Saturday, October 19, 2013
But when I rolled over to his recipe for gravy and saw he had out the sieve, I went uh-oh. And sure enough, he had the drippings being skimmed of fat and then flour added to the liquid. That process almost always results in lumps.
For really good gravy that has a good color and no lumps, first make a roux. For each cup of liquid you have (I'm assuming you've simmered the neck and giblets while the chicken was cooking or have some good quality stock plus the defatted part of the drippings from the pan), put 1 tablespoon of the fat you skimmed off from the drippings into a large cast-iron skillet on medium heat until it's almost smoking. Add a like amount of flour and stir the mixture constantly until it's a deep brown, turning down the heat if it's browning too fast (if it burns, you will need to throw it out and start over). When it's a very deep brown, whisk in the liquid, turn up the heat a bit and bring it to a low boil. When it thickens, remove from the heat and serve. The only lumps would be the dripping solids and some bits of vegetable, and if you want it perfectly smooth, sieve your dripping liquid before adding to the pan.
I rarely use a sieve. Bring on the full taste!
Saturday, September 14, 2013
|Photograph ©2013, Lori Korleski Richardson|
Turkey Spinach Slider on baguette
I saw this recipe by Sue Li on epicurious.com, but since we were trying to cut out bread from our diet, I didn't try it for a while. What I finally hit upon was serving them not on slider buns or small dinner rolls, but in Boston or butter lettuce cups. They were so good!
Since then, I've made them with the following substitutions: Using half spinach and half chard; using all chard; using chard and arugula; using ground chicken instead of turkey; upping the cumin to 1 teaspoon, and using a shallot instead of scallions; and freezing the raw burgers, then putting them frozen into the pan. I must say, they were all excellent, and I really can't tell you which I liked best.
This recipe says it makes 4 servings, and that's about right with the lettuce cups. But with the bread, my husband and I were filled up with two apiece.
I think the secret is not to overcook them (if you're worried they might not get done enough, make them thinner in the middle when you pat them out or use an instant read thermometer and keep cooking until they reach an interior temperature of 170 degrees).
If you do put them on a bun, or as we did, pieces of horizontally sliced baguette, try the spread that follows. It really kicks it up a notch!
|Photograph ©2013, Lori Korleski Richardson|
The dozen sliders on a cookie sheet, ready to freeze.
Makes 4 servings
1/2 bunch flat-leaf spinach, thick stems removed, leaves chopped (about 4 cups)
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 pound ground turkey
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil (can spray patties lightly if grilling)
12 slider buns or small dinner rolls, split, lightly toasted (for serving)
Your favorite condiments
Combine spinach, scallions, garlic, turkey, and cumin in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper. Using a fork, mix gently just to combine. Form turkey mixture into 14 1/2"-thick patties.
If grilling, heat grill to very hot, place patties on grill, oiled side down, then turn down to low. Proceed as below.
If cooking on stove, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in two batches, cook patties until golden brown and cooked through (resist the temptation to press down on patties with your spatula while cooking), about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
Serve turkey-spinach patties on buns with mayonnaise, onion, and whatever other condiments you prefer. For a gluten-free dish, serve the patties on top of a salad.
Patties can be formed 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before cooking.
Lori's note: Besides the alternatives noted in the post above, I just put the spinach, scallions (or shallot) and garlic in the food processor and chopped everything fine before mixing it all with the turkey and cumin.
Lori K's Fantastic Green Spread
Makes about a cup
1 cup of packed arugula
1 ripe avocado
1/2 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and quartered (or 2 mild jalapeños)
Cooking wine (optional)
Pepper to taste
Mix first five ingredients in food processor; add wine until sauce is smooth. Add pepper to taste. Spread on buns, or on burgers in lettuce cups. Will keep for several days, and it stays a bright green.
Monday, February 11, 2013
|Photo by Kate Miller, stolenmomentscooking.com|
I blogged about how to make these several years ago, but I came up with a time- and paper-saving tip, so I thought I'd share the recipe again.
If serving with rice and beans, your beans should be cooked and on low, and you should start the rice before assembling the taquitos, since rice will stay warm up to 30 minutes after it’s done.
Lori K’S Easy Chicken Taquitos
6 corn tortillas
6 chicken tenders or 2 chicken breasts, cut into 3 strips each
Salsa or guacamole for dipping
Heat about a quarter-inch of oil over medium heat in a frying pan that’s just a little larger than the tortillas.
Put the tortillas in a tortilla warmer or wrap them in a clean dishtowel. Microwave for a minute.
Season the chicken tenders or strips with a light dusting of the spices. Roll up each piece of chicken in a softened tortilla and secure with a toothpick.
Put three taquitos in at a time, seam side down. Brown on all sides (the toothpicks can come out after the first side is browned). The chicken will be thoroughly cooked, yet tender and moist inside. Drain on a paper towel. Keep the first three warm while cooking the rest.
Serve hot with the salsa or guacamole.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
The photo of the za'atar pyramid was taken by Jim Richardson last summer in Israel.
Mediterranean Chicken Breasts
6 boneless chicken breast halves
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 cup dried apricots, plumped for 30 minutes and drained
1 1/2 cup dry white wine or unsalted chicken broth
12 brine cured, pitted green olives
Season chicken with salt, pepper and cumin. Heat olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until browned, turning chicken over every 2 minutes. Remove chicken and place on plate. Cover with foil to keep warm. Add garlic to skillet and cook for 30 seconds. Add apricots, wine, broth and olives to skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium high and simmer until sauce is thickened, about four minutes. Add chicken back to skillet and cook until sauce is thickened and chicken is cooked through, 20-30 minutes. Divide chicken breasts onto plates and spoon sauce over chicken.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
(whoever posted this did not include the lyrics. You can find them HERE.)
I hope everyone had a relaxing Presidents Day. I ate a little leftover jambalaya (made with smoked turkey sausage and Virginia ham, which required ditching the salt and using more cayenne pepper) for lunch and if you're new to this blog, you probably haven't gone back far enough to try my "use whatever you have handy" jambalaya. Since today's Fat Tuesday, the day where you are supposed to use up everything you're not suppose to eat or drink during Lent (fat, rich meats, alcohol), I thought I'd post it again.
Unfortunately, Episcopal tradition has Shrove Tuesday pancakes, so that's what I'll be eating tonight. If you're in Charlottesville, join us for them at St. Paul's Memorial Church on the Corner at 6 tonight. They're not Cajun, but they are very good, and a parishioner usually provides real maple syrup from Vermont for the meal.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
The word "jerk" comes from the Peruvian term for dried strips of meat charqui. Jerk in Jamaica refers to the seasoning (which varies, but always includes allspice, lime, sugar and habanero peppers), the method of preparing the meat (a daylong marinating, in which the meat is poked all over to let the marinade permeate it), and the cooking over fire (unfortunately, I don't have access to pimento wood, which adds extra flavor the Jamaican dishes).
Given that it was a church dinner in Virginia, I felt that the spice may be too intense for the crowd. So I increased the amount of chicken, scallions, garlic, onion, lime, soy sauce and olive oil by 5, but kept the spices to the amounts shown below. The marinade tasted very hot, and I wondered if just 4 habaneros for 40 people still were too many. But the chicken cooked up to be very juicy and spicy, but not mouth-searing in the slightest, and the students seemed to enjoy it immensely.
Another note: I used our usual barbecued chicken technique to insure that the meat cooked through: I used only boneless, skinless thighs, and cooked them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes before throwing them on the grill.
Jerk Chicken a la Gourmet
Makes 8 servings
For jerk marinade:
3 scallions, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
4 to 5 fresh Scotch bonnet or habanero chile, stemmed and seeded
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons salt (I omitted this; soy sauce is quite salty)
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons black pepper
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 chicken breast halves with skin and bones (3 pounds), halved crosswise
2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks
Accompaniment: papaya salsa (the papayas looked horrible and I couldn't locate canned, so I went without this)
Blend all marinade ingredients in a blender until smooth.
Marinate and grill chicken:
Poke chicken with a two-tined fork all over. Divide chicken pieces and marinade between 2 sealable plastic bags. Seal bags, pressing out excess air, then turn bags over several times to distribute marinade. Put bags of chicken in a shallow pan and marinate, chilled, turning once or twice, 1 day.
Let chicken stand at room temperature 1 hour before cooking.
To cook chicken using a gas grill:
Preheat burners on high, then adjust heat to moderate. Cook chicken until well browned on all sides, 15 to 20 minutes. Adjust heat to low and cook chicken, covered with lid, until cooked through, about 25 minutes more.
To cook chicken over charcoal:
Open vents on bottom of grill and on lid. Light a large chimney of charcoal briquettes (about 100) and pour them evenly over 1 side of bottom rack (you will have a double or triple layer of charcoal). When charcoal turns grayish white and you can hold your hand 5 inches above rack for 3 to 4 seconds, sear chicken in batches on lightly oiled rack over coals until well browned on all sides, about 3 minutes per batch. Move chicken as seared to side of grill with no coals underneath, then cook, covered with lid, until cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes more.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
California Avocado Commission
Recipe Provided By Chef Kevin Gin, Bridges in Danville, CA
12 ounces grilled chicken breast, diced medium
6 ounces crisp cooked smoked bacon, chopped small
8 ounces fresh avocados, diced medium*
4 petite hearts of romaine, chopped (about 2 cups lightly packed)
8 small tomatoes (2" diameter), cut in quarters
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon mixed herbs
Creamy Basil Dressing (recipe follows)
Marinate the cut tomatoes in the olive oil and mixed herbs for about 10 minutes.
Toss the chopped romaine with the Creamy Basil Dressing. Divide the mixture between 4 serving bowls.
Top each bowl with chicken, avocado, bacon, and tomato. Serve.
*A large Fresh California Avocado weighs about 8 oz.
Creamy Basil Dressing
(Yield: 1 1/4 cup)
8 ounces sour cream
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ ounce fresh basil, chopped
Whisk all ingredients together.
Now tell me, how does the dressing make this salad any better than if you added a couple of basil leaves and a squeeze of lemon? Why add cream and sour cream to a basically healthy dish?
A side note: Bridges is a fine restaurant, and if you're ever in Danville, you should check it out. If you don't plan a trip to this East Bay burb anytime soon, you can see the restaurant in the movie "Mrs. Doubtfire."
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
So when I'm not roasting the whole bird, I either buy my chicken parts with the skin off, or take it off when I cut up the bird before freezing the individual parts.
But you can have crispy, fried-like chicken with just a fraction of the calories. I served this with a salad of mixed greens, orange peppers, grape tomatoes, feta and toasted pine nuts, a dish of orzo/vermicelli (recipe tomorrow; it was very easy and cooked while the chicken was in the oven) and a side of peas. The peas were frozen - my tip for cooking them is to put them in a bowl, season to taste, put a plastic cover over them and microwave for 2 minutes or until steaming hot. Don't use water, and don't overcook them. And use the young peas, petit pois, instead of the larger kind. The larger kind may cost a little less, but they tend to be mealier and the skins tougher.
Lori K's oven-fried chicken breasts
Dried bread crumbs
Salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, smoked paprika
2 egg yolks
2 chicken breasts
Olive oil spray
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put a light layer of breadcrumbs on a plate and season them well. Beat the egg yolks until smooth. Wash and dry the chicken breasts, then brush one side with the yolk, lay on the crumb plate, brush the other side and flip. Make sure it is well-coated with crumbs. Place on a rack set over a shallow roasting pan. Repeat with the other breast, adding more crumbs and seasonings if needed. Top with a little extra smoked paprika. Spray lightly with olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes; turn pan around (or if browning too fast, flip) and bake for another 5 minutes. Serve.
Monday, March 14, 2011
My usual method is to season the chicken well – salt or garlic salt, pepper, paprika (smoked or plain) maybe put a little rosemary under the skin and stuff with a lemon – spray with olive oil, start it at 475, then turn the oven down to 325 and cook for an hour or so. I never baste, never open the oven door while cooking. I love crispy skin.
I check the temp in the breast since that's what I eat first; it should be at least 160 degrees (the temp continues to rise as it sets out of the oven) and never more than 165. Overcooking is what usually dries out poultry.
Letting the chicken rest when it comes out of the oven is another key to a moist chicken; minimum 10 minutes to let the juices absorb back into the meat (that works with all meats, by the way). Before serving, I check the temp on the thigh; if it's not up to 165, I remove the legs and put them back in the oven, keep the breast warm, serve the salad. They are usually cooked just right by then.
But I'm always open to new ways of roasting chickens: I love the Zuni Cafe method, and I'm eager to try THIS ONE my friend Holly just posted on her blog, which uses butter and celery. Do you have any favorite roast chicken recipes or tips to share?
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
|Our chickens: Ruby Cheryl, Betty and Veronica|
I'm no math whiz, but here's a breakdown of costs, all this week's prices at Harris Teeter:
4 chickens @ $0.59 = approximately $12
If you bought the parts:
4 large whole chicken breasts @ $4.99 per pound = approximately $24
16 chicken wings = $1.50 (about a pound)
8 chicken thighs and legs @ $3 per pound = approximately $12
4 quarts chicken broth (using backs, necks etc.) $2 quart = $8
Total: About $45
Savings: $33 (less what you put your labor at)
Notice I didn't price out the hearts, gizzards and liver. For one thing, three out of the four livers were a sickly yellow-orange, not the brown-burgundy of a healthy liver. And you only get one each of everything, at the most, so the amount is negligible.
And the liver isn't the only thing that wasn't right with this batch of chickens; one didn't have the oil gland removed from the tail. No big deal for me, since I wasn't roasting the chickens, but could have spoiled the dinner if I had popped it in the oven without noticing. Also no big deal was the number of pin feathers and broken shafts, since I like my skinless chicken. But seeing feathers on a piece of roasted chicken really puts me off.
|A tale of two tails|
Don't know how to cut up a chicken? A step-by-step guide can be found HERE.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
|Spatchcocking a chicken|
I usually spatchcock two of them: I take them out of the bag, put the neck, heart and gizzard in the stock pot, set the liver aside, rinse and dry the chicken well, take a pair of kitchen scissors and cut up each side of the backbone, which then goes in the stock pot, too. Flatten out the birds, season and put the two of them in a 9x13-inch glass casserole, put in a 450-degree oven for 45 minutes or until the juices run clear. They come out beautifully brown and easy to carve.
|The cooked, flattened chicken|
I usually fry the livers in a little olive oil, seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic, then eat them on toasts. If you don't have a cholesterol problem, they are good for you, high in iron and other nutrients: thiamin, zinc, copper and manganese, and Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12 and folate.
The entire process usually takes me about an hour and a half, not counting the time it takes to simmer the broth.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
You probably heard all about the hot water Helen Thomas got herself into with her comments about Palestine. But did you see the Springfield, Ill., State Journal-Register item about her submission to a Women's National Press Club cookbook back in 1961?
The recipe is "Palestine Chicken."
Thomas, 89, was a longtime White House bureau chief for United Press International, columnist for Hearst Newspapers, first female officer of the National Press Club, first female member and a president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, member of the White House Press Corps and is the author of five books.
On May 27, she was outside a Jewish Heritage Celebration Day event at the White House, when she was asked by a rabbi (with a video camera) for a comment on Israel. Thomas said, “Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine.”
She resigned from Hearst Newspapers, and her entertainment agency dropped her.
No word yet if she's thinking of another cookbook.
Friday, April 9, 2010
You can't make a meal out of them alone, but they do make a good basis for a simple supper: the warm salad.
The greens and the cheese are cold here; everything else is at room temperature or slightly warm. The coq au vin refers not to the classic slow-cooked dish, but just that the chicken breasts are cooked in wine.
Warm Coq au Vin Salad
Serves 2 as a main dish
2 cups of torn greens
1 cup red wine
1 cup chicken broth
2 dried hot peppers or 2 teaspoons hot pepper flakes
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1 bay leaf
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
12 grape tomatoes, cut in half
2 ounces feta cheese cubes
1 red bell pepper, roasted, skinned and sliced
Salt, pepper and extra oregano to taste
Wash, dry and tear the lettuce; wrap in paper towels and put on a plate. Chill.
Combine the wine, broth, dried hot peppers or flakes, peppercorns, teaspoons of oregano and salt, and bay leaf in a saucepan big enough to hold the liquid and chicken breasts. Bring to a full rolling boil. Add the chicken breasts. Cook for 10 minutes, turn off the heat and leave in the warm liquid for about 5 more minutes or until firm. Remove from the liquid to a plate.
As the breasts are cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and season with a little pepper. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes. They should have released their liquid when you uncover them; cook until the liquid evaporates, then remove to a plate to cool.
In the salad bowl, place the tomato halves and feta cheese cubes, and the rest of the olive oil. Add salt, pepper and oregano to taste. Add the sweet red pepper strips, and the mushrooms when cool. Slice the chicken breasts against the grain into rough strips and add to the bowl. Add the chilled lettuce. Toss, adjust seasoning if needed and serve.
If you want a heartier dinner, use a cup of arugula instead of the lettuce and toss with a cup of cooked tiny green lentils and 4 ounces of pasta (shells, bowties or orzo) cooked and cooled a little. You may need to increase the amount of olive oil a bit, and perhaps add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.
If you have time, coat the chicken with lavender salt and marinate a couple of hours before poaching; decrease the salt in the liquid.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
If you would like to make an aioli dipping sauce for the chicken, remove 2 tablespoons of the marinade before mixing it with the chicken and combine it with 3/4 cup mayonnaise. Refrigerate until ready to use.
MAKE AHEAD: The lemon-garlic paste can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated. The chicken should marinate for at least an hour or as long as overnight.
4 to 6 servings
Friday, October 30, 2009
3 California bay leaves, broken in half1 teaspoon white pepper1 teaspoon dry mustard1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper1 teaspoon ground sassafras leaves (filé)1/2 teaspoon ground cumin1/2 teaspoon ground thyme1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Saturday, October 17, 2009
The cookbook has a wealth of vegetable recipes and salads, and a few recipes for most kinds of seafood and meats. A substantial dessert section includes a tiramisu that is not unlike the one I hit upon when assembling one for a dinner for 100, and I'm sure it is just as delicious.
The recipe I used last night was definitely a winner: chicken breasts with garlic and parsley. Pépin says he adapted the idea from a traditional French way of cooking frog legs. Well, if he can adapt, so can I. I didn't have parsley, but my basil is loving this cool, wet weather, and I love the way it works with garlic and lemon.
Meanwhile, combine the garlic and parsley in a small bowl. Add the butter and the parsley mixture to the skillet and sauté for 1 minute longer, shaking the skillet occasionally to coat the chicken. Divide among 4 plates, add a wedge of lemon to each plate and serve within 15 minutes.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
One day, driving home from work, NPR had a most engaging story about, of all things, a roast chicken from a restaurant we had just visited in San Francisco, the Zuni Cafe. I came home, packed up my husband and drove straight to the restaurant. Apparently, half of San Francisco had the same idea, so we didn't get seated until almost 9. But oh, was it worth it.
Adapted from the cookbook from the Zuni Cafe, San Francisco
Serves 2 to 4
One small chicken, 2 3/4 to 3 1/2-pounds
4 tender sprigs fresh thyme, marjoram, rosemary or sage, about 1/2 inch long
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 to 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
A little water
Season the chicken: [1 to 3 days before serving; give a 3 1/4 to 3 1/2-pound chicken at least 2 days]
Remove and discard the lump of fat inside the chicken. Rinse the chicken and pat very dry inside and out. Be thorough — a wet chicken will spend too much time steaming before it begins to turn golden brown.
Approaching from the edge of the cavity, slide a finger under the skin of each of the breasts, making 2 little pockets. Now use the tip of your finger to gently loosen a pocket of skin on the outside of the thickest section of each thigh. Using your finger, shove an herb sprig into each of the 4 pockets.
Season the chicken liberally all over with salt and pepper. Season the thick sections a little more heavily than the skinny ankles and wings. Sprinkle a little of the salt just inside the cavity, on the backbone, but don’t otherwise worry about seasoning the inside. Twist and tuck the wing tips behind the shoulders. Cover loosely and refrigerate.
Prepare your oven and pan: [Day of, total time is 45 minutes to 1 hour]
Preheat the oven to 475°F. Choose a shallow flameproof roasting pan or dish barely larger than the chicken, or use a 10-inch skillet with an all-metal handle (we used a 12-inch cast iron frying pan for a 3 1/2 pound chicken). Preheat the pan over medium heat. Wipe the chicken dry and set it breast side up in the pan. It should sizzle.
Roast the chicken: Place the chicken in the pan in the center of the oven and listen and watch for it to start browning within 20 minutes. If it doesn’t, raise the temperature progressively until it does. The skin should blister, but if the chicken begins to char, or the fat is smoking, reduce temperature by 25 degrees. After about 30 minutes, turn the bird over — drying the bird and preheating the pan should keep the skin from sticking. Roast for another 10 to 20 minutes, depending on size, then flip back over to recrisp the breast skin, another 5 to 10 minutes.
Rest the chicken: Remove the chicken from the oven and turn off the heat. Lift the chicken from the roasting pan and set on a plate. Carefully pour the clear fat from the roasting pan, leaving the lean drippings behind. Add about a tablespoon of water to the hot pan and swirl it.
Slash the stretched skin between the thighs and breasts of the chicken, then tilt the bird and plate over the roasting pan to drain the juice into the drippings. You can let it rest while you finish your side dishes (or Bread Salad, below). The meat will become more tender and uniformly succulent as it cools.
Serve the chicken: Set a platter in the oven to warm for a minute or two.
Tilt the roasting pan and skim the last of the fat. Place over medium-low heat, add any juice that has collected under the chicken, and bring to a simmer. Stir and scrape to soften any hard golden drippings. Taste — the juices will be extremely flavorful.
Cut the chicken into pieces, spread on the warm platter (on top of the Bread Salad, if using).
Capitalize on leftovers: Strain and save the drippings you don’t use, they are delicious tossed with spätzle or egg noodles, or stirred into beans or risotto. You can also use them, plus leftover scraps of roast chicken, for a chicken salad.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
The pastas run from $10.50 to $16.50 and the portions are huge. The pizzas, said to be among the best in town, are pricey - $14 to $21.50 for 13-inch pies. The entrees run from $20.25 for the chicken dishes to $26.25 for the filet mignon and garlic shrimp; the fish for the night was halibut and was cooked to perfection. The desserts all looked great, but only one among us felt like he had any room left after the main course. The waiter thoughtfully brought spoons for all of us, however, and we all had at least a bite of the apple pie and the smooth housemade vanilla ice cream.
The bustling place, the frenetic pace, and the attentiveness of Alexander to our dishes made the somewhat scattered and inconsistent service seem like more of a distraction than a major annoyance.