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Live chat at noon with News food editor Andrew Galarneau

Stop by at noon for a chat about what's cooking in Buffalo and environs. Had a great restaurant dish you want to tell people about? Looking for an elusive ingredient? It's easy to join the discussion.

Top Buffalo chefs' 'five star' North Tonawanda seafood palace opening in May

A mid-May soft opening is planned for Remington Tavern, the new seafood and oyster restaurant featuring two of Buffalo's best chefs

Paul Jenkins, of Tempo, and Mark Hutchinson, of Hutch's, are teaming up to run Remington Tavern, an 8,000-square-foot restaurant that "is going to be the best for 100 miles," Buffalo developer Tony Kissling told the Tonawanda News. "It will be a five star-plus restaurant."

No pressure. Staff training starts next month in Kissling's Remington Rand luxury loft complex in North Tonawanda. Soft opening mid-May, for real by the end of the month, that's the plan.

"The restaurant is gong to be run by the two best guys in Buffalo," Kissling said of Hutchinson and Jenkins, while also noting that the chef of the soon-to-open restaurant is already living in the one of the lofts.

It's not immediately clear from Michael Regan's story how two big fish of the Buffalo dining world are going to split responsibilities in the kitchen.

Elements video: Lemony Tortellini

When faced with technical difficulties in the kitchen, just ask yourself, "What would Martha Stewart do?" Try her recipe for lemony tortellini with peas and prosciutto in this latest Elements.

Recipes: Mary Ann Improta's Italian Bread, Sausage-Stuffed Portabellas and Low-Fat Eggplant

Here's three more recipes from Mary Ann Improta, the News April Cook of the Month. Her classic, crusty Italian bread is loaded with toasted sesame seeds; the stuffed mushroom is a rich treat, suitable for sharing, and her roasted eggplant uses cooking spray instead of lots of olive oil, to cut down on fat.

Mama's Bread

5 lbs of flour, plus a cup if needed
1/4 cup (less a teaspoon) salt
1/4 cup of sugar
1 2-ounce cake yeast
3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 cups of shortening

In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast cake in 3 cups of lukewarm water and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix flour, salt and sugar. In the center, make a well and put shortening in. Gently squeeze the yeast and shortening into the flour, and start to work the dough with your hands.

You may need more water so add until dough is workable, and you may need more flour until dough is pliable and doesn't stick to your hands. Knead the dough for at least 5 to 7 minutes. Cover with a clean towel and let it rest for 20 minutes. Knead again, and rub with shortening. Cover with a clean towel and let rise for 2 1/2 hours in a draft-free place.
 
When dough is ready, roll into a long rope and shape into rolls, twists or loaves, in appropriate pans. Cover and let rise another 20 minutes. Turn oven on to 375 F. When ready, brush dough with a beaten egg and add toasted seseme seeds on top.

Place in oven and bake for 1 hour for bread and 40 to 50 min for rolls. Remove and let cool on wire racks. You should make 5 loaves of bread and 2 dozen rolls.

Sausage-Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

1/2 cup butter or margarine (1 stick)
4 tablespoons olive oil ( plus a sprinkle olive oil for each portabella)
6 scallions, sliced
1 16-ounce tube pork sausage
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1 large bag of baby spinach
1/2 cup of fresh parsley
6 medium whole portabella mushrooms (use the stems in filling chopped to saute)
2 to 3 cups shredded mozzarella
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
 
In large frying pan, place margarine (or butter) and olive oil. Add scallions and saute. Remove stems from mushrooms, chop and add to saute. Add sausage and stir until cooked.

Add cream cheese in chunks and stir until melted. Add spinach and fresh chopped parsley. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir, add salt and pepper to taste and if you desire, add crushed red pepper. Stir.

Place mushrooms on a foil-covered cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil over the inside of each one. Give the stuffing another stir and evenly distribute stuffing between mushrooms. Cover each mushroom with shedded mozzarella.

Cover with foil, tenting to avoid cheese sticking, and bake at 375 F for 20 minutes. Remove foil and cook an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and top is golden. Serve.

(Relatively) Low-Fat Roasted Eggplant
   
2 medium to large eggplant
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (any Italian grating cheese, such as Pecorino Romano, may be used)
10 fresh basil leaves (cut or torn)
Olive  oil to drizzle (about 1/4 cup or more if needed) 
Non-stick spray

Slice eggplant 1/2 inch thick and place on cookie sheet that has been coated with non-stick spray. Spray tops.

Roast at 375 degrees for 15 minutes until bottoms are golden. Turn eggplant over and spray again. Cook another 3 minutes. Remove. Serve warm or room temperature; it's great with fresh Italian bread.

Recipe: Chicken Liver on Toast, from April Bloomfield's 'A Girl and Her Pig'

Chicken liver on toast from a girl and her pig bloomfield

Here's a relatively simple example of April Bloomfield's rustic but careful cuisine, from "A Girl and Her Pig," featured in today's Buffalo News.

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"A staple at The Spotted Pig, this creamy, still slightly chunky mash of lovely, iron-y livers on toast makes a fine snack, but it’s substantial enough to hold you over while you wait for a friend or a table. Just the thing, too, with a glass of wine. The liver mixture is a touch sweet from the port and the browned garlic and shallots, with a whisper of acidity from the Madeira. Best of all, it takes just a moment to make. Be sure you get a nice color on the livers when you cook them. (I like them slightly pink on the inside for this dish; anyone who doesn’t can cook them a bit longer.) Be sure to take in the aroma as they cook — toasty browning liver is one of my favorite smells."

Chopped Chicken Liver on Toast

Makes 4 toasts

About ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Heaping ¼ cup finely chopped shallots
1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons dry Madeira
2 tablespoons ruby port
½ pound chicken livers, trimmed and separated into lobes
Maldon or another flaky sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
A small handful of small, delicate flat-leaf parsley sprigs
4 thick slices crusty bread, or 2 large slices, cut in half

Pour 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into a large sauté pan and set it over high heat.

When it’s hot, turn the heat down to medium and add the shallots and garlic. Cook
until they’re golden brown, about a minute. Add the Madeira and port to the pan and give it a good shake, then scrape the mixture into a small bowl and set aside.

Rinse the pan and wipe it out well with a paper towel, then set it over high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. When the oil just begins to smoke, pat the livers dry and add them to the pan. Cook until the undersides are golden brown, 1½ minutes or so. Carefully turn them over and sprinkle on about 1 teaspoon salt, then give the pan a little shake. Cook the livers just until they feel bouncy, like little balloons, about 30 seconds more. You want them slightly pink inside, not rare.

Turn off the heat and add the shallot mixture, liquid and all, to the pan. Shake the pan, stirring and scraping it with a spoon to loosen the crispy brown bits on the bottom, then scrape the contents of the pan into a bowl. Let it all cool for a few minutes.

Drizzle about 1 tablespoon olive oil over the liver mixture and sprinkle in about a teaspoon of salt and a couple twists of black pepper. Use a large spoon to chop, stir, and mash the livers until some of the mash is creamy and some is still a little chunky. Coarsely chop the parsley, add it to the liver mixture, and give it all a good stir. Let it cool to room temperature.

Toast or grill the bread until crispy but still a bit soft in the middle. Drizzle the toasts with a little olive oil, spread on a generous amount of the liver mixture, and serve straightaway.

(From "A Girl and Her Pig," by April Bloomfield with J.J. Goode. Photos by David Loftus. Ecco, 335 pages, $29.99.)