Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Singapore Chow Mei Fun

I remember when I started ordering random choices from the Chinese Takeout place at home, and I remember when the day came that I discovered Singapore Chow Mei Fun, which really has no relation to anything served in Singapore, but deserves merit just the same.

I used this recipe, found courtesey of Foodgawker. The site exhibits a much more attractive photograph of what the dish is supposed to look like.

It's a curried rice noodle dish with veggies and lots of various protein sources, and it ROCKS. And as usual, my pictures don't do it justice.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Adventures in frozen treats: Partie Un

Chocolate and coffee sorbet with some candied lemon peel

Wow I'm awesome at flash photography: churnin!

Success! Banana pecan ice cream

These fellows are sauteed bananas in butter with brown sugar and pecans: a delightful mush to add into ice cream (or yogurt).

Ah, the adventures that ensue from the biblioteca. I took out David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop a few weeks ago and since then I've been churning away! More to come on a custard that I didn't destroy!

I'm not upset about lacking an ice cream maker, just be sure to churn everything regularly (so stir every hour or so)


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hearty Breakfast: + things you can make that might be otherwise pricey!

Fit for a king! Fresh whole-wheat bread with Smör (Icelandic/Scandinavian cheesy-textured butter) baby spinach from Maine! (Locally Known farms...super fresh and not at all bitter) with some tomatoes and a super soft-boiled (ermm...raw?) egg..drizzled with a bit of "green goddess" dressing

Crusty dill-pepper boules! SO EASY

Annie's makes a divine (HAH) Green Goddess dressing with tahini etc....it's really delicious! If you've been to Dojo by NYU you'll know that delicious tahini-soy love (but this is sans carrots).

Here's how the stuffs were made!

Whole-wheat country style boules

So Rachel admonished me for not going on foodgawker, and I was glad I found this recipe before I went to bed last night! If you remember the Irish quick bread, this would be its yeasty partner in crime. (My Slovenian couchsurfer said it was like the stuff grandmas make in farmy towns..yes!)

The recipe I used called for 2 cups white and 1 cup white whole-wheat, but I didn't have all-purpose so white whole-wheat it was!

3 cups white whole-wheat flour
3/4 tsp yeast (NOT FAST RISING)
1 tsp sea salt
1-1 1/2 cups warm water

Mix n's of choice: I mixed them right in with the dough, used about a tsp. of ground pepper and a couple tablespoons of dried dill weed.

Mix the dry ingredients, then add water until dough is elastic and a bit wet/sticky.
Cover and let rise for 6-8 hours (sleep?)

Put a baking pan filled with water in your oven and heat to 450, put in your 'hearth' (cooking stone, or what have you) in for 15 minutes after the oven has heated.

Separate dough into 2 boules, shape on a floured surface and coat in oil. I cut some slits in the top and sprinkled sesame seeds, adds a nice touch! Bake for 35-40 minutes, cool on a wire rack for 10. Slather with some good butter when cooled.

On to the dressing. This is quite a simple concoction. But, you must have tahini (it's usually $5 for a jar that will last you centuries..unless you make a lot of tahini stuffs). Basically I just put stuff together that was on the back of the bottle.

Amounts (NOT EXACT) adjust to your tastes

1/4 cup vegetable oil
juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons tahini
2 tsp. dried parsely
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
water to thin
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (white wine etc. is probably fine)

Whisk it all together and enjoy the rich nuttiness of tahini all the time!


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Croque Monsieur

The French usually get it right, but especially so in the case of the Croque Monsieur.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Candied Lemon Peel

What to do with your left-over lemonade skins? make lemonade! no candied lemon peels! YES. Since I'm OBSESSED...no I just have the book right now, I used Alice Waters' recipe. 

Take your lemon (citrus in general) halves and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then simmer until tender. 

When cooled, scoop out all the whiteness and cut into bit-size strips, about 1/8-1/4 inch. Put back into a heavy saucepan with 4 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water. Cook over medium heat and stir often until the sugar is dissolved and syrup is simmering. Get it nice and thick'n bubbling. The peels should become translucent. 

When the mixture reaches this stage, turn up the heat to reach the "thread stage" (when the sugar is stringy after you pull it out). After cooling, take each peel to harden on a wire rack. Finish it off by rolling in sugar (I like raw/organic chunky stuff) and/or dipping in melted chocolate. You can also keep the leftover syrup as something like a citrus simple syrup! Use as a classy garnish for ice cream and other deserts!


Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Mmm perfect with some thick yogurt

rhubarby goodness

Cutting the pretty stalks and removing toughness

Perhaps it's a premature to go all mid-west turn of the century old woman, but I've been canning! It's pretty simple to can high acid foods like tomatoes, pickles, and fruity preserves. You don't NEED equipment but it will increase your chances of not getting scalded!

Rhubarb is in season...(as many other cold weather creatures) so eat it while it lasts!
I got this recipe from rhubarbinfo.com (where else??) 

It's quite a tasty one.

8 cups rhubarb
2 oranges
1 lemon
1/4 chopped preserved ginger

Cut the rhubarb into 1" pieces, remove the tough strands of the outer membrane. Mix rhubarb and sugar, let stand overnight or for several hours.

Cut rind from fruit into 1 inch pieces, cover in cold water, and boil. Simmer until tender and drain.

Chop the fruit pulp (without the white part: pith) and add to rhubarb. Boil then cook on low for 10 minutes until the mixture thickens. Add ginger and rind. Stir for 5 minutes and skim foam.

The canning part is probably more difficult. Canning jars are under $10 a dozen at your local grocery (or broadway panhandler etc.). You can get tongs especially for canning (or a kit) which makes things easier.

What you do need:

stock pot (preferably 2) big enough to submerge your jars
rack for the pan bottom
the jars..with clean lids!
wipes of some sort

nice to have: ample pots and pans for sterilizing
canning kit
actual canning rack

Sterilize the jars by washing them and placing (including the lids...but separately) them in hot water. 

Bring a big pot of water to boil (or start boiling when you're ready to start loading stuff into jars) 

Fill each jar with liquid, being mindful of air bubbles (which can be removed by spatula) and goo around the mouth. Leave 1/4-1/2 inch head space. After all the jars are sealed, boil for about ten minutes in the pot. Lucky you, now there's fresh fruits and veggies for the winter!

However, if you're actually going to can...look it up so you don't get botulism! 


Monday, June 15, 2009

Eat Your Leafy Greens

Here's the thing: I don't like spinach. I think it has an unappatizing flavor and a droopy watery texture.

I always thought this meant I didn't like leafy greens, because spinach is the most readily available/popular, so clearly it must be the most tasty/mild, right? WRONG.

Three more delicious choices:

1. KALE! Best sauteed (as are most of them I think). Has a cabbage-like flavor, which doesn't sound appetizing until you try it, not at all bitter when cooked, is crunchy and awesome. The curlz are pretty too.

2. SWISS CHARD! Almost sweet, this topper of the beet plant is so perdy (especially if you get the rainbow variet) and wilts in SECONDS so throw it in to your pasta sauce at the LAST MINUTE.

3. ARUGULA! On Pizza. Yes.


Sunday, June 14, 2009


Custard FAIL: scrambled eggs

Cone FAIL: cookies?? pizzelle?

Since it's been a few days since the last post, I figured it would be fitting to give two examples of what NOT to do. My fails aren't well documented since they're usually not very memorable or photogenic.

I tried to make a custard and wasn't quite patient or knowledgeable in the ways of my stove, therefore the milk got TOO hot, dare I say boiling! Such is not cool for custard. Therefore, ample chunks of eggies were present and it didn't get nice n' thick. Lesson learned: custard requires patience and will probably end up with more chunks than not until mastered.

Inspired by The Perfect Scoop, I tried the cone recipe, thinking myself above parchment paper and nursing them in the oven. Of course the batter was yummy, along with the end resume. But, as you can see the mixture didn't come off the paper, much less form something resembling a cone. Lesson: use parchment paper and check the little ones while they bake!


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Armenian delights

Ah, what a ghetto-looking spread. I promise it's delicious! Wandering around Boston's suburbs, I happened across a little vein of Armenia in Watertown. Thus, if you're in the area, definitely pay a visit to some of these little shops and restaurants!

I was quite happy to see a plethora of pickled veggies: peppers, artichokes, olives the works. Cheeses, nuts, dried fruits, sweets like baklava and the little pink thing above is like Turkish delight...covered in dried rose petals!

I also found some fruit syrup (I don't think Marco Polo brand is top of the line) which I miss for making a low-effort juice by just putting a bit in water (or flavor whatever is good tasting like fruit). I know Brighton Beach is a good place for such syrups: black currant, raspberry, the works!

Oh, not to forget, the baked goods! They had a lot of bread and pies, eggplant and bean dishes etc. Pictured above is the remains of my spinach, tahini, walnut pie!

The two markets I visited:

Arax Market

Sevan Bakery

They're both on Route 16 in Watertown, going into Boston.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

ode to miso

Miso miso fighting in the dojo, oriental prince in a land of soup!

Anywho, miso is essential to everyone's pantry and list of condiments! It can be used in soups, for dressings, just about anything that needs a yummy base to mix into.

There are many types of miso, but I don't want to explain nor do I know what I'm talking about! So just read the wikipedia article!

One thing I've been doing when I'd like a little warm soup on a cloudy day: heat water and add about 1 tablespoon of miso per cup (depending on your salt desires), when it gets fairly hot, add some dehydrated seaweed (pretty easy to get at asian stores..not nori!).
Since beautiful BOK CHOI is in season eat some! it's very cheap, especially in your local chinatown. If you put the greens in the soup and then take them out, cook them in the liquid that comes along and add some soy soup base like this stuff you've got yourself a tasty quick cheap soup! Crack in an egg or add fresh scallions for a true treat!


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Balsamic Spice Loaf

Experimenting with quick breads until I receive my sourdough starter for free from Carl's! To be honest, I enjoy making quick breads, because I already have everything I need, and I can usually eat whatever I make about an hour from the time I decide to make it. And, they are always incredibly moist, where I feel that yeast breads are a toss up in that category.

My classic is a whole wheat Irish Soda Loaf. What I made today uses the same general chemical processes, but is a lot jazzier and risky.

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour

4 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons honey

4 tablespoons agave nectar





1 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt

a splash or two of buttermilk

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 egg

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar


melt butter. add sweet stuff. add yogurt and buttermilk. whisk until smooth. add egg and balsamic vinegar. whisk until smooth. combine dry ingredients well and add to wet ingredients. a pasty batter will form that is strange, but go with it and load it into a small bread pan. put it in a 375 degree oven and cook for 20 minutes, until the top is golden, then turn the oven down to 325 and let cook thoroughly, testing with your preferred method, whatever that may be.

Wah! It tastes a lot like banana bread! Moist, good with butter and honey. Would be great with nuts and fruits inside. Also, check the ingredients list. Whole wheat, some healthier sweetener alternatives*, and not too much butter! Most of the moistness definitely comes from the yogurt.

So easy. The next one I make will be a lemon/herb loaf or a beer/cheese loaf or any loaf....


* I started using agave nectar when I had some blood sugar (all speculation, but indulge me) issues. It is low glycemic, because it is way high in fructose, which doesn't rely on insulin and has to pass through your liver, unlike the other popular monosaccharide, glucose, which gets absorbed anywhere and asks for insulin to help. Now, this DOESN'T mean it's a good sweetener for everyone, or even healthy. First of all, nothing is naturally that high in fructose, and your body probably isn't supposed to get that overload all at once, since nothing from nature is that high in fructose (not even fruit). The stuff from the plant is processed to make it that way (high fructose corn syrup, anyone?). Also, it ... ok... I'm just going to link to this article: AGAVE NECTAR. It is a very anti-agave article, and it is a really interesting read. Puts some things into perspective. But, clearly, since agave is in my recipe, the everything in moderation rule is well in place in this chicken's brain.

Monday, June 8, 2009

dinner again: Lemon chicken, radish salad, cranberry granita

If you're partial to very moist yet crispy tangy chicken try this recipe! It's yet again from the silver palate. 

Juice about 1 cup's worth of lemon juice for each pound of chicken, soak it all day or overnight. 

Then, make your own shake n' bake by combining salt, pepper, paprika and flour. Coat the chicken in the mixture. Then fry it up on both sides in about 1/4 cup of oil. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes and voila! Delicious. 

As it is early summer/late spring there are many delicious vegetables in season! Radishes are one of them (more to come on that later). This salad of field greens has thinly sliced radishes, a basic vinaigrette, wasabi peas, and goat cheese. Cucumber and Asian flavors like miso go quite well with radishes. 

Ahh yes and for a nice cool summer treat, have a granita! They're quite easy to make. For mine, I mixed some cranberry juice with orange juice (about 2 cups) and about 1/4 cup of sugar and boiled it with some orange rind. Let it cool, then pour it into a some freezer safe container...a few hours later, scrape out the juicy icy goodness! It's lovely with fresh mint.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Voyage a l'Afrique! merci Marcus Samuelsson


Clockwise: Bobotie, mango "sambala," toasts, bulgur wheat with pecans and raisins

Your public library has many wonderful things to offer: including 'free' trendy cookbooks!

Officially I like Marcus Samuelsson very much. His last restaurant to open in New York was Merkato 55 on Gansevoort st. in the West Village: it's African food..mostly of the pan-African persuasion, with dishes from around the continent. But, Samuelsson himself was born in Ethiopia so the North definitely gets some attention. Ah, but Marcus grew up in Sweden, which is where Aquavit comes in, the delicious Swedish restaurant in Midtown.

Here's where I come to last night's meal, and the library. I got out The Soul of a New Cuisine yesterday and made sense of it along with what I had in the kitchen. The book is basically the spirit of Merkato 55, African deliciousness. Thus far I've liked such food: hearty, nutty, saucy.

The spread

Bobotie: traditional dish of South Africa. It's usually made with ground beef but I had ground turkey so I used that and added butter to compensate for the fat.

Bulgur wheat salad: cracked wheat is a popular grain in the Mediterranean lands (all around the big old sea) and goes well with dried fruits and nuts

Sambal: chili-based sauces used in South Africa originally from Malaysia and Indonesia
The real one is much classier but I just cut up some red onion, mango, and added ginger and spicy peanut butter, sounds gross but it's good

The bobotie is pretty easy to make..but you need about 2 hours since there's a lot of time the food hangs out and soaks in itself..so worth it!

1 1/4 pounds ground beef
red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tb green masala or curry
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp crushed coriander
2 tomatoes/canned diced tomatoes
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup crushed peanuts or unsweetened peanut butter
2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
2 eggs + 2 yolks
pinch nutmeg

cook beef and onion, add garlic, spices, and tomatoes then reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes
Stir in bread crumbs, peanuts, salt (you don't need all of it), and 1/2 cup water, cook for 15 more minutes.
Drain the mixture if you want and then refrigerate fro 20 minutes
Preheat the oven to 350 and butter a baking dish.
Pour the mixture into the pan and cover with the mixture of eggs, milk, nutmeg, and a bit of salt.
Put the pan into another pan of water so that the water rises up an inch on the side of the actual food dish.
Cover with foild and bake for 25 minutes, then take off the foil and bake for another 20
Cut into squares and serve...he says with mango sambal and creamed swiss chard.

I failed a bit with the whole water bath thing, the water wasn't deep enough and the egg was NOT cooking so I turned up the heat and added more water to the dish. This recipe sounds sort of complicated but it's just a little time heavy..soo worthy it and ground turkey definitely matches the flavors.


OMG Molasses cookies part II

NO JOKE SAHHS. We both made molasses cookies in the same week, without planning it: skills. They are both looking like poo, delicious, and powerful delights.

I got my recipe from the Silver Palate, basically if you want your baked goods to taste like they're from a legit bakery, use their recipes. I've received such results from the zuccini bread, banana bread, semolina bread, and molasses cookies thusfar.

I definitely cooked mine longer (but then again my oven fails)

This section of the book is entitled: The Cookie Basket, in case you were wondering

1 1/2 sticks sweet butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
(nutmeg wouldn't hurt)

Preheat to 350

Melt butter, add sugar, molasses, mix then add lightly beaten egg

Sift dry ingredients, then mix in

Drop spoonfuls of dough onto aluminum foil (on top of your baking sheet) leaving ample room between each cookie (batter will be wet and expands)

Cook for 8-10 minutes, take out while still soft, cool on the foil

excellent! add some candied citrus peel on top


Soft Molasses Spice Cookies

After coming across this recipe, I decided to adapt it to my own tastes. If I were cute, I'd call them pantry cookies for obvious reasons: you use many things that sit unused in your pantry to make them, namely: autumnal spices, jars of sweet things, oats, and brown sugar. I would bet that most households have these things lying around, unused.


1 1/2 cups Regular Unbleached Flour

1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour (obviously not necessary)

2 packets Plain Flavor Instant Oatmeal

3/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda


(Here's the deal. I didn't measure my spices, but I put a LOT of spices in. Here they are in descending order of the amount I put in.)





1/4 cup Blackstrap Molasses

1/4 cup Honey

A little less than a block of Plugra Unsalted Butter

1 cup Brown Sugar

1 egg

WARNING: This cookie dough looks like the consequences of eating too much Indian Food

WARNING: The way this dough tastes (as in, AMAZING) may entice you to eat the consequences of eating too much Indian Food. Don't do it.

Let's begin!

In one bowl mix the dry ingredients, without sugar. Good. Now cream the butter and sugar. Good. Now add the egg, honey, and molasses to the butter and sugar and blend! Good. Now add the dry ingredients to the wet slowly until you get what looks like a giant's toilet. Good. Taste it, if you dare. It's heavenly.

Now, the hard part. The dough is really sticky, and even though I'm usually too impatient, I DID roll it up in plastic wrap and stuck it in the freezer. So, you do that too. About an hour later, take it out and begin to roll ping pong sized balls of dough. Dip the tops in more brown sugar or big crystals of raw sugar and place on a lightly buttered baking sheet. If you have pecans, or better yet, CANDIED pecans, please push one into the center of the cookie! I wish I had them. Bake for only about 5-7 minutes at 375 or so and don't overbake! Try to use your best judgement here, you really want to take them out when they are JUST cooked.

Let cool and enjoy. Good with a mug of warm milk.


dinner again mutant pasta e fagioli!

excuse my lobsided polenta shot! 

Such is a nice spin on the Italian classic...beans and pasta. I had a sausage in the fridge so I fried that up (whole) and then cooked the onions in the fattly juices

I added white beans (great northern to be exact  yummm so plump and protein-licious) and tomatoes with a bit of tarragon and thyme 

The polenta was sliced and cooked in a bit of olive oil at 350 for ten minutes on each side...definitely make your own! the polenta logs aren't really satisfactory 


Friday, June 5, 2009

Chocolate Disaster Cookies with Salted Caramel

I baked without a recipe, and beginner's luck granted me a success!

I still christen these chocolate disaster cookies, because there's something very unruly and chaotic about them, and I think they look like a black hole.

The recipe went something like this

I melted four whole squares of semi sweet bakers chocolate with 1/3 of the european butter rectangles. In another bowl I combined 1/2 cup of brown sugar with 1/2 cup of regular unsweetened cocoa powder, one egg, almond extract, vanilla extract, and then I'm pretty sure I added a bit more sugar. Brown sugar, ps, for this whole recipe. When the chocolate and butter is melted together, pour all of that into the other bowl and mix well. Then add about 1 cup of regular flour and 1 cup of self rising flour, mix well, and incorporate lots of chocolate chunks. Then make a caramel sauce by not knowing what to do, so just throwing butter, light brown sugar, and milk in a pan and hoping for the best. Then, when you think it won't work, just start pouring a bit of that into the cookie batter, because you don't know what else to do. Start to form huge cookies on a baking sheet and create a well in the middle. Spoon a bit of the caramel into the well. Bake these cookies at an unspecified temperature, since your oven dial doesn't include numbers (350?), and take them out in about 10-15 minutes.

Then look at them and decide that you may as well pour the remaining caramel sauce all over them and then sprinkle sea salt on top.

Please wait for them to cool a bit before transferring them to a wire rack, and then let them cool completely before eating. They will fall apart if you do not heed my warning.

The cookies are incredibly rich and the salted caramel topping is a bit crunchy, but mostly chewy, and you cant beat the little salty lick you get as an after taste.

Next time, I think I would make them perfectly round and small and press a hole in the middle with my thumb. I would then fill that with the hot caramel, and wait until they were cooled completely to drop a few huge crystals of sea salt on top. I think there might actually be a next time for these babies!


Cheap Meats

The cheapest cuts of beef and pork are usually the ones that are easiest to cook, albeit take the longest. Stew them!

You probably wouldn't want to eat a small bowl of stewed beef as a snack, but then again, you aren't me.

Topped with a touch of sour cream.

All you have to do is bring some stock to a boil with the tough, cheap chunks of meat included. Then, reduce to a simmer. An hour or two later you'll come back and the meat will still look like jerky and you'll say to yourself "man, will this ever work?". Come back two hours after that. Oh yes, the most succulent melty meat you've ever had.


Thursday, June 4, 2009


Pshhh looks just like David Leb's...but with a crappier picture!
ferment my friends!

The Spread:

Doing some worldly food stalking I cam across a kimchi recipe on David Lebovitz and it's actually much easier than I thought! Once you get your economy-sized korean chili paste and chili power, you're good to go (outside of the likes of K-town, it's go big or go home).

I followed the recipe here: except I didn't use a glass jar, which I WOULD do. Canning jars are pretty cheap...like a dollar or two, so no excuses! Mine didn't ferment like I wanted it to, but it smells and looks like a pretty batch, so no complaints! Best things about kimchi: you can put it on legions of rice, make yummy beef dishes with the broth, hooray! (Go questing for a heart-warming recipe made with meat, veggies, tofu: it's kimchi jigae)

What you'll need:

1 large Napa cabbage (2 pounds, 1kg)
2 tablespoons coarse salt (do not use fine table salt)

1/3 cup (80ml) white rice vinegar
3 tablespoons Korean chili pepper paste (gochujang)
1 tablespoon very-finely minced garlic
2 tablespoons coarse Korean chili powder (gokchu garu)
1/2 tablespoon very-finely minced fresh ginger
4 scallions, sliced in 2-inch (5cm) batons, including the green part

1 glass jar (a quart will be fine)

get these in K-Town, or regular old Chinese markets sell some of this stuff.

The Recipe.