Wednesday, November 24, 2010

butternut squash ready for roasting

butternut squash ready for roasting
Originally uploaded by nestingnewyork

tonight i'm making evil shenanigans roasted butternut squash casserole for thanksgiving. it looks and sounds amazing. i'll report back on how it tastes.

happy thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

concord grape jam

i spent a large portion of my summer packing food away like aesop's ant. my csa provided a hefty variety this year and i supplemented with fruit and veggies from my local farmer's market. i was determined to have a store of local food for the winter.

this summer was my first foray into the world of canning. i'd always wanted to try it and i'm happy to report that it isn't as hard as i thought it would be. the national center for home food preservation is a great resource for how-to's and safety tips. the blog well preserved also has a wealth of canning information and recipes.

i got this recipe from the blue chair jam cookbook. i adapted the recipe to make a super-small batch and i liked the jam so much that i made a second small batch. i highly recommend eating this luxurious jam on a homemade biscuit.

1 lb concord grapes
1 cup turbinado sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon orange juice
1/4 teaspoon orange zest

peel and deseed grapes - save the peels discard the seeds. heat the grape pulp over medium heat and cook for 4-5 minutes. add peels and remaining ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. cook for 25-30 minutes until the jam starts to thicken, stirring frequently.

to test whether the jam is done, place a small spoonful of the jam on a frozen plate and return the plate to the freezer for 1-2 minutes. remove the plate and press the jam with your finger. martha says that the jam should wrinkle.

Friday, August 6, 2010

the perfect israeli salad

while in law school, i worked in an israeli-owned restaurant. the owner was, to put it nicely, a perfectionist. the kitchen was by far the cleanest i'd ever worked in - you could practically eat off the floor. the food was tasty and the salads were divine.

the kitchen would prep for hours - dicing each component of the salads into perfect squares. cucumbers were put through a french fry cutter and then cut into even squares. the israeli salad was my favorite. i was lucky enough to get the exact directions on making the salad from the owner.

the proportions below make a salad for one. the salad is best served right away - you don't really want it as a leftover.

1 cup kirby cucumber - seeded and evenly diced into 2cm squares
1/2 cup roma tomato - seeded and evenly diced into 2cm squares
1 tablespoon white onion - diced
1 tablespoon fresh dill - chopped
1 teaspoon parsley - chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil (never olive oil - it is too heavy for this salad)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

toss all ingredients in a bowl and serve immediately.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

squash, fennel & leek gratin

in those last dreary months of winter, i longingly think of summer and of all the fresh abundance that the season produces. now, summer and all of its glory is upon us. its been a hot steamy summer, and as a result i'm drowning (in a good way) in summer squash from my csa.

last week when, in addition to squash, i received leeks and fennel, my thoughts wandered to a lovely potato and fennel gratin a friend had made for me years ago. i thought, why not switch the potatoes out for squash? the result was yummy.

1 lb summer squash (any variety) - sliced
1 medium fennel bulb - thinly sliced
2 leeks, sliced and lightly sauteed in butter
1/2 cup parmesan - grated
1 egg
3/4 cup milk (or cream if you want to be decadent)
1/4 - 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon butter
salt and pepper

lightly grease a shallow baking dish and place a single layer of squash on the bottom of the pan. sprinkle the first layer with 1/3 of the cheese and add salt and pepper. layer the fennel and leeks, and top with cheese and salt and pepper. add top layer of squash, top with remainder of cheese. combine egg and milk and lightly whisk together. pour mixture over the veggies and lightly spread breadcrumbs to the top. dot the top of the bread crumbs with small bits of butter.

bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes until set.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

a sneak peak

yesterday wrapped up an eight week summer sewing class that i took with the ladies of sew moni.

i learned lots of great clothing construction techniques and my first real piece of clothing is nearly finished. full pictures to come!

Monday, May 31, 2010

eggs eudora

i'm gearing up for the start of my second season of community supported agriculture (csa) with stoneledge farm. my first pick up is in a week and i can't wait to see what goodies i'll be getting.

to prepare for the new season, i've been cleaning out my freezer. all that remains of last year's bounty is a small bag of frozen and sliced jalapenos and a pack of blanched and frozen greens. the greens sauteed up nicely with bacon and i served them over biscuits with a fried egg. since this is a decidedly southern twist on eggs benedict, i decided to name the dish after one of my favorite southern authors.

this recipe serves four.

1/2 portion of biscuits - baked and sliced in half (yields 4 biscuits)
2 slices bacon - cut into chunks
2-3 large handfuls of greens (any hearty type: collards, swiss chard, etc.) - washed, chopped and blanched (i used pre-blanched, frozen greens)
1 medium onion - sliced and carmelized
4 eggs - fried, sunny side up
cheese sauce (see below)

i generally make the cheese sauce, biscuits and onions before starting the greens and eggs.

heat up a medium-large skillet over medium high heat and add bacon chunks. cook for 4-6 mintues or until bacon begins to crisp. add greens to bacon and toss well. cook another 5-7 minutes over medium high heat until greens and bacon are cooked through. set greens aside, fry eggs (for 4 eggs, i would fry in 1 1/2 tablespoons butter).

for plating: place biscuit, cut in half open on plate (as you would an english muffin), place greens and bacon mixture on top of biscuit, layer carmelized onions on top of the greens, then place one fried egg on top of the onions, and top with cheese sauce.

cheese sauce:
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup white cheddar
dash grated nutmeg

melt butter over medium heat in skillet. once butter is melted, slowly add flour, stirring as you add. once flour is fully incorporated into the butter, add salt and pepper and stir for another minute. add milk and stir well and cook for 2 minutes or until milk has mixed well with the flour mixture. slowly add cheese, stirring constantly. add nutmeg and cook until cheese has melted and mixture is smooth.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

peas and carrots - a spring tasting

a close friend and her husband have been working to revitalize his family's bed & breakfast (the twilight lodge) in the catskills region of new york. they've done an amazing job and the innkeepers they've hired are fantastic.

last weekend, they invited a group of family and friends for their first chef's tasting dinner. using primarily ingredients from local farms and purveyors, they created a fantastic 4-hour taste of spring. each course was wonderful, but my favorite really captured the essence of the season. i was able to work my "in" with the chef to get the recipe for this spring salad named: peas & carrots.

1 lb english peas in the pod
2 large carrots
1/2 lb french green beans
1/2 lb baby bliss potatoes (red & white)
2-3 pheasant eggs
1/4 lb prosciuto (obtained locally from the smokehouse of the catskills)
1 clove garlic
1 sprig thyme
handful parsley
handful peashoots (garnish)
olive oil

shuck the peas, then blanch and shock in ice water. cut carrots and beans into 1 inch batons, blanch until tender but al-dente and shock in ice water.

cook potatoes in water with thyme, garlic and salt until potatoes are done, then blanch in ice water. after the potatoes have cooled, cut into halves.

cook eggs in boiling water for five minues and shock in ice water for three minutes, peel and cut in halves or wedges.

arrange above ingredients on plate with dressing on the side.


1 cup mayo
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon chili sauce (preferably siracha)
1 shallot - finely minced
a touch of dijon mustard
12 spanish olives - finely chopped
2 cornichons - finely chopped
handful parsley - finely chopped
1 lemon - juiced
salt & pepper to taste

mix the above ingredients well.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

strawberry rhubarb & balsamic jam

a few weeks ago, i attended the spring food and craft fair at the brooklyn lyceum. while there, i tasted a strawberry and balsamic jam made by anarchy in a jar. after tasting their jam and subsequently running into some beautiful rhubarb at the local farmer's market, i pulled together the following recipe.

i'm not typically someone who craves sweets, but this jam has been pulling me from bed in the mornings. its easy to make and oh-so-good!

1/2 pound rhubarb - cut into chunks (approx 1/2 inch)
1 pound strawberries - cut into chunks
1 1/2 cups turbinado sugar
1 lemon - juiced
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

combine the rhubarb, strawberries and sugar and let sit in the fridge overnight (or, if you don't have that much time, for several hours). the sugar will macerate the fruit and bring out their juices.

place fruit/sugar mixture (with all resulting juices) into large saucepan or pot, add lemon juice and vinegar and cook over medium high heat until the fruit has nearly completely broken down and the mixture begins to jell (approximately 45 minutes).** carefully pour into jam jars, seal and let cool. because this recipe yields a small amount (two 4-ounce jars), i did not give these a water bath - i am storing them in the fridge.

**note: both ina and martha use a chilled plate to test whether their jam has jelled.

Friday, February 26, 2010

a simple corn chowder

the warm(ish) weather this past weekend turned my thoughts to spring and fresh produce! thinking of the soon-to-come fresh greens, i inventoried my remaining csa veggies.

this corn chowder used up those last two pounds of withering potatoes and the last wizened celery root hiding in the back of the crisper. i even, sadly, used up the last of the carrots that, blanched and frozen, had seen me through this long and cold winter.

the resulting soup is simple and refreshing.

1 teaspoon butter
1 medium onion - finely chopped
1/4 cup (approximately 1 slice) bacon - chopped
1 leek - white and light green part sliced
1/2 cup carrots - peeled and sliced
1/2-1/3 celery root - peeled and diced in 1/4 inch cubes
2 lbs potatoes - peeled and cut in 1/2 inch cubes
3 cups corn - kernels only (i used frozen)
2 bay leaves
4 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
1-2 cups milk
salt & pepper

in large pot, melt butter over medium high heat, add onions and bacon and cook for 5-7 minutes. add leek, carrots and celery root and cook for 10 minutes (or until veggies are beginning to soften). salt and pepper to taste. add potatoes, corn, bay leaves and stock. lower heat to medium and cook until potatoes begin to soften (approx. 15 minutes). add milk and cook another 10 minutes (do not let soup boil once dairy has been added).

to thicken the soup, ladle 2 cups of soup into the food processor or blender, puree and add back to soup.