1 hour ago
Friday, March 7, 2014
It's 5:00 somewhere!
I say that everyday at around 4 pm.
Though I love wine, cocktails before dinner are a must. Not every night obviously, just on the weekends when we are out.
There are so many great "mixologists" in Manhattan (do you have to go to med school to earn that title?).
Everyone is using in-house infused gins with homemade lavender gooseberry syrup and other exotic stuff.
The egg white foam thing floating on top of my drink does not appeal, however, recently we had gin martinis w/ pickled Brussels sprouts.
You don't have to have these only in alcoholic beverages, you can eat them as a snack as part of an antipasto platter.
They are pickled vegetables. Good for any season.
You can really use any spices you like, and white or cider vinegar is fine.
Forget those blue cheese stuffed olives, try these in your next drink.
Pickled Brussels Sprouts:
2 lbs Brussels sprouts
2 cups cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup sea salt (non-iodized)
1 tbsp coriander or celery seeds
1 tbsp dried chili flakes
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp peppercorns
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
Blanch the sprouts whole for 3 minutes and place them in an ice bath to shock them to retain their color.
Boil the vinegar, sugar and rest of ingredients for a minute or two, until sugar is dissolved.
Place the cooled sprouts in jars and pour the vinegar solution over the vegetables, leaving 1/2" space at the top for sterlizing.
I don't sterilize my jars because we eat this within a month or two. Treat them like pickles, they will stay in the fridge as long as an open jar of pickles will.
Make sure you store unopened jars in the refrigerator.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Having a food blog, means I don't usually make the same thing twice, at least I don't write about it again.
In this case, I had to.
I made this "Trifecta" salad 4 years ago, and I forgot how good it was, so here it is again, for those of you who are new to this blog.
Try and use only yellow beets here, or you will have a red mess.
This is very simple to put together.
You will need 3 sheet pans. Make as many beets, potatoes and corn as you like.
Here's how: (recipe adapted from Once Upon a Tart)
On one tray, assemble quartered new or Yukon gold potatoes w/ olive oil and kosher salt.
On another tray, lay out a bag of defrosted frozen corn, also drizzled w/ oil and kosher salt (make sure the corn is no longer wet).
Tray #3 is for your quartered yellow beets. I used 3 large ones. You can peel the skin off easily after the beets are cooled.
Roast everything (all 3 trays) in a 425F oven for about 30-40 minutes. The corn will probably be done first, so keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn.
Mix all the roasted veggies together in a bowl and squeeze with the juice of a lemon.
Drizzle some good olive oil on top and sprinkle w/ sea salt and black pepper. Taste for seasonings.
Garnish with fresh chives or chopped cilantro.
Serve warm or room temp. Do not refrigerate.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Those who know me, know that I love languages.
I speak nothing perfectly.
My English is very New Jersey, with a little bit of a New York accent thrown in.
My French is up to first year college level, and I still can't have a conversation; and my Italian is the same, only with a good accent.
However, I speak food fluently.
I can order in any French restaurant in France, and the same goes for Italy.
I can understand the waiters if they speak slowly enough, and I certainly know how to point.
But I like a challenge.
Everyday I read this French food blog called Mais pourquoi est-ce que je vous raconte ça... (Dorian's Cuisine). I believe it translates to "why am I telling you this?".
This Monsieur is an animal.
Though I can not really understand most of his posts, his photos are enough to make me bookmark his recipes.
He cooks everything I love.
His photos are beautiful and he is witty and sarcastic too (my kind of guy).
I try and convert the metric measurements to US equivalents to the best of my abilities (and the help of a google converter), and enjoy the challenge.
This recipe is simple enough. How can I mess up some cookies?
Let's learn French.
Dorian's Cookies w/ Nuts & Chocolate: (Cookies aux noix et au chocolat)
1 œuf (1 egg)
90g de sucre (1/4 cup sugar.............*I used 1/3 cup)
180g de chocolat noir (vous pouvez bien sûr aussi utiliser du chocolat au lait) (about 3/4 cup of dark or milk chocolate)
120g de beurre (8 tbsp of 1 stick of butter, softened)
120g de farine (1 cup of flour)
½ càc de levure chimique (1/2 tsp of baking powder)
90g d'un mélange de noix et de noix de pécan (about 1/4 cup of mixed nuts, chopped)
quelques pincées de cristaux de sel (a pinch of Maldon sea salt or fleur de sel)
Mix the sugar with butter and egg until light.
Add in the nuts, flour, sea salt and baking powder.
Chop the chocolate and microwave for 20 seconds in a Pyrex glass measure, until just the tips are starting to soften.
Swirl in the batter to create a marbleized effect.
Chill the batter for 30 minutes in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 350F and line 2 baking sheets with a Silpat or parchment paper.
Using a rounded tablespoon measure, plop tablespoonfuls of batter onto the baking sheet.
Bake 13 minutes.
Transfer cookies to a cooling rack and let cookies cool.
Simple et délicieux!
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Here's my recipe for "Fat Tuesday", and I already feel fat.
I need something fresh & bright in my life (like the HOT SUN!).
All this snow and cold, I am pasty white, my feet are dry, my hair is staticky. I'm done with winter.
Sorry to be a complainer.
I want fresh vegetables and salads (by the way, we are going back to the MCG after all.......we did our penance and are forgiven.....paid our fees.....I'll tell you about it in another post).
I have herbs in the house, so why not make tabbouleh? That wonderful fresh, Middle Eastern mezze that is always served with hummus and pita.
I found a nice Lebanese version in Food & Wine, but I didn't have bulgur, so I used quinoa instead.
The results were terrific.
I was attracted to the cinnamon and allspice in the recipe, not sure if that is a typical ingredient in tabbouleh, but it was great.
I served it along side poached salmon and it definitely brightened my day.
Tabbouleh made w/ Quinoa:
1/3 cup of quinoa, cooked as per directions and cooled
2 cups fresh parsley, stems removed
1/3 cup of fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup tomatoes, diced
zest and juice of a small lemon
pinch of sea salt & pepper
1/8 tsp of cinnamon
1/8 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp allspice
1/2 white onion, minced
olive oil to drizzle
In a food processor or mini chopper, pulse the mint and parsley until it is fine (but not paste).
Add the rest of the ingredients, adding in the cooled quinoa last.
Drizzle w/ lemon juice and olive oil, and season with sea salt & black pepper.
Monday, March 3, 2014
I whipped these up last night for an Oscar party.
I always have frozen shrimp in the freezer, and Trader Joe's Chili Corn Salsa on hand.
I ran out and bought a ripe avocado and some cilantro, put on a strapless red gown (NOT!), and 1,2,3, ready.
These were delicious and simple to make.
You can form the cakes in the a.m. and chill them up until ready for the frying pan.
Were you happy with last night's winners?
We saw just about every nominated film.
My picks were:
for Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey
Best Actress: Sandra Bullock
Best Picture: Nebraska, I loved it.
(I also loved Philomena, Blue Jasmine and Dallas Buyer's Club............hated August Osage County, cause the play was so much better........and American Hustle was a big borefest).
So there you have it.
Who says I'm opinionated?
Shrimp Cakes w/ Avocado Salsa: (adapted from Cooking Light) makes 12 cakes
1 lb. frozen shrimp, defrosted and tails removed
1/4 cup cilantro
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced
big handful of chopped scallions
1/2 red bell pepper, minced
1/2 cup of panko breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp salt & pepper
3 tbsp of mayo
dash or two of Tabasco sauce
Chop the shrimp very finely, or pulse a few times in a food processor.
Mix in the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl until well combined.
On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, form into 12 patties (I use a small ice cream scoop, them flatten).
For ideal consistency and guarantee no falling apart in the pan: freeze the cakes on the baking sheet for 1 hour (no more than that!). Otherwise, chill in the fridge for minimum 1 hour, you want your cakes nice and firm (yeah, I've been saying that for years!).
Fry the cakes in a heavy oiled skillet (canola or peanut oil is best), 3 minutes on each side.
Alternatively, if you want to save calories, you can bake these, instead of frying.
I baked the second batch directly on the baking sheet from the fridge to oven.
375F (I used my convection setting) for 9 minutes, flipping once after 5 minutes.
Top with this yummy Avocado Corn Salsa:
1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced
1/4 cup of defrosted corn (or Trader Joe's delicious chili corn salsa)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped seeded poblano pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Mix all together and heap on top of the cooked shrimp cakes.
These were also delicious served on Tostitos w/ Lime (guilty pleasure).
and the envelope please.................
Delicious! I win!
Friday, February 28, 2014
Many years ago, when Danny Meyer's Maialino opened in Gramercy Park, I had a slice of cake for dessert that changed me forever.
That was the night I fell in love with olive oil cakes.
It was so rich, moist and fragrant with oranges, I had to have the recipe.
I asked the waiter to please ask the chef if she/he would be so kind as to share this recipe with me.
He came out with a napkin scribbled with the ingredients on it.
Thank you! Thank you!
I was so thrilled. However, when I got home and took the napkin out of my purse, I realized they forgot to include the measurements!!! (or did they???).
So it was just a shopping list for:
Flour, Sugar, Ligurian Olive Oil, Eggs, Grand Marnier, Milk Orange Juice and Zest, etc.
I was so disappointed, and I have been forever trying to replicate that cake since that night.
Well, wouldn't you know. Leave it to Food52 to get that recipe and print it for the world to see!
There was my little napkin with the same ingredients, only this time, I have the measurements! Woo hoo!
What Food52 doesn't tell you, (because the chef told me in confidence!), the reason this cake tastes so good is that they use Ligurian olive oil. So, you see, I am in the know and have one leg up on them.
Well, I was out of Ligurian oil (which I love in dressings), so used my Colavita, a Sicilian mild flavored oil.
The recipe seems to use a lot of oil (1 1/3 cups), so make sure you are using a mild tasting one.
The chef also specified "make sure you use Grand Marnier". If you don't have a bottle, then go to the liquor store and buy one of those mini airplane bottles, the recipe only calls for 1/4 cup.
I am going to write out the recipe from Food52, I made it exactly how it was written, but trust me, it was not right.
You know I am always honest with you, some would say "blunt".
Here was the verdict:
I was very disappointed.
I had my hopes set very high for this cake and the restaurant version is so much better!!! WHY???????
My cake was much too wet in the center, almost uncooked, which I hate, so I tried saving it by cutting a big disc out of the center and we ate small pieces around the sides, and turned it into a ring cake.
I took the little center cake and wrapped it in foil and baked it for 15 minutes more, and we had a mini cake.
Disaster almost avoided.
Perhaps 1 1/3 cups of oil is too much? I have made better cakes using much less olive oil. Here is one that will knock your socks off.
The recipe calls for baking the cake in a 9" pan with 2" sides. I think a 10" springform would be better, then maybe the cake would've cooked properly in the middle.
Not sure what went wrong here, I am a pro when it comes to baking olive oil cakes.
I still love this slice when I dine at Maialino, but I am not sure if this is my favorite home version.
Maialino's Olive Oil Cake: (adapted from Food52)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (Ligurian or mild flavored one)
1 1/4 cup whole milk
3 large eggs
grated zest of 1 orange
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
(it sure seems like a lot of liquid, no?).
Heat the oven to 350°F.
Oil, butter, or spray a 9-inch springform cake pan that is at least 2" deep with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.
In a bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and powder. In another bowl, whisk the olive oil, milk, eggs, orange zest and juice and Grand Marnier.
Add the dry ingredients; whisk until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place on a baking sheet (my idea, so all that liquid wouldn't leak) and bake for 1 hour, until the top is golden and a cake tester comes out clean.
Transfer the cake to a rack and let cool for 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, invert the cake onto the rack and let cool completely, 2 hours.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
I cut this recipe out of Prevention Magazine about 20 years ago while waiting in a dentist's office.
Go figure, you have to get your teeth cleaned to find such a great recipe.
The title of the article was "Weight Loss".
Well, I haven't lost any weight after eating this dish, but it is simple, healthy and FANTASTIC!
I used to make this with freshly bought salmon, however, I had cooked salmon leftover from dinner and decided this was the perfect recipe for the leftover fish instead.
It may sound like a strange combination, but it works. It's delicious.
Try it, you'll like it.
Pasta with Salmon & Tomatoes:
4 oz. of pasta (I like farfalle)
1 tbsp capers
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 lb. of fresh salmon filet, cut into chunks (or cooked leftover salmon)
1 cup of cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/2-3/4 cup of dry white wine (I use Pinot Grigio)
fresh arugula or basil leaves
Start the pasta.
While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce.
In a large, deep skillet, heat the garlic and tomatoes in olive oil for one minute only, just until fragrant.
Add in the white wine on high heat and cook this sauce for 5 minutes.
If using fresh salmon, place the pieces of salmon in the sauce and cook for 4 minutes.
If using leftover salmon, then add in with the pasta at the end.
Drain the pasta and add to the skillet. Mix the pasta, salmon and sauce until coated.
Toss in fresh arugula or basil leaves at the last second.
I feel thinner already!
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Snarky Snacks says: this looks like a fancy pants lunch, but it is anything but.
I love the incredible, edible egg.
I eat one egg every single day.
I have normal cholesterol levels and would rather die eating eggs than die of leg cramps and side effects from Lipitor (don't get me started on that one).
Eggs are considered the "gold standard" for protein quality because their amino acids are the most digestible to humans.
There is so much new research about the health benefits of eggs. Eat the yolks too!
Egg yolks are one of the richest dietary sources of the B-complex vitamin choline, which is associated with better neurological function and reduced inflammation.
There is also evidence that dietary choline helps with fetal brain development when pregnant women eat it. Another side benefit of a diet rich in choline is happiness (works with serotonin).
I wake up happy everyday (I never thought eggs had anything to do with that).
You may like your hard boiled eggs cooked 10 minutes, or if you are my mom, then 15 minutes (along with her 2 hour baked chicken, well done), but I like my 7 minute egg.
It's a free country.
This month's Bon Appetit says that a 7 minute egg is "ready for ramen!".
Sriracha sauce, Sambal Oelik chili sauce, hot sauce, rooster sauce, whatever you like to call it, it's addictive.
A dab'll do ya, so use it sparingly or a trip to the ER is in your future.
It's on every college campus lunch table now, no more ketchup.
It seems people stock up on this stuff for fear of running out.
This is a great breakfast, snack or even quick appetizer.
Boil your eggs (I like mine jammy and warm) for 7 minutes.
Run under warm water immediately to peel off shells.
Dab a spot of creme fraiche, along with a dab of hot sauce.
Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.
Plop in mouth whole.
Lunch is served.
Hot and yummy!
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
What is brioche, you ask?
It is a light, French, airy, eggy yeast bread, best used for bread puddings, French toast or just plain eating (think challah bread).
I was attracted to this recipe on a French website, and could not resist trying it for a Sunday breakfast.
I love baking bread, but sometimes don't have the hours to plan the process.
This is not a traditional French brioche recipe, so go in knowing that.
The recipe only calls for an hour rise under a towel, so I couldn't resist. I am an impatient baker and hate waiting for yeast breads to rise on the counter for 8 hours plus.
This was so simple to put together. I used bread flour because I have a huge sack of it and wanted to use it before expiration date, but I recommend that you use all purpose flour.
I converted the metric measurements to the best of my abilities, and was rewarded with a winning loaf.
Chocolate Orange Brioche: (adapted from this French recipe)
3 cups of all purpose flour
1 package (7 grams) dry yeast
1 1/4 cup of warm milk
1/4 cup of confectioner's (powdered) sugar
4 tbsp melted butter
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup of chopped chocolate
zest of an orange
handful of sliced almonds for the top (optional)
1/4 cup of powdered sugar
1 tbsp orange juice
Preheat oven to 175F.
Dissolve yeast in the warm milk and add to the flour in a large bowl.
Mix in the rest of the ingredients to form a nice sticky dough.
Knead a few times with your hands until the dough is elastic, and transfer to a buttered form or round buttered casserole dish.
Sprinkle with the sliced almonds, if using.
Place a tea towel to cover and let rest in a warm spot for an hour or so. The warm butter and warm milk will help in the quick rise of this dough (and the low oven temp in the beginning). Science is cool.
After an hour (you are welcome to leave it there longer if you have the patience, 2 hours would be ideal), place the pot in the low temperature oven for 20 minutes............not much will happen at this point.
After 20 minutes of baking, raise the oven temp to 350F and bake for 40-45 minutes.
Let the bread rest in the pot until you can easily lift it out to a cooling rack.
Mix up icing ingdedients with a fork and decorate as you like.
My loaf was not as light and airy as I would've liked it to be, maybe because I used the bread flour instead of the AP flour?
or maybe I kneaded it too much, I like to play with the dough, which is a no no.
However, it was delicious, more like a babka or a good loaf of chocolate bread! We loved it.
Best enjoyed warm, the same day of baking, however, I will never say no to a slice the next day, slathered with butter.
This is one gorgeous loaf!