Thursday, July 30, 2009

Homemade Sushi

In descending order, there is our (as in, me, Rachel, and my cohort, Kristen) homemade sushi experience. Summary: it was brilliant.
Please, follow all directions to the best of your ability. Here is the sushi rice tutorial I used:
After doing this all correctly, the maki world is your oyster. Mind you, we did make regular nigiri sushi, too. In fact, here is a list of everything we made, most are included in photos above, but one is not:
California Maki
Spicy Tuna Avocado Maki
Shiitake Vegetable Maki
Classic Tuna Nigiri
Spicy Mango Crab Maki

Vegetable quandary: kohlrabi, easy pasta to impress!

Kohlrabi salad with strawberries, raisins, and goat cheese

Lemon-pepper pappardelle with tomatoes and tuna

Sometimes you'll find yourself at the grocery store, farmers' market, what have you, with quizzical looks at certain produce. One vegetable in question: kohlrabi. This purple alien root veggie may be a bit off-putting. I'm not sure the full range of what you can do with it but I'm pretty sure you can treat it like a radish or turnip. So, that's what I did!

Slice up the bulb and toss with strawberries (or some other seasonal fruit), raisins, nuts, and chevre.

Over at TJ's I tried this pasta in the sample station. It's quite easy and elegant seeming, same goes for most pasta that could pass for homemade. They had some cheapo lemon pepper pappardelle tossed with tomatoes and olive-oil canned tuna. Super easy and good for times when it's hot: add a but of parmesan or basil, or any other italian sort of ingredient and you'll stay classy.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Perfect omelettes: read em' weep!

A nice wholesome omelette: cianti salami, onions, tomato, kale, scallions, and chevre, paired with a toasty piece of potato bread

Sometimes even if you've memorized something it's good to go back to the source and see what else there is to be learned, such is the case when learning a song or making a good omelette.

One morning I decided to make omelettes and also decided to check in on the joy of cooking. I opted for the milkless French omelette (as opposed to fluffy).

If you want to put a cooked filling inside, cook it first! I like adding cheese with the actual eggs.

Take 2-3 eggs (or 5 is what I used for two people) and crack them of course. Stir together but DONT BEAT! See how the first picture has big clumps of white, just basically break up the yolk and mix the eggs around a bit.

Coat the pan in butter (I actually used ghee, clarified butter) until glistening, then add your eggs cook on medium high/high all while swirling the liquid so it nearly coats the edges. Voila! in a few minutes you'll have the shell to hold your delicacies. When the eggs start losing their liquid sheen, add the cooked ingredients and fold, cook for less than a minute and enjoy! Top with fresh herbs and leftover fillings.


Red Curry Peanut Butter Cookies

YES! I think I've finally crafted my signature recipe.


These were inspired by the Green Curry Banana Bread my roommate Patricia brought home from Momofuku Milk Bar. The bread was brilliant, and on my way home today I was thinking about a way to spice up the peanut butter cookies I wanted to make, and my mind drifted to the half jar of red curry paste I had left... fate was sealed.....

OK, so the recipe is definitely an approximate, but just try it please!!! I want to see how other people's comes out! Mine came out perfectly spiced, chewy, soft, sweet, salty, spicy, ah. Just wonderful.


1 1/2 cups Self Rising Flour (this is what i had at the time, YOU can just use regular plus some baking soda. same goes for the whole wheat...)

just shy 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour

2 Eggs

1 Cup Brown Sugar

1 Cup Peanut Butter (I recommend using the conventional bad-for-you PB, just because it contains the right texture and the right amount of salt and sugar... but if you DO use a more natural peanut butter, let me know how it works!)

1/3-1/2 Cup Butter, room temp (I didn't have quite enough to make a whole stick!)

1 tsp to 1 tbsp Red Pepper Flakes or Cayenne Pepper or Hot Paprika or something SPICY

2 oz red curry paste (1/2 of the small "Thai Kitchen" jars)

a few drops of red food coloring, or more, just for fun (quite optional)

Mix peanut butter, curry paste, spicy spice of your choice, butter, and sugar with an electric hand mixer. Add two eggs one at a time. Add the flours slowly until combined. You will have a very greasy, sticky dough. Put it in the freezer! Put a fork and your baking sheet in the freezer as well.

Here's where it gets a little time consuming, but just taking the time to do these steps will make this all much easier. Take the dough and pan out of the freezer and roll ping pong sized balls. Give a good amount of space. I was only cooking eight at a time on a large cookie sheet (they cook quickly). Once the balls are spaced on the sheet stick it back in the freezer for a few minutes. Then, quickly take the fork and press down on each ball, creating the signature peanut butter cookie cross! Bake at 350 degrees for between 3-6 minutes. Just check. Take them out when they look JUST done. Let cool for a few and then place on a cooling rack. Put the pan back in the freezer and a few minutes later repeat all steps until you have exhausted your dough.

Then eat one.

Prepare for awesomeness.


Ippudo Ramen

On a very peculiar block lies a very swanky Japanese Ramen house. Between 10th and Wanamaker on 4th avenue, you will hear the swishing of cars past the Astor Place Kmart, and Ippudo.

Beware the long wait, dance music, and blood red motif, but don't let it frighten you away.

The ramen is GOOD. And finally a noodle place where the pork topping is DELICIOUS and not weird.

Thin, but slurpable noodles are nestled in the porky-est, umami-est (albeit quite salty) broth. A special signature broth, apparently: Tonkotsu. Well it's damn good. There are two main bowls, a "classic" and a "modern", the latter differing from the former with an addition of garlic oil, chili paste, and some different toppings. Essentially, though, they are very similar. I ordered the classic.

Definitely recommended. And I hear their pork buns are amazing, too.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Costolette Panino/Peanut Butter Stuffed Chocolate Cookies

In Time Out New York's Cheap Eats edition, the "I'm officially obsessed..." went to Bar Tano in Brooklyn and their Costolette Panino, a sexy combination of beef short ribs, mozarella, and onions.

Of course, instead of going there, I made it myself.

I slow cooked beef round all day in broth and spices until it was super moist and completely shredded and piled it on a sandwich with homemade lemon/herb aoli, sauteed red onion, cheese, good mustard, and tomato. Then slathered butter all over it and pressed it in my cast iron skillet! YES!

ALSO made were chocolate peanut butter cookies with a surprise peanut butter center. Sea salt on top. DOUBLE YES.


Soba Bowl!

After visiting Angelica Kitchen (300 East 12th Street). Nay, let me rephrase that: after visiting Angelica Kitchen's WEBSITE, I was inspired to create today's lunch.

...I DID dine at Angelica last night, but, what I ordered, the "Dragon Bowl", was less than inspiring. It's definitely their "we cater to starving models" dish: a plate of steamed everything with a tiny portion of dressing on the side (the way they phrase it on the menu created a more hearty, satisfying image in my mind). On the bright side, when you mix the brown rice, beans, and seaweed together and put brown rice gravy on top, it doesn't completely fail. (Regardless, I still went to Pommes Frites after. Long live the sweet mango chutney mayo!)

But to the point! If you click on the website, you'll see the montage of a Soba dish being created. While viewing this, I thought, "I could definitely arrange that".

And so I did, just a moment ago!

My Soba Bowl:

1. Put steaming hot Soba Noodles in the bottom of the bowl with a bit of hot water. Be sure to reserve some water in your pot for the kelp! Stir in a little bouillon.

2. Arrange raw shredded carrots and bell peppers on top. Slice extra firm tofu and do the same.

3. Drop some kelp (I have the kind thats dried and all covered in salts...) into the hot water for a bit just to let them soak up water and shed their caked on ocean-y layer.

4. Add the kelp, drizzle tamari on top, and finally shake on some sesame seeds!

If I had shiitakes, bean sprouts, and a bit of sesame oil, this would be even more of the kind of amazing it already was.

I have to say, I really do like food like this if it's done right. I've been eating a slaw all summer that just has carrots, avocado, tofu, and sesame seeds in it. I'll put it over some sticky rice, and it's satisfying for some reason. It's something about the balance of ingredients. As long as you get the right combination of textures, and as long as it's all salted properly, it works. So here's to health.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dinner: fishies, biscuits, greens, and potatoes

Sauteed fresh veggies! Chick root grows like a weed, is a weed, is tasty.

Spicy cayenne potatoes

Look at those beauties!

Slather some butter on these

As recently attested, it's hard to screw up good fish. Basically dress it up with herbs and a few of these: breadcrumbs, lemon, butter. Thus I tell myself I've got to take advantage of the summer Gloucester digs by eating a LOT of fish.

Here's a nice din din: sauteed some veggies from the garden, kale and chick root (an edible weed...genius!)

Sprinkle some dill, breadcrumbs and butter pieces on a couple haddock filets and make a little foil pouch (or don't it's still yummy!)

Cut potatoes and roast with olive oil and spices for about 30 minutes at 350/375 depending on your oven.

Ahh and the biscuits, whole wheat got you down? I made these with half whole wheat/half white whole wheat (but probably should have used white). You can really take the heaviness out of whole wheat by using a cup of sour cream in the recipe (not in addition to a recipe...that'd be awkward).


Friday, July 24, 2009

Dinner For One: Trout

I decided to stop into the Lobster Man today (Bleecker St.) for a fillet of salmon that I've treated myself with before. It comes to between 6-7 dollars for a single (but perfect) portion, and it's good smothered in mustard and baked. It's kind of a lot, I know, but whatever, it's worth it.

WELL, today I noticed my favorite bony fish tucked away in the back of the icing shelf for 6.95/lb. Brook Trout! I took an ample single serving sized whole fishy home for 3.95.

Success! Spread the dijon on top, sprinkle on thyme, broil in the oven for something under 10 minutes, take it out and place it over a bed of pan wilted rainbow chard. And eat. Not too bony today either. Now if I can only figure out how to get the whole fish off the pan in one piece.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sweet Cherry Galette

So flaky, so easy, requires only a cheese grater. Thank you lady from O Pistachio! Here's the link to her Strawberry Galette: http//
We (as in my roommate Patricia and I) used the pastry recipe (again, I can't stress enough how AMAZING this pastry is), but switched up the filling to one of sweet cherries, almond extract, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and a dense sprinkling of flour. Do this first, and let it sit until you have to use it. Be sure to strain before you have to use it, or the galette will be drippy!!!
Endless filling possibilities are entering my brain as we speak: the onion/tarragon filling from a tart-gone-by, heirloom tomato, apple, pear/gorgonzola, INFINITY!!
(Serve with homemade honey-vanilla whipped cream like we did)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Roasted Tomato Paella

This one-pan short grain rice dish (not really paella, but in the spirit of paella) is smoky (paprika), tangy/sweet (tomatoes), chewy (edges), and soft (arborio rice).

.....sweet smoked paprika from Aphrodisia on Bleecker St., for a whopping one dollar. the smell of this stuff makes this all worth it.

.... we added some sliced roasted garlic chicken sausages to beef things up a bit


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ice cream that could make you weep/ don't encourage me.

Christina's Store front at Inman Square, incidentally next to a fine foods and spice shop next door.

Mint steeping in cream for Jeni's backyard mint ice cream!

Jeni Britton-Bauer: ice cream maker with one of her creations
Check out the fabulous album of ice cream making

Well it's surely summer. Here in Massachusetts our six weeks of rain have finally abated in favor of sunshine! Even so, I would have been eating ice cream. In my ice cream adventures (and yes RESEARCH) I've discovered that Massachusetts has a particularly robust ice cream culture and number of shops that make their own confections (from area dairies!).

My mission: try all of the famous and delicious ice creams around Boston. My first trip was to Christina's, an Inman Square favorite with a raft of crazy flavors. I even tried the bacon (but it was too salty, David Lebowitz candies the bacon I think I'm in favor of this route). Alack no pictures, but I will say my haphazard cone of carrot cake and lemongrass was delicious! The carrot cake had great chunks of raisins, walnuts, and carrot while the creamy base tasted like some fresh batter. It wasn't even bad with lemongrass which was delightfully refreshing. SUCESS and cheap! It was $3.50 for my massivo two scoop cone. Check out their excellent flavor list!

Of Boston I'm definitely trying Toscanini's (apparently the country's...or world's best??), Herrell's (who does what Coldstone does but before them..and probably better), and Lizzy's out in Waltham. Of course J.P. Licks is wonderful: their oatmeal cookie and El Diablo (Mexican chocolate) is quite yummy along with their soft serve yogurts.

But why the other pictures? I was doing a newsletter profile for Chefs Collaborative on member Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. Oh dear, they are splendid and would be my inspiration for moving to Columbus, Ohio!

Did I mention Jeni and her family are big proponents of the local movement and have encouraged local family-owned dairies? They get all their ingredients from within Ohio (well except for vanilla beans, etc.) and make wonderful standards like strawberry buttermilk and super infused mint along with seasonal treats like cucumber melon cayenne yogurt or sweet corn and blackberry. Suffice it to say I'm so tempted to order their nine pints package..oh dear, anyone want to go in on some ice cream purchases?

My advice to you: try good ice cream whenever possible.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I could eat you all day every day: bread & butter & other divinities

Some quasi-good potato bread I made...made much better with butter and chestnut cream (right) and avocado and salt (left).

Holy cow and goat! Amazing butter.

Freshly baked bread? YESSS.

All is right with the world: a shop with brick-oven baked breads just opened down the street from me. Joy! There is nothing better than breaking into the crackly crust of freshly baked bread and slathering on some butter. The bread is from Willow Rest which was just redone under new owners so now they have a bakery, tasty coffee, produce, and more (lots of it local too). I've tried the seedy kind, olive oil ciabatta, and batard...all so tasty.

In butter news I'm trying to sample whatever random stuff is at the store: Kerrygold of course, Smor, new tasties are Vermont Butter and Cheese's cultured butter and Meyenberg goat milk butter. Let me just say: if you like chevre or that great goatie taste: this butter is for you! That is if you want to splurge on butter, it's not as cheap as land o lakes but the others are definitely affordable.

The right pair of slathering medium and freshly baked canvas can be a recipe for polishing off loaves at a time. DELICIOUS.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Pseudo azn' dinner

Epic noodles
Miso-based dressing

Radishes from the side of the the best way possible!

You too can pretend to have hearty Asian dinners! To start we have a fairly standard Japanese-style salad of thinly-sliced radishes and cucumbers with a miso based dressing (mix to taste, soy sauce, miso paste, rice vinegar). 

Then cook your udon! A lot of udon is pre-cooked and packed...quite easy and VERY hearty. So just cook it for a few minutes (it doesn't need much time). I cooked up some snow peas, squash, corn, and onions with oil and then miso paste and soy (the kind for noodles, with bonito), then stirred in the cooked noodles. 


Sunday, July 12, 2009

I do eat salad sometimes

photo courtesey of

I have this thing about meals. They are very important to me. In my dream world, I would sit down for three a day, with people, and eat with leisure and pleasure and all that...

In the summer, however, things shift. All my groceries are pretty much produce, and I find myself eating said foods all day long which, for whatever reason, doesn't irk me as much as it would if it were, say, November. This is my unfortunate reason for not being such an enthusiastic poster these days.

HOWEVER, that said, I do miss my meals.

Q: But, how do you make a meal out of purely produce?

A: Salad. Hm.

I've never been a salad person, especially those really "fresh" crunchy
ones that are all iceberg, cucumbers, peppers, radishes, carrots, etc, I like all of those things, I just don't find them to be that satisfying on my plate in salad form (julienne them into a slaw however, and I might definitely change my mind).

THE POINT OF ALL THIS: There IS a salad I LOVE! And I will share it with you now.

Rachel's Summer Salad

Spring Greens
3 Large Strawberries
3 Large Brined Artichokes
1/3 Avocado
flaked salmon (optional)
pine nuts (optional)

Arrange everything prettily on a nice plate! Top with...

Dressing, whisk:

2 Teaspoons dijon
2 Teaspoons honey
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon Olive oil

I just ate this. Without the otpional ingredients, and it was awesome.

I guess the point is that I assume that one assumes the most important texture in salad is "crunchy", but I would have to disagree. Flavor wise, I think tangy is the most important, and I like salads that are soft, juicy, and even melty in a way. That might be weird, but, hey, that's me.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Farmers' market and fennel!

Fennel, apple, vidalia onion, brown rice, dill, peas, sauteed in butter with white wine vinegar.
Beach peas!

Beautiful heads of fennel

Grapefruit and stracciatella gelato...side by side

We'll start with the inaugural Cape Ann Farmers' Market! It's back and seemingly bigger and better...hooray! Perhaps some things aren't so farmy but I'll take a risk on permitting gelato, pies, and honey at my markets.

After reading an article about them, I was quite excited to see Giovanna Gelato there so I traipsed over to get my fix: the grapefruit had a wonderfully smooth and refreshing icy texture and the stracciatella was very delicate (made with whole milk) and with just thin slivers of dark chocolate. I was being impulsive getting the two, but they were actually quite good together!

I went back to the market and got a tart from Cape Ann pies: strawberry rhubarb and I'd say it was like a mini-pie in character, nevertheles delicious.

Overwhelmed by all the vegetables, I finally decided on fennel which was $.75 a head! Score.

I had already been to Karl's sausage kitchen that day and needless to say I couldn't cook up that fennel right away. It finally stopped raining so what else but a walk to the beach? I had to walk on the path since it was high tide and was pleasantly interupted by swaths of beach peas!

At home I decided to make a whatever is in the kitchen sort of dish. I cut up the fennel bulb (including not leafy stalks) and sauteed it with vidalia onions in butter, I added apples a bit later, then the beach peas and brown rice (already cooked). Toss on a little dill and white wine vinegar and you've got a lovely early summer plate!


Monday, July 6, 2009

Kale: du jardin and not

Kale chips (greens from the market)
Hey there, sauteed onions, garlic, and garden fresh kale with vinegar and red pepper flakes.

It's that time again! HARVEST It's been super rainy here (eek a cause of the outbreak in irish potato famine-esque potato blight!!) and our plants haven't been getting a ton of sun. BUT the plants that I lazily bought (already started) were ready...the bushiest of the lot being the assorted kale. 

Sadly I don't know what they were called (the varieties) but they WERE delicious. 

I made a little breakfast sautee and some kale chips (either broil or roast for a little longer after coating in oil and salt).