Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Garbage Pizza

made with everything about to go bad in the fridge


This dish is almost a cheat. I've made pizza before, I've used all the ingredients on the pizza before. . . It was just the combo of ingredients. It was the night before I was supposed to leave for Burning Man and I need to get rid of everything that was going to go bad in the fridge before I returned. I was so lazy I bought pizza dough from the pizza place up the block. The only think I did differently this time was take care that the crust was actually crispy and and the center of the pizza was not a soup in the end. Hard to do if you don't have an 800 degree over.

Here is what I threw together:
Garbage Pizza
pizza dough (bought from a pizza place becasue I am lazy)
tomato sauce I had in the freezer
Any veggies in the fridge with included:
red pepper
pitted olives
basil on its last legs
left over sausage
home made pesto
fontina cheese (seemed like a better idea than humbolt fog)
and what I think is asiago cheese

I sauteed up the veggies, while pre-heating to oven as high as it would go. Then, I did a mediocre job laying the pizza dough on the pizza stone. Then popped dough on stone into the over for 10 minutes.

Remove what should be more crispy dough. Add sauce all the way to the edges of the pizza,

Remove. All all veggies, dollops of pesto and crumble fontina or whatever cheese you have on hand.

Re-pop. Cook until cheese is getting bubbly and golden. Remove, shred asiago on the top, add sliced fresh basil. Cool, serve with red wine.
maybe even over the edges if you are like me. Re-pop into over for another 10 minutes.

I think I got the technique done this time of pre-cooking the dough, crumbling the cheese and then shredding the hard cheese on after the cooking was finished.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Corn Dogs with Thai Chili Maple Syrup

not the cutest corn dogs I've ever seen, but damn tasty

I never. . . made meat on a stick before, deep fryed meat

On the way to the park today I found an ancient Betty Crocker cookbook. I'm not too proud, so I picked it up and flipped thru it while my kids mopped around the playground.

That's when I found the recipe for corn dogs. Yum. Fried meat on a stick. I needed to know how to make them.

The recipe went something like this:

Corn Dogs:
8 hotdogs (any kind)
1 c. flour
2/3 c. corn meal
2 pinch salt
2 tbs. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. dried mustard
1 egg
2/3 c. milk
handfull of frozen corn kernels
2 tbs. oil (I used olive oil)
enough oil to fry them in

Pat the hotdogs dry, cut them in half and put them on a stick. You could also make them into smaller chunks and skip the stick to bitesized corn dogs.

mix together all, dip hot dogs, fry when oil is 375 degrees. Flip corn dog every 30 seconds until golden brown.

These were good. I was smart this time and packed them away in the freezer before I ate them all like I did with the suppli. I did have one and I made a maple sryup thai chili sauce which was 1 part thai chili sauce, 1 part maple syrup that has been reduced for 10 minutes over med. heat.

chili maple syrup sauce


gumbo also does not make a pretty picture
I'VE NEVER. . . cooked okra, made gumbo, cooked catfish

The 3 things that I wanted in a recipe were:
  1. to use okra
  2. to use just okra and not both okra and to use Filé powder
  3. to make a gumbo with to use roux

I looked at maybe 200+ gumbo recipes before choosing this one and most of them were totally different from one another. Some cooked for 30 minutes, some for 12 hours. Some had roux, some didn't. Some used okra, some file and some neither (although it is my understanding that is ain't gumbo without file powder or okra).

There are 2 things that most gumbos have in common:
The first is Gumbo relies heavily on what people refer to as the holy trinity of creole flavors; celery, green pepper and onion.

The second is roux. It is kind of a pain in the ass to make as you have to constantly stir it for 20+ minutes. Roux is not something you can walk away from. I stopped stirring for 15-30 seconds at a time to chop vegetables, but never longer than that.

roux after 5 minutes of cooking

roux after 20 minutes of cooking (you can cook roux until it is a deep brown if you like and your wrist hold up)

The name Gumbo, derived from various Bantu dialects (Southern & Central Africa) terms for okra (i.e. quingumbo, grugombo, gumbo, gombo, ngombo gomboaud, ngumbo, ochinggombo). (The word is one of very few African language words brought over by slaves which have entered the English language. Some of the others are goober or goober pea (peanut) also of Bantu dialect origin, Yam from West Africa, and cooter (turtle) of Bantu and Mandingo origin.

That little nugget came from here.

Here is the recipe I settled on:

Sausage & Catfish Gumbo
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup flour
4 garlic cloves
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
10 ounces frozen cut okra --If you use fresh chop up and soak in water overnight and then rinse
before using.
14 ounce can diced
5 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
2 bay leaves
1 pound Andoulle cut into 1/2 inch chunks
6 catfish fillets, washed and chopped

Make a roux with the oil and flour, browning it slowly and stirring frequently. Cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes until it is a rich milk-chocolate color. When the roux is just right, add the garlic, onions, celery, and green pepper, stirring vigorously. Cook 2 to 3 minute
s. Turn the heat to low and cook 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Skim any excess fat off the top.

Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 1 hour or more. Stir occasionally.
Makes: 3 quarts

While I was making this I was quite put off. Maybe it was the catfish or how slimy to okra was. Maybe it was just that it looked disgusting. I was pretty sure I wasn't going to eat any. Then, sort of by accident I tasted it. I just put the spoon in my mouth between it's trip from the gumbo pot to the sink. My gumbo was good. I'm going to eat more. My 10 mo. son is eating it as I type. But, he's like Mikey. He'll eat anything.

Bacon Wallet

Honey, if you are reading this could you please get me this for my birthday or the holidays or just for the next time I do something nice? You can buy it here.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Fox Testicle aka Orchid ice cream saga continues . .

ground mountain orchid root

The mastic I need for the Turkish Chewy Ice cream recipe came yesterday. A couple hours later I got a message from ebay saying that the woman I bought the sapel--the other important/hard to get ingredient has been banned and is no longer a registered user. I wonder if I should give up all hope of ever getting it and kiss my $20 good-bye.

Just incase, I ordered from another source.

I've also been hunting down recipes and here is what I have found:

Turkish Chewy Ice Cream
* 2 cups of double cream or whipping cream
* 2 cups of full fat milk
* 3/4 cup of sugar
* 2 teaspoons of salepi (level)
* 1/2 teaspoon of ground mastic (see below)

Grind the mastic: Mastic is usually sold in drops of resin which can stick to the mortar and pestle during grinding. To avoid, freeze mastic for 15 minutes before using and place it along with 1-2 tablespoons of the sugar in the mortar.

Grind with the pestle.

In a mixing bowl, beat 1/2 cup of the milk with the ground mastic (and sugar used to grind) until completely blended. Dissolve the salepi in 1/2 cup of cold milk. Warm the remaining 1 cup of milk in a saucepan over low heat. Beating at high speed, add the warm milk to the mastic mixture, then the dissolved salepi. Add remaining sugar and cream.

Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and boil over low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking and clumping. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Toss into ice cream maker and follow instruction. . .

Jambalaya Suppli

amazingly good fried treat


You read it right. I figured out a way to combine Cajun and Italian food. I thought I was being really original, but then I realized Two Boots does the same thing. I'm going to mention this one to Doris and see what she thinks.

I had an enormous amount of left over jambalaya from last night which doesn't reheat very well and I can't really freeze it so it is either throw it away (which kills me) or recycle it.

I lived in Rome for a year abroad in college. While there I subsisted mainly on boxed wine and amazingly delicious pizza rustica. These large, rectangular pizzas would come as simply as just olive oil and salt or as exotic as with arugula, shrimp and mayonnaise. The pizza was should by the ounce so when ordering it you'd point to what you want and then make hand motions describing the size piece you'd like. I have only found one place in the US that has anything like it. It's called Amorina Amorina at 624 Vanderbilt Ave. Brooklyn NY. Most of pizza rustica places in Rome would also sell fried and breaded stuffed rice balls called suppli. A bit bigger than a golf ball, smaller than a tennis ball and changed slightly in ingredient depending on the region of Italy you were. In Sicily, they would be stuffed with meat and sometimes had peas in them- a more African influence. In Rome, they would be stuffed with a bit of cheese. They cost 1000 lire or $.70 so they were dirty cheap.

I went searching for a recipe, found that the rice filling was prepared very similarly to risotto or jambalaya. I had a bag of panko left over from an earlier soufflé recipe.

Here is how it went:

Jambalaya Suppli
left over jambalaya, risotto or similar
oil to fry with (I used canola)
panko (worked great!) or other bread crumbs

roll approx. 3 tbs. balls of jambalaya
dip and coat in egg
roll in panko
fry in HOT oil for 2 minutes per side

Eat while hot.

These were so good that I ate them all. Usually when I cook, I eat just a small amount. This time, I made 5 thinking my daughter would try one, My Husband would have 3 and I would eat one. I couldn't stop myself. After the first one I broke out the Thai chili sauce and ate them with that. They would be great for a party.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Lavender Frozen Yogurt & Lemon Cookie Sandwich

tasty adult snack


This is an adults only ice cream sandwich. I made lavender froyo last week and all by itself it was hard to eat more that 2 bites. It was over powering in it's yogurtiness.
But, delicious anyway. So I thought about ways to lighten the impact and thought I would try making them into sandwiches with lemon butter cookies.

I'm not going to bother posting the lemon butter cookies recipe as it wasn't great and they are so easy to fine. Plus, this one was a little too fussy for me.

is the lavender frozen yogurt recipe.

It was pretty terrific. I'm not in love with the cookies, but the great thing is, I can freeze the dough and just hack off the pieces I want whenever I want to make a few more of these sandwiches. Hot cookies, frozen yogurt = good.

Next I'm going to try it with salty sugar cookies.

lame borning muffins

the lame-ass muffin


Nothing to see here . . . .please move along . . . .shows over folks.

That is how I feel about these stupid fucking muffins I was all excited about and bought all sorts of exotic and expensive flours for. I never used almond meal, almond oil or oat flour before.
Blah. They even look boring. It is true that I skipped the sprinkling of almond slivers it called for at the end, but still. . .

Do I even bother to post the recipe?
Sure, WTF:

Almond Muffins with Fig Center
Zest of 1 small lemon
1 1/2 cups almond meal (or finely crushed almonds plus 1 tsp flour)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup oat flour (found at health food stores)

1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
12 small figs, stemmed
1 small egg
1/4 cup clover honey
1 1/4 cups skim milk
1/8 cup almond (or toasted almond) oil
6 tbsp sliced almonds

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine first 9 ingredients in a bowl. Puree figs in a food processor until smooth and scrape into a small saucepan. Place over low to medium heat, stirring constantly, until puree gently boils, about 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool, then refrigerate. Whisk egg, honey, milk and oil in a bowl. Incorporate into flour mixture and blend on low with a hand mixer. Line a muffin tin with paper cups; fill each halfway with batter. Add 1 tbsp fig puree to center of each cup, then cover with a small spoonful of batter. Sprinkle almonds on top. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.

lame ass oozing muffin

The fig stayed in the center of exactly zero of my muffins. I'm going to freeze them, and feed them to my 10 month old son every time I'm in a pinch for breakfast.

Lame. I just realized it is from vomit worthy SELF rag. (Got mine today. It went right into the recycling).

Never again.

The 2 Truths of Jambalaya

The ugly jambalaya

Last night while making Jambalaya, I learned 2 things.
  1. You cannot take a pretty picture of it
  2. You cannot make a small amount of it.
Both suck, but the fact you cannot freeze leftovers without totally destroying them, makes the #2 issue suck more.

I made a mountain of it. I could have fed half of Brooklyn with what I made. And I cut a 10 serving recipe in half.

I also did some research about jambalaya before I made it so I could make a more traditional one. Wikipedia has good info, among which is this nugget:
Prominent among them is the combination of the French "jambon" meaning ham, the French article "à la" meaning "in the style of" and "ya", thought by some to be of West African origin meaning rice, though "ya-ya" is also an old Creole patois phase meaning "everybody's talking at once."
The other thing is that jambalaya is both Creole and Cajun. I never actually knew that there was a difference. Creole is more city – urban, cosmopolitan, and French-inspired – while Cajun is more country, with simpler recipes and more common ingredients. Cajun cooking uses foods that one could grow, fish, shoot or catch in the mid-southern LA region. Actually, the whole Cajun history is really interesting. There are ethnic cajuns as well are folks who culturally identify with the Cajun tradition and call themselves cajun. They came first from France and then Canada, where they are known are Acadians, then forced out of Canada to Southern Louisiana.

A few years ago my sister and I drove from Laredo Texas to the southern most point in Louisiana via the southern most back road route. We drove down this peninsula that ended at the mouth of Brenton Sound. On this peninsula I couldn't understand anything people were saying to me at the grocery store or gas station and it took me a few minutes before I realized that they were speaking with very heavy Cajun accents. It was thrilling. We also got great food down there.

Anyway. The history of Cajun and Creole and what sets them apart are more interesting than the Jambalaya but here is the recipe anyway. I never used andouille before.

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter
2 red onions, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
1 jalapeño chili, finely chopped with seeds
1 tablespoon Creole Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pound andouille sausage cut into pieces
3/4 tasso, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I used a smoked ham steak instead)
28 ounce chicken broth
28 can plum tomatoes, diced, with liquid
3 cups long-grain rice

Melt butter in heavy large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add red onions, bell pepper, garlic, bay leaves, jalapeño, Creole Seasoning, cayenne pepper and oregano. Cover and cook until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Mix in tomato paste. Add sausage, tasso, broth, tomatoes and rice. Bring mixture to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until rice is very tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.
Serves 10.

It was good, spicy, very filling. Too spicy for my kids to eat it.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Fig and Olive Sandwich Vinaigrette

The delicious Sandwich

As an experiment I've decided to eliminate mayonnaise from the fridge (It's not so good for me, I could make it on my own in a couple of minutes if I needed too) so, I've been looking around for some new things to spread on a sandwich.

I came across this, I was pretty skeptical at first 1. Because it was originally published in SELF magazine. In a fit of insanity I ordered a subscription to this rag last fall and I have learned to hate it. 2. Because olives and figs together just didn't sound so tasty.

I never used fig preserves before.

I made it and let it sit overnight, to ripen. Here is the recipe and the sandwich I made with it:

Smoked Turkey and Cheddar with Fig and Olive Spread
2 tbs. fig preserves
4 tsp cider vinegar
4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic, peeled and minced
2 tbsp finely chopped kalamata olives
ciabatta load
8 oz smoked turkey breast, thinly sliced
4 oz sharp cheddar, thinly sliced
8 thin slices tomato
8 thin slices red onion

boston bib lettuce

Combine preserves, vinegar, oil, mustard, garlic, olives, and a pinch of salt and pepper. I used a tiny food processor/blender. Spread onto top and the bottom of split loaf. Layer lettuce, onions, tomatoes, turkey then cheese.
The tasty spread

Here is an alt sandwich to try:
Creamy Fig and Olive Grilled Ham (or Turkey) Sandwich
cream cheese
swiss cheese
fig/olive spread
turkey or ham
sliced farmers bread of a very hearty sliced whole grain
butter, pam or olive oil.

Spread layer of cream cheese on one side of one slice of bread, then turkey or hame, then swiss, then spread the fig/olive spread on the other slice, make sandwich, grill on med. until swiss cheese is melted.

Amazingly tasty. It is important to use a very crusty bread for the first sandwich. I've been thinking about this sandwich for 24 hours now. I miss it. I want another.

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cranberry emergen-c, seltzer, tons of ice with a straw.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Hominy is the new black

DISH 21 and 22

Hominy is so good and goes with everything, just like black. I would wear it I love it so much. I came across this recipe for a chicken, hominy hominy and sweet potato stew and it looked like something that I could make with all local produce (minus the hominy). It also called for bottled taco sauce. . . please. So I made salsa verde and used that in the recipe as well as poured it on over the stew when I served it. I never have prepared tomatillos (the main ingredient in salsa verde) before.Here is the recipe for:

Salsa Verde
2 large fresh Anaheim chilies
1/2 pound tomatillos, husked
1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
white onions, chopped
1 large serrano chili, stemmed, seeded
1 large garlic clove
1/4 cup (firmly packed) fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon whipping cream

Char Anaheim chilies directly over gas flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in paper bag; let stand 10 minutes. Peel, seed, and chop chilies.

Combine tomatillos, broth, onions, serrano chili, and garlic in medium saucepan; bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until mixture is reduced to 1 2/3 cups, stirring occasionally, about 18 minutes. Transfer mixture to blender. Add Anaheim chilies, cilantro, and cream. Puree until smooth. Season salsa with salt and pepper.
Makes about 2 cups.

It is great. I'm going to try it with my huevos rancheros recipe, and on eggs and with chips and in a car and in a bar and. . .

Here is the recipe for:

Hominy, Sweet Potato and Chicken Stew
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 skinned chicken thighs and drumsticks
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 14 1/2-ounce can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes or cored and peeled fresh tomatoes
1 large 8- to 10-ounce) yam, peeled, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch dice
1 4-ounce can diced green chilies
1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup packed chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup salsa verde
1 15-ounce can golden hominy, drained

Heat olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Sauté chicken until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon drippings from skillet. Add garlic and cook until just fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add stewed tomatoes, yam, chilis, broth, 6 tablespoons cilantro and salsa verde. Cover skillet, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until chicken is just tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate. Add hominy to skillet and boil until yam is tender and juices are reduced to sauce consistency, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Return chicken and any collected juices to skillet. Cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Reheat gently before continuing.) Transfer to large deep serving platter. Garnish with remaining cilantro.

Serves 4.

TASTY! I'm going to marry hominy.

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Lavender Frozen Yogurt

Still on my ice cream maker kick I decided to make this lavender fro yo. recipe that I came across. I've never used lavender in anything before or creme fraiche .
Here is the recipe:

Lavender Frozen Yogurt
Makes 1 quart
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 Tbsp lavender buds
1 1/4 cups Greek Yogurt
1 1/4 cups creme fraiche or sour cream
Juice of 2 limes

Combine the sugar, water, and lavender buds in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer the syrup for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. When the syrup is cool, strain and discard the lavender.

Combine the yogurt and creme fraiche or sour cream in a large bowl. Whisk in the lavender syrup and lime juice. Chill the mixture for 1 hour, then churn in an ice cream maker, according to manufacturer's instructions.

Do not use non-fat yogurt or even non-greek yogurt and if you can use creme fraiche. I've been seeing creme fraiche all over the place lately. 10 years ago it was exotic. Now, I'm pretty sure you can get it even at my mothers grocery store in the middle of nowhere upstate NY.

And no no no to splenda. I used splenda in a couple other sorbets and frozen yogurts and it was always a disaster. No. No, splenda.

It turned out thick, and rich and unquestionably yogurt. It is like a
href=" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/lassi">lassi only with lavender and much sweeter. I think it might be too much. Maybe I'll trying pairing it with something else to lessen the punch.

No photo. It just looked like vanilla ice cream.

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Tuites Meuniere

I was planning on making a whole fish baked in salt, but I guess I didn't make myself clear to the fish monger because when I got home I found he had scaled the fish. The fish needs scales for the salt bake.

This gave me the opertunity to use the Julia Child's cookbook I borrowed from my mother. Whit what I had on hand I was able to make the simplest whole trout recipe in the book. I've never cooked a whole trout before. Or clarified butter.

Here is the basic recipe:

Tuites Meuniere or Whole Trout Sauteed in Butter
whole trout with head and tail
salt and pepper
1/2 c. ghee or clarified butter

1/4 c. chopped parsley

lemon wedges

Salt and pepper the fish inside and out. Sprinkle with flour, put in the pan of bubbling hot butter. Cook each side for 5 or 6 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley, Serve with lemon.

I had to clarify the butter, which is much easier after it has cooled down a bit from melting. Then I just threw it in the pan and let it do its thing. I used too much heat at first, and the butter over browned.and when I tried to look at the underside the skin started to shen. When I flipped it with my fancy fish spatula (that I never really used before) the fish's cheek and eyeball stuck to the pan. I was not a pretty presentation.

It wasn't for me. It was for my fish fan husband. I suppose if I had caught and cleaned it (which I have done) I would have been more willing to eat it, but ensconced in my urban setting I was happy to let him have the whole thing.

Turkish Ice Cream a.k.a. Fox Testicel Ice Cream

Yesterday I spent a large portion of the afternoon thinking up and looking for ice cream or sorbet ideas. These are the ones I'm going to try over the next few weeks:

curry ice cream with pistachio nuts
corn ice cream
sage pineapple sorbet
mango habanero sorbet
oatmeal raisin ice cream
roasted banana and cardamon ice cream
chocolate and chili ice cream

Then there is the Orchid Ice cream.

For years now, my husband has been talking about this chewy ice cream he had when he was on a trip to Turkey. I googled chewy ice cream and Turkish ice cream, poked around chowhound. I found it Turkish name, salepi dondurma which translates as fox testicle ice cream. Here is the wikipedia entry. The key ingredient is mastic. This makes it chewy and then salep, the fox testicle part (actually ground up mountain orchid), thickens it and gives it a very specific flavor.

I then read that it is illegal to import salep outside of Turkey because it has been over harvested. Well, the folks at ebay clearly haven't picked up on this as I found someone selling packets of it to mix with hot milk for drinks. It is a very popular drink throughout the middle east and greece. I ordered some, got the mastic on another online greek store food store. When they get here it is Turkish Ice cream time.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Blackberry Cabernet Sorbet

dish 18
The ice cream maker is out and I'm on a kick. I spent a ridiculous amount of money on blackberries at the farmers market yesterday. I am trying to eat as locally as possible, so I thought I would start here. With dessert.

2 c. blackberries
1/3 c. splenda (I was out of sugar)
1 c. cabernet
tiny bit of ground ginger
4 2 oz. ice cubes.

blend it all up, throw it in the ice cream maker.

Blech. Too much caberneet or. . . more likely not a recipe for splenda. It tastes like manischewitz, which I haven't liked since the 8th grade.

Braised Pork with Black Cherries and Balsamic


I was looking for a pulled pork recipe that I could make in the oven, but still haven't found one that looks good. So, I have this big piece of pork butt-shoulder actually, sitting in my fridge.

I found this recipe, but it originally called for grapes instead of cherries. I subbed in cherries because I am trying to use all local ingredient and grapes aren't quite yet in season. I have never cooked a pork butt/shoulder before or really knew what braised was.

1 3 1/4-pound boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), trimmed, cut into 3 equal pieces
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
8 large shallots, halved, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 3 cups)
3 cups black cherries (about 1 pound)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 large fresh sage sprigs
4 large fresh thyme sprigs
2 large fresh rosemary sprigs

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Add pork to pot and cook until browned on all sides, about 13 minutes total. Transfer pork to plate; discard fat in pot.
2. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in same pot over medium heat. Add shallots and cherries; sauté until shallots are golden, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Add sugar; sauté 30 seconds. Add vinegar; bring mixture to boil and cook until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Add broth, all herb sprigs, and pork with juices from plate. Bring to boil. Cover pot and transfer to oven. Braise pork 1 hour. Using tongs, turn pork over and continue braising until meat is very tender, about 45 minutes longer. Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to platter; tent with foil.
3. Remove herb sprigs from pot and skim fat from surface of cooking liquid. Boil cooking liquid over high heat until thickened, about 7 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Pour over pork and serve.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

I loved it. It was easy, the ingredient were inexpensive and it was very comforty. I served it with simple masked potatoes. If I felt like greens a spinach salad would have been great too.

It is really important to use a fresh rosemary sprig instead of just dried rosemary because otherwise you feel like you are eating twigs.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Citrus Basil Sorbet


I'm in the process of making it now. I bought more basil today at he farmers market. They are selling it like it is going out of style. Some of what was being sold was flowering already and from what I understand (my Mom always told me) that once it flowers it is past it's prime.

I also have an ice cream maker. I registered for it when I got married. That was 4 years ago and since I have only used it once. Testerday, when I was considering buying a pasta maker on ebay I thought of my poor neglected ice cream machine and thought I should put it to use first.

So here is how it went:

1/2 c. lime juice
2 lime peels
2/3 c. brown sugar or palm sugar
1/4 c. OJ concentrate
1 egg white
20 basil leaves
4 ice cubes

Heat up brown sugar, lime peel and water to make simple sugar. Maybe boil for a minute or two. Remove lime peel then chill syrup for a bit. Pour it in a blender ith OJ, ice and egg white and basil. Blend. Pour into ice cream maker.

It turned out wonderfully. It is also quite lovely. I'm really proud of myself!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Talapia? Maybe...

Stick a fork in me. I'm done.
My husband has been working very hard this week. He is an actor and has had one week of rehersal before he has to start his new job. He has to hang upsidedown for 20 minutes and deliver his lines in an Irish accent. . . on Broadway. He starts tomorrow afternoon. We are all tired. I want takeout, but we have this damn talapia in the fridge about to go bad. I'm lying here watching No Reservations on DVR. The Vegas one. It is pretty good. He didn't totally trash Flay.

The thing about my husbands new gig is that for the next 3 months my husband won't be eating dinner until 11 pm or midnight. He can't eat before a show, due to the hanging upsidedown. Throwing up on stage is not the plan. So, the new goal is finding dishes that you can easily reheat, eat at room temp or eat cold.

This is the menu for the coming week:
doubles (trinadadian breakfast/drunk food)
salsa verde
almond fig muffin
santa fe chicken
turkey fig sandwich
slow braised pork with grapes
whole fish baked in salt

I can freeze 3 of them for dinner while I'm gone. Maybe I'll switch gears and make more desserts or breakfast dishes.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Mushroom Lasagna

From Cook's Illustrated. This one is far far far to long to retype.
But seriously, one of the very best things I have ever made.

So good.
Photos coming.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Chicken and Cashew Chili with Chocolate

Good for the freezer

For chili purée

2 dried ancho chilies
1/4 cup cashews, raw or roasted
1 cup chicken broth

2 whole chicken legs plus 1/2 chicken breast (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped coarse
3 garlic cloves, chopped fine
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander sprigs (wash and dry before chopping)
a 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 cup cashews, raw or roasted
1/2 ounce fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate
1 cup canned kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Make chili purée:
Heat a small heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot and toast chilies, 1 at a time, pressing down with tongs, a few seconds on each side to make more pliable. Wearing rubber gloves, seed and devein chilies. In a blender purée chilies with cashews and broth until smooth.

Cut legs into drumsticks and thigh portions. Remove excess fat from chicken and pat chicken dry.

In a large heavy saucepan heat oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and cool onion and garlic, stirring, until softened. Add cumin, chili powder, and salt and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add chicken and stir to coat with onion mixture. Stir in chili purée, 2 tablespoons coriander, and tomatoes with juice and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking, 45 minutes, or until chicken legs are cooked through.

Remove pan from heat and transfer chicken to a bowl. With 2 forks shred meat, discard bones and skin. Return chicken to pan and stir in cashews, remaining tablespoon coriander, chocolate, and beans. Cook chili over moderate heat, stirring, until heated through and chocolate is melted. Chili may be made 2 days ahead and cooled completely, uncovered, before being chilled, covered.

Serves 2 generously.

Bland, bland, bland. Fine for the baby as there is little flavor, but plenty of texture. I will make it again as I think it was potential, but I will not remove the seeds, I will double or triple all the spices and I might add a shot of vinegar at the end.

Pork and Hominy Stew with Red Chilies (Pozole Rojo)

I'm going on vacation to Burning Man and the end of the month. While I am going to be gone my mother in law is coming to stay with my husband to help him take care of the kids. This is all fine and good, but the idea of her cooking them dinner and keeping them from destroying the apartment at the same time doesn't seem likely. So, for the next few days I'm going to make a few extra meals and freeze most of it for later. I've never cooked with hominy or guajillo chilies. But I love corn and pork is the best, so I have high hopes.

1 large head garlic
4 lb country-style pork ribs (not lean)
12 cups cold water
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (32 fl oz)
1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican), crumbled
6 dried New Mexico or guajillo red chiles* (2 oz)
1 1/2 cups boiling-hot water
1 cup coarsely chopped white onion (1 large)
1 tablespoon salt
4 (15-oz) cans white hominy (also called pozole), drained and rinsed

Accompaniments: fried tortilla strips (see cooks' note, below); 1/2-inch cubes of California avocado; thinly sliced cabbage or lettuce; chopped white onion; chopped radishes; lime wedges; crumbled dried oregano (preferably Mexican); dried hot red pepper flakes

Peel garlic and reserve 2 whole cloves, then slice remaining cloves. Combine sliced garlic, pork, water, and broth in a 7- to 8-quart heavy pot and bring to a boil, skimming froth. Add oregano, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, skimming occasionally, until pork is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, discard stems from chiles (do not seed), then soak in boiling-hot water (1 1/2 cups) in a bowl, turning occasionally, until softened, about 30 minutes (do not drain). Purée chiles with soaking water, onion, 2 teaspoons salt, and reserved garlic cloves in a blender until smooth, about 1 minute.

Transfer pork with tongs to a large bowl, reserving broth in pot. Shred pork, using 2 forks (discard bones). Return pork to broth, then add hominy, chile purée, and remaining teaspoon salt and simmer, uncovered, skimming froth and stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Season with salt. 3Serve pozole in shallow bowls with accompaniments.

Makes 8 to 10 servings

Holy good. This stuff is the shit. I added a cube of chix. bouillon and I think that helped. Hominy is some tasty stuff. It was really easy and country ribs are cheap meat.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Curtis BBQ

Our guest from Vermont brought us and enourmous amount of pork from http://www.curtisbbqvt.com/. I love them. Curtis is one of the best BBQ places I have ever been. It is run our of a series of buses and Curtis has been standing over a fire slabs of pork for over 25 years. If you are within 100 miles of Putney, Vermont and like BBQ you should go there now. Right now.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Huevos Rancheros

There are many versions of this, but the one I'm going with is from the Cafe Pongo Cookbook. Cafe Pongo was this great place (for a while) in Tivoli NY. My husband and I both went to Bard College which is the next town down and are very nostalgic about the food there. For his birthday a few years ago I got him the cookbook that was written by one of Pongo's former owners. The cookbook has some real gems in it. The red cabbage slaw, the chicken salad. . . a few others. It is pretty much a winter time food cookbook, so I'll be breaking it out more often when the weather gets cold. I remember the huevos were a very good breakfast. Esspecially if hungover I'm not expecting to be hungover, but just in case.

6 corn tortillas
2 cups of black beans (I a can of goya black bean soup w/ the red lable)
1 1/2 c. salsa
1/4 c. carmelized onions (Says to cook them for 30 minutes v. slowly)
4 oz. sharp cheddar
4-6 eggs
bronwen's gaucamole

line bottom of pyrex dish with tortillas, cover with beans, then salsa, then cheese then onions. Cook at 350 until cheese is melted and browning. Top with fried eggs and chopped fresh cilantro.

Amazingly tasty. I served it with my sister guacamole. I love it. I'm making it once a week. The recipe calls for 35 minutes to cook the onions, which I did. It was very worth it. I used jarred salsa. It was fine. I made a second batch (without the eggs) that I froze for later.

Spinach and Cheese Strata

It is such a better idea to have this breakfast made to just pop in the over. When you are up late catching up and you have tiny kids that wake you up early the coffee maker is pretty much all I can handle. I had never even heard of a strata before I found this recipe.

1 (10-oz) package frozen spinach, thawed
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion (1 large)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 cups cubed (1 inch) French or Italian bread (1/2 lb)
6 oz coarsely grated Gruyère (2 cups)
2 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 cup)
2 3/4 cups milk
9 large eggs
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1. Squeeze handfuls of spinach to remove as much liquid as possible, then finely chop.
2. Cook onion in butter in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in spinach, then remove from heat.
3. Spread one third of bread cubes in a buttered 3-quart gratin dish or other shallow ceramic baking dish and top evenly with one third of spinach mixture. Sprinkle with one third of each cheese. Repeat layering twice (ending with cheeses).
4. Whisk together milk, eggs, mustard, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl and pour evenly over strata. Chill strata, covered with plastic wrap, at least 8 hours (for bread to absorb custard).
5. Preheat oven to 350°F. Let strata stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
6. Bake strata, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed, golden brown, and cooked through, 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

• Strata can be chilled up to 1 day. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before baking.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

It was good, besides the puddle in the center of it. I reheated it and served it for 2 more days. My daughter took 5 bites of it.

Stuffed Grape Leaves

I'm having guests this weekend so I am going to make 3 things today so I don't have to cook and clean the kitchen. I can concentrate on fun and beer and an extra 3 yo. in the house.

While this recipe isn't terribly difficult, it is labor-intensive. We recommend you break it up into a couple of steps: Make the filling, then enlist a friend or two to help you do the rolling the following day.
Active time: 5 hr. Start to finish: 6‚ hr.

3 1/2 (1-lb.) jars brine-packed Greek or California grape leaves
3 large lemons
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups long-grain rice
1 1/2 lb. merguez or hot Italian sausage
3 cups finely chopped red onion
10 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cup dried currants
4 (14 1/2-oz.) cans chicken broth

Prepare leaves:
Unfurl stacks of grape leaves into a large bowl of water (leaves should remain stacked) and gently agitate without separating leaves. Blanch stacks in batches in a large saucepan of boiling water 3 minutes. Transfer stacks to a colander and refresh under cold running water.

Make filling:
Finely grate zest from lemons and squeeze 1/2 cup juice.

Bring water with salt to a boil in a large saucepan and stir in rice. Cook rice, covered, over moderately low heat until water is absorbed, 17 to 20 minutes, and transfer rice to a large bowl.

Remove sausage from casings and cook in a large nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring to break up lumps, until no longer pink. Cool to room temperature and crumble into 1/4-inch pieces.

Cook onion with 3 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until soft but not browned and stir into rice with zest, 1/4 cup lemon juice, sausage, nuts, dill, parsley, currants, and salt and pepper to taste.

Fill and roll grape leaves:
Arrange 1 grape leaf, smooth side down, on a kitchen towel. Trim stem flush with leaf (if leaf is extra large, trim to about 5 1/2 inches wide), saving any trimmings. Spoon 1 tablespoon filling onto leaf near stem end and tightly roll up filling in leaf, folding in sides and squeezing roll to pack filling. (Roll should be about 3 1/2 inches long.) Make more rolls using remaining filling in same manner.

Cook grape leaves:
Heat broth just to a simmer and keep warm, covered. Line bottom of a large heavy pot with leaf trimmings and any remaining whole leaves and arrange rolls, seam sides down, close together in layers over leaves, seasoning each layer with salt. Drizzle with 4 tablespoons oil and remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice and cover with an inverted heatproof plate slightly smaller than pan, pressing down gently.

Add just enough broth to reach rim of plate and bring to a boil. Cook rolls at a bare simmer, covered with plate and lid, 50 minutes (stuffed leaves should be tender, but filling should not be mushy). Remove from heat and transfer rolls with tongs to large trays to cool, brushing with remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until cool.

This is from epicurious. It took a while, they were okay.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Muenster Cheese Souffle w/ red pepper and tomato salad

I bought the cheese for this 5 days before making it. Everytime I daughter would open the fridge she would bitterly complain about the smell that it waqs making. I am a huge fan of stinky cheese, but this one was getting out of control. I've never made a souffle before. I've also never--that I can recall--tasted french muenster. Panko is a first as well. I've gotta figure out a way to use the rest of it. These came from epicurious. The souffle I did without adjustments. The salad I changed.

1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)*
3 large eggs, separated
1 cup 1/3-inch cubes rindless French Muenster cheese (about 4 ounces)

1. Bring milk just to simmer in small saucepan; remove from heat. Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour; cook roux 2 minutes, whisking constantly (do not brown). Gradually whisk in warm milk. Cook until sauce is smooth and thick enough to drop from whisk in thin ribbon, whisking constantly, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in cumin and season generously with salt and pepper; transfer to medium bowl. Cool 10 minutes. (Soufflé base can be made ahead. Press plastic wrap onto surface. Let stand 2 hours or chill 1 day. Bring to room temperature before using.)
2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter 4- to 5-cup soufflé dish; coat inside with panko. Whisk egg yolks into soufflé base 1 at a time; stir in cheese cubes. Beat egg whites and pinch of salt in another medium bowl until stiff but not dry.
3. Fold egg whites into soufflé base in 3 additions; transfer to prepared dish.
4. Bake soufflé until puffed, brown on top, and firm but jiggly to touch, about 28 minutes. Spoon soufflé onto 4 plates. Arrange salad alongside and serve.

Test-kitchen tip: To cube soft Muenster cheese, pare off the rind, then cut cheese into 1/3-inch slices. Freeze slices 15 minutes to firm, then cut into small cubes. Separate cubes on plate and chill. *Available at some supermarkets and at Asian markets.

Makes 4 servings.

24 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup 1/4-inch cubes red bell pepper
1/3 cup 1/4-inch cubes drained roasted red pepper from jar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 c. blasamic vinegar
1 teaspoon of ground cumin

Combine all ingredients in medium bowl. Season salad with salt and pepper. (Can be made 3 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature, tossing occasionally.)

It was okay. I told my daughter they were called Shy Eggs and not to scare them by yelling or jumping around them while they cooked. This was a good ploy, but when it came time to eat them she just cooed at them. I'm not a fan of french muenster. If I make a souffle again it will be with cheddar.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Bronwen's Guacamole

Since I didn't do anything yesterday I am making 2 today. I am at my mother's house and my sister and her husband aree living here for a while. She and her huband met while they were both working at a cooking school in Oaxaca. She learned how to make a damn good guac while there (amoung other things) and today she told me how.

The proprtions are to taste.

nice ripe avocados
lime juice
white onion
fresh jalapeno

mash up diced onion, jalepeno and cilantro in a mortor and pestle. Mix in with mashed avocado, add juice and salt to taste.

serve with corn tortilla chips you make yourself.

Flounder with Tomato, Pepper and Bacon

My husband is the fish eater in the family. Since reading it can poison you I now have an excuse to not have to eat it very often. But my husband snuck off to the farmers market in Park Slope and brought home not delicious baked goods or cheese like I would like, but flounder. Blech. I make this meal with a heavy heart.

6 slices of lean bacon, chopped fine
1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
2/3 cup minced red or yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
a 28-ounce can tomatoes including the juice, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried basil
six 1/2-pound flounder fillets, halved lengthwise and seasoned with salt
and pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil

In a skillet cook the bacon over moderate heat until it is crisp, transfer it to paper towels to drain. In the fat remaining in the skillet cook the shallot and the pepper over moderately low heat, stirring, for 3 minutes, add the wine, and boil the mixture, scraping up the brown bits, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes with the juice, the basil, and salt and pepper to taste and simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until it is thickened.

On a work surface arrange the flounder fillet halves, beginning with the narrow end roll up each fillet half jelly-roll fashion, and secure each roll with a wooden pick.

In an oiled flameproof baking pan, arrange the fish rolls, seam sides down and not touching each other, pour the sauce evenly over them, and bake the mixture in the middle of a preheated 400°F. oven for 10 minutes. In a bowl stir together the the parsley, the bacon, and salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle the topping over the rolls. Drizzle the fish rolls with the oil and bake the mixture for 10 minutes, or until the fish just flakes. (For a crisper topping, the cooked mixture may be broiled under a preheated broiler about 4 inches from the heat for 1 to 2 minutes.)

Whatever. I drank my dinner that night. I served the left overs cold to my son the next day. Does that make me a bad mom? Am I shrinking his brain? My daughter wouldn't touch it. As much as I hate to toss any food at all, ever. . . 30% of this ended up in the trash.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Happy Birthday MOM!

Today was my mother's 65th birthday. So, to celebrate such an auspicious occastion we took her to a road side burger joint in upstate NY. I know, it sounds terrible of us, but she said it sounded like fun. We brought a few bottles of champagne, cupcakes and candles. It ended up being big fun --as most things are after the better half of a bottle of champagne. For her birthday gift I promised to take her to au pied de cochon in Montreal. They try to kill you with foie gras there. The head chef there opened up Toque, which for a while was my favorite restaurant.

Chicken Green Curry

Since the Squid Salad turned out so well I figured I would try this out. Agian, a mix of a bunch of similar recipes that I found around the web. I've never made a Thai curry before and am interested what is involved.

1 14-ounce can light unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 cup canned low-salt chicken broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup sliced green onions
1 1/4 cups chopped fresh basil

1. Stir coconut milk, curry paste and ginger in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until paste dissolves, about 1 minute. Mix broth and cornstarch in small bowl until cornstarch dissolves; mix into skillet. Stir until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add chicken, fish sauce and lime juice. Simmer over medium heat until chicken is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Add bell pepper, green onions and basil and cook 2 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, cook linguine in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally.

Blah, ugly, spicy but missing a layer of flavor someplace. I was hoping to get something delicious like I used to get when I would order from East Village Thai. No such luck. I'm going back to take out if I want this. Mow, I just have to figure out what to do with the remaining green curry.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Basil Pesto

I have been buying these huge bunches of basil for $.99. I use about half of it before it starts to wilt. So, I'm making pesto with the remainders. I'm making up the recipe from what I seem to recall my ex-step-grandmother made it with.

A large amount of fresh pesto
a large chunk of high quality parmigiana cheese (or asiago cheese)
high quality ex. virgin olive oil
garlic -I used pre-chopped because fresh tends to get very over powering if uncooked.

Throw it all in a blender or food processor. I used My baby food maker, which I guess is really just a small blender. Blend until it looks like pesto.

This is goooood. Really good. I'm going to freeze half of it.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Hoisin Chicken in Lettuce Leaves

I got this one from epicurious.com. I had something like it once when I accidentally went to Scottsdale AZ in July. It is pretty much the only thing I remember from the trip. My head was on fire most of the time I was there.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 scallions, chopped (1/4 cup)
2 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 lb total), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 c. chopped yellow sweet pepper or water chestnuts or snowpeas
1/4 cup bottled hoisin sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon rice vinegar (not seasoned)
1/2 cup chopped or crushed peanuts (2 1/2 oz)
12 large red- or green-leaf lettuce leaves -- I will use iceberg next time.

1.Heat a wok or a 12-inch heavy skillet (not nonstick) over moderately high heat until just smoking, then add oil. Add ginger, salt, and 2 tablespoons scallions and stir-fry until ginger is fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add chicken and stir-fry until just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Add water chestnuts, hoisin sauce, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and pine nuts and stir-fry until heated through, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons scallions.
2. scoop into lettuce and eat

This was good and easy and took about 4 seconds to make. It is not an entire meal. Maybe lunch or an app. Both my kids ate it. My husband said he "really really liked it!". But I think he was lying. Do not skip the peanuts.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Thai Squid Salad

I am making this one up from a bunch of different sources. I'm trying to end up with something similar to my husbands favorite thing to order that thai restaurants. I've never cooked with squid of fish sauce before. I've also never attempted anything thai-esque before.

2-1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp Asian fish sauce (nuoc nam)
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp chopped garlic
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp sugar (I used brown sugar, but you could use regular or splena)
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
1 pound cleaned squid
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves

1/2 c. chopped roasted peanuts

1. In 4-quart saucepan, combine 3 quarts water and 2 teaspoons salt; heat to boiling over high heat.
2. Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, crushed red pepper, vinegar, garlic, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir until sugar has dissolved. Stir in shallot.
3. Rinse squid under cold running water. Slice squid bodies crosswise into very thin rings. Cut tentacles into several pieces if large. Add to boiling water and cook until tender and opaque, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Drain and add to dressing in bowl. Add lettuce, mint, and cilantro; toss until mixed and coated with dressing.
can be served with rice noodles or greens
Yield: 4 servings
If you serve this over noodles you should double up the dressing.

This ended up being spot on. If I wasn't trying to make another 300 something different dishes I would make this one again right away. Cooking the squid was simple. It really does only take 2 minutes.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Part of the reason I am able to make a different meal everyday--actually more why I have been inspired to do so is because a Fairway opened in Brooklyn. Fairway is the greatest grocery store ever (Trader Joe's is a close second--but fairway has an amazing produce section and is HUGE). They have an insane bakery. I have been buying the most enourmous ciabatta breads. They are the size of pillows. I cut them up and freeze them. Also, I thought this looked great too.

It is a mixture of a few different sources.

3/4 pound day-old crusty peasant-style whole-grain bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
2 large tomatoes (about 1 pound), trimmed and each cut into 8 wedges
3/4 cup sliced unwaxed cucumber
1/2 cup sliced red onion
your favorite vinegrette
10 fresh basil leaves, shredded
2 tbsp. parmasian cheese
freshly ground black pepper

1. add fresh mozz. cheese for a heartier salad.
2. In a serving bowl stir together the bread, the tomatoes, the cucumber, the onion, the oil, the vinegar, the basil, and salt and pepper to taste until the salad is combined well.
Serves 4 to 6.

I loved this. My 10 mo. son loved it. My 3 year old didn't spit it out which is a rave review from her. You have to eat it all fast or it gets gross.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Fennel and Orange Tomato Sauce

Today I am going to start simple and make a fennel and Orange tomato sauce. I'm never cooked with Fennel before. The recipe is from Sept. Oct. 2006 Cook's Magazine. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to publish the recipe, but I will until I get a cease and desist letter.

This is enough for 1 lb of pasta

4 tbs. ex. virgin olive oil
1 med. bulb of fennel, cored, stalks removed and diced
2 med. cloves of garlic diced
.5 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 strips of orange peels 1 in. X 3 in.
3 tbs. orange juice
3 lbs of ripe tomatoes cored, seeded peeled and diced
3 tbs. fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon Ground black pepper

1. cook fennel in OO for 4-6 min. then add garlic, peel, fennel seeds, pepper flakes. Cook for 30 sec. then add tomatoes. Cook that for 10 min.
2. remove peel then add juice, basil salt and pepper and sugar if it seems like it needs it.
3. serve over pasta w/ 2 more tbs. of OO

So I followed the recipe to the T. No substitutions of changes. I used the very available NJ (local) tomatoes. They have been terrific in everything we have used this in so far this season. Peeling and seeding them was kind of a pain (you have to boil them for a short time until the skin splits then run them under cold water and the skin peels away).

This recipe turned out to be a real dog. Flavorless for the most part. It might bee better if I doubled of tripled everything but the tomatoes. I froze it thinking that maybe I will dress it up later on. Hey, it might even taste better latter, but I doubt it.

UPDATE: I recently deforsted and tried this sauce and it didn't suck at all.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Plan

So the plan is to make a different dish every single day for 365 days. I can cheat, say if I am on vacation, or not feeling like it. . . I can make 2 the next day. The other goal is that I have to use ingrediences I have never used before, or techniques I am unfamiliar with.

So, well see how this goes.