Thursday, April 30, 2009

let's...get...yogurt! more adventures in the land of diy.

a tasty treat! creamy and tangy

Yogurt: it's delicious and perhaps an elusive creation? Non! your cultured friend is quite easy to make at home.

All you need: thermometer (submerge-able), milk, existing yogurt, powdered milk, and a warm space/oven
the type of ingredients varies on what flavor you're going for.

I looked around online for recipes and mostly used the guide on 101 cookbooks. You can definitely go without the yogurt maker but I'm sure it make a more even texture


heat 4 cups milk with 2/3 cup powdered milk (180 degrees)
let cool to about 120, then add blended yogurt of choice (add in a little of the milk to the container before combining)

place in a warm place/over at 110 degrees for about six hours...voila! then you can use this batch as the next one's starter

adventures?? skyr? cottage cheese? si se puede!


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

all i want is seitan

<------- i got lazy, here's a picture of SOMEONE ELSE's seitan, this is the beauty before it's made

Perhaps you don't naturally have an affinity for spongey meat substitutes? Just wait for seitan! (say ˈseɪtæ say-ten..or SATAN shhh.) For all practical purposes, the substance is gluten, and it's very easy to make.

You might have seen our delightful friend pop-up in dishes where you may have thought duck or pork was the main protein (happy swine flu!) If you're on a vegetarian streak..or just want to try a tasty treat, seitan makes a yummy addition to stews or stir frys.

What I did (for love??):

mix 1 cup wheat gluten with about 3/4 cup water

knead for 5-10 minutes until uniform and elastic

roll into a 2" log..cut into slices and boil in a broth

after the mixture comes to a boil, simmer for about an hour

optional: flavah your seitan with soy sauce, spices, etc. right in the doughy mixture
wrap in foil to create optimal loggy shape
broth of choice! i used miso paste..about 1 tbsp per cup

don't be alarmed if the seitan absorbs a lot of steam/water and looks like a great beast, as it simmers stir periodically, then use in a recipe or eat with rice and veggies.

some more tips: oh no! it's from in vegan! but we forgive

(comment on the IPA cuz i's a speech nerd
the last syllable is a stressed symbol, rather than a schwa, so it's more like SEY-TAN (as in i want a golden bronze TAN) rather than SEY-TeN. so no worries about confusing the two, even though i think of satan when i think of wheat gluten, muhself.

Stuffed Broiled Trout!

I love trout. So I made it. Brian was my guinea pig, and the story unfolds....
The guy at whole foods didn't debone my trout, even though I asked him to. Don't let this happen to you.
Otherwise, it was quick, easy, and awesome!

This recipe is my own, but combines many inspirations from various sources, the biggest being a recipe I caught from by Sara Moulton.

Broiled Stuffed Trout

Butterflied Whole Trout (DEBONED SUCKAH)
Bread Crumbs (Good big ones... TJs has them in a pouch, or use panko)
Lemon Juice
Chili Powder
Salt and Pepper

Prepare stuffing. Combine bread crumbs, garlic, chili powder, onion, parsley, lemon, salt and pepper. Drizzle two tablesppons of oil over this mixture and mix with fork. Preheat the broiler. Brush both sides of the trout with vegetable oil. Season with salt and pepper and broil skin-side up to crisp the skin, a maximum of 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the fish from the broiler. Place the fish, skin-side down, in a roasting pan that has been lightly rubbed with vegetable oil. Sprinkle the stuffing mixture over the fish. Place the fish in a 375 degree oven 6 to 7 minutes to finish cooking. When the fish have nearly finished baking, sprinkle pieces of butter and squeeze some lemon over to finish. Garnish with parsley.

Serve with sautéed swiss chard with bacon, a tomato salad, good bread, and white wine. See how happy the little fishy is in the last picture? He was dressed to the nines!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Artichoke Pizza/Suteishi Sushi

Pizza and sushi are, respectively, very high on my crave list, and I had the opportunity to savor both this weekend.

I'd never been to Artichoke, so Brian and I headed over to Stuy Town before a concert to pick up a few slices. I grabbed a Margarita, he, the signature Artichoke and a Sicilian and off we went.

Artichoke is the place to go if you want a departure from the thin, crispy New York style pies. The crust is thick, chewy and greasy, in the best way. Probably the most crave-worthy is the Artichoke slice, pictured above, which features some sort of super thick cream and spinach sauce topped with cheese and artichokes. Heyyyooo.

Tonight I dined with the fabulous Meredith Doyle, and decided to check out a South Street Seaport restaurant, Suteishi, apparently a gem amongst many a bad tourist destination.

I ordered spicy tuna AND spicy salmon, because I can't get enough of either, and if I order anything else anywhere, I alwayss wish I had ordered spicy-something. Meredith ordered the avocado roll and a king crab roll. Everything looked lovely, tasted wonderful, and came out swiftly. And we got to sit outside with a view of the Brooklyn Bridge. Definitely worth it, especially if you live down here.

Homemade Frozen Yogurt

After being inspired by David Lebovitz's Strawberry Frozen Yogurt recipe, which I was pointed in the direction of via another post of his, explaining how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker, I decided to try. Although I used strawberry, kiwi, and mango instead. Whole milk greek yogurt was my base. My mixture was quite chunky due to my lack of a food processor, but all was well! I have to say, I probably wouldn't do it again, unless I had an ice cream machine, but the weather made it worth it today.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"Nature's Warheads"

These two items, though, seemingly, very different, are, in fact, very, very alike. (PS -how many times can I use a comma in one sentence?!)

KUMQUATS!!! I had my first one just a day or so ago and wow. I am so pleased. It's the fruit that I knew was always missing from my realm of experience, but exists! These little citrus gems are entirely edible, and should be eaten that way, rind and all. In fact, some people prefer to eat only the rind (indeed, kumquats are good for pickling, cand-ying, jell-ying...) This is because it is the RIND that is sweet and chewy, and the center gives a juicy burst of sour. So, it really does include the full flavor profile of the Warheads of our youth, only backwards.
Highly recommended if you like things that kick. GOOD for you. Good FOR you. Yum.

ooh fellows speaking of kumquats but maybe not GOOD for you...cones' upscale flavor of the month is with kumquats soaked in johnny walker classy it's $1 to taste S.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

these are a few of my favorite things!

Ahh once of my greatest vices! popcorn! 

Like whole milk, once you've had the good 'un you'll never go back. 

Whence procrastinating, reading, hungry, whenever I'll pop some corn. I've used some from the likes of Met food mart etc. but the stuff I got from a co-op on e. 4th st (btw. bowery and 2nd ave) is real good. 

The benefits of popping your own: it's massively easy, tastes better, isn't processed...everything?

Basically you just need to cover the kernels in oil (just vegetable oil..canola, corn etc.), not drenched just with a bit of a layer then cover and pop for a couple minutes...dress with fresh pepper and sea salt! 

If yer feeling fancy try out some recipes like chili-lime-tequila popcorn from 101 cookbooks and while you're there try all the recipes


Monday, April 20, 2009


I'm taking a break from writing a paper, and decided to blurb about guacamole instead. A touchy subject, I know. Tomatoes, no tomatoes? Onion or garlic? Or both... additives such as sour cream or mayo, lime, lemon, slighty mashed or pureed??.... too much confusion.

Here is how I feel about guacamole in 5 parts:

1. Avocado (ripe ripe ripe)
2. Lime
3. Garlic
4. Cilantro
5. Salt

Anything more, and, in my humble opinion, you are perverting the perfection that nature has handed you in that luscious green fruit. Fork-mashed, puhlease.

Got a recipe? Share it!


Sunday, April 19, 2009


showdown! wet vs. dry!
melting chocolate

Saga in making a cake for Ms. Rachel Tonthat

what to do when birthdays come? bake! 

I got this recipe from Gourmet by way of epicurious

If yer going to do it..don't stress about certain specifics like mixers and pans etc. it'll still be delishious! 

I got 3 cake pans at duane reade for 50 cents a piece..but it's a bit difficult to cut them in half so i didn't try...just 3 big layers did i make.

before you cook: take out the eggs and butter and bring to room temp

if you don't have a beater..just stir well 

oh and for the frosting: 3 sticks of butter ya heard?! if there's no confectioners sugar is to be had you can make it by adding 1 tsp of cornstarch per cup of sugar and blend in a food processor/blender/or my personal tool the magic bullet

note of melting chocolate: double boiler! you can make one by putting a heat-safe bowl over a pot of the chocolate and be sure not to let it burn or to let the water boil

tangent!! saw this on epicurious today!! AHHH just the name. 

Classic Macaroni and Cheese with BACON

It was one of those times when a recipe seems silly, and writing down what you do even sillier. So, this is what I remember happened:
First, I cooked bacon in butter in a good size cast iron skillet.. Yes, I did. Then I dropped in a huge onion and two cloves of garlic, chopped. Meanwhile, cook some tube-y pasta al dente. Make a roux with the fat/bacon/onion/garlic in the pan by adding a couple tablespoons of flour. Cook the roux for about five minutes, then add a good amount of whole milk, forming a bacon-y bechemel. Stir in the pasta, filling the skillet to the top. Then add as much shredded cheese as you can possibly fit, and fresh flat leaf parsley. The cheese should begin to melt, and everything should reek of bacon. This means it is right.
Top the skillet with more cheese, parsley, and lots and lots of good, coarse bread crumbs and bake in the oven at 375 for about a half an hour until it is brown and bubbly. Then please make sure it sits a bit before you eat it! And please ignore the fact that I switch tenses about 14 times in this post. Thanks.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

East Village Cheese

I visited EVC today, in order to pick up some tangy chunks of aged goodness for my cast iron skillet macaroni and cheese. I had plans on a pinkie-in-the-air, fancy schmancy mac and cheese, including brie, figs, pancetta, comte, etc, but when I arrived, had come to the conclusion that I should master a trad. American-ish variety first. SO, I picked up some Sharp Cheddar for 2.99/lb (!!), a variety of Gruyere (3.99/lb), and Pecorino Romano.

I can't say enough about East Village Cheese. It's a wonderful place. Just go in and turn right to find one of the best deals in NYC, 1.50 for a huge wedge of Brie. Take one and a baguette to the park and you and two friends have a picnic for about 3 bucks.

I headed up to Trader Joes after to pick up some bacon, bread crumbs, and whole milk. Will document the process tonight.


read em' and weep: 

specials last week: 
blue gouda, excellent blue cheese! salty, creamy, a little crunchy, without that bite other varieties have
kirsch something- creamy desserty cheese, basically taste like cherry candy and cream cheese
bother either 2,99 or 3,99 a pound!


Slow Food!

Ever feel like you want to be the kind of person that savors and has 3 hour Portuguese-style meals? You can do it! And, it doesn't have to make you broke...all the more reason to DYI!

Not to get serious or anything but eating like a European (or all the other cultures that actually VALUE their food preparation and enjoyment) means buying and thinking like one. This means quality not quantity. Often taking shortcuts to get the better deal ends up causing problems in the long run...take everything that's wrong with ecology for example, or the fact that most diet foods are 90% chemicals (i made it up..but probably true).

Buying what you need and what's good stuff. Chances are with food and whatever else, you'll be happier at the end. So why consumption speech on a food blog? Because that sacred aspect has been commodified like everything else..which means less time spent with friends and tasty treats. Check out The Story of Stuff and In Defense of Food..they're much more convincing than me!

Would you rather: spend $20 on 6 meals worth of microwave dinners and diet soda or get fresh pasta, farmed veggies, and moderately priced vino? mm I think the latter.

Slow Food NYC has a wonderful snail of approval guide to the best quality food joints in the city. I always like these staples to add on:

-TJ's/Whole Foods obvi.
-East Village Cheese
-Stiles Market (cheap produce etc. at 42nd and 9th ave.)! they have some good deals on stuff like apples/dairy although often it's a splurge
-For spices etc. I've had good luck with the vein of Indian/Pakistani joint on Lexington and 28th
-Chinatown! wonderful loose teas, fresh tofu, noodles, and bean sprouts..and if you're going to buy from a supermarket (such as the d'ag bag or gristedes) you'll get fresher/cheaper here an old lady and peruse the weekly fliers of all those places only need a few things to cook around: a pan of sorts and some fresh ingredients. Enjoy!


p.s. A tangent: I have to mention this cocktail...they're making it at Brooklyn's Huckleberry Bar for a Slow Food meetup called "The Slur": The cocktail special will be the “Queen of Hungary’s Water.” Its a Rosemary Infused Bourbon with Fresh Lemon, a House Made Pear Syrup and splash of Pear Brandy - served on the rocks with a sprig of Fresh Rosemary. MMMM next project..perhaps vodka infusions?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cast Iron Skillet

So's I's boughts myself a cast iron skillet. All's I's sayin' is that shit gon' get crazy 'round here.

Prepare yourselves.


Monday, April 13, 2009

why do we like brownies so much? this time with ghee!

Like my comrade I too was inspired to bake brownies nearly a fortnight ago. While making bread I spied the recipe on the back of the flour bag. It's a vicious cycle. Since most of my cooking involves little planning I realized there was no butter left (or not enough for baking). Alack, from years earlier I still had a jar of ghee (qu'est-ce c'est? clarified butter which never goes bad..i think p.s. alton brown has a recipe). And like most things I make, again it's an effort to use stuff I already have so that will come into play at discussion of icing.

Here's the recipe for the "best fudge brownie recipe ever" 's pretty delicious. I used some broken-up caramel filled chocolate squares instead of chocolate chips. Feel free to throw in whatever on the lines of nuts, fruit, and chocolates.

Also, take note of DUTCH PROCESS cocoa. It's not a big deal for brownies but for legit baking you'll need to be sure you get the right cocoa for your recipe. In short it's treated with an alkali to reduce its acids so you'll need to add an acid like lemon juice if you're substituting dutch for regular.

On to icing:
I also like the creamy cheesy brownie combo so I made a haphazard icing in the spirit of haphazard bean dips gone by.

Softened cream cheese (maybe a cup?)
1/2 cup sugar (confectioner's is ideal)
mint leaves
some kind of jam if you're weird. i used blackberry
note! these measurements are not exact

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lan Zhou: Hand Pulled Noodle and Dumpling!

At 144 East Broadway there lies a little hole in the wall noodle and dumpling paradise. Lan Zhou, which just obtained an English language menu, is hard to beat for value. Every noodle soup, brimming with chewy hand-pulled noodles, broth, meat, and vegetables, is either 4.50 or 5.00. But the real bargain are the fried dumplings. Truly, some of the best dumplings I've ever had, EVER. 3.00 for TWELVE DUMPLINGS. I say no more. And you can watch the guy pull the noodles right there :)

Cheesecake Brownies! Cheeeecaesake brwoooniessss!

I finally get a day where I don't have to be anywhere until 6:00!


Pics in backwards order LOLZ
Result: I cut them while they were still hot (bah couldn't wait!), so the presentation is a little messy, but I have to say they are pretty delicious. I may have cooked them for just a few minutes too long, seeing as the outside pieces are a little too cake-y for my tastes (the closer to fudge, the better the brownie for me), but all-in-all the recipe was crazy easy, and looks so pretty!
Recipe follows... I used unsweetened bakers chocolate instead of bittersweet, and put a bit of cinnamon in the cheese-cake portion. I think these brownies could benefit from some sort of fruity swirl. Raspberry? Most definitely. Maybe next time!
Cheesecake Brownies
One 9-inch (23cm) square pan
6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces4 ounces (115g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped2/3 cup (130g) sugar2 large eggs, at room temperature1/2 cup (70g) flour1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder1/8 teaspoon salt1 teaspoon vanilla extract1/2 cup (80g) chocolate chips
8 ounces (200g) cream cheese, at room temperature1 large egg yolk5 tablespoons (75g) sugar1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Line a 9-inch (23cm) square pan with foil, making sure it goes up all four sides. Use two sheets if necessary. Mist with non-stick spray or grease lightly.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180C).
3. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and beat in the 2/3 cup (130g) sugar, then the eggs.
4. Mix in the flour, cocoa powder and salt, then the vanilla and chocolate chips. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.
5. In a separate bowl, beat together the cream cheese, the yolk, 5 tablespoons (75g) of sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
6. Distribute the cream cheese mixture in eight dollops across the top of the brownie mixture, then take a dull knife or spatula and swirl the cream cheese mixture with the chocolate batter
. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the batter in the center of the pan feels just set.
Let cool, then lift out the foil and peel it away. Cut the brownies into squares.
Storage: These will keep in an airtight container for a couple of days. They also freeze well, too.
RAHHH as I was copy/paste - ing this I realized I completely left out the salt!! Salt is crucial for pulling out flavor, do not forget it! (Hits self)
Also, I just greased the pan, no foil. They came out fine.

Friday, April 10, 2009

to amend...

the English menu for an Icelandic Fish and Chips shop, promoting fresh, organic ingredients, and a new twist on tartar sauce: SKYRONNAISE!!!

check it out! if only we all lived in Reykjavik...

and here's the icelandic menu, if you think icelandic is awesome:


Thursday, April 9, 2009

A brief ode to Iceland

for the record..the chocolate passes!

After tasting the joys of skyr (Icelandic thick strained yoghurt apparently it's "something between a yoghurt and a quark") I figure the land of Bjork and other such wonders will give great things. Yes, a cup of Siggi's may put you back a couple dollars but just abstain from coke for a day.

Today, with this in mind, I picked up smjor: Icelandic butter with a beauteous yellow hue much like that of my comrade's Kerry Gold. Ah, this is like Viking's butter! I didn't have anything butter deserving but it was still delicious and a tad salty on a crispy cracker. I think Iceland is just a place of pure Next: some fishies and chocolate. 

Read on! the delights of Iceland are invading our gastro-culture


The Morning Roast

I can't believe I've become the morning coffee person. Truly, I don't know how this happened; I've been avoiding it for two and a half years, and suddenly I bring one bag of Oren's Special Blend home from work, and, bam, I'm suddenly the every-man.

I will say this: the coffee at my work place is really f'in good. Best cup in New York. So come in and get a cup, buy some beans. If you're one of those people that likes routine and finding solace in that one place where you can buy your favorite coffee, snack, whatever... Oren's is SO that place for many a New Yorker. Why not join the masses? Someone told me yesterday that my job as a barista essentially makes me a drug dealer. I agree.

I, personally, take my coffee black, but with sugar. Espresso, in my opinion, is best with a drop of cream and sugar.

But, I suppose the reason I am posting is to share some tips on home-brewing coffee well, which is mighty difficult, and I didn't get it right until about three days ago. Here's what Oren's Daily Roast has to say:

1. USE FRESH COFFEE: get good coffee for only a week of brewing at a time
4. USE ENOUGH COFFEE: this is essential. truly. the best. tip. ever. two level tablespoons per every six fluid ounces (1 mug of coffee)
6. BREW AT CORRECT TEMPERATURE: not really your choice if you have an electric drip..


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Linguine etc.

Since the semester is ending, I've been trying to do some carbo-loading/cleaning out the pantry cooking and enjoying throwing sundry things together.

Once again, all you need is some olive oil and stuff to cook in it, I made the linguine first. Sautee diced onions and garlic then add chopped chicken. Season with something like thyme or another earthy herb along with some pepper. Add spinach last and after everything is blendy, stir in the linguine, maybe some sharp cheese. Ahh simple and tasty pasta.

Suffice it to say, it's not as yellow as the picture!


Never having visited the store myself, or having remembered bought any of their other products, I tentatively will state that Rao's, an Italian specialty food producer, makes good things.

Example 1 (the only example, thus far): their dried Rigatoni pasta. Huge, ribbed tubes. My favorite: cooks perfectly al dente.

And if the water is salted properly, only needs a bit of olive oil, sun dried tomatoes, and artichokes to be satisfying.

Probably the best DRIED pasta I've had at home.


David Lebovitz. I love you.

a decadent slice of coconut cream pie, topped with powdered sugar, you say?

WRONG! it's cheese! O M G

while browsing through the archives of david lebovitz's gastronomical paradise of a blog, i found this picture of a triple-crème Délice de Saint-Cyr, which if I'm lucky, I will get to taste in my lifetime on a fresh white baguette


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Carnitas Recipe

My own personal carnitas recipe. It makes use of many recipes found many places, and attempts to use the best of all worlds: frying in lard, braising, and roasting. It's messy, but very worth it. Enjoy.


10 dried chipotle chiles
5 ancho chiles (dried poblano)
1 lb rendered pork lard
2 (3 to 5 pound) bone-in pork shoulder
Salt and pepper
4 onions, halved
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and hand crushed
4 oranges, halved
4 limes, halved
2 tablespoons Chili powder
2 large, heavy pots

Put the chiles into a large bowl and cover with a lot of hot water; set aside. In a large heavy pot with a tight fitting lid, melt the entirety of the lard (yes, all of it). Generously rub the pork with salt (especially salt: use a good coarse salt), pepper, chili powder, and cumin. Brown the first piece of meat well on all sides in the lard, until it is crispy and caramelized. Remove the meat and repeat with the other piece. At this point, pull out the second pot and transfer half the melted lard and meat drippings to it. From now on, each piece of pork will have its own pot, and all the ingredients will be split in half. Add the halved onions to the lard and fry until caramelized, scraping up the browned bits in the pan. Turn down the heat to very low, and add the garlic. Stem and seed the soaked chiles reserving the soaking liquid; hand tear them into the pot. Return the meat to the pan along with any accumulated juices. Pour in all the chili soaking liquid, straining out any seeds, until it almost covers the meat. Use the tomatoes to cover what is left. Squeeze the orange and lime juices into the pot. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 3 hours, or until the pork is very tender. Remove the meat to a platter and cover to keep warm. Strain the braising liquid and reserve. Once the pork pieces are cool enough to handle, shred them into those long stringy, yummy porky pieces (7 cm), discarding any obvious big chunks of fat if you wish. Return the pork pieces to a roasting pan, and spoon some of the remaining braising liquid over them, until they are soaked and moist, and roast in the oven at 375 degrees until the liquid has condensed, possibly evaporated, and the pork is crispy and caramelized. It will depend on how much liquid the pork gave off, and how crackly you want them.
Best served in small tortillas, with avocado, cilantro, and lime.

... This calls for between 8-10 lbs of pork, which sounds like a lot, but remember that pork shoulder is a very fatty meat, and contains bone so you may not yield as much pulled pork as you expected, although I think you could feed at least 8 hungry people with this recipe.


mmmm bread!

It's time to bake some bread. Here bread made with is a very simple rustic recipe: just flour, sugar, yeast, water, salt, eggs, and oil.

I got the recipe from cooking, it's grandmas white bread..woot! Remember, 10 minutes of kneading isn't that bad :)

I would leave out a little of the sugar that the recipe called for and make sure the loaves aren't too high in the pan so everything cooks evenly.


Saturday, April 4, 2009


Trying my hand at Carnitas. While I initially seared the pork in a large amount of lard, the pork is really braised in a very fatty liquid, and then will be roasted in the oven.