Sunday, July 25, 2010

Homemade Sauerkraut

My mother is Hungarian and my father is Irish, where my love for Polish food came from I do not know. Polish Kielbasa and sauerkraut makes me weak in the knees. I was intrigued about trying to make sauerkraut at home and asked both my grandmothers if they have ever tried such a feat. No luck. Until I love a lovely little email from my CSA coordinator, who apparently took a course with a very crunchy individual and proclaimed how easy it was. I was skeptical but I received Napa cabbage in my CSA and was unable to use it that week so I decided to go for it one Sunday. What did I have to lose? I watched Mr. Crunchy’s Youtube video several times and it just seemed too simple – Shred the cabbage and onions, salt, squish with your hands and let sit. I waited a couple days and added water to keep the veggies covered. My baby apartment smelled like onions but in a good way. After about 3 days, I tasted and decided I wanted a more pungent sauerkraut flavor. Another 3 days passed, I put a kielbasa on the stove and warmed up my home made sauerkraut. The flavor was outstanding and I was amazed just how simple it was.

I understand that foods must have preservatives in them to maintain shelf life. Obviously, we live better though these modern, scientific miracles. However, I am personally on a mission to eat as little processed foods as possible. If I can make my own chicken fingers or hamburgers at least I know where everything is coming from and it makes these little “sin” foods a bit healthy. So I try and do what I can to eat locally with lots of veggies. But that is why I think it is so cool to take something that I love to eat and something that I thought was so complicated and make it with my own two hands. I know where the cabbage and onions came from, I know what I put in the sauerkraut and best of all it tastes wonderful.

Angel Food Cake

I made this cake a bit ago - in my non-posting phase. BP II loves angel food cake and I suppose one night I decided to indulge him. Angel food cake reminds me of summer in Pennsylvania, sitting on my deck watching the sun set with some fresh strawberries. Nothing is better than fresh ingredients and a light airy baked good. Living in New York, one tends to give up those lazy summer nights but as they always say you can’t take the country out of the girl. Anyway, even if I can’t remember much about this cake – how it was made or what kind of sauce I drizzled on top, it is still a very pretty picture of I am sure, a great tasting cake. Next time I make one, I’ll be sure to fill you in on all the details and of course provide a recipe. But for now, just a pretty picture.

Monday, July 19, 2010

S’mores at Home

Need I say more?

Summer Pasta

I bought this pasta in Italy and I was waiting for a “special” time to break it out. I waited and waited and nothing really came to mind. Waiting for that special time for anything is so futile. Magic happens when you least expect it and you can never plan it. Besides when you have enormous expectations and want everythin to be perfect there can be a letdown- the garlic burns or the cream sauce has cornstarch lumps. Little incidents like that always happen with my cooking. But I digress.

Vegetable co-op day brought summer savory and zucchini. What better ingredients for summer pasta? Grilled zucchini, roasted tomatoes with a garlic oil sauce and seasoned with some fresh herbs, salt and pepper. Delicious and no let down.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Rat-Tail Radishes

How interesting do these guys look? I would even venture crazy enough to be beautiful. If I had an apartment where I could have dinner parties, I would definitely make these an interesting centerpiece. Flowers, but in that modern art kinda way.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Garlic Scape Stock

What an interesting vegetable the garlic scape is. These green curly snake like rods are wonderfully fragrant and have a great garlic flavor. Unfortunately, BP II is not a huge fan of garlic. I on the other hand am a garlic lover and fully practice my love.

Recently, BP II and I went to the beach and I didn’t have time to use up all my garlic scapes. However, my CSA coordinator turned me to on a Mark Bittman recipe for garlic scape stock. I was intrigued. I go thought so much stock, from risottos to potatoes I use it in almost everything, that I figured to give it a go (despite BP II’s protests, what do boys know anyway?) The garlic aroma filled my apartment and I can’t wait to try it in my next risotto.

Risen from the Dead

Yes, yes it has been a bit but I went to Italy, had some summer fun and switched jobs. So personally a lot has been going on. Food wise, a lot has been happening too. My CSA has started to come and much to BP II’s dismay contained almost all salad for the first couple weeks. This time around was a bit more interesting: beets, bright lights Swiss chard and rat tail radishes. I had this weird fever overtake me the past couple days and therefore could not make dinner. So I have all these veggies from my CSA just wilting in my fridge. I set out to use as many as a could for dinner tonight because I have a whole new box arriving on Monday. The result: Red beet risotto and garlic cumin Swiss chard of course paired with BP II’s favorite, pork loin. I found the red beet risotto on the New York Times website and BP II thought it was amazing. The color was fantastic and very different from the usual risottos that I make. This is exactly what this CSA was supposed to do, push me from my comfort zone and try different vegetables and cooking techniques. I would never have picked up beets at the grocery store. I always memory flash to the gross canned ones that were served at my childhood Thanksgiving get-togethers. But these fresh ones were good and you can use almost the entire plant from the leaves to the root. A beet lover I now am.

The bright light Swiss chard recipe was given to be by a co-worker. Her mom is famed to be a fantastic cook and how do you turn down a recipe from a famed cook? The flavor was good and but I think I might just not be a fan of bright light Swiss chard. However, they are packed with vitamins: K, C and A. So good flavor and vitamins are good enough reason for me to “muscle” them down.

Risotto With Beet Greens and Roasted Beets

3/4 pound beets (1 bunch small), roasted*
1 bunch beet greens, stemmed and washed
6 to 7 cups chicken or vegetable stock, as needed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups Arborio or Carnarolli rice
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 cup red, rose, or dry white wine
Freshly ground pepper
1 to 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1/4 to 1/2 cup, to taste)
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley


1. Bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan. Season well and turn the heat to low. Stack the stemmed, washed greens and cut crosswise into 1-inch wide strips.

2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large nonstick frying pan or wide, heavy saucepan and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until the onion begins to soften, about 3 minutes, and add the rice and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the grains of rice are separate and beginning to crackle, about 3 minutes.

3. Stir in the wine and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. The wine should bubble, but not too quickly. You want some of the flavor to cook into the rice before it evaporates. When the wine has just about evaporated, stir in a ladleful or two of the simmering stock (about 1/2 cup), enough to just cover the rice. The stock should bubble slowly (adjust heat accordingly). Cook, stirring often, until it is just about absorbed. Add another ladleful or two of the stock and continue to cook in this fashion, not too fast and not too slowly, stirring often and adding more stock when the rice is almost dry, for 10 minutes.

4. Stir in the greens and the diced beets, and continue adding more stock, enough to barely cover the rice, and stirring often, for another 10 to 15 minutes. Taste a bit of the rice. Is it cooked through? It should taste chewy but not hard in the middle. Definitely not soft like steamed rice. If it is still hard in the middle, you need to continue adding stock and stirring for another 5 minutes or so. Now is the time to ascertain if there is enough salt. Add if necessary.

5. When the rice is cooked through, add a generous amount of freshly ground pepper, and stir in another half cup of stock, the Parmesan and the parsley. Remove from the heat. The rice should be creamy; if it isn’t, add a little more stock. Stir once, taste and adjust seasonings, and serve.

*preheat oven to 400 degrees. Fill a baking dish with water about 1/4 of an inch deep. Add the beets and cover with tin foil. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a knife is inserted easily. Cool before dicing.

Garlic and Cumin Bright Lights Swiss Chard

1 bunch of Bright Lights Swiss Chard
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp of paprika
½ tsp of cumin


1.) Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add the Swiss chard. Cook for 3 minutes and blanch in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.

2.) Remove chard and pat dry.

3.) In a 10 inch frying pan add 1 TBL of olive oil and garlic on cook medium heat. When garlic is brown (1 min) add the chard and paprika, salt and pepper. Sautee for 10 minutes and add the cumin. Cook for another 2 minutes and serve.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

God Help Us All

I am an avid fan of the Real Housewives franchise and watch all the seasons from New York to Orange County. And I think no one can deny that The Real Housewives of New Jersey was an amazing season full of big hair, big muscles, and catty bitches. It is like the Jersey Shore in 25 years. I am not sure why I am drawn to these grown women acting badly and picking fights with each other but that story is for another day.

Someone had the brainchild to let Teresa Giudice write a cookbook. I find it almost insulting because she did not cook on the show, had her housewarming party at a restaurant and is most famous for tipping a table in a fit of rage. Is Italian cooking so easy that anyone can do it? Uhhh NO! What is the cookbook world coming too? What about all the Italian cooks who actually know how to cook Italian food. Where are their cookbooks? I guess you have to be borderline famous, behave badly, and have a brood of 4 very spoiled little girls. Honestly, I think if anyone were to get a book deal out of RHoNJ it should be Teresa’s cast mate Caroline (the one who’s husband’s father was found in the back of a car riddled with bullets) would be a better fit. We saw her cooking on the show several times, she owns a reception hall with her husband, has fed and raised three children and might have ties to the mob who we know are excellent cooks. I would by that cookbook: Cooking with the mob: how to make someone their last meal. HA!

Obviously, you can see that I am very peeved about this and I mean I knew it was coming. I guess the release of the book is supposed to coincide with the new season of RHoNJ which premiers next month I think. I guess someone needs to pay for Teresa’s tacky lifestyle considering her house is in foreclosure (yes the one she just built from the ground up and decorated with marble and onyx) and her husband is reportedly beating her to a bloody pulp every chance he gets. (I have a friend who is her neighbor)

One last note: why is she eating PASTA on the cover of a skinny Italian cookbook! I mean I guess that is all she know about Italian cooking, what a nimrod! Teresa Giudice you are an embarrasement to yourself, your family and Italian’s in general. Watch Giada for some pointers on how to be a classy Italian who can actually cook!

Vegetable Soup with Grilled Cheese

I try to keep some soup in the freezer at all times. That way if I get home and feel unmotivated, I can just pop some soup on the stovetop and have dinner ready in 15 minutes flat. This is exactly what happened one night last week but instead of our usual bread pairing, I wanted to make a grilled cheese sandwich. I used to live on grilled cheese sandwiches in college. However, the ingredients consisted of 2 slices of white bread with 2 slices of American cheese from the deli. Very bare bones but I remember them being very good and I would crave them all throughout class.

As I get older, I am finding there are other cheeses in life besides white American and mozzarella. For example gruyere cheese is fantastic and melts wonderfully. So I grated some gruyere, carved four nice big slices from my Portuguese loaf, salt and peppered some tomato and chopped up some dill. Next lightly buttered my non stick pan and when it was good and hot, placed my sandwich in the pan. The cheese began to melt and I could smell the dill. I had to weight the sandwich down with a soup can and a ceramic baker. When the bottom was golden brown, I was ready to flip and replaced my weight. In 10 minutes I had a hot and crusty grilled cheese sandwich to go with my vegetable soup.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Flank Steak

I admit I have been in a bit of a funk lately that I am having a hard time shaking anf unfortuntley my blog friends and BP II are the ones that are suffering. I have been really frustrated with my job on so many levels and I carry that baggage home with me. I don’t know if it is just me or what but I have a real tough time compartmentalizing work and home life. So if I am unhappy with either my general attitude just sucks. Anyway, I have not been very motivated to cook and order in or have been leaning on some old standbys to get me though the week (PASTA). That has left me feeling like a big huge puff ball walking around with this piss poor attitude. However, there has been a changing point. I started taking a spinning class which totally kicks my butt and takes all the negative energy and completely zaps it. I leave with my legs feeling like jelly and it motivates me to want to eat better because why else am I working this hard? My vegetable co-op will begin soon and I am really excited for that and hey work is just work and I really have to find the motivation to keep doing the things I love and not falling into these super depressed emo moods.

Last weekend I was thinking about something to cook for dinner and was just coming up blank. So I went to me handy dandy cooking binder with recipes that I have either found on the internet or in a food magazine, for some inspiration. BP II and I have not had steak in awhile and I fund this flank steak with artichoke – potato hash with Aleppo- pepper aioli recipe from Bon Appétit. I love steak and artichokes and it had the heat I knew BP II would like.

The recipe calls for 8 baby artichokes which my food emporium did not have or I couldn’t find. I didn’t want to use the jarred artichokes because this was my opportunity to learn to cut an artichoke. I thought the baby artichokes would be the same as the large artichoke just smaller, right? Wrong! I followed the directions on cutting up the artichokes according to the recipe and I knew something was wrong from the start. They had these little prickly hairs in the center and I was unsure when to stop peeling the leaves back. It was a complete disaster. But I continued because what else was I going to do? Give up, No way José. (Upon some research, I found out that the prickly purple center, you should cut out, I did not do that but now I know.)

The steak turned out fantastic and the pepper Aioli was amazing. I have never done something like that were there is a complimenting dipping sauce. BP II immediately asked to put it in the rotation. I did not have Aioli pepper but used 4 parts paprika and 1 part cayenne pepper instead. I result was this spicy steak but the Aioli added another component that was still spicy but soothing at the same time. If that makes any sense. I definitely recommend that you try it.

Flank Steak with Artichoke-Potato Hash and Aleppo-Pepper Aioli

(from Bon Appetit)


2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Sherry wine vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1 1/2- to 2-pound flank steak
1/2 lemon
8 baby artichokes, stems trimmed
1 1/4 pounds unpeeled small yellow potatoes (such as baby Dutch or Russian Banana)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 cup water
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 garlic clove, minced
 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon peanut oil or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives



• Mash garlic, Aleppo pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt to paste in mortar with pestle or in small bowl with back of spoon. Whisk in remaining ingredients. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.


• Mix thyme, Aleppo pepper, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in small bowl. Rub seasoning mixture into steak; set aside. DO AHEAD Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature before continuing.

• Squeeze juice from lemon half into medium bowl of water. Cut 1/2 inch from tops of artichokes. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, break off dark outer leaves until only pale yellow leaves remain. Cut artichokes lengthwise in half; cut each half into 1/2-inch wedges. Place in lemon water to prevent browning.

• Place potatoes in heavy large saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover; sprinkle with salt. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-high and boil until potatoes are just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain. Transfer to baking sheet until cool enough to handle. Halve or quarter potatoes.

• Drain artichokes; pat to dry well, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add artichokes and sauté until browned, about 4 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water, thyme sprigs, and garlic. Cover skillet and simmer over medium heat until artichokes are tender, about 5 minutes. Uncover and boil until no liquid remains, stirring often, 2 to 3 minutes. Add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and potatoes; stir to coat. Add cream and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until potatoes are heated through and browned in spots, stirring often, about 6 minutes. Season hash to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 hour ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

• Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat peanut oil in heavy large ovenproof skillet over high heat. Add steak and cook until bottom is brown, about 2 minutes. Turn steak over; transfer to oven and roast until cooked to desired doneness, about 7 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer to work surface; tent with foil to keep warm. Let rest 10 minutes.

• Meanwhile, rewarm artichoke-potato hash gently over medium heat. Stir in chopped chives. Thinly slice steak crosswise. Divide steak and hash among plates. Drizzle some aioli over steak. Serve, passing remaining aioli alongside.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Red Wine Salmon

I made this dish a couple times now and it gets a little bit better each time. It is a bit fattening (there is an entire stick of butter in the sauce) but is great if you want to impress. I got the recipe from my Mark Bittman book, How to Cook Everything.

I found some great looking salmon at Citarella with BP II and was very excited to try something a little different. I think we are both tired of my lemon caper sauce. I paired it with some buttered orzo and a light salad with homemade croutons.


4 Salmon fillets
Salt and pepper
1 TB shallot, chopped
2 Cups of Red Wine
2 TBL red wine vinegar
8 TBL of butter

Red Wine Sauce

Brown shallot in a medium saucepan. Add red wine and vinegar and let reduce by 1/3. Turn heat down to low. When the liquid has reduced, start adding the butter one tablespoon at a time. The sauce is ready when the liquid becomes creamy and rich.


Salt and pepper salmon fillets on both sides. Heat a medium size NONSTICK with about 2 TBL of olive oil to medium heat. (Very important. It is so frustrating to try and flip your fish and the whole thing falls apart before your eyes. ) When the pan is good and hot, place your fish in the pan skin side up. Cook for about 5 minutes or until a nice brown crust forms. Flip and do the same for the other side. When fish is cooked though, top with red wine sauce.

Blueberry Pancakes

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

America, This is Why You Are Fat

Midtown Lunch has the details: It's a "Chicken cutlet w/ bbq sauce sandwiched between two baked sea salt and vinegar potato skins stuffed with aged cheddar and apple wood smoked bacon." The breadless apocalypse continues! (Midtown Lunch via Eater)

· Your First Look at Cer Te’s Mr Potato Skin [Midtown Lunch]

McDonald's Germany Releases NYC-Themed Cupcakes

Where is my Upper East Side Cupcake?

From Slashfood

Monday, April 5, 2010

Does Something Smell Fishy in Here?

I do not typically buy fish that has been prepackaged. I almost always go to the fish counter to see what the little guys look like and what is fresh that day. However, I have bought raw shrimp in the bag when it was on sale one week and will now keep a lookout for this. Very interesting.

Freezer Burn - Seafood Buyers Get Scammed

by Clare Leschin-Hoar, Posted Mar 31st 2010 @ 2:00PM (

Consumers who net their seafood in the freezer section may be paying up to $23 a pound for ice, rather than on the shrimp, tilapia or scallops they believed they were purchasing, according to an investigation by the National Conference on Weights and Measures, which tested samples from 17-states, including Florida, California, New York, Wisconsin and North Carolina.

Lisa Weddig, director of regulatory and technical affairs for the National Fisheries Institute, which prompted the four-week investigation, says the ice glaze that's applied to seafood is done to seal in moisture and prevent freezer burn. "But it cannot be included as the weight of the product," she says. Seafood packers who do so are violating packaging and labeling laws.

Over 21,000 packages of seafood were removed for incorrect package weights during the month-long investigation which began at the end of January. In some cases, inspectors found that ice made up to 40 percent of the product's weight. Judy Cardin, Weights and Measures Chief for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, noted that most of the states which spot-checked products reported significant overcharges because of incorrect package weight.

The problem of icy fraud stretches back decades, according to an article in SeaFood Business.

Michael Herndon, spokesman for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, says weight fraud can occur in domestic or imported products, and is not limited to a specific type of seafood. The FDA has issued letters of warning to violators, but industry experts say the problem will not likely go away because of recent spot-checks.

So how can consumers make sure they're getting all of the seafood they're actually paying for? Walk the bag over to a scale.

"If you are buying a one-pound bag of shrimp, and it weighs exactly one pound on the scale, chances are you're not getting a true pound of shrimp," says Weddig.

Monday, March 29, 2010

This Makes Me Sad

"Attention, locavores, omnivores, urban butchers, backyard beekeepers, cheese fanatics, and conspicuous consumers of consuming: Your chickens won’t save the world and we don’t want the life story of everything on the menu. We don't care what you eat--we just want you to lower the volume. Also, please stop talking about ramps."

Shut Up Foodies

All I have to say is: If you don't like it, don't read it. Ass.

Branzini Who?

For a period of time I was all about this fish. I wanted to try all different kinds of fish and see what I like. I am not really sure why I thought I could be this adventurous. I am a very picky eater and with fish especially. I don’t like my fish to taste fishy, have a head or be a strange color. I don’t like sea bass for heaven’s sake which is supposed to be this really gourmet fish.

The fish man at Food Emporium said the branzini fish was really fresh and he could fillet it for me. I admit I was kinda excited. I have never had a whole fish fillet for me and if it comes in whole form it must e good, right? (In hindsight, I have no idea why this was so appealing to me.)

I got the fillets home and thought a nice salad with some buttered orzo would be a great addition. The result was an utter FAIL. The texture was off and it tasted very fishy. I don’t even think BP II finished his plate. From now on, I am sticking to salmon and white fish like tilapia.

Side note: Upon googleing branzini, I found out that the branzini fish is a type of sea bass. So I am thinking maybe I just don’t like fish in the sea bass family?

The First Cut is the Deepest

(Not the best looking dish I admit)

So who saw this coming? I was preparing my Irish dish for cooking club this month and I was cutting the onions and all of a sudden my knife slipped and cut my finger. Oh Boy did that baby bleed. I told BP II that I needed to go to the hospital for stitches and that he should to stop watching basketball and take me before I lose a finger. He wondered over to assess the damage and helped me run it under cold water. As the water cleaned the cut, we could see what it really was: a little baby nick that was not even one millimeter long. BP II found a Band-Aid and very kindly wrapped it around my wounded finger, patted me on the head and went back to his game. I went back to my Irish dish.

The theme this month was Irish food/ Something Green. I wanted to make something that was traditional Irish food but something that was not typical like corn beef and cabbage. I was hunting around the internet and found a Colcannon dish. I have never heard of colcannon and it seemed super Irish with cabbage and potatoes. I thought I was so unique. Wrong! Klamp brought the exact same dish. They tasted different and she got hers from Tyler Florence but it still let some air out of my sail. But they dish was good. It makes a lot so I guess it would be good for a party. Definitely too much for just a weeknight meal, unless you are eating just colcannon. Which you might be, I don’t know.

Diane's Colcannon
Fom: All Recipes

2 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 slices bacon
 1/2 small head cabbage, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup milk
 salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup butter, melted


1. Place potatoes in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender.

2. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, reserving drippings, crumble and set aside. In the reserved drippings, saute the cabbage and onion until soft and translucent. Putting a lid on the pan helps the vegetables cook faster.

3. Drain the cooked potatoes, mash with milk and season with salt and pepper. Fold in the bacon, cabbage, and onions, then transfer the mixture to a large serving bowl. Make a well in the center, and pour in the melted butter. Serve immediately.

Vegitable Lentil Soup

Katie Lee minus the Joel

I guess I am a little behind on this bandwagon but better late than never right? I consider myself a fairly knowledgeable foodie and can recognize many a foodie personality. (Luckily, I live in NYC where almost everyone who is a foodie personality resides) However, Katie Lee didn’t really pop up on my radar until her divorce proceedings began from infamous womanizer Billy Joel. I completely missed her on the first season of Top Chef and I actually watched that season. (I stopped watching Top Chef in the Las Vegas season, it gets a bit repetitive.) But the point is she was completely forgettable.

I have a very good friend in publishing, knowing I like to cook, offered to send me a copy of Katie Lee’s book. I was like whom? Turns out Katie was a foodie herself before she met the Piano man and because she happens to have a pretty face she landed the top chef gig. Katie cooks comfort food and some recipes from her first book are spinach and artichoke dip, crispy oven roasted-fried chicken, and no bake chocolate oatmeal cookies. The problem is, I don’t see her as a person I want to sit down and have a down home meal with. She seems uptight and forced. She is like a wannabe skinny Ina Garten with all the attitude but none of the approachability.

I have yet to cook any of Katie’s recipes and when I do I will be sure to let you know but they seem rather good. She actually won the Burger Bash at the Food and Wine festival with her Logan County Hamburger which is a cross between a burger and a grilled cheese. (YUM) I hate Rachael Ray with a passion but can admit that the woman cooks good food.

My advice to Katie: Lighten up. Your audience is young cooks in their early twenties and thirties. We don’t own summer houses in the Hamptons, own town homes in the West Village that are featured in Town & Country, have 950 square feet of kitchens in NYC and have exes that our Mom’s adored in their twenties. Finally, drop the fake accent. You are from West Virginia for heaven’s sake.

Logan County Hamburgers
From The Comfort Table by Katie Lee Joel


1 pound ground beef (85 percent lean)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 medium yellow onion, half grated, the other half thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 slices white bread
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
12 slices American cheese, optional


1. In a medium bowl, combine the beef, egg, grated onion, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mix until combined.

2. Form into thin patties.

3. Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread.

4. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the burgers about 3 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. Drain the grease from the skillet.

5. In the same skillet, place six slices of bread, butter side down. Top each with a slice of cheese, if desired, some onions and a burger. Top with remaining slices of cheese, if using, and bread, butter side up.

6. Cook each sandwich until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.

7. Serve with mustard, ketchup, pickles, or any other desired hamburger toppings.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Free Pastry at Starbucks and Ice Cream and Ben & Jerry's

Starbucks is offering a free pastry with the purchase of a beverage until 10:30 today. So hurry!

Ben & Jerry's is offering a free cone for the flavor of your choice today from Noon to 8:00 pm. Head to your closest Dunkin Donuts / Ben & Jerry's combo store for your fat kid delight.

Monday, March 22, 2010

No wonder Paula Deen is selling mattresses

I apologize for the 2 Paula posts in a row but how could I pass up the juicy gem? Paula and her sons (unclear why her sons have a show, magazine and are considered celebrity “chefs”) are being sued for $40 million big ones for failing to do promotion for some appearances. This kinda looks like a well you sued me and now I am going to sue you lawsuit. Frivolous and waste of money. It looks like the lawsuit is going to get Alec Baldwin Kim Basinger divorce dirty. Who would have known that Paula had such a dirty mouth? I kinda like her more now. I like a nice older woman that can talk a good game. As long as we don’t hear intimate details about her and Santa (Michael Groover, Paula’s tugboat captain husband). That would be gross.

Paula Deen Sued for $40 Million

by Jennifer Lawinski, Posted Mar 19th 2010 @ 11:30AM (

Down-home celebrity chef and Food Network star Paula Deen and her sons have been slapped with a $40 million counter suit filed by by Celebrity Chefs Tours LLC, Eater National reported.

The suit is in response to one filed by Deen against the event promoter back in February. That suit alleges that CCT defamed Deen and her sons after they canceled a 10-city tour and the company allegedly talked trash about their reasons, Food Network Addict reported.

In the counter suit CCT filed on March 15, the event promoter says the Deen family failed to promote a string of appearances to which they had previously agreed.

The promoter also took issue with "the language used by Paula Deen on stage" and alleges that "her show is not 'family-friendly' and that audiences at her previous appearances have been disappointed by the fact that Paula Deen rarely cooks during her performance," Eater reported.

The Deens are also accused of turning in promotional videos "loaded with profanity and sexual innuendo" that CCT said they couldn't use to promote the event, Eater reported.

Deen's federal suit against CCT alleges that the event promoter bounced a $150,000 check and sent "bogus" wire transfer instructions, Courthouse News Service reported in February. Deen claims the promoters defamed her and her family by telling the media they backed out of the tour after receiving "full payment in advance."

Paula Deen Enterprises and Deen Brothers Enterprises made a deal with CCT in December, Deen's complaint charges, to have Paul and her sons Bobby and Jamie Deen and her husband Michael Groover participate in 10 events. They were owed a $150,000 deposit, but Deen Enterprises claims the payment was delayed and the check bounced.

"Although the plaintiffs were entitled under Section 7(d) of the Tour Agreement to terminate the Tour Agreement immediately after the $150,000 deposit went unpaid, they continued to work in good faith with CCT on the planning of the events," the complaint states.

When further scheduled payments were missed, Deen and company backed out of the tour, at which time the complaint says CCT began defaming the Deens.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Trust Paula Deen - for the rest of your life

This is just awful. First of all, whoever thought it would be a great idea to make a line of Paula Deen mattress should be fired. No exceptions. End of story. What about Paula Deen says comfy mattress? I could see butter, lard, knives or actually anything to do with cooking. Not mattresses. I have never seen Paula in bed or in her pajamas. What are they going to do for the commercials? Counting Paula’s? I have one word: FAIL

Sadly, there is a site called furniture today and you bet they have the scoop on this brilliant marketing technique.

Serta rolls out Paula Deen mattress line

Will be sold exclusively at Mega Group member stores

Larry Thomas -- Furniture Today, March 11, 2010

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Bedding major Serta has partnered with Food Network celebrity chef Paula Deen to develop a mattress line that will be available exclusively to retailers in the Mega Group USA buying group.

The line, which has models retailing for $799 to $1,499 in queen, will be unveiled Friday and Saturday at Mega Group's spring convention in Orlando, Fla.

"This new mattress collection reflects the dedication that both Serta and Paula Deen have to style and comfort for the home," says Bob Sherman, president of Serta. "Together, we have designed mattresses that are extremely comfortable, affordable and that will really appeal to consumers shopping at Mega Group retailers."

Known officially as the Paul Deen Home by Serta collection, the mattresses feature an innerspring system with individually wrapped coils, soy-infused foam cushioning and Serta's KoolComfort memory foam.

The ticking is made from a knit fabric that contains silk, Sherman said.

"You can definitely tell that these mattresses have been inspired by my life in the South and my home in Savannah, Ga.," said Deen. "The collection is all about feeling good, comfortable and getting a good night's sleep in one's home. And just like my food, I send you comfort and love from my home to yours."

Jerry Honea, director of Mega Group, said Deen "is a name that resonates with our consumers, and I believe that these quality products will drive traffic to our retailers."

The partnership with Serta is Deen's third venture in home furnishings. Universal Furniture and its sister company, Craftmaster, rolled out a Paula Deen Home line of case goods and upholstery last year. Deen also has a licensing partnership for area rugs with Kaleen.

Based in Germantown, Tenn., Mega Group has about 1,500 members and 2,300 retail storefronts. Its members sell appliances, furniture, mattresses, consumer electronics and lawn and garden products.

The buying group's other mattress suppliers include Sealy, Simmons, Tempur-Pedic, Symbol and Sleep Trust.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bacon, Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil Pizza

Shrimp Fried Rice

BP II loves fried rice and I adapted this recipe from Cooking Light Magazine. The original calls for ¾ cup of soy sauce and I only used ½ cup but the dish was still a bit salty. Next time I think I will only use ¼ cup. But very good, quick weeknight meal.


1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon white wine or rice vinegar
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon peanut or olive oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
13 medium sized shrimp, deveined
2 cups of broccoli


Cook the rice according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, and ginger; set aside.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook for 5 minutes on each side. Remove from pan.

Add broccoli and 3 tablespoons of the soy sauce mixture to the pan and stir-fry until the vegetables are almost tender but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Return skillet to medium heat and add the remaining sauce mixture and rice. Cook until warmed through, about 1 minute. Make a large space in the center of the rice and pour the eggs into it. Scramble the eggs with a spatula until set. Stir the eggs into the rice. Add shrimp and broccoli. Transfer the rice mixture to individual plates.

The Deep Freeze

(This is my actual Freezer)

I like to keep a well stocked freezer. There are nights when I come home from work and all I want to do is veg out, so I need something quick and easy to make for dinner. BP II and I are big fans of soup, so we always have a soup in the fridge that can go from freezer to dinner in 15 minutes. Frozen shrimp also went on sale at my local Food Emporium recently so I have bags of frozen shrimp for a quick linguini or risotto. Many of the pan sauces that I like contain chicken broth, so after I make some chicken I boil the bones to make homemade chicken stock and pop in the freezer for a later date. Now that I think about it, I have all sorts of random things in my freezer waiting to be used up. For instance, I have blueberries (leftovers from a muffin recipe), chocolate chip cookie dough (just because it tastes phenomenal), leftover ham from Christmas dinner that I have been meaning to put in a soup, cheese rinds (also for soup), lots and lots of bone in chicken (there was a sale so I stocked up), probably many more interesting things that I cannot remember.

Freezing things is a great way to save money by preventing things from going bad and using them another day. I highly recommend making a big pot of something when you have time and then packaging it in little portions and freezing them for later.

Ten Things to Have in Your Freezer

By Tracey Seaman and Tanya Wenman Steel

We keep well-stocked freezers. Tracey likes to keep leftovers in the refrigerator, for fast reheating of subsequent servings, but she freezes fresh meats and breads and batches of chili, stews and soup to have on hand for later. Tanya likes to freeze individual portions of dishes so when she comes dashing in from work at 7 p.m., or after a Saturday soccer game, there is something healthful and tasty to pop in the microwave to feed a hungry and weary kid just minutes later. We both freeze our home-cooked recipes and keep a minimal stash of processed organic foods. Here is all you've ever wanted to know about freezing -- and more.

1. Cooked Pasta

Cook a pound -- bow-ties and rotelle are best for this purpose - -until barely al dente (so that when you reheat, the pasta will not be mushy) and then freeze (unsauced) in freezer-ready container for adding to a hot sauce or microwaving later.

2. Homemade Pasta Sauce

Make a batch on Sunday afternoon and store in containers (be sure to leave a little space at the top for expansion). Cream sauces do not freeze well.

3. Very Ripe Bananas

For an instant protein-rich smoothie store ripe bananas in the freezer, peeled, in freezer bags and blend them with skim milk and soy protein powder.

4. Pizza Dough

It thaws quickly at room temperature. Also, when you make pizza, cook an extra pie or two, let cool without cutting, wrap and freeze for later. Just pop the pizza in a 400F oven until hot, then cut and serve.

5. Vegetable Protein Burgers

When in a pinch, defrost some GardenBurgers, cook them in a cast-iron skillet, slide them between a whole-wheat hamburger roll, and pile on the lettuce and tomato.

6. Shelled Edamame

Buy them frozen in the supermarket, boil them for a few minutes, and serve them in a bowl, lightly salted. These buttery soy kernels are nutritious and surprisingly fun to eat.

7. Bacon

Raw bacon, wrapped side-by-side in pairs in parchment or waxed paper and then enclosed in foil is great for keeping portions on hand.

8. Peeled Deveined Shrimp

Thaw shrimp quickly under cool running water to make a tasty meal in a snap.

9. Frozen Potatoes

Look for organic shoestring, shredded or crinkle cut fries or hash browns without additives. You can cook them quickly in the oven or in a skillet and top with browned ground beef and cheese or serve them with eggs.

10. Soups and Stews

Simmered and braised dishes freeze well. Many of our recipes provide a large enough yield that you can freeze at least a quart to serve later. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

How to Freeze

You can freeze myriad foods: cake, cheese, bacon, berries, and other fruit. Sauces, broth, and pureed baby food can be stored in ice-cube trays and frozen. Here are some tips on how to ensure your foods don't end up tasting of freezer burn.

1. Slice breads before you freeze for easier removal.

2. Freeze in small portions, so you can just defrost a serving fast and easily.

3. Wrap well. Use containers and plastic wraps that were designed specifically for the freezer. Make sure there is no air in bags and wraps. If you are storing sauce or soup, keep room at the top of the container for expansion of the liquid.

4. Be sure to label the package with the name of the item and date of preparation and storage.

5. Place newer things in the back of the freezer and use the older items in front.

How to Thaw

Overnight thawing in the fridge is best, but if time is of the essence, you can immerse foods in cold water -- bag or container and its contents -- and keep changing the water until it reaches room temperature. Transfer soups, sauces, or stews to a saucepan and heat slowly, covered, until the mixture comes to a boil; be sure to stir often. For other individual portions, defrost uncovered in the microwave and cook and serve as soon as possible.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sea Bass

Is that on sale?

My non stick skillet was looking pretty shabby. We have been together a while now, almost 4 years and I have been waiting for my tax return to finally retire the sad piece of metal. When the check cleared, I high tailed it to Bed Bath and Beyond to pick out the new addition to my cooking family. I wanted something relatively inexpensive; I am in no position to be spending $160 of my hard earned dollars on a pan, but I also wanted quality. I was hunting around for a bit and then I saw it: the Calphalon Hard Anodized Non-Stick 10” Omelette Pan. I fell in love at first site and for only $50 I was happy as a clam.

I was walking out of the cooking section with a silly grin on my face when I walked by the knives in the glass case section. I immediately flashed to how frustrating my $19.00 knife was last week when I was cutting tomatoes. I wanted a nice sharp knife to cut though onions like butter. All of a sudden, I was telling the salesman I wanted a really sharp knife and he was hunting though the drawers for the 7” santoku Global knife. They were out of stock and I was about to leave for home but then I saw the Calphalon Katana 7” Santoku Knife. Again, the man hunted around for this specific knife and eureka, it was in stock. Then, I saw the price tag: $79.99. Ouch! I convinced myself that I needed this knife and it was a safety issue. What if my dull knife slipped and I cut off a finger? What if I was home alone and I bled to death from this finger injury? I had to have it.

I left Bed Bath and Beyond with my wallet feeling significantly lighter but excited to cook a meal with my new toys. I was also so happy BP II wasn’t with me because he surely would have been “disappointed” with my spending habits. Let me tell you, when BP II got home, I cooked him the most amazing meal (at this exact time, I can’t remember for the life of me what I cooked but I assure you it was fantastic). My knife sliced though veggies no problem and the pan sautéed like a dream. I felt like I was on Top Chef preparing the winning meal. Totally worth it.

Irish Grub

St. Patty’s day is tomorrow and I assure you that I will not be posting. I have a full day of green Jello shots, mimosas and 5th avenue parade. I am 50% Irish and only recently began celebrating this holiday. Of course this began when I started college and we used this day just for an excuse to drink our bodyweight in alcohol. But now as I get older, I want to bring a little more Irish tradition into my life. Obviously, there will still be lots of drinking but maybe some Irish soda bread (which is actually very American) or corned beef and cabbage (which we stole from our Jewish neighbors) could be mixed in. Actually, the Catholic Church even allows leniency during Lent if St. Patty’s falls on a Friday just so people could still eat corned beef and cabbage.

I found this great article on the Bon appétit blog about more traditional Irish grub. From Beef and Guinness Pie to a Mealie Greachie, there will be plenty of tradition for me to try off this list.

Boxty, Coddle, and Balnamoon Skink: An Irish Food Glossary
10:08 AM / March 10, 2010 / Posted by Diane Chang

The best way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day is to prepare a feast of Irish staples and wash it all down with pints of Guinness. But if you're tired of the usual menu of corned beef and soda bread, here's your chance to switch up the St. Patty's festivities with some classic dishes. With a culinary tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages and a language that's even older, Ireland has a number of mysterious food terms. So if you don't already speak Gaelic or know Cork slang, here's a cheat sheet of Irish food terms you'll be glad to know this March 17th!


Balnamoon Skink: A soup made with trussed fowls and seasoned with herbs and onions

Banbhianna: "White meats," a collective name for all milk products including fresh milk, sour milk, buttermilk, butter, cheese, and curds

Barm Brack: Yeast bread that's speckled with raisins and eaten sliced with butter and tea

Beef and Guinness pie: Common pub grub; pie dish lined with puff pastry, filled with stewing beef, and then topped with pastry

Belfast Bap: A century-old yeast bread that originated in Belfast; often used as sandwich bread.

Black and Tan: A drink that is equal parts stout and pale ale

Black Pudding: Blood sausage made from coagulated blood mixed with a filler such as oatmeal

Bookmaker's Sandwich: Two slices of buttered crusty loaf halves stuffed with cooked sirloin strips

Boxty: Potato pancakes eaten in Northern Ireland and made from flour and grated potato cooked in a skillet; often stuffed with a meat or cheese filling

Brown Bread: Like Irish soda bread, made from a combo of whole wheat and white bread flour

Cais: Cheese

Caudel: Warm drink of spiced or sweetened wine and egg, similar to eggnog; often used in pies, such as the hartichoke pie

Champ: Comfort food dish of mashed potatoes, butter, warm milk, and chopped spring onions;

Colcannon: Mashed potatoes mixed with butter, milk, chopped cabbage, and herbs

Collared Head: Terrine of pork comprised of bits from long-cooked pigs head and pigs feet

Crubeens: Pigs feet

Drisheen: A type of black pudding (see above) made from boiled pig's or sheep's blood, milk, salt, fat, and breadcrumbs

Dulse: A salty seaweed snack found at markets and some bars

Fadge: Potato pancake served with traditional Irish breakfast

Farl: Pan bread

Flummery: Pudding made with stewed fruit and thickened with cornstarch

Gammon: Ham

Griskins: Miscellaneous bits of pork

Irish Stew: A one-pot meal of mutton or lamb cooked with carrots, onions, potatoes, and stock.

Kedgeree (ked-juh-ree): Traditional Indian-influenced British breakfast that consists of curried rice, smoked fish, boiled eggs, parsley, and lemon juice

Mealie Greachie: Toasted oatmeal

Packet and Tripe: A dish consisting of Drisheen (see above) and tripe; eaten often in Cork and Limerick

Panhaggerty: Potato gratin with onion, bacon, and cheddar cheese

Pasty: Mixture of meat, sometimes with onions and mashed potato; encased in pastry dough, like a meat pie

Potted Meat: Preserved meat terrine

Pratie Oaten: Griddled mashed potato oak cake

Rashers: Thin slices of lean back bacon traditionally eaten as part of an Irish breakfast; also used for flavoring in cooking

Spotted Dog: Irish bread pudding speckled with dried fruit

Stirabout: Porridge made from steel cut oats or barley

Syllabub: dessert made from a combination of wine, lemon juice, cream, sometimes frothed with egg white

Ulster Fry: Full Irish breakfast that usually consists of Irish bacon, eggs, black and white puddings, lamb kidneys, quartered mushrooms, grilled tomato and more.

Veda Bread: Malted bread, eaten with butter and cheese

White Pudding: Sausage made from pork fat and bits of meat and filler such as oatmeal

Yalla male: Eaten primarily in Northern Ireland, bread made from yellow meal

Yellowman: Golden confection with a texture similar to honeycomb

Monday, March 15, 2010

Gird your Loins

Roasted pork loin is something that I make at least once a week. BP II loves pork loin and it happens to be something that is so simple but can be a bit elegant as well. Pork loin is especially good for a weekend where you have been running around and want something special but just don't have the energy. I start by removing the pork loin from the fridge and letting it come to room temperature. That is important so the meat cooks evenly. No one likes a bulls eye piece of meat.

I like to pair this dish with some roasted potatoes. My oven is already to 400º so might as well use that heat. I also happened to buy a whole head of Boston lettuce that needed to be used up, so salad with some homemade salad dressing and croutons finished off the meal.

This pork loin around turned out to be a bit dry and I blame it on my slow manual meat thermometer. The stupid thing would not register the 145º the meat requires until of course it soared by 145º to 165º. And, as we all know, meat continues to cook after you remove it from the oven so the end product was more like 170º. ( I guess BP II was happy to know that there was no chance for him to get food poisoning from this meal.) However, a quick pan sauce made the meat almost juicy again and BP II ate more salad then I have ever seen a grown man eat. I am going to say that everything came together nicely and everyone was happy. (I was happy because I got to buy a digital read thermometer the very next day guilt free.)

Pork Loin

Preheat oven to 400º. Liberally sprinkle with salt and pepper and if you like ¼ teaspoon of cumin. Heat a heavy, oven proof skillet to med-high heat. Add some olive oil or butter to the pan. Evenly brown the pork loin on each side then place in the oven for about 20 minutes, depending on how large your pork loin is. Remove when meat reaches 145º. (If you have cooked your pork loin to your perfect temperature, simply sprinkle with pan juices and serve. The great thing about a good piece of meat is simple additions make it phenomenal.) However, if you overcooked the meat like me. You can save it with a pan sauce.

Simple Pan Sauce

Remove the pork loin from the pan and let rest. Return the pan to med-high heat and add ¼ cup of chopped shallots and 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic. Brown for about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of white wine and let simmer. When wine has evaporated add 1 cup of chicken stock and that simmer until liquid has reduced by half. Salt and pepper to taste and spoon over pork loin.

Roasted Potatoes

Cut 4-5 small red potatoes into 1 inch cubes and place evenly on baking sheet. Drizzle liberally with olive oil, salt and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon of rosemary if you have some. Place in 400º oven for 20 minutes or until potatoes are brown on all sides. About half way through shake the sheet to make sure the potatoes are not sticking and things are browning on all sides.

Salad Dressing

Chop 1 teaspoon of garlic and place in bowl. Add 2 tablespoon of soy sauce, 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and whisk in about ½ - ¾ cup of extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Homemade Croutons

Chop some old bread (I used a several days old bagel) into bite size portion. Place a skillet on med high heat and add some oil to coat the pan. Drop bread into pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn constantly until thoroughly toasted.


Combine Boston lettuce, toasted walnuts, tomatoes and croutons. Coat with dressing and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese before serving.

Procrastination Nation

I am the worst blogger ever and have totally failed the 3 people that read this blog an I apologize for that. In my defense, I have been very busy at work and just got over the worst cold in my life. I felt so awful that I regressed to a weeping child that only wants a mother's comfort. But now I am back and promise to do better.

BP II and I officially signed up for our vegetable co-op. Well, I signed up and BP II just wrote the check. The vegetable co-op is about eating local fruits and vegetables from the farm. It promotes sustainable food sources and provides the freshest ingredients for me too cook with. I thought it would be a good way to eat more vegetables and learn new ways to cook them. Maybe I am just a farm girl at heart but I dream about ripe heirloom tomatoes.

In that spirit, the following list are things that are in season now and will taste the best at your local supermarket. Thank the lord that winter is over because here comes spring with fresh fruits and veggies.

Early Spring Harvest

Green Peas

Although, early spring is when things are just getting started it reminds us that better things are yet to come.

Stoneledge Farm

Friday, February 26, 2010

Parmesan Bread Crumb Crusted Salmon with Cucumber Salad

 This is probably a very unhealthy way to cook salmon but it is delish. The cucumber salad was good but I think it needs the sesame oil like the recipe calls for. I used olive oil which is a less flavorful oil for sure. BP II requested the white balsamic vinegar risotto so I choose that as my starch to finish off the meal. The fish was fast and easy to cook. The risotto actually took the longest and requires some pretty serious TLC. A very convenient weeknight meal with some flair, if I do say so myself.

Parmesan Bread Crumb Crusted Salmon


2 Salmon fillets
½ flour
1 cup bread crumbs
¼ parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1 egg
1 TBL of oregano
1 lemon
1 TBL of minced garlic


1.) Salt and pepper the salmon. Preheat oven to 400° and cut lemon in half. Place lemon in oven cut side up and roast for 15 minutes.

2.) Lay out 3 dishes. Combine flour, parmesan, garlic and oregano on the fist. Flour on the second and whisked egg on the third.

3.) Heat pan on med- high and add some oil. Dredge fillet in flour, then egg, and roll in breadcrumbs. When oil is hot place fish skin side up and cook for about 3 minutes on each side or until a brown crust forms.

4.) Finish fillets in the oven at 400° for 6 minutes. Sprinkle salmon with roasted lemon just before serving.

Cucumber Salad

1.) Thinly slice a cucumber season with salt and let sit for 15 minutes.

2.) Squeeze excess water with paper towel and place in bowl. Drizzle with rice vinegar and sesame oil in equal proportions. Toss with sesame seeds and salt and pepper to taste.

Yummy Fudgy Brownies

I was really depressed yesterday and all I wanted to do was leave work ASAP and veg out on my couch. BP II tried is best to cheer me up but when I get into these funks it is hard to pull me out. (Mainly, because I replay things in my head over and over again, reliving every gritty and raw detail. Unhealthy, yes) Of course, there is also a blizzard in NYC and due MTA cutbacks , my train was packed out with snow covered people. I am not talking a little uncomfortable either; I am talking about being full body smooshed by strangers. Luckily, I was next to this fantastic gay man that was screaming “Watch out for my cupcakes” every time we entered a station. I commented on his red velvet cupcakes, from Crumbs no less, and apparently cupcakes were the only way he could convince his roommate to leave the apartment. Oh the powerful draw of delicious caked topped with sugar and butter. That is when it hit me; I should make delicious fattening brownies to cheer me up. Also, some wine would help.

After I made dinner, I set out to make some brownies. One of my male coworkers ended up with a brownie book in the company gift exchange and in turn, gifted it to me. I have made brownies from the book before and they were pretty awful. However, in the book’s defense I did a lot of substituting so it was probably my fault. This time around, I followed the directions and used all the ingredients required. They turned out exactly how I would want a brownie to be – dense and fudgy goodness. Definitely hit the spot.


1.5 cups of butter
2/3 cup of flour
1.5 cups of white sugar
4 eggs
1 TBL of vanilla
½ TSP salt
1/2 Cup of Cocoa
1 TBL of coffee


1.) Preheat oven to 300°

2.) Melt butter in a medium saucepan and cook until the butter starts to brown. It will start to bubble and foam but eventually will start to turn color. Add sugar and whisk until combined. Remove from heat and walk away for at least 10 minutes.

3.) Add eggs, vanilla, salt and coffee, whisking after each combination. Sift the flower and slowly add to the wet ingredients. (I actually moved my batter from a saucepan to a mixing bowl for this step)

4.) Pour batter into a square 9x9 pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

5.) Let cool and refrigerate for 30 minutes. (They come out of the oven a little cakey but after some fridge cooling become fudgy)

Monday, February 22, 2010

It Smells Ok

It happens to everyone; you start a recipe and half way though when you are about to pour the expiable ingredient, you notice that expiration date has long since pasted. What do you do? Is it ok to use it? First, you smell it, sure it smells normal but I am certainly no expert and I think things like milk smell funny anyway. This actually happened to me this weekend. I was making buttermilk pancakes for breakfast (fat kid, I know) and I noticed that my buttermilk expired January 31. I obviously smelled it and it smelled normal. I shook it up and poured a little out to see if there were any chucks – negative. Everything looked good. So I used it. I held my breath until the first one was one and tore a corner off. I can’t take any more chances with BP II, a 2nd does of food poisoning might bring his poisoning theories back to the forefront. We can’t have that. I nibbled slowly and too my relief everything was fine. They tasted like buttermilk pancakes.

I googled “how long does buttermilk stay good” and some wonderful soul on said she freezes buttermilk all the time. It is so true, you buy this pint of buttermilk and the recipe only calls for 1 cup and they rest spoils in the fridge. I am going to freeze the rest of my buttermilk when I get home and will let you know how well it de-thaws.

Ignore "Use By" Dates?

by Nicki Gostin, Posted Feb 19th 2010 @ 1:30PM \(

It's cold outside. You're wearing your favorite pajamas, watching a Law and Order SVU marathon. Suddenly you're in the mood for a cup of hot chocolate or milky cup of tea to accompany two cookies.

But there's one problem (and we're not talking about limiting yourself to two cookies): The expiration date on the milk carton says the milk expired yesterday. You gingerly sniff the carton, fully expecting to be overwhelmed by noxious fumes but instead all you can smell is . . . milk.

Turns out nothing terrible is going to happen. According to University of Minnesota food scientist Ted Labuza (who spoke to Slate), perishables like milk and meat have a three- to seven-day grace period after the expiration date, assuming you are a normal person and store said perishables in the fridge and not, say, the sauna.

The "use by" date for milk varies state by state. Only twenty states insist on dating for lactose products, and each has different regulations.

You have plenty of wiggle room with expiration dates on other foods too. Pasta and rice is fine for a year. Unopened packages of cookies are good for a few months (though we wonder who has packets of cookies that sit around unopened for months?) and canned goods are safe for at least five years: perfect if there's a major catastrophe that keeps you housebound for . . . years.

The best "use by" detector is planted firmly in the middle of your face. If it smells suspicious, it's best to chuck it; if it smells okay then it's usually fine. So relax and go back to the couch.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Valentine's Cookies

Well now that Valentine’s Day has come and gone and all the red, pink and white goodies have been slashed to 75% off, the world can relax and stop focusing on getting a date, getting laid and getting a reservation. I was originally going to bring everyone a valentine last Friday but there were no good ones left at Walgreens and BP II told me it was childish (I choose to look at this statement as young at heart). So I decided a better idea would be to make some valentine cookies; however, by the time I went to the grocery store, cooked dinner, ate dinner and made the sugar cookie dough, I was just too tired to make the cookies after they chilled in the fridge for 2 HRS. So there were no cookies on Friday and no cookies on Monday either for that matter. By Monday night I had regained the energy that had been zapped from my body by the weekend getaway in the frigid temps of Rhode Island. I do not have any cookie cutters except from this gigantic weird flower that I picked up at Food Emporium. However, I did find the perfect bite shaped cookie cutter just sitting in my cupboard – my trusty subway shot glass (this shot glass is so old and has been through so much; it even has the 9 train listed). These cookies were cute and bite sized- perfect for a bla Tuesday at the office.

Sugar Cookies

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown

3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon milk
Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar. Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking. If dough has warmed during rolling, place cold cookie sheet on top for 10 minutes to chill. Cut into desired shape, place at least 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet, parchment, or silicone baking mat, and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to complete cooling on wire rack. Serve as is or ice as desired. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.

Royal Icing

3 ounces pasteurized egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners' sugar

In large bowl of stand mixer combine the egg whites and vanilla and beat until frothy. Add confectioners' sugar gradually and mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated and mixture is shiny. Turn speed up to high and beat until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks. This should take approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Add food coloring, if desired. For immediate use, transfer icing to pastry bag or heavy duty storage bag and pipe as desired. If using storage bag, clip corner. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Well These Look Interesting

The Butcher is In

I find this story on interesting. I consider myself to be a foodie and yes, I like to have some knowledge about the food I am cooking but I do not want to learn how to butcher my food. I understand that meat does come from animals and someone has to take those live animals and chop them into the wonderful pieces you find at the grocery store but I prefer not to think about it. I simply go to the butcher, say “I want that one please” and a very nice piece of meat is wrapped in paper for me to take home. I have a hard time with gory things; I cannot even watch silly laughable horror films because they usually contain lots of gore. The girl gets her arm sawed off and blood spurts everywhere or the man is tortured and has to dig behind his eye to retrieve the life saving key; these kinds of horrific images keep me up for days. I will replay them in my head over and over again. It took me weeks to get over the movie Hostel. I was conned into watching it in college with some friends and my god that was awful. Anyway, I think if I saw how cut up and animal it would really turn me off to cooking. When I was younger, I couldn’t even pull the skin of an uncooked chicken let because I was so squeamish. I have become more comfortable now but still avoid carving like the plague. When the meat is cooked, I am fine; I can cut that up no problem. When it is uncooked, the squishy meat under my knife makes me cringe. That said, I would like to get better and I applaud these people who have the time and money to take this $10,000/ 8 week course. They have a much better understanding about the meat and what are pieces are good for what. A knowledgeable cook is a better cook.

These Days, Butchers are Bloody Cool

by Nichol Nelson, Posted Feb 18th 2010 @ 4:30PM (

There was a time when only rock stars were rock stars. Then, sometime in the last decade, the public decided that chefs were rock stars, too. The latest profession to get the nod? Butchers. Yep, this unlikely profession -- a mix of blood, dead animals, and sharp knives -- is now, well, cool. East Coast hipsters eager to show off their adventurous side (and their food knowledge) started the trend, and recently, things have taken a turn for the weird: A slew of articles in the past year, including a splashy piece in the New York Times, have dubbed the profession "sexy."

Julie Powell, of "Julie and Julia" fame, is partly responsible. Her recent book, "Cleaving," chronicles her eight-month apprenticeship at Fleisher's Meats in upstate New York in between her descriptions of her torrid affair with an ex-boyfriend. But Powell's voice is only one of many. Butchers have a cult following, fans eager to learn the trade and pick up some of the foodie credibility it suddenly provides. San Francisco butcher Ryan Farr's shop, 4505 Meats, doesn't bother trying to be coy. Their apparel line (Apparel! Butcher shop apparel!) includes a t-shirt depicting a curvaceous woman with a whip, along with the caption "Say it sexy: Chicha-r-r-r-r-r-ones." Another shirt quips, "Pork. The noun, not the verb." Farr's classes, sessions like "Whole Hog," where participants butcher a 250-lb hog and take home the spoils, routinely sell out.

Joshua Applestone, owner and self-described "Head MooRoo" of Fleisher's, trained Powell in 2006, and says people tend to miss the point: Butchering is a lot of work. His eight-week course (which runs a cool $10,000) is in high demand, and he doesn't apologize for the fee. "It's a bargain," he says. "It really teaches people to cut, to handle the muscles and deal with the whole animal."

But why are people suddenly interested in this age-old profession? Applestone says that unlike cooking school, which can take years, learning to butcher seems accessible. "It's a lot more realistic for people to touch," he says. "It's a shorter learning curve." And there's the undeniable visceral appeal. "People are attracted to it because it's primal, it gets into the nitty gritty," he says.

Fleisher's only works with grass-fed and organic meats, which tends to pull in a very specific crowd, he says. "This type of butchery is really sourcing and working right at the ground level. That's very attractive to some people. Plus, you use knives, and who doesn't like cutting things? It's very sexy, very new, very cutting edge, but when you get right down to it no one really wants to be a butcher -- they want to cut stuff."

Some students do go on to open their own shops, of course, but he says the majority of his students come in for the skill sets. "Everyone's thrilled to learn, but when they finish the course, they're like, 'what's next?'" He laughs. "What's next? This is a never-ending journey. I learned from guys who've been doing this for 50, 60 years. What's next is you keep cutting."

Tom Mylan, the main butcher for Brooklyn's Marlow and Daughters, also trained under Applestone. His Williamsburg store is ground zero for the hipster set, and he weighed in on the hoopla on his blog, Tom the Butcher, awhile back. "I know that all you douchebags have not only a copy of Fergus Henderson's "Whole Beast" but probably the new one, whatever that one's called, too. You fancy yourself a real adventurous eater and when you go someplace like Casa Mono you always order the braised cock's comb. Yeah, you're a real medalist in the food hipster Olympics, too bad you get all your meat from Whole Foods!"