The Skirt Steak Files

for ladies who cook, professionally
Documenting the outtakes, outbursts and opinions behind the book SKIRT STEAK: Women Chefs on Standing the Heat & Staying in the Kitchen (Chronicle Books; October 24, 2012. PRE-ORDER it on
  • June 11, 2012 9:55 am

    Soa Davies, Shrimp Boil expert

    Skirt Steakette Soa Davies recently ended a long and wonderful stint working for Eric Ripert and has just embarked on a new venture, Salt Hospitality, her consulting company. She has also launched a blog that should prove essential to home cooks everywhere

    Back in March, along with her boyfriend Jeremie Kittredge of The Idea Collective ( and their friend, the terrifyingly talented food stylist-writer-teacher Angie Mosier (, Soa hosted a shrimp boil (also known, she explained, as Frogmore Stew). “It’s ideal for entertaining a large crowd,” she counsels. 
    Here’s her recipe:


    Serves about 12


    ½ cup Old Bay

    ½ cup Crystal hot sauce

    ½ cup Kosher salt

    2 tablespoons ground black pepper

    4 heads garlic, outer papery skins removed and rinsed

    2 pounds small red potatoes

    1 ½ pounds Andouille sausage, 1 inch slices

    6 ears corn, cut in half

    5 pounds crab legs

    3 pounds shrimp, unpeeled

    1 pound butter, melted

    6 lemons, cut in wedges

    2 baguettes


    1.     Fill a large pot with 1 ½ gallons of water, add Old Bay, hot sauce, salt, pepper, garlic and potatoes, bring to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes.

    2.     Add sausage and corn and simmer for about 10 minutes more or until potatoes are tender.

    3.     Add the crab legs and shrimp and cook 3 to 5 minutes until shrimp just starts to turn opaque and pink.  Drain and dump on a table first lined with garbage bags and then topped with newspaper. Serve with the melted butter, lemons and bread.

  • April 3, 2012 9:38 am

    An Ode to Lassi: Heather Carlucci-Rodriguez’s Keema Mattar

    One day, I’m confident that Heather Carlucci-Rodriguez, who is currently tearing it up, pastry side, at PRINT ( and, previously, made my life a hell of a lot more delicious (and conveniently so) with her sliver of take-out shop Lassi ( do note, at present, the site’s inactive … like a dormant volcano), will publish the cookbook we’ve all been waiting for. When she does, I expect my sorely missed eggplant curry and ideal rice pudding will be included (or else I’ll demand a refund, ahem). Until then, she has generously shared her recipe for Keema Mattar (ground lamb with peas). 

    Keema Mattar

    2 ½ lbs. ground lamb

    2 large onions, chopped

    2 large tomatoes, chopped

    3 cloves garlic, minced

     1 ½ tsp ginger

    2-3 chilis, chopped

    ½ cup water

    2 T salt

    2 ½ T paprika

    ½ T turmeric

    2 ½ T coriander

    2 ½ T garam masala

    2 ½ T chaat masala

    2 ½ T tandoori masala

    ¾ cup heavy cream

    ½ lb. peas

     4 T chopped cilantro

    1.     Heat oil in large, heavy-bottomed saucepan and caramelize onions. Add garlic, ginger and chilis, cook to soft. Add tomatoes and cook to soft.

    2.     Puree.

    3.     Combine spices and salt, add to tomato mixture.

    4.     Add ground lamb and incorporate, using the water to mix. Cover and cook, stirring to break down any lumps.  Cook until liquid is released and lamb is cooked through.

    5.     Add peas and heavy cream and cook uncovered for another 15-20 minutes.

    6.     Add cilantro.

  • December 23, 2011 11:03 am

    a holiday treat from Shuna Lydon*

    *and me too. i asked shuna to present a 2011 edition of the fruitcake for the WSJ’s “Off Duty” section, and this was her delicious gift.

    for a video bonus, click

    with tidings of wondrous, uncomfortably full bellies (that shake when you laugh like bowlfuls of jelly) & joy,


  • November 16, 2011 10:01 am

    Andrea Reusing’s Pickles, Grandma-Style

    You won’t find any recipes in Skirt Steak (i.e. the book), but every so often, a little surprise may tumbl out. The first is a gift from Andrea Reusing ( Introducing, her grandmother’s Bread and Butter Pickles…

    Bread and butter pickles

    Yields about 4 pints

    In a non-reactive pot, bring to a simmer 2 cups of plain white vinegar with 2 cups of sugar, 2 cloves of garlic, a tablespoon each of salt and yellow mustard seeds and two teaspoons each of celery seed and turmeric. Slice 2 quarts of small, thin-skinned cucumbers, one big yellow onion, and 3 or 4 small, fresh semi-hot red peppers (such as Fresno) and add it all to the simmering liquid. Immediately remove the pot from the heat and when cool distribute into jars and refrigerate for a month or two.