Monday, December 28, 2009

sweet potato biscuits

since she is a loyal follower, (if not my most loyal) visits to my mom result in her request for me to cook. which is exactly why i got so excited when i saw this recipe in bon appetit on the plane, on my way to visit. what's more, they even seemed like they would be the perfect accompaniment to solstice dinner. i admit that i was a little intimidated by the term biscuit. after all, i hear homemade biscuits and i think of someone's grandmother somewhere (preferably in a southern state) taking all day to roll out dough with lard. i decided to take a more rustic biscuit approach. i also skipped the ham component of this. but that goes without saying.


sweet potato biscuits (originally sweet potato biscuits with ham, mustard, and honey)
from bon appetit
  • 1 3/4-pound red-skinned sweet potato (yam), peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour (i used spelt)
  • 1 tablespoon (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup chilled buttermilk *NOTE: begin my rustic approach...i didn't have buttermilk so i added some lemon juice to regular low fat milk and allowed to sit for a few minutes.
  • cook sweet potato in medium saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. drain, cool, and mash.
  • position rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 425°F. butter bottom and sides of 9-inch cake pan with 1 1/2-inch-high sides.
  • whisk flour and next 5 ingredients in large bowl. add cubed butter to flour mixture; toss to coat and rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  • whisk 3/4 cup mashed sweet potatoes and buttermilk in medium bowl. add to flour mixture; toss with fork.
  • gather mixture in bowl, kneading until dough comes together. turn dough out onto floured work surface and pat into 1-inch-thick round. Using 1 1/2-inch round biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits, flouring cutter after each cut. gather scraps; pat into 1-inch-thick round. cut out additional biscuits (do not reuse scraps more than once). *NOTE: continue rustic approach...i didn't roll out or cut my biscuits, i just grabbed pieces of dough and gently shaped them and patted them down.
  • arrange biscuits side by side in prepared cake pan. brush with melted butter. bake until puffed and golden on top and tester inserted into center biscuit comes out clean, about 22 minutes. cool 10 minutes in pan. turn biscuits out and gently pull them apart.
  • makes about 24 biscuits

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

winter solstice celebration


to make a long story short, a number of years ago, my family gave up all winter holidays associated with any religion. granted, as jews by definition, the winter spirit of things has just never held as much meaning as for those who might celebrate a certain baby jesus...in any case, we had it. too much commercialization, commodification, all that jazz.

we decided it would be much more appropriate to actually celebrate the significance of the winter season with solstice. the goal was to not really have any rules. over the years, i've embraced it as my own and created a separate celebration with friends. this has come to mean a small gathering, well
stocked with food and alcohol. i usually can't resist the urge to make latkes; this year was no exception. this year's signature drink (no rules; it changes year to year) was a sunshine spritzer. i switched from the usual yellow cake with yellow frosting to an upside-down pear cake. the result is always happy and full tummies. the perfect way to celebrate any holiday, if you ask me.

sunshine spritzer
1 shot whiskey
1/2 shot lemon juice
1/2 shot ginger simple syrup
pour over ice and finish with club soda.

ginger simple syrup: boil 1 part water and 1 part sugar until mixture slightly reduces. remove
from heat, add large piece of peeled ginger and cover. allow to steep for at least 20 minutes.


my favorite latke recipe

from the ny times

if you've experienced a latke making session before, you know it's no small feat. unless you have a food processor. but for some reason, i find the need to grate everything by hand...it ends up being hours long in process for fried goodness that gets gobbled in a fraction of the time but is totally worth it.


a couple of notes about making the latkes in advance when you're pressed for time or don't want to be in the kitchen
the entire time you have people over: i usually start several hours in advance, grate the potatoes and store them in cold water to avoid oxidation. before you make the latkes, rinse the potatoes with more cold water and drain, then squeeze out additional water. then as i start frying batches, i put them in the oven, layered with paper towels to keep them warm.
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups grated drained all-purpose potatoes
  • ¼ cup grated onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons matzo meal, or as needed (i use spelt flour)
  • canola oil, for frying
  • applesauce and sour cream for serving (optional).
  • in a large mixing bowl, beat eggs lightly. add potatoes, onions, salt and pepper, and mix well. stir in 2 tablespoons matzo meal/flour and let sit about 30 seconds to absorb moisture. if necessary, add more to make a thick, wet batter that is neither watery nor dry.
  • place a large skillet over medium heat, and add 2 tablespoons of oil. when oil is hot drop in heaping 1/8 cups (about 2 tablespoons) of batter, flattening them gently to make thick pancakes. when bottoms have browned, after 2-3 minutes, flip and brown on the other side. add oil as needed. drain on paper towels and sprinkle with additional salt to taste.
  • serve hot with applesauce and sour cream, if desired.
  • yield: 4 servings (about 24 small pancakes)

maple pear upside-down cake
from mark bittman

this cake is superbly delicious. the outside gets all browned and crispy while the inside is rich without being too sweet. almost coffee-cake-esque. and it looks so impressive!
  • 11 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 to 4 pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk

  • heat oven to 350 degrees. melt 3 tablespoons butter in a small pan over medium heat. add maple syrup and brown sugar and cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves. bring to a boil and cook for another 2 minutes, remove from heat and set aside. when mixture has cooled a bit, pour into a 9-inch baking pan and arrange pear slices in an overlapping circle on top.
  • with a handheld or standing mixer, beat remaining 8 tablespoons of butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. add vanilla and eggs, continuing to mix until smooth. add dry ingredients (i never do this separately but suppose you might want to consider it): flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • add flour mixture to butter mixture in three batches, alternating with milk; do not over mix. (NOTE: although i did not over mix, i also did not alternate butter/flour/milk mixtures. too finicky. however, do not let the batter know you are afraid.)
  • carefully spread batter over pears, using a spatula to make sure it is evenly distributed. bake until top of cake is golden brown and edges begin to pull away from sides of pan, about 45-50 minutes; a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean. let cake cool for 5 minutes.
  • run a knife around edge of pan, put a plate on top of the cake and carefully flip it so that the plate is on bottom and the pan is on top. serve warm or at room temperature.
  • yield: 8-10 servings
Sound scary? Watch the video to ease the nerves.




Thursday, December 17, 2009

quinoa breakfast cupcakes

becky crocker originally sent me this recipe and i'm pretty sure we both had the same initial reaction: quinoa cupcakes--how healthy! when we actually got together to make the things, we realized that they were in fact just cupcakes with some added quinoa. next time, we're going to up the quinoa, decrease the flour, and substitute some of the fat with applesauce. but for now, these cupcakes are delicious, juicy and flavorful and perfect for breakfast. serve with some cream cheese frosting or vanilla ice cream and they're even more decadent.

the recipe below is gluten-free but i used spelt flour when i baked them instead of the rice flour because it's what i had on hand.


gluten-free quinoa cupcakes
  • 2 medium sized diced apples
  • 1/4 sugar
  • 1 tspn vanilla
  • 1 tspn ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • 4 large eggs
  • 9 tablespoons butter (1 stick + 1 tblspn)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/3 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 3/4 cup rice flour (or any other flour)
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • simmer the apple cubes with the water, sugar, cinnamon, and rum until the apple is cooked and almost all the liquid is evaporated.
  • whisk the egg and sugar and add the melted butter. stir well.
  • add the quinoa, mix well, and then add the flour and baking powder. stir well.
  • mix in the apple mixture.
  • bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until the tops bounce back when you touch them.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

cornflake marshmallow chocolate chip cookies and the milk bar

if you've never been to momofuku milk bar, you should probably check it out. that being said, if you plan to go to the milk bar and can't eat wheat or gluten, prepare to be tortured. of course, i go anyways...

yes, we're talking momofuku, part of the
david chang empire. i'm always a fan of women dominating in particularly male fields, so when a ny mag interview came out with this quirky "pastry chef," they had me at female. (call me biased, i just don't care.) the menu can border on absurd: with crack pie, cereal milk, and gummy flavored soft serve, it's just my style. not to mention the cookies, oooooohhhhh the cookies. perhaps ever so more appealing because i can't just waltz in and order one?

my most recent visit (a few bites of crack pie filling and *cornflake* cereal milk soft serve with banana caramel) yielded my discovery of CORNFLAKE CHOCOLATE CHIP MARSHMALLOW COOKIES. take a moment, this is big, i know. i immediately decided, damn those momofuku wheat-lovers, i am going to figure out how to make this cookie! at first i was just going to crush up some cornflakes and throw marshmallows into a normal chocolate chip cookie batter but then i thought better and did some internet research. what i found was
this. so someone beat me to the punch but lucky for me, i at least had a recipe to follow. a disclaimer: these things are dangerous. you may eat so many in the process of making them that not only will you feel sick and an oncoming toothache, you will fail to eat a real meal the rest of the day. but then somehow, god willing, you will find room to consume stale popcorn in a movie theater (?!) this is my life. i just blog about it.

cornflake chocolate chip marshmallow cookies (thanks, christina)
recipe adapted from cookiemadness.net
  • 1 3/4 cups (spelt) flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lightly beaten egg
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cups ground up corn flakes (measure after grinding)
  • 3/4 cups coarsely ground oatmeal
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup marshmallows, frozen if you have time to freeze them
  • preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • mix together flour, baking soda, and salt. set aside.
  • cream butter and both sugars in a mixing bowl
  • beat in egg and vanilla.
  • stir in oil.
  • add flour mixture and stir until it is almost fully incorporated, then stir in the ground corn flakes, oatmeal, and chocolate chips. continue stirring until flour disappears.
  • scoop up gobs of dough and wrap each gob around 4 (or so) frozen mini marshmallows. try to seal the marshmallows in dough. you should have balls that are larger than golf balls (about 2 inches diameter).
  • Space dough about 3 inches apart on parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet for about 2 minutes then transfer to a rack to cool.
yields at least 2 dozen cookies

Monday, December 7, 2009

why france kicks our ass: one reason


i am going to attempt to keep this brief. i've written about the difficulties of food allergy travel before. throw in charles de gaulle airport and you've got one hell of a mess. even if you don't have food allergies, that airport will find some way to pick you up, twist you up, and spit you out.

so as you're racing through the airport, wondering why the hell it takes 20 minutes to get from terminal 2D to 2E and where that freaking tram everyone talks about actually boards, take faith in knowing that as soon as you get somewhere near the gate, there will be viable, edible, decently enjoyable food options waiting for you.

i'm not even talking about those giant snak club vat sized bags of trail mix. we've all been there. you've got a 5 hour travel day ahead of you and your lack of time/preparation/whatever has put you in a less than desirable food situation. yeah, that's right, they don't serve food on airplanes anymore. and even if they did, would you really want to eat it? so you indluge in the trail mix that surely has enough servings to feed a small family and costs $7. and you eat it all by yourself. in one sitting. not feeling so great, are you?

back to the armpit of all airports. the last time i was there, a quinoa and shrimp salad over greens with a red curry sauce surprised me before my flight. delightful. this time, more quinoa but this time with hazelnuts. yeah that's right, i said hazelnuts. beat that. 2 for 2? both involving quinoa? score.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

pumpkin pancakes


sometimes i just have food visions. the idea came to me after hearing the desire to be eating more pumpkin with the appropriate season. after a failed attempt to locate a pumpkin cocktail that sounded appetizing, my thoughts went to baked goods and the like. it wasn't until some time later, actually i think i was awake late at night, alone in a hotel room in germany, that pumpkin pancakes came to me. (seriously, try to think of something you could mix into a pancake that wouldn't taste good.) luckily, i found a simple enough recipe on epicurious.

since these were consumed the weekend after thanksgiving, the group decided to cut WAY back on the fat in the original recipe. we had been too gluttonous to consume mass quantities of butter so we substituted oil instead of part of the butter and added more pumpkin than the original recipe called for. that was as long as the self control lasted. we proceeded to make not one but two glorified versions of the golden griddlecakes.

version number one: pumpkin pancakes topped with apple compote.

version number two (because i just couldn't help myself): pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes.

spiced pumpkin pancakes
  • 1 1/4 cups flour (i used spelt, of course)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (i just used some cinnamon and nutmeg)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk (i used soy)
  • 3/4 cup canned pure pumpkin (we used more)
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted (here's where we went a little nuts--we used 2 tablespoons of butter and some oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • whisk first 5 ingredients in large bowl to blend.
  • whisk milk, pumpkin, egg yolks, melted butter and vanilla in medium bowl to blend well.
  • add pumpkin mixture to dry ingredients; whisk just until smooth (batter will be thick).
  • beat egg whites in another medium bowl until stiff but not dry. fold whites into batter in 2 additions.
  • brush large nonstick skillet with oil; heat over medium heat. working in batches, pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls into skillet. cook until bubbles form on surface of pancakes and bottoms are brown, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. repeat with remaining batter, brushing skillet with oil between batches. Serve with syrup.



Monday, November 30, 2009

apple crisp topping (csa week 12)

subtitle: why can't potatoes do this?
also known as: the reason i have no trouble getting through 5 lbs of apples in one week.

when i heard the chatty csa members discussing the types of apples this week at pick up, i almost wished i hadn't. rome apples. i had been lucky to be getting apples that were downright fuji like. large, crisp, sweet. not a mealy one in sight. it had actually been rather remarkable, or so i thought as i crunched daily at my desk. so when this week's apple yielded a less than perfect snacking option, i knew i was going to have to stew the suckers. then i wouldn't know the difference.

i had already done oatmeal with apples and a number of crisps. i decided it was time for a fall frozen dessert topping: apples with a crispy oat topping, over frozen yogurt. kinda like a deconstructed apple crisp. the goal was to make it as quick as possible (so that i could eat it, obviously).
lots of contrast in flavors and textures here: i used tart frozen yogurt which went perfectly with the sweet apples and the crispy topping went nicely with the soft apples.

stewed apples with crispy oat topping

cut up apples, put them in a small saucepan, add some fat (i admit, i used earth balance and not butter), some brown sugar, cinnamon, and a little bit of water. a little bit of lemon juice is good too, if you have it. cook over low heat until the apples reach desired level of softness and the liquid reduces and becomes syrupy.

for the topping, mush together oats with some more fat and brown sugar. i cooked mine in the toaster oven and obviously didn't watch them as carefully as i should have as per the visual below...

put on top of ice cream, frozen yogurt, regular yogurt, oatmeal, should I keep going?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

sweet potato curry with kale and broccoli (csa week 12)

the plan was simple: a lovely day full of cooking and baking at friend number two's house. it was also an excuse for me to get someone to help use the abundance of csa veggie's i was not so excited about. i.e., kale, broccoli, and lots of potatoes. our brainstorm yielded a curry. my immediate curry thoughts went to thai, friend number two's went to indian. we ended up with what i think is fair to call a hybrid of the two. another consideration was the ingredients that we already had. neither of us were dying to invest in a kitchen full of curry staples.

after some internet research, we decided to wing it. things were going great until a blood curdling scream came from friend number 2 as she peeled the sweet potatoes. okay, it wasn't blood curdling but there was definite panic involved. "what's wrong with these?!" i looked over my shoulder. the inside of the potato was almost white. "they're not sweet potatoes..." i said. "are they all like this?!" friend number two gasped as she grabbed a second potato and flung the peeler across its flesh. "they're yams," i answered. "who knows the difference between a sweet potato and a yam?!" friend number two demanded.


so for those of you who care to be enlightened, there is a difference between the two. for those of you who do not care, skip down to the next paragraph. a sweet potato is that yummy orange thing that you probably call a yam. a yam is a bit drier and starchier and is known to have slightly lower nutritional benefits. the important thing to note here is not to freak out if you accidentally buy one instead of the other, although i do prefer the texture of the orange sweet potato. who knows, it might just be the color.

sweet potato curry with kale and broccoli
  • 2 large sweet potatoes or yams, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped
  • 1 apple, diced
  • red curry paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 chilies, minced
  • chicken stock
  • pepper
  • salt
  • cilantro, chopped
  • brown the sweet potatoes in the bottom of a large pot. since they will take the longest time to cook, start seasoning as they begin to soften.
  • add the curry paste, garlic, chili, salt and pepper. allow to cook for a few minutes and reseason to taste.
  • after the sweet potates are almost cooked, add the onions and apples. cook for a few minutes, taste again. adjust seasoning if necessary.
  • add broccoli, kale and chicken stock. you will need enough chicken stock to rise part way up all of the veggies. stir and allow to simmer for at least 10 minutes.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

csa week 12

1. the bounty
  • 1/3 lb mesclun
  • 1 head celery
  • 2 bok choy
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 bunch white radish
  • 1 bunch toscano kale
  • 4 lbs potatoes
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 9 apples (5 lbs)
2. cost analysis (comparison costs courtesy of freshdirect):

veggies:
  • 1/3 lb mesclun: $4 (organic)
  • 1 head celery: $3 (organic)
  • 2 bok choy: $5 (csa estimate)
  • 1 bunch parsley: $2 (organic)
  • 1 bunch white radish: $1.50 (cas estimate)
  • 1 bunch toscano kale: $3 (organic)
  • 4 lbs potatoes: $8 (organic)
  • 1 head broccoli: $3 (csa estimate)
= $29.50
actual csa cost per week = $22

fruit:
  • apples: $10 (organic)
=$10
actual csa cost per week = $11.67


last pick up!

in a panic of not knowing what i would do with my life (or all of that free time) without csa, i have it marked on my calendar to sign up for WINTER SHARES! because if i don't think i have enough potatoes already, i want to welcome over a few more. currently, 8 pounds of those spuds are residing in my kitchen.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

weeknight dinner: quinoa sweet potato salad a la bittman (csa week 11)


the only reason i doubted my tried and true idol was that this recipe seemed to have the potential to be quite bland. sadly, this is what i tend to think of late fall vegetables in general. this is certainly not one of the most flavorful dishes but instead let's the ingredients shine through. the quinoa's nutty texture and the creaminess of the sweet potatoes blend quite nicely and the flavor was surprisingly rich. good olive oil will go far here. i added a bit of lemon juice at the end for some zing.

bittman's sweet potato and quinoa salad
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa or other small-kernel grain or 1 cup raw
  • 1 large or 2 medium (about 1 pound) sweet potatoes
  • salt
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion or shallot
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic, sherry, or red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh chives or parsley leaves
  • if you haven’t already, cook the quinoa or other grain. drain in a strainer and rinse.
  • meanwhile, peel the sweet potato and dice it into 1/2-inch or smaller pieces. cook it in boiling salted water to cover until tender, about 15 minutes; drain well.
  • toss together the potato, quinoa, bell pepper, and onion; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • whisk the oil and vinegar together and toss the salad with about half of this mixture; add all or some of the rest to taste.
  • taste and adjust the seasoning, garnish with the chives and serve.

Friday, November 13, 2009

weeknight dinner: sausage, lentil and rapini stew (csa week 11)

those who know me and my food tastes know that i'm not so much of a stew person. so when a csa recipe popped up on my google reader that looked delicious and just happened to be a stew, i decided that i had to go for it. it also seemed like the perfect use for my giant bunch of broccoli rabe from csa.

my first instinct was that the recipe didn't have quite enough garlic, shallots and/or other flavor kickers. i almost wish i had supplemented but after a couple of days the stew developed more of its own flavor (as stews often do, i'm told). so here's to my first ever stew! next time, i still would sautee the greens with garlic before adding them...and might use chicken stock instead of the veggie stock.

greenpoint-williamsburg csa's sausage, lentil and rapini stew
  • 1 lb. sausage, sliced into quarter inch rounds (i used turkey sausage)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 2-4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe (rapini), chopped, stems and leaves separate
  • salt and pepper
  • cook sausage in a large pot until browned, then remove sausage with a slotted spoon, leaving fat in pot, and set sausage aside.
  • cook onion in the sausage fat until translucent. add sliced carrots and broccoli rabe stems, and cook briefly, about 2 minutes.
  • add lentils and 2 cups vegetable broth, cover and lower heat.
  • simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until lentils and carrots are tender (add more vegetable broth if needed), then add sausage and the broccoli rabe leaves.
  • cover and simmer about 5 minutes, or until leaves are wilted.
  • season with salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, November 2, 2009

csa week 11

1. the bounty
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe
  • 1/3 lb mesclun
  • 1 bunch collards
  • 2 heads broccoli
  • 1/2 lb bok choi
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 4 lbs potatoes
  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes
  • 10 apples (2 kinds; 5 of each)
2. cost analysis (comparison costs courtesy of freshdirect except where otherwise indicated):

veggies:
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe: $3 (organic not available)
  • 1/3 lb mesclun: $4 (organic)
  • 1 bunch collards: $3 (organic)
  • 2 heads broccoli: $8 (organic)
  • 1/2 lb bok choi: $1 (organic)
  • 1 bulb garlic: $.80 (organic)
  • 4 lbs potato: $8 (organic)
  • 2 lbs sweet potato: $4 (organic)
= $31.80
actual csa cost per week = $22

fruit:
  • 10 apples: $10 (organic)
=$10
actual csa cost per week = $11.67


okay, seriously, i'm going to need some potato help, everyone. too much starch. and collards...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

macarons in geneva

i'm not sure why but i had never had a macaron before. i think it must have been a wheat phobia and although i had read about them, was never in a situation where i could get a straight ingredients answer. after further research, i deemed them edible but wasn't lusting to get my hands on any. big mistake. if only i knew. so, on the most recent work voyage, when i found myself in geneva once again, on an expense account, i picked up a couple for dessert. let me just say this, had i not been with a work colleague, i would have launched into a full out food-o-face. who am i kidding? i'm pretty sure it was apparent. i had one vanilla and one pistachio. vanilla won. the macarons were light, sweet and crisp and contrasted perfectly with the smooth frostingly center. forget your standard sandwich cookies, america, the rest of the world has got you BEAT! seriously, go forth and conquer, which is exactly what i plan to do. and please, report back.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

csa week 10

just in time for this week 11 pickup...
thanks to b. crocker for the beauteous cornucopia pic and for actually picking all this stuff up while i was out of town (more about that in a future post). the photo probably gives an accurate idea of how much produce there is to lug home.

1. the bounty
  • 5 small hot peppers
  • 1 bunch collard greens
  • 1/4 lb wild arugula
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe
  • 1/4 lb green beans
  • 1/4 lb mesclun
  • 1/3 lb sweet potatoes
  • 1/3 lb potatoes
  • 1 bunch red radishes
  • 1/4 lb braising greens
  • 2 pears
  • 8 apples
2. cost analysis (comparison costs courtesy of freshdirect except where otherwise indicated):

veggies:

  • 5 small hot peppers: $1 (guesstimate)
  • 1 bunch collard greens: $3 (organic)
  • 1/4 lb wild arugula: $3
  • 1 head romaine lettuce: $3 (organic)
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe: $3 (organic not available)
  • 1 qt green beans: $2.50 (organic not available)
  • 1/4 lb mesclun: $3 (organic not available)
  • 1/2 lb sweet potatoes: $4 (organic)
  • 1/2 lb potatoes: $2 (organic)
  • 1 bunch red radishes: $1 (organic not available)
  • 1/4 lb braising greens: $3 (guesstimate)
= $28.50
actual csa cost per week = $22

fruit:
  • 2 pears: $2 (organic)
  • 8 apples: $9 (organic)
=$11
actual csa cost per week = $11.67


b. crocker, care to share any dish highlights with us? sorry, everyone, i didn't get my hands on the produce this time around. (since i'm sure all 4 loyal readers are dying to know what i cooked...)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

spaghetti squash (csa week 9)

if you've never experienced the true magic of a spaghetti squash, i suggest you do so. seriously, go get one, roast that sh*t up and prepare yourself. truth be told, this was the first time i had ever made spaghetti squash. i know everyone raves about it but it was just one of those things i hadn't quite gotten around to making. enter csa week 9.

when i took my roasted squash out of the oven, my reaction was something like, "oh hell no, they told me this was a spaghetti squash and it just looks like a normal boring squash. so much for lunch." but then i stuck my fork in the thing and as per my internet instructions read, pulled the fork down through the thing. voila! magic, i swear. it's the simple things in life, clearly, as i spaghettified my squash with a giant grin plastered to my face.

roasted spaghetti squash
the amazing knowledge of the internet says to try and split these things before you put them in the oven. scrape out the seeds, put them on a pan face down and roast at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes, until they are tender. (i undercooked mine and then just finished them off in the microwave. you can also microwave from start to finish)
i topped mine with some marinara sauce and parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

csa week 9


1. the bounty
  • 2 stalks edamame
  • 1 bunch arugula
  • 1 head romaine
  • 1/2 lb bok choy
  • 1 head cabbage
  • 1 winter squash
  • 1 bunch swiss chard
  • 4 giant peaches
  • 7 pears
2. cost analysis (comparison costs courtesy of freshdirect except where otherwise indicated):

veggies:

  • 2 stalks edamame: $1 (random guess)
  • 1 bunch arugula: $3 (organic not available)
  • 1 head romaine: $3 (organic)
  • 1/2 lb bok choy: $2 (organic)
  • 1 head cabbage: $3.50 (organic)
  • 1 winter squash: $6 (organic)
  • 1 bunch swiss chard: $3 (organic)
= $21.50
actual csa cost per week = $22

fruit:
  • 4 giant peaches: $6 (guesstimate)
  • 7 pears: $9 (organic)
=$15
actual csa cost per week = $11.67


PEACHES IN OCTOBER!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

microwave potato chips! (csa week 8)

i thought that this post from the kitcn looked too good to be true: homemade potato chips, fresh from the microwave in minutes. and since i'm not so much of a potato person, it seemed like the perfect time to try these out when i got some cute little purple potatoes from the csa.

i recommend slicing the potatoes thin. this results in the crispest texture. a little thicker is good too, they just turn out chewier. Just depends on your preference. I'd recommend going for the purple potatoes. They're just so much more festive than the boring regular ones.


microwave potato chips


slice potatoes thin and arrange in a single layer on top of a paper towel lined plate. microwave for three minutes at a time and reduce the power each time. keep microwaving until crisp. sprinkle on a little olive oil, salt and pepper.

Monday, September 28, 2009

oatmeal with apple and pears (csa week 8)

if you've read the blog before, you've undoubtedly read more than one oatmeal rambling. i've become quite a fan of it for breakfast since i discovered trader joe's quick cook steel cut oats. what is it about steel cut oats exactly? their texture is just so much more satisfying than rolled oats. i'm thinking it's a mush factor. these ones just don't get as mushy. cook them in soymilk (rather than water) and you're really talking. so on my most recent csa pickup, i got all of these apples and pears. and sadly, didn't have the time on my hands to make a crisp or any other sort of baked good. the perfect solution seemed to be a quick stew for some morning oatmeal!

i threw a bit of salted butter in the bottom of a pot, then threw in chopped apples and pears, added some brown sugar and cinnamon, stirred, brought to a simmer and allowed it to cook until the fruit softened into a syrupy bath.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

csa week 8

you know the drill.

1. the bounty
  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 cabbage
  • 1 bunch white icicle radishes
  • 1 bunch mizuna
  • 2 pounds purple potatoes
  • 3 stalks edamame soybeans
  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 10 pears
  • 10 apples
2. cost analysis (comparison costs courtesy of freshdirect except where otherwise indicated):

veggies:

  • 2 red peppers: $5 (organic)
  • 1 eggplant: $3 (organic)
  • 1 cabbage: $5 (organic)
  • 1 bunch white icicle radishes: $1 (organic not available)
  • 1 bunch mizuna: $3 (organic not available)
  • 2 pounds purple potatoes: $4 (based on organic yukons)
  • 3 stalks edamame soybeans: $2 (a completely random guess)
  • 1 medium spaghetti squash: $6 (organic)
= $25
actual csa cost per week = $22

fruit:
  • 10 apples: $11 (organic)
  • 10 pears: $10 (organic)
=$21
actual csa cost per week = $11.67


10 apples and 10 pears!!!! A pie just might be in my future...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

csa notes (week 7)

just a couple of notes about the week because these were too good to pass up. remember when i said I would try not to just sautee my veggies with garlic and eat them? well, i lied.

farm fresh organic garlic, green beans and wax beans? i cooked thin slices of garlic in some olive oil, in a pan over low heat until the garlic started to get cooked and sweet (not browned). then i added the previously partially steamed beans (so that they only needed to sautee for a few minutes) into the pan and added some salt and pepper to taste. mmmmmm....seriously, this garlic is better than crack. not that i would know.

and look at my cute baby watermelon!

that's all. signing off with love and fresh produce.

Monday, September 21, 2009

rataouille (csa week 7)

what happens when you come home to 2 weeks worth of csa vegetables? if you're me, you make a mishmash veggie stew and dub it ratatouille. after perusing multiple recipes--ok wait, what actually happened was this: i furiously chopped veggies while crying out in panic to becky crocker who was on the couch. she looked up recipes online as i chopped, then i threw things randomly in a pot just prior to freaking out, "wait! what goes in first?!" and becky crocker of course, agreeably accommodated my chaos happening only inches away from her.

so what ended up happening was something like this: i sauteed the eggplant, then set it aside. sauteed the peppers and set them aside. sauteed the garlic and onions for a little bit, then added the tomatoes, covered and let them stew a little bit. and of course, vehemently salted as i went. then i threw everything in the pot together, turned down the heat and let it simmer. while simmering, i cursed myself for not having any basil. we went to the roof to check my mini earthbox garden of cherry tomatoes, zucchini and basil (yes, yes, wait for it), and becky crocker yelled at me for my obvious mistake of not realizing that I HAD BASIL ON THE ROOF. soooo, we picked some basil, ran back downstairs, threw the basil in, and let it all cook a little bit more (until i was so hungry i couldn't take it anymore.)


go go zo's "ratatouille"

  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 red peppers, diced
  • 1 eggplant, cubed (no, i do not salt my eggplant. i just don't. and i don't peel it either...)
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • handful of basil, chopped
  • a few cloves of garlic, minced
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • in a large saucepan or dutch oven, sautee eggplant in some olive oil and remove from pan (not too much oil; it will absorb whatever you throw in there)
  • in the same pan, sautee peppers in some olive oil and remove.
  • add more olive oil, the onions and garlic. sautee over low heat until the onions slightly soften. add tomatoes. cover and let simmer until the tomatoes start to break down and release their juices.
  • add the other vegetables and basil back to the pan, add salt and pepper to taste, cover, turn down the heat, and let simmer for as long as you can wait (no longer than 40 minutes).
  • serve over pasta, toast, rice, eggs, or eat plain. some parmesan is nice here.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

a note on summer (watermelon margaritas)

i love frozen treats but they are of course just a tad more enjoyable during summertime. now that we're post labor day and the weather here has taken a definite turn towards fall, i wanted to extend the feeling of the season a little longer.

visiting my family the other week, i failed to cook an actual meal but what did result might have been even better. the original plan was to make regular margaritas but as we started to notice an abundance of watermelon around the kitchen, an idea began to form:

watermelon margaritas
  • blend pieces of watermelon and watermelon juice (i like the mixture a little pulpier rather then blended completely smooth).
  • add simple syrup (see below) and fresh lime juice to taste.
  • add ice and tequila. stir.
simple syrup
  • combine 2 parts sugar to 1 part water in small saucepan.
  • bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture slightly thickens.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

csa week 7

1. the bounty
  • 1 pint sungold cherry tomatoes
  • 3 lbs tomaotes
  • 3 frying peppers
  • 3 small eggplant
  • 1 quart green and wax beans
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 cantaloupe
  • 1 small watermelon
2. cost analysis (comparison costs courtesy of freshdirect except where otherwise indicated):

veggies:

  • 1 pint sungold cherry tomatoes: $5 (organic; csa's price estimate)
  • 3 lbs tomaotes: $9 (organic)
  • 3 frying peppers: $1.50 (organic; csa's price estimate)
  • 3 small eggplant: $2.50 (organic)
  • 1 quart green and wax beans: $3.50 (organic; csa's price estimate)
  • 1 head garlic: $1 (organic)
  • 1 cucumber: $2 (organic)
= $24.50
actual csa cost per week = $22

fruit:
  • 1 cantaloupe: $4 (organic)
  • 1 small watermelon: $4 (organic; estimate based on fresh direct availability)
=$8
actual csa cost per week = $11.67


more tomatoes!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

csa week 6 - TOMATOES are here!


there are a couple of things you may not know. 1) i LOVE golden cherry tomatoes. you probably don't believe me anymore when i say something's my favorite. but this really is one of them. 2) although you probably do know this by now, the northeast is experiencing somewhat of a non-summer summer. in addition to horrible weather (more beach time, PLEASE!), there's been a massive tomato fungus sweeping the nation. or this part of it anyways. but my farm is safe!

the world is my tomato oyster! get ready for gazpacho, pasta sauce, summer salads, and more!

1. the bounty
  • 1 pint sungold cherry tomatoes
  • 6 tomatoes
  • 6 ears corn
  • baby purple cabbage
  • 1/3 pound mesclun lettuce
  • 1/2 pound baby bok choy
  • 1/3 pound arugula
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 1 head summercrisp lettuce
  • 1 small melon
  • 1 large melon
  • 6 nectarines
2. cost analysis (comparison costs courtesy of freshdirect except where otherwise indicated):

veggies:

  • 1 pint sungold cherry tomatoes: $5 (organic; csa's price estimate)
  • 6 tomatoes: $5.50 (organic)
  • 6 ears corn: $9 (organic)
  • baby purple cabbage: $2 (assuming $1.50/lb organic)
  • 1/3 pound mesclun lettuce: $4 (organic)
  • 1/2 pound baby bok choy: $3 (organic; csa's price estimate)
  • 1/3 pound arugula: $4 (organic)
  • 1 bunch basil: $2 (organic)
  • 1 head summercrisp lettuce: $3 (organic)
  • 1 small melon: $1 (random guess...this thing is small)
= $38.50
actual csa cost per week = $22

fruit:
  • 1 cantaloupe: $4 (organic)
  • 6 nectarines: $9 (organic)
=$13
actual csa cost per week = $11.67