Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas! ...on a plate

The star of the show: a ham of delicious and epic proportions. ahh I'll just stare at this when I get lonely

Mashed potatoes: courtesy of ample sour cream, butter, milk, food mill, and heavy cream

Mustard vinaigrette green beans

Christmas Eve

Potato Gratin: looks fancy, tastes fancy...ridiculously simple

A bread of lovely texture and over yeast-ness

Oh Haddock, I miss you! Leave the skin on my friends.

Not pictured for Christmas eve: strawberry shortcake with cream biscuits and fresh whipped cream

All the Christmas Eve stuff was pretty easy. I made some 1 hour dinner rolls which really called for far too much yeast...but I did use it after all!

Potato Gratin: so easy and I'll so make it again Just slice up some Yukon Gold potatoes and layer them in a pan with salt and pepper..pour on some milk (don't skimp and use anything but whole) and in an hour...viola! crispy soft good ones...garnish with parsley

On to Christmas!

I'm really excited about the ham choice. We originally had some lame-o foil wrapped ham from the grocery store but I was difficult and wanted to get the one at the little market in town (of the more free rangey persuasion) and sooo worth it. I'm addicted and excited to later make soupppppe.

It got nice and crispy..but SO juicy. I made a glaze out of honey, brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup, vinegar, mustard, and dry mustard. Once you've had zis ham you never go back.

Vegetables: roasted onion, parsnips, and carrot with olive oil and thyme accompanied by roasted beets, green bean with vinaigrette, mashed potatoes (if you can call them vegetables)

top it off with raisin sauce!

For desert: banana bread pudding and pear pie (more about that later)

Ahh I'm quite full right now and I shall relish leftovers in the near future.

I think this is pretty all encompassing so Happy Winter Solstice!


HOLIDAAYYYZE...or I'm back with a food coma vengeance

Michelle made a pear tart and pecan pie

Oh jeez. The Spread: in plate form. Glazed carrots two ways, kale with nuts and raisins, crispity turkey, mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, biscuits, chestnut stuffing, peas n' corn, and cranberry sauce. nice to quaff: Pimm's winter and cider with a dash o' lemon

Seriously? Here's what was still in the garden on Thanksgiving day. Adorable wee carrots and some robust heads of kale!


I'd like to blame my camera issues on why I've been so lazy with the posting but really I've just been to unorganized/busy/not making much that's fabulous! Although there have been gems that I've wanted to document:

Lapin moutarde at Balthazar OH YES it's so worth it. tender tender rabbite with wee onions, whole grain mustard, over papardelle

tea and sympathy Christmas pie followed by apple crisp with m'azing custard

artery-land chorizo arepa at Caracas

Splendid cheese plate and fizzly lambrusco at Bar Veloce

roasted port with cabbage and dumpling chased by a .5 er of Staropramen and shot of zelena at Koliba

Anywho..about the above pictures hah this is from Thanksgiving, nearly one month ago. Just thought I'd be festive and prelude the Christmas food fest with something.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Home To-Make Pt.II

Spiced Honey Orange Sorbet

yeah just one more thing, but thought it was worth mentioning.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chocolate Review

I'm not a Lindt chocolate person. SORRY! My heart beats only for Valrhona, which you can find in giant chunks at Whole Foods. Those Lindt "truffles"? No way. No flavor, the chocolate middle is a tasteless goo.


Lindt has a new product on the market: A Touch of Sea Salt bar

oh my oh my. they made mommy very happy. the smooth, buttery dark(ish) chocolate is very appealing and then suddenly BAM, a lovely burst of salty-sweet in thy mouth.

not unlike a chocolate covered pretzel minus the pretzel.

delicious. still not sure why lindt's packaging has to look like a 1980's power trip, though.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Homemade Burgers, Fries and a Shake

1.Umami burgers (beef from Grazin' Angus Acres at Greenmarket) spiked with fish sauce and black pepper, topped with smoked cheddar cheese (Millport Dairy, also Greenmarket), caramelized onions and homemade ketchup. I went skimpy on the fish sauce in the beef 'cause I was afraid, but don't be! The burger was nice and juicy, but needed a bit more salt/umami. The buns were sesame kaiser rolls from Bread Alone, Greenmarket again! Important to toast bun in same cast iron skillet that beef was cooked in so it soaks up all the juices.
2.Oven fries crisped with some garlic salt, olive oil, and paprika.
3.Chocolate shake made with milk and organic chocolate ice cream.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Han Bat Korean Restaurant

a Kat & Cat adventure in K-town. 53 35th st.

A few questions:

1. How did Korean food get so expensive in a mere 3 years of my residing here?

2. Why did the famed New York 24 Hour close?

3. Why can't you write on the walls of every Korean restaurant?

Nevertheless, the food was tasty. My bibimbap was pretty great, and considering the starters and finishing orange segment, a 15 dollar bill isn't so bad, although certainly not a steal. I was mighty stuffed afterwards. For those of you who aren't familiar with the wonders of bibimbap, it's basically a bowl of yummily seasoned vegetables, beef, and cookeed egg that you dump a bowl of hot sticky rice into, squeeze on chili sauce, mix up, and eat. If you wanted to pay two dollars extra you could get the more special 'bap served in a scorching hot pot with a raw egg on top. You get the idea.

Kat got the Japchae (clear noodles) and Cat the Mandoo (dumplings)!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Heather's Southern Coconut Birthday Cake

It's triple layer, it's pink, it's Heather's birthday cake. It's a southern coconut cake with a cream cheese buttercream frosting. That's right: cream cheese buttercream. As weird as it sounds, it's a variety on a real Italian buttercream involving quasi candy-making and real meringue. So even though it looks like a giant Hostess snowball, this is actually the real deal.



Sunday, December 6, 2009

No Knead Bread

Jim Lahey of Sullivan St. Bakery's famed No-Knead bread dough = SUCCESS!

So easy. Recipe here:

My adjustments:

1. More salt.

2. I used dry active yeast and activated it with a bit of warm water and sugar first. I've read in a few places that it still works just adding the dry active, but I wanted to be safe.

3. No 300 dollar dutch oven... I used a 12 dollar pizza stone. I did the 2nd rise on a flat pan with lots of cornmeal and flour and a towel covering. Preheated the stone with the oven (very important), and then slid my fully puffed dough onto the pizza stone and baked for 45 minutes to an hour. Make sure to cut a few slits into the dough to let out steam and prevent huge holes after baking.

4. Filled a small loaf pan with boiling water from a kettle and put it in the oven with my dough to create some sort of steam.

It's really the perfect crusty white loaf. Great for soups, great with butter, just great. You know when you get that bread served at a restaurant that looks really good, but then it's cold and stale, and you wonder what it tasted like when it was fresh. This is that.



My list of to-makes for my winter break at home.

1. No Knead Olive Bread:

2. Soft Pretzels:

3. Poulet a la Fermiere:

More to come!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Quote of the Day

One time he got a phone call from somebody looking for 10 rabbits at the last minute, so he called up his “bunny guy” and had them at his counter within the hour.

“They were still warm,” said Ruhalter. “It turned out that they were for ‘The Martha Stewart Show.’ ”

-An article about Jeffrey Ruhalter, of Jeffrey's Meat Market on Essex St. Jeffrey is a relative of mine, and I've yet to introduce myself. That day will soon come.


Duck Ragu Lasagna


I'd been wanting to experiment with this one for a while now, and it's a good thing Suzanne and Patricia were there for moral support to say the least.


1. Lots of specialty foods operations are closed on Mondays, some of which include Raffetto's and Aphrodisia. Be warned.

2. Try to find fresh duck if possible.

3. Marjoram is a lie. It doesn't exist.

On to the recipe:

A few things changed in our recipe. First of all, we bought pasta (still fresh of course), used pecorino romano, and chervil instead of marjoram. Also our carrots were in matchstick form.

This was a really rich dish. It would be best served in small portions with a very acidic side salad. Upping the vegetable quantity would help as well.

I have to say that there was too much duck fat to handle. It would take a lot for me to say this, so know that it is true.

On the other hand, I didn't feel particularly gross or heavy after. I think because this sort of thing is so innately satisfying, it doesn't take much to register as a completed meal.
Best parts were the crispy bits, 'course.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Buckwheat Honey

I'm a honey slut. I put it in my smoothie in the morning, I drizzle it on my skyr in the afternoons, and let it melt into my tea in the eve. I will be experimenting with different sorts of honeys in the upcoming months.

I bought a pound and a half of the stuff from Whole Foods about 3 weeks ago (aaand it's gone today.. oh dear). You know, the "organic Amber" honey. It tasted good, like honey, but there was nothing particularly remarkable about it. And then I saw that it was sourced from at least two different places, and that thrilled me even less than the flavor, so I told myself that the next time, I would buy a more interesting honey.

Flash to today and the Buckwheat Honey that I just opened. This is a whole other animal. This was the sexiest honey I've ever tasted. It's almost purple, and reeks, and is faintly smoky. It would be amazing as a component of a glaze for barbecue or whatnot. I had it over my skyr, and it was awesome as well.

Of course, honey is honey. Nutritionally it's all the same ... the flavors just come from the different sort of flower the bees use. But, man is it a different experience..

I bought McLure's brand. Any honey suggestions?


Wednesday, November 4, 2009


okay. i'll keep this short. fresh pasta that they CUT FOR YOU RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOUR EYES AS THICK AS YOU WANT for 2.50/pound.

Raffetto's. it's been around since the early 20th century. 144 Houston St. Go there. Just go. Just do it. They carry other Italian imports.

And apparently, the fresh ravioli is the star of the place. I have a feeling my thick cut fettuccine isn't going to let me down, though.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Homemade Chicken Soup

The real deal.
And you don't have to use a whole chicken. Just buy a pack of drumsticks. 4 or 5... toss them in a big pot with whole black peppercorns, celery, one onion, carrot, dill, parlsey, a few garlic gloves and get boiling. After it boils feel free to add some potato. Then, after, feel free to add some already cooked fresh pasta or rice.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sixth Street CSA

So excitement: this week I just turned in my forms for a CSA! Sixth Street Community Center gets most of the produce from Sun Valley Farms and R-Best produce: see the lovely spread of edibles for the season.

Sample Deliveries
Empire (red) apples
Mutsu (green) apples
DeVoe pears Bananas
Russet potatoes
Japanese turnips
Green leaf lettuce
Cherry tomatoes
Rome apples
Jonagold apples
Bosc pears
Yellow onions
Russet potatoes
Alfalfa spouts
White beets
Cherry tomatoes
Fuji apples|
Ida red apples
Seckel pears
Satsuma tangerines
Blue potatoes
Yellow onions
Romaine lettuce
Cherry tomatoes
Gold bell peppers
Empire apples
Seckel pears
Red grapefruit
White mushrooms
Bok choi
Romaine lettuce
Garnet yams
Yellow onions
Empire apples
Red grapefruit
Bartlett pears
White potatoes
Green beans
Green leaf lettuce
Cherry tomatoes
Spartan apples
Blood oranges
Grimini mushrooms
Green bell peppers
Green cabbage
Green leaf lettuce
Jewel yams
Yellow onions

I'm pretty sure there are still spots left, it's a lot to put down for the whole season, but it breaks down to about $30 a week..and you'll probably have more that you can eat. Point of contention: there's bananas and stuff on there...and upon further investigation a lot of the stuff is from R-Best Produce. So, I'm going to see where it's actually coming from and give an update.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Veal Chops

Brian cooked me an amazing dinner the other night! Veal chops in a mustard cream sauce with roasted baby potatoes and sauteed chard on the side. Yay. :)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Japan Premium Beef: prelude

So when a new classy food-related store opens up on my street, it won't be ignored! I've noticed this gleaming meat shop many days on my way to school and always wondered whether it was as good as it looked. By the way it's on E. 3rd st. (actually the block where it's Great Jones street) and the meat is from Oregon. Today I'm going to go get some beef there! I'm getting more excited since I just read a review on yelp.

Let me just excerpt some comments:

"My wife and I were very excited to see this shop open in our neighborhood, as we met in Japan, and had good memories of the beef there."

"If you're a Japanese housewife living in Japan who've never lived outside of Japan, you might not understand why I'm sooooo exited about this place."

"First thing's first, it's like stepping into a set from Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey -- the scene in the glowing-room toward the end of the film (where Dave approaches the Monolith and becomes a free-floating fetus and, metaphorically, returns to and equals Mother Earth)... Perhaps I've said too much?... Anyway, needless to say, the storefront is is stark and austere, a thing of beauty of art -- and the service is phenomenally informative and patient."

Well. I'm sold. I have yet to discover what cut of beef awaits me, but I am duly excited for this gem of Great Jones street.


update: It was delicious. I got the marinated beef (strips...pieces???) a cause de laziness at $9.99 a pound. Just sauteed those bad boys with an onion and voila a tasty beefy sauce...served with long grain brown rice and kale! Yes, there are quite a few things over $20 a pound, but cheap stuff is still on my list: burgers with their sassy ground beef at $4.99 a pound.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

OMGZ I found the perfect apple

It is named "Macoun". It's a cross between McIntosh (which I've NEVER liked) and something else...

Holy godz is it good. Honestly, I've never been so excited about apples in my life.

Read about them: apparently, they have a very short season and are loved by people with extreme sweet teeth (like me!)!

it is also really small and cute.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Roast Duck Salad

Two duck legs, marinated with balsamic vinegar and chipotle chiles, browned skin side down in a cast iron skillet. Then placed in a 375 degree oven along with sliced waxy potatoes. After an hour and a half or so, you'll discover succulent roast duck, and a skillet full of duck-fat crisped potatoes. Serve over a bed of greens with goats cheese and raspberries and a dressing of duck fat and lemon juice.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Places that make me happy for restaurants

So in the past week I've been so blessed as to eat in some very tasty warm n' loving places. Sadly my camera is out of commission until I figure out how to put up pictures again but I'll pirate some from various other sources.

This is an ode to restaurants that are just what restaurants should be: tasty, affordable, inviting

My three recent highlights are Otto, Lomzyniaka, and Kafana, spanning the hoods/deux boroughs.

Kafana is a delightful Serbian restaurant in the East Village on Avenue C between 8th and 9th. It's just a happy place. I was wandering in that area one night and I saw its lights from afar and as I got closer I could see happy Serbs sharing a tasty meal and wine. Everything I've had there is delicious. They have a weekend brunch, of it I sampled the savory French toast: huge pieces of hearth-baked bread, a mound of feta, scallions, and roasted red pepper spread. Oh dear...and $8. Also quite tasty: cevapi, spinach pie, Montenegro wines. Also if your inner football fan is yearning to celebrate some game, the German beer garden Zum Schneider is right across the street. extra plus! Their website isn't up yet check out the menupages deal.

Next: Lomzynianka. The name is a mouthful and makes me a little dyslexic but this is a pearl of Greenpoint on Manhattan Ave. EVERYTHING is under $10 and most entrees are about $5...also it's BYOB. So, head into a Polish deli and grab some Zywiec Zdroj or Wodka and sit down to a hefty plate of veal meatballs in dill sauce...or gigantor schnitzel accompanied by borscht, beets, and cabbage. Peruse their menu! You'll be full and just as happy, if not happier than clams.

One place a little less quirky would be the pizzeria/inoteca Otto of the Mario Batali persuasion. But truth: it's quite a tasty place. It's secretly in the basement of Washington Mews and on VERY close to NYU. Their specialty is pizza but I was anti- and got pasta. It's pretty big downstairs and very lively/full...there's big vats of oil, olives, pickles tasties, etc. A nice hunk of bread and nicely green oil comes when you sit down. All the pasta is $9 and the pizzas (including Lardo...which is basically a pork fat pizza..yes!) are $10-15. I got pasta with escarole, sausage, and cheese. Yes, I don't know what specifically the cheese/sausage was but it was just right! Salty, melty, cheese and the sausage was a wee bit spicy and the pasta al dente. Ye be warned: the ricotta is runny and not fluffy, but not bad by any means.

As a whole, these three winners made me full, made me want to stay, and didn't put a dent in ze wallet. WIN!


Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Here's a list of September's bounty! Buy locally!

Aubergine (Brits... Eggplant!)
Autumn lamb
Broad beans
Cavalo nero
Courgette (bah - Zucchini!)
Fennel bulb
Globe Artichoke
Guinea Fowl
Lamb's lettuce
Swiss Chard

I don't think you'd go hungry with that list.

NOW I am taking this list from an English website. But I don't think it will be too dissimilar here. Most importantly, you should buy these things locally! I'm really bad at this, but I want to start.

The hardest thing for me will be fitting in less tropical fruits in my morning smoothie, and more temperate in-season fruits. But, looking at that list, everything will be just fine.


Sustain! Sustain!

Pretty sure I just found the greatest utility ever:

It's native to Britain, so take that into consideration. But, still, amazing. Every month, you now know exactly what you should be buying!


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Faire un pique-nique

Look at those happy clams

Hooray ice cream!

The spread: beet salad, orecchiette, haddock, with a summery cocktail

Grinding sage a little for the cocktail: gin and tonic with basically everything in it: lemon, sage, blueberries

Cuttin' some beets...and turnips

Well this picnic may or may not have actually been a month ago...but it was tasty and joyous nonetheless! We went out into the pasture above the beach on a lovely sunny day and ate some tasties. I made orecchiette pasta (it means 'little ear' maybe gives bow tie a run for its money?) salad with beet greens and herbs.

Since I have a problem, I also made beet/turnip salad with goat cheese. OOh and a crowning achievement: haddock! My parents we're doing some grillan' so they grilled those lovelies with breadcrumbs and I pan-cooked the rest. Oh an ode to fresh fish of the Gloucester!

It was Kathryn's birthday a little while back, so I made a cake: chocolate with brown sugar butter cream. It paired nicely with homemade strawberry ice cream and mango granita!

I support anything al fresco...on the veranda...with Bradly and Madison...preferably on the Vineyard.


Thursday, August 20, 2009


I don't eat a lot of meat. Mostly because I don't eat out a lot, and I don't want to have to take the time to watch what I'm doing because of contamination issues.

But, sometimes, you just want a steak.

This is the steak I wanted to make: Pan Seared Rib Eye

Alton's easy recipe and trusty perfectionism led my wide-eyed, steak making virgin soul to the butcher counter at Whole Foods, where I was promptly disillusioned. There was no way I was paying $24.00 for a steak to serve two college students, I don't care how amazing it is.

I eventually came home with $7.00 worth of Top Round. Top round, top round, how do I know that name, I thought...

Oh, yes, that's the (in my dad's words) "cheap, tough, and dry" cut of meat he uses to make beef roast.


Solution: Marinate!

Marinated Top Round Steak

1 1/2 pound top round steak

Lots of balsamic vinegar

Olive Oil

Garlic, chopped



Lots of freshly ground Black Pepper

A cast iron skillet

At least 3-4 hours before take out a big GLASS bowl and throw that lean piece of beef in there. Cover it completely with balsamic. Yeah, I'm not kidding. Buy the cheap ass not-really-Balsamic Balsamic for this ... not that you can really find real Balsamic in your local grocer's aisle anyway. The vinegar part will break down the connective tissue and the sweet part (even if it's not authentic) will make the steak taste good. Add chopped garlic, a glug of oil, and lots of salt . Let this marinate in the fridge until dinner time.

THEN! IMPORTANT: an hour before you cook, take the steak out of the fridge and marinade and let it rest on a plate to come to room temp.

So, you're ready to cook. Preheat the oven to 400. Now put so much pepper on that steak you think it may suffocate. Now, put more on. You really can't put too much on. I didn't need to salt this steak because I knew I overkilled the marinade. You may have a different situation.

Heat up your cast iron skillet until it's really hot. Add a bit of oil. Put that sucker pepper side down and then pepper the other side. Don't move it! Three minutes or so later, flip it.

Three minutes have passed again, and your steak is super caramelized and wonderful, but I bet the inside isnt perfectly cooked, so put all of it, including your skillet, in the oven. Unfortunately, you are just going to have to figure out when it's done.

Better to stay on the rare side with this cut. It IS a tough, lean steak. Overcook it and it's bound to not taste too good. Thinly sliced is best, and a tab of butter doesn't hurt either.

I'm glad to say my first steak turned out wonderfully.

It was eaten along-side Lemon-Oregano roasted potatoes and sauteed chard. It looked a lot like that photo above before cooking.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Cilantro/ makeshift kulfi ice cream

An extra feature: Roquefort and honey ice cream...cheesy!

Herb'd! Ready to freeze

Post-custard mess

Cilantro en ice bath

Right off the farm!

This is a little embarrassing: it seems all I do is make ice cream. Ah well, my consciences is clear! I really like the idea of making desserts with mild herbs like cilantro, sage, or rosemary. Thus, I made a treat starting with some nutty fresh cilantro, the recipe definitely morphed into something like kulfi, the Indian ice cream with spices and nuts.

I made my custard with 4 egg yolks and 1 cup of whole milk (being careful not to scramble the eggs!) and strained the mixture into a bowl with my heavy cream and super chopped cilantro. I boiled the cilantro for a few seconds and tossed it into an ice bath, then ground it up in a blender.

Things were a little bland so I added a bunch of sugar, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, and crushed nuts (brazil, almond). Left it to freeze, stirring ocassionally. Colorful and tasty and refreshing!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Kahlua Custard

I had extra chocolate tart dough, and didn't want to leave it in the fridge for too long, so last night I pushed the extra into two ramekins and then thought and thought of what to fill it with. Eventually, I came up with the obvious choice: custard. I found a simple vanilla custard recipe, but decided to peruse the liquor cabinet for a sumptuous addition and settled on Kahlua. After it got all browned and set and smelled like coffee, I topped it with crushed Macadamias for some continuity. Yom.