Tuesday, October 18, 2011

pad thai kugel

yes, that's right, pad. thai. kugel. the best of both worlds, if you will. if you don't know what a kugel is, you should (so read up). then realize that this combination really isn't that weird. half of you will probably think, ew that's weird and the other half will say something such as, OHMYGODWHERECANIGETIT?! that's the thing. apparently you can't. you have to make it. or make it up, which is what i did.

in keeping with the asian theme, i decided to keep dairy out of it (because, ew) and here's what happened. a pretty straight forward pad thai recipe mixed with eggs, silken tofu and baked. voila. that easy.

be sure to get a pad thai refresher before starting.

pad thai kugel
serves 8

  • 3 eggs + 1 white (or 4 eggs)
  • 1.5-2 packs silken tofu
  • 12 oz rice noodles, 1/4-inch wide
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 4 tablespoons tamarind puree
  • 1/2 cup thai palm sugar light brown or brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 4 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dried shrimp (optional)
  • 1/4 cup finely julienned carrots
  • 2 tablespoons shredded salted radish, rinsed briefly
  • 2 cups scallion greens, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1 cup chopped, toasted peanuts
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • make filling: in a large bowl, whisk together silken tofu and eggs until smooth. set aside.
  • make the pad thai:
  • set up ingredients: soak the noodles in warm water for 15 minutes then rinse with cold water and drain well. they should be softened but not too soft. whisk together the red pepper, fish sauce, tamarind and palm sugar (seasoning). get everything else prepped and lined up in the order they are needed, since the stir-fry process happens so quickly.
  • stiry-fry the noodles: heat wok (or large pan) over high hear, add oil and heat until it shimmers. add shallots and cook until they begin to brown. add garlic and cook until golden brown. add more oil, if necessary. stir in dried shrimp, carrots, radish and soaked noodles. coat these ingredients with oil and stir-fry 30 seconds.
  • add the seasonings: stir-fry noodles briefly, adding water as needed. fold in the seasoning sauce, scallions, and bean sprouts. cook for 10 seconds to soften bean sprouts. taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  • remove from heat and fold the pad thai into the bowl with filling mixture.
  • pour into a greased 9x13 dish and bake at 400 degrees until top slightly browns and filling is set, about 30 minutes.
  • garnish with the peanuts and lime.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

sriracha brussel sprouts

my brussel sprout world has been officially rocked.

since sriracha brussel sprouts have entered my life at places such as
joseph leonard (roasted brussel sprouts with sriracha and the vanderbilt (brussel sprouts with honey and sriracha), i think of them in a completely different way.

after last week's pasta, i wanted to put my leftover brussel sprouts to good use so decided to attempt to combat a similar dish. i have to say that i am amazed the results were as wonderful as they turned out. add a turkey bacon, swiss, leek omelet and you've got a downright delicious dinner (or lunch, or breakfast, or hearty snack...)

honey sriracha brussel sprouts
  • 1/2 lb brussel sprouts, washed, trimmed and halved
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • juice from 2 limes
  • salt
  • preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • mix oil, honey, sriracha and lime. start with equal parts of each and adjust to taste. salt to taste.
  • toss brussel sprouts with sauce. cook about 20 minutes, or until tender but still crisp. the outer shell of the sprouts should crisp up and brown.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

winter market pasta

aka the winter version of one of my favorites

another one of my favorite ingredients: turkey sausage. more specifically, dipaolo's hot turkey sausage (available at nyc farmers markets). throw it together with pasta and practically any veggie(s) and you get one of my ultimate comfort foods.

this particular day, i also decided to combat one of my new food appreciations: brussel sprouts. which also meant the first time i have ever actually cooked them. i know (gasp! horror! i know!) i might have to blame this one on my mom (hi, mom!) since she hates the little buggers. right? but given the right cooking method, brussels sprouts crisp up beautifully and will take on the magic of many flavors.

i wanted to throw them in with some other winter veggies, which ended up being fennel and leeks. it seems as though we've finally made it to spring weather wise but the veggies are still in winter mode.

winter market pasta

  • 1/2 lb brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 3 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1/2 bulb fennel, quartered then thinly sliced
  • 1 large leek, trimmed, halved and sliced
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • red chili flakes
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • parmesean cheese, grated
  • parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 lb turkey sausage
  • 1/2 lb pasta (i went with fusilli)
  • splash of white wine and/or chicken broth
  • toss brussel sprouts with some olive oil, salt, pepper and a little chopped garlic. roast at 400 for 25 minutes, or until crispy and just cooked through.
  • while the sprouts are roasting, heat olive oil, garlic and shallots in a large skillet. add fennel, leeks and cook until everything until it begins to soften. add sausage and break up in the pan. cook until turkey is cooked through and veggies are softened. add a generous splash of white wine and/or chicken stock and stir.
  • while veggies and turkey are cooking, heat a pot of water and cook pasta.
  • when everything is cooked, throw together in the pan. add parsley, red chili flakes, cheese, lemon juice and stir.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

sticky orange cake with marmalade glaze (for breakfast)

sometimes you see something and you just NEED it. this was one of these things. becky crocker sent this recipe my way and no more than 3 days later and my entire apartment was eating it for breakfast. yup, cake and ice cream for breakfast! (as a spring cleaning reward).

although the cake itself is vegan, thekitchn (recipe source) recommended pairing it with pistachio ice cream, which is exactly what we did. yummmm. and i promise, this is one of those recipes that just happens to be vegan, as in, you aren't substituting anything unusual and it doesn't taste like anything has been "altered." the apple cider vinegar ensures a wonderfully fluffy texture.

sticky orange cake with marmalade glaze from thekitchn
makes 2 9-inch round layers
  • 3 cups flour (i used a mix of spelt and gluten free)
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 tpns baking soda
  • 1 tspn salt
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tblspns apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tspn vanilla
  • 1/4 cup orange marmalade
  • 1 tablespoons rum, vodka, or water
  • preheat oven to 350°F.
  • lightly grease 2 9-in rocun cake pans. line the bottoms with parchment and lightly grease the paper.
  • make the cake batter: whisk together the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, and orange zest. whisk until thoroughly combined.
  • in a separate bowl (i, of course, ignored the separate part), whisk together the orange juice, vegetable oil, vinegar and vanilla. quickly mix the wet ingredients into the dry ones and whisk thoroughly.
  • pour batter into cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  • let the cakes cool for about 20 minutes in the pan then cool outside of pans. glaze while cakes are still warm but not hot.
  • to make the glaze, mix the marmalade and rum or vodka in a small saucepan. warm over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until the glaze is bubbling and hot. turn off heat and immediately glaze cake.
  • place one cake layer on a plate. pierce the top with a toothpick a few times. pour about half the liquid over the first cake layer. place the second layer on top and repeat.
  • serve with pistachio ice cream!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

the gogozo detox: the downfall

we all knew it was going to happen, right? i broke the cleanse tonight. and it was glorious. since i wasn't feeling particularly awesome by the end of day 4, decided to treat myself. to vegan fast food. that's even more hilarious, right? fake bbq chicken wings and vegan chipotle cheese fries. aaaaand a vegan pistachio milkshake. go hard or go home.

*note: i still HAVE NOT consumed any chocolate nor coffee in 4 full days. let's see what tomorrow brings.

i expected to feel pretty good after 3 days, or at least more energetic. and i also expected to feel much more used to eating less after a few days; stomach shrinkage and all of that. not to mention not feeling so badly like i was suffering from sugar withdrawal. and since this wasn't the case...what's the point? there are definitely things that i think i can take away and continue to adapt. mainly, i think i'm a fan of the hot lemon water in the morning. it definitely gives me a jolt, in someways almost more than i think coffee does.

you want to hear more about the vegan food? i'm a fan of the dairy substitutes mostly because eating dairy generally makes me feel like crap. and for me, most of the time, the vegan stuff is just as satisfying. and really what are wings, if not a vehicle for sauce? deliciously crisp skinny fries and yummy pistachio "ice cream" available at foodswings.

maybe you should all try a cleanse, if only just to break it after a few days. talk about an exciting moment.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

the gogzo detox: shopping list!

is it healthy to be looking at mexican food menus on day 3?

on another note, snack tip = iceberg lettuce with lemon. perfect to crunch on which is why i eat half the time.

so today is the end of day 3. tomorrow should be looking up, right? if i'm not feeling the amazing benefits of this thing by friday, i'm going to have to quit. make that friday at lunch...because really, deprivation better have a reward or it's totally not worth it. for now, my thoughts remain with nachos.

here's the week's grocery list:
  • free range organic eggs - or even those egg whites in a container
  • lemons (fresh)
  • oatmeal
  • berries
  • walnuts
  • sweet potatoes
  • frozen edamame
  • quinoa
  • kale
  • garlic
  • olive oil
  • parsley
  • cherry tomatoes
  • persian or english cucumbers
  • organic free range chicken
  • apples
  • almond butter
  • white miso paste (no msg)
  • soft or silken tofu
  • snow peas
  • sliced dried shitake mushrooms
  • bok choy
  • scallions
  • fish
  • brown rice
  • non fat yogurt
  • artichokes, broccoli rabe or asparagus (choose)
  • citrus fruits
  • green tea
  • herbal tea

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

the gogozo detox: the recipes

so, i think there are 2 ways to look at this whole cleansing thing. the major thing i wanted to focus on was to make it actually realistic. this meant a whole lotta food prep over the weekend. i'm not quite sure i can say it was worth it but we'll wait and see...in addition to the recipes i'm using for the week, i'll try to point out how i've simplified along the way...

breakfast: oatmeal with berries and walnuts
i prefer steel cut oats but in the time trap of the weekday, the easiest thing to do seems to be instant oatmeal. HOWEVER, i'm not talking about the sugar filled, random crap packed kind. i'm talking about normal oatmeal, with nothing else in it (except a bit of salt in this case). but what can i say? it's the plainest version i've been able to find.
add a 1/4 cup of frozen or fresh berries and 1 tblspn walnuts. i've been adding a tiny splash of vanilla almond milk, just for an extra flavor boost.

lunch: quinoa salad with grilled chicken
4 servings
if this looks familiar, it's because it's slightly modified from a quinoa salad i've made many times
  • 1 lb chicken
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 1/2 cups cucumbers, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons parsely, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • juice from 1/2-1 lemon
  • tiny drizzle of sesame oil
  • cook quinoa (a rice cooker is perfect for this!)
  • while quinoa is cooking, sautee 1 bunch kale with garlic and small amount of olive oil
  • allow quinoa to cool slightly, then mix in veggies, lemon juice, sesame oil, salt and pepper
  • grill chicken with salt and pepper
dinner: miso soup with 1/2 cup brown rice and 4oz fish
dashi (adapted from epicurious)
4 servings
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 12-inch piece kombu (dried seaweed)
  • 3/4 cup loosely packed bonito flakes
  • place water and kombu in a pot and cover. allow to sit for 20 min.
  • slowly heat up water. just before it comes to a boil, remove kombu.
  • add bonito flakes and lightly simmer until they sink, about 4 minutes. do not stir.
  • remove bonito flakes.
to make miso soup:
  • 1 small bunch bok choy, sliced and steamed
  • 1 cup snow peas, sliced and steamed
  • handful dried sliced shitake mushrooms
  • silken or soft tofu, sliced into cubes
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • place dashi, mushrooms, bok choy, snow peas, tofu, scallions in a pot and bring to a simmer until heated through
  • turn off heat and stir in about 8 tablespoons of miso paste (start with less and add to taste)
stay tuned for grocery list and cooking prep plan...

Monday, March 14, 2011

the gogozo detox: the meal plan

i've just about made it through day 1 (without chocolate), so i thought it would be a good time to present the food plan

mon-fri (assuming i don't get too bored...i may have to switch it up a bit):

before breakfast: water with lemon

breakfast: 1 cup oatmeal with ¼ cup berries and 1 tbspn walnuts
or 4 egg whites, 1/2 sweet potato
green tea

snack: ½ cup edamame

lunch: quinoa salad with 4oz grilled chicken

snack: apple w/ 1 tblspn almond butter

dinner: miso soup, 4 oz grilled fish, 1/2 cup cooked brown rice

snack: 4 oz yogurt, 1 fruit (3/4 cup Berries or 1 citrus), herbal tea

since i wrote about the general idea, here's some background on the specifics:
  • lemon water in the morning is one of those classic diet cleanse things. lemon is supposed to give your system a jump in the morning as well as be an antiseptic, so why not? thought i'd throw it in and see how it feels. green tea throughout the rest of the day provides some caffeine (that i don't feel the need to live without) and also provides some appetit supressing.
  • breakfast: needs to be hearty enough so that i'm not starving first thing in the morning through the rest of the day. personally, when i eat oatmeal, i feel full longer than when i eat dry cereals or other items, which is why i chose to put it in the plan. however, something else that's just as lean, such as egg whites, seasoning and sweet potato works too.
  • snacks: are lean as well but substantial and high in protein (soybeans, almond butter).
  • proteins: super lean and organic (chicken, fish, tofu)
  • veggies: super foods! think kale, artichokes, broccoli, asparagus, all those dark leafy greens. also, mostly cooked veggies just to be easier on the system. organic when possible.
  • miso soup (with miso and mushrooms): umami! for a satisfying taste and to feel more substantial.
  • a word on seasoning: i definitely used some olive oil (minimal), garlic, salt and pepper, other spices and herbs in the preparation of my food because there's no need to lose flavor here! however, i'm trying to stay low on the salt, spicy flavors and other things that are just a little tougher on the body than i'm trying to be right now.
more reading about specific detox foods here!

recipes to come...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

the gogozo detox

subtitle: get ready (the setup)

food prep, complete

the last time i tried to do something like this it was known as "the lifestyle makeover." aka, no more high fructose corn syrup, frozen mac and cheese for dinner, nor bowls of cocoa krispies as an after work snack.

i decided to try something a little more drastic this time: my version of a cleanse. what does that mean? no stupid juice diet or colon busting lemon juice and hot sauce mixes. that's not the point. i wanted something that gave me high quality and healthy food; something that would make me FEEL better, not drop 5 pounds in a week. plain and simple, just to give the binge eating a rest. the goal is to start with 5 days (monday-friday), then re-evaluate come the weekend...and decide whether to go 5 more days. the basic idea is to stick as natural, organic, whole-grain, super veggie & fruit, low dairy, and lean protein as possible. NO processed foods whatsoever and to stay portion controlled. and i'm also going to try and stay low on caffeine and alcohol (not cut it out completely).

i did some internet research and ended up with a combination of my own ideas, a random detox diet i found from women's health magazine and food lovers cleanse that bon appetit ran this year. my meal plan is the same each day (until i get bored). let's see how many days i can survive without chocolate...stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"lightened up" macaroni and cheese

aka cracked out macaroni and cheese (in a good way)

if you were able to read this month's issue of bon appetit without running into the kitchen to make mac and cheese, then you're a stronger person than me.

the only catch was that i just wanted to do it my way. and i wanted it to be a meal i could eat without feeling completely guilty about consuming a bowl of pasta and fat. yes, it's harsh i know but really, with what resulted there's no deprivation involved, i promise.
the big deal here is substituting nonfat yogurt for any milk, cream, and/or butter i would have otherwise used. and i guess you could go with low fat cheese however, i went with the "high-quality will go further" idea. since the cheese has a lot of flavor, you can use less of it and still be just as satisfied. the cheese and yogurt melt together to form the perfect cheesy sauce, no roux, eggs, cream or butter required.

cracked out, i mean lightened up mac and cheese
  • 8 oz pasta elbows (i used brown rice ones)
  • 2 links spicy chicken sausage, casing removed
  • 1/2 large bunch of broccoli rabe, sliced into 1-inch sections
  • olive oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
  • 1 teaspoon chili sauce
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 6 oz plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup gruyere, grated
  • 1/4 cup sharp white cheddar, grated
  • 1-2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
  • preheat oven to 375.
  • cook the pasta until just undercooked.
  • while pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan.c ook sausage over medium-low heat, breaking up the pieces as it cooks.
  • when the sausage is cooked, set aside in a casserole dish.
  • add remaining olive oil to same pan. add shallots, garlic and broccoli rabe and cook over medium heat until the broccoli rabe is wilted. add to casserole dish.
  • mix cooked pasta, sausage, broccoli rabe, mustard, chili sauce, salt, pepper, gruyere, cheddar, and yogurt together in dish. top with Parmesan cheese.
  • bake for 15-20 minutes until heated through.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

baked eggplant casserole thingy (YUM)

subtitle: eggplant moussaka, minus the moussaka

subtitle II: eggplant parmesan--no it isn't really that either...

you will second guess the ingredients. and if you haven't by the time the cashier slowly glances up at you as she rings up the 2nd pound of mushrooms and the 3rd eggplant...you better double check your ingredient inventory. because chances are, you forgot something. then you'll feel knocked over the head yet again as you swipe your credit card to pay for all these groceries you have to lug home
when you realize 1 of the 4 guests doesn't like mushrooms. but what are you going to do? 2lbs of them are already weighing you down and you're wishing you didn't do that last set of curls at the gym.

seeing as i have my own food issues, i tend to freak out a little bit when "vegetarian" gets thrown into the mix. now, granted, i pretty regularly happen to eat vegetarian but when it involves cooking for a crowd, i feel the pressure. no longer! a thoughtful gift of the new moosewood cookbook is the perfect remedy for this kind of situation. the original recipe that caught my eye as i was flipping through was eggplant moussaka. the only problem was that i really don't like dairy-y sauces (a bechamel in this case). i blame it on the lactose intolerance. go ahead and try to fight that. so i skipped it.

what resulted was a delicious crowd-pleasing dish--even the non mushroom person! and, she doesn't like eggplant either! "you know, i don't like mushrooms or eggplant but this is good." pre-baking the eggplant dries it out some so that you don't get any sort of that slimy eggplant texture. and the tomato sauce is actually quite dry (has so much stuff in it) that it doesn't re-slime the eggplant.

eggplant _________
  • 3 medium eggplans (abt 7" long), peeled or not
  • salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 - 2 lbs mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 5 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 14 1/2-oz can tomatoes, including all liquid
  • 1 6-oz can tomato paste
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (i did not use)
  • black pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 - 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 packed cup freshly minced parsley
  • 1/2 cup fine bread crumbs, plus extra for top (1/4 cup) (gluten-free)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesean
  • slice the eggplant into quarter-inch-thick rounds. sweat the eggplant: salt the slices lightly on both sides, then layer them gently in a colander, and place over a sink or bowl. let stand for 20-30 min
  • lightly oil a baking sheet, and preheat oven to 375. pat eggplant dry with a towel and spread slices on the baking sheet (it's okay if they overlap a little) and bake until tender (20-25 min)
mushroom tomato sauce:
  • heat olive oil in a large, deep skillet or dutch oven. add onions and salt and cook over medium heat, stirring, for 8-10 min, or until the onions become translucent. add mushrooms and garlic, stir and cover. cook over medium heat another 8-10 minutes (until mushrooms start to cook down).
  • add tomatoes, tomato paste, pepper, oregano and basil. crush tomatoes. bring to a boil then lower heat, and simmer, uncovered, another 12-15 minutes. remove from heat, stir in parsley bread crumbs and parmesan. set aside
  • preheat oven to 375 degrees. oil a very large casserole or deep baking pan at least 9"x13." place a double layer of eggplant on the bottom, add half mushroom sauce, add the rest of the eggplant and then add the rest of tomato sauce. dust lightly with bread crumbs and some parmsean.
  • baked uncovered for 35-40 minutes, or until bubbly on the bottom and lightly browned on top.

LACTOSE FREE yogurt!!!

subtitle: my prayers have been answered.
not that i'm a religious person. but that's a whole different story.

i have gone through countless conversations and internet investigations to figure out the truth that is lactose + yogurt. there's my dad's theory, "you'll be fine," that i've fought for years. "no dad, severely lactose intolerant..." then there was the friend who was working with fage. in case you haven't heard, there are many greek yogurt lactose rumors out there. "PLEASE! just ask them! how much lactose is in their yogurt?!"

fear no more! what's that? it DOES exist? i have no idea how long i've been missing out but last week, there
it was at whole foods!

better yet, it's AFFORDABLE. no, seriously. this week at whole foods it has been on sale for $1 each. that's the same (if not less expensive) than a silk yogurt.

and it's low fat! although tastes so creamy it left me questioning, "this is seriously low-fat?" so we're not talking super low fat. but it's certainly a delicious start.

let's compare it with something similar...

stonyfield farm low fat vanilla (6 oz)
130 calories

15 calories from fat

1.5 g fat

21 g sugar

green valley organics low fat vanilla (6 oz)
120 calories

25 calories from fat
3 g fat

9 g sugar

moral of the story: get excited!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

shakshouka and pita!

a recent trip to israel means many yummy food posts to come. a good place to start is the celebratory meal i cooked when i got back: shashouka and pita bread! i wanted to use the spices i brought back with me, paprika and za'atar right away.

so the deal is that there are a lot of ways to make shakshouka. i'm sure everyone has their preferred method. i went for something quite simple to keep things easy but also to let my newly acquired paprika shine. i looked up a bunch of different articles online and just used them as a guide to go at it myself. this is one of those dishes that is quite hard to mess up. really, no matter what you do, it's going to taste good.

the pita bread was surprisingly easy to make. especially considering i was making it while doing loads of laundry...i'm sure i messed up somewhere along the way. and yet, delish.

  • 1 28-oz can tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 large red pepper, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • salt
  • pepper
  • parsley, chopped
  • feta cheese
  • 6 eggs
  • olive oil
  • add a couple of tablespoons to a large pan
  • add garlic, onion, red pepper and cook until softened
  • add tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper, paprika
  • cook until sauce slightly thickens, about 15 minutes
  • make 6 indents in the sauce and crack eggs onto top of sauce
  • cover and cook until the whites set, about 5 minutes
  • top with parsley and crumbled feta
pita bread
adapted from mark bittman's how to cook everything and the mollie katzen's new moosewood cookbook
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups flour (i used spelt)
  • mix yeast into warm water and let sit for a few minutes. it should foam.
  • mix oil, salt, sugar, honey into water
  • add flour and mix, 1 cup at a time. by the end, you'll probably need to use your hands.
  • knead a bit and form dough into a ball. cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1-2 hours (or less, if you're rushed).
  • punch down dough. cut into 6 pieces and cover. allow to rest for 15 minutes. apparently this helps them puff...
  • flatten and roll each ball so that they're about 1/4-1/8" thin and somewhat circular. cover. allow to rest 15 minutes.
  • bake on a baking sheet 5-10 minutes, flipping once, until lightly browned on both sides.
  • good warm. or cold.

Friday, January 28, 2011

latino brunch and a photo shoot

when i heard that the studio was lit, the only thing that made sense to do was cook and document! friend/colleague mel was generous enough to host and shoot this shindig. and what a shindig it was. i was *pleasantly* surprised to be introduced to this social network that resides in jersey city. as i cooked, a number of friends drifted in and out and soon enough the 6 of us were sitting down to a feast. the feast was a combination of the impressively vast amount of food mel had on supply and a few supplemental materials we picked up at the local deli. on the menu: arepas, guacamole, pico de gallo, eggs, bloody marys and flourless chocolate cake.

let's talk about flours. you've got to have arepa flour, not cornmeal or other corn based flour substances. look at your local latino market or the latino section of large supermarkets. it's pretty common.

arepas with eggs, guacamole and pico

make the
  • once you have arepa flour, just follow the directions on the package. it will be a simple mix of the flour, pinch of salt and warm water. i suggest adding some grated cheese at this point...
  • flatten a small handful of dough in the palms of your hands, and fry on the stove top in a decent amount of heated oil until browned on both sides.
make the guacamole:
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 small tomato, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped (optional)
  • juice from 1 lime
  • salt and pepper
  • mash the avocados with a fork and add salt to taste
  • add tomatoes, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro and lime juice. mix well.
make the pico de gallo:
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • small handful cilantro, chopped
  • juice from 1-2 limes
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 jalapeno, finely chopped
  • combine all ingredients in a bowl, allow to sit for a few minutes. you might want to add a tiny drizzle of olive oil...

once you have the components (arepas, guacamole, pico) i suggest layering them with over easy eggs. and more cheese.

flourless chocolate cake
from epicurious

my general rule: the simpler the recipe, the better. nothing fancy required. it's a little bit of a labor of love but totally worth the effort and will blow everyone away.
  • 12 ozs bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 12 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • preheat oven to 350°F. butter 9-inch-diameter springform pan. line bottom of pan with parchment paper or waxed paper; butter paper. wrap outside of pan with foil.
  • stir chocolate and butter in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. remove from heat. cool to lukewarm, stirring often.
  • using electric mixer, beat egg yolks and 6 tablespoons sugar in large bowl until mixture is very thick and pale, about 3 minutes.
  • fold lukewarm chocolate mixture into yolk mixture, then fold in vanilla extract.
  • using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in another large bowl until soft peaks form. gradually add remaining 6 tablespoons sugar, beating until medium-firm peaks form.
  • fold whites into chocolate mixture in 3 additions. pour batter into prepared pan.
  • bake cake until top is puffed and cracked and tester inserted into center comes out with some moist crumbs attached, about 50 minutes. cool cake in pan on rack (cake will fall).
  • using small knife, cut around pan sides to loosen cake. remove pan sides. place 9-inch-diameter tart pan bottom or cardboard round atop cake. invert cake onto tart pan bottom. peel off parchment paper.
or, just make this cake in whatever buttered pan you have. it might not be as beautiful but will be absolutely delicious. and this cake definitely does not require a glaze. i recommend a nice sprinkle of powdered sugar.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

as a jew, i know how to fry

subtitle: happy hannukah! i mean, chinese new year

subtitle II: i told you i was behind on my posts

the moment my dad realized i had surpassed a good deal of his cooking knowledge took place one hannukah, a couple of years ago. to be fair, the man taught me a great deal of what i know re: food. that is until i took an uncanny liking to watching the food network. then there were the food memoirs. and spending all of my cash eating out...

we were discussing one of the Great Debates: latke making. in fact, i'm pretty sure we have the exact same conversation every year. but let's pretend that the first one took place about five years ago, when i took on the task for the first time. the conversation probably included the issue of hand grating potatoes and how to keep them from oxidizing once they're shredded (place in cold water, then squeeze out when you're ready to use). more recent conversations included frying oils. my dad was shocked when i explained that the reason you had to fry in canola oil was because the smoke point was higher than that of olive oil.

this year i wanted to do something a little different. so i made a combination of potato and sweet potato latkes. and i threw in some chopped parsley for good measure. okay, so these weren't leaps and bounds, but a slight variation made me confident we'd still have something good to eat and i'd simultaneously get the satisfaction of trying something a wee bit different.

the lesson here is that you can use a variety of different vegetables to fry up something delicious. latke, fritter, call it what you will. squash, root vegetable, pome,
it's all going to taste delicious. a few general guidelines:
  • grate your ingredients. you want everything to be the same size/shred.
  • use an oil with a high smoke point! (canola, peanut, safflower, or sunflower will work)
  • don't skimp on the oil. not only do you need to entirely cover the bottom of the pan but the oil should make its way up the sides a bit.
  • make sure to heat your oil before frying, or you'll end up with a greasy mess.
  • dry/drain food as much as possible before frying.
  • don't crowd the pan!
happy frying!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

solstice brunch

subtitle: continuing the backwards holiday march

this particular brunch was made specifically for solstice (part II) but there's no reason it wouldn't work for any other time--special occasion or not. an indulgent king crab leg meal the night before yielded many more leftovers than we thought possible. the perfect thing to pair with those leftovers? eggs! well, eggs and quite a number of other things. hence the necessary trip to whole foods. the shopping trip left us with ingredients for the following: crab quesadillas with guacamole and eggs and a citrus fruit salad.

i love citrus, so this salad gives it something a little bit extra but pretty much just hangs onto the integrity of the fruit. and it's incredibly festive. to make it even better, you really can't go wrong with crab, cheese, guacamole and eggs. it's a match made in heaven (the perfect thing to share).

citrus salad
  • a mix of citrus (we used grapefruits, navel oranges and blood oranges), segmented
  • honey
  • chopped mint
  • champagne vinegar (champagne)
  • whisk together honey, mint and vinegar. start with about a tablespoon of each and adjust to taste.
  • mix with citrus.
crab quesadilla with guacamaole and eggs
  • eggs
  • 2 corn tortillas per quesadilla
  • small handful of cheese per quesadilla (something mild), grated
  • crabmeat
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 small tomato, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped (optional)
  • juice from 1 lime
  • salt and pepper
  • make the guacamole: mash the avocados and add salt to taste. add tomatoes, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro and lime juice. mix well.
  • heat both sides of the tortillas in a pan. once warmed, put cheese and crab in between tortillas and heat until cheese melts and tortillas brown. keep warm while you make the eggs.
  • make eggs any way you like (i prefer over easy)
  • assemble: place quesadilla on a plate. top with guacamole then eggs.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

a new year's built for two

seeing as i'm so behind on these holiday posts, we'll just work our way back from most recent back to, well, thanksgiving. that puts us at new year's. welcome to go go zo. no rules.

so this comprises my meal with friend number 2 during our lovely new year's eve in. it's the best excuse to spend an outrageous amount on groceries and not have an ounce of guilt about it. not to mention the 6 bottles of bubbly we purchased in preparation...
for the record, we did not drink them all. and even if we did, i'm not condoning binge drinking. HOWEVER, like i said, perfect excuse.

the menu!:

i think friend 2 dubbed this: scallop surprise. she's usually better with words...
aka scallops with blood orange and fennel salad

adapted from a different scallop project, this version uses blood oranges. there's nothing not to like and it's incredibly easy to make.
  • olive oil
  • 2-4 sea scallops (depending how hungry you are)
  • 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 blood orange, zested, then segmented
  • juice of 2 blood oranges
  • 2 tablespoons champagne (in the spirit of the evening), you could also use white wine and/or chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon or 2 of chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • slice the fennel and toss with a little bit of parsley and orange juice
  • sear the scallops: first make sure they are dry by patting with a paper towel then season with salt and pepper. heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a pan over medium high heat and when the oil is hot (don't jump ahead here!) add the scallops to the pan. brown on each side; this only takes a few minutes. remove from the pan and set aside
  • add another tablespoon of oil to the pan, then the shallots. cook the shallots until soft
  • deglaze the pan: add champagne, citrus juice and zest to the pan, and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom to release the scallop bits. allow this mixture to come to a boil and then reduce for a few minutes
  • add the parsley to the pan, stir, and add the scallops for a minute to warm
  • serve scallops on a bed of fennel and blood orange slices
  • serves 2

sauteed shitake mushrooms

in the spirit of julia, DON'T CROWD THE MUSHROOMS! the key here is lots of butter, lots of salt and giving the shrooms room to do their thing.
  • shitake mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • butter
  • salt
  • champagne (or you could use sherry)
  • heat a couple of tablespoons of butter in a large pan.
  • add mushrooms (you might have to do in batches, with more butter for each batch). they should not overlap. important! once you place them into the pan, DO NOT TOUCH! let them hang out (brown) and then AND ONLY THEN, flip them and brown on other side.
  • remove from heat, add a splash of your alcohol of choice and let the alcohol cook off.
  • enjoy plain, or use as a garnish (soup, salad, you name it.)

lobster pasta

in the spirit of the night, we had to go lobster. you could also do this with crab, or even shrimp for a less expensive option. this pasta is delicious and cheesy.
  • 1/2 lb linguine
  • 1 lobster tail with shell (about 1/4 lb)
  • a few shitake mushroom stems
  • butter
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2-3 cloves chopped garlic garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • cheese! we went with a goat gouda. let's say about a cup.
  • parmesean cheese
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • sautee or boil lobster tail until almost cooked through.
  • remove meat from shell and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • place lobster shell, shitake stems and some salt in small pot of water and simmer to reduce.
  • in the meantime, cook pasta.
  • heat some olive oil and butter in a large pan. add garlic and cook until softened. add cheese and stir. when stock reduces add some of it to the pan. add lobster meat and finish cooking. add parsley and lemon juice. stir again to combine.
  • add pasta to sauce, add some parmesean cheese and stir.
  • serves 2