Tuesday, December 20, 2011

two fritattas: chard, tomato and potato, and bacon, cauliflower and parmesan

A frittata is basically a big fat omelet that you don't have to worry about struggling to flip, because it bakes in the oven. You can put in all sorts of things in a frittata, which makes them a great thing to do with leftovers, and you can scale a frittata I recently (more or less) made two different varieties to use up food co-op veggies. First, we have one with swiss chard, tomatoes and potatoes, which was kind of French seeming, like a crustless quiche, and very nice. Second is a cauliflower and bacon parmesan frittata-- a little more breakfasty, but just as filling and delicious.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

roasted squash caramelized onions 3 ways

So one of the things you get en mass from my food co-op is winter squash. Acorn, delicata, butternut... just lots and lots of squash. The easiest thing to do with it is to roast it up with a little butter and salt and pepper for like 45 minutes or until it gets nice and tender. That on its own is pretty good, but I like to jazz it up with some caramelized onions and crispy fried sage. From there, there's plenty of good things to do with it.

tomato pie three ways

So last year I shared with you one of my favorite family recipes for tomato basil tart, and also a corn and tomato pie from the smitten kitchen, which was likewise amazing. I didn't actually make either of those things this year, but I do have for you a trio of new tomato pies to choose from, in case that's your thing (Nathan for instance, is most definitely not a fan, which is strange and misguided, but to each his own I suppose).

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

cast iron skillet salsa fresca "tomato cobbler" cornbread with ground beef, sour cream and guacamole

When I found this recipe for tomato cobbler, I was intrigued. It definitely was way different than everything else I had been making with my summer tomatoes, and that alone was enough to recommend it to me. Basically, its a simple skillet corn bread with a tomato salsa baked right in. Pretty neat sounding, right?

Monday, December 5, 2011

red pepper salad with hard boiled eggs and anchovies

So my last two posts have both involved roasted red peppers, something that I really enjoy, both eating and preparing. Today, I have one more idea of what you can do with them: a big old salad with anchovies, hard-boiled eggs, garlic, parsley and a nice vinaigrette with olive oil.

red pepper hazelnut salmon

I stumble across recipes everywhere, and I never know what's going to catch my eye and get me to take a second look at one. In this instance, I think that it was probably that this roasted salmon with red pepper hazelnut pesto came from someplace called the Thyme Cafe & Market. I know that's a pretty cutesy name, but I also kind of love it. And then the recipe was an interesting sounding salmon dish with roasted red peppers, which I had in abundance from the food co-op, and toasted hazelnuts, which sounded delicious. I was sold.

As it turns out, this was actually really similar to a couple of things that I made last year: romesco sauce and pesto trapanese. If you'll recall, I actually wasn't too crazy about either of them, but I guess I just wasn't ready to give up on the idea. Somehow, every time I read a recipe with the nuts and red peppers/tomatoes combo, I just can't resist making it.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

roasted eggplant spread sandwich with roasted red peppers, arugula and romano cheese frico

It doesn't take much to make a great sandwich. Take peanut butter and jelly for instance. I learned how to make it when I was in preschool, and pretty much nothing could be easier, but who doesn't love a good peanut butter sandwich? Well, Nathan doesn't, but he can be a weirdo sometimes. But I'm not here to talk about peanut butter sandwiches, but a much fancier affair, with crisp romano cheese frico, marinated red peppers and garlic, fresh arugula and a roasted eggplant spread from Ina Garten. Now that's a sandwich.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

stone fruit salad with ginger, lime and mint

I don't think that I have anything else like this on the blog: peaches and nectarines with ginger lime syrup. How good does that sound?

I'm sorry that I didn't post this back when we all actually eat delicious summer peaches and nectarines. I have to work on updating this blog in a more timely fashion, but it's just so easy to fall behind. I'm sorry; I will try to be better.

sunset tomato salad (with mushroom risotto)

I didn't get a great picture of this tomato salad, which Nathan and I made a couple of months ago. I normally make tomato salads with balsamic vinaigrette, basil, garlic and parsley, but when we didn't have garlic in the house, Nathan picked this out of his Sunset cookbook, and it proved to be a great alternative.

Unsurprisingly, considering it comes from a California lifestyle magazine, this tomato salad has a distinct Mexican flair, with spicy polano pepper and zesty lime juice, but make no mistake, this is tomato salad, not salsa. It was fresh and delicious, if slightly spicier than I would have liked.

Also, it was an excellent accompaniment to our famous mushroom risotto.

green bean, fennel and pickled red onion salad/caramelized fennel and onions

I am kind of excited to tell you about these two dishes. They both fit right in with the type of cooking that I usually do, but were still somehow refreshingly different from my everyday meals. First is the Smitten Kitchen's green bean fennel and pickled red onion salad, which I made because I had a ton of food co-op green beans. Then, I jumped at the chance to use up the rest of the fennel, caramelized with onions, in this recipe from Simply Recipes.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

beet risotto

So what do you do when you don't like beets and your food co-op keeps providing them by the bushel? (I have to admit, I don't actually know how much a bushel is, but I suspect it is rather a large amount, so even though we get lots and lots of beets, I am probably exaggerating here.) Make something that I really really really like, and hope that it makes the boring beets more enjoyable. And so, beet risotto!

Friday, November 18, 2011

linguine with heirloom tomato, capers, anchovies, and chile/roasted broccoli and garlic with lemon juice and grated cheese

OK, I am officially getting repetitive, but you know what? I am just going to power through and go with it. This is how I cook: with an admittedly nearly bottomless appetite for pasta! And you know what? I don't get tired of it, so hopefully you all can get through one more tomato sauce and spaghetti recipe. Just hang in there, and I'll reward you with a nice broccoli dish. You can do it!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

blt spaghetti

OK so this post is basically "spaghetti with tomatoes and some other stuff part two." I hope that's alright. I know that everyone who cooks regularly has their usual fall back tricks in the kitchen, and I am anything but an exception. Yes, I will admit it: I am entirely too dependent on pasta and tomatoes and garlic and cheese and onions and cracked black pepper. I just can't help myself. Can you accept me as I am? Please? OK great, thanks.

pasta with sun gold tomatoes

Hi guys. Just another little pasta dish for you all. I am nothing if not an inveterate collector of pasta recipes, as you have probably come to realize. This one appealed to me largely due to the name: pasta with sun gold tomatoes. Sun gold! How delicious does that sound? A good adjective will get me every time. For example: farm fresh. Call me a total sucker, but I am probably about 15% more likely to order something if it is described as farm fresh. Embarrassing, but true.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

charred eggplant and tomatoes with mint and red pepper flakes

Just one simple dish for you today: charred eggplant and tomatoes with mint. Originally it was supposed to be "with harissa and mint," but I don't have harissa. Actually, I didn't even know what it was, but I looked it up, and it's a spicy hot chili sauce from North Africa, so I decided I could just use chili powder. As you probably know, I'm kind of a wimp about spicy food anyway, so I didn't lose too much sleep over it.

grilled mustard chicken with scallions/shredded kale salad with avocado and tomatoes

So it's a rare opportunity that I get to grill anything, being that I am afraid that I would set the roof of my building on fire were I ever to follow through on my dream of dragging a webber up there. Therefore, I was really excited when my brother suggested we commander mom and dad's grill one evening and throw a barbeque for our friends back in August, before he went back up to Cobleskill for school.

Of course, that failed to take into account that our parents live an hour from the city, and that none of my friends were going to come out after a long week of work for a Friday night dinner party. So instead Nathan and Matt and I cooked everything for Mom and Dad instead. I think they were pretty happy to get to eat all the good stuff we made, and it was a really nice family meal, on a beautiful cool summer night, out in the backyard, crickets chirping. Our friends definitely missed out!

creamed corn two ways/warm corn and tomato salad with sesame oil and soy sauce

It's still pretty warm here in New York. Yesterday it was like 65 degrees, and as I sat outside in a blazer at lunch and read my book, and I could almost imagine it being a cooler June day! But alas, it is November, and the holidays are rapidly approaching, and beautiful fresh summer corn is a distant memory....

But I am still going to talk about it. Three different recipes for it, no less.

Monday, November 14, 2011

salad nicoise

Salade Niçoise is pretty complicated, as far as salads go. I mean, most salads do not involve cooking multiple components in what is ultimately a cold dish, lightly dressed in vineagrette. Not that I'm complaining, because a Niçoise salad is really good, and while it is filling enough to be a meal on its own, it isn't totally gluttonous to the point that it negates all the healthy connotations that go along with eating a salad for dinner. It's got potatoes and hard boiled egg, and some salty anchovies and capers, but all in all it is light and fresh. Laura suggested we make it one day when we had green beans and lettuce and tomato and potato from the food co-op, and it turned out delicious.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

eggplant parmesan

The first time my parents (and I think my brother) met Nathan, he came out to Long Island and he and Matt and I went out to a medieval festival in Port Washington. We tried on chain mail head pieces and watched some cool jousting and a Maypole and then there was a fight for the crown and the queen was abducted and there was a siege of the castle with flaming arrows and oh my god what was I talking about?

Gosh that was awesome. We went back the next year and it was pretty much exactly the same, so much of the novelty had worn off, but that first year was pretty magical. And how about that first dinner with Nathan and my family?

Before the medieval fair, my dad and I woke up early and thinly sliced a bunch of eggplant, salted it and layered it between sheets of paper towels. Then we stacked some heavy books on top and let gravity do the work, pressing out the water. If you haven't guessed already, we made some delicious eggplant parmigiana.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

roasted tomato and onion pasta

You know I can't resist my spaghetti. If I don't know what to make for dinner, 75% of the time it'll wind up being up pasta. On this particular night I started out with a basket of plum tomatoes, and decided to roast them with some onions, olive oil and salt and pepper.

Of course, when they were in the oven and I was deciding what to serve with them, I fell back on that old stand by, spaghetti.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

rosemary lemon garlic lamb chops grilled with tomatoes and onions/horseradish potato salad/grilled pineapple with vanilla ice cream

This past weekend Nathan's mom and stepmom came to New York to visit, and we spent Saturday battling the storm, only to eventually retreat back to Nathan's grandma's house to prepare an easy, rib sticking dinner to help us warm up from the sleet and snow.

This is not that meal. Instead, I am going to turn back the clock to the dinner that I prepared with Nathan's help the last time I saw Tenli and Marie, back in sunny California this summer. Just as I did when I stayed with Aunt Elise and Uncle Ed at their home, I wanted to prepare a nice meal as a thank you for their hospitality.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

andalusian gazpacho/cold tomato soup with corn guacamole

Gazpacho is a little tricky. You might think that you could just throw some peppers and onions and garlic and bread and a whole bunch of tomatoes in the blender, let it chill in the fridge for a couple of hours and call it dinner. But if you're not careful, that's when you get bland watery gazpacho, or a pulpy granular mash with very little liquid, or gazpacho so potently pungent from raw garlic and onions that you'll be scrubbing the taste off your tongue for days. With something so simple as a raw soup, it's extremely important that you strike a nice balance with your ingredients, because it's the simplest things that are easiest to mess up.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

spaghetti limone/bacon wrapped pork loin

So as I mentioned in my post on zucchini, I visited my Aunt Elise and Uncle Ed when I went out to California this summer. In addition to the aforementioned vegetable, I put together quite a nice dinner, if I do say so myself.

First we had a garlic and sage crusted pork loin. That is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a big old pork loin generously seasoned and rubbed with olive oil, garlic and fresh sage. Further gilding the lily, as per Aunt Elise's excellent suggestion, I wrapped that sucker in bacon before searing it off in a frying pan and finishing it off in the oven. Gotta love that pork on pork action.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

caldo verde

My friend Tony suggested I make a caldo verde soup with all my food co-op kale. My only regret was that it took so long to follow his advice.

My family came over for dinner after work one night back in July, right before I left for a glorious two and a half weeks of vacation in the California sun. I thought that this soup would be super easy and ready in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, the potatoes decided to be difficult and take two hour to cook, which was bizarre, but other than that this dinner came together quite nicely.

Caldo verde is a Portuguese soup or stew, and I used this recipe from Mario Batali. I spent the night before simmering a big pot of chicken stock and getting all my potatoes and kale chopped up and ready to go, so the next night all I had to do was chop and sautee the onion and garlic, and then add the broth and potatoes and let that pot go to work.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

strawberry sour cream pie

I made this for the 4th of July, if you couldn't guess based on the patriotic table cloth. For the second year running, I went up to my friend Kristina's house in Winthrop, Massachusetts. Her mother has amazing patriotic decorations, and this table cloth only scratches the surface.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

extra flakey scallion pancakes!

I'm not going to lie. I feel pretty good about posting a recipe for scallion pancakes. It's like, totally unexpected, right? Not that I think my cooking is in a rut or anything, obviously. I'm just proud of making something Asian that's not a stir fry!

The recipe came from Serious Eats's alway informative but often overly involved food lab series.

Monday, October 3, 2011

mint pea pesto

So this I was like pretty proud of. My dad came over and helped me install a window herb garden, which, by the way is totally dying on me. What the hell man? I water them once a day, shouldn't that be enough? WHY IS ALL MY THYME AND BASIL DYING ON MEEEEEE?


What I was saying is that my dad came over to help me install a window herb garden, and because I am not a totally ungrateful daughter, I made him lunch. I saw this recipe for "pea pesto" on smitten kitchen and while I didn't entirely love the sound of it, it did give me the spark of inspiration I needed to make this dish.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

random stuff to do with zucchini

As anyone who has ever planted them or joined a farm share knows, the bounty of summer squash and zucchini never seems to end. Luckily, my csa seems to have moved on this season, but there was a month or two there where it was pretty dicey. Laura made a LOT of zucchini bread, but for some reason I stuck with more of the typical veggie side dish type thing.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

savory bread puddings

That is my take on something that the smitten kitchen called scalloped tomatoes with croutons, but really turned out more like a savory bread pudding.

Friday, September 23, 2011

maple black pepper pork chop

So a nice fat pork chop is always pretty good... on this blog alone I've covered quite a number of delicious preparations: breaded and baked, pan seared, coffee marinated, braised pizzaiole and agrodolce.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

dry fried garlic scapes with chorizo and polenta

One of the funny things you get from your CSA at the beginning of the season is garlic scapes, the little shoots that grow our from the bulbs. They are milder that the cloves, and they are only available for a short window of time in the late spring.

I like scapes, but aside from dicing them up for coleslaw or salads, I'm often at a loss of what to do with them. That's why I took note when I saw this recipe for dry fried garlic scapes.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

fried egg with cheddar, scallion, spinach and duck prosciutto/goat cheese, duck prosciutto and arugula sandwich

So in my last post I mentioned the duck prosciutto that I bought at the Union Square Farmer's Market. It was some amazing stuff. I usually just sliced it up and ate it for a snack, but I also added it to a couple of sandwiches, which was always pretty sweet.

It also makes an AWESOME bacon alternative, fried ever so quickly here and served with a little sauteed spinach and a fried egg topped with cheddar and scallions. No meal should be allowed to look AND taste this good. Just a winner on all counts.

Friday, September 16, 2011

eggs poached in buttery sorrel sauce with goat cheese, duck prosciutto and chive blossoms

This dish came together around sorrel. I had never tried it, but a couple of recipes expounding its peppery, lemony tasting virtues had caught my eye, so when I saw a little bunch of it on a lunchtime trip to the farmer's market, I snapped it up in excitement.

In general, it was a particularly successful and inspiring trip to the market. In addition to the sorrel, I got some amazing duck prosciutto, fresh goat cheese, a couple of crusty rolls and some beautiful purple chive blossoms, which I actually got for free. They were being sold attached to the chives, but a number of the flowers had fallen off, so I asked if I could just buy some of the spare blossoms and they kindly threw them in with the sorrel for no extra cost.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

tacos and margaritas, enchiladas and sangria

You so wish you could come over for dinner when Laura and I are cooking. Check out this Cinco de Mayo spread we put together back in May:

My mother's taco recipe: ground beef with all the fixins on a flour tortilla.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

flourless chocolate cake

As you may already know, my brother has celiac and can't eat wheat, so I am always on the look out for good gluten free recipes. This year, when Laura and I threw our annual joined forces for our annual birthday bash, Matt was home for spring break and therefore was able to come share in the celebration.

Great, obviously, but that also meant that I wanted to make a birthday cake that he could eat. Luckily, I'd been holding onto a flourless chocolate cake recipe by David Lebowitz for just an occasion, and it did not disappoint.

Monday, September 12, 2011

winter squash bread pudding

This is a bit of a take on the cheesy stuffed acorn squash, which has definitely one of the richest, tastiest things I made last fall/winter. Ooey gooey cheese and slow baked pumpkin or squash with cubes of bread, fresh herbs and a little cream to ensure it all cooks together into one cohesive mass of deliciousness. It was decadent in the best way.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

spaghetti with bacon, breadcrumbs and arugula

Nathan and I made this when he hosted our book club. The selection was Kurt Vonnegut's Mother Night, the discussion was riveting and the dinner... was actually better as leftovers.

When I found this recipe I was really excited. Bacon and breadcrumbs and arugula and sun dried tomatoes with spaghetti in a creamy sauce... What could possibly go wrong?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

cipolline in agrodolce

I promised you I had one more Roman peasant dish to tell you about, and here it is. Sweet and sour onions, or, in the mother tongue, cipolline in agrodolce. Agrodolce, according to wikipedia, is just a sweet and sour sauce-- the sweet "dolce" component usually being sugar and the sour "agro" element being some sort of vinegar. If you'll recall, we first made an agrodolce sauce for pork chops, using honey and balsamic. Here, it was balsamic and sugar.

Even with the fancy sounding name, an agrodolce sauce is actually really easy to make, and the most difficult part of cooking this recipe is peeling all the little cipollinis. It's not hard per say, just time consuming and a definite pain in the ass. Before you start peeling away, throw your raisins in some hot water so that they'll rehydrate and get nice and plump.

Friday, September 9, 2011

easter lamb, risotto and crepes

In my continuing trend of long overdue holiday meals, I present to you an Easter leg of lamb, stuffed with all sorts of deliciousness and served with a mushroom risotto and homemade strawberry crepes. First, let's talk about the lamb, courtesy of our friend Martha Stewart.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

beet and blood orange salad

So I apologize in advance for the quality of these photos. However, if you, like me, are at a loss for what to do with your food co-op beets, this may be just what you need. Alice Water's beet and blood orange salad

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

roasted ramps

So I already covered my ramp carbonara, but there was one other thing I did with ramps this past spring: I roasted them, plain and simple.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

caramelized bananas over oatmeal

I remember the first time I learned that you could utterly transform bananas into sweet, chewy, crisp, melty banana candy simply by slicing them and pan frying them with butter. I had helped my friend Kevin move, and as a thank you he made breakfast. It was either french toast or waffles, both of which I love and would have been more than satisfied with. Then he asked if I wanted bananas, and I was blown away.

Obviously, caramelized and fried bananas are hardly a culinary innovation. This is basically the same concept of Bananas Foster, without the theatrics of flambeing.

I don't add sugar when I caramelize my bananas, and they are still plenty sweet. If yours aren't particularly ripe, I suppose sugar would help, but I'd honestly advise waiting until the fruit sweetens up naturally in order to yield the best result.

There are two basic versions of this dish: thin sliced and thick sliced. Thick slices afford for the most variation in texture and flavor in each piece, as the center of a thick slice of banana will taste purely of banana. This is very good, but usually I like to slice my banana really thinly, which means that the inner banana gets very soft and almost melts away, while the exterior becomes a delicately crispy sugar shell. If you don't have enough butter in the pan, the fruit can easily stick and all the slices can quickly become a sticky caramelly mess. If that threatens to happen to you, do not fret. It's not as pretty, but it will still taste amazing.

So what can you do with these golden little beauties? They are a welcome addition to breakfasts, brunches and desserts. You could stuff them into crepes with mascarpone or ricotta, layer them with puff pastry and whipped cream, pile them atop a stack of pancakes or french toast, serve them over ice cream... The possibilities are endless.

Today, I chose oatmeal. It was an excellent way to enliven a somewhat dull breakfast food!

Monday, September 5, 2011

ramp carbonara

Obviously, it is September, so all good food bloggers should be writing about late summer tomatoes and peppers and plums. I am not a good food blogger. I am going to write about a delightful seasonal veggie that you can only really get for a couple of weeks out of the year, but procrastinator that I am, it'll be ramps on the menu, AKA something that was out of season by the beginning of June.

I am also a bad blogger because if you take out the ramps, I've already talked to you about this dish six times. That's right, six whole times.

So basically, if you've read my blog before ever, you know how this going to go. The only new step is slowly caramelizing the chopped ramps in the bacon fat after that we got that all nice and crispy. When I was making up the bacon and the ramps, I brought the pasta pot to boil, added salt and then tossed in the spaghetti to cook until al dente.

I actually went traditional on this one, simply tossing the cooked pasta, ramps and bacon with the beaten egg yolk, and then adding cheese. I was really excited with how good this came out. The ramps added a ton of great extra flavor, and I was very pleased to have bought them and finally sampled this spring green market special. It's a shame that we'll have to wait so long before ramps are back at the market, but I fully intend to cook more with them when they are.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

citrus sriracha mayonaise over scallops and avocado salad

I am pretty sure that I have never said this before on this blog: drop what you are doing and make this right now. For reals. Your day off plans for Labor Day are now to make scallops with this awesome sauce. I promise that you'll thank me.

This sauce recipe comes from The Amateur Gourmet, but it's definitely something you can imagine emerging from a professional kitchen, and it's simultaneously really easy to prepare. This was hands down the most elegant thing I've ever made on a weeknight, and Nathan and I couldn't stop exclaiming how good it was.

Of course, it all because clear when you read further and learn that Mr. Amateur Gourmet actually jacked this recipe from none other than famous chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten after NYT restaurant critic Sam Sifton selected it as one of his favorite restaurant dishes of 2010. That certainly goes a long way towards explaining this recipe's brilliance-- and if that's not good enough for you, I don't know what else to say.

So I guess you want to know how to make the dish already, right? Well you better be down to make your own mayo*. Don't worry, your arm might get a little tired, but it's totally doable. I have faith in you. Whisk together a splash of sriracha, pinch of salt and egg yolk, adding your oil drop by drop until you get a nice thick mayo. Then you stir in orange and lime juice to thin it out and add some of that citrusy zing and acidity that pairs so nicely with seafood.

The original sauce was served over big, seared, sea scallops, but as much as I love them, they are a bit rich for my blood. I went for cheaper bay scallops, which had sadly been frozen. Obviously, I didn't achieve that nice golden brown carmelization that you so often see on scallops (I cooked them in butter over medium high heat), but I think that's just fine for these little guys. The sauce went SO SO well with these scallops. A little sweet, a little spicy, and a whole lot of creamy deliciousness. So perfect!

To go with our scallops, we had a bright green salad, tossed with our spicy citrus mayo and topped with slices of orange and avocado. It was an excellent accompaniment. You might find that you don't need a rich mayo based dressing on avocado, but the citrus cuts the richness, and the sriracha adds some bite. It really hit the spot.

So, what are you waiting for? Go make this now!

PS. In a pinch you could probably just add sriracha and citrus to regular Hellmans mayo. Don't tell Jean-George I said so.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

strawberry cornmeal cake

I don't have too much to say about this recipe for strawberry cornmeal pound cake.

It is a tasty breakfast-y cake, very easy to prepare and special because it's not just a pound cake: it's got cornmeal and fresh strawberries. That doesn't make it extraordinary by any means, but it definitely elevates it above your average pound cake.

I love cake recipes that only involve creaming butter and sugar and then stirring in the dry ingredients. I am like the world's slowest baker, but even I can handle that without stopping to consult the directions too many times.

Be warned that this really isn't that sweet. It's more of an afternoon snack type of cake, or a toasted-and-slathered-in-butter breakfast type of cake than it is a big celebration cake. But the strawberries are pretty, and it'd be great for tea. Plan accordingly.