary books and a former firefighter who's cooked everything from wild bear to prairie oysters, Dornenburg has several tips for conquering shark in the kitchen:

- Despite shark's reputation as a killer, it's actually a healthy white meat that is naturally low in fat as well as economical.

- The taste of shark can be compared to swordfish, in that it has a meaty, steaky texture with a delicate, slightly sweet flavor.

- Shark is best served grilled, which makes it ideal to enjoy during the summer barbecue season. It can handle a bit of seasoning (including bold flavors such as bacon, basil, garlic or lemon), and can be substituted in most swordfish recipes.

Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page's

Serves 4

4 shark steaks, about 1/2 lb. per serving
(Manhattanites can find shark at Wild Edibles in Grand Central Station; call one day ahead)
4 T. prepared pesto (Italian basil sauce)
8 strips bacon, cut in half

1. Prepare the grill, so that the grill is about 6-8 inches above the coals. Soak wooden skewers (about 6-8 inches long) in water.

2. Trim away any dark-colored parts (which taste bitter) from the shark steaks. If there is any slight odor, soak steaks in milk for 20-30 minutes.

3. Cut each shark steak into four two-ounce chunks. Lightly salt and pepper shark. Coat each chunk of shark with pesto.

4. Wrap one-half slice of bacon around each chunk, and place four chunks onto each skewer.

5. Place shark skewers on grill. Grill only until shark turns opaque (as overcooking causes the meat to dry out) and bacon is golden brown. (If bacon browns too quickly, lift grill slightly higher to prevent burning.)

Serving suggestion: Serve shark skewers with a seasonal vegetable and rice.


Today, our beloved housekeeper Blanca
brought us this traditional Mexican treat:
a mango on a stick, carved like a flower.
She recommends it with a shake of chili
powder or Tabasco! (6/23/04)

Rafih Benjelloun of Imperial Fez in Atlanta

As recently featured in The Vancouver Sun

Mia Stainsby of The Vancouver Sun wrote, "Hospitality is legendary and central to Moroccan cuisine. This recipe will feed a nice crowd of friends and family. It's divine with couscous and grilled vegetables. The dish is from THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF and authors Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page cooked it during an appearance on City TV in Vancouver. 'A guest in a Moroccan household will receive the best portions of everything and will be expected to eat until he or she is satiated. Plenty of food should be left over, however, demonstrating that the host was well-prepared,' they say. "

1/4 cup olive oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
5 Cornish hens (about 1 pound each) cut into quarters
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
Generous pinch of saffron threads
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups water
11/2 cups honey
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1 cup raisins
1 cup roasted almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds

Heat the olive oil in a large casserole. Saute the onions until browned.

Add the Cornish hens, parsley, saffron, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt to taste, pepper, and water. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes or until the juices of the thigh run clear when pierced.

Remove the Cornish hens from the casserole. Add the honey, pomegranate juice and raisins to the casserole and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.

Arrange the Cornish hens on a big platter and spoon the sauce over. Garnish with the almonds and sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Michael Tong of Shun Lee Palace in New York City
(Chicken in Lettuce Leaves)

As recently featured in The Oakland Tribune

Serves 4

1 head iceberg lettuce
1 large, boned chicken breast, about 1 lb.
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch, separated
2 long green chiles, hot or mild
10 or 12 water chestnuts, canned or preferably fresh
1/2 cup finely diced celery
3 teaspoons finely diced carrots
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
2 teaspoons or more finely chopped garlic
3 teaspoons finely chopped scallions
2 teaspoons Shao Hsing or dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon chile paste with garlic
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon monosodium glutamate, optional
1 teaspoon water
2 cups peanut, vegetable, or corn oil
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1. Core the lettuce and separate into leaves. Pile on a platter and set aside.

2. Place the chicken breast on a flat surface and, holding a sharp kitchen knife almost parallel to the cutting surface, cut the breast into the thinnest possible slices. Stack the slices and cut into thin strips. Cut the strips into tiny cubes. There should be about two cups total.

3. Place the chicken meat in a mixing bowl and add the egg white, salt and add one tablespoon cornstarch. Blend well with fingers. Refrigerate 30 minutes or longer.

4. Core the chiles. Split them in half and cut into thin strips. Cut the strips into small cubes. There should be about one half-cup.

5. Slice the water chestnuts thinly. Cut the slices into small cubes. There should be about one half-cup.

6. Combine the chopped chiles, water chestnuts, celery, carrots, and ginger. Set aside.

7. In another bowl, combine the garlic and scallion and set aside.

8. Combine the wine, soy sauce, chile paste, sugar, and monosodium glutamate and set aside.

9. Combine the remaining one tablespoon of cornstarch and the water and stir to blend. Set aside.

10. Heat the peanut oil in a wok or skillet and when it is hot add the chicken; stir constantly to separate the cubes. Cook about 1 1/2 minutes and drain. Set aside.

11. Return two tablespoons of the oil to the wok and add the celery and water chestnut mixture. Cook, stirring, about 30 seconds and add the scallion and garlic. Cook, stirring, about 30 seconds or until the chicken is piping hot. Add the wine and soy sauce mixture and the sesame oil. Stir the cornstarch mixture until smooth and add it quickly. Stir rapidly about 30 seconds and transfer to a hot platter.

12. Serve the chicken with the lettuce on the side. Let guests help themselves, adding a spoonful or so of the chicken mixture to a lettuce leaf and folding it before eating.

SUMMER 2004:

With summer here, we're excited for grilling season – and, imagining that perhaps you are, too, Andrew is happy to share one of our favorite summer dishes with you.

Andrew Dornenburg's


When Karen and I were researching one of our books out in Los Angeles a few summers ago, we were invited to dinner at the home of our media executive friend Mary Ann Halford and her husband, actor/comedian Kevin Meaney. As we live in Manhattan, I never get to barbecue, so I asked if I could “please” cook dinner for the four of us. With little coaxing, Mary Ann and Kevin were willing to yield their kitchen and precious barbecue.

Preparing the dinner together was as hysterical an experience as one might expect when cooking alongside a man who's kept the audiences of “The Late Show with David Letterman” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” in stitches, not to mention standing-room-only audiences as the opening act on Broadway for his pal Jerry Seinfield.

The only glitch we had was when I asked for a cookbook to double-check the proportions for the dessert, and the book Kevin handed me was one designed for cooks in the U.S. Army, so all the recipes yielded at least 100 servings. (I'm not sure I remember exactly how the math worked out for our shortcake dessert after we divided the quantities by 25, so I will leave that recipe out.)

The only time Kevin and I got territorial in the kitchen was at clean-up time. I had done my share of dishes over the years working in the restaurant business in Boston and New York City, and was known to move a dishwasher out of the way because I was faster. But, tactfully, Kevin explained to me that he was certain that he was faster -- and that, in fact, he'd even been a member of the Pot Washers' Union when he was young!  I skeptically yielded the sink -- but less than 10 minutes later, every dish and pot had been washed, and we were all enjoying coffee on the patio.

This is a simple summer market dish that can be adjusted easily to taste:

Grilled Tuna with Plum Salsa and Grilled New Potatoes

4 sushi-grade tuna steaks, about 6 oz. and about one-inch thick each

4 ripe plums

1 red onion

1 clove garlic

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 T. champagne vinegar or balsamic vinegar

3 T. extra virgin olive oil

honey to taste

sea salt and fresh cracked pepper

8 organic new potatoes

Plum Salsa:


1. Wash and halve the plums. Remove the pit. Using a very sharp knife or a serrated knife, cut the halves in about 1/8th-inch thick slices. You want thin slices. If there is any juice on the cutting board, pour it over the slices.

2. Slice the onion in half. Peel away the outside skin, then prepare it as you did the plums.

3. Peel the garlic. Smash it with the side of a knife, and mince the clove. (Smashing the clove makes the garlic milder, so it's worth the extra second that it takes.)

4. Pick the thyme leaves off by gently pulling down the sprig. Lightly chop the thyme a few times. Do not over-chop the thyme, as it will become bitter and dark.

5. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.

6. Add vinegar and olive oil. You want the mixture to have some liquid to it. Depending on how juicy the plums are, you may need to add a little more olive oil and vinegar.

7. The role of adding honey to taste is to balance the salsa. Plums can be on the tart side or the sweet side, depending on their ripeness. So, your personal “pucker” level will influence how much honey or vinegar you use. (I like this salsa to be just slightly sweet.)

The salsa can be made up to two hours in advance of dinner, so the flavors get a chance to marry. Just take a taste before you serve it so you can make a last-minute adjustment if need be.


1. Cook the potatoes until fork tender (soft enough that a fork can go through).

2. Drain the potatoes and place in ice-cold water to stop the cooking, then drain again. If you leave the potatoes in the water, they will absorb the water and lose flavor.

(Note: Choosing organic potatoes will make a huge difference in flavor. I guarantee that you will notice the difference. Again, with such a simple meal, every ingredient should be at its flavor peak.)

The potatoes can be done two hours or so in advance.

Final prep:

1. Prepare a hot barbecue grill.

2. Pull the tuna and potatoes out of the refrigerator and let them warm up a few minutes. Slice the potatoes in half

3. Rub the tuna steaks and the potatoes with a little olive oil, sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper.

4. Put the tuna steaks and potatoes on the grill. The tuna should grill for about two minutes on each side. This will make for rare tuna. That is why it is key to get “sushi grade” tuna from your fish market. Treat great tuna as you would a great steak; that is why it should be done rare. (OK, you can cook it a little longer if that is to your taste. But my philosophy when cooking tuna is much like that of the role of vermouth in a martini: I like only a whisper of vermouth in my drink, and only a whisper of heat to cook my tuna.)

5. Let the tuna steaks rest while the potatoes finishing heating, about another 4 minutes (until hot).

6. To plate, put the tuna on individual plates or on a large platter and top with the salsa. Open wine, crack beers, or pour more iced tea and enjoy!

James Beard Award-winning chef Jose Andres'

Serves: 6

3 cups tomatoes, very ripe, medium dice
1 garlic cloves
1 cucumber, peeled and diced
1 green pepper, seeded and diced
5 ounces bread, torn in small pieces
2 ounces extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
salt to taste
1 cup spring water

In small batches, mix all ingredients in a blender, until very smooth. You may have to add more water, as water content in the ingredients may vary. Strain through a colander and chill.

Garnish with a mirepoix of cucumber, green pepper, and tomato, as well as croutons, and drizzle with olive oil.

OSCAR NIGHT: Sunday, February 29, 2004:

This year's Oscar nominations are the most global in history. If you're hosting an Oscar-night party and looking for a deliciously diverse array of global dishes to serve, you're in luck: Look no further than our book THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF: Cooking with the Best of Flavors and Techniques from Around the World!

In honor of the approaching night of the Academy Awards, we're sharing a few of delicious recipes from chefs ranging from the legendary Daniel Boulud to award-winning author Hiroko Shimbo that appear in THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF's pages.  We know you'll love them as much as we do!

* In honor of "Lost in Translation," which was filmed in Tokyo:

Hiroko Shimbo


Gyuniku no Misozuke

(Miso-Marinated Steak)


Serves: 4

Hiroko tells us:   "As fish was once preserved in a miso marinade, so was beef. The technique of marinating beef was developed in the domain of Hikone, now Shiga Prefecture, during the Edo period (1600 to 1868). Even then, Hikone was known for its excellent beef, oumi-gyu. To bring this top-quality beef as tribute to the Tokugawa Shogunate in the city of Edo (now Tokyo) the people of Hikone used miso as a preservative.

"Beef can be marinated in either sweet white miso or salty brown miso. I prefer brown miso, whose very rich flavor complements the robust flavor of beef.  Unlike in the Edo period, the marination time today can be short, from five hours to overnight. Marinating meat longer dries it out and toughens it. When you remove the meat form the marinade, however, you don't have to cook it right away; it will keep three days in the refrigerator, stored in a container with a tight-fitting lid.  Beef is placed on skewers, broiled, sliced and served with grated daikon radish, daikon oroshi, and ponzu sauce with shiso leaf on the side."


7 ounces akamiso (brown miso)

1/4 cup mirin (sweet cooking wine)

1/4 cup sake (rice wine)

3 6-ounce sirloin steaks, 1 inch thick, excess fat cut off

1 stalk scallion, green part, cut thin crosswise

10 shiso leaves, julienned

1/2 cup grated daikon radish, blanched in boiling water, cooled in ice water, and briefly drained

1/2 cup ponzu sauce

1) In a medium bowl, combine the miso, the mirin, and the sake to make a soft paste. Spread one-third of the mixture in the bottom of a large pan in which the steaks can fit without overlapping. Place a tightly woven cotton cloth or two layers of cheesecloth over the miso mixture and place the steaks on top. Cover them with another tightly woven cloth, or two more layers of cheesecloth, and spread the remaining miso mixture over it.

Cover the pan with plastic wrap, and let the beef stand five hours to overnight in the refrigerator.

2) Remove the cloth from the beef and the beef from the pan, reserving the marinade for a later use. If there is any miso residue on the surface of the beef, gently wipe it away with a paper towel. Do not rinse the beef in water.

3) Heat a broiler or barbecue grill. Place the beef on steel skewers. Place the beef on the broiler pan or grill and cook until outside is brown. Turn beef over and cook until the other side is brown.

4) Check the doneness by pressing the meat with your fingers. When it is resilient on the outside but feels softer as you press a little deeper, it is still rare. A one-inch-thick steak takes eight minutes to cook medium-rare.

5) Remove the beef from the broiler or grill, transfer it to a warmed plate. Loosen the skewers, remove them and cover the meat.

6) In a bowl, toss the scallion disks and julienned shiso. Arrange 1/4 portion of vegetable mixture onto individual serving dinner plates. Place generous amount of mound of grated daikon radish next to the green mixture. Cut beef into slices and arrange them next to the greens and daikon radish. Serve the dish with the ponzu sauce in individual small saucers on the side.

NOTE:  Discerning carnivores will want to visit for prime meats that can be used in the recipes above.

In honor of the French animated film "The Triplets of Belleville":

Daniel Boulud

Chef-owner, RESTAURANT DANIEL in New York City

Short Ribs Braised in Red Wine

Serves: 8

3 bottles dry red wine

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

8 short ribs, trimmed of excess fat


1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed

Flour for dredging

10 cloves garlic, peeled

8 large shallots, peeled, trimmed and split

2 medium carrots, peeled, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths

2 stalks celery, peeled, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths

1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, trimmed, coarsely chopped, washed and dried

6 sprigs parsley

2 sprigs thyme

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons tomato paste

3 quarts unsalted beef stock or store-bought low-sodium beef broth

Freshly ground white pepper

1) Pour the wine into a large saucepan set over medium heat. When the wine is hot, carefully set it aflame, let the flames die out, then increase the heat so that the wine boils; allow it to boil until it cooks down by half. Remove from the heat.

2) Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

3) Warm the oil in a Dutch oven or large casserole over medium-high heat. Season the ribs all over with salt and crushed pepper. Dust half the ribs with about 1 tablespoon flour and then, when the oil is hot, slip the ribs into the pot and sear four to five minutes on a side, until the ribs are well browned. Transfer the browned ribs to a plate, dust the remaining ribs with flour, and sear in the same manner. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot, lower the heat under the pot to medium, and toss in the vegetables and herbs. Brown the vegetables lightly, for five to seven minutes, then stir in the tomato paste and cook for one minute to blend.

4) Add the reduced wine, browned ribs and stock to the pot. Bring to the boil, cover the pot closely, and slide it into the oven to braise 2 ½ hours, or until the ribs are tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork. Every thirty minutes or so, lift the lid and skim and discard whatever fat may have bubbled up to the surface. (Not only can you make this a day in advance, it's best to make the recipe up to this point. Cool and chill the ribs and stock in the pan, and, on the next day, scrape off the fat. Rewarm before continuing.)

5) Carefully (the tender meat falls apart easily) transfer the meat to a heated serving platter with raised rims and keep warm. Boil the pan liquids until they thicken and reduce to approximately one quart. Season with salt and pepper and pass through a fine-mesh strainer; discard the solids. (The ribs and sauce can be made a few days ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator. Reheat gently, basting frequently, on top of the stove or in a 350 F oven.)

To serve: Pour the sauce over the meat.  Suggested accompaniment:  Celery Duo.  (The recipe for Celery Duo appears in THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF.) 

To drink: A young brawny Médoc, such as a Pauillac or a Saint Julien.


We're excited that this fall marks the launch of not just one but two new books from us:  THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF:  Cooking with the Best of Flavors and Techniques from Around the World (Wiley; 11/03), and a newly-revised and expanded edition of our first book BECOMING A CHEF:  With Recipes and Reflections from America's Leading Chefs (Wiley; 10/03). 

The new edition of BECOMING A CHEF includes wonderful stories and great advice from several chefs making their first appearance in the book, including Marcel Desaulniers, chef-owner of The Trellis in Williamburg, Virginia, who happens to be the only chef in America to have won both the James Beard Award for Best Chef in his region and the James Beard Award as Outstanding Pastry Chef.

Marcel shared with us his treasured recipe for his mother's chocolate chip cookies.  We hope you enjoy it as much as Marcel and we have!


Marcel Desaulniers writes of his mother's cookie recipe: "As a toddler, I teethed on this cookie (along with her fudge). As time passed, it greeted me after school and brought my family together around the kitchen table. When I was in the service, this cookie brought me joy in Viet Nam and put a smile on the faces of my Marine buddies desperate for a taste of home. With a cookie like this from Mom, I don't know why anyone needs apple pie."

Makes 2 dozen 4-inch cookies

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound unsalted butter, cut into 1-ounce pieces
2 cups tightly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
24 ounces chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 300 degrees.

1. In a sifter combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Sift onto a large piece of wax paper and set aside until needed.

2. Place the butter and dark brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle. (If a table-model electric mixer is not available, this dough may be mixed by hand using a stiff rubber spatula or a wooden spoon. Make sure the butter is at room temperature.) Beat on medium for 4 minutes until soft.

3. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the eggs, dark rum, and vanilla extract and beat on medium for 1 minute until combined. Scrape down the bowl.

4. Operate the mixer on low while gradually adding the sifted dry ingredients until incorporated, about 1 minute.
5. Add the chocolate chips and mix on low for 30 seconds. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to finish mixing the dough until thoroughly combined.
Using 2 large heaping tablespoons of dough for each cookie (just shy of 3 ounces), portion 6 cookies, evenly spaced, onto each of 4 nonstick baking sheets.

6. Place the baking sheets on the top and center racks of the oven and bake for 28 to 30 minutes until dry to the touch. Rotate the cookies from top to center about halfway through the baking time (at this time also turn each sheet 180 degrees).

7. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature on the baking sheets for 30 minutes. Store the cookies in a tightly-sealed plastic container until ready to serve.

Note: Mrs. D and her family love crisp cookies. If your preference is for a softer cookie, bake them for 20 minutes at 325 degrees. These cookies will keep forever, or close to it, when held at room temperature in a tightly sealed plastic container. For long-term storage, up to several weeks, the cookies may be frozen. Freeze in a tightly sealed plastic container to prevent dehydration and freezer odor.

culinary artistry, dining out, chef's night out, becoming a chef
The New American Chef
Andrew, we loved everything you did last night...The food was fabulous, and my most food-exacting friend was the first to rave about it! Thanks again for everything and for making it so easy, relaxing, festive, fun and delicious for us!
Catering client
Sally Wood, Harvard MBA

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