The Simple Art of Cooking: B. Smith and the U.S.O.

The United Service Organization (U.S.O.), an organization that supports U.S. service men and women, goes back to a significant era giving the military a forum of recreation during hard times. The U.S.O. became very personal to B. Smith, whose dad served in World War II, and she feels certain how appreciative her dad must be because of her involvement.

B. often entertains the military at both her Washington, D.C. and New York restaurants. She and her husband, Dan Gasby, are committed to getting the message out about the U.S.O. as it is still a very viable organization and they feel privileged to be a part of it. On November 14, B. and Dan celebrated the 25th anniversary of B. Smith’s Restaurant on West 46th Street in conjunction with the 70th anniversary of the U.S.O. What is also significant is the proximity of the restaurant and the fact that the U.S.O. was founded in Times Square in 1941. [expand]

B. Smith is one busy and extraordinary person. With restaurants in New York, Washington and Sag Harbor, writing cookbooks and acting, B. finds the time to offer her services to events such as “Operation Home Cooking,” giving classes to military spouses and honoring American heroes. She and Dan hosted Sgt. First class Leroy Petri, a recent medal of honor recipient and his family. As B. said, “It’s important for them to know that there is someone who cares about them.” This kind of relationship, and interacting with members of the armed forces and their families makes B. Smith a very happy woman. In addition she feels humbled to be able to spend time with members of the U.S.O. when engaging in their events.

When chatting with Brian Whitney, C.E.O. and President of U.S.O. Metropolitan of New York, he offered “These service men and women are really our nation’s heroes. Their heroic actions express America’s attitudes.” For B. she is “in the business of taking care of people, entertaining and feeding people, and especially feels the need to give back.”

 

B. SMITH’S BACON WRAPPED SCALLOPS

Try to purchase the largest diver scallops available for this delicious appetizer. 1 or 2 per person is sufficient for serving as they are quite rich.

Makes 12 appetizers.

 

Ginger Teriyaki Sauce

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup Mirin (Japanese rice wine)

2 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

 

Bacon Wrapped Scallops

12 strips thin sliced smoked bacon

12 scallops

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

 

1.Pour soy sauce and Mirin in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in sugar and ginger until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and serve on the side for dipping.

2. Trim excess fat from the bacon strips. Remove side muscle from the scallops and wrap scallops with bacon strips, winding the strip around the scallop. Secure each one with a toothpick.

3. Place scallops on a parchment-lined sheet pan and lightly season with salt and pepper; drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Place oven rack 3 to 4 inches below broiler element. Preheat broiler. Broil scallops turning them once making sure bacon is cooked through. Total cooking time about 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer to a platter and serve with paper napkins.

B. SMITH’S CHICKEN DRUMMETS 

WITH SWEET CHILI SAUCE

“The marinade infuses layers of flavor, and the chili sauce adds just the right amount of sweetness and spice. These wings are truly addictive,” B. Smith.

Yield: 24 chicken wing pieces

 

1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons five-spice powder

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

24 chicken wing pieces or drumettes (2 1/2 to 3 pounds)

3/4 cup all-purpose flour, more if needed

Canola oil, for frying

1 bottle store-bought sweet chili sauce

1 pint orange juice

2 tablespoons toasted white sesame seeds optional for garnish

 

For the marinade, combine the soy sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, five-spice powder, and black pepper in a small bowl.

If using whole wings, cut the chicken at the joints to make 3 pieces. Discard the tips or freeze for stock. Place the chicken wing pieces or drumettes in a re-sealable gallon-size plastic food storage bag, add the marinade to the plastic bag. Seal the bag and turn to coat the chicken wings. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours, turning the bag occasionally.

Remove the wings from the marinade. Add the flour to a clean re-sealable plastic food storage bag.

Add the wings a few pieces at a time, shake to coat, then shake off excess flour.

In a deep skillet, pour canola oil and heat to 350°F. Fry the wings in batches until crisp and the juices run clear when pierced near the bone with a sharp knife. Drain on paper towels.

Pour the chili sauce into a large bowl. While warm, add the chicken wings to the bowl and toss them to coat with the chili sauce. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with toasted sesame seeds if desired.

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