Nov 15th, 2011
It's another round of head-to-tail cooking, for the underrated root vegetable! And for good cause: radish greens are a true superfood, among the most nutrient-rich of all leafy greens, yet they tend to become a little coarse and bitter-tasting while the root beneath them matures. No matter -- mash them into a silken fresh pasta to toss with the lightly cooked radishes, too.
Daikon Radish Greens Pasta with Seared Daikon, Chilies, Garlic and Lemon
Nov 13th, 2011
Think spring is the best time of year to eat leafy greens? Fall's cabbage, Swiss chard, lettuce and spinach are just as great, if not better, having been sowed in summer's warm soil. In this region, it's usually a sure bet that they'll mature in time for the first frost to hit, but before they wilt in strong sun. And despite the recent snowstorm on the Northeast, New York's local greens are looking ship-shape, especially the spinach.
Palak Daal (Spinach and Lentil Curry)
Oct 2nd, 2011
Covered in grime, knobby as a goblin, and incredibly fibrous and tough, celery root deserves a place in the "Now who'd have thought to eat that first?" category of foods. But perhaps once was sliced into, and its gruff shade gave way to a moon-like pallor, and a deliciously fresh scent was released; that may have been enough to compel one. And since then, many have done much to showcase the unlikely edible's charms. Like slicing the root finely, and dressing it fresh.
Creamy Celery Root Salad With Red Peppers and Mustard
Sep 29th, 2011
Whisk, ladle, sizzle, and flip. These four steps epitomized the quick weeknight dinner for me during a certain time, when all I wanted to eat were Korean-style pancakes stuffed with fresh vegetables and anything-goes in the fridge. Those, and dunk -- the sound of soy sauce soaking up the tip of one of them before it crunched in my mouth. It was certainly quicker to make than fried rice or noodles, another practical way to toss in any number of ingredients with starch. And some of my friends liked the recipe I posted for it one time so much that they became addicted at times, too.
Savory Mushroom & Scallion Pancakes
Sep 19th, 2011
I had guests over for dinner last weekend and came up with a five-person entree on the fly. I'd zoomed through the Greenmarket, picking up a pint of multi-colored cherry tomatoes, a firm eggplant, and a couple small, pattypan squashes. These all went into a pasta with a hearty portion of Italian sausage from Flying Pigs Farm for the meat-eaters in the crowd. We all loved it. Loved how the dish was colorfully studded with well-sized chunks 'o stuff. Loved the fresh tomato sauce. Loved the way the eggplant, roasted in rounds and added to the sauce later, melted to a custard to thicken it all, and clung to the al dente-cooked pasta.
Heirloom Beans with Roasted Eggplant, Tomato & Zucchini
Sep 13th, 2011
You can fault me for being lax about a lot of things in the kitchen, but when it comes to being resourceful, I am a regular stickler. Therefore, when my family had lobster on a recent trip to the shore, I kept the shells and boiled them down to a concentrated stock. And when we grilled shishkabob sticks and fresh corn on the hibachi, I saved the leftover, blackened sungold tomatoes and few discs of zucchini to puree with it. The result was an unexpectedly -- and unexpected -- tasty, bisque-like soup the next day. One that I might even intentionally produce all the ingredients to make again, it was so good.
Grilled Vegetable Soup with Lobster Stock
Sep 7th, 2011
The most enjoyable aspects of Vietnamese summer rolls are their coolness, contrast of textures, and copious fresh herbs. This suits us most in mid-to-late summer, when herbs are taking over the garden, humidity reigns, and late-season rain and tropical storms can feel like a monsoon. So take it from the Vietnamese, and have something cold and refreshing to keep you awake.
Fresh Veggie Summer Rolls with Shiso and Thai Basil
Sep 1st, 2011
Here's one way to eliminate fattening nuts from your salad: dry-toast a whole grain to toss in. You'll still get a similarly satisfying flavor and the energy-packing proteins and fullness. But with more fiber, and less fat.
Watercress Wheatberry Salad with Cucumber & Yellow Tomato
Aug 28th, 2011
For my last week in San Francisco, I went a little bit off the deep end, with food. I staged at two restaurants (Chez Panisse and Bar Tartine), took a cooking class, went to a supper club, volunteered at an Edible Schoolyard benefit called OPENEducation at the Berkeley Art Museum, and threw an epic dinner party on the boat. This was our first course: a tangy medley of fresh peppers, tomatoes, onions, grilled corn and fish piled inside a hollowed cucumber "boat" -- like the colorful characters who came.
Ceviche With Cucumber “Boats” & Nori “Sails” (San Francisco Chronicles Part 4)
Aug 20th, 2011
They say shakshouka, a common Israeli breakfast dish, is difficult or taxing to make, or that canned tomatoes are the best option to create a thick and savory sauce. But it was the first thing I could think of to whip up when I could find little else but ripe tomatoes and fresh eggs in the icebox one morning last week. I don't mean that in a nostalgic way, using the word, "icebox" -- for the past couple weeks, I've been living on a single-hull sailboat docked at the San Francisco marina.
Shakshouka, On A Boat
Jul 6th, 2011
Who needs rice with black beans when there's sweet corn, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, Swiss chard, and if not peppers just yet, then new, sweet-tasting potatoes, in season now? That's my summertime take on the Latin American classic, with the black beans on the bottom this time.
Black Beans with Summer Vegetable Sauté
Jul 2nd, 2011
I find the mild flavor, mild texture, and outrageous color of roasted beets so enjoyable that I'll pop them into my mouth whole like popcorn. Only, it's not all the time that I get to roasting a few beets, especially when it's been as warm as the last few weeks in New York. However, I did roast a lot of very good beets the other day -- good, because they were just in season at the farmers' market (rather than having been in cold storage for several months, from last summer's harvest) -- and I had some stragglers after the popping-whole session.
Spicy Beet Salad With Smoked Almonds on Toast
Jun 26th, 2011
Last week, I got a beautiful, billowy head of napa cabbage in my CSA share. There were only about three other people picking up their shares at the same time as me, but I was able to overhear the same concerns: "What do I do with napa cabbage?" Naturally, I was determined to find a crowd-pleasing application.
Napa Cabbage with Chili-Garlic Sauce and Szechuan Peppercorns
Jun 22nd, 2011
I've been hearing the term "warm salad" being tossed around a lot lately, and feel it might be a new menu buzzword. Perhaps it inspires curiosity, still carries an unlikeliness that hasn't been as indoctrinated into our culture as, say, "chilled soup." Sometimes it makes perfect sense (roasted beets, dressed in a light vinaigrette), other times, seems more of a stretch (sorry, sauteed vegetables are just that). I've used the term for this dish because of its middle-road temperature. The potatoes are piping-hot and crisp, and when tossed with cool vegetables the combined effect is perfectly warm. It's the best way to enjoy it, I think.
Warm Potato Salad with Tomatoes, Olives & Garlic Scapes
Jun 17th, 2011
I'll admit, I've been feeling a little overwhelmed by all the greenery that's coming in from my CSA -- and growing on the roof. I hit a breaking point when my friend Wen-Jay (of Local Roots CSA) offered me some leftover stinging nettle from a pick-up day, and I found myself biking home with two swinging backs full of stinging weeds, wondering how I was going to stuff them in my fridge. I thought of buying a juicer -- a quick, mindless solution to getting it all in my body like a transfusion of deep-green. But a classic Spanish recipe, made with mountains of muddled greens and fresh herbs, came to mind instead.
Green Gazpacho (and a preview of the Feast of 61 Local Ingredients)
Jun 13th, 2011
Zucchini and summer squashes are so versatile, and so various in size, color and shape, that they're endlessly fun to create with. From pattypan to eight ball-shaped globes of delicate flesh, we've come to see a lot more heirloom types of these over the last few years, thanks to farmers who've saved their seeds. This recipe can be made with any of them, sliced thinly and arranged in layers to stand in for lasagna sheets -- and soak in all the flavors in between.
Zucchini Lasagna (Without the Pasta Sheets)
Jun 10th, 2011
I've been eating in the style of mezze
a lot lately -- a small pile of sauteed snap peas here, some roasted beets there, etc. So many vegetables are suddenly in season, and piling up thanks to my CSA share, that preparing them all in some congruous fashion can get taxing -- and somewhat self-defeating, as most are so good on their own. So rather than plopping a big, messy pile in front of me, I like to scatter a personal potluck on the table, of delicious but simple things. Well, here's one addition that will bring protein to the party, and is easy to keep on hand.
Herbed Fava Beans
Mar 28th, 2011
We're happy and hungover at Sixpoint and BeerAdvocate, and want to thank everyone who came out to our inaugural fundraiser event, Beer For Beasts, at the Bell House on Saturday. I had a fabulous time, and am eager to share a recipe for one beer I heard many compliments on... me and Robert's Triphop Grapefruit IPA! But first, a quick recap of how the event went down:
TripHop Grapefruit IPA (and a recap of Beer For Beasts)
Mar 17th, 2011
Happy St. Patty's Day! If popular tradition had won us over, we'd be toasting pints of Guinness in leprechaun hats and forking up mouthfuls of corned beef with cabbage and potatoes right about now. But as much as I hold dear that classic meal, it just didn't seem like an appropriate day for boiled potatoes and cabbage. At sixty degrees and sunny outside, it's picnic time. Spring is here, and that's reason enough to celebrate.
Corned Beef on Rye with Mustardy Coleslaw & Caramelized Onions
Mar 14th, 2011
If it weren't so easy to make an entire one, I might succumb to ordering a slice of savory quiche at a bakery or for brunch. But it is, and no matter if you incorporate the most luxurious ingredients or leftovers in its airy, yellow mass, definitely more economical than the options above. It's one of my favorite ways to add class to eggs.
Wild Mushroom Quiche with Pecorino & Lemon Zest
Mar 11th, 2011
I had an I-Can't-Believe-I-Made-That moment when this cake slipped out of the new bundt pan. Its surface was like a helmet of crisp, melted sugar; it hit its final destination of a plate with a slight spring. A wave of warm, buttery caramel, with citrus and spruce filled my nostrils. It looked like an Art Deco sculpture of sorts. It was a real moment of victory. And I can't wait for it to happen to you, hopefully, too.
Orange Rosemary Bundt Cake
Mar 7th, 2011
Hear me out: making kimchee at home is really easy! And the payoffs are practical in the kitchen, too. Here's a look at my first attempt at making a true, Korean friend-approved batch of kimchee, and one way to put it to delicious use: as a seasoning for everyday, ever-versatile roasted potatoes.
Kimchee Roasted Potatoes
Mar 3rd, 2011
photo by MHT
What do figs, spice and everything malty and nice have to do with one another? They're all ingredients of a specialty beer I helped brew this week, for Sixpoint and BeerAdvocate's Beer For Beasts festival. It's an event we've been "brewing" up for a while, and the pieces are all coming together in the form of twenty-some unique, one-off beers that will be served for it. This is just one of those among the lineup, but an exciting one that I just had to share a homebrew recipe for. Inspired by the African title for queens, Kandake, this beer is flavored with honey, birdseye chili (or peri-peri), cardamom, cloves, Ethiopian coffee and dried figs.
Kandake, the Queen of Beers
Feb 25th, 2011
I love Asian ice cream, milkshake and flavored tea flavors, but so often they're sad, powdered relics of the real stuff. The pale green "honeydew" makes me miss the juicy, floral freshness of the real fruit, slushed up, that I'd get in Taiwan. Bright lilac "taro" flavor just plain is not. Although I may never have enough sun to grow fresh, tropical fruit and coconuts here, one flavor I don't see the need to place in artificial form, anywhere, is that of red bean. You can pick up a bag for ninety nine cents at the corner store.
Red Bean Ice Cream
Feb 21st, 2011
My friend was talking about how she'd made spanakopita
, the Greek savory spinach pie, recently. Only, she didn't actually finish making it: "The filling was so good I just ate it up with a spoon, and didn't bake it with the crust." She was also impressed with how much spinach she had eaten; the one-pound bag, the size of a fluffy pillow, had all cooked down to a portion that neatly filled a soup bowl. That's a good way to eat a lot of spinach, I thought. And, why had I never made spanakopita
Spinach & Kimchee Pies
Feb 15th, 2011
Today was gusty like a regular dust storm, at least in Red Hook where I was a-working. And there was some music playing, by a feller named Woody Guthrie, and he was a-talkin about some dust storm in a song called "Talking Dust Bowl Blues." In one verse, he sings, "My wife fixed up a tater stew," and it got me hungry and thinkin' food. So I'll stop with the bad sing-song writing here, but now you know the reason for it.
Roasted Potato Leek Soup with Kale
Feb 9th, 2011
In the summer, beans were for dressing in a gloss of olive oil, tossing with a confetti of crisp, chopped vegetables, and having as salad. In the winter, we simmer them with rich fats, sometimes with finely chopped (less colorful) vegetables, which dissolve into the resulting soup or baked casserole. While it's definitely winter, I tried to make a compromise between these two polar opposite ways to eat beans. Starting with the king-size fava (or "broad") bean, dried.
Hearty Fava Bean Stew
Feb 7th, 2011
I would have named this recipe tom yum
since the popular Thai dish is certainly its inspiration. But it's missing a few crucial -- and difficult to find -- ingredients, and prepared rather on the fly instead of slow-simmered. It wouldn't seem quite right to purists of Thai cuisine. It is, however, absolutely right to those looking to quench their appetite for something a little exotic, restorative and refreshing, and you don't have much time.
Hot-Sour Lemongrass Soup with Mushrooms & Tofu
Jan 29th, 2011
When a purchased food becomes such a habit that I can't fathom a day without this item, it's usually when I decide to make something like it at home. This winter, it's been cookies... boxes, and boxes of cookies. All kinds of cookies. Chewy, grainy, nutty ones; flat, crispy sugary ones. It's an awful way to start off the new year, I suppose.
Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Choc-Oat Chip Cookies
Jan 25th, 2011
If the fashion sensibility "peasant chic" were translated to food, this would be a runway highlight. It's a melange of the penniless pantry, but manages to come out vibrant with flavor, and chock full of nutrition. A little funky, offbeat, and very magenta (is that an "in" color?), it's what I call making the best of the least -- and the cheapest -- ingredients. It's also filling enough for a one-dish dinner alone, but plop in a poached egg and have with a crust of bread the next day for a hearty breakfast, too.
Red Cabbage & Black-Eyed Pea Soup
Jan 21st, 2011
No, I didn't just sneeze, it's oshinko
! A simple, no-sweat type of Japanese pickle. If you like a salty, crisp snack in the middle of the day, or something to refresh your palate at the end of a meal, try making a big batch of these pickles to keep in the fridge. It takes just three days for them to sit at room-temperature, to their slightly fermented state.
Carrot, Cucumber and Radish Oshinko
Jan 17th, 2011
This dish is simply addictive. To make. Since giving it a vegetarian spin with mushrooms and breadcrumbs a few years ago, I've put all sorts of things in stuffed cabbage: spicy chorizo, roast chicken, rice and beans, and mixtures that might form a veggie patty if fried. I can see why rolling things up in large leaves has struck people from all parts of the globe as ideal: it's a great treatment for any leftover food.
Stuffed Cabbage with Cranberries & Pecans
Jan 10th, 2011
For a long time, I could never fathom making many beloved, wintry foods without meat. It seemed like if you took the meat away, you'd lose the whole hutzpah of the thing. And besides, we need something to fortify our chilled bones with. Well, it's taken a long journey but in the case of cassoulet, I've decided that it isn't the pork, or duck fat that is the whole hutzpah, it's the tender, melt-in-your-mouth beans swaddled in a creamy, baked-in sauce.
Incredible Vegetable Cassoulet
Jan 4th, 2011
If you have attended a tasting event held by the Greenmarket, Edible Manhattan/Brooklyn or Just Food, chances are you've seen Jacques Gautier. He's the guy flipping fresh masa tacos before the longest line of people waiting for a bite. Jacques also does this (as well as preparing a hearty menu of fresh, seasonally-inspired Latin cuisine) at his Park Slope restaurant, Palo Santo. As the chef/owner/rooftop gardener of the restaurant, he has a lot on his hands everyday. Yet he still finds time to engage in community events and cooking classes, such as a recent class at Ger-Nis Culinary & Herb Center in Gowanus.
Here’s Lookin’ At You Cook, Jacques Gautier
Jan 1st, 2011
Happy New Year. I'm not one to really make solid New Year's resolutions. But for any given reason, I might make new foodsolutions. My latest determination came after an extended Christmas vacation in Wisconsin. It was extended, because of the blizzard that hit New York City, just the day I was planning to return. And it was foodsolution-inspiring because Wisconsin is practically swathed in butter, cheese and beef.
Dec 20th, 2010
Crispety, crunchety, tang. That's all I taste when I sink an incisor through one of these slices of spring green. All it took was a splash of lemon juice, glug of olive oil, sea salt, and a few minutes' time marinating to bring something like broccoli stems to this level.
Quick-Marinated Broccoli Stems
Dec 14th, 2010
Here is a really good example of the fact that I'm half-Chinese. I have no idea what this is, but I just made it for a snack. It's sort of like hash browns, but with turnip slices, and condiments fit for dumplings. I gotta say, though, it was a lot simpler to make than either of the above, and its taste satisfied somewhere in between.
Pan-Fried Potatoes and Turnips with Chili-Soy Sauce & Scallions
Dec 9th, 2010
Dear Mom and Dad,
Today I had the most wonderful tomato soup. And I actually made it! Okay, it wasn't fancy or very fussy, and actually, it could have been pureed a little bit smoother. But it tasted just about perfect: full-bodied and fresh, not too sour, but not too dulled with milk or cream that you can't taste the tang of the tomato at all. And it wasn't too loose or chunky, like a marinara sauce, either. So I guess I was able to solve all my pet peeves about tomato soup by simply making it myself.
Tomato Soup to Write Home About
Dec 7th, 2010
Holidays are all about traditions -- making them, keeping them. I've got a tradition in the works of coming up with seasonal ice cream flavors. I don't necessarily think this hobby needs a holiday attached to it, but it is a good excuse to make lots of ice cream. Previous holiday seasons have been responsible for creating some of my favorites, like chai, orange spice, cranberry, peppermint, chocolate and five-star anise, and curry-carrot-coconut ice cream. If I could capture the essence of an elf in ice cream form, I'd do it. And actually, I wonder if it wouldn't be so far off from this zingy, ticklish ginger flavor.
Ginger Ice Cream with Candied Ginger Strips
Dec 2nd, 2010
For those readers who have been around long enough to notice, I took a vacation from "Reason of the Month" posts beginning in May, that would last through the summer and fall. The idea was to focus on Lunch at Sixpoint during the height of gardening season. (Which, you could say is one long extension of Reason #42: Because You Can Grow Your Own Food.) But now that it's almost winter, I've found a great new reason to start up these posts again. I made spaghetti and meatballs for the first time this year. It was the perfect comfort-food meal to ring in a new season of eating in.
Reason For Not Eating Out #43: Spaghetti with Meatballs
Nov 29th, 2010
You could say I'm on a bit of a soba kick lately. I've been slurping up a great bowl of buckwheat noodle soup for breakfast, lunch or dinner almost every day these past few chilly weeks. Let's talk about the soba in a bit; a really good bowl of any noodle soup, in my opinion, is in the soup. It's generally thought that a good broth takes hours or even days to make right. But I've figured out a quick and easy system for turning out a savory mushroom stock that doesn't taste like instant powder and is, moreover, completely natural and vegetable-based. So there's hardly any time needed to prepare a bowl like this in the morning, no matter how hungover I am (and I won't be for long).
Mushroom Soba & Miso-Braised Mustard Greens
Nov 23rd, 2010
Meat and potatoes people, here's a new reason to celebrate (or deviate?): sunchokes. They're sweet and nutty-tasting, great roasted with rosemary, and they made for a delicious variation on a favorite side dish that needs little more excitement in my opinion -- German potato salad. So this dish is really an excuse to combine two of my recent food obsessions, in one platter. It'll make a good addition to the Thanksgiving table, too.
German Sunchoke Salad with Bacon & Scallions
Nov 20th, 2010
Last Halloween, Dave introduced me to a dish that involves baking stuff inside a hollowed-out pumpkin. He explained that he'd taken it from a Ruth Reichl recipe in Gourmet
. This past Halloween, I hosted, and I copied Dave's (or Ruth's) dish to a T. (Only mine was in a white heirloom "ghost" pumpkin, and I served a side of beet-and-tomato "blood" soup
.) It's sort of like French onion soup, inside a pumpkin: you stuff stale bread cubes and pour chicken stock inside the pumpkin, and top it with grated Swiss cheese while it bakes. A great concept, I thought, and I loved the addition of the roasted pumpkin that gets scraped up along with each spoonful of the finished stuff.
Chipotle Baked Beans In A Pumpkin
Nov 18th, 2010
I've been to Wisconsin a few times, whether traveling for work (involving food) or pleasure. So I've gotten a good taste of the dairy state, and even toured the caves of a cheesemaker once. So when I was asked to recreate a recipe from Wisconsin Cheese and Chef Michael Symon's cooking series, Favorite Foods, I thought it'd be a good way to cook with one of my findings. But also, to maybe overcome a lifelong aversion I've had for Blue cheese.
Arugula Salad with Wisconsin Blue Cheese
Nov 15th, 2010
Rather than watering it down with milk and cream, or confusing its flavor with a tomato-laden broth, this soup is all about broccoli, from its florets to its stems to its leaves. You'll get a big burst of the broccoli with each spoonful of the stuff, and that's a somewhat new way to experience a vegetable that's been around (and has been disdained, in many cases) for all our lives. It starts out with roasting the pieces to concentrate their flavor even more, and it has roasted garlic and shallots to cement that sweetened touch. A drizzle of distractingly good olive oil to finish and that's your bowl packed with the power food. Eating your greens has never been easier.
Broccoli & Roasted Garlic Soup
Nov 10th, 2010
I recently wrote a post on Brooklyn Based about Where To Get Your Gobble Gobble, a round-up of sustainably-minded turkey farms and purveyors in the region that are now offering their best for the big, birdy holiday. But as I was walking through the Greenmarket today, I thought, these vegetables are pretty fascinating, too -- and I'm never short of finding a new one with each stroll. So, since we all know the most exciting part of the Thanksgiving meal are the sides, here's a few shout-outs to vegetables that might even be worthy of a main course of their own.
5 Seasonal Veggies You Gotta Try This Thanksgiving
Nov 2nd, 2010
Question: Why do we eat coleslaw in the summer, usually? Okay, it's crisp, sweet and cooling, and I even thought it was called "cold slaw" as a kid. But it's made primarily of... winter cabbage. And we'll be seeing lots of heads of those for the rest of the year.
Red Cabbage Salad with Quince, Pickled Carrots and Maple-Cider Vinaigrette
Oct 28th, 2010
This past Monday, the 6th Annual Casserole Party was just as promised the biggest and best one yet. The casseroles were good, but what was truly golden was the giving community spirit from everyone there. This event was free and open to the public, and any donations received was purely optional. Yet between the 44 teams of chefs who entered their casseroles in the cook-off, its organizer Emily Farris, the Brooklyn Kitchen who held the event at their space, Brooklyn Brewery who donated beer, the judges, their appetites, and all the volunteers and fellow foodies who came, ate and helped out, we turned what could have been an average gluttonfest into fun, charitable mission that raised more than $1,000 for the Greenpoint Interfaith Food Team (GIFT) and their weekly soup kitchen efforts. Because everyone needs to eat!
Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake, the Winning Casserole Party ’10 Entry
Oct 26th, 2010
So I entered the Casserole Party this year. It was a bit of a last-minute decision: the same afternoon, I chatted with the annual cookoff's hostess Emily Farris on Let's Eat In. It was enough to persuade me to run home and rummage through the kitchen to come up with something fast. After all, that's what a casserole is best for, to combine whatever delicious things you have on hand in one dish. A casserole dish, to be exact. Well, I had a crisp head of orange cauliflower, and some home-cured salmon from my CSA stash. It seemed like a pretty good start.
Cream of Cauliflower Casserole with Cured Salmon
Oct 22nd, 2010
It's always exciting to cook with an ingredient for the first time. With all the interesting seasonal produce that can be found, this will surely never end. Food surprises are one of the main draws of joining a CSA for me, too: you never really know what you're going to get in a given week. Last week, my fruit share from Red Jacket Orchards included quince. Only I thought they were Bartlett pears at first, and then, more outrageously, kumquats.
Oct 17th, 2010
I love making hash browns, but it's not exactly the quickest route to a savory breakfast. Nor is it the most nutritious; even if using sweet potatoes, which are richer in beta-carotene and cold weather-helping antioxidants than regular, pale potatoes, you'll spend almost twice the amount of time cooking it to a pleasing softness, and by that time you'll have added more oils to keep it from sticking to the pan. Winter squash is in season, and I've found a new use for any type. Browned in a pan with a hit of fresh peppers, which are still lingering from summer, lemony sorrel and some toasty squash seed oil, I can't think of a better way to start a fall day.
Spicy Squash Hash
Oct 12th, 2010
You know, I have never actually owned a cake pan. I've never particularly wanted to use one, either. The spring clasp makes me skeptical. And I guess I don't see why any food should have to be such a perfect cylinder of foam. As you can probably guess, I don't have any cake decorating gadgets, and I've gotten by improvising them every time I've taken on a cupcake task. (Is it a sign of the awesome popularity of the cupcake that I've never baked a cake in a proper pan?) But if you're wary of crowding your cupboards with stuff you barely use, too, here's one way to multi-task your cookware, without sacrificing taste. This upside-down cake takes about 35 minutes to make, and you can do it all in an oven-safe skillet.
Apple Upside-Down Cake (in a fry pan!)
Oct 8th, 2010
I'm always looking to cook beans in a hearty application that doesn't involve meat. After all, beans are a protein on their own. From lentils to split peas to baked beans with ginger, chipotle and hoisin, this has offered varied and delicious results. Why am I doing this? I have no idea, I'm not even a vegetarian. I just want to see how best it can be done.
Runner Beans with Caramelized Onions & Dijon Sauce
Oct 3rd, 2010
We're in a fall transitional time, when savory spoonfuls of something warm might appeal, but bright summer produce is still abound. I was going to make some oatmeal for breakfast, but this happened instead. Luckily, by the time these oat groats had softened, it was lunchtime, too.
Ris-Oat-O with Fresh Corn & Zucchini
Oct 1st, 2010
It's a simple conceit: peanut butter and jelly, America's favorite sandwich combination, in America's favorite dessert, pie. You could approach this in many ways, and one other person at the pie contest that I baked this for actually did, layering a peanut butter mousse with concord grape mousse in a thin crust. But the way I went about it was more in keeping with pie tradition than pb&j: I made a fresh fruit filling, and instead of just butter in the crust, added peanut butter, too.
Peanut Butter & Jelly Pie (at the Greenpoint Open Studios Benefit Pie Bake-Off)
Sep 27th, 2010
Most of my favorite soups have "peasant" origins. From the poorest "peas porridge" to simple black bean, reheated ribollita to wintermelon and stock, this humble fare reminds me that you don't have to simmer a whole great number of specific things to come away with a really great soup. Especially if your ingredients are great on their own.
Roasted Red Pepper & Parmesan Soup
Sep 22nd, 2010
It's a ubiquitous side on the sushi restaurant menu, but "seaweed salad" is just weeds from the sea, tossed with dressing. Often, it's made from dried and reconstituted seaweed sheets, shred into ribbons. You can get packages of the dried stuff at any Japanese grocery. Or, if you're at the beach, you'll come across it, fresh, for sure.
Seaweed Salad (with the stuff washed up on the shore)
Sep 19th, 2010
I can't think of too many other proteins you can't try this same dish out on -- whether it be fish, a pork chop, or a hunk of firm tofu. It's simple: a seared steak (of some sort) brushed with a little sauce while it finishes in the oven. But I'm lucky, because the protein I have most readily on hand happens to be wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon.
Apricot-Glazed Salmon with Bok Choy
Sep 14th, 2010
If you had to name two things that go brilliantly when thrown together in a pot, especially when you're at the shore in the last throes of summer, you might not immediately pick clam and tomatoes. Lobster and corn might come to mind, with potatoes a tagalong or alternate. But it's the first combo that I'd go with from now on. It was the basis of the best soup I've had in a while, just in time for chillier nights.
A Very Manhattan New England Clam Chowder
Sep 11th, 2010
Just another fun way to serve up eggplant, fresh and simple. Because it's got to be cooked, eggplant tends to get weighed down in heavier preparations -- parmiggiana, or an Asian stir-fry with lots of gloppy brown sauce. But I love just roasting a skinny eggplant half, face down like a spear, and eating it straight-up like that afterwards, soft and gooey inside. This was more or less what I did for cooking demonstrations two weekends ago at New York Botanical Gardens' Edible Gardens series, when the theme ingredient was this versatile nightshade.
Sep 7th, 2010
I was inspired to do this by one of my favorite Chinese condiments, pickled mustard greens. The greens are finely shredded, brined with salt, vinegar and soy sauce, sometimes chiles, and in some cases, slightly fermented before going into a can or a jar to be preserved. Then, they're served with almost anything: stir-fries with tofu, a bowl of noodle soup with sliced pork, and, when I was little, sometimes just sprinkled on top of a bowl of hot, soupy leftover rice. It's kind of like sauerkraut, only leafier. Or kimchee, only shredded finer, and not as spicy, garlicky and gingery. You get the drill.
Pickled Swiss Chard
Sep 2nd, 2010
First it was this on a plate with leftover roasted almonds strewn about, a salad. Then it was this, transported to crisps of leftover bread, a crostini. Next it was this, stuffed into my cold burrito from a take-out place that I didn't even go to (somebody else did, and gave me their leftovers). Soon it will be this, on leftover rice that's stuck to a pot in the fridge. Basically, this is really good. Any way you serve it.
Shredded Kale & Sungold Tomato Crostini
Aug 25th, 2010
I was at a backyard party in Brooklyn a few weeks ago hosted by my friend June. I'd been to her paella party at about this time of year last summer, and so I knew what kind of yumminess to expect from this event. I got there a little late, again. June was just adding the shellfish to a paella pan, plunking clams and mussels hinge side down into the rice. The wide, cast-iron pan was placed on top of a blazing hibachi grill on a small space of concrete. On top of another grill, there were sliced zucchini just going down, the smell of blackened shisito peppers was in the air, and trays full of grilled sausages, browned chicken, rabbit meat and beans flocking the station all told me that June had been laboring over open fire for some time now. My cocktail, served up by a guest/friend behind a makeshift bar, must have gone straight to my sun-weary head. I stood before the barbecue, transfixed, and watched the mussels and clams slowly open in the pan and continue to gape wide, as if they were all preparing to sing the Hallelujah chorus.
Here’s Lookin’ At You Cook (Paella), June Russell
Aug 24th, 2010
We've gotten our first whiff of fall in New York City this week. This morning, I actually put on socks. But now that summer is beginning to fade (and soon, too, will my flip-flop foot tan), it's officially okay to start thinking about baking, specifically pies. There is so much good fruit around.
Plum & Apricot Pie
Aug 11th, 2010
In this glass is a perfect balance of yin and yang: it's cool and seductively sweet, yet warm and nose-tingly with a subtle hint of spice. Does one need anything else in the world? No. And it's only three ingredients, too.
Peach Lassi (with a hint of cinnamon)
Aug 6th, 2010
If you find yourself oddly annexed between two seasons (spring and summer) with ingredients (shell peas and red plums) by way of travel (to upstate New York and back to NYC), then this is what you might make. Especially if you've just discovered an ingredient from Italy called fregula, small granules of toasted semolina pasta that tastes a bit like burnt crumbs.
Fregula with Peas and Plum
Aug 3rd, 2010
The Sixth Annual Great Hot Dog Cook-Off took place last Saturday, and what a competition we had! The little cook-off that began in Kara Masi's backyard has blossomed into a full-blown block party in front of Kelso Brewery in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. As always, this event was a charity fundraiser for City Harvest, who received all of the proceeds from the 300 ticket sales. Kelso has been sponsoring the cook-off since the very first year, and last year held it inside (and on the streets outside) the brewery. This year, a deejay, announcer, ice cream sponsor (Adirondack) and hot dog (Hummel) sponsor were added. And there were twenty wildly different hot dogs on display from the contestants -- including mine, a green curry mayo-slathered cucumber dog.
The Green Curry Cucumber Dog (and a recap of the Great Hot Dog Cook-Off ’10)
Jul 28th, 2010
I don't know anything that doesn't taste good with a slice of a fresh, juicy and tree-ripened summer peach. It doesn't need anything to accompany it, but it sure can give other ingredients a boost. For example, ricotta or goat cheese with a peach slice on crostini. A bowl of vanilla ice cream with peaches. Grilled peaches on shishkabob sticks, in salsa and gazpacho, on a pizza instead of tomato slices, peanut butter and peach sandwiches. I'm eating buckwheat pancakes with peaches on them right now. Life is peachy. So I decided to do as I've done before with citrus fruit wedges, and toss them along with some roasted beets.
Peach and Roasted Beet Salad
Jul 23rd, 2010
Stuffed with what, it really matters little. Do a crab dip type thing, spinach, bacon or pancetta, or this: lots of herbs with breadcrumbs, onion, and the scooped-out squash sauteed first. Sprinkle cheese on top before roasting, or not. Or stuff it with "surprise," what happened to that fun tradition? The object is using the summer squash -- particularly the rounder species, like these lovely eight-ball varieties just in season -- in ways we haven't before.
Stuffed Summer Squash
Jul 20th, 2010
We have a new champ of the Food Obstructions, and a winning recipe that I hope everyone cooks up real soon. But first, a big, fat thank-you from Karol, David and myself to everyone who came, ate, and cooked. Together, we raised almost $600 for Just Food, the nonprofit promoting access to fresh, good food for all residents of NYC. It seems that definitely includes us, because what was even more impressive about Sunday was the smorgasbord of delicious, summery treats prepared by our new friends and neighbors. And all of them followed these rules: 1) Must be vegetarian; 2) Must contain locally-sourced honey; 3) Must contain a locally-grown vegetable; 4) Must have an ingredient that's spherical in shape; 5) Must have a crunchy garnish.
Saru Gazpacho, and a Food Obstructions IV Recap
Jul 18th, 2010
I love it when a dish just makes sense somehow. Feels more efficient. This can often be achieved by using two parts of the same plant, or animal, if in unsuspecting ways. Hey, if eating meat from head to tail is all the rage, then how about vegetables from shoot to root? Stalk to flower? Waste not, want not, and why not cook 'em both together? That's what I thought when I bought a bunch of these lovely tri-colored carrots. Though prepared this way, you might not even guess it was all the same plant.
Grilled Carrots with Carrot Greens Pesto
Jul 6th, 2010
Growing up, a summertime party spread was never complete without these usual suspects: a bowl of cold sesame noodles, and a batch of marinated, peeled cucumbers that had been chilling with soy sauce, vinegar, tons of chopped garlic, and a dash of sesame oil. The latter had no name really, it was just my mom's homestyle pickles, or quick-pickles. No fermentation, no cold-packing, just a long sit in the fridge was all that was needed to make them (although a tangy, fermented bite would develop over time). The longer the cucumbers marinated, the more pungent they would become as the pieces soaked up flavors like sponges. But they would lose some of their crisp snap at the same time. This wasn't such a bad thing, however. And because this texture was appealing in its own, I thought I'd do the same thing with zucchini, which is much softer.
Garlicky Marinated Zucchini with Soy and Sesame
Jun 13th, 2010
This is just one of those really simple yet satisfying weeknight meals. It took all of three minutes to cook, though that's not counting the rice you might want to serve it with. It was light and tasty as anything could be. And it's currently my favorite way to enjoy sugarsnap peas. That's saying a lot, since snap peas are so good prepared so many different ways.
Ginger Stir-Fried Sugarsnap Peas & Fish
Jun 6th, 2010
Sweet, spicy and sour, what a wallop for your morning toast. What a surprise for a spread with cheese on crackers. This jar will surely sit a special place in the fridge, one of the wacky, must-think-before-eating creations, right there with the kimchee-pickled beets. The good thing: one slick will go a long way. The bad thing: your tastebuds will become more tolerant to heat, as you'll want to slick on more and more.
Rhubarb, Chile & Lemon Peel Preserves
Jun 2nd, 2010
I often shop with my eyes rather than my head when it comes to local food at the Greenmarket. This leads to a fun culinary game later of what to do with strawberries, fiddleheads, and a rainbow trout, for instance. Not the most practical method, I'll admit, but I'll stand by it just for the unexpected little solutions to those puzzles like this. Plowing through a bustling Saturday market at Grand Army Plaza, my eyes settled on some of the flashiest gems, and I left with -- and not knowing what to do with -- a bunch of rainbow-stemmed Swiss chard, and some multigrain bread.
Rainbow Chard on Toast, Two Ways
May 28th, 2010
In the past couple months, I have gone off such the deep end into Eastern philosophy it's embarrassing. I've traded coffee for tea, drunken bike crashes and homemade hangover brunch parties (as recalled in The Art of Eating In
) for bikram yoga and granola with soy milk. I don't know what's going on. My latest obsession is with macrobiotics. It stresses the importance of many of the things we're already privvy to about food (unprocessed, well-balanced), but much more, like directional energy, color, and stuff I still can't comprehend.
Spelt Pilaf with Pickled Radish, Pumpkin Seeds, Golden Raisins & Parsley
May 21st, 2010
Anyone who's a real purist of pasta is going to take one look at these misshapen dumpling-like things and sneer. Can't blame me for being a little over-ambitious for a weeknight meal, but you can for exaggeration in calling these "orecchiette." Well, I'm just not sure what else to call them. But they taste alright -- especially when tossed in a buttery, fresh lemon sauce and surrounded by spicy broccoli rabe.
Homemade Orecchiette (or something almost resembling it) with Broccoli Rabe & Lemon Butter
May 11th, 2010
If that isn't the most fun food name to pronounce, I don't know what is. Bibimbap is lots of fun to make, too. It simply means, "mixed rice" in Korean and it's an everyday, meal-in-one-bowl. Any vegetables you have on hand will do; you can marinate some sliced meat and sautee it to add, too. Then you just assemble everything on the rice, add a dollop of spicy gochujang
and an egg to pop. You can mix in a little more than that, add fancier steps like grilling, or hot stone bowls that still cook. But that's the basic swing of things -- it's the bibim bop, can you dig?
Brown Rice & Radish Bibimbap
May 7th, 2010
There are a few famous bedfellows for asparagus, when cooking it simply as a side. One is Hollandaise sauce. Shaved parmesan and a poached egg a la Milanese tradition has very much taken root in restaurants here. A faction of moms only dress asparagus with grated, hard-boiled eggs, according to some friends. And not that everything hasn't been wrapped with bacon, but a bundle of stalks secured with a strip has become quite notorious, too. Now, there are few things I think couldn't be ten times better with a runny egg placed on top of it, ready to poke (sometimes, transforming something insubstantial into recipe-writing worthy), but what else might do this spring veggie well?
Blanched Asparagus with Almonds, Shallots & Lemon
May 4th, 2010
I know it's suddenly summer in the city, and yesterday's humidity prompted some to rev up the A/C already. But, like less fortunate others, I've come down with a rare case of spring allergies and can't tell you how many times I've sneezed this morning. My inner food forecast told me it was time for some animal protein. Moo, you flexitarian, tea-drinking weakling!
Coffee Beer-Braised Short Ribs with Couscous
Apr 27th, 2010
Make no mistake: food is trend-oriented. Each region has its own fixations; we recycle them once they're in season each year, and other times, toss them out to make way for newer trends. It's a monkey-see, monkey-eat philosophy, and one thing that's been made abundantly clear to me these past few years is that an unassuming, often-wild allium called ramps is definitely in
, around here.
Flatbread with Ramps, Coconut Milk & Green Curry
Apr 25th, 2010
Even when you're put up to a task, the most personal, creative and rewarding results can follow. Bear that in mind the next time your roommate asks you to pick up the living room (maybe it could use those cute new throw pillows you've been eyeing). When Amanda at the popular Park Slope site with an expletive in the name asked me to take on a cooking challenge, I thought, that's the last thing I need now -- a chore. But, it sounded too cool to pass up: she wanted me to recreate a menu item from one of the many eateries in the neighborhood that was a favorite among readers in a poll. I'm actually surprised I haven't done something quite like this yet.
Squid Salad with Roasted Potatoes
Apr 21st, 2010
Two ingredients thought to be past their prime -- the broccoli plant, once it's gone to flower, and bread, a few days since baking -- revitalized. I do love using up food scraps. This recipe came after a few rounds of making really good bread pudding. Could anyone have conceived of a better way to use stale bread than that? I wondered. Then I began to think of French toast, and how custardy and warm the centers of those thick slices get. How crisp the outside is, grilled in butter. And how quick it is to cook this in a pan, as opposed to the pudding, which must be baked. So it was French toast, with a savory twist the next morning: this frittata, with a local green that's particular to spring.
Flowering Broccoli & Stale Bread Frittata
Apr 15th, 2010
I'm not on a raw food diet; but my oven would have me that way. It won't fire up, for mysterious reasons, and I seem to miss the mechanic at my building every time he comes by. So what was going to be a simple side dish of roasted root vegetables -- just carrots and parsnips -- turned out even simpler. And arguably more delicious, or at least, more refreshing.
Raw Carrot & Parsnip Salad
Apr 13th, 2010
Behold a new era of bread-baking. Since hearing so many success stories about no-knead bread in the aftermath of publishing The Art of Eating In
(which included a recipe for a parmesan peppercorn version), I've rekindled a passion for the home-baked loaf. While the no-knead method liberated the baker from spending much time and effort, my current bout of baking pride involves the least amount of ingredients that need to be purchased. As long as you're handy with what's around.
Sourdough & Spent Grain Bread
Apr 7th, 2010
I love sandwiches. But I can't remember the last time I made one with slices of cold meat. I suppose it's partially reactionary, as I was sent to school with turkey breast, salami or ham tucked between two slices of bread each day growing up. Now it's the fixins' I care about most. The more, the merrier. And open-face means there's no chance the sandwich will get smushed by an apple.
Pickled Pepper, Anchovy & Egg Sandwich on Rye
Mar 30th, 2010
Mackerel is like the kid who gets picked to be on the team last. Outside of Japanese cuisine, it doesn't get much respect. The poor things are canned more often than not, commonly smoked or cured (this is also because it must be eaten only very fresh), and considered too fishy-tasting and unimpressive in size. You won't see it on the menu of too many restaurants, roasted or grilled as is. But when eating in, you get to be captain of your team -- er, menu -- and here's why this underdog is actually a terrific choice.
Miso Broiled Mackerel with Potatoes & Spinach
Mar 24th, 2010
Yeah, they're navy beans, so what? I didn't have lentils on hand. But I still wanted to make something spicy with curry seasonings, filling in just a few slurps, delicious, and did I mention, cheap? Any bean, please. And for that matter, anything else that was in the cupboards, too. This happened to include some pickled red peppers from last summer's harvest, parsley and shallots, and a lemon bursting with juice. Which brings me to a very tentative naming situation: is it dal, or is it just...
White Bean Dal
Mar 21st, 2010
"Yes, but what do you eat every day?" people would ask. You can't possibly be making something this elaborate and eye-catching if you're cooking every day, the skeptics said, referring to photos on this blog. And no, for sure, I did have before me something that looked amazing, or that was even planned out before it came together on a plate, for most of the meals during my two years of eating in. So what did I eat most of the time, and what kind of stuff do I still make, for the most part? Something like this, usually. And actually, it doesn't look half bad.
Soy-Sesame Soba Noodles with Vegetables & Egg
Mar 17th, 2010
It's the eve of spring, and I am so ready to kick off these rainboots and flip-flop in the sun! As well as invite edible tokens of warmer days finally come into the kitchen -- ramps, fiddleheads, spring onions, asparagus and sweet cherries. But though we've turned back the clocks for Daylight Savings, it's still very much in-between seasons, at the Greenmarket. So instead, I'm stuck rummaging through yesterday's winter harvest, like (yawn) apples and pears. Seems about time to give them a little warm-weather makeover, to depart from those tarts and pies. Here's one way I discovered recently: as a refreshing, frosty treat.
Vanilla Pear Granita
Mar 8th, 2010
If there's one thing I learned from the Souperama this weekend, it's that a big batch of soup is meant to be enjoyed by many. And, okay, sixteen batches of them, even better. But more importantly, I was reminded of this altruistic goal when it comes to cooking anything in large portion (and really, who's going to make one bowl of soup?): to try to create something that's kosher for almost any diet, sway or fancy, and still make it delicious for all. It can also be a fun creative challenge. And for someone who happens to have a handful of vegetarian friends, making split pea soup without ham sounded like a challenge, indeed.
Yellow Split Pea Soup with Smoked Paprika & Crisped Leeks
Mar 5th, 2010
There are so many things you can do with fennel, that I don't know where to begin. Slivered and sauteed just like onions creates a caramelized, anise-tasting substitute in a savory beef stew. You can lop off the stalks, which most people sadly don't use, and chop them up like celery to use instead of that, in soup and stock. The fronds are mild-tasting, but they make a distinct, sweet garnish that makes me wonder why I haven't steeped them in milk for ice cream, or dried some of the stuff up for tea. But before we get to those things, here's the most basic, popular way to enjoy fennel: slicing the bulb for a crunchy, refreshing salad.
Spiced Fennel Salad with Creme Fraiche and Meyer Lemon
Mar 3rd, 2010
Join us at Jimmy's No. 43 for a really warm charity event. The 1st annual NYC Souperama, to benefit Harbor Hope and the Fresh Air Fund, is going to be hot. What better way to escape the wintery mix of slush and snow than slurping up ladles of homemade soup, and craft beer? And, chefs are still welcome to sign up so get your stockpots out and throw in whatever's leftover (my favorite thing to do on a winter weekend).
Souperama is This Saturday
Feb 19th, 2010
All too often, I hear the same question from home cooks: what do I do with fish? Not terribly much, is usually my answer. And as soon as you bring your catch home. But while most of us know that fresh fish is best at its freshest, the simple feat of cooking it deliciously has evaded some. So I'm going to share my latest favorite preparation, an unlikely hybrid of hearty winter vegetables and summery lightness.
Steamed Turbot Fillets with Potatoes and Turnips
Feb 16th, 2010
There's squash soup, and then there's squash soup without milk or cream. You could say I'm making an exaggeration by placing such a disparity between the two sister soups, but then I've never had a dairy-less version of squash soup until I made it at home. That is, if you don't count the "butter" inherent in the squash's name.
Honey Butternut Squash Soup
Feb 6th, 2010
I've gone grain crazy as of lately. There are so many different types of them to explore. It started with a pack of bulgur, coarse grinds of whole wheat with a muddy tan color and toothsome, chewy texture. If you like wild rice, you'll find some similarities here. Then I went freaky for smoky roasted spelt, also known as freekeh. Now I can't get Missy Elliot out of my head.
Bulgur and Freekeh Pilaf with Roasted Butternut Squash
Feb 2nd, 2010
You know how salads in restaurants tend to have eight things in them, at least? Or else, it's not really a salad, it seems. One of those ingredients is usually cheese; another is usually nuts (and it's usually crusted with something sweet). There's often meat, grilled and served hot in contrast with the cool greens. It gets more complicated, too. Dried or fresh fruit, oily crusts of bread or croutons, dressings that are an army of ingredients in themselves, and so many types of mixed lettuces when you couldn't identify one by name.
Tuscan Kale Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette and Pomegranate
Jan 27th, 2010
Ever had a really good, juicy carrot? Not the kind that's all white and dehydrated like your skin in the winter, I mean a plump, bursting balloon of sweetness, with a few wisps of fuzzy roots and wrinkles, maybe, but a thin skin that betrays its more-orange-than-an-orange flesh? Thankfully, I have. And it'll never be forgotten. Granted, I can eat carrots any way, shape or form: raw, cooked, juiced, shredded or mashed -- and yes, wispy and dry as my skin right now, too. But it's a whole other level of enjoyment when the ingredient is at its prime.
Carrot Walnut Scones
Jan 24th, 2010
Sometimes the simplest things really are the best. I'd planned to cook, eat, and write about an elaborate dish on my day off. It would be exciting, colorful, and completely novel. It would also somehow incorporate soaked and mostly-cooked white beans, which I had leftover. After a morning of deliberation and preparation, it was done: sour citrus wedges, briny olives and mealy white beans, unexpectedly brought to congress with plenty drizzles of olive oil. But once it was photographed and poised to be eaten, I found that I didn't really want to shovel it down. It was just a bit much
White Bean Puree with Poached Egg
Jan 19th, 2010
I've been having a love affair with beans lately. This may have happened by default, with so few fresh muses in season to cook with, or else a newfound appreciation simply gained on its own merit: beans are infinitely versatile, used in every cuisine, hearty, and nutritious. They are the main ingredient in comfort foods of so many cultures, like the French cassoulet. But beans also have a stigma attached to them, especially in our meat-loving culture -- that of a "poor man's protein." (And please hold the gas jokes.) "Beans are not enthusiastically embraced by everyone," Ken Albala wrote in Beans: A History.
"More than any other food, beans have been associated with poverty."
Yet thanks to them, and to a dizzying bar full of folks enthusiastically embracing them, beans have made the Greenmarket of New York City $2,500 richer.
Cassoulet Marocaine (and a recap of the Greenmarket Benefit Cassoulet Cook-Off)
Jan 14th, 2010
Sick of the same old squashes? Bored of the brainless old ways to cook them, too? (i.e. Roast until tender. Puree into soup.) I think this happens just about every January. It's the winter's-here, we've-done-our-soup-thing, home-cook-head-scratching blues. The holidays are over, and reality has sunk back in; it's back to the daily grind. And what? You're coming down with a flu, too? Yep, you've got it bad. Better get some antioxidants in the system, STAT. Luckily, eating squashes (not just in soups) are pretty good at doing that.
Apple Cider-Braised Kabocha Squash with Golden Raisins and Onion
Jan 11th, 2010
The taste of goat's milk is hard to articulate. There is a world of verbiage that others have affixed to it, but language fails me here. It's not pungent, I don't think... and it isn't mild enough to be called "buttery." But it seems too potent for the word, "earthy." Whatever it is, it was such a novel tastebud sensation for me when I first detected these inscrutable traits -- by accident, smothering asparagus (grassy, sulphuric) and scrambled egg (slightly metallic) in an omelet several years ago -- that my face turned a wild flipbook of expressions, from shock to curiosity to disgust. The mind rejects such an unexpected onslaught on the body, and I decided that I hated goat cheese that day. Time and again, I would taste it and the once unfamiliar flavor became less overwhelming. But the thrill is not gone.
Oat Goat Chip Cookies
Jan 7th, 2010
What is this, la-dee-da?
It's a frittata.
No, it's really not la-dee-da, it's eggs, with pickled cabbage and spinach in it. Okay, well maybe the goat cheese is a little la-dee-dah, but it's used pretty sparingly. So the whole dish is most certainly not
a fancy one. It's just what you call an omelet if it had never been flipped, so you don't have to master the art of French cooking like Julia Child and have that euphoric moment once you get the hang of flipping it right -- but it's euphoria eating it, all the same.
Kimchee, Spinach and Goat Cheese Frittata
Jan 4th, 2010
Hold the fries with these: who needs them when you have a crisp on the bottom, chewy on the top homemade noodle encapsulating a juicy nugget of better-than-Grade-A beef, with melted shreds of sharp cheddar and caramelized onions inside? That's a happy meal for me alone. Alright, and some soy sauce (or ketchup? I can't decide!) doesn't hurt for dipping.
Dec 21st, 2009
Is there something slightly devilish about making a great batch of sugary-sweet treats, for the sole purpose of bestowing upon others as "gifts"? Do you get that Grinch-like smirk, stirring a bowl of melting chocolate and butter, thinking, this is not all going in my belly, 'cept for one teeny bite? And then, does it dissolve just as quickly as those last slicks of butterfat when your first "sneak" lick from the spatula turns into two, then three, then five? Concluding with a sigh, that we're all in it together. 'Tis the season for overeating. Yours, mine and their ultra-rich holiday foods.
Ginger Sesame Truffles
Dec 10th, 2009
Today marks a sad day. I usually never let good produce go to waste, but after coming home and inspecting the three miniature squashes I had left out on a decorative platter on the coffee table, as a decorative touch to the room, I discovered that I had overestimated their coffee table life. They were no longer firm and heavy, but sickly hollow-feeling, and the acorn squash's lizard-green skin was a bit wrinkled, with one spot of mold on the pleated base. These were remnants from my last CSA pickup, which was, oh, about a month ago (another tear of remorse). There's surely no use crying over spilled milk, or expired ingredients. But the thought of the good meals that could have been had with these squashes suddenly brought on a floodgate of memory, and a conviction to do right by some lost opportunity.
Spicy Squash and Chorizo Soup
Dec 6th, 2009
This ice cream flavor is an ode to sticking cloves in oranges around Christmastime. They turn out looking a little funny, and it feels a little bit voodoo doll-like doing it, but it's one of those wholesome childhood traditions, and it makes the room smell good. Like orange and spice, and everything nice. This tastes good, too.
Spiced Orange Ice Cream
Nov 28th, 2009
Good morning, turkey-filled, shop-till-you-dropped long weekenders! Wake up and smell the sizzling parsnips. (It's a really good smell.) It's a good week for simple, seasonal cooking. But that doesn't mean the food has to be boring or predictable.
Nov 24th, 2009
I'm back in the States just in time for the most American holiday of them all: Thanksgiving! Where'd I go? Please forgive the week-long break from blogging -- I took off in a rush for Australia, to attend a very important friend (VIF) Jordan's wedding in Melbourne. It was a blast. But now I'm ready to cook a grand Thanksgiving feast... another one, that is. Shortly beforehand, I got together with Rebecca and Max from Working Class Foodies for a great round of recipes all made from typical Thanksgiving spread leftovers. Here's what they shot! And below, more on what we made.
Thanksgiving Leftovers with Working Class Foodies
Nov 16th, 2009
Few vegetables have come such a long way in public opinion in my lifetime as the Brussels sprout. As a kid, it was one of the most despised foods one could deign to eat, grown-up or not. Now, twenty years or so later, it accompanies chops and half-chickens on so many restaurant plates, and at a recent Thanksgiving-themed potluck dinner, it was the first vegetable side to be cleared up by the crowd (while the broccoli, another not-so-kid-approved food, was one of the last).
Blanched Brussels Sprouts with Proscuitto
Nov 6th, 2009
If there was one thing you could eat every day, for the rest of the days of your life, it probably wouldn't be arugula. If asked to name a potato preference, sweet ones would rarely take the cake. I'm going to wager that one's favorite pasta or starch substance isn't typically gnocchi. And when you feel like a nut, hazelnut isn't the first type that springs to mind. Yet in this dish of culinary underdogs, there's another unsung aspect about the ingredients: these foods are category busters when it comes to health and nutrition. And combined, like this, you might even consider it for that eternal daily dose.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Arugula and Hazelnuts
Nov 1st, 2009
Forgive the excessively esoteric sound of this dish's name. I had tried coming up with other things to call it: Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli and Braised Broccoli and Cauliflower Greens with Navy Beans and Creamed Potatoes? Too long. White Cauliflower, Cheddar Cauliflower, Broccoli and Their Combined Greens Braised with Navy Beans and Roasted Red Pepper and Served on Creamy, Truffled, Mashed Fingerling Potatoes? Too specific. Stuff That I Got From My CSA This Week, Cooked and Piled Ceremoniously Together on a Plate? That sounded better. But it was still pretty dense. I think the main thing to chew on with any dish should be the food, not the words.
White Bean and Brassica Ragout with Creamed Potatoes
Oct 28th, 2009
I do love a good fool. Not the kind that walks on two legs (or tries to), but a gag, a practical joke, and especially when it has to do with food. Like translucent off-white cubes of soft-cooked celeriac instead of tofu bobbing in an otherwise traditional miso soup. It's a culinary deception, and I think it's in fair form because the soup is still uniquely delicious, despite it all.
Celeriac Miso Soup
Oct 26th, 2009
A stack of new cookbooks sits on my coffee table, and I can't put them down. I've got pickling books, a bread book, an Italian book and a Japanese homestyle cookbook. It's all very overwhelming, but I'm taking them one at a time. So after pickling some lotus root, gratineeing some cauliflower, and baking a savory loaf of bread, I closed them and looked at my leftover ingredients. A trip to the market for seafood, and a glance at a chicken and sake recipe in the Japanese book later, this simple stir-fry was spurred.
Sake Stir-Fried Scallops with Root Vegetables
Oct 21st, 2009
Another soup, is it? Yes, indeed. Sometimes you just gotta do -- and cook -- what feels right. And spending this past gusty weekend sniffing and sneezing beneath scarves and wearing sweats around the apartment just spelled "soup's on" to me. Not only is hot soup therapeutic to eat, but I wouldn't be the first one to say that breathing in the fragrant steam of something gently simmering in the kitchen for an entire afternoon is a good way to get out from under the weather, too (nor would this be the first time I've said this). Even if it's just a simple vegetable stock, which I made a great batch of, and used some of for this wholly vegetarian soup. It's my new chicken soup, for the soul, body and tastebuds, and especially with its hint of spice.
Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup
Oct 12th, 2009
I once ordered a stack of "harvest pancakes" from the menu of a small diner. They came to my table beautifully browned, light and fluffy, and studded with dried, sweetened cranberries and kernels of canned corn. Well, it's "harvest time" now, and instead of reaching for these preserved legacies of previous ones, I'll make use of the fresh bounty, with tart cranberries just in season and sweet corn on its last ears of the year.
Cranberry and Corn Pancakes with Rosemary
Oct 7th, 2009
I was going to call this recipe "Kitchen Sink Soup," since the standard household equipment is a common way of describing anything that could be anything in the way of food. Kitchen Sink pizza, salad, pasta -- we've heard it before. But you know what? "Kitchen sink" just doesn't conjure very appetizing images to me. I'll admit something's not right with my drain these days. It's probably clogged up with all those random foods I've been tossing on pizzas.
“Crisper Drawer” Soup
Oct 1st, 2009
Okay, it's not summer anymore, and Indian summer has not yet arrived. Instead, this is about the time of year people start taking flu shots, and sweaters and scarfs out from hibernation boxes and changing their sheets to flannel. I do all these things minus the flu shots. But I do have a good way to boost the immune -- fresh veggies and bloody, bloody, antioxidant-rich beets. To keep that blood pumping.
Sep 29th, 2009
They don't grow in the ground, like potatoes, and they're not stone fruit, like cherries, so why the deceptive name? They also share more semblance in taste to citrus rather than cherry or grape tomatoes, whose appearance they're strikingly similar to, at least once their tomatillo-like husks are stripped. Which might leave one to throw their hands up and exclaim, what is this fruit/vegetable/freaky plant? At least it doesn't have a stray animal in its name, gooseberry.
Ground Cherry and Watermelon Salad
Sep 21st, 2009
Note: This is not a recipe. Ceci n'est pas une recette. It is more a suggestion, and as so many traditional peasant dishes are, a great way to use up leftovers. Like chilaquiles, a common breakfast in Mexico. Now, whenever there's a bag of stale tortilla chips leftover from some party, it's a common breakfast for me, too. Alright, and midnight snack. Dinner? Why not. And seconds, please.
Chilaquiles Con Leftovers
Sep 18th, 2009
Do you like seafood? Goes the childhood tease. Yes, and you "see" an open mouthful of chewed-up food. I hope you like seafood, but I'm not going to show you that. I had meant to show you a whole fish here, a nice, fat, single person-portion sardine. Sardines are the poorman's seafood, and I thought that was very "me." They have a fragile little pane of bones that you have to pick around, hence them being more work to eat. They have a fuller fishy flavor, and they're healthy, yet cheap. Well, Spanish Mackerel isn't so far in kin.
Roasted Mackerel with Potatoes and Yellow Squash
Sep 15th, 2009
"I'm not really a cheese person," I told Nick Suarez a month or so ago, when he mentioned that the next Brooklyn Food Experiment would be based on cheese. That might be a problem, we nodded. And it's been my lifelong Achilles' heel as a foodie. Pungent blue cheese makes my face contort as I strain to complete the task of getting it down. Fluid, stinky cheese like Camembert can stay out of my range. I'll blame it on my Asian side, but cheese can be more work than fun for me. How unlikely, then, that I managed to make a batch of homemade cheese for the event that was not only more creamy and delicious than any ricotta I've bought, but very little work and actually fun to create from scratch? And it's no surprise that Nick and Theo's Brooklyn Cheese Experiment itself was a blast.
The Brooklyn Cheese Experiment: A Recap, and Ricotta
Sep 12th, 2009
So much to cook... so little time. September is a busy time of year! While the farmers may be slowing down for the first time since March, we're stuck with everything they've thrown at us -- and peppers are coming out of my ears. "Oh, I'm just going to roast them," I told a friend, who laughed at the leftover pepperage after the Hapa Kitchen Luau. (Admittedly, I'd bought too many peppers from Garden of Eve; fifteen pounds doesn't sound like a lot of neat and dense veggies like onions or potatoes, but the hollow, irregularly shaped capsicum make a lot of space for their weight). That'll at least shrink 'em to scale, I thought. But what to do with a ton of roasted red peppers, then? Jar it. And store it throughout winter, a la cold-pack pickles.
Home-Jarred Roasted Red Peppers
Sep 9th, 2009
I never did like candy corn. But this ice cream, at first lick, tastes a bit like the Halloween haunt. Perhaps I just got a heavy drizzle of honey stuck on my tongue with it (a main ingredient in candy corn). Then afterward, instead of a slightly sick feeling from the cloying, over-sweetness and gritty mouthfeel, the spoonful burst with the taste of fresh corn and pure creaminess. Sweet corn, sweet cream and sweet, wildflower honey. That's my kind of candy this season.
Sweet Corn and Honey Ice Cream
Aug 26th, 2009
They say money can't buy you friends, but I'll be darned if food can't. Who can resist a juicy beefsteak tomato, or a handful of yellow sungolds? It's like an offering of sunshine. Much more personal, in my opinion, than a grimy gray bill.
Creamy Tomato-Braised Lentils with Broccoli Rabe
Aug 23rd, 2009
Some of you guys are gonna say off the bat, I don't like eggplant. And hey, that's okay. They're squishy, mushy, weird and hard to pinpoint the taste of. But I'll bet if I gave you this soup and didn't tell you what was in it (roasted eggplant), you'd slurp it to no satisfaction's end. It's smooth, creamy, cold and intensely flavorful. And sometimes, a little mystery only helps the effect.
Chilled Eggplant Soup
Aug 20th, 2009
What's more wakeup-worthy than bacon and eggs? How about Italian pancetta, yolky free-range eggs, and fried sage atop a homemade crust? Followed by six other tantalizingly-topped slices of the good stuff, all freshly baked by yourself with some expert guidance? Actually, I'd say that's a good recipe for an afternoon nap. Whichever the case, these pizzas were all delicious, and the occasion that spurred them (and that nap) is chef Mark Bello's Pizza a Casa class.
Pancetta, Egg and Fried Sage Pizza (at Pizza a Casa with Mark Bello)
Aug 18th, 2009
win the Souperdouper Soup Kitchen Sandwich Special, that is! It was a sweltering hot Saturday like most of the scorchers this week, but we saved a hearty appetite for the twelve different sandwiches, soups or combos of both at this benefit cook-off. And soon, we hope even hungrier people from the neighborhood will get to enjoy the best of the bunch, too.
The Combo That Could
Aug 13th, 2009
We've officially reached the "too hot to cook" threshold in NYC. Or for frequent home cooks, too hot to eat anything that isn't cooked, and then chilled. Does cold food automatically equate a salad? I don't know. If you have hot string beans, blanched and drizzled with olive oil, you don't call it a salad. But if it's the same thing cold, it's a green bean salad. I fear this argument has no consequence, but to prove some state of heat-stricken delirium.
Heirloom Tomato Salad with Dukkah
Aug 5th, 2009
Serendipity only occurs every so often. But often, it occurs thanks to like-minded food-obsessed friends. With one, we nibbled on fried artichoke hearts over lunch while talking about how daunting most home cooks found cooking the florets, with their spiky petals that needed to be trimmed and trimmed, and her parents' industrious habit of steaming them whole, leaving the legwork to the diners who would slather them in butter before eating. I resolved to find the perfect way to mediate this arduous task to readers. Then, upon meeting another friend for dinner that night, he promptly thrust me a bag filled with a recent Greenmarket find: artichokes. Unaware of my mission.
Steamed Artichokes with Lime Butter, Nectarines and Shallots
Aug 1st, 2009
I am neither Irish nor Italian. But I can think of few things more satisfying alone than potatoes, and stock-simmered arborio rice. And together? Holy matrimony. "Satisfy" is not the word.
Jul 26th, 2009
It was supposed to be simple: I had a nice block of 3-Corner Field Farm sheep's milk feta, a nice baguette, and some herbs growing on the windowsill, slanted distinctly toward the sun. I had a house party to go to, and thought I'd run them through the food processor (minus the baguette), with some lemon zest, to create a sort of ultimate feta spread for the table. But the first chugs of the processor proved a different fate was in store; the feta just broke into coarse crumbs not unlike the first step in pastry dough (except they were now greenish with herbs). Why did I think this was going to work?
Herbed Feta and Tahini Dip
Jul 23rd, 2009
It's the kind of cook-off that was my dream come true: the emphasis? Local food. The dish's requirements? Nothing, aside from being local. The judges? Three established food writers whom I admire. The fundraiser's cause? Slow Food NYC. The location? The sandy Water Taxi Beach in Long Island City, where I'd spread out my toes shoeless on several occasions. So maybe not everything turned out to be really dreamlike: it was raining all day, at some points more furiously than others. But I couldn't have had a better time, as it was, after all, a feast of local food fun. And to top it off, my Grill-Off dish took second place.
Savory Corn Pudding, part of my Local Grill-Off entry
Jul 20th, 2009
Is anyone surprised that the Great Hot Dog Cook-Off, which had raised $1,000 last year for charity with a sold-out crowd of 120, would quadruple its success this time around? Not I! And guessing from the way this year's event sold out well in advance, it could have been even "greater." The sizzle of competition gets hotter by the minute.
Sizzle is an excellent word for the action last Saturday at Clinton Hill craft brewery Kelso, where the 4th annual cook-off was held. The beer was flowing, condiments were flying, and frankfurters, wieners, dachsund-shaped sausages -- hot dogs, were blistering on the outdoor grills all afternoon. It was a hot day in full sunlight, but the competition took place both inside the brewery and on the sidewalk just outside. With giant tanks of brew doing its thing inside the industrial space, graffiti on the brewery's exterior, and new construction taking place on the street just opposite, this was a real Brooklyn block party. (Platters of hot dogs were passed around to the construction workers a few times.)
The Great Hot Dog Cook-Off ’09
Jul 17th, 2009
Chef Geetika Khanna did not have to make the best tomato curry-drenched lamb and turkey meatballs at the Curry Takedown to make me sign up for a class of hers. She didn't even have to introduce herself to me at the event, proving to be as friendly a culinary expert as the rarity goes (in this world of Gordon Ramsays). When a class called "Simple, Healthful and Economical Weeknight Indian Meals" appeared on the calendar for the Indian Culinary Center, I was sold. And actually, she didn't even need me to be sold on it, either; a full class of students, including some who were turned down after the seats were filled, were eager to learn these lessons.
Savory Chickpea Flour Pancakes (at the Indian Culinary Institute)
Jul 13th, 2009
I'm finally getting some color this summer. Each week, my CSA share has given me bunches and bunches of greens: lettuces, bok choy, Russian kale, snap peas, tat soy, fresh herbs and the occasional candy colored radish or berry-red beet. I was thinking I might turn into the Green Giant consuming it all. But this weekend, I took a retreat to North Fork to visit my friends at Garden of Eve (again), and teach a homemade vegetable dumpling-making class. It was a lovely two hours and with ten pupils, we made three types of dumplings: Chinese-style vegetarian dumplings with napa cabbage, firm spiced tofu, scallions and kale; shredded zucchini with feta, parsley and chive dumplings served with Balsamic vinegar; and sundried tomato, minced broccoli and basil dumplings with fresh breadcrumbs, egg, and a bit of leftover feta, served with lemon aioli. All batches were eaten up. But left to the wayside were some ingredients that Melissa had picked from the fields for my class, and never got used. Well, not until the next day, after taking them home.
Breadcrumb Crusted Zucchini with Rainbow Chard
Jul 10th, 2009
For the past few years, every Fourth of July has proven a raucous night of rooftop reveling not even close to climaxing with the nine o'clock fireworks spectacle. So this year, I hopped across the Hudson bright and early to "get away from it all" at my parents' suburban backyard barbecue. Funny, I thought I'd be escaping the smog and fumes of the city. Instead, I found myself ensconced in a different type of smoke altogether, that of black tea leaves and dry rice grains crackling gently, inside a lidded iron pot that allowed its flavor to seep into a whole chicken. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury: I did not even need a smoker to make this dish.
Tea Leaf-Smoked Chicken
Jun 30th, 2009
I received a mildly annoying press release in my inbox the other day: "Picnic food safety greater concern in hot weather" was the subject line (food bloggers out there, you get that, too?). The draconian yarn went on to provide tips to curb food-borne bacteria, which hot weather accelerates. As bringing homemade food to a sunny patch of grass outdoors is one of my all-time favorite activities, I felt that it was oddly singling out picnics as some sort of summer safety threat. And as someone pretty well-versed in cross-contamination and keeping my hands and food clean, found the tips somewhat vapid, while alarmist. "Picnic foods typically require a lot of handling, and the more foods are handled the greater the risk of contamination," the announcement read. Run for the hills! Or rather, the bistro down the street!
Mint Chutney Potato Salad
Jun 25th, 2009
Goodness, did I cook a lot of whole animals this past week. First it was the glorious goat spit for The Greenhorns. Then Tuesday was the Hapa Kitchen's third dinner, "Paris of the East," featuring a fusion of French and Chinese cuisines -- and lots of duck, duck, and more duck (no goose). We dressed the dining room with Chinese lanterns, flowers and curling garlic scapes, put on some Django Rhinehart and the soundtrack to In the Mood For Love
, wrote menus on the backs of Chinese poster art prints from the 1930s (of girls in high-collar chipao
dresses), poured five different wines from Wolffer Estate, sourced vegetables from nearby Sang Lee Farms, and cooked nine six and a half-pound ducks from D'Artagnan. It's taken me a bit of time getting myself out of this "mood." To be perfectly honest, I could stay there for a while.
Dijon Duck Buns with Pickled Cucumber and Scallions
Jun 22nd, 2009
A room filled with the scent of garlic-infused olive oil. A warm oven that sputters with the occasional spillover of sauce inside. A cutting board of cheeses within easy reach. Fresh basil aflutter. Beer. Several able-stomached friends. There are few things more soothing than a pizza party in someone's home. And while almost any toppings for these treats suffice, there are likely few things more satisfying to a garlic lover than this saturated slice.
Broccoli, Ricotta and Golden Garlic Pizza
Jun 16th, 2009
At the first-ever Curry Takedown, that is! And what a blend of spices we ate and smelled on Sunday. Forget the phrase curry in a hurry, these chefs were none to take the easy road, drop a Golden Curry cube into their pot and let it spread. What I saw was really a work of slow-simmered art -- a United Nations of Currydom, convened at the Loki Lounge in Park Slope.
It Smells Like Curry In Here!
Jun 14th, 2009
Time to roll out the red cartons -- strawberries are in season. And local strawberries, especially those from my CSA farm, are a real treat to start the summer off with. If it weren't for these bursting-sweet nuggets of bright red, I'd never be able to make this shake half as good. No "five dollar shake" with milk and ice cream for me, please. This one's just milk, fruit, basil and ice.
Fresh Strawberry Basil Milkshake
Jun 10th, 2009
A hapa holy trinity? Hey, there's a first for everything. Sweet and pungent (coleslaw), smoky and spicy (beans), and some of the aforementioned with savory with herbal tossed in (potato salad), these were the flavors that drenched the side dishes at our Hapa Kitchen BBQ on Saturday. Unfortunately, I did not have my camera on hand that day; if I'd had it, I would not have had a clean hand to use it. Therefore, this photo is stolen from Robert Sietsema's recap of the meal in Village Voice
's food blog. (The three sides are pictured on the bottom half of the very stylish paper plate.)
Honey Miso Coleslaw, Hoisin Chipotle Baked Beans and Curry Rosemary Potato Salad
Jun 4th, 2009
I have a new catch-phrase for the week: that "I erred on the side of awesome." Like the guy who made bubble gum. I didn't invent anything earth-shattering, through scientific debacle, but when something was underestimated in this particular batch of ice cream, it made it all the better. That's a nice surprise.
Chocolate and Five-Star Anise Ice Cream
May 29th, 2009
'Tis the season to grill, as they say. And Memorial Day is no exception, especially when it's as hot and sunny as the one we just had. It seems the weather gurus have had it wrong so much lately -- not a drop of rain was in sight. So instead of satisfying my latest craving with an oven, some friends and I fired up the charcoal for an impromptu barbecue... pizza.
Who says you can’t grill a pizza?
May 25th, 2009
How to say... thanks? For coming out to serve delicious, unique and inspired food, for eating and enjoying the fruits of everyone's labor, for lending your discerning criticism of said dishes as an audience member or one of the expert judges, for donating your money to Just Food, and for essentially making Karol and myself's dream come true. From the bottom of our butter-clogged hearts, thanks to all for Risotto Challenging it up yesterday at Jimmy's No. 43. Especially to Jimmy Carbone, for graciously hosting the fete at his bar.
The Risotto Challenge ’09
May 23rd, 2009
Just because jalapenos haven't ripened in these parts yet, and neither have tomatoes (unless you splurge for the hothouse types), doesn't mean it's nach-yo season for nachos. Or at least, that's what the founders of Nachos NY think, year-round. And who am I to argue with that kind of authority? After a successful Guactacular Invitational, for which the site's founders Lee and Rachel asked me to be one of the judges of ten guacamoles, they suggested we get in the kitchen and make some nachos for ourselves. So I called for a bonafide "nachos party" at a friend's barbecue, and corralled a bunch of friends to join. And by corralled, I just mean that I merely told them it was happening. It's one of those things that's easier done than said.
Spring Nachos with Ramps, Asparagus, Smoked Cheddar, Roast Pork and Spicy Radish Salsa
May 18th, 2009
A couple months ago, I was given a challenge: cook a "date meal" for two that costs $15 or less, including a bottle of wine. It was thrown to me by a local newspaper that has yet to publish the story, and I suspect they might simply never. Which is fine, but it would be a shame not to share the recipe for the entree, while its wintery ingredients are still lingering around.
Turkey Legs with Apples, Parsnips and Onion
May 15th, 2009
-- asparagus season is here! This is no time for beating around the bush(el). At Greenmarkets and farm stands, you'll see plenty of sprue asparagus right now, too, the first tender shoots that are often as skinny as coffee stirrers. I had the rare pleasure of snapping a spindly green one straight from the soil at Sang Lee Farms last weekend, and eating it raw right then. (I'll bet that anyone who claims not liking asparagus has never tasted something like this.) So to enjoy the sweetness and crisp bite of young asparagus, fresh from a local farm, it's my edict that less cooking time is more. (It's okay, you can run off to get some, rather than continue reading.)
Asparagus and Tofu Cold Noodle Salad
May 14th, 2009
Now if only I could miniaturize myself after this string of cook-offs the past two weeks. Brooklyn Kitchen's 3rd Annual Cupcake Cook-Off, held Monday night at Union Pool, was the last straw -- yes, the Risotto Challenge is still on, and yes, it will be still awesome, and will help raise money for our friends at Just Food. But until then, folks, I'm staying away from the trays and snaking lines of homemade eats for a while.
Green Tea Coconut Mini Cupcakes (official losing entry of the Brooklyn Kitchen Cupcake Cook-Off)
May 8th, 2009
I have an absolutely sensational, hysterical and eye-opening book on my shelf: Asian Ice Cream for You and Your Kids
by Arron Liu. It's not intended to be funny, but it is. I also don't have any kids, so I'm not sure it's intended for the sole delight of an adult beyond growing age, either. But, it's a powerhouse of serious ice cream recipes, and while flipping through it, I was struck by the saffron glare of a full-page spread depicting one called "Japanese Curry Ice Cream."
Curry Carrot Ice Cream
May 5th, 2009
So, there's a swine flu, you say? Sure. I saw it all at Loki Lounge yesterday, in the form of sixteen tasty samples, and a throng of hungry carnivores. The Park Slope Pork-Off, it was called! And many familiar faces cooked up their best for this one-off event, a fundraiser for the charity Kamay at Puso.
Pork Love Prevails at the Park Slope Pork-Off
Apr 28th, 2009
I love roasting carrots, in just a coat of olive oil and pinch of sea salt. But now that it's reached almost ninety degrees in New York City, cranking up the oven to 400 degrees seems less than appropriate. On the contrary, goading your friend with a rooftop patio to throw an impromptu barbecue absolutely does. So after a day spent lazing on Brighton Beach, on the first truly hot day of spring, last Saturday, I found myself successfully planted on said rooftop (Karol's) before a charcoal grill just like the way everything was supposed to be. Or maybe not everything. Because I'd had some carrots at home, I thought I'd bring them along to throw on the grill. Thing is, I've never grilled carrots before. And as I looked around at my friends, no one else had, either. (Once again, I defer to the almighty mantra of "Why not?" in situations with food like this.) Turned out, it ain't no thing at all.
Ginger-Glazed Grilled Carrot and Pea Shoot Salad
Apr 21st, 2009
Guac and corn chips it is not. Plain-old hummus and pita it's neither. Just as munchable as either of the above, I'd say definitely, as well as easy to prepare. It's edamame, or soy beans, cooked and mashed up just like chickpea hummus (minus the tahini), and eggy wonton wrappers baked with a coating of oil and sesame seeds. And -- with a little modification -- it's one of the four canapés that will precede the five-course dinner on May 1st, at Queens County Farm Museum.
Edamame Hummus with Wonton Wrapper Chips (and a May Day menu teaser)
Apr 20th, 2009
I showed a photo of a gooey, poached egg like this once to a friend who thought it was "obscene." So if this offends, then my apologizes. But having seen many eggs cooked like this growing up, it calls to mind only the homiest, cleanest of thoughts to me.
Peppercress and Poached Egg Salad
Apr 15th, 2009
There is a dish in Cantonese cuisine called turnip cake. Then there is a dish with turnip cake, chopped into cubes, and stir-fried with bean sprouts, scallions, some other veggies and often peanuts. I’m quite certain this latter dish was a leftover invention. The very best turnip cake (which is actually made from radish but I’ll get to that later) in my opinion is seared to a beautiful crisped surface, and is soft and mushy on the inside, like glutinous mashed potato, with chunks of radish and minced dried shrimp or Chinese sausage. If uneaten in this heavenly state, the leftover turnip cake firms up a little, becomes drier and basically needs a boost. I thought I'd interpret this latter dish, only with slices of real turnip instead of the cake.
Seared Turnips with Leftover Vegetable Stir-Fry
Apr 13th, 2009
It's an Easter egg hunt of an entirely new brand: guess the country of inspiration! When I was describing my idea for three variations on deviled eggs, it occurred to me that I was pinning three East Asian cuisines to each version: China for the one with five-spice and scallions, Japan for the one with wasabi mayonnaise, and Thailand for the red curry and lime juice one. "Are you going to stick flags in them?" my friend asked, nonchalantly. Nah, I thought. I just wanted people to eat
them, not pledge allegiance to them.
Deviled (Easter) Eggs, Three Ways
Apr 6th, 2009
It's here: the 2nd Annual Risotto Challenge! Last spring, eighteen contestants answered this call-to-cooking action with imaginative risottos seemingly spawned while on crack. (The ultimate winner? A citrusy, brown rice "Scarborough Fair" ordeal, named for its profusion of four singsong herbs.) And since there's never an end to variations on the delicious dish, co-host Karol Lu and I are giving the cook-off another spin -- or stir. This time, the event will benefit Just Food, New York City's local and sustainable food think tank. We're also proud that it'll be held at the fundraiser-friendly bar and restaurant, Jimmy's No. 43. Mark your calendars for May 23rd!
Enter the Risotto Challenge & Just Food Benefit
Apr 4th, 2009
Every now and then I get the urge to test the limits of what's generally known as "good." So maybe this happens more than occasionally, and often, with food. But when I picked up a container of whole milk ricotta from the Greenmarket, dug into it with a knife later that day and slathered it on a slice of bread, I thought, "That's good." Really good. Second thought: "What can make this teeter upon the edge of being bad it's so good?"
Shiitake Mushroom and Wasabi-Spiced Ricotta Crostini
Mar 30th, 2009
To all those tired of the pork belly and bacon food fad, I've got bad news for you. It's far from over. Anyone who might have walked within a one-block radius of Radegast Biergarten in Williamsburg sometime between 4:45-7pm yesterday would have seen the hoards of hungry bacon lovers lining up outside the bar ("Is this for the bacon festival?" I heard a lot of). When I arrived at the time the first-ever Bacon Takedown officially began there, 5pm, that line reached well down the block.
The Bacon Takedown: Holy Smokes
Mar 28th, 2009
Just a simple twist on an old favorite. I love how a snip of fresh herbs spruces up just about anything. Visually, a sprinkle for garnish adds professional panache, and hidden somewhere in the dish, lends a lurking note of freshness. That goes for desserts as well.
Lemon Thyme Bars
Mar 22nd, 2009
I subscribe to the theory of "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade"; that is, cook your way through your problems. I'm faced with a terrible predicament at home: one of my best friends is moving away from our neighborhood halfway across the world, to Australia. I've known this for a few months, but it's finally begun to sink in. So for her going-away party, I thought I'd try my hand at miniature-sized, vegetarian-friendly versions of the savory treat to "celebrate."
Mini Mushroom Pies
Mar 14th, 2009
Once upon a time, I thought that ice cream "flavors" were just flavoring added to plain, perhaps vanilla, ice cream. "Chocolate" was dabbed in from a vial labeled so along with some fudge-colored dye, and "Strawberry" got its juice in much the same way, save for a few streaks of seeded fruit in some versions of the ice cream. Of course there were the chocolate chips and chopped nuts of Rocky Roads and other stuff-studded ice creams, but the bases would be flavored all the same. It's funny how even in naiveté, you get some things right.
Mascarpone Ice Cream (and “Deconstructed Tiramisu”)
Mar 9th, 2009
Keepin' things simple this week. I can't argue with the freshness that a deep green basil pesto gives everything, but its intense red twin of sundried tomato is pretty sublime, too. A spoonful of this stuff is like sweetened condensed tomato; a drop of it in your risotto while it's cooking is like not really needing to reach for stock instead of water. Spread on bread or baked on pizza it'll make your mouth tingle. A drizzle will make any bowl of soup shine. There is such a thing as too
much flavor, and that can come easily if you don't watch it with sundried tomato pesto.
Sundried Tomato Pesto
Mar 5th, 2009
I will preface this by saying that I really wanted this recipe to be lemon and dill e
gg salad, but I couldn't find any dill today. Stuff happens. Anyway, when I was chatting with Kate McDonough of The City Cook just before our stint on the Brian Lehrer Show last Friday, she mentioned that among the cheap lunch ideas some of her acquaintances were getting back in the habit of making was egg salad. We agreed that, even though egg salad is unarguably at the bottom rung of the cold sandwich salads, a lot of people seemed to hold it dear. Like peanut butter and jelly, perhaps, the kind of food people love to eat when no one is looking. For better or for worse, this was never the case with me. But I suddenly remembered my former roommate's fondness for making egg salad sandwiches every month or so, due to unstoppable cravings.
Lemony Egg Salad with Basil and Capers
Feb 27th, 2009
What happens when you: 1) make a great batch of something, eat it, and love it; 2) eat it for leftovers, and love it; 3) eat it for leftovers again, and kind of loved it more the first or second time you ate it; 4) can't stand to look at it in the refrigerator anymore? I know. Even with my favorite foods, there comes a limit to my tolerance to it after consecutive encores. That's where the brazen versatility of leftovers comes into play. In the case of this raw, slaw-like salad, it knows no cultural boundaries, either.
Cabbage, Pear & Pistachio Salad (and Leftover Chutney)
Feb 24th, 2009
So, I meet new people, and the inevitable “What do you do?” question often leads to the fact that I write a blog about not eating out. This often leads the recipient of said introduction to gauge how much he or she eats out, or not. ("I never cook," is a common response.) Recently, someone replied saying that the only thing he cooked was a frozen veggie patty now and then.
Easy Chickpea Freezer Patties
Feb 16th, 2009
It's not what's inside the soup that counts. It's what's on the surface. Here, we've got creamy roasted acorn squash soup. It could be any squash, butternut, pumpkin. It could have a splash of cream or milk or not. I don't care. I'm sinking these crispy, salty kale "chips" into its sweet custard and lodging a pebble of a pine nut onto a spoon for the ultimate scoop. Call me shallow, but sometimes beauty just isn't that deep.
Acorn Squash Soup with Roasted Kale Chips and Pine Nuts
Feb 14th, 2009
Two is better than one. That's what I would be saying if I hadn't just spent five hours making cookies on Valentine's Day morning. (You could say it was a labor of love.) When I asked readers to choose their favorite heart-shaped cookie proposal from six options for me to make today, I never expected such a dramatic split. There seemed to be warring sides: traditional all the way (red velvet cream cheese frosting), and Asian-inspired (green tea red bean paste, toasted sesame ginger). Early numbers had me convinced that green tea red bean was going to prevail. But red velvet turned a strong comeback in the end, and with one more vote than the green tea, it looks to be the winner. But, I had already gotten matcha and soaked red beans by the time the last votes poured in just for the occasion. So here it is, or here they both are: my Valentine's Day cookie double date.
Heart Attack! Red Velvet Cream Cheese Frosting and Green Tea Red Bean Paste Valentine Sandwich Cookies
Feb 9th, 2009
Welcome to 2009, Chili Takedown. This is no time to be splurging on pounds and pounds of beef. Sorry, heritage pork (except for your bones and spare ribs, which I'll get to in a bit). I'm not even doing the fresh garnish doodads anymore. This is recession era chili. And I'm going back to the basics of peasant home cookery -- that is, minimal amounts of meat, used for flavor mostly, cheap winter vegetables, and lots and lots of B-E-A-N-S.
Recession Chili (and the Curious Case of the Ridiculously Packed Chili Takedown)
Feb 6th, 2009
So I mentioned that I'm really into exploring the East right now -- in food, and particularly from other Eastern cultures than the one I grew up with. So, after hiding my nose in volumes of cookbooks to piece together the esoteric recipe, and embarking on many journeys, sometimes to the farthest reaches of the city, in search of the exotic, elusive, often strange-smelling ingredients and their required cooking tools, and lastly, chipping away at the arduous cooking technique, losing half my investment and several hours to failed batches, I've managed to pull off a feeble yet daring recreation of the... Korean pancake.
Fresh Veggie Korean Pancakes
Feb 2nd, 2009
The problem with soaking dried beans, which isn't a probably exactly, and wouldn't be one in the first place if you're a little better at stomach-eye coordination as I am, is that you're usually left with far more beans than you had bargained for. Water plumps up the beans, sometimes creating pot overflows and dried, un-soaked portions at the top. (It's a bit like planting a magic beanstalk, with less fees, fies, foes and fums.) Ever since the Cassoulet Cook-Off, I've had beans coming out of my ears. White beans, Great Northern beans, to be exact. Beans can be frozen like this and thawed later, but they're best eaten soon in some clever way.
Spaghetti e Fagioli (with some eggplant on the side)
Jan 27th, 2009
Little dumpling, who made thee? I know who did, originally. This dumpling was featured on the menu of the notorious 20-course, $1,500 a plate dinners propelled by two of the world's greatest working chefs, Thomas Keller of The French Laundry and Per Se and Grant Achatz of Alinea. Their dinners, billed as mentor-protégé collaborations, unfolded in New York, Chicago and Napa, at the duo's respective restaurants. But this dumpling, shown above, was just made by little old me. And the rest of the courses from these dinners will also be made -- has been made -- by the rest of the team in the supper club A Razor, A Shiny Knife.
Brisket and Cabbage Dumplings
Jan 26th, 2009
Happy Chinese New Year! Thanks to all the "students" who came to the Brooklyn Kitchen last night for me and Winnie's dumpling class. I hope you mark a dumpling party on your calendars soon. That was some tight work all around with the homemade dough -- this is tricky stuff to roll out and fold when making dumplings for the first time! Be sure to check out the Brooklyn Kitchen blog and Winnie's blog soon for her braised oxtail filling; a basic pork and chive filling can be found here. And for a less traditional, completely un-Chinese dumpling recipe, keep reading... It's been far too long since I've made dumplings, so before the class, I wanted to brush up on my pinching technique. I took the opportunity of a joint birthday party between three friends on Friday to make a few batches of a certain dessert dumpling.
Apple Dumplings with Brown Sugar Rum Sauce
Jan 24th, 2009
Our new president is a well-traveled, well-cultured man. Just take a look at the lede to this New York Times
story to scratch the tip of the iceberg:
"The president’s elderly stepgrandmother brought him an oxtail fly whisk, a mark of power at home in Kenya. Cousins journeyed from the South Carolina town where the first lady’s great-great-grandfather was born into slavery, while the rabbi in the family came from the synagogue where he had been commemorating Martin Luther King’s Birthday. The president and first lady’s siblings were there, too, of course: his Indonesian-American half-sister, who brought her Chinese-Canadian husband, and her brother, a black man with a white wife
This is an incredibly exciting time for Americans who might have been looked down upon in another time for being "foreigners." It's also a revelatory time for Americans of multicultural backgrounds, and as the producers of a new documentary in the making called "Gen O" see it, a time to celebrate multiracial pride.
Deep-Dish Chicago/Jakarta-Style Pizzas Two Ways
Jan 22nd, 2009
Okay, forgive my very poor journalism for a moment, and let me just relate to you the dilemma I'm faced with right now. I went to a first-ever macaroni and cheese cook-off hosted by Midge Pingleton cutely named the s'MACdown last night. It was held at Glasslands Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a music venue that I believe has never hosted a cook-off before in its existence. I fought my way through the herds of hipsters to get a taste of every one of those 20 macaronis and cheeses. I voted for my favorite. Then I had to leave, to check out my friend's music show. Out of all the people I knew and trusted to tell me who won the s'MACdown, NOBODY SEEMS TO KNOW. Help me out here -- will the winner please speak?
Who took the s’MACdown crown?
Jan 21st, 2009
It was a frigid Saturday in New York when seven chefs gathered in the back room at Jimmy's No. 43 to unveil their steaming pots of the French countryside comfort food, cassoulet. A fluid stream of Greenmarket supporters sampled each one throughout the afternoon until pretty much every bean was scooped up. Asked to vote for their favorite takes, each taster turned their attentions to printed sheets describing the cassoulets, their creators and affiliations. Among them were local and seasonal culinary expert Kelly Geary of Sweet Deliverance, former Greenmarket Manager and chef-to-be Melissa Rebholz, Jimmy No 43's own chef John Crabbs, Italian chef and traveling pizza teacher Mark Bello, Rockaway Beach surf taco shop extraordinaire Andrew Field, and former Pegu Club and wd-50 (whoa!) chef Phillip Kirschen Clark. Then some blogger and cook-off fanatic of Not Eating Out in New York.
I'd be lying if I told you that the dish I prepared was pronounced the best cassoulet of the day. Actually, I'd be very publicly, foolishly lying, since the event has been recapitulated (promptly, I might add) by Time Out New York
already, as well as Jimmy's No. 43's blog. I'd be drawing out the non-suspense in lame melodrama to continue this post without just declaring a winner. So the top honor was given to...
Pommes de Porc Cassoulet (and Jimmy’s No. 43 Greenmarket Cassoulet Cook-Off Recap)
Jan 11th, 2009
Two winters ago, I bought myself an ice cream maker. It cost $50. It has a bowl that needs to stay in the freezer overnight before attempting to use it (trust me, I've tried without), and it has a plastic insert that churns the cream into ice cream when the electric motor rotates the bowl around and around. It's a simple machine, and it's pretty cheap. And I honestly don't know why everyone who likes ice cream doesn't get one!
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Jan 3rd, 2009
My friend Nick recently traveled to a few countries in Europe, and when asked what his favorite meal he had there was, he answered polenta e casura
, a specialty of Milan. (Judging from my success at Googling the dish, assuming I have the correct spelling, it is a closely kept specialty of Milano cuisine, too.) In any case, the dish sounded soothing, comforting and rustic: braised cabbage and sausage, with polenta on the side. What could be simpler yet more satisfying than that?
Braised Cabbage and Sausage with 10-Second Polenta
Dec 31st, 2008
Really, now? Fennel pie? Are you going to eat (and cook) that? I asked myself these same things, too. And while I was making this pie, at the Photojojo Food Photo Safari on Sunday, I heard many similar concerns from lookers-on. (I told you winter was a tricky time of year for finding seasonal pie fillings!) But, the great thing about cooking, especially in the name of fun with friends, is that nothing worse than a pile of dog's dinner will result in a failed effort. I therefore gleefully submit to the anti-theory of "Why not?"
Dec 27th, 2008
Happy holidays, food lovers. I hope everyone's had their fill of celebratory treats both sweet and savory. No? Well, there's another holiday coming up in a few days, the eclipse of 2008, but that one's less about food (or holiness) than drink. Perhaps you, like I, are still looking forward to serious snacking on New Year's Eve, but sense that you've maxed out on your monthly caloric intake. Instead of leftover fruitcake, this healthy sweet potato tart might appeal to both dueling persuasions.
Candied Sweet Potato Ricotta Tart
Dec 23rd, 2008
Sometimes, I have an internal speedometer going on when cooking at home. Twice in the past few weeks I made a batch of these cookies in record time, before taking off to bring them to holiday house parties. Even when I'm not in any rush, I get a keen satisfaction out of completing a (good) meal that was surprisingly fast. That's something you don't really get to see through the recipes on this blog. I could add an "estimated cooking time" to each one, like some practical cookbooks and magazines do, but that would betray the fact that sometimes, at no instigation, I'll work at a glacial pace, and other times I might cook like I'm on Hell's Kitchen
and Gordon Ramsay's counting down the seconds in that boorish tone, calling me something like Snozzlehead or Stinkypants or whatever that crazy Brit comes up with in attempt to make me crack.
Cranberry Ginger Jam Thumbprints
Dec 20th, 2008
Did someone say "Christmas goose"? It seems to be echoing in the minds of many this time of year. But as Tom eloquently warns, it's not always the home cook's best call (listen to this guy - he's a butcher). My mom will not let my dad forget the Christmas when he, spurred by Dickensian nostalgia, tried to cook a whole goose. I was very young then, but remember the epic disaster: rivers of fat, long delayed dinner time, and the taste not being worth a dime in anyone's estimation. So why this precautionary tale about goose when the strange bird in this recipe evidently is not? Well, a small part of me would like to right the wrongs of the past, and cook a goose. But first, it'll be helpful to get better acquainted with its diminutive cousin, duck. So here's my second stab at cooking the quacker.
Not-So-Strange Birds Part V: Apple Cider-Braised Duck Legs with Raisins and Pearl Onions
Dec 15th, 2008
It's official: My diet is heading into a recession. Chocolate, bacon and cheese -- three deadly food sins. The Devil's Triangle, if you will. All in one sugary, buttery package. Oh, what are we waiting for?
Chocolate Cupcakes with Bacon Cream Cheese Frosting
Dec 11th, 2008
"Honey, I want to see where they make the lite
cream cheese" is one of my favorite lines in that irresistibly silly Christopher Guest mockumentary, Best in Show
. A wife says it to her husband after he suggests visiting "the place where they make the cream cheese" in Philadelphia. This is the way I feel about Christmas' favorite drink. Mind you, I have nothing against the classic eggnog, in its rich, frothy, decadence. In fact, it wouldn't be too far off from combining my recipes for Bourbon ice cream and chai ice cream, and letting it melt to a cool, creamy slush. Custardy cocktails! For goodness' sake, who can live without them? BUT... all the same. I wouldn't mind seeing where they make the lite nogs, too.
Dec 7th, 2008
I'm sure I'm not the only one who has this tendency: to fall in love with a certain vegetable for about a week's worth of nonstop eating at a time, then move onto the next affair. A few weeks ago this happened with beets. Afterward, it was sweet potatoes, roasted simply, with no salt and their skins intact. Now it's broccoli. Not sure why. We're old flames, though, a well-established on/off pair throughout the decades. We understand each other much more than with more novel, exciting veggies. (I had a bad date with celeriac once.) You know what I mean. It's comfortable.
Steamed Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Almonds
Dec 3rd, 2008
The culinary concept of "Asian fusion" is one that both excites and troubles me. It's sparsely defined (there is no Wikipedia entry for it), and it sometimes can mean a melding of different Asian cuisines, or a hybrid of East-West tastes. Understood in the latter sense, I find that I really do enjoy so many of these types of dishes. I'm not saying that I have a better perspective of it than anyone else, but since Asian fusion is also a good way to describe my genetic make-up (and my once fake DJ name to co-workers), it occurs to me that a great deal of the foods I grew up to love might also be described as such. Fried rice with cubed leftover ham steak? Absolutely. Anything with sesame oil, especially cold salads? Have fork, will eat! The problem comes when fusion dishes are commonly mistaken for the actual cuisine(s) of inspiration. Like with "Chinese Chicken Salad," a popular favorite (and one which I don't happen to like -- canned oranges?). Often, it seems all too careless and facile to slip soy sauce into something and call it "Asian" this or that.
The way I prefer fusion food -- of any cultures, for that matter -- is a little more knowing than that. I like dishes that are so obviously not faithful to any cuisine, but rather tongue-in-cheek nods to them. Or whimsical hyperboles from the chef's worldly imagination. This is an awful, tasteless thing to bring up, but the best comparison I can think of for this, then, would have to be "food blackface."
Not-So-Strange Birds Part III: Cranberry Thai Curry Glazed Duck Breast with Coconut Mashed Potatoes
Dec 1st, 2008
Cauliflower: it's great pickled, it makes a delicious cream soup, and a prize-winning casserole. It's tasty when stir-fried with Indian spices, near-invisible tossed into risottos, and it mixes amicably in salads, raw or lightly steamed. Is there anything you can't do with this versatile veggie? Okay, so maybe we're not on board with an ice cream flavor. But it's no wonder that cauliflower has worn many hats, one notable one resulting in its nickname of "fauxtato." Hence, I was tempted to name this recipe "Fauxtater Tots."
Nov 26th, 2008
I think the makers of those aerosol cans of spray-cheese need to merge with Silly String. Then we’d have the perfect, edible orange goo to epitomize the celebration that was the second Fondue Takedown this past Sunday. And to clobber the winner with for a photo -- "Say Cheese!" So maybe Sunday night's winner was spared of the cheese sliming (she was wearing a handmade apron, though), but the back room of Union Pool, Brooklyn's popular bar and now mecca to cook-offs, was not. Venerable Chili Takedown host Matt Timms told me the clean-up afterward was something epic and, well, kind of stank.
Oh! You Cheesy Things
Nov 24th, 2008
According to Wikipedia, the quail is a "mid-sized" bird in the pheasant family. Jesus, what do the very small ones look like? I wondered, after carefully unwrapping the quail from plastic and placing it on my cutting board. I couldn't help imagining my grade-school pet parakeet sans feathers.
Not-So-Strange Birds Part II: Roast Quail with Soda Bread Stuffing and Red Wine Reduction
Nov 21st, 2008
Now that everyone's hopefully got their turkey situation squared away, and are just about fed up with the annual Thanksgiving-food buzz (to brine or not to brine? Best seasonal stuffings?), I thought I'd take a moment to highlight a few overlooked birds of the feather. First up: pheasant! Isn't that a lovely word? The live bird, too, is known for its exceptional beauty. And friends, fowl-lovers, foodies or not: the meat of the pheasant is equally astounding. Especially when it's a pasture-raised, all-natural ring-necked pheasant produced through the ever-humane and conscientious care of D'Artagnan.
Not-So-Strange Birds Part I: Pan-Roasted Pheasant with Savory Vegetables
Nov 14th, 2008
You know what? After all the lovely compliments you've given me on my Orecchiette and Arugula casserole, I'm not sure how it would have fared, head-to-head, with the winner of the fourth annual Casserole Party. Nor the rest of the amazing twenty-eight casseroles that were brought to the cook-off this past Monday. Emily Farris, author of Casserole Crazy
, has clearly inspired casserole craziness in Brooklyn since she created the cook-off four years ago. Of the very best kind.
The King of Cauliflower Casserole
Nov 12th, 2008
Last year it was the Bodega Challenge, this year it was the instant Ramen-Off, I swear, Harry and Taylor of The Brooklyn Kitchen have a thing for bringing out the best in the worst of foods. Perhaps terrified that I would endanger this reputation by bringing in something awful (i.e. my bodega-inspired Potato Chips au Gratin), they named me judge for this year's Ramen-Off, held in celebration of the two-year anniversary of the independent kitchen store. Mission accomplished, if so.
Who’s the Top Ramen?
Nov 10th, 2008
This isn't really a political blog, but in light of recent circumstances (ahem -- GObama! -- ahem), I thought I'd make a little exception. Because if there's one thing I learned from the long road to the Presidential election, it's that food is political. Period. You cannot like arugula, for instance (which ironically was only a peasant food in Italian cuisine until recent waves of popularity), without being "elite" (and possibly, a terrorist). Let's look beyond that. This casserole combines orecchiette pasta (if you don't know what this is already, you better hit the books), homemade basil pesto, ARUGULA, pignoli (that's "pine nuts" to you, cracker!), Fontina and Parmiggiano-Reggiano cheese, bound together in a creamy bechamel and baked to a golden crust. What's so un-American about something so insanely delicious? Let the elitist witch hunts be history!
Completely Elitist Orecchiette & Arugula Casserole
Nov 8th, 2008
I've been bringing roasted beets to work for snacks a lot lately. A lot of people have peered over my shoulder and said, "Oh, beets -- how do you cook them like that?" My first reaction, that of a not-so-helpful home cook-ophile, is usually to say, "How do you not cook them like that?" I don't mean to sound snobbish here. Obviously, I'm writing this post in response to all these requests. But as long as you're not simmering them into borscht, or slicing or shredding them finely to serve raw, then the only way I know to bring beets to a palatable form is to roast them. It's simple, really.
Simply Roasted Beets
Oct 30th, 2008
If I told you that this pie tastes exactly like the first cube of grape-flavored bubblegum you unfolded from waxy paper and stuffed in your grade school-sized mouth, barely able to contain its spill of citric acid and high fructose corn syrup "juices," would that go against every fresh, seasonal, farm-to-table objective that this blog (and this pie) strives to attain? Probably. But it sort of does. And when baked with an open-design top crust, it's bubblicious, too.
Concord Grape Apple Pie
Oct 23rd, 2008
Oops... I did it again. I forgot to take photos of this main course du jour, once it was all layered, baked and poised at its prettiest. It's a shame, this "lamb"sagna was really a treat. I spent a long time poring over what spices and add-ins to put in the sauce (eventually settling on a Moroccan theme, with fresh mint and raisins), what type of cheese to top it with, and if/how to make fresh pasta sheets for it. Whenever there are friends coming -- and this was the circumstance -- I try to go a few extra miles. Yet once my guests arrived, raring to nosh, the photo-taking session was all but thrown to the wayside. Again.
Oct 20th, 2008
Things I like about fall: apples... sage... toasty, nutty flavors like browned butter... Oh wait, I guess I'm only referring to food I like in the fall. I have a one-track mind much of the time. Good thing there are occasions for such obsessiveness, one annual Brooklyn tradition being the apple pie contest at Enid's.
Brown Butter Sage Apple Pie (and Enid’s Apple Pie Bake-Off recap)
Oct 18th, 2008
Fairly good dough, that is. And good for you, too, since it's whole wheat. I have had many d'oh
's when it came to pizza-making in the past. I've been a regular Homer Simpson at times. But I've gotten the hang of it, and when I put up this photo of a recent weekend lunch on my Flickr page, I got such a response from friends wanting to know more about it, especially the dough. So I thought it only right to comply.
From pizza “d’oh!” to dough
Oct 16th, 2008
There are many things that have confused me about chai over the years. How did the simple word for tea in India (and much of the world) come to denote this Christmasy spice-infused drink? Isn't it then redundant to say "chai tea"? Does it always need to be sweet (I never sweeten my teas)? What are the spices in it and is there a rigid formula of them? Should the "C" be capitalized? Why did the New York coffee shop I worked at between college semesters always purchase it pre-brewed in cartons (couldn't we be trusted to brew it like the rest of the loose-leaf blends?)? Why is it so damn special?
Chai Ice Cream
Oct 12th, 2008
As with my other attempts at Chili Takedown championship, this was a very time-consuming process. In keeping with tradition, it also did not succeed in receiving first-place honors. However, this was no ordinary chili cook-off; I was competing against four other veteran Takedown contestants, hand-selected by our ringleader, Matt Timms. The bar was high, and the secret ingredient, à la Iron Chef
-speak, was heat. At least, that's how I would describe my approach to this chili. You see, our special venue for the battle was the Brooklyn Botanical Garden's Chile Pepper Fiesta -- an annual, all-day celebration of the fiery capsicum featuring tasty demos, workshops, and a live performance by none other than Pete Seeger (now get the recipe name?).
“If I Had A Pepper” Pork Chili
Sep 30th, 2008
Guess what? It's a great time to pick dandelions. No, not to de-weed the lawn, like you were grudgingly made to as a kid to pitch in with household chores. To eat them! Because they're great right now. Wait for them to grow a few more weeks and they'll be more brittle and less palatable. And check out this comparison:
Wild Dandelion Turnovers
Sep 22nd, 2008
Warning: This product contains raw egg.
It has, however, been tested in the Brooklyn kitchen of Not Eating Out in New York, and ingested at a gathering of cupcake enthusiasts in Manhattan, held by the blog Cupcakes Take the Cake. It was deemed delicious by all, and no subsequent injuries were suffered that I am aware of.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough-Topped Cupcakes
Sep 15th, 2008
It's really the last week of summer. The skies are really becoming darker sooner, and that chill breeze in the evening is really happening. But on the flipside, and in celebration of late-summer local fruits, this watermelon pie is also real. I didn't think it would make it past the dream stage for a while.
Fresh Watermelon Pie
Sep 12th, 2008
To repeat a joke my brother once made when I was in the same situation, I've got a lot of thyme on my hands. Fresh thyme. Which means it's going bad soon. It took a while for me to place why I'd gotten the large stash of spindles tucked away in my crisper drawer (oh right, those squash-stuffed Jamaican-style patties) today. I've got a lot of the dried kind, too. If only time were as plentiful as my thyme, then I'd have all the time in the world to make as many thymely recipes as possible.
Roasted Eggplant BLT with Roasted Red Pepper Mayo
Sep 7th, 2008
Some people like to do a lot of canning, jamming and pickling this time of year, to preserve summer's harvest of ripe fruits and vegetables. Others simply chop them up and throw them in the freezer. In something of a cross between jamming and throwing in the freezer, I decided to take up the age-old tradition of boozy sorbet-making.
Peach Watermelon Sangria Sorbet
Sep 1st, 2008
Happy Labor Day. In my neighborhood of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, this holiday doesn't just signal the end of half-day Fridays and seersucker; it ushers in the beginning of the new season with a two-mile long parade of elaborate floats, costumes and music, a street-wide carnival, and several performances at the Brooklyn Museum, all in celebration of West Indian American pride. And all along the way, lots and lots of authentic West Indian food.
Vegetarian Jamaican Patties
Aug 27th, 2008
Some of you may have heard certain stories about New York
magazine’s Highbrow BBQ last weekend. You may have seen a video about it on Grub Street, and if so, caught an unsightly glimpse of me chewing, or something. You may have even been there yourself, under the clear, blue sky at Solar One’s East River waterfront playground. But in any of these cases, what you probably haven’t seen is an up-close account of the cook-off that took place toward the end of the event. As one of the judges of this amateur grilling competition, I can share the inside story. And as promised, exclusive to Not Eating Out in New York, the winner's homemade recipe.
How the Highbrow BBQ Cook-Off Was Won
Aug 22nd, 2008
Don't hate me because I'm beautiful. Hate me because my sandwich is. Then make one yourself, because it's that easy, and go off and spread envy wherever you eat. This is not eating out in New York, summer 2008-style. Live it.
Plum, Feta and Fresh Mint Panini
Aug 19th, 2008
Sometimes, words don't even come close. Sometimes photos don't do the trick. Sometimes, like when dealing with something as delicious as this ice cream, there is no proper justice. But I will try.
Carrot Cake Ice Cream with Cream Cheese Sauce
Aug 14th, 2008
I didn't really know what to expect when I lopped these greens off at the rubber band-tied stems, gave them a rough chop, and tossed them in a pan popping with garlic, shallots and olive oil. I didn't expect that their juicy stems would bleed all over the place, staining the aromatics hot pink with every turn of the spatula. I didn't expect the leaves to be as tender as they felt when the knife went through them, since they looked kind of ragged at first glimpse. And I certainly didn't expect them to taste as mild and utterly un-bitter as any light, springy lettuce green might when cooked. Nor that its semi-hollow stems would soak up as much flavor, while retaining a delicate crispness against the elements. Never have I underestimated a vegetable as much as perhaps the shocking beet green.
Curried Beet Greens Brunch Platter
Aug 12th, 2008
What you’re looking at is the title card for the first-place judge’s choice chili of the latest Brooklyn Chili Takedown, made by first-time cook-off contestant Zeph Courtney. With a dark, earthy flavor and thick, rich sauce surrounding golf ball-sized hunks of beef, it’s as in-your-face as its name suggests. And below, exclusive to this blog – I think – is the winning recipe for it.
Brooklyn Takes Down Chili
Aug 11th, 2008
Here thee, it's another alternative to mayonnaise in one of your favorite summertime side dishes. What have I got against mayonnaise, you might be wondering? Not a whole
lot. I like the old may-o. It's one of the mother sauces of French cuisine, so nobody can argue that it deserves respect. But this potato and fresh tomato salad has none of it. Yet it's perplexingly rich and refreshing at the same time. Savory and sweet. Summery and wintery. Potatoey and tomatoey.
Pomato Ricotta Salad
Aug 6th, 2008
Who remembers their introduction to coleslaw as a sodden, colorless, nearly congealed mess inside a pleated white paper cup? Now, who would like to forget that memory in its entirety? Me, too! Let's hop aboard this pleasure plane and ride into a purple haze of forgetfulness, why don't we? And, do something I'd never dreamed of recommending before about a week ago: don't let your coleslaw sit long before serving it.
Honey Wasabi Coleslaw
Aug 4th, 2008
You know that summer is in full swing when there's a barbecue to attend to every other day. But the best ones always seem to roll around just at the cusp of Labor Day. This time, New York Magazine
is upping the ante with a waterfront BBQ of unprecedented heights: Announcing the first-ever Highbrow BBQ on August 23 -- an afternoon extravaganza of charred, smoked and spice-rubbed goodness, plenty of beer, and live music by Islands. If the lure of Top Chef contestant CJ Jacobson's highbrow feast isn't enough, there's just one more perk I can't wait to share with you...
BBQ your best (for me!) at Highbrow BBQ
Jul 31st, 2008
This recipe is like a southern housewife who just flew back from the Bahamas. There's nothing that smells of home, sweet home like a fresh-baked pan of cornbread, but who wants to forget the intoxicating aromas of the tropics so soon? Heck, a compromise. And to return to reality from that little hyperbole, this dish was indeed a compromise when it was planned for the menu at the BBQ last night, hosted by Finger on the Pulse.
Banana Coconut Cornbread with Peach Compote
Jul 27th, 2008
This weekend, I had the pleasure of running into not one but two different old roommates of mine, whom I haven't seen in ages and didn't even realize lived in the city in one case. I know these women intimately, but for some stupid reason have fallen out of touch with them over the years. Now, we didn't romp around in flour, or kill our abusive husbands with frying pans like the protagonists in Fried Green Tomatoes
. But I was feeling nostalgic for those times all the same, and knew just the recipe I wanted to try out for the first time today. Except for one little ingredient switch.
Fried Green Eggplant with Peach Salsa
Jul 22nd, 2008
This recipe started with a lot of leftover bread. I didn't know what to do with it; it was stale, so I ground it into coarse breadcrumbs in the food processor. Okay, so now I have breadcrumbs, I thought. What to do? This was great fodder for, let's see, meatballs? Frying batter? Savory stuffing? Nothing that sounded too appealing during these hot weeks of July.
Fresh Fruit-Filled Ricotta Tarts
Jul 18th, 2008
Trial: I get on my bike to run some errands, including a grocery store trip to get ingredients for a classic French salade nicoise. I have a craving for slick, smushed beads of brininess otherwise known as olives. It's almost ninety degrees outside. I get out of the store, unlock my bike, and get on it only to find that the back tire is sagged like an empty sail.
Salade Me-coise (and Trials & Retribution)
Jul 14th, 2008
I was a proud glutton on Saturday. Not that co-hosting a Great Hot Dog Cook-Off isn't reason enough to celebrate (or pack on five extra pounds), but through it all, we made over $1500 for the Food Bank for NYC from ticket sales and cash donations at the event. Fourteen chef-contestants made trays full of fabulous, fantastical frankfurter creations. We made new friends, lots of them. And it was also a day when the majority of the ballot-voting audience made this fascinating discovery: Goat cheese and hot dogs go REALLY well together. Especially with mangoes.
The Great Hot Dog Cook-Off: It was great
Jul 10th, 2008
To put it in more discerning culinary terminology, these might actually be galettes, the rustic hand-shaped pastry with filling. But as Merriam-Webster defines it, a galette is a flat, round
pastry with filling, and these are heart-shaped (ahem, almost). "Tart" usually implies a similar dessert that takes shape by way of a tart pan, and has a sticky, gooey or custardy filling beneath the fruit topping. Or either/or. These have neither. I'm a sucker for rhymes also, so I'll stick with tart for these.
Blueberry Heart Tarts (well, almost)
Jul 6th, 2008
The Great Hot Dog Cook-Off is less than one week away, time for our chef-competitors to put on their thinking caps and channel their most dogged determination. Obviously, I've been putting myself in their shoes lately, and this is what I'd do if I were entering the Veggie Dog category next Saturday: layer a heap of sweet vinegar-laced sushi rice atop a sheet of nori, place a cold veggie link inside it with a squirt of wasabi mayo, and roll with it. The Maki Dog: summer's healthy, chilled, surprisingly tasty answer to dull dog boredom.
If I Were Entering the Great Hot Dog Cook-Off Take 2: The Maki Dog
Jul 2nd, 2008
It doesn't have quite the timeless ring of "black beans and rice," but here we are anyway: black bean ravioli. Where cheap comfort food and painstaking pasta-making collide. And like many good twists on classic dishes, this one was difficult and time-consuming to make, even with my disregard to the uniformity of the ravioli's shape and overall prettiness. But if you'll recall my last kitchen disaster with black beans, at least these homemade raviolis were edible. Actually, they were delicious, and that makes it all worthwhile (at least on special occasions).
Black Bean Ravioli with Cotija and Fresh Oregano
Jun 24th, 2008
Ah, summer. These are the only reasons I stick it out in New York the rest of the year.
It all began with my first summer here, as a wide-eyed, twenty-year-old college sophomore. It was every bit the definition of “salad days” – living in Alphabet City with my best friend in an apartment we rented ridiculously cheap because it was owned by her family friends, romping around the Village and Lower East Side, sometimes successfully sneaking into bars, sometimes not, but always having an adventure. There was nothing very “salad”-y about our diet then, if you counted out deviled eggs (one affordable luxury and my ex-roommate’s penchant). And lord knows I didn’t make it to the grocery store much. But I think the term fits -- New York is full of contractions, right?
Chicken Salad Days
Jun 21st, 2008
Unanimous "yes"es flooded my inbox from the crew. I am so glad I'm no longer dating a seafood-hater. Fish may thrive underwater, but I think they do smashingly well on a hand-ground corn tortilla against cool, creamy slaw and snappy herbs, and drenched with tangy lime juice. I overheard mention of "getting fish tacos" while on the boat leaving Governor's Island two weekends ago, when the above ninety-degree heatwave was in full swing and the legendary Baja-inspired surfer food was the only thing that could wake anyone's otherwise dormant appetite. It was like hearing the word of God. It almost hurt to not be able to drop everything and make fish tacos immediately over the course of the next week and a half. There was too much to do, and too many barbecues in between; but when time came to have a fish taco party, did we ever rise to the challenge.
Fish tacos, anyone?
Jun 18th, 2008
I'm thinking it might be time to upgrade the 'ol NEOINY hideaway with a Kitchenaid stand mixer, equipped with all the meat grinding attachment works. (I'm browsing them on Ebay right now.) The motivating factor is right above: luscious, freshly made, and deceptively simple sausages. Who knew that with the right tools, making sausage at home actually requires little time, prep work and just a few odd ingredients (i.e. hog casing and nitrate)? Matt Greco. A chef at Cafe Gray, Matt led a class at the Brooklyn Kitchen last week on charcuterie basics. By the end, we'd had ourselves a bonafide sausage party -- in that we all devoured plenty of homemade sausages and beer, but also, I was the only chick in attendance. It was the real deal. Woot!
Matt Greco’s Pork Sage Sausage
Jun 13th, 2008
This is what I've been having for dinner lately. I don't have an air conditioner and don't see the point much when I can dip into a carton of homemade ice cream every once in a while. It does much more than cool the physical senses. It soothes and elates, bringing me back to the emotional state of being on a class trip in kindergarten, when every kid lined up at the local ice cream parlor and ordered the same thing: mint chocolate chip in a sugar cone. (Ever have a similar experience?) Some of them were following the fad, for sure, jumping on the bandwagon at that impressionable age. Though few, if any, would regret doing so.
Just-Like-the-Parlor Mint Chip Ice Cream
Jun 10th, 2008
I've done some horrible plating in my time. That is, most of the time. Like many of you, I don't have the space nor the patience to bother with appliances that are used only to improve the appearance of my food, like a piping bag, or one of those ring molds that you watch the Iron Chefs layer parfaits of crisp greens, juicy meat medallions and sauce with. But if you read between the lines, I really wish I did.
Then I received an email from fellow cooking-in aficionado Jessica Freeman-Slade, asking for advice on plating for dummies (or urban-dwelling budgeters, as it were). After I drew a blank, she graciously took it upon herself to fill that void. Today, she's guest-blogging (a first for NEOINY!) on how to do-up your table, just in time for that romantic summer meal on the patio (that is, roof).
Lessons of Plating: An elegant self-made dinner in New York
Major thanks to Cathy for letting me share the results of this challenge in plating (or lack thereof) with all you super-savvy readers. I’ve been following this site since I upgraded from an UWS galley kitchen to a place with countertops in Brooklyn, and I’ve always been pretty passionate about cooking, so naturally the first place I thought of was Not Eating Out in New York…
Plating Well in a Small Kitchen
Jun 8th, 2008
First of all: Holy heatwave! Bake at your own risk! I was kind of wondering when New York City weather would pull its annual trick of mutating overnight into a festering hotbox of city smog, in turn whipping us into hapless victims of stench. I'm still racking my brain for that clean water-saving alternative to showering twice or thrice daily.
Savory Asparagus Pie
Jun 5th, 2008
Ughhh... I am not recommending you go into making this for the first time late on a Wednesday night. Ughhh... Of all the finicky nonsense that plagues much of gourmet, frou-frou, highbrow cooking, why this common street food snack so ridiculously delicate a process? I'll chalk it up to two major things: my inexperience with the ingredients -- the rice (or "vermicelli") noodles and the rice wrappers -- and with how to handle them. How wet can the wrappers get before they just flop and tear when you attempt to roll them up? How dry can they really get before they stick together intolerably like a hot fruit roll-up? Ughhh... (!)
Vietnamese-Style Summer Rolls with Shrimp or Tofu
Jun 1st, 2008
Warning: If you make this at your next barbecue, your vegetarian friends may want to stand up on the picnic table and leap into your arms, proclaiming forever best friendship. I don't know this from actual experience, but I can only imagine, after many summers of seeing glum-looking vegetarians skulking from the greasy-smelling fume clouds, nervously glancing at raw ground meat and drippy hot dog packages in the way that one cannot resist looking at a bug after squashing it with a magazine.
Pesto Avocado Portoburger
May 27th, 2008
Oh yes, you heard it correctly. The Baked Brie Dog, which was born, baked, and eaten at a Memorial Day barbecue this weekend, will not be seen at the Great Hot Dog Cook-Off this July. But it only marks the beginning of the hot dog greatness that the event will doubtless inspire. Who said hot dog competitions were only about stuffing your face 'til you threw up into plastic cups? We, slightly north of Coney Island, have much more respect for our dogs than that.
If I were entering the Great Hot Dog Cook-Off Take I: The Baked Brie Dog
May 25th, 2008
Go East, young asparagus whore. That's my motto for this salad, only the fourth or fifth dish this spring of what we should call the Asparagus Chronicles. I threw a dinner party last night, and this was one of the test salads I ultimately rejected for the night's first course. That salad will probably end up in The Book, and the other unused salad was essentially the same as this one, only with olive oil and lemon juice instead of sesame oil and vinegar (it was also quite good). But this take appealed to my fiendish taste for cold sesame noodles, which always makes me think of summer. The nostalgia is of course complicated ten times over by multiple textures and flavors here -- from the meaty portobello and its viscous gray juices, to the crunchy hollow stems of the watercress. The asparagus tips take on a completely different character than their juicy stalks, and who can resist the little burst of a toasted sesame seed between their teeth?
Asparagus, Portobello and Watercress Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette
May 21st, 2008
Squiwers? Skewidders? Sigh -- this dish is not the most beautiful-sounding word combination in the English language, and I guess it's just going to stay that way. As for its appearance, it's up to you how beautiful they look. If you ask me, that succulent tangle of tentacles, cooked to just a slight crisp at the curlicue tippy tips, kind of makes me swoon.
Grilled Squid Skewers
May 19th, 2008
This is either a very boring fact or a semi-interesting cooking tip, and if you grew up eating lots of Chinese food like me, you probably already know it even if it's never been said aloud, but foods that share a similar shape and size go together. They just do. So if you're cutting up chicken to go with green beans, you do long, thin strips. If you have something like fava beans and you're cooking it with firm tofu, you'll want to pare the tofu block down to small cubes. It's not an ultimatum or anything beyond a little conventional wisdom, because things tend to cook more closely in speed if similarly sized. And your mouthfeel sensors will thank you, for giving it greater harmony.
Penne and Asparagus Salad with Pecans
May 16th, 2008
When I began this blog a year and a half ago, I made it pretty clear from the get-go that while I shunned restaurant, take-out and sidewalk stand food, I'd never attempt to shun drinking in bars. That was beyond my comprehension. It still is, but as time goes on, you learn some new things. And one thing I learned recently is that drinking in -- in someone's kitchen, with a few friends and as little as three ingredients -- can be just as intoxicatingly fun as going out. Mind-blowing, right?
But the actual science of it is easy. I've long been intimidated by the term "home bar." This conjured images of tilted shelves, sticky cabinets and floors over-crowded with dusty, half-empty bottles of alcohol of every imaginable stripe. But you don't have to be a rampant collector of booze to throw together a few good cocktails. Most cocktails are merely varitions of one magic equation: 2 parts alcohol, 1 part sour, 1 part sweet. Or so I am told by Tobias Rower, who tends the bar at Gramercy Tavern and was kind enough to treat some friends and I to a cocktail tutorial recently.
Not Drinking Out in New York: Classic 3-Ingredient Cocktails
May 13th, 2008
As a friend text messaged me earlier on the night of the 2nd Annual Cupcake Bake-off held by the Brooklyn Kitchen, some milk would be really good to bring along and serve with the cupcakes, instead of drinking pint after pint after beer after eating cupcake after cupcake (after cupcake). Well, a night later I'm finally taking up that advice with the leftover cupcake scraps stashed in Tupperware in my fridge, and damn. Is this ever the best combination.
Mint Chocolate Chip Happy Cone Cupcakes
May 12th, 2008
Today marked the first two of hopefully many bike laps of Prospect Park I'll ride this year. I fear the flab. I really do. It also marked an occasion for some gentler, fresher, milder and lighter fare that I'll hopefully see much more of this year. Thin-crust pizza that more resembles a salad with breadsticks? Yes, please. Even if it involves few more than three ingredients and a seriously scant amount of cheese, I'm still calling it a pizza now and for all. 'Tis the season.
Simple Tomato and Basil Pizza
May 8th, 2008
Darn unstoppable cravings. I’ve been hungrier for more things than ever this past month or so, and I don’t know why. I’m fairly certain there’s no chance I’m pregnant unless an alien abducted me during sleep. I’ve been cooking away at a happy clip for about a year and a half now, not worrying too much about troublesome conversions of restaurant to home-cooked foods. Not missing too many of the ones that I hadn’t yet tried to make. And then I get a mouthwatering taste of meaty, jujube-red raw tuna wrapped in chewy nori lodged in my sensory memory. And I stop. Disheartened.
Spicy Okra and Asparagus Maki Rolls
May 4th, 2008
This has been one of the weeks where I wish I could just put time on hold and say, Wait -- I know it's Sunday, but I still haven't posted my tahiri
recipe from last Wednesday's foodie book club at The Brooklyn Kitchen, nor the seafood skewers from the barbecue after that, nor that little side project from a trip upstate today, the dishes are still piled high in the sink -- can we just digest a moment?? I've been terribly behind. Then, a miracle happened. Before I could blog a belated post about all the great dishes that were shared at Foodie Book Club in honor of Madhur Jaffrey's Climing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India
, another blogger swooped in and did a fine job of it himself. With the help of Midtown Lunch's Zach, here's The Brooklyn Kitchen's round-up of the recipes and good times at the potluck book club meeting.
The Brooklyn Kitchen Cooks Madhur Jaffrey
Apr 30th, 2008
This could be one of my favorite things I didn’t know I was making. Not knowing I was making in the sense that I had no idea it would turn out like this. I didn't predict the asparagus would cook so perfectly, still juicy and a little bit crisp, and the egg’s yolk would combine with the lemony bechamel to drown it in an even richer sauce. Nor that a few scattered slices of Swiss would find its way into bites so mysteriously, hanging onto the fork in little melted strings.
Baked Eggs and Asparagus with Lemon Bechamel
Apr 27th, 2008
I love it when people who are not necessarily big cooks tell me about a recipe they crafted themselves. It's usually peppered with personal experience, and told in a way that reveals their trial and error with the ingredients and overall pride for its deliciousness. This type of story fell on my lap recently when an acquaintance emailed me his recipe for black beans and brown rice. It was simple, but fresh somehow. He insisted on starting out with dried black beans, not something I tend to do, and it included a whole bunch of fresh thyme and bay leaves in addition to onion, garlic and jalapenos.
The Scotch Bonnet Black Beans Disaster
Apr 25th, 2008
Warning: it’s gritty. I did not take the advice from the Epicuious recipe I based this variation off of and expel the custard mixture of basil leaves with a “fine mesh strainer” before churning it into ice cream. That would have been more, well, refined. But then, aren’t home-cooked specialties supposed to be a little gritty? I should call this one Brooklyn Basil Lemon ice cream.
Basil Lemon Ice Cream
Apr 22nd, 2008
I can't think of a better blend of high and low culinary cultures (haute and "not") than this fragrant late-spring vegetable dish. Nor a better time to cook it than Earth Day. Happy "green" eating, everyone -- with maybe a little orange on the side.
Sauteed Carrots, Dandelion Leaves and Violet Leaves with Argan Oil
Apr 11th, 2008
Not exactly one of the times where you’d go, Oh, the poor dear. Look at her, shunning restaurant food, slaving for five minutes over a measly sandwich...
Sorry, I couldn’t help a little swagger. Nor having seconds of this cheesy, crispy, warm, juicy apply sandwich.
Apple Gruyere Panini and Ginger Lime Carrot Salad
Apr 7th, 2008
This is the kind of comfort food that I'm talking about when I talk about comfort food -- hearty, uncomplicated, slow-cooked and pleasantly easy on your tastebuds. Only I'm not talking about any comfort food from my own sensory memory. This one belongs to Arthur Schwartz, as told in his new cookbook, Jewish Home Cooking: Yiddish Recipes Revisited
Vegetarian Stuffed Cabbage
Mar 30th, 2008
Seasonality is often a blessing in disguise. Just as much as anyone else, I've been chomping at the bit for summer produce to arrive, if not the whole shebang then at least some of the early spring greens. But we seem to be in limbo this weekend in late March: no peas in the pod yet, no sugar snaps or asparagus. No tender dandelion leaves to forage yet in no lush parks. When I arrived at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket this Saturday, it was just late afternoon. There was literally half of one beet left in one farmer's cardboard box. There were a lot of apples, though, and in general, a lot of stuff that I'd been eating a lot of for what felt to be a lot of time.
Curried Sweet Potato Soup
Mar 26th, 2008
What do breakfast, lasagna, free pool tables and cheap pints of beer have to do with one another? Nothing. Except that they're sloshing around inside of me as I write this (the free pool more figuratively, say an X-ray glimpse into my stomach with sound effects) a few short hours and not enough sleep after indulging in all. I trust that you could skip the last two items in that equation and have yourself a mighty fine meal out of breakfast lasagna, however. And unlike my last recipe, this one should give you plenty of time to plan ahead for a savory weekend brunch. Or is it dinner?
Mar 24th, 2008
Happy day after Easter, everyone. This recipe may be a day late, but as you'll see later on in the Cost Calculator, not lacking in dollar value. Admittedly, the most important Christian holiday has little significance for me other than being a time to see my family, and together obsess over having something really nice to eat. (Is that so sacrilegious?) The fruit of this year's obsessions was a nice rack of lamb, French trimmed by the butcher, and simply roasted.
Rosemary Crusted Rack of Lamb with Wild Rice Ragout, Asparagus and Red Wine Reduction
Mar 19th, 2008
After diving into pig fat and liver for that pâté, I wasn’t sure I was quite ready to grind up any more meat for a while. Lately I've been eating (and necessarily cooking) meat only once a week or so, like a pious, puritanical soul, though I couldn’t care less what day it falls on that I do. With all the disconcerting news about mistreatment of cattle in slaughterhouses and meat contamination scares eating away the very fiber of our agricultural system, eating beef wasn't exactly high on my priorities at this time. I feel that as a nation we overproduce it, overeat it, and generally abuse it. So why did I make a coupla burgers?
Honey Scallion Sliders (and How Now to Cook Brown Cow)
Mar 16th, 2008
This weekend I was invited to a dinner party at the home of two friends (and award-winning chefs). The clever theme for the event was elevated fifties' American cuisine: "We're swapping out the cans of condensed soups, processed cheese, canned black olives and Wonder Bread, and are replacing them with homemade, organic, high-quality ingredients," the invitation read. As I typed out my RSVP, I apologized for my late response because their email had initially fallen into the clutches of my spam folder. I stopped. Did I just write, "spam"? As in the fabulously fifties-esque potted meat product loosely related to spiced ham? Something in desperate need of reinvention? And here we go...
Country Pâté with Pecans and Cranberries
Mar 12th, 2008
Naysayers and pastry purists, look out: this post may sound a little weird. Crispy, you say? (they say, that is). A thin, crunchy crust on a creamy quiche? What is this, a pizza? The agent provocateur in this quiche was the use of pre-packaged square wonton wrappers instead of small, conventional pastry crusts (a marriage of convenience, of course). Genetically speaking, these share the same DNA as fresh Italian pasta -- flour and egg. And the thickness of a pre-packaged egg wonton wrapper is about as thin as a pasta crank will get you.
Crispy Mini Quiches
Mar 10th, 2008
Last night I hosted a housewarming party at my new apartment. Each guest appeared at my door toting a bottle or two of wine, a six-pack of beer or the occasional small housewarming gift. Then, a new-ish friend of mine arrived and dug into her bag a moment. She whipped out a small Ziploc bag with a mound of moss-green, fuzzy-looking dried plantlife at the bottom.
“It’s Za’atar!” she exclaimed.
My suspicions cleared, I excitedly opened the – ahem – little green bag and sniffed deeply. And here I am, less than twenty-four hours later (or twenty-three, if you factor in the daylight savings change) inhaling every bite of this freshly baked Za’atar bread. I’m high as a kite.
Za’atar Bread with Feta and Parsley
Mar 6th, 2008
I had a lot of leads to mull over for my next recipe, dedicated to Hillary Clinton. As Angeline commented in my Obama Rolls post, Clinton’s favorite food is lamb. Slate recently delved deep into theory on Clinton's food preferences, citing her dearness towards a Midwestern regional specialty called the Oliveburger, and her overuse of butter on popcorn. Then this week’s Intelligencer column in New York Magazine
reported that Hillary eats hot peppers like jalapenos, habaneros and banana peppers “at pretty much every meal,” according to her spokesman. I find this fascinating, if true. (I also think it’d be awesome if Hillary started a food blog called, “Eating Hot Peppers in New York.”)
But it was not a buttery, gamey, spicy or olive-laden recipe that I eventually decided to go with. Because, while she’s assuredly in the race for the presidential bid for the long haul, I think Hillary needs to loosen up. Go easy on the stoic-as-Mount-Rushmore eyebrow furrowing and tough talking like she’s about to take Obama “outside” for a brawl. I’m no doctor, clearly, but I think that Hillary could use a drink.
Hillary Rodhamgranate Rickey
Mar 2nd, 2008
The rest of the city may have largely moved on, but I still can't decide between Hillary and Obama. It's like deja-vu, back to being a kid in the candy store. I'm standing there scratching my head and weighing a Mars Bar and a Milky Way in each hand, while the rest of the kids have scampered outside, chomping away on their selections. The problem is, there is little difference between a Mars Bar and a Milky Way, just the packaging and marketing angles their manufacturers have decided to give them. These things evolve over the years, figure a year or two before another big ad campaign; but the marketing and packaging of our presidential candidates, on the other hand, changes literally every day. That's why I can't decide (after all, the policies of both candidates -- their nutritional value, you might say -- are nearly identical). But you know what? It doesn't really matter who little old me, myself and I decide on. Obama's on a roll.
Feb 20th, 2008
This was the challenge I faced growing up with learning to cook anything too rustic and simple: Time and again, I'd be taken aback by something that my mom had just thrown together. Wow, this is really good, I would say, tasting an eggdrop soup with crunchy scallion bits floating about. Or a stir-fry of julienned potatoes with a dash of white pepper, the starch suspending the sticks in a light, opaque sauce. Or, most recently, this clear soup with soft cubes of turnip and a background smokiness of sparerib bones.
“Peasant” Turnip Soup
Feb 15th, 2008
The first thing you're probably wondering is why there is a big picture of broth instead of a completed, beautifully presented plate of winter vegetable couscous before us right now. That's because when I made this at home, I erred on the side of caution and prepared the mostly winter dish with the addition of zucchini, just as I'd seen it done throughout my visit to Morocco. After eating mushy, limp zucchini several times there and then making it at home, however, I've concluded that this might not actually be necessary; the zucchini lends little to the savory vegetable broth that steams and flavors the couscous. It's also not a winter vegetable -- not here at least. And, like I said, it was soggy, mushy, limp and all but disappeared in your mouth.
Winter Vegetable Couscous
Feb 7th, 2008
My friend Karol agreed to come to my impromptu Chinese New Year's Eve dinner last night only on the condition that there would be no utterance of the words "rat" or "mouse," so just getting it out of my system. Ringing in the Year of the Rat is understandably awkward when trodding the sodden confetti and firecracker papered streets of a New Year’s aftermath-stricken Mott St., kicking the occasional half-eaten bun. I'm not sure the ancient Chinese had counted on the uneasy relationship today between rats and food when they honored the animal with a year in their twelve-year calendar. Maybe they were much more docile creatures back then, a companion almost. Or maybe they had a sense of humor about them, like the makers of Ratatouille
. Whatever the case, we're stuck with the critters, be they infesting our holidays or apartments.
Feb 3rd, 2008
Gee, I'm single. I don't know the way it is with you, but Valentine's Day traditionally falls on a romantically awkward time for me (except for the last two years). This year, it's pretty bad. I'll spare you the gory details, but I essentially returned from my girlfriend-bonding Moroccan vacation to a live-in who'd decided he wanted out. Home sweet home! Of course, now that it's the first week of February, all the aphrodisiac date menus, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, stuffed bears and stupid cupids bouncing around in attempt to stimulate the love sensors only make me sense a party that I'm not invited to. So, I rather liked the refreshingly morbid title of Culinate's new blogging contest, Death by Chocolate.
Pain with Chocolate (and that’s not in French)
Jan 14th, 2008
You can probably guess where I gathered the ingredients for this savory winter stir-fry from the post preceding this one. Think of it as a twist on beef stew -- but one that takes a fraction of the cooking time. Served with rice and perhaps a simple, stir-fried green on the side, it's the perfect cold weather meal to really fill up on, and look forward to having again the next day.
What? It hasn't actually been cold in New York City, you say, with temperatures in the sixties last week for days in a row? Well, fine then. But one look at a Farmers' Market, with its sober rows of squashes and cabbages, will remind you that it is most assuredly winter. Luckily, both leeks and Shiitake mushrooms naturally flourish in the winter, and they taste best when cooked just the slightest.
Beef with Leeks and Shiitake Mushrooms
Jan 9th, 2008
I know what you’re thinking. Your mouth is slightly agape. You read Brie and apples and your brain is skipping along at a jovial clip, then comes "risotto" and everything comes to a crashing halt against a tangled mental wire fence. Does that go? Apples in risotto? Remember, this is coming from a person who recently tried to put beets in pudding.
Green Apple and Brie Risotto
Jan 5th, 2008
Luckily for those who eat in like me, the cult of the celebrity chef is never far from reach. With an ebullience similar to when the first Michael Jordan sneakers were released, manufacturers are creating line after line of chef-approved kitchenwares. There's Joan Chen brand woks and bamboo steamers, Gordon Ramsay fine china and crystal, Emerilware, Martha Stewart everything, and recent years have seen the Batali and Ray empires expand into cookware as well (and "EVOO"). For Christmas I was given these two Mario Batali mini cast iron Dutch ovens(?) or covered casseroles(?). Something of that nature. Its manufacturer, Copco, didn't have a very specific name for it -- a "2 cup Italian Essentials Pot," they called it, in line with their larger capacity "Italian Essentials" pots. But aren't they cute?
Dec 28th, 2007
This Christmas dinner, I was preparing a meal for nine people including myself. At least one of them was lactose-intolerant; at least one was kosher. And the main course for the evening was unquestionably rich -- a prime rib of beef, to be exact. But I still wanted to make a soup that was heady and savory. The kind of soup that makes people want to finish a whole bowl of and call it a meal. I suppose I should have bothered to ask if anyone disliked garlic, because what they got as a result equaled nearly one head of garlic per person.
Garlic and Asparagus Soup with Oregano Pesto
Dec 23rd, 2007
My favorite nut (besides, perhaps, my mother) is the buttery cashew. For a long time I thought there was no better way to enjoy them than alone, roasted, straight out of the can and without the pesky accompaniment of lesser nuts mixed in. A little coat of salt, maybe. But that was all. This may or may not still be the ultimate cashew experience, but recently I've discovered this nut to be a little more versatile to add.
Honey-Cashew Fruit Crisps
Dec 18th, 2007
Inspired by the classic Mexican dish pozole, this chili combines dried chipotles and anchos for a deep, earthy tomato-based sauce complemented by the sweetness of pumpkin. The smokiness of the chipotles is increased here by adding ground chorizo sausages; browned at the beginning of the cooking process, they meld invisibly into the sauce, adding a bit of density and lots of flavor.
Chicken, Pumpkin and Hominy Chili
Dec 18th, 2007
Last year marked one of the least snowy winters that New York City has ever not enjoyed. This year is shaping up to be a little better, but let's face it, we haven't had reason to call the whole day off in more than two years, and that's a shame. The absence of the pure, white fluffy stuff is dire enough as to make people look elsewhere for alternatives. I have a hare-brained theory that this is what's been fueling all the brouhaha over home dairy-making as of late.
Winter Squash Bruschetta
Dec 12th, 2007
Ding-aling... Ring-aling... it's Christmastime in the city. And what do city girls do to get into the spirit? Well, if you're like half of the informal poll I've taken of my favorite ladies, you actually go out and buy a medium to large-sized tree to drag back to your apartment. That's right, a suburban family-oriented phenomenon no more. (Interestingly, most of these tree-buyers have roommates, while the others live alone or with a significant other. I guess it's not much fun having a tree with only one person to enjoy it.) And if you're one-third of that population, namely my friend Erin, you hold a tree-trimming party filled with colorful arts and crafts supplies for make-it-yourself ornaments.
Jalapeno Popper Stockings
Dec 8th, 2007
I first made this meal a few weeks ago when I came home from running errands to a living room filled with three friends (including my boyfriend). I was starving. But I tried to play it cool, pouring myself a whiskey on ice like they were all drinking, and calmly bringing out a tray of toasted squash seeds to munch on -- a side project from an earlier experiment I had been doing with a roasted spaghetti squash. Of course, those infuriatingly little bits of seed wedged inside their salty shell only made my hunger worse. Soon after, I attempted to casually interject the subject of dinner into our conversation. It came out more or less like, “Who wants to eat dinner?”
Chicken, Kale & Pureed Spaghetti Squash with Sage
Dec 3rd, 2007
"Was that banana?"
Went the first question from everyone who'd tried these, once they unglued their mouths enough to ask. Next:
"I'm getting caramel... nuttiness... chocolate..."
Sounds almost like we were tasting vintage wines. To their credit, it was dark in the bar where we sat. Half turtle bar, partly inspired by the chocolate monkey drink, these lovable turtle monkey bars have the best of both animal kingdoms, in my opinion. Like a well-aged wine, the flavors also seemed to mingle after having been squashed together in plastic wrap for an hour beforehand. Cold, gooey banana indeed pervaded every bite. The mealy texture of graham cracker could be felt throughout. Chocolate chunks prominently lodged in the teeth. The combined sensation is positively that of a kindergarten recess (minus the raisins).
Chunky Turtle Monkey Love Bars
Nov 24th, 2007
So, nobody was exactly clamoring for me to remake a traditional British Christmas mincemeat pie this year at Thanksgiving. Blended dried fruits and the word "meat" in its name doesn't conjure the most appetizing dessert (even though today, meat is commonly left out). It certainly never did for me, especially since I've only had mincemeat once before as a straight-out-of-the-can pie filling. This was at a Thanksgiving long ago, and I recall reading the ingredients on the can: It was essentially a heavily spiced puree of apples and raisins. This irked me. Why mess around with dried and canned fruits when there was plenty of fresh apples and cranberries to go around? Worse yet, nobody seemed to know that this was in fact what was in the can.
Cranberry Orange Mince Pie
Nov 15th, 2007
Submissions close for the first-ever Ugliest Gourmet blogging contest in about ten minutes, and I scramble to bring you this humble entry. I contemplated plenty of visually off-putting dishes in the past weeks, but in the end, this simple vegetable side seemed to be the most to-the-point: Butter, broccoli and Parmiggiano-Reggiano -- what's not to love? Oh yeah, that gross green muck that it turns out looking like.
Nov 13th, 2007
Don't be swayed by the length of this rather unwieldy-sounding recipe's name; the latter two ingredients, candied orange peels and fresh mint, are almost inessential to the sparkling culinary gemstone that is roasted beets and fresh orange slices. "Wow" hardly nips at the issue I'm talking about here. Okay, so it's only food -- two foods to be precise. But sometimes, all's it takes, as they say, is two to tango.
Roasted Beet and Orange Salad with Candied Orange Peel and Mint
Nov 9th, 2007
As I've probably admitted more than once on this blog, in times of need, I turn the corner of my block and walk into "my" neighborhood bodega. Here I can score milk, limes, boxes of pasta, snacks, and more often than I'd like, pints of ice cream. Plus, the friendly Korean couple who own it treat me like a neighbor, and will let me get away with a few bucks if I'm short, since they know I'll be back.
Have I ever put together an entire meal with ingredients solely from a bodega? Probably. But the Brooklyn Kitchen recently challenged any contestants to do so with flying colors for their first-ever Bodega Challenge. The theme: a Thanksgiving side dish. The occasion? The contest was held as part of the kick-ass kitchen store's one-year anniversary party. Whoo! I can't believe it's already been a year since I attended their first event last November.
The Bodega Challenge
Nov 3rd, 2007
This is going to sound terrible. But until today, I had been prejudiced towards vegetables based on color. I adored deep colors. I bought produce according to my preconceived notion of their superiority alone. And when I passed the lowly, pale white cauliflower, I turned up my nose without giving it any further thought and went, 'peh.' And reached for a more becoming candidate in the Brassicaceae oleracea family, like Brussels sprouts. I was a vegetable bigot.
Cream of Cauliflower Soup
Oct 25th, 2007
It used to be that when a potluck presented itself to me, I would default to one of a number of tried-and-true party favorites. Now that pool has run rather dry. But no fear -- a new pasta crank is here.
Oct 22nd, 2007
super squash-caramel sundae
Not butter rum ice cream, not just butternut squash ice cream (although you can just omit the rum if you care for that), but buttery, yummy rum butternut squash ice cream. Say that five times fast. Now try it after some more of that rum.
Rum Butternut Ice Cream
Oct 18th, 2007
needs more peas, according to Bittman
It seems (belatedly) that I am not the only one with pasta on the mind. Mark Bittman’s recent article in the Times offered hoards of recipes for pasta lore that I can’t wait to try out sometime soon. But he also touched on a point that I found interesting, and struck at a deeply embedded piece of cultural wisdom that I had never thought to question before: The ratio of grains to delicacies.
More on that pasta
Oct 18th, 2007
I got a brand new toy. Alright, it's gently used and I bought it on eBay for $10, but check this out: A true Italian Marcato (aptly named) "Pasta Queen" pasta crank with 7 thickness settings, 2 pasta widths and a table clamp. Early Christmas in New York.
Fresh Fettuccine with Baby Portobellos, Green Beans and Sage in a Cream Sherry Sauce
Oct 9th, 2007
I find it no coincidence that so many cultures like to tame eggplant by beating them to a pulp. My run-in with not-so-well-cooked eggplant earlier this summer has put me off the poisonous plants for a little while, but I'm not calling it quits just yet. Baba ghanoush, eggplant "caviar," so to speak, has been enjoyed throughout Middle Eastern, North African and Eastern European cuisines for many centuries before peasant food became chic. They must know what they're doing.
Baba Ghanoush: Eggplant Mush
Oct 6th, 2007
No, it's not my blog's birthday part II. Last weekend was the birthday of a couple friends of mine -- a couple, who happen to share the same birthday. No, they're not twins. So, since everyone loves cupcakes and two birthdays is certainly that much more reason to, I baked up a batch of mini white cake delights topped off with my own mocha frosting. These friends are keen on coffee, as am I and most people I know. But, like myself and probably not
so many others, they're not particularly cake lovers, nor frosting aficionados. I don't know what it is about it, but it takes a little something extra to get me excited about frosting. This mocha one, fortunately, rose to the challenge.
Oct 4th, 2007
little garlic, where came thee?
It's no surprise to me, as an average American consumer, that nearly everything I wear, step on, brush my hair with, carry my things in, or merely touch in my day-to-day routine was made in and exported from China. So perhaps I should likewise not be surprised that something as ubiquitous in my daily life as fresh garlic should come from the same place. After all, black pepper hails from Indonesia.
The Search for Closer Cloves
Oct 2nd, 2007
Vinda-who? Has it been this long since I've dined in an Indian restaurant? I suppose so. You see, I've been spoiled by always having plenty of Indian friends while growing up that the taste of authentic curry was never too hard to come by. Nowadays though, things have gotten a bit dicey. I've long forgotten what many of my favorite types of dishes were called, or what they consisted of. But perhaps the most tragic thing I managed to forget was how terrifically easy it is to cook up a simple curry. And in my book, it doesn't take very much for a curry dish to taste very good.
Lamb Vindaloo Curry
Sep 28th, 2007
One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do.
I've been waiting weeks to share this milestone with you: My first birthday in the blogosphere. The real one-year anniversary for this blog flew by sometime in early September while the redesign was still in the works, so the party had to wait. So now it's time to break out the big balloons and silly string, let the honking toys a-herald one successful year of not eating out. Oh, and check out my new look.
Reason For Not Eating Out #13: 1 Year of Not Eating Out, 114 Recipes, and only 6 Regrets
Sep 26th, 2007
Braciole, or roulade? Such different-sounding words for such similar spirals of meat and filling. The former, I've just learned, is merely an Italian American variety of the latter French creation. Because the ingredients I've chosen for this one's filling are more typically Italian than French, though, I'll go with naming it a braciole.
Braised Beef Braciole with Sundried Tomatoes & Basil and Roasted Potatoes & Okra
Sep 21st, 2007
This side is:
a) 100% vegetables
b) 100% hearty
c) oddly Christmasy-looking
d) all of the above
If you guessed "d," then you hate these kinds of questions because you always know whoever's posing it is trying to get you to say that. And I don't blame you. But you've got to try these green beans to believe how true it is.
Sundried Tomato-Braised Green Beans
Sep 17th, 2007
As you can see, I'm drinking to the end of summer. Stirred (not shaken) up as a last-minute idea for the Salsa Takedown at Mo Pitkins, this salsa is my sloppy toast to another warm season of farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, many of which I feel much closer to in the wake of their departure for the fall.
Bloody Mary Salsa
Sep 10th, 2007
So many times after posting a recipe, I come up with a slightly weird sister of that night's recipe for dinner the next night. It absorbs its leftovers, remaining scraps of ingredients from the original and whatever's left over from something else. Last night's tart? Onion, roast carrot, broccoli and tomato. As most single cooks out there know, you commit yourself to the ingredients you buy for at least three or four meals, up to a week more commonly. Hence, this week I made more dishes with corn and tomatoes than I'd care to mention but they all were very fresh and flavorful -- thanks to the seasonal veggies.
Goes Together Like… Corn and Tomatoes
Sep 6th, 2007
Damn. I knew I should have bought more tomatoes from that roadside produce stand in upstate New York. Having good tomatoes these days is something akin to having a house in the Hamptons, or the hottest new technology from Apple. Newer and better species keep cropping up, the heirlooms perhaps being the Amagansett abodes or Macbook Pros of the pack, and rarely will you ever break their superior, hand-painted looking skins when no one else is looking. Or at least, I won't. I don't know about you, but when it comes to something as basic as a vegetable I've eaten thousands of times and in thousands of forms, it's hard to sell me at $4 a pound. (I could get pomegranates for that -- exciting!) But that's not to say that I don't understand the value of extremely delectable varieties and specimen of the tomah
to with a short "a."
Fresh Tomato Tart
Aug 29th, 2007
I made this dish twice to get it right. The first time, I was going for salsa. It had hot peppers in it, vinegar, oil and sea salt. The second incarnation was more of a fresh fruit salad. Both were mellow, juicy and crisp little concoctions, like a summer cocktail. When I finally decided on the right balance of flavors, I hit a wall on what to name it. Salsa, or salad? Then again, what is the difference -- really -- between a chunky, pico de gallo-style salsa and a finely chopped, tabouli-like salad. They were one and the same. So call it what you will, but this recipe's a simple, summery marriage of both worlds.
Cucumber Melon Salad
Aug 22nd, 2007
This is a leftover dish. It combines leftover ground pork (which I used to make some cilantro-spiked Vietnamese-style meatballs), fresh bread crumbs (aka: all those properly manicured tea sandwich crusts), spicy Thai chiles and fresh thyme (just had some sitting around). Those were some mean 'balls. They’re neither Sicilian or Italian-American, nor Asian or Asian/Italian fusion -- I don’t know what style they would be most influenced by, but "random leftover."
Meatball Bruschetta alla Puttanesca
Aug 19th, 2007
This weekend, I answered the question, "What do you get when you have four pounds of white bread, two kinds of meat, and a propensity for non-traditional picnic food?" Easy. Thai chicken satay and Vietnamese pork banh mi tea sandwiches.
Chicken Satay Tea Sandwiches (for a rather large picnic)
Aug 15th, 2007
A week or so ago, I bought a pint of thick, full-fat Greek-style plain yogurt. I planned on making the most mouthwatering, yet-undiscovered frozen yogurt flavor, but had no idea what it would be. A week of contemplation went by. What about a fresh, spicy ginger flavor with brown sugar? Maybe those sour cherries can be cooked down to a syrup and swirled in. What if I threw blueberry cobbler pieces into it with mascarpone cheese?
Mango Frozen Yogurt (and a discussion on theory vs. practice)
Aug 11th, 2007
Water, water, everywhere! To worship the wettest Wednesday we've seen in New York, I decided to whip up this watery dish for the weekend. [Signal applause for alliteration.] In all seriousness, though, we had one whale of a washout!
Steamed Five-Spice Calamari & Water Spinach Salad
Aug 8th, 2007
I don't really think of myself as an all-American girl, being a New Jersey-bred half-breed who grew up mostly on stir-fry. It was a long time until I had a meal that was all baked in one casserole dish, and wasn't dessert. I didn't like many of these American classics at first, encountered at friends' houses or potlucks. And whose crazy idea was it, anyway, to cook a whole dish in the oven in one pan?
A genius of convenient cookery, that's who.
Not Fannie Farmer’s Four-Cheese Macaroni
Aug 1st, 2007
Not really, silly. The word "Manhattan" here, of course, simply stands in for "tomato-based," and though there may be who-knows-how-many similar vegetable soups enjoyed on the island of Manhattan, mine has never graced its turf. Yet while I may be slightly offish about Manhattan, I am not adverse to clams; my boyfriend is. Like relationships, it's funny how some recipes begin: I had a craving for something soupy this week. (Most people I know avoid hot soups like the plague in the summer, slurping instead on gazpacho and vicchyssoise and chilly concoctions crackling with cucumbers and swimming in raw juices. But I don't mind them.) I had all these lovely vegetables and herbs and was sick of salads. And corn was up for a turn on the chopping block.
Manhattan Corn Chowder
Jul 29th, 2007
Sometimes I just want to retreat to a vegetable paradise. Where I can, you know, peel potatoes in a grass skirt and roll around in fields of cornsilk to the tunes of Cat Stevens. I get this feeling especially after visiting a midsummer farmers' market, soaking in the blissful variety and radiance of all the produce. It's not so much a sensation of hunger that I get as it is of admiration and awe, similar to visiting a museum. That Mother Nature, I say to myself, has truly has outdone herself with this exquisitely striped squash. Those heirloom tomatoes doubtless fall into the school of the grotesque-beautiful. Those peaches are a sign of the artist's age of maturity, a return to simplicity in form with a focus on texture.
Farmers’ Market Hash
Jul 27th, 2007
What a week it's been. Working and barely playing when it's nice out for me always adds up to a slow way to count the weekdays. But luckily, a blissful way to end it came in the form of the second Foodie Book Club meeting at The Brooklyn Kitchen, where we tried to speak intelligently about Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin's bible of epicurean philosophy, The Physiology of Taste
, as translated and annotated by America's pioneering gastronome, M.F.K. Fisher. (It is a work that, aside from all else, couldn't be more pertinent to the young food blogger.) Thankfully, our session wasn't quite as taxing as it might sound, and was complimented with likewise simple recreations of some of the foods that he spoke so fondly of.
Jul 22nd, 2007
Three words: Smoked Monterey Jack. A creamy composite of dove-complexioned tenderness on the inside, roughed up to a bronze smokehouse char on the outside. Not as piquant as smoked cheddar, or slightly spongy like smoked Gouda. It's more like a mouthful of pure, cool summer barbecue breeze, the kind that wafts into your window from the neighbors' yard and tantalizes you like crazy because you're not invited.
Smoky Ancho Chicken & Spinach Chilaquiles
Jul 19th, 2007
Last week I reached for a jar on the back of the refrigerator door, knocked over the marinated artichoke hearts -- the cap must have been lazily placed on top rather than screwed on -- and spilled artichoke juice all over three shelves and the floor of the fridge. It didn't smell half bad. Tonight, I intentionally did much the same to this simple spinach salad -- that is, didn't bother whisking up any dressing. Nada
. It wasn't half bad, either.
Enjoyably Easy Spinach Salad with Artichoke Hearts and Walnuts
Jul 12th, 2007
There is always a good way to use up leftover bread in Tuscany and that, of course, I applaud. Or should I say aspire to. I toast to that good food conscience. Whatever. The point is: panzanella. It sounds like the sweet baby girl name that you would never choose for fear she would take it as permission to wear skin-tight tube skirts and ride on the backs of motorcycles with guys named Marco whenever she'd tell you she was going to the market and only call you by your first name. And you'd be like, great... eh, but what can you do? Panzanella can only be Panzanella.
Plum & Radicchio Panzanella with Honey Mustard Dressing
Jul 10th, 2007
Two summers ago it was a bar on Columbia St., at the "edge of Cobble Hill," called the B61 that I went to every spare happy hour I had and ordered a tall pint glass of bartender Jamie's magnificent Bloody Marys. Two parts homemade Bloody Mary mix heavy on the horseradish, one part vodka, a splash of Guinness straight from the tap, spice seasoning on the rim of the glass, cracked black pepper at the bottom, three olives speared with a toothpick, a lemon, a lime, and a stalk of celery. It was a meal made in hell. Or Brooklyn. (And one that still doesn't count as eating
A Bloody Good Brooklyn Summer
Jul 9th, 2007
Beware, I'm about to make an indie rock reference (or is it too oldschool to be indie?): Anyone remember the song, "Swordfish" by the Dead Milkmen? Its lyrics essentially consist of the chorus, "I believe in swordfish/He believes in swordfish," and it tells you nothing of swordfish except for the fact that everyone believes in something, and he believes in swordfish. Understandably so, as it would now seem.
Swordfish Steak, Couscous Salad & Lemony Pesto Fresh Peas
Jul 6th, 2007
My Grandma Erway, may her soul rest in peace, wasn't someone I thought I'd ever be taking cooking cues from. In her golden years, she often remarked on never enjoying the pesky task of cooking, and was relieved to let others take the wheel on occasions like Thanksgiving. She introduced me to Newberg, and badly. I didn't know if Newberg existed outside of her kitchen for many confused years, having only encountered it as chunks of artificially colored fishcake drowned in some pinkish, floury-tasting mayonnaise on white bread. She dressed fruit with heaps of sugar and served it on corn flakes with heaps of sugar. Fresh strawberries needed to be dipped in a bowl of sugar before they could touch her tongue. Her sweetened hot "black" tea was so lost in milky oblivion that it could put a virile youth to sleep in minutes. But there were instances of her overly dressed style of food preparation that were more than acceptable, and one shining example is her classic potato salad. Nearly half of it was hard-boiled eggs. The other half a mixture of French's mustard and mayonnaise. Oh, and a few peeled and boiled potatoes. The result was a uniform daisy yellow sludge with a blush of paprika on just its surface. Deviled potatoes, you might call them. This was actually a good thing.
Tricolor Potato Salad
Jul 2nd, 2007
Who says the Fourth of July can't be red, white, green, yellow, orange, purple and blue? This quick chip and dip snack is an easy fix for barbecue-bringing, and it can be improvised with almost any veggies you might have on hand. Sure, it might not look as bright and pretty in that abstract expressionist painting way as a strictly veggies-only salsa, but white beans go a long way and sure do make one smooth, almost creamy base.
White Bean Confetti Dip
Jun 27th, 2007
Hear me out: I acknowledge global warming. I am sitting in my apartment with two fans on glued to this chair and have ice cubes in my cheeks like a squirrel hoarding nuts. Did they say global humidifying is upon us as well, or is it just these couple of days we're having in the hellishly hot tri-state area?
Chilled Watermelon Coconut & Tapioca Soup
Jun 25th, 2007
Remember how I told you that at the end of June, the berries in Prospect Park were due to be ripe for the picking? Apparently not, since you've left me bushes full of them. Or -- perhaps -- I suppose I could have tried to describe where in the park these bushes were. Ah well. My oversight. Tee-hee.
Speaking of crops in the unlikeliest of big cities, I'm fascinated by this BBC News article, which describes a "vertical farming" project that scientists at Columbia University have conceptualized for downtown Manhattan. Just think what wonders it could do for 100-mile dieters! It's a long shot, but if you agree that it may be a good idea, then blog about it, or help spread the word. Then afterward, don't forget to vote for your favorite New York farmer before November.
Jun 22nd, 2007
I'm taking Arthur's advice this month and eating plenty of asparagus while they're in season. In fact, I owe so much to the erudite and challenging wisdom he's extended me that I had even considered blending this vegetable with strawberries (the other food he mentioned is best in June) in a salad, and took this idea for a good mental romp in the park, but ultimately, I chickened out on the big kid slide. For now.
Roasted Asparagus Salad with Chinese Sausage and Watercress
Jun 21st, 2007
photo courtesy of Amelia at Marination
In continuation of my partially slanted, incomplete task of describing the NYC Food Film Festival a couple of weeks ago on this blog, last weekend I did my homework and got the scoop on the first-ever fest for The Reeler
NYC Food Film Festival Part 2 tonight
Jun 20th, 2007
It's such an easy feat sometimes to find a combination that's just miraculous -- it hit your tastebuds perfectly, it quelled your bad mood dutifully, and it spaced you out for an hour after eating it as you thought about it again and again. By this point, we've all had it drilled in our heads that the best food is often made with the most simply prepared, fresh ingredients. Which in part makes your life simple, too, and when it comes to leftovers, you'll have a lot more uses for that leftover half of an onion than a dried-out casserole of something that took you two and a half hours to make. So maybe I'm drilling the simplicity point even further into our heads by saying all the above -- but the truth is, I normally don't follow it. I pickle the red onion, if you know what I mean. Well, in this case I didn't, and I was humbled beyond words.
Red Pepper Pitzas with French Feta, Basil and Red Onion
Jun 18th, 2007
Look at what I found the other day:
It isn't a paddle to play any sport.
My Cooking Gadget Antiques Blogshow
Jun 16th, 2007
Fresh-mint infused ice cream flavors have grown up quickly from the esoteric awe they might have once induced. Now that Ciao Bella even makes a fresh mint chip ice cream, it's no longer the domain of chefs and home cooks, either. Fresh mint leaves are a world of difference from the minty mint chip flavor we grew up with (read: peppermint oil); it's kind of one of those delightful twists on a flavor that you didn't even know needed improving. But since there are so many varieties of fresh mint, I'm curious to see what happens when we begin to discern them in things like ice cream, too.
Wintergreen Chip Ice Cream Cookiewiches
Jun 14th, 2007
If pork belly is the cut craze of the moment, then I nominate Vietnamese banh mi
sandwiches as its most appetizing summer application. I've been hearing about pork belly all over the food world lately: 23% of the chefs polled in this month's Food & Wine
magazine thought of it as the ingredient more home cooks should try. And in the New York Times
, Frank Bruni drools all over it, along with other fatty cuts of "fat, glorious fat." It is fun to revel in fat once in a while, no doubt, but especially now that it's bathing suit season, let's not forget that balance and moderation are everything. With its refreshing ratio of fresh veggies to meat and satisfyingly crisp bite, the banh mi sandwich seemed the way to go. Come to think of it, I'd nominate them as just about the best summer application for any type of pork, meat or tofu -- and that's just what I made this weekend to serve a living room full of lady friends.
Bánh Me Sandwiches
Jun 12th, 2007
the closest I've gotten to Napa
The excitement I had yesterday afternoon. I had just taken some napa cabbage slaw leftovers from Sunday's picnic out of tupperware from the fridge to snack on, gone back for some tangy sriracha sauce just to kick it up because leftovers, as good as its predecessor may have been, are never quite as exciting as they were when you were first exploring its flavors, and returned to my desk -- when lo and behold! An email materializes onto my screen. If I could have seen it like regular piece of snail mail, the postmark would have proved it was from Portland, Oregon, and it would probably have a business logo or stamp on company stationery indicating that it was from a one Mark Douglas from Culinate (who?) -- Mark Douglas, from Culinate -- and it was announcing that I had been nominated for the GrillMe Contest in which one food blogger (and one reader) wins a trip to Napa Valley to attend a grilling class taught by two masters of the grill, Andrew Schloss and David Joachim! I couldn't think of anything more thrilling in the world. Then again, my palate was dancing from a strong mouthful of sriracha.
Give Napa Valley and Not Eating Out a Chance
Jun 6th, 2007
me (not Steve) grating zest into a not-so-authentic crust
Don't get me wrong: I've nothing against the venerable institution that is Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pies. There is no contest -- key lime pie greatness has been said for, and I couldn't tell you of a better way to spend an afternoon than to go down to the waterfront in Red Hook and sit on the picnic table outside the old warehouse where the key lime pie magic happens and pet one or two of the dogs hanging around in the shade as you kill your afternoon appetite with a 4-inch pie, or better yet, one dipped in dark chocolate on a stick, called a Swingle. But for the home chef, there is nothing like the pride of making a pie that tastes almost as good as Steve Tarpin's. And I'll speak to that.
Not Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pie
Jun 1st, 2007
Okay, so you won't get any points from the 100-mile diet club with this recipe, since okra is grown in the South and the shrimp I got in Chinatown was caught or farmed probably in... the South. But you will have enjoyed a classic southern combination while satisfying your craving for spicy Thai basil stir-fry. Which is a gastronomic feat of very trifling importance bordering on nonsense. It's Friday...
Thai Basil Shrimp ‘n Okra
May 28th, 2007
Is there anything you can do with rhubarbs except make pies and jams and jellies, often in combination with a sweet red fruit? The world may never know. I'm not in any mood to find out myself, because before this I was a virgin to making the classic rhubarb pie.
Okay, maybe I still am, since I chose cherries as its pie partner. They just looked so fresh and plump and made me want to buy more than I could eat. While strawberry is the rhubarb's claim to duo fame, I never quite liked how strawberries cook up: the sad, sagged, muted pink slivers make the fruit's seeds stand out so, and while still delicious the texture is not one of my favorites. Rhubarb mating season has begun.
Cherry Rhubarb Pie
May 23rd, 2007
There's always those nights when I'm craving something that feels like it's from a greasy take-out restaurant. My creations never, thankfully, end up quite as greasy, and I hope it stays that way. I'm not sure that I would even know how to make food as greasy as some restaurants do -- is it not trimming globs of fat from meat? Cooking in copious amounts of oil oil slathering butter and mayonnaise from a greasy wand with reckless abandon, like those guys at bagel places when you don't ask them to "lightly" butter your bagel? Whatever it is, I don't need to know the secret.
Chicken Fajitas with Jalapeno-Mayonnaise Sauce & Pico de Gallo
May 21st, 2007
Bartenders all over the city have been loving the lychee, so why can't I? Especially in the summer months, when cool, juicy and sweet flavors rule. And especially when Sugar High Friday, the dessert food-blogging event created by The Domestic Goddess, is calling this month's challenge theme "Shades of White", hosted by Seven Spoons. I'm not sure exactly what shade of white the lychee is. It begins much more white fresh than it looks canned, which is a slight shell-pink or peach hue.
Lychee Sorbet with Mint
May 19th, 2007
I can't find anything bad to say about this pantry meal. I made it one night accidentally, when I was craving a light pasta dish with maybe a little sundried tomato and some fresh artichoke, neither of which my local Associated Market had. It was getting late, and I didn't feel up for walking much farther than a block. It had just begun to rain. So dismayed and with lowered expectations as I was, I wandered into my corner bodega and picked out one can and one jar from its shelves. (The very nice couple who own the store, and greet me as their neighbor, must be becoming accustomed to this habit of mine, roaming around their tiny aisles in indecision.) As luck would have it, a better fate had been planned for my dinner, because I ended up with a completely delicious and unexpectedly smoky dish in this chickpea and roasted red pepper combination.
Chickpea & Roasted Red Pepper Penne
May 17th, 2007
If I had my way with space, I'd have three different types of basil growing in my front yard (okay, my apartment building's front patch of grass). This would have to include the ubiquitous Italian variety, with its shiny, fat teardrop-shaped leaves. As well as the purple basil which I've been eyeing and smelling at Farmer's Markets but have no idea what it tastes like (it smells like basil). And most direly, a Thai basil plant: a matte, darker green-leaved variety with perfectly jagged edges on its leaves like a serrated knife. Because its taste is so furtively distinct, a shade sweeter than the lone European basil I now have, with it I could command Thai dishes with more authenticity, and attempt to recreate some of my favorite Taiwanese dishes more properly.
What a sweet dream... Back to the blog: I was going to provide a recipe for one of my all-time favorite dishes, the famous Three Cup Chicken. One of the crown gems of Taiwanese cuisine, it's a pungent dish that marries loud flavors in perfect harmony. What, you haven't heard of it? Ah, well. There's always a start. Contrary to popular belief, this dish is a quick braise, not a stew, and not a stir-fry. Its traditional recipe comprises a braise of one cup of soy sauce, one cup of sesame oil, and one cup of rice wine, hence the name "Three Cup Chicken" (san bei ji
in Chinese). Next, the chicken is festooned with literally handfuls of garlic cloves, big strips of fresh ginger, and loads of fresh Thai basil. It's basically the best-tasting dish in the world.
Taiwanese Three Cup Chicken
May 14th, 2007
Moms love French food. Soufflés make her sparkle. Provençal sounds like a good name for a kid to her. Bistros are her preferred bar. The allure of this country's culinary je ne sais quois can might coincide with a vast generation clued in to its mysteries and virtues by a tall, warbly-voiced, and ever so ladylike American named Julia Child. Then again, my dad knows much more about The Way to Cook
than my own mom, who's never dabbled in French cooking herself. Hopefully that makes it all the more enchanting to be served a plate of classic white wine steamed mussels for Mother's Day.
Mussels for Mum
May 10th, 2007
No seasonal food taboos can get between me and my favorite Italian rice dish (are there any others?): risotto is delicious year-round. It simply absorbs the season into its gooey mass and holds it there snug like a mother kangaroo. Lemon? Sure. Crisp spring vegetables like sugar snap peas, juicy zucchini and fresh chopped scallions? Why not? Welcome to spring, risotto. You're looking green and well today.
Spring Snap Risotto
May 7th, 2007
As I was celebrating the shameless drinking holiday oft misunderstood as Mexico's Independence Day this weekend, I learned that a) Cinco de Mayo is not even terribly important in Mexico, and that b) it was mostly invented by American spring breakers crossing the border to get wasted, so says a friend who happens to be Mexican. So why is New York city, a far cry from Tijuana, also crazy for this holiday? Sure, there was a battle in Puebla, Mexico on that date. And, uh, a great one at that. A victory feast was probably eaten... cut to the chase -- let's barbecue!
chicken and veggie shishs get fired up
Cinco de Mango Salad
May 3rd, 2007
Two summers ago I tried to grow basil, parsley, dill and another herb I can no longer remember in small pots placed on my old apartment window ledge. They didn't make it very long. Some, which I had decided to plant from seeds, were never even born. The whole dirt-caked affair was so sorry that I refused owning any herbs, or plants for that matter, all last summer. And fall, winter, then spring. This summer, I'm turning over a new leaf though.
My newly purchased miniature pot of basil is receiving sun, water, love and talking-to every day. It's no longer in my apartment either, and since I don't have any outdoor space or a window with any better light than before, I've stuck it between a row of pachysandra and neatly hedged stones in the front yard of my building. Only the tenant or mailman looking closely for it would notice the exotic, teardrop-shaped leaves swathed in its terracotta planter. And once they do, I may end up sharing my basil with the rest of the neighborhood. But until then, no matter.
Almond & Roasted Tomato Pesto Pasta
Apr 29th, 2007
Wild local fish like flounder, stripers and bluefish are in season -- all good stuff, in my opinion, to steam whole, Chinese style. This weekend as I was gathering ingredients for a 6-person dinner party, I familiarized myself with another: the wild local porgy. A small fish by nature (not many grow over 6 lb, according to this fact sheet), its mild, sweet flavor lends itself well to a light preparation such as steaming. Once cooked, its flesh was moist and very delicate. Its light gray skin was thin and not too fatty, altogether quite delectable to eat in bites along with the flesh -- as long as you don't mind the little bones. I found the species' small bone factor a decent enough trade-off for its fine flavor, though I'm used to detecting and discarding small bones in my mouth.
I Loves You, Whole Porgy
Apr 27th, 2007
Spicy Shredded Pork and String Beans over Rice
Pork Chop with Balsamic Reduction and Steam-Sauteed String Beans with Couscous
I have a feeling I'm not the only one who does this: buy two fresh ingredients, often with no particular dish in mind to make, and come up with two different preparations for them over the course of two or three nights. Because who can finish a pre-packaged 1 lb of string beans if not over the course of four meals? And who wants to eat the same thing two nights in a row?
2 Ingredients, 2 Recipes, 4 Meals
Apr 23rd, 2007
A homespun breakfast with all the merits of "a good start." This weekend my neighborhood was once again bustling with brunching -- the all-afternon affair elongated by the sluggish buzz of cool cocktails and the sun and sights of street dining. I never did feel especially healthy leaving one of these spring or summer brunches in the end, nor (strangely) very full. But they certainly were nice for a warm spring day like we just had, magnolia trees bursting with perfumed, short-lived blossoms and an arid, bright sunshine not too hot. Ah, well.
Cinnamon Raisin No-Knead Bread French Toast with Yogurt & Carmelized Apples
Apr 20th, 2007
I’ve made similar recipes to this using chicken and olives, or just seafood, but in the aftermath of last weekend’s brunch I found myself with a bagful of apples. Crunching my way through the whole week, I’ve jettisoned the idea of baking (yet another) pie. There’s a lot more versatility in apples than we’ve traditionally credited them with, I think. If applesauce or cider can be used to flavor savory dishes, then why not the fruit’s more assertive, fresher state?
Chicken with Apples and Raisin Couscous
Apr 17th, 2007
They say that good, fresh fish should be served simple, with little preparation. I guess they haven't tried these yet. It's like the perfectly seasoned seared salmon fillet in one light, fluffy, flaky cake. The picture doesn't do it much justice, I'll admit, so you'll just have to take my word for it.
Apr 14th, 2007
Because I had such a frustrating time finding the "ultimate" coffee ice cream recipe in cookbooks and online, I decided to share the pastiche of my findings in one neat recipe. Following the cues for premium ice cream in my machine's booklet, which is usually a more custardy, denser variety that uses egg yolks and/or whole eggs, I added a touch of fresh (strong) brewed coffee, and an optional scatter of dark chocolate chunks.
Fresh Coffee Premium Ice Cream
Apr 9th, 2007
Carmelized onions. Hint of shallots. Last bottle of Yuengling Lager from last weekend's burger feast. Score: the roast with the most.
How many times have you seen that commercial for Fresh Direct where Cynthia Nixon keeps asking "What's the TLC? Where does it say TLC?" Well, not all recipes necessarily need TLC. With some, you can walk away perfectly aloof to a simmering pot for a couple of hours, and come back to a balanced, tender, moist and delicate hunk of roast. The only tender loving care I gave to this dish was actually slicing the meat, since it splintered so much it would fall apart with a touch that was too rough. Sounds a bit incongruous for a way to handle a hulking wodge of beef. So forgive me, vegetarian friends, as I indulge.
Beer-Braised Pot Roast
Apr 6th, 2007
A lovely article in the New York Times Magazine last week that aimed to decode the recipe behind the perfect bowl of cold sesame noodles was all the excuse I needed to indulge you with another testament to my fondness for the dish.
It's an unconditional love that extends from the classic cold staple to a decidedly spicy variety that I like to prepare hot. Yes, hot. I'm not exactly sure how or when I learned to enjoy this dish, but I'm pretty sure my mother was the instigator. The minute I mix together sesame paste with red chili garlic sauce my nose tingles with an unmistakable sensory memory--of the food, itself, not how I learned to make it. It's a sharp, cutting scent that foretells fieriness. And another hackjob at my tastebuds.
Hot Sesame Noodles
Mar 29th, 2007
Macaroni and cheese bores me. However, my boyfriend, as with most other American males I've ever encountered, adores it. Say the magic combination and his face lights up like a firefly. I thought I'd already given my best shots at the dish, to lukewarm results -- no matter how much cheese you put in, nor how sharp it is, it seems, the cooking process ends up giving it a bland name. Oozy and saucy? Not without creating a beschamel first, a flour-based milk sauce which by nature makes a cheese less cheesy but seems to be the agreed way to make the sauce saucy. Unless you use some type of "processed cheese food." Maybe I should have just thrown him a box of Kraft whenever the dish comes up. But everything at least deserves a makeover.
Mar 26th, 2007
I'd like to think of this as less a recipe than an olfactory cooking cure. Somewhere along the ranks of boiling a slow-cooked pot of chicken soup -- it's those hours of comforting smells, I'm convinced, that ease the common cold long before its consumption. The savory, sweet and spicy smells emitting from my oven as I baked this helped lift me out of an early spring slump -- and eating it didn't hurt, either.
Root Vegetables Roasted with Sausage
Mar 22nd, 2007
"Give a man a quiche and you satisfy his need for quiche for a day. Teach a man to make quiche, and you give him quiches for life
." --New Half-Chinese Proverb
And teach him also that you don't have to make it for breakfasts...
No doubt quiche was given a bad rap in the eighties. I guess people still think of it as one of the more fussy, frilly and feminine of the brunch species; but what man, really, doesn't like
quiche? My theory is that they just don't know how to make it! So this recipe is dedicated to the late Mr. Bruce Feirstein... (Though I should probably be the last person to speak against his stereotype-enforcing book; the companion to Real Men Don't Eat Quiche
was Joyce Jillson's Real Women Don't Pump Gas
--and I can't pump gas!)
Carmelized Onion and Jalapeno Quiche
Mar 20th, 2007
We all know that ground turkey is the new hamburger if you're looking to go easy on your heart. But I never found this a satisfactory replacement unless it was used in a sauce or stew of some type -- in which juices from all kinds of ingredients run free and wild as piglets in a pen. A turkey burger? Not even close... but ground turkey in chili? Seconds, please. Besides, you're bound to end up draining most of the juices when "degreasing" your pan after browning ground beef anyway.
Turkey Black Bean Chili with Okra
Mar 19th, 2007
Thanks to everyone who offered delicious and wacky ice cream flavor suggestions on my last experiment with white pepper ice cream. I apologize, however, that I haven't gotten around to trying any of them because I've been drunk on this bourbon-drenched one. Sweet, creamy and simple, this was my kind of ice cream -- or nightcap?
Bourbon Sugar Cookie Crunch Ice Cream
Mar 16th, 2007
A completely uninspired twist? A seemingly pointless reverse-effect pastiche? Maybe, but it made for some of the greatest chicken sandwiches I've ever had. Since seeing the recipe for chicken fried steak on The Homesick Texan, I was homesick for some of that, too. Let alone I've never been to Texas and have no roots to the state. Some things, like fried chicken, are so classic that they inspire new classics like the chicken fried steak. But one of the nice things about chicken fried steak -- and I suspect many will agree -- is that it's a solid, tender piece of meat that you don't have to pick up and smear your face with grease to eat.
Chicken Fried Steak Fried Chicken
Mar 15th, 2007
Ah, the good ol' two-step. Like the dance, this one carries a myriad of variations. Then again, I never did learn the dance, in any style, and now I kind of wonder what happened to that swing and formal dance revival that took hold of the city several years ago. For that matter, what happened to any kind of dance craze?
There has been a bit of a granola craze going on as far as I can tell -- everywhere I turn, from health food store to bakery, I seem to find another brand of locally produced, often organic, rustic homestyle-looking granola that I'd never seen before. Like Ambrosia Granola, or Donala Granola, and there was another Brooklyn-begat brand that I can't remember the name of that looked really yummy, too. My favorite one for a while had been Baked bakery's "house blend" granola. But at $7.50 for a small bag, it's definitely an indulgence.
Super Crunchy Nutty 2-Step Granola
Mar 12th, 2007
Since the no-knead bread-off at the Brooklyn Kitchen last week, I haven't been able to stop making bread. Thoughts of forging a foccacia from the technique, or elegant dinner rolls have been clouding my mind as well. At least one of those urges had been released the other night, when I tried to make a French baguette from the recipe. Knowing well enough that the bread needs to cook inside a dutch oven, or other large, covered vessel able to withstand a 450-degree oven, I went ahead and let my dough rise in an oblong, tube-like shape, eyeballing the length of the 7-quart dutch oven it would need to cook inside. My estimation proved much too hopeful; when it came to dropping the dough into the pot it had no room but to curl into a snakelike C shape. So perhaps this is a new pastry born from the dutch oven no-knead bread recipe: C bread. This one had a bit of rosemary blended in the dough and a sprinkle of kosher salt on its crust.
Red Bean Hummus with No-Knead Bread
Mar 8th, 2007
I am convinced that stuffed peppers, like soup, are a true leftover invention, and that's just what I stuffed my poblano peppers with for these chile rellenos. In most cases the preferred grain would be rice, but since I had some potatoes I used them along with some leftover chicken. I've also come to suspect that most anything when stuffed inside a smoky, roasted poblano pepper will taste good -- that is, if you like smoky, roasted poblano peppers.
Chile Rellenos con Pollo y Patata and Roasted Tomato Salsa
Mar 7th, 2007
Being the breadwinner, they say, isn't always fun. I can think of one exception, however, where that's pure pish posh: winning the No-Knead Bread-Off at The Brooklyn Kitchen. Alright, I tied for best bread in show, beating out three of the five different loaves made by locals who each took twists on the no-knead bread recipe-turned national bread craze created by Jim Lahey of Sullivan St. Bakery.
I Cracked Peppercorn (and does anyone care?)
Mar 6th, 2007
Curry is only optional here. I had begun this dish with the thought of splashing in the remaining cupful or so of white wine I had left in the fridge and maybe sprinkling some rosemary in the pie mixture; instead, I drank the wine. Something in between a mild chicken curry and a stuffing mixture, this meal was a quick alternative to baking a real chicken pot pie. I shouldn't even call it a pie, really, since the "crust" was made up of only French bread slabs placed on top of the baking dish, which heated to a nice "crusty" texture on top, and soft and spongey on the bottom.
Cranberry Curry Chicken Pie with Leftover French Bread Crust
Mar 2nd, 2007
Right, so last Sunday. Oscar night. Did you see all the people who were expected to win win? Check out the lovefest of Al Gore (remember when we used to think he was too stiff to appear in public?), see any antics from Sacha Baron Cohen? I didn't. I was at a potluck party instead. We ate a lot of food.
Potluck Pad Thai
Feb 28th, 2007
Congee, you know what I mean? Except not. First, I'll admit that this was not the most convenient meal to make on a weeknight--but it can be done. Just remember to pop the squash in the oven as soon as possible, then begin the rest of your preparation and cooking. That way it should be soft enough by the time the risotto is ready for it to be added. Timing is everything.
Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto with Wilted Spinach, Leeks and Chinese Sausage
Feb 26th, 2007
Winter was a good time for oxtails when I was growing up. My dad was fond of the Basque oxtail recipe in Jeff Smith's The Frugal Gourmet on Our Immigrant Ancestors
, a really good soupy dish perfect for sopping up with warm crusty bread. There wasn't much meat on those starburst-shaped discs of bone; it was about the flavor, and of course the gelatinous cartilage that felt slightly more jellyfish-like than fat in your mouth.
Beef Shanks Braised with Fennel and Mushrooms
Feb 22nd, 2007
Warning: this post contains graphic images not suitable for children under 17
Who had time for Valentine's Day in the middle of last week? Not I. I'm not the only person I know who'd opted to postpone Valentine's Day to a more convenient night this year. But even though I had a long weekend, things kept popping up; people from out of town kept coming to town; there was nothing romantic about Chinese New Year; and then the whole thing was put off until practically a week later. And yet my Netflix queue still hasn't caught up--I'd meant for Chocolat
to get here in time.
Molten Chocolate Business
Feb 17th, 2007
In celebration of "soup month" February and all the cold, soup-worthy weather we've been having recently, here's my contribution to Soup's On at A Veggie Venture.
It's funny how much the texture of warm chickpeas can parallel that other vegetable commonly paired with leek in a soup--the potato. While leeks cook up insistently savory, the chickpea balances as a more neutral, slightly nutty accoutrement. Thinking more or less of hummous, a little cumin went into this, soft roasted garlic, a squirt of lemon juice for a tang of refreshment--and although this could very well have been left out, I did think that a small dose of sesame paste added an extra layer of character to the soup. I should add that I didn't have the Middle Eastern type of sesame paste, tahini, in my kitchen, but a jar of Chinese sesame taste, which is slightly sweeter, with a thicker consistency. Sesame can be a strong, overpowering presence so a tablespoon was all that was needed for a subtle, lurking note. A bright splash of herbs later, and I had a vegan soup that could be at once Middle Eastern, Italian (as many bean soups are), French, and Chinese. Weird, huh?
Chickpea Leek Soup
Feb 12th, 2007
Slurrrp. I do miss a hearty bowl of pork chop soup noodles, the kind you might get for $3 at any number of noodle shops in the lower east realms of Chinatown. Most people think of soup noodles as a wintery dish, but I've seen them devoured by all kinds of people as a summer lunch, shoveling yards of noodles down the chute as perspiration threatens to dot the soup.
Pork. Chop. Noodles.
Feb 9th, 2007
I watched Jacques Pepin make a dish on public television that was so appealing for a cold weeknight, a casserole of pasta baked with peas, corn and diced French ham in a simple beschamel with cheese sprinkled on top. He put it in the broiler--one of the most overlooked part of your kitchen, according to Mark Bittman--to brown a warm, cheesy crust on the top, and voila! Gooey and liquid inside, contrasting crisp. Countryish warm fuzzy feelings abound.
Better Tuna Noodle Casserole
Feb 6th, 2007
This is probably two days past the point to bother saying, but I don’t really do football. I just don’t watch it. And I don’t feel left out of an annual popular culture event by not going to a Super Bowl party, sitting on a friend’s couch and routing for a team, catching the first glimpse of all the “great” commercials, and snacking on endless bowls and mountains of appetizers: tasty fried, stuffed, dipped, blanketed morsels. Okay, maybe I feel left out of the snacking.
Sweet Potato Chips and Sour Green Dip
Feb 5th, 2007
For the coldest weekend to date this winter in New York, I had a mind for stew. With far too many types fighting for attention inside it. Beef bourguignon was foremost, then marsalas or perhaps a scallopini, then I thought of making a scallopini of pork medallions instead of veal (which I haven't eaten in ages, and most of my peers don't eat as a rule). And then it all kind of jumbled into one dish, finished with sour cream. So I called it a stroganoff. I don't know.
Red Wine Pork Stroganoff
Jan 29th, 2007
I'm ashamed to say that I've never picked up a fennel bulb and cooked with it, and am not quite sure if I've tried it before. I had a leftover fennel bulb after using some of the sprigs for a jarred experiment I've been working on (more on that to come), so it was high time.
Cheesy Fennel Rice Casserole and Fennel Salad with Celery and Pecans
Jan 26th, 2007
Last Sunday I spent a couple of hours making sauce, dough, preparing the toppings and putting it all together in a cheesy, sausage and jalepeno pizza to share with a couple of friends. We all had a great time. Then afterwards, I got really sad when I realized, thinking about the cost calculator section of the blog post that would be, that I probably would have spent just the same if I'd just bought a large sausage and jalepeno pie at any of the pie joints down the block. Such highs and lows are the life of the home cooker.
The Problem with Pizza
Jan 23rd, 2007
that's a spice satchel in the middle which should have been removed for the shot
It might seem a little redundant for a blog only about food that's cooked at home to post a recipe for something "homestyle." But I defend my usage here to emphasize the fact that you will never see or eat this dish in a respectable restaurant (ever
And yet most Chinese people will probably have eaten something very similar to this recipe at home more times than they can count. I also mentioned it on Eat Drink One Woman and received a request for the recipe, so here goes...
Homestyle Soy Sauce Chicken Stew
Jan 21st, 2007
Of course, I have been discovering all the classic French sauces with the help of my copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking
, and am scandalized by the amounts of butter and fats they require. I just have never cooked (aside from baking) with that much butter before. My immediate thoughts: was I really eating that every time I went to a French restaurant? Was that why it tasted so good and...French? So when I felt like coating my pasta in butter and parsley for this dish I went to the book for the recipe of tasty beurre blanc, infused my butter in wine, vinegar, and shallots, and used only half the amount of butter they called for in their beurre blanc recipe for a lighter, not-quite-sauce.
Pasta with Roasted Sweet Potato and Beurre Blanc
Jan 16th, 2007
Isn't it a pity New York seems to have a relative dearth of really good cajun restaurants? There's tons of barbecue and even soul food spots, but New Orleans-style cajun cookin' is hard to come by. Menupages.com listed only 25 restaurants in the "Cajun and Creole" category, and from just eyeballing it I noticed some that were definitely not. I wondered about this after visiting Portland last summer and eating at a great, cute restaurant called Montage which served an extensive cajun-inspired menu and was crammed with locals every night. They even served dishes with gator meat; this was Portland, about as geographically far from New Orleans as you could get in the continental US. So why have I never seen gator meat in New York before?
A Dinner O’Cajun
Jan 10th, 2007
And while you're at it, slug back a few hundred calories. Just because. As someone who only cooks for one or two, I'm a natural user-upper, which means that something deep inside me feels very unfulfilled when I see half a tomato in the fridge begin to rot before it can be used. Or half a lemon--which, poor thing, doesn't last too long without its sliced-off other half. So when I opened my fridge the other night I looked at one half a lemon, dewy teardrops glistening inside its cage of a plastic bag, I thought, poor, poor lemon. I'll have to use it somehow.
Add a Few Pounds Cake
Jan 8th, 2007
Food that looks as good as a summer's evening. And it almost was, after the temperature reached seventy degrees this Saturday in New York. I put on a light sweater and headed outside, with the tune from Amelie
in my head as I strolled over to Fort Greene Park, thinking of the scene about the man who buys a chicken every day and cooks it with great care and tenderness, savoring the moment he bites into the oysters. I had thoughts of Provencal fare on my mind as well, even though I don't know anything about how to prepare it except for a hunch that very colorful vegetables are lightly cooked with lots of garlic by sauteeing, or stir-frying them, a process very familiar to me.
Pasta with Chicken, Asparagus, Grape Tomatoes and Olives
Jan 1st, 2007
I'd really like to tell you that this was a quick, fun and easy recipe that makes for a great snack to bring to parties or entertain with. But it wasn't. It was really difficult and frustrating. Hopefully next time that won't be the case with the experience and skills learned in the two or three hour-long process. I have a newfound respect for pizzas the size that they're supposed to be. I'm always happy to put in some effort on food that's being served to friends though, so if you share this value, then these baby pizza pies can be an impressive show of handiwork.
Mini Party Pizzas
Dec 27th, 2006
The meal my family eats on Christmas Eve, a stark contrast to the all-American holiday meals like Thanksgiving, is usually an all-out feast of 5-10 Chinese dishes cooked by my uncle and my mom, a roast duck or chicken from the store added on, and a dessert of some type that we're too full to eat. This year, we decided to do something different and serve hot pot. I've seen some places refer to this communal meal as "Chinese fondue," while others go with the Japanese word for it, Shabu Shabu. Basically, it's the type of meal that Scarlett Johannsen and Bill Murray are befuddled by in that scene in the restaurant in that hideous movie, Lost in Translation
Christmas Hot Pot
Dec 23rd, 2006
I'd like to think there's an old Hawaiian tradition of serving Christmas ham with pineapple. I'd also like to think that I'm in Hawaii instead of New Jersey this Christmas as well. But unfortunately, neither are most likely true. But because ham is not on the menu for my family's Christmas this year, or for our traditional night-before-Christmas elaborate Chinese feast (which will be posted and explained soon), or any time really this year, I thought I'd pay my respect to the Christmasy fare by having it for breakfast.
Christmas Morning Quiche with Pineapple Salsa
Dec 21st, 2006
I began reading Julie and Julia
, Julie Powell's memoir about her year of cooking every single recipe in the 1961 classic cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking
. Her first success is the potato soup, or potage parmentier. The soup's ingredients are potatoes, leeks, butter, cream, and salt. Not such a hard thing to swing on a weeknight when you've already got most of the ingredients in your kitchen. Alright, with a little improvisation (substituting red onions for the leeks, milk for cream), you've got all of them.
Potage Parmentier avec Lardon
Dec 8th, 2006
Long frustrating story, but the bottom line is: Keyspan sucks. There's still no gas in my apartment. The good thing is, my friends have been offering me their delicious home cooking, and in one instance let me use their kitchen to make them dinner. It's been a harmonious transaction.
Simplified Coq Au Vin (and How Not to Cook in One’s Own Kitchen)
Dec 4th, 2006
Some things I've eaten lately:
Steamed frozen pork gyoza and steamed frozen edamame.
Bread, croissants, fruit, cheese, vegetables, salad...candles.
Worst Week for NEOINY Part 2
Nov 18th, 2006
This was a leftover dish. It might not sound like one, but every ingredient used down to the parsley was already in my fridge for various reasons and past uses. It was so perfect, that because I didn't have pasta, I decided to make pasta myself. I had flour, eggs, and salt...I even had fresh rosemary that was going to dry up soon. Dismissing the fact that I had never actually made pasta before, why not?
Rosemary Pasta with Sausage, Peas, and Parmesan Beschamel
Nov 17th, 2006
This probably sounds like a no-brainer trick to use on a basic biscuit recipe: fold in a few of your favorite things. The other day I tasted a sample wedge of cheese, and it was an Italian cheese (parmesan or romano?) that had whole black peppercorns encrusted throughout. It piqued my tastebuds so much that I had to re-enact it in a more palpable form, something that I could literally stuff my face with.
Parmesan Peppercorn Biscuits
Nov 14th, 2006
My friend Karol always wins at stuff. Whether it's the Ms. Pac-Man playoff, or the guy at the other end of the bar, Karol just wins. So it was no surprise when her chili took home first prize in the annual "Bruce Chili" cook-off at Barcade. Coming back from a 7th place finish in the 2005 cook-off, her curiously titled batch, "I Love You But I've Chosen Chili" struck lightning this year, and is now the reigning 2006 champion to beat.
I Love You but I’ve Chosen Karol Lu’s Champion Vegetarian Chili
Nov 13th, 2006
There's nothing that spells cute to me more than a bunch of baby bok choy. The tenderest and most mild of cabbages, the contrast between leafy green parts and white stems has never been more appealing. When boiled, the fibrous whites turn translucent and practically melt in your mouth. The greens hold true to their shape and are delicate as a floppy bunny's ear.
I Heart Baby Bok Choy
Nov 11th, 2006
Last winter, I thought I had perfected my meatloaf recipe. Although we've been having unusually warm weather in New York this week, I was more than ready to pull it out, this time in a more delicate fashion. It's an easy dish to make since almost everything in it is essentials from your kitchen that you can throw in at your own discrepancy. Some of these ingredients I like to hold dear to the recipe, such as the chopped carrots. But in other cases, it's an open field. For instance, I was torn between making a maple glaze, and accompanyingly, a maple vinaigrette for the salad greens. But instead, I used apricot preserves for a brighter flavor. You can always just opt for the ketchup slurry to glaze your meatloafs with, just like your mom taught you, too.
Mini Meatloafs with Apricot Glaze and Baby Greens
Nov 6th, 2006
I'm trying out the Retro Recipe Challenge Fall Favorites competition, just as I was in the mood to make something savory, spicy, and prepared in that ever-so-homey style, a casserole.
Moussaka, circa 1961
Nov 3rd, 2006
The other day I had a not-too-satisfying experiment with eggplant, making a curry with whatever spices I possessed on my shelf that might combine in a pungent taste. It made me want to try another underused vegetable, but this time get the flavor right.
Sweet Potato and Pork Stir Fry
Oct 31st, 2006
How and where Josh got his inspiration for this pumpkin soup is beyond me. But it tastes fabulous. Surprisingly spicy, warm and filling, I had to drill Josh for this recipe at his Halloween/welcome back dinner party. He says that he just came up with the recipe himself, and I would have never guessed it, perhaps owning to the fact that I've rarely seen him outside of extreme work mode programming films for either the Hamptons International Film Festival, or the Brooklyn Underground Film Festival. It's awesome and humbling to discover that a lot of people like to make up amazing recipes all the time, and they don't have to be all showy and obsessive about it (hmmph).
Josh Koury’s Pumpkin Soup
Oct 25th, 2006
Castellane con spinaci e fagioli is what I would have called this recipe if a)I were a real Italian person (I somehow don't feel I have the right to name this dish in Italian since I'm not), and b) I were actually using spinach, which I would have preferred. But even though the spinach scare is officially over, and the washed, bagged leaves are back on the shelves, I'm hesitant to forgive and forget. Castellane con spinaci e coli is not something I want to get too close to.
Pasta with Kale and Chick Peas
Oct 19th, 2006
For a twist on roast chicken when I didn't feel like waiting too long, I was going to braise some chicken with wine and parsley. When I came home I found the parsley bunch I had bought about a week ago was so decrepit and limp that I had to toss it. Then I came across a nice jar of dried sage that must belong to my roommate, sniffed it, and decided to pair it with lemon instead.
Braised Chicken with Lemon and Sage
Oct 15th, 2006
Thanks DJ, for sharing your mom's recipe for squash rolls. DJ writes in an email that his mom makes these every Thanksgiving: "Oh and they don't really end up tasting like squash, which is a major plus because they're made from freezer squash, which is a cheap replacement for syrup of ipecac if you don't have any handy." Had to look that one up too--syrup of ipecac is a gag-inducing serum. Thanks!
DJ O’Connor’s Mom’s Squash Rolls
Oct 12th, 2006
Only until recently, during a trip to California, did I become aware that French Dip wasn't something you dunk potato chips and veggies in, or that it wasn't invented in France. There, it was a sandwich. Here, I decide to make one. The recipe that Ben's mom provided for this was so tasty that I wonder why this side of the country hasn't been so quick to catch on. I can just see the single-serving cups of au jus at Subway if it did.
French Dip, You Dip, I Dip
Oct 10th, 2006
A co-worker of mine went apple picking and left me with a bag of crisp, juicy tart ones that seemed just right for baking. If there's any dessert a (American) person should know how to make, it's apple pie, and that's something I've picked up in my days.
Weeknight Apple Maple Walnut Pie
Oct 6th, 2006
Not only do I not know how to make desserts, but tonight I'm faced with the task of making dessert for a vegan friend of mine, who's having me over for dinner with her boyfriend. I did some brief scouring of vegan dessert recipes online and decided pretty early on that instead of all that substituting eggs and milk business, I was going to make something involving coconut milk, and probably Thai. I'd originally thought of Chinese dim sum coconut pudding, but I couldn't find a recipe for it without gelatin, and we all know that gelatin has horses in it.
Mango Coconut Sticky Rice Dessert Cups
Oct 4th, 2006
This stir fry is just a really light, simple dish that you can make with any combination of ingredients. I would normally use chopped scallions instead of a sliced yellow onion, but I didn't have any left. The sweetness of the regular onion, though, made up for a dash of sugar in the seasoning I may have added. I kept the flavors toned down because asparagus has such a fragile, light flavor--it was almost too simple that I'd wished I'd had a fresh chopped chilil to throw in or something, but it was nice to get to taste the asparagus and appreciate its texture, too.
Chicken and Asparagus Stir Fry
Oct 1st, 2006
The name of the dish implies a little heat, so it might be a fun experiment to add some chopped, jarred jalepenos in the stuffing. But for now, here's the recipe that I stick to wholeheartedly, one that never fails.
Sep 29th, 2006
I suspect that the title is long enough for readers to come to their own conclusions about this recipe, but even so, I'm going to blab.
Chilled red potatoes are my new croutons. They have this ever-so-subtly satisfying pop when your teeth break into their skins, and taste even more earthy and mildly creamy when cold. Remember how much you liked the cold potato salad at all those barbecues in the summer that you filled yourself up with it before you got to try the burnt stuff on the grill? That's how much you will love them in a green salad.
Green Salad with Baby Red Potatoes, Bacon, Shaved Smoked Cheddar, and Onion with Lemon Vinaigrette
Sep 27th, 2006
I almost winced when reading an "Asian" (fusion, I guess) recipe in a major glossy magazine that called for a Noah's Ark full of ingredients from all across the world. It was a pork recipe, and just the notion of using fish sauce and Chinese black bean sauce in combination was enough to make my stomach turn, let alone calling for more than three tablespoons of fish sauce period. But the fact that the recipe also included hoisin sauce, sesame oil, orange juice, ginger, lime juice, sugar, cilantro, Serrano chiles, and honey was laughable. And what happened to soy sauce, or even salt, the most basic marinade ingredients upon which to add one or two more ingredients for a sturdy, reliable flavor? Not on the index-sized list.
Maybe I'm just being plebian about it. But it's funny, because with all the emphasis on simplicity in modern New American and European cuisines, it's incredible how much work everyone seems to think Asian food is. Plain old home-cooking, it seems, hasn't quite fazed the American public.
Plain Old Fried Rice with Five-Spice Tofu
Sep 25th, 2006
Cooking for one is something that I struggle with on a daily basis, and the impracticality of it is a major reason why single people around my age eat out all of the time. I'm not going to lie and say that it isn't a big load of work to make something elaborate for just one night, for one person, and then get creative with the leftovers and ingredients not used. Or the time-consuming aspect of it. Think of all those foods that you can only buy in family-sized packages, jars, bunches, and cans. After some experience, though, knowing how to cook small and shop wisely should come more easily. I pretty much live by the credo that what's perishable must be used, in some way, in your dinner that night.
Hanger Steak with Portobellos
Sep 24th, 2006
I'm in love with my jelly silicon muffin pan. Muffins pop out of them with barely a tap, and muffin varieties are a territory that seems endless in scope.
Carrot Ginger Muffins
Sep 13th, 2006
I really wasn’t sure what to do with all that cheddar I hoarded back from Tillamook. When the nice lady working at the factory’s store told me that the cheese was indeed transportable as long as it was unopened, I went apeshit and got a few blocks, forgetting that the only thing I really do with cheddar – and I only eat the sharpest of the sharp white – is slice it up and munch on it with wine, or make a decadent quiche. But, I do love that cheese. I have an immature taste when it comes to cheeses – back when most people were in their cheddar phase at oh, maybe five, I was tasting and spitting out Kraft American singles.
So when the latest Food and Wine magazine published a recipe for White Cheddar and Scallion muffins, this had to be for me. Since I rarely bake, the first ingredient purchased was a muffin pan. I got a silly, rubbery silicon one in cobalt blue that looks like it should belong in PeeWee’s Playhouse rather than a kitchen. I’m not sure why manufacturers have to choose bright colors for an already preposterous-looking tool.
White Bean Zucchini Soup with White Cheddar Scallion Muffins
Aug 30th, 2006
It's been a bit of a painful withdrawal from eating out at Alma, a restaurant which dealt no gimmicks except for meticulous flavors, as apparent in their exuberant new Mexican chile sauce.
Black Bean Enchiladas with Red Chile
Aug 26th, 2006
This was a really simple way of using up some chicken I had roasted the other day when it was raining. I'm not sure why that makes sense, but buying a whole chicken and sticking it in the oven with herbs and lemon tucked under its skin was simply the answer to a not very gentle evening's weather, after a not very relaxing day at work. The little bugger didn't have very much meat left on its bones after some relentless munching, but I was still determined to use it the next day to make cold chicken salad sandwiches. I ended up using a bit more of the chopped cucumbers and walnuts to make up for less chicken, which was refreshing.
Curry Chicken Leftover Salad
Aug 16th, 2006
Fresh corn on the cob that squirts you in the face when you snap it in half is just what I was in the mood for when I went to the Fairway Market in Red Hook this weekend. Unfortunately, the two ears I’d gotten with the thought of making corn chowder stayed in my fridge for two days. By Monday it was pretty clear that I wasn’t going to make a hot soup in August, as much as I could see myself shaving those kernels right off a newly shucked cob into a steaming pot. When I finally dug into the ears that evening, though, they were still crisp and fresh as white snow.
Summer Corn and Roasted Red Pepper Risotto
Aug 9th, 2006
The great thing about summer is that I can buy produce, well fruit at least, outside my office building from a fruit stand vendor. I have no idea where he trucks his fruit in, but it's probably somewhere closer than where the average grocery store gets them given how firm and juicy the fruit is. And I love seeing them use those simple scoop-bottomed scales--always so human. Although the figs looked tempting, I opted for some dark, ruby-red cherries because, after all, it is summer and life is like the saying goes.
Cherry Walnut Bruschetta