Philipe's French Dip is 95 Years Old; Cooking for One; Small Bites from Around the World

Hosted by
Philippe's The Original: Home of the French Dipped Sandwich will offer 10 cent sandwiches on November 3rd in honor of their 95th anniversary. They begin serving that day at 4pm.

Philippe's is located at 1001 N. Alameda Street in downtown Los Angeles, 1 block north of Union Station, Olvera St, and the Hollywood 101 Freeway at Alameda and Ord St. (213) 628-3781
It's open 6am to 10pm daily; closed Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Joyce Goldstein is the author of Solo Suppers: Simple Delicious Meals to Cook for Yourself, published by Chronicle Books.

Peppery Prune Sauce
Makes about 2 cups

  • 12 ozs pitted prunes (also called dry plums) quartered
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 2 Tablespoons grated orange zest
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • Pinch of ground cloves or cinnamon
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
In a saucepan, combine the prunes, orange juice and zest, honey, and cloves over low heat and simmer, stirring from time to time until the prunes break down to form a sauce-like consistency, about 20 minutes. Taste for balance. Need more lemon? More honey? More spice? If it's too thick, add water to thin to a spoonable consistency. Just simmer for a few minutes longer to meld the tastes after making djustments. Store in a jar in the refrigerator for up to 4 months.

Chicken and Bread Soup

  • 4 Tablespoons, 1/2 stick butter, unsalted
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, cut into small dice
  • 1 celery stalk, cut into small dice
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken thighs (5 to 8 ozs total weight), trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces or 1 generous cup cubed (1 inch) cooked chicken or turkey
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup cooked sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • 1/2 cup diced cooked butternut squash (optional)
  • 2 slices country-style bread, 1/2 inch thick, crusts removed, or 1 thick slice bread
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano Reggiano, or part Fontina and part Parmigiano Reggiano
In a wide saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter with the olive oil over medium heat. When the mixture is bubbling, add the diced vegetables and saute until softened, about 10 minutes. If using raw chicken, add it now and saute, turning occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook until it evaporates. Then add the chicken stock, salt and pepper to taste, and the cinnamon and cover the pan. Simmer gently, until the chicken is tender, 20 to 30 minutes. If using cooked chicken, mushrooms, and squash, add during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the bread and saute, turning once, until pale gold on both sides, or toast it and spread lightly with the butter while warm.

You now have two options. The fast and easy one is to cut the bread into croutons and place them in a big soup bowl. Pour the hot chicken and vegetable soup over the croutons and top with the cheese. If the bowl is flameproof, you may brown it under the broiler.

If you are not in a hurry, option two is the better choice: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place a slice of the bread in a deep ovenproof bowl, such as a potpie dish or onion-soup crock. Sprinkle some of the cheese on top, and then the chicken and vegetables. Top this with the other slice bread. Ladle the stock over the top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Put the bowl on a baking sheet, as it may bubble over, and bake for 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the depth of the soup. The bread on the bottom should be custardy, and the bread on the top should be chewy. If you want a crusty top, do not cover with foil. For added crunch, slip it under the broiler to brown.

Lamb Steak with Greek Tomato Sauce
Accompany this dish with roasted potatoes and sauteed zucchini or eggplant.

  • 1 lamb steak, about 8 ozs and 3/4 inch thick, or 3 loin chops, about 12 ounces total
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Tomato Sauce:
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped, or 3 to 4 green onions, including tender green tops, chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2/3 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup meat stock or dry red or white wine
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Honey or sugar, if needed
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Rub the lamb with the olive oil, cinnamon, oregano, and a little pepper. Cover and marinate for 1 or 2 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before cooking.

To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, cinnamon, and oregano and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and stock, bring the mixture to a boil, and then quickly reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 8 minutes to blend the flavors. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Be careful not to over-salt, as the feta cheese will add some saltiness upon final assembly of the dish. Add honey if the tomato sauce tastes acidic.

Preheat the broiler. Broil the lamb steak, turning once, about 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare or until done as desired. Transfer to a warmed dinner plate and spoon the sauce over the top. Garnish with feta and parsley.

Zabaglione is delicious spooned over berries or ripe peaches. It's really best licked slowly off a spoon. I make it with a whisk or, if feeling lazy, with a small, handheld electric mixer. A double boiler is best, but a small, deep bowl set over a pan of simmering water will also work.

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup dry or sweet Marsala
In the top pan of a small double boiler over simmering water, beat together the egg yolks, sugar, and Marsala until they are pale and thick and the whisk or beaters leave tracks when lifted. Do not poop out and stop mixing too soon. It will take about 10 minutes, and it has to be very thick and creamy to be right. It will have doubled in volume. Eat with a spoon while it is still warm-slowly.

Clifford Wright is the author of Little Foods of the Mediterranean: 500 Fabulous Recipes for Antipasti, Tapas, Hors d' Oeuvre, Meze, and More, published by Harvard Common Press.

Rolled Yogurt Balls
Makes 14 balls to serve 8 to 10

If you don't have a local Middle Eastern market and need to make your own labna, line a strainer with cheesecloth, pour the contents of a 1-quart container of whole plain cow's milk yogurt into it, rest over a deep bowl in the refrigerator, and leave to drain for 12 hours. The yogurt that remains in the strainer is the labna. Zactar is a thyme-based spice mix found in Middle Eastern markets, or you could easily make the mix yourself (see Note).

  • 3/4 pound strained yogurt
  • 1/2 to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • 1/4 cup zactar (see Note below)
  • Toasted Arabic flatbread, broken into pieces
1. Roll the labna into balls a wee bit smaller than the size of golf balls. Arrange them on a plate or tray and place in the refrigerator, uncovered, overnight.

2. Once they are firm, arrange in a wide-mouthed glass jar or a small glass baking dish and cover with olive oil. Close the lid, or cover with plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator. They will keep indefinitely as long as they are covered with olive oil.

3. When you want to serve them, sprinkle some zactar on a plate and roll the balls in it to coat all sides. Arrange on a small serving platter and spoon some olive oil over them. Serve with the toasted flatbread.

Note: Mix together 1 cup finely crumbled dried thyme, 1/4 cup sesame seeds, 1 Tablespoon sumac, and 1/2 tsp salt or more to taste. Store as you would any spice.

Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes with Mascarpone and Pancetta
Makes 8 servings

This is a very sweet looking platter of cherry tomatoes stuffed with mascarpone cheese and sprinkled with parsley. When serving this appetizer, place some mixed herbs in the center of the serving platter as a garnish. If you make this a few hours beforehand, leave it to rest at room temperature; don't refrigerate it at any time.

  • Salt to taste
  • 60 cherry tomatoes, stem part cut off and hollowed out using a demitasse or baby spoon
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 pound mascarpone cheese
  • 1 oz pancetta, sliced, microwaved until crispy between two sheets of paper towels, and chopped or pan-fried until crispy in a nonstick skillet and finely crumbled
  • Finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1. Salt the inside of the cherry tomatoes if time allows and let drain hollow side down for 30 minutes.

2. Season the cut side of the tomatoes with salt and pepper. Stuff with mascarpone and top with some pancetta bits. Arrange on a platter and sprinkle with the parsley. Serve at room temperature.

Corsican-Style Pizza Flamiche
Makes 15 servings

If you can't find some of the cheeses, use a combination of Ricotta, Gruyere, and goat cheese. This recipe is based on the pizza I had at La Chariot in Algajola, on the northern coast of Corsica.

  • 1 recipe Basic Pizza Dough
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 3/4 pounds sweet onions, such as Maui or Vidalia, thinly sliced
  • 3 ozs plain soft goat's milk cheese, crumbled
  • 3 ozs Tronchon cheese (semi-soft Spanish sheep's milk cheese), thinly sliced
  • 1/4 lb fresh Mozzarella or burrata (see box) cheese, thinly sliced or shredded
  • 1/4 lb fresh Ricotta cheese, preferably homemade
  • 1/4 ob smoked slab bacon, cut into 1-inch matchsticks
  • 2 dried red chile peppers, seeded and crumbled
  • 9 small bay leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Prepare the pizza dough. Let rise as instructed.

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then cook the onions until golden, about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Preheat the oven to 400 F.

4. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out so it fits into a 12 x 17-inch baking sheet and is 1/4 inch thick and make indentations over its entirety with your fingertips. Arrange the cheeses intermingled over the top of the pizza. Spread the onions evenly over the top, then sprinkle the bacon strips about at intervals. Sprinkle with the chile pepper, place the bay leaves around, and season with salt and black pepper.

4. Bake until golden and the bacon is a little crispy, 30 to 35 minutes. Cut into serving portions and serve hot.

Shrimp and Tomatoes with Pine Nuts and Capers from Pantelleria
Makes 4 to 6 servings

This exquisite preparation called gamberetti al pomodoro (shrimp with tomatoes) is typical of the dishes made around Marsala in Sicily and on the island of Pantelleria, which is famous for its capers. Although this dish is fine when served hot, I like it much better at room temperature after it sits for a day and the luscious flavors of tomatoes, olive oil, pine nuts, celery, capers, and raisins have a chance to mellow.

  • 4 quarts water
  • 1/4 cup sea salt
  • 2 lbs fresh medium-size shrimp with their heads or 1 pound previously frozen shrimp, shells and/or heads removed and saved for making shrimp stock, if desired
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium-size onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 lb ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon pine nuts
  • 1 Tablespoon golden raisins, soaked in tepid water for 15 minutes and drained
  • 1 Tablespoon salted or brined capers, rinsed or drained and chopped if large
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
1. Bring the water to a rolling boil and add the salt. Boil the shrimp until they turn orange, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain immediately and cut the shrimp into thirds.

2. Preheat the oven to 375 F.

3. In a stove-top and ovenproof casserole, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then cook the onion and celery until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the tomatoes, pine nuts, raisins, and capers, season with salt and pepper, and cook 10 minutes more, stirring. Add the shrimp and bay leaves, cook for 1 minute, then remove the casserole from the heat.

4. Put the casserole in the oven and bake 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, let the shrimp come to room temperature in the casserole, and serve on a large platter.

Taleggio Cheese and Buckwheat Flour Fritters from Lombardy
Makes 10 servings

These fritters will be dark brown in appearance when they're cooked. Cut the recipe in half if you need to, as this recipe yields quite a bit. When you cook the fritters, make sure the batter have been refrigerated first so that they can be dropped into the oil in heaping teaspoonfuls. Don't make them any bigger than called for, otherwise they will taste pasty.

  • 2 cups buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 4 tsps salt
  • About 2 1/4 cups water
  • 6 cups olive oil or olive pomace oil for frying
  • 6 ounces Taleggio cheese, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons grappa
1. In a large bowl, sift together the flours. Add the salt, then enough water to make a stiff batter. Cover with a cloth and leave for 1 hour.

2. Preheat the frying oil in a deep fryer or an 8-inch saucepan fitted with a basket insert to 300 F.

3. Stir the cheese and grappa into the batter. Deep-fry heaping teaspoonfuls of batter in the oil several at a time (don't crowd them) until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels, and serve immediately. Let the frying oil cool completely, strain through a porous paper filter, if necessary, and save the oil for a future use.

Mussels with Feta Cheese from Rhodes
Makes 8 servings

  • 4 lbs mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium-size onions, chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 3/4 lbs ripe tomatoes, cut in half, seeds squeezed out, grated against the largest holes of a grater, and skins discarded
  • 1/4 lb imported Greek or Bulgarian Feta cheese, cut into small cubes
1. Place the cleaned mussels in a pot with the water, cover, and turn the heat to high. Remove the mussels as soon as they open, 6 to 9 minutes. Discard any mussels that remain firmly shut. Remove the mussels from their shells and set aside.

2. In a medium-size skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, then cook the onion and peppers until the onion is translucent, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes and cook until the most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the mussels and scatter the cubes of cheese around the skillet evenly. Cook until the cheese melts a bit and the food is hot, about 8 minutes, then serve hot right from the skillet with crusty bread.

Artichoke Bottoms Stuffed with Tuna
Makes 8 servings

The bottom, heart, or foundation, of an artichoke is a natural receptacle for foods and makes it an ideal antipasto, like this one, called carciofi farciti di tonno.

  • One 3 1/2-ounce can imported tuna in olive oil, drained
  • 2 Tablespoons salted or brined capers, rinsed or drained
  • 10 salted anchovy fillets, rinsed
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 14 cooked artichoke bottoms (fresh or canned)
  • 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs, or more
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.

2. Place the tuna, capers, anchovies, garlic, parsley, and black pepper in a food processor and pulse several times until pasty. Divide and spoon a little more than 1 teaspoon into each artichoke bottom. Arrange them in a lightly oiled baking dish. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top of each and drizzle each with the olive oil. Bake until crispy on top, about 15 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Note: If using fresh artichokes, place some stuffing into each artichoke after you have trimmed them, then place them in a large non-reactive skillet with a little water in the bottom. Drizzle some olive oil over the top of each one. Turn the heat to medium and, once the water starts to shimmer, reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until tender, 40 to 50 minutes, adding water to the skillet if necessary, but never so much that it covers the artichoke bottoms. Transfer to a baking dish, sprinkle on the bread crumbs, drizzle some olive oil over each one, and bake at 375 F until crispy on top, about 15 minutes.

Neelam Batra is the author of 1000 Indian Recipes, published by Wiley.

Taste of India: 21833 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills 818-999-0600 and 10408 Venice Blvd, Culver City, CA
India Sweets and Spices: 22011 Sherman Way, Canoga Park, 818-887-0668
Punjab Palace / Bhatia Punjab: 19524 Nordhoff St, Northridge, 818-350-0347
Madress Tiffin: 11321 183rd St, Cerritos, 562-924-0879
Farm Fresh: 18612 Pioneer Blvd, Artesia, 562-865-8171
Bharat Bazaar: 11510 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles 310-398-6766