Wednesday, February 25, 2009

bacon takedown!!

i am super excited to announce that i'll be a contestant in the brooklyn bacon takedown!!!!!  the takedown will take place on march 29 at the beer hall in williamsburg.  details are above.  i am currently in recipe development - any thoughts, ideas, brainstorms or requests are welcome.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

fish curry

at my requests, the boy is making fish curry for dinner tonight.  live, from brooklyn, its fish curry!

2 stalks celery
1 small-medium red onion
1 small red pepper
1 scallion
2 thin carrots
1 shallot
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon fresh parsley
2 14 oz cans coconut milk
3 tablespoons curry powder (he used madras)
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds - crushed
1/4 teaspoon cumin
dash fish sauce
teaspoon fresh ginger - diced
3 medium red potatoes - cut into bite sized pieces
1 1/2 cups sugar peas
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes - halved
1/2 stalk lemongrass
1 lime - juiced
1 pound white fish (we got some really good looking dover sole in chinatown today)

chop the veggies and saute in large pot with 2 tablespoons butter for 5-7 minutes.  salt and pepper to taste.  

keeping burner on medium-low heat, add coconut milk, curry powder, coriander, fish sauce, and cumin.  then add ginger, potatoes, snow peas and tomatoes.  place stalk of lemongrass in the pan.  salt and pepper to taste again.  let simmer for 10 minutes and prepare the fish in a separate pan (saute in bit of oil with salt, pepper and juice of 1/ 2 lime).  add fish to curry, add remaining lime juice, and let cook down a bit (another 15-20 minutes).  serve over rice, garnish with fresh cilantro and enjoy!

oops!  forgot to mention the spiciness - he added 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes and a teaspoon of chili-garlic sauce.

Friday, February 20, 2009

urban composting

something i've lamented since moving to new york is the lack of opportunity to compost my food waste.  a year or so ago, i looked around for a location, within manhattan, where i could drop off my weekly waste.  i was sure that i would find something in central park but didn't, and so composting in new york seemed impossible.

i thought very briefly about the options for indoor composting in yesterday's article in the times.  and, i just don't think i'm hardcore enough.  i also know, that despite her unwavering support for my hippie ways, an indoor composting system would kill L.  

i see two different possible scenarios:  the smell, wafting up to her hyper-sensitive nose, would simply strike her dead, or an errant worm, escaped from his compost nest, would wriggle his way towards her, causing immediate heart failure on her part.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

best laid plans

(not a valentine's day joke . . . well, maybe a little bit)

last night, i was way too grumpy to blog this, but as always morning brings perspective.  i had decided to make cookies for the boy for valentine's day.  i conceived a very pretty dried cherry and white chocolate drop cookie and decided that it would be tasty and pretty with the red and white.  i planned on using a regular chocolate chip cookie recipe and then subbing the cherries and white chocolate - makes sense, no?

so, after work, i set off upon my dried cherry/white chocolate mission.  i went to my neighborhood go-to for all things fancy and was dismayed to find that not only were the dried cherries the color of rust (not the bright red i fancied), they were dried with some chemical process.  the dried cranberries sitting next to them were just the right color and were naturally dried, so i decided to go with that.  on to the chocolate!  and there was none.  

so, i put the cranberries away and went to my regular grocery.  there, the cranberries were dull and the white chocolate was only in bar form.  at this point, it was getting late, i was overly frustrated and deep inside, i knew that the boy would actually prefer old-fashioned chocolate chip cookies.  i left empty handed, and here i am this morning, making cookies without a pretty valentine's theme.

oh well.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

carolina blue biscuits

well, they're not actually blue, but i'm posting this recipe in honor of carolina's win over rat face last night.  biscuits for basketball, you ask?  well, when i lived in chapel hill, a certain southern fast food joint offered great biscuit deals.  their biscuits are lovely and sweet tea divine. . .

but, on to my biscuits:

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt (i use kosher salt)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup buttermilk

mix dry ingredients with spoon.  butter should be cold, but not too cold (i like to let it sit out of the fridge for 15-30 minutes before using).  cut stick in half lengthwise and then slice both halves into pats of butter.  mix butter into dry mixture.  i use my hands for this and i think it produces the best biscuits.  if you've got a fancy mixer, feel free to use it, but i really think that handmade biscuits taste the best.  mix butter and flour until butter is incorporated (there will still be plenty of loose flour, but all of the butter will be pea sized and completely flour covered).  add buttermilk.  mix in with a (wooden) spoon.  you can try to completely mix it with your spoon or with the aforementioned fancy mixer.  however, i again have to plug the hand mixing method.  its messy, but it really gets you delicious biscuits.

also, i totally don't roll my biscuits.  i shape them (as you would shape a mini-meatloaf or a meatball).  i know this may seem sacrilegious to some, but its just how i do it.  

coat the tops with an egg wash and bake at 375.  length of cooking depends on what size you make your biscuits (i make monsters and minis).  basically, you want the tops and the bottoms to be golden brown. 

fun additions:
goat cheese
cheddar cheese

Saturday, February 7, 2009

curry time

i had been in the mood to try a new soup when epicurious posted a curried butternut squash and lentil soup as its recipe of the week.  i bookmarked it, made sure i had plenty of broth in the freezer and made my first trip to kalustyan's.

i don't know which was more fun: exploring kalustyan's shelves or making the soup.  this picture reflects only a portion of the shelves of spices in the store.   

as for the soup, it turned out better than i expected.  i made a few alterations to the recipe:  i didn't add the ginger.  to be honest, i didn't add the ginger because i had forgotten to pick it up.  when i realized i didn't have ginger, i just couldn't go back outside because, y'all, its cold up here in new york.  but, after completion, i was happy that i didn't have the ginger.  i think it would have added a little too much sweetness to the soup.

i only added 1 quart (4 cups) of liquid - 3 cups chicken broth and 1 cup water.  i also added a teaspoon of cumin and a tablespoon of white wine.

i topped the soup with the cilantro oil.  i also topped the soup with butternut squash seeds that i toasted in harissa - spicy, tangy and crispy - they were a perfect topping.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

fried chicken for shaina

one of my favorite things in the world is feeding those that i love.  that's why when i got an email today from a good friend on the west coast requesting my fried chicken, it made me sad that i couldn't just up and fly to make it for her.  sorry, this is the best i can do...

soak raw chicken in buttermilk (8 hours to overnight) in the fridge (!)

remove chicken from fridge 30 to 45 minutes before breading and cooking

when you're ready to bread the chicken, prepare three shallow dishes:

one with plain all-purpose flour (add some salt and pepper)
one with scrambled egg wash (i add a little water to the eggs as i scramble them)
one with an even mixture of all-purpose flour, finely ground bread crumbs, healthy dose of ground cumin, a little paprika, and salt and pepper

before removing chicken from buttermilk prepare medium sized skillet or pan with approximately an inch of canola or vegetable oil (oil will not cover chicken), and turn onto medium heat.

remove chicken from buttermilk and let drain.  dredge first in plain flour mixture, then egg wash (let wash drip off a bit), and then the flour/bread crumb mixture.  

gently add chicken to oil and fry until outside is golden brown, flipping once to fry on both sides - approx 5 minutes on each side.  do not crowd chicken in pan.  if necessary, fry in batches.  

i've found that boneless chicken (i.e. chicken fingers or strips) are easier and pretty popular.  yes, you lose a little flavor from not cooking on the bone, but i don't miss it too much.  if you are cooking chicken on the bone, you'll want to put the chicken in a 350 degree oven after frying to cook the rest of the way.

Monday, February 2, 2009

superbowl meatballs (aka superballs)!!

a very brave friend of mind hosted a superbowl party in her home one week before her due date.  i ate myself silly and i actually watched the game.  

my contribution to the evening were mini-meatball subs.  i made the meatballs and sauce at home and took sliced mozzarella and sliced sub rolls over.  for homemade marinara, i follow a basic recipe like the oh-so-sexy giada's, but i usually add a dollop of honey to cut the acidity and some red pepper flakes for a bit of heat.  

the meatball recipe is my own, but just like everyone else's . . .

1 pound ground chicken or turkey
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, roasted or sauteed in oil (anything to cut the sharpness), chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh basil
1 egg
1/2 cup (approx) finely ground breadcrumbs

mix the above (hands are best) until ingredients bind together.  pre-heat skillet on medium heat with minimal amounts of oil (olive or vegetable).  at the same time, have marinara sauce simmering on low heat.  roll meat mixture into balls and sear on all sides.  place seared balls into marinara to finish cooking through.  enjoy right away or later.  these also freeze well.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

of snausages and scarves

well, just one scarf actually - i'm almost finished with the scarf for my mom's birthday.  will post a pic of the completed project, but in the meantime, here's one of the detailing....

also, this is all over blogs and the paper, but i just couldn't resist posting about the BACON EXPLOSION

this looks so amazing.  i already talked to my neighbor, downstairs dan, and this baby is going into his smoker out back as soon as we get a nice weekend day in new york.