Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Perpetual Hunger! is back! and with a new mission statement...

My portion of this blog will now will be devoted to eating healthfully, CHEAPLY, and DELICIOUSLY!

Here are some things I want to make in the near future:

Homemade Celery Salt (FOR EGG SALAD YUM!)

I've made celery salt with a number of different types of salt, and the flaky, whispers of Maldon sea salt is my current favorite. The shards are similar in size to the crumbled celery leaves, which works nicely. With some of the finer sea salts, you get more separation. Which is not what you want.

Leaves from one bunch of celery
flaky sea salt (see head notes)

Pick the leaves from each celery stalk, leaving the stems behind. The outer leaves tend to be dark green and hearty, the inner leaves pale green and tender. I use them all.

Rinse the leaves with cold water in a strainer, then shake off as much of the water as you can. At this point you want to dry the leaves as much as possible, so they toast (not steam) when you cook them. Gently pat them dry in a clean dish towel, or paper towels. Once dry you have two options for toasting the leaves.

1) If I have a lot of leaves, I arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet, then bake in a 350F / 180C oven for about 5-7 minutes. Bake until dehydrated and crispy, but not browned.

2) If I have fewer leaves, or just don't feel like heating the oven, I'll throw them in a large skillet. Single layer if possible, over medium-low heat. Again, you want to barely toast them, not brown the leaves much.

In either case, when you're done cooking. Remove from heat and let the leaves cool completely. They'll crisp up even more at this point. When cool, use your fingers to crumble the leaves completely, discarding any leaves that aren't crispy.

Combine equal parts celery leaves and salt in a jar, and either stir or shake to distribute the celery leaves evenly throughout.

Prep time: 5 min - Cook time: 5 min

Chopped Miso Salad Recipe

I used Westbrae Natural Organic Mellow Brown Rice Miso for the dressing. If you like the flavor of sesame oil - go ahead and add it to your dressing in fact you can go ahead and add it "to taste" - although sometimes I like to go a bit more neutral and skip rhe sesame oil altogether. I also had two small heads of little gem lettuce so I threw them in here as well. You can use any kind of extra-firm tofu you like here - this salad works well with baked tofu or plain. Tofu cooked in a skillet for a few minutes to take on some color is great - I cheated a bit and used Soy Deli baked tofu (savory) for the salad pictured up above.

1 1/2 cups shallots, skinned and thinly sliced
splash of extra-virgin olive oil
pinch of salt

2 tablespoons miso
1/2 teaspoon powdered mustard (or a bit of whatever mustard you have around)
2 tablespoons brown sugar (or honey or agave)
1/4 cup (brown) rice vinegar
1/3 cup mild flavored extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon pure toasted sesame oil (optional)

1/2 of a medium-large cabbage
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/2 medium red onion, sliced
3/4 cup chives, minced
8 ounces extra-firm tofu (see headnotes), room temperature

Stir together the shallots, splash of olive oil and big pinch of salt In a large skillet over medium heat. Stir every few minutes, you want the shallots to slowly brown over about 15 minutes. Let them get dark, dark brown (but not burn). if needed turn down the heat. Remove them from the skillet and onto a paper towel to cool in a single layer. they should crisp up a bit.

Make the dressing by whisking the miso, mustard, and brown sugar together. Now whisk in the rice vinegar and keep whisking until it's smooth. Gradually whisk in the olive oil, and then the sesame oil. Two pinches of fine grain salt. Taste and make any adjustments if needed.

Cut the cabbage into two quarters and cut out the core. Using a knife shred each quarter into whisper thin slices. The key here is bite-sized and thin. If any pieces look like they might be awkwardly long, cut those in half.

Gently toss the cabbage, shallots, almonds, red onion, chives and tofu in a large mixing/salad bowl. Add a generous drizzle of the miso dressing and toss again - until the dressing is evenly distributed. Add more a bit at a time if needed, until the salad is dressed to your liking.

Serves 3 - 4 as a main dish, 6 - 8 as a side.

Summer Corn Salad

Save the corn cobs if you like - you can simmer them for a while to make a quick corn stock. I did this for a corn soup recently - turns out great. Also, if Mexican oregano is hard for you to come by, you can substitute fresh oregano, or chives, or whatever herbs you like, really. Mexican oregano is unique, potently fragrant, and zesty and earthy all at once - I have a fondness for it with corn, and with mushrooms as well.

6 ears of corn
1 large shallot, minced

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
v. scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons sunflower oil

3/4 cup / 4 oz / 115g toasted pepitas
3/4 cup / 4 oz / 115g toasted sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano

Feisty Green Beans

Use a white wine that you'd want to drink after opening. And for those of you looking to speed things up, you don't need to slice the green beans, but it was a good call, the sauce gets into all the nooks and crevices.

1 pound green beans, thinly sliced (see photo)
1/2 cup / 2.5 oz / 70g golden raisins
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced
3 bay leaves
1/3 cup / 80 ml white wine
1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
scant 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
6 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup / 120 ml crème fraîche or sour cream
1/4 cup / 3/4 oz / 20g sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup / one handful of finely chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the green beans in a pot of well-salted boiling water for about a minute, just long enough that they lose their raw edge. Drain and dunk in ice-cold water to stop the cooking. Drain again and set aside.

In a small bowl cover the raisins with scalding hot water for five minutes, drain and set aside.

Heat your largest skillet over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the oil, garlic, onion, and bay leaves. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the onions and garlic start to brown just a bit. Add the wine and cook until it has mostly evaporated. Carefully remove the bay leaves. Stir in the paprika, cumin, coriander, curry powder, salt, crushed red pepper flakes. Stir in the tofu and raisins and cook until heated through, a minute or so. Add the butter and green beans and stir until the butter has melted. Remove from heat and stir in the crème fraiche, then most of the almonds and most of the cilantro. Taste and add more salt and some pepper if you like. Serve topped with any remaining almonds and cilantro.

Serves 4 to 6.

Inspired by a recipe in Anna Getty's Anna Getty's Easy Green Organic, to be published by Chronicle Books, 2010.
Prep time: 30 min - Cook time: 15 min

Simple Cauliflower Recipe

To make this recipe vegan, just omit the Parmesan cheese finish - still delicious.

2 - 3 heads of small cauliflower (or 1/2 head large)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
a couple pinches of sea salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small bunch of chives, chopped
zest of one lemon
freshly grated Parmesan
a bit of flaky sea salt

To prep the cauliflower, remove any leaves at the base and trim the stem. Now cut it into tiny trees - and by tiny, I mean most florets aren't much larger than a table grape. Make sure the pieces are relatively equal in size, so they cook in the same amount of time. Rinse under running water, and set aside.

Heat the olive oil and fine grain salt in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the cauliflower and stir until the florets are coated. Wait until it gets a bit brown on the bottom, then toss the cauliflower with a spatula. Brown a bit more and continue to saute until the pieces are deeply golden - all told about six minutes. In the last 30 seconds stir in the garlic.

Remove from heat and stir in the chives, lemon zest, and dust with a bit of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a pinch of flaky sea salt (if you have it on hand). Serve immediately.

Serves 2-3 as a side.

Cashew Curry Recipe

There are few things as satisfying as cooking with your own freshly ground curry powder. I've included a favorite curry powder recipe below.* I use an electric spice grinder, and then sift the powder through a sieve to rid it of any remaining over-sized particles. Feel free to play around with other seasonal vegetables here. And as I mention up above, feel free to experiment with other curry powders as well. Because each curry powder is different, if you aren't sure about the amount of curry powder to use, start with a little on the front end, and add a bit at a time (after you add the water), until it tastes good to you.

1 cup whole coconut milk
1 - 2 tablespoons curry powder*
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 large red onion, chopped
1 medium garlic clove, chopped
1/3 cup water
4 ounces firm tofu, cut into small cubes (optional)
1 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch segments
1 1/2 cups cauliflower, cut into tiny florets
1/3 cup cashews, toasted
a handful of cilantro, loosely chopped

Bring half of the coconut milk to a simmer in a large skillet or pot over medium-high heat. Whisk in the curry powder and salt, working out any clumps. Now stir in the chopped red onion and garlic and cook for a minute. Stir in the remaining coconut milk and the water, and then the tofu. Cook down the liquid for a couple minutes before adding the green beans and cauliflower. Cover and simmer for just about one minute, maybe two - or just until the cauliflower and beans lose their raw edge and cook through a bit. Remove the pot from heat and stir in the cashews. Taste and adjust the seasoning (salt / curry powder) if needed. Serve with a bit of cilantro topping each bowl.

Serves Serves 2-3.

*I like to make my own curry powder on occasion using the freshest whole spices I can come by. This curry powder has evolved from one I read about in Sri Lanka a few years back - if you like more heat, add another red chile or two. In a dry skillet over medium heat toast 4 dried red chiles, 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, 1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds, and 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves. Toast for just a minute or two or until the spices are deeply fragrant. Now use a spice grinder to grind the chiles into a powder first, remove them, then grind the spices - it usually takes a couple minutes in the grinder for each. Place in a small bowl and stir in a scant tablespoon of ground turmeric, and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Sift through a medium-fine sieve to weed out any clumps and your curry powder is ready to use. Makes a scant 1/3 cup.

Thai-spiced Pumpkin Soup Recipe

Keep in mind that different Thai curry pastes have differing strengths. Start with a teaspoon to start and then build from there until the soup has a level of spiciness and flavor that works for your palete. Top with toasted pumpkin seeds.

2 acorn squash, pumpkins, or other smallish winter squash
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
1 teaspoon (or more) red Thai curry paste
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt (or to taste)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place the oven racks in the middle.

Carefully cut each squash/pumpkin into halves (or quarters). Slather each piece of squash with butter, sprinkle generously with salt, place on a baking sheet skin sides down, and place in the oven. Roast for about an hour or until the squash is tender throughout.

When the pumpkin/squash are cool enough to handle scoop it into a large pot over medium high heat. Add the coconut milk and curry paste and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and puree with a hand blender, you should have a very thick base at this point. Now add water a cup at a time pureeing between additions until the soup is the consistency you prefer - a light vegetable stock would work here as well. Bring up to a simmer again and add the salt (and more curry paste if you like, I used just shy of 6 teaspoons but the curry paste I use is not over-the-top spicy).

Serves six.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

My Love for New York: Rekindled

I'm one for simplicity when it comes to food. And I don't like Kitsch or Hype. If I know that wherever I'm going is sure to flavor combine in insulting ways or have a long line of people dressed for a "night on the town", chances are you won't find me wanting to be there.

After living in the East Village, I became overwhelmed with both Kitsch and Hype, with the Momofuku empire reigning surpeme on both accounts. I stopped writing in this blog, and I stopped going out to eat.

I've since moved.

And I've sinced remembered why New York is such a great place to eat.

Perpetual Hunger usually focuses on home cooked food, but there are a few recent dining adventures I'd like to point out:

1. Spicy Mina: This Bangladeshi (Bengali??) restaurant in Woodside/Jackson Heights, Queens is everything you hope for. Cheesy, small, and run by one older woman named Mina who makes everything herself. Get the Shrimp Dopeaja and the Lamb Curry.

2. Kanoyama: Here's an East Village restaurant worth checking out. Best Sushi I've had in New York, and the best bang for your buck as well. Go with someone else and get the sushi for two.

3. Primorski's: Take the trek to Brighton Beach to go to this place. Bring a crowd. Bring an even number. This Soviet dance hall/restaurant serves awesome Georgian/Russian food and if you go during a specific time (look it up I'm too lazy!), you can get a Prix Fixe dinner for two that will blow your mind. You each pay 15 bucks. 15 bucks. That includes: getting the vegetable appetizer platter which features a GIANT platter of various pickles, salads, and other ways of preparing vegetables. I specifically recall a delicious chickpea and breadcrumb salad that made my evening. Then, if you happen to get the fried trout, expect an entire whole trout, deep fried to perfection, eyeballs and all, with tartar sauce, and the rest of the plate piled with perfectly fried potatoes. Then, you get a pastry for dessert. It's ridic.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

My Favorite Meal

Moules Marinières. Eaten on Suzanne's roof.



Monday, March 29, 2010

Jeffrey and a Communal Dinner

So, who is my second cousin once removed, you might be wondering? None other than New York's rock star butcher, Jeffrey Ruhalter. That's right. My great-grandma was his grandfather's sister. Obviously.

I'd be meaning to head down to the Essex St. Market to introduce myself to Jeffrey for awhile, but shyness got the best of me, until this past Saturday. With a spurt of bravado, and a little moral support from Suzanne, I trekked down to the LES, and found the man ready to help me himself, ponytail and all.

I met his lady-friend, and ended up with a giant gorgeous steak and a beautiful second cut brisket, at a VERY family-friendly price. Thanks Jeffrey!!!!

I had every intention of Jew-ing that brisket up with some red wine. That is, until Suzanne took me to the GIANT BEER WHOLESALE WAREHOUSE on Chrystie St. After that, the meat had a lot of beer in its future.

I slow cooked that sucker in a bottle of beer and some broth, chili peppers, tomato paste, 1 turkish bay leaf, thyme, and black peppercorns. Everything eventually melted and broke down into a thick, spicy sauce. The beef was super moist, and I even attempted to do things right and cut it against the grain with my shittay knife. If there were any of this brisket left (of course, the five of us around ate it all), it would have been prime stacked high on a toasted bun. Slow cooked beef sandwich, oh yes...

We made sage corn bread in my cast iron skillet to accompany.

In conclusion: Jeffrey rocks.

In other news, NYU paid for me to cook a communal dinner at my dorm yet again.

What I made:

-Swiss Chard lasagna featuring fresh pasta and Grana Padano cheese

-Poached Bosc pears in red wine, vanilla, and ginger served with the wine sauce reduced, and fresh Whipped Cream with cardamom, cinnamon, and rose water

-Raw radishes served French style: with room temp butter and sea salt

The joy I get from the frivolous spending with these dinners is remarkable. One of my key pointless buys was Burro di Parma. This is a super expensive Italian butter from the Parma region that is a by-product of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese making. It actually smells like the cheese. It's super crazy. And NYU paid for it.



Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Taste of 7th St. plus another Gem worth noting...

READ: Click the names of places for links!

Brian and I split the Taste of 7th St. food tour offered by Scoop St. It was 18 dollars and included the following:

1. An Arepa from Caracas Arepa Bar . They gave everyone a regular sized "De Pabellón" Arepa which is a doughy disc thing stuffed with shredded beef, queso fresco-y cheese, sweet plantains and some black beans. It comes with spicy creamy sauce. Honestly, kids, this is about as ridiculously great as great can be. If this makes you hot, check out the end of my post, where I dote on the Pupusa (Salvadoran), which I bought for much cheaper (normally) in Brooklyn, and is basically the same thing.

2. A giant smoothie from Xoom. We chose the "Paint It Blackberry", but could have opted for something more interesting and fun. I would recommend that. Our choice was perfect for the Arepa, but if you're there only for a smoothie mission there were some crazy options on the menu that would probably be more fun. However, I still assert that anyone can make good smoothies at home.

3. 2 Butter Lane Cupcakes. Butter Lane seems to think their cupcakes aren't as "sweet" as others, according to their website. This is entirely untrue. The icing was so sweet is was almost TOO sweet. From me, this is even surprising. The cake itself wasn't anything to speak for, either, although it certainly was enjoyable. It's a cupcake, after all. Again, I would say that this establishment wins for fun-factor. The "Elvis" cupcake is a banana variety with peanut butter frosting.

4. Luke's Lobster Roll. This was the most visually disappointing, and therefore the most rewarding in the end. When we went to Luke's, we had been granted giant portions of the afore-mentioned items, and so when the palm-sized half-roll with a bit of pink and white falling out of it came into our hands, it was a bit of a let down. That is, until we tried it. EAT THIS LOBSTER ROLL! It was light, buttery, super juicy, and really really yummy. This guy is crave-worthy. So great. I want another one right now.

5. And finally, the 7th St. pig maker we all know and love, Porchetta. My secret? This was my first taste of Porchetta! Brian's description of "Roast Pork that tastes like Stuffing" is entirely accurate. There's a sage disposition here, and the meat is so tender that it really does have a stuffing-like quality. Brian was sad there were no crispy bits on our sandwich, but I enjoyed it VERY much even just being melty and tender. Better yet, they serve it on a Sullivan St. Ciabatta. YOM.

So there was the food tour. So worth it. I'd never heard of Scoop St. until I did this, and now they are offering some 160 buck Yoga crap that I would never buy, but maybe one day they will bring me a Flushing Queens food tour or something else that I'd fall to my knees for.

As an ender, I'd like to introduce everyone to Bahia Restaurant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a Salvadoran establishment which specializes in the "Pupusa", which is basically the same thing as an "Arepa", although I'm sure there are differences that I don't feel like looking up. Basically, if you're in to a corn/wheat flour dough stuffed with Latin American Things, this is your place.

For two, that's right, TWO DOLLARS, you can get one. My group ordered... well, a lot more than one. Luckily a time constraint prevented all of us from hurting ourselves. I'll save a long discussion and just tell you what to order there now:

Jalapeno con Queso Pupusa (Pupusas come with a cabbage slaw you eat on top)
Queso con Loroco Pupusa
Revueltas Pupusa
Fried Sweet Plantains con Crema
Sweet Empanada de Leche

Thank me later. Also try the ten thousand other things on the menu that all look delicious and incredible. Cheap beers.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Healthy Whole Wheat and Flax Scone Recipe

from the original post at

Makes 2 Large Scones, Serves 1

1/2 cup White Whole Wheat Flour (essential! This is a whole wheat flour ground from a White Wheat, rather than Red, so it is lighter and has the mouth feel of processed white flour, but IS WHOLE GRAIN)
2 Tablespoons Golden Ground Flax Seed (optional? You don't have to, and I don't think it will affect the recipe, but I've never left them out, so be wary)
1 Tablespoon Aluminum Free Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons good cold unsalted Butter
1/3 Cup cold Buttermilk OR regular Milk with a few splashes of light (rice, white, apple cider) vinegar mixed in
A splash of Vanilla Extract
Large Crystal Sugar to top (quite optional)

*Be sure to keep many of these ingredients on hand for quick tweaking before baking. The dough texture and dryness are what make a good scone.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare yourself for the best breakfast experience ever. Place all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. Have cold buttermilk or milk/vinegar mixture prepared and in the fridge. You can add the vanilla to the milk to make everything quicker. Add cold butter to the bowl. With a long pronged fork, smash the butter into the dry ingredients, until the bowl is filled with little flakes of butter. To be honest, I never measure the butter, I just take a few huge chunks and start going at it. (By the way, butter is good for you. These scones are still healthy.)To scrape fork while mixing, use a knife, not your hands. This does not have to be precise, and while it should be incorporated, bigger flakes of butter mean a flakier scone. After this is completed, quickly make a well in the center of the flour/butter, and add the milk and vanilla. Use fork to gently combine ingredients. The dough should be quite dry, and getting the last bits of flour to pull together should be a small battle. Give the dough a few pushes and squeezes with your hand just to smooth it out and place on the center of a quickly buttered sheet pan. Make a square-ish shape, and then cut in half with a pastry cutter (great investment), or knife to make a classic scone triangle. Top with the sugar if desired, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until just golden brown all over the top. Enjoy warm with clotted Devonshire cream (or lightly sweetened whipped cream) and jam, or just jam, but definitely include coffee or tea.

I've been enjoying these every morning. They make a really great breakfast, and can be spiced up any way. The ones above have added cinnamon, and I've recently been doing them with tons of huge frozen blueberries. Make them as savory or sweet as you like, but either way it's really fruity jam that gets them going. Just make them. Okay?