Restaurant: Nudel in Lenox, MA

Rather than each getting an appetizer and large entree, tonight we shared three small plates ($10 each) and a nice bottle of white wine. They split the plates for us. It was a totally amazing value for what we experienced. I really want to try the poached egg dish at home sometime. Kudos to Nudel–this guy is killing it in Lenox. No need to travel to get truly original cuisine ’cause its right here in the Berkshires.

First: Pad Thai (turnip, tofu, pineapple etc.)

Second: Souvee egg, hominy, fried green tomato, over collards

Third: Pork Shank terrine with French lentils, greens and apple dressing.

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Snax: Kale Chips

Method: Wash and dry kale. While holding the stem, strip off the kale leaves and pile in a bunch on a cookie sheet or cut into chips. Spray with EVOO and shake with Herbamare. Bake at 325 until crispy. Serve with champagne.

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Meal: “House” Salmon with roasted tomato and wilted spinach

What makes this special: excellent fish and the sauce. For the sauce: In your small cuisinart (we call it a “choppy chop”), blend 2 tsp vinegar, 2 tsp sugar, 2 tsp Dijon, teaspoon dry mustard and blend in a 1/3 cup of vegetable oil. Chill. Top salmon with salt pepper and thyme. Cover with the chilled sauce and top with breadcrumbs. Cook at 375 for 15-18 mins, depending on how rare you like it.

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Meal: Sashimi

Location: Shiro, Great Barrington, MA

Thoughts: Do not be deterred when your car is one of two at this local spot. For that, my friend, is when you get some special attention. We had this plate of amazingly fresh fish the other night. The salmon was buttery with silky texture and the tuna was hearty, mouthing a fair amount of salt water. But, I think the yellowtail was the winner! Always a favorite, this clean cut melted in our mouths that night. The crisp green onions were a nice treat too. This plate for two was $26 and well worth it! Thanks Shiro!

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Meal: Smoked Duck panini, tomato soup and slaw.

Back Story: Nodine’s. Go there. Buy Stuff. Be Happy.

Method: Relish: Sauté thin sliced onion, add brown sugar and red wine vinegar. Let cool, then add some French mustard and low fat mayo. Duck: We used 1/2 breast for two paninis. Render the fat from the skin by heating in a sauté pan (same one that you used for the onions) until the skin is crispy. Thin slice. Panini: Cut ciabatta bread into small sandwich sizes, spread relish, layer duck, and top with a slice of muenster cheese. Grill. Eat. Good.

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Meal: Bouillabaisse with crusty French bread

Back Story: This is a special meal for a special day. Dan has a nice closing today, one of his first with Sotheby’s International Real Estate. Bouillabaisse is that kind of meal for us. Because you buy small portions of only the most excellent seafood, its not that expensive, as long as you have saffron, and is kind of fun to shop for. Bouillabaisse is a delicious, late summer meal. A great way to celebrate!

Method: We like to use Tony Bourdain’s recipe. Here’s the simplified version. Chop garlic and thin slice onion and fennel with a mandolin. Prepare orange peel and fresh tomato. Cook garlic, fennel and onion in oil for 4 mins. Add tomato, 4 strands of saffron, 5 oz Sambuca, and cover with fish stock. Cook for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make aioli: blend garlic and salt, then 1 egg yoke, and a bit of saffron. Drizzle in 2 oz of olive oil until you reach mayo consistency. After the 15 minutes, add the fish, shrimp, clams and mussels. Cook til all the shells are open. Top with parsley and aioli. For the full experience, lay a slice of French bread in the broth, top with fennel, tomato, clam and aioli. Cheers!!

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Side Dish: Crab Latke

Backstory: Dan: “The corn chowder needs something to make it a meal. Not a fritter, not cornbread….. But what?”. Me: “We have crab, what about a crab cake?” Dan: “Nah, boring.” Me: “We also have leftover mashed potato. Crab latke?” Dan: “Hmm… Let’s try it!!!”.

Method: Combine 4 oz. strained lump crab, 3/4 cup leftover mashers, 1/2 tsp old bay, and 1/2 tsp fresh parsley. Add two tbsp panko. Combine and form into patties. Cook over medium high heat for 10 minutes, flipping once. Served with corn chowder. Yummy!

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