traceyzabar

Flo and Wendell Bake with Tracey

Jessica Seinfeld interview from today’s Grubstreet:

“…Sundays are the days we completely Jew-out. We do a run to Zabar’s where two of our favorite guys behind the counter for the past fifteen years, Jerry and David, serve up the best Nova lox in NYC, sliced so thin you can read the New York Times through it. The fish section at Zabar’s is where Jerry first told me he loved me way back when, so that area always chokes me up.

Along with lox, we grabbed fresh-squeezed OJ, bagels, veggie and plain cream cheese, and sour pickles…”

MineMineMineMine

MineMineMineMine–Happy Mother’s Day, Friend.

A Culinary Tour of Umbria with me in July!

 

From the Art Workshop International Website:

http://www.artworkshopintl.com/rw/wsDtITL2.aspx?wsID=81

 

 

A Culinary Tour of Umbria with Tracey Zabar

Instructor: Tracey Zabar

July 17 - July 28

Tracey Zabar, renowned baker and cookbook author, will be your guide in this workshop which offers a delightful exploration of the finer aspects of Umbrian cooking. You will be introduced to the region’s cuisine, with the first week’s emphasis on the savory and the second on the sweet. Here local ingredients, including truffles, olive oil, and wines, are used to make dishes that both delight the palate and please the eye. Included in the workshop are trips to: an olive mill in Trevi; Norcia, home of the black truffle; a winery in Montefalco; an ingredient-shopping excursion to Bastia; a slow food lunch in Spello; and of course walks in our home base of Assisi. Delight in the focaccia and bread from the local forno and sweets from the pasticceria. Explore the enchanting hill towns and search for the perfect souvenir; perhaps a Deruta majolica biscotti jar or a handmade olive wood rolling pin.

During this 12-day session watch and cook along side the Hotel Giotto’s chef, learn baking secrets from Tracey Zabar, sample wines with the hotel’s director and sommelier, and explore the sights, smells, and tastes of Umbria. Arianna Calzolari, a professional party planner and integral part of the hotel’s staff, will serve as your co-guide and interpreter.

Culinary Arts Program Details
Participants arrive Wednesday, July 17, depart Tuesday, July 28.

Included in the Program:
• Eleven nights double accommodation.
• $4548 for class of up to 7 people.
• Single room supplement, $350.
• All breakfasts and dinners.
• Eight cooking lessons.
• “Slow food” luncheon in Spello.
• English speaking guide.
• Excursions as listed in itinerary.

Pricing includes shared double room with private bath, daily breakfast and dinner at the hotel, and all transportation costs associated with day trips. All cooking lessons in 4-star hotel kitchen with Tracey Zabar and Hotel Giotto’s chef, an English speaking guide; excursions as listed in itinerary.

Participants are welcome to attend a 12-day visual arts or creative writing class during the following session or simply prolong your stay before or after the course. Some adjustments in schedule may be made per the hotel’s discretion.

Day One
Arrive from airport to hotel in Assisi • A welcome drink and dinner • Explore Assisi

Day Two 
Meet Tracey Zabar, Arianna Calzolari, the interpreter/planner, and the chef of the restaurant. • General overview of Umbrian cuisine • Drive to hill town of Trevi, the Umbrian capital of olive oil • Visit an olive oil mill, see how olive oil is produced, taste oils • Free time to explore Trevi • In the hotel kitchen preparation of the appetizer course—bruschetta with garlic, tomatoes, and mushrooms, and a speciality, spinach and carrots formato • Dinner at the hotel

Day Three 
Drive to Bastia for food shopping and visit a hand-made pasta store • Return to the hotel for theprima, first course, a special homemade pasta, strangozzi alla norcina, and gnocchi al sugo • Dinner at the hotel

Day Four
Drive through mountain valleys to the Castelluccio Plain, world famous for lentils. Then arrive in Norcia, home of the black truffle and also known for its salami, prosciutto and sausages • Visit a salumificio where salami is made • Explore Norcia’s historic centre with its lovely medieval piazza and wealth of food shops • Return and have dinner at the hotel

Day Five
Morning free to explore Assisi • Preparation of the secondo main course: preparation of tagliata di bue (filet mignon with wild mushrooms sauce and balsamic vinegar) and traditional torta al testo Dinner at the hotel • Evening talk by Tracey Zabar, “So, You Want to Write a Cookbook…”

Day Six
Italians have a wonderful repertoire of puddings, including panna cotta, visit the most famous pastry store in Assisi, and a family-run bakery in a nearby town. • Make panna cotta con fruti de bosco a pudding with mixed berries • Bake a jam crostata with Tracey • Dinner at the hotel

Day Seven
“Slow food” luncheon in Spello • Wine tasting with an introduction to Italian wines and sensory analysis • Visit a shop that sells handmade housewares • Bake biscotti with Tracey • Dinner at the hotel

Day Eight
A trip to Perugia. Visit a beloved pastry shop, and an extraordinary chocolate bar. Continue to Deruta to visit the ancient furnace. Free time for ceramics shopping. • Dinner at the hotel

Day Nine
Italian cheeses are served with fruit at the end of a meal • Take a trip to a local caseificio to sample local cheese and see how the fresh cheeses are made • Return to hotel to make a fresh ricotta cheesecake • Wine tasting—Italian wines for dessert • Dinner at the hotel

Day Ten
Drive to Montefalco to visit a winery and visit its historic center • Back at hotel, make a homemade limoncello • Dinner at the hotel

Day Eleven
What’s the difference between gelato, sorbetto, and granita? • Comparison testing at a localgelaterie • Return to the hotel kitchen to make a green apple gelato • Farewell dinner at the hotel, art open studio and writers’ reading • Receive Umbrian Culinary Course certificate.

Day Twelve
Depart Assisi

 

Tracey Zabar is a baker, jewelry designer, and author of four books, including her cookbook, One Sweet Cookie (Rizzoli), where six dozen chefs—including Lidia Bastianich, Thomas Keller, Jacques Torres, Terrance Brennan, Todd English, Maida Heatter, François Payard, Marcus Samuelsson, Laurent Tourondel, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Daniel Boulud, and Mario Batali—shared their favorite recipes. Although Tracey attended the French Culinary Institute, she does not consider herself a pastry chef, rather a baker (and is married to one of those Zabars from Zabar’s). A jewelry designer by trade, her collections have been sold at many stores including Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, and Browns of London and have been exhibited in museums. Zabar was formerly a jewelry stylist for Sex and the City and The View. Her designs have been widely featured in the media, including theToday Show, Vogue, Town & Country, InStyle, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, People, and W. She is currently a dealer in antique and vintage engagement and wedding rings, and writes and edits cookbooks. Her next book is about little pies.

 

 

Tracey’s kitchen in New York Social Diary


By Sian Ballen & Lesley Hauge
Photographs by Jeff Hirsch 
Well we did say that we were going to share the cookies that Tracey Zabarbaked for us with our kids—and we meant it—but somehow it just didn’t happen. Later that evening, we exchanged guilty emails about gorging. Oh my! They were good. Tracey is among other things, a trained pastry chef and her new book, ‘One Sweet Cookie’ (Rizzoli) has just come out. It contains recipes from well-known chefs and talented bakers, all of whom have submitted their favorite cookie recipe often accompanied by a little story as to why the particular recipe is special to them. Cookies and childhood are inextricably linked, it would seem, even for grand names such as Danny Meyer and Jacques Torres. If you don’t already know, his chocolate chip cookie should win some kind of baked goods Nobel prize and it’s in the book!
Cookies from Tracey’s new book, One Sweet Cookie, were ready for us. Click to order.
Now, you have been known to swipe cookies from places and put them in your purse …You mean from what I wrote in the intro in the book? But I didn’t swipe the cookies. I wanted to.

Oh! I actually take the cookies and put them in my purse.

Now the terrible thing is that everybody kind of knows me … the nice thing is that the pastry chef will come and say hello and I’ll get little goodies but the not-nice thing is that because everyone knows me, even though I want to lick the plate and take the cookies, I can’t.

Looking into the kitchen eating area. Claw foot chairs covered in Bennison fabric surround a Saarinen tulip table.
Hanging ceiling fixtures and rosettes with bare bulbs illuminate the large open kitchen.
Books by Tracey are displayed atop the kitchen table.
Fresh tulips—a welcome sign of spring.
I don’t really like cooking very much but I really like baking – there just seems to be a separate pleasure to baking. Can you tell me what you think that might be?What’s interesting to me is that people say, “I’m a tremendously good cook but I’m a terrible baker, or the other way around. I think when you bake you have to be very precise. You have to follow the directions, make no substitutions … at the beginning. When you become experienced as a baker and also experienced with that recipe, you understand where you can improvise and where you cannot. It’s very, very precise. With cooking, it’s not … you can add a little more spice or maybe some wine or a little butter …

And yet people are frightened of baking. You’d think the precision would make them more secure – you just follow the directions to the letter.

People may have had the experience that they have screwed up. I also think there has been this explosion of fancy desserts in restaurants and I was very specific with this book that this was not what I wanted. I didn’t want a foam infusion of grapefruit and olive oil and something I couldn’t identify. I wanted a cookie or a little cake. I wanted the best brownie in the world.

A brushed stainless table provides extra workspace.
Getting ready for coffee and tea to eat with Tracey’s delicious cookies.
Words of wisdom tacked onto the fridge.
On the cooking side of the kitchen, open shelves display cookie jars, bowls and adorable ceramic lamb planters.
Ceramic dalmatians stand next to a pair of one of the boy’s bronzed baby shoes.
Fresh fruit ripens near the kitchen clock.
‘Snoopy’, a vintage wooden dog toy, was a gift from Tracey’s cousin.
A Willie Wegman postcard is actually a note from Tracey’s friend, Christine Wegman. Tracey and her husband David, have collected Willie Wegman’s photographs for years.
What kind of pleasure are you hoping to give? A kind of Proustian madeleine moment I guess?I think that’s a tremendously important thing for people to think, “I never thought I would taste that again.”

Baking is the ultimate home smell … the smell of security.

I think it is. And what I did with the book was that I went to these chefs, some very important and some not important, some people I just knew were amazingly talented bakers and I said, “Tell me what your favorite cookie is. I want to know when you’re home on a Sunday and you’re with your family and you want to bake something, what do you bake?” Most of them made [their cookies] from their childhood, you know, Daniel Boulud talking to me about his mother and his grandmother. That was very charming to me.

Tools of the trade.
Stainless pots and pans from Zabar’s.
The baking kitchen holds an additional oven. Under counter refrigerators: one for wine and the other for baking supplies. Open kitchen shelving is lined with some collections of pitchers and wedding cake-toppers.
Tracey’s collection of wedding cake brides and grooms are from an engagement party.
The ‘children’.
A découpage recipe box holding baking recipes stands next to a pink ceramic lamb and a singing pie bird.
A découpage recipe box stands next to a small group of snow globes. Tracey has collected close to six hundred of them.
A snow globe of a Berlin building.
The Empire State Building.
Cookies are humble things—they’re the first things you learn to bake.And it’s the thing that’s in your lunchbox.

They’re very American. Although I suppose tea with biscuits is very English as well.

Well when I researched this they were first called teacakes. They started out as little cakes. I went to a very famous Chinese chef and he said nobody makes cookies at home in China. Fortune cookies are from American restaurants.

A view across the Zabar family kitchen.
The baking supply drawer. In the upper left corner are baker’s rubber bands that attach to end of rolling pins to ensure the exact thickness of the dough.
Kitchen Aid mixing bowls.
High stools for resting or just hanging out. Black and silver baking sheets are stored on the inside shelf, along with a rolling pin from France.
Cookies from Tracey’s new book were ready for us.
Tracey ordered the massive espresso machine directly from Italy as a housewarming gift for her husband, The blue and white porcelain cups were a gift from Illy coffee.
And there are hard cookie people and soft cookie people.There absolutely are.

I have a cookie every morning when I wake up. My husband brings me a cup of tea and a cookie while I’m still I bed, although they’re British “biscuits” really. 

What kind of cookie do you have?

This morning I had two chocolate digestives but normally they’re plain wholemeal digestives.

That’s like schoolhouse biscuits.

Tracey looks at this collage, Tess and Neal, by friend and artist Rebecca Purcell while washing dishes.
A pantry, former maid’s room and bath were all incorporated into the present kitchen space.
A small selection from Tracey’s massive cookbook collection is housed next to a cutout cow and vintage ephemera. Iron dog bookends support the kitchen cookbooks.
Lavender, blue and white porcelain china fills the kitchen hutch.
Monogrammed silver napkin rings are used for family dinners.
Hand-blown glass perfume bottles shares space with a collection of lavender, blue and white porcelain dishes.
Part of Tracey’s collection of coronation cups is arranged atop the shelves of the kitchen hutch.
A box made by Tracey’s youngest son and given to her as a birthday present, is now used for dog toys.
When do you like to eat cookies?Well, through this book … I didn’t. I didn’t want to come to the end of the project and really hate cookies so I would make one batch or two batches every day. I would eat one cookie from each batch. I would put a few away for David and the boys and then I would walk down the street with a bag, doorman … doorman … homeless person … I gave away maybe 10,000 cookies.

So what were your favorites?

Cookies or the [chefs’] stories? It really became a beautiful collection [of recipes] but I was interested in the stories. I’ll tell you one favorite story. It’s actually Scottish, from Mark Tasker who is the baker at Balthazar. They don’t give their recipes out but Mr. McNally was very kind. And this is Mark’s Granny Rennie’s shortbread. During the war they had to go into the air raid shelters and she would make this shortbread as treat for [his mother and her siblings] only when they went there so that they wouldn’t be scared. He said they had to wear gas masks, so he wondered how they ate the shortbread.

That is a nice story. So what is your attitude towards … well, sugar?

I’ve known people who have forbidden their children to eat any sugar and it is disastrous. Everything in moderation. Me personally, I think you should have one of the most perfect cookies, or the most perfect little tart. Just eat it and love it and enjoy it.

A hanging globe ceiling lamp and bare bulb rosette ceiling mount fixtures provide ample lighting for cooking and baking.
Light from the east, west and south floods the kitchen. These orchids benefit from the triple exposure.
The Zabar boys.
Mary Rose.
Mary Rose’s dog tag displays a photo of the boys.
Did you or do you give your kids dessert every day?Yes. Sometimes it was fruit and sometimes cookies. What we always did [when all four boys were at home] was leave work early, or I would only work when the kids were in school and we’d come home at four o’clock. And we would make a big platter of fruits and vegetables, mostly vegetables, celery, little tomatoes, we’d put nuts and cheese on it and we would put that on the table while we were in the kitchen making dinner, which would be ready by six o’clock. By the time dinner came, everyone had had a huge amount of vegetables because they were hungry and that’s what was there.

Do you cook as well?

A little bit. David cooks.

And a favorite chef?

I will never say. They all know where I live and they would come and kill me.

Tracey’s brisket in today’s Forward

Shabbat Meals: Tracey Zabar’s Brisket
By Tracey Zabar

I spent the first two years of my marriage begging everyone who came to my wedding for recipes. It’s how I taught myself to cook. Imagining that we had to eat something different every week, my repertoire grew quickly. My husband fondly remembers disasters like Chicken Chips (totally burnt cutlets), Banana Goo (cake under-baked and inedible), and Horrible Ugly Mess (a most delicious meatloaf that just looks horrid). But what he really wanted was brisket.
I had a very tenuous relationship with brisket. While I didn’t mind eating it once in a while, I had no idea how to make it. It may have had something to do with my mother’s incredibly frightening pressure cooker. She would drag it out once a month or so and drop some veggies, a giant hunk of meat, and who knows what else in the pot, secure the cover, put the stove on, and walk away. Sometimes, in the next few hours, tender, juicy meat with yummy gravy and vegetables would appear. Other times the damn thing would EXPLODE and leave a huge mess all over the kitchen. After getting over the shock of the noise, the dogs would go crazy trying to eat as much meat as possible before my mother ran into the kitchen and burst into tears. I learned that the pressure cooker (just like the bathroom scale) makes you cry. My brothers and I also learned that when you see a package of brisket on the counter, GET OUT OF THE HOUSE.
The whole traumatic thing was a shame because that stupid brisket made my father so happy. He always murmured something about gedempte fleysh, which maybe means really overcooked meat. Usually he spoke Yiddish when one of us was on the roof or broke a window. But this dish really turned him into a sentimental child, because it was the exact recipe from his mother, my grandmother Rebecca. Boy, did I learn a lesson there about the power of a well-loved childhood recipe.
But sadly, I didn’t have the recipe. (I do have Grandma’s challah recipe, with directions that describe, “glass raisin” and so on. Perhaps this “glass” is a teacup? Or a recycled yarzeit candleholder? Who knows.)
I now make two briskets. One with veggies and Coca-cola, garlic, onion soup mix, chili sauce, prunes, and red peppers, borrowing recipe ingredients from two of my culinary heroines: my mother-in-law, Judy Zabar, and Joan Nathan.
Every Friday morning after nursery school drop-off, I used to run to the beloved and much-missed French butchers on the Upper West Side. Every time, twenty minutes after opening, they were already out of their legendary, you-couldn’t-order-it-ahead-always-sold-out, brisket. And you couldn’t go there before nursery school because they weren’t opened yet. I finally got up the courage to ask about it, and they kindly shared the recipe. This second brisket has evolved over the years (I use tomato sauce instead of ketchup, and I use a lot less wine than the original recipe).

Here it is:
Tracey Zabar’s Brisket
6 carrots, cleaned and cut into thirds

3 stalks of celery, cleaned and cut into thirds

1 large onion, diced

3 pound brisket

1 cup orange juice 1 cup applesauce

½ cup red wine

1 cup Rao’s tomato sauce
1) Preheat the oven to 350°.
2) In a large, deep pot, place the carrots, celery, and onion. Place the brisket over the vegetables. Pour the orange juice, applesauce, wine, and tomato sauce over the top.
3) Bake, covered for 1 ½ hours. Turn the brisket over, and bake, covered for another 1 ½ hours.
4) Remove from the oven and cool. Remove the brisket from the pot, slice across the grain, and return to the pot.
5) Refrigerate overnight (everyone says it tastes better the next day) and reheat before serving.
Tracey Zabar is a baker, jewelry designer, and the author of four books, including “One Sweet Cookie” and “Charmed Bracelets.” She lives in Manhattan with her husband, (yes, from Zabar’s), and four sons.

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