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!"

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My First Hake

I was reaching for something to cook for dinner that was relatively healthy. I have been eating so terribly lately, my body was craving nutrients. I thought a fish fillet with some salad would make me feel a little better. I was pleasantly surprised to see the fish department nicely stocked at Food emporium. The man at the counter told me that the hake was fresh and I should try it. I figured, it’s white fish, fairly thin why not? BP II asked if I knew how to cook hake and as usual, I lied and said I was very knowledgeable. “Yes dear, I have lots of things I could do with this fish. You just wait and see.” And after a quick google search when BP II was not looking, I found out that hake was very similar to other thin white fish like flounder or catfish. Crisis averted.

The fish turned out really well, nice and flakey-just how I like it. All I did was put a little butter and oil in a pan, salt and pepper the fish, cook on 5 minutes on both sides or until a nice brown crust forms and the fish is cooked though.

To make a pan sauce, I removed the cooked fish from the pan and put aside. While on med heat, add about a TBL of lemon juice to help remove the brown bits from the bottom. Let this simmer and add about 3 TBL of capers with juice. Add a teaspoon of cornstarch and a TBL of butter before serving.

I served on top of spinach with a homemade vinaigrette. BP II was afraid there was not enough food, so I whipped up some orzo with some butter and lemon juice at the last minute. Needless to say, there was plenty of food for two people. But very delicious food I must say.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Blizzard Wednesday

There was a blizzard in NYC yesterday and as I was marching home, though the snow in with my pink galoshes, I was thinking about what I am going to do for dinner. I didn’t want to stop at Food Emporium because they would probably be out of everything and it was so gross out I just wanted to get warm and dry. Luckily, I always have some bone in chicken breasts in my freezer. When these babies go on sale I like to stock up and they are just perfect for a quick meal. I had some baby carrots in my fridge from last weekend and rice again to finish off the meal.

Roast Chicken


2 bone-in Chicken Breasts
1 TBL of Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper


Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. This is very important to get the skin crisp. Even if you don’t eat the skin, it keeps the meat nice and moist. Preheat oven to 400°.

Sprinkle chicken with olive oil and liberally season with salt and pepper. Rub chicken with your hands ot make sure chicken is coated.

Pop in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until internal temp reaches 155°. Place with aluminum foil and rest for 10 minutes.

Roasted Carrots

I did the same thing to the carrots I did with the chicken. Coat in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. If you have other spices such as rosemary or thyme you can add those as well. Rub with your hands to make sure everything is coated and bake for about 20 min in a 400° oven or until brown.

White Balsamic Rice

1 shallot. chopped
½ cup of rice
½ cup of white balsamic vinegar
1 TBL of olive oil
¼ cups of chicken stock
Salt and pepper


Heat medium sauce pan to med-high heat and add the butter and shallot. Sweat the shallot until translucent. Add the rice and stir to coat. Add the white balsamic vinegar and cook until all liquid is gone.

Next, add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for about 15 minutes stirring once or twice. Remove from heat and let stand another 5 minutes still covered. Fluff up with a fork when ready to serve.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Weeknight Risotto

One day BP II and I were wandering around Whole Paycheck and there was a sale on Arborio rice which is perfect for risotto. I had leftover shrimp from the shrimp and orzo dish I made a bit ago and decided that a shrimp risotto would be a nice weeknight meal. I have actually never made a risotto and was excited to try it out. I used the basic recipe from my Mark Bittman book and risotto does not require a lot, actually most ingredients are in your cupboard. But boy is it a lot of work. I stood over my hot stove for 30 minutes constantly stirring this rice plus the heat from my 400° oven. It was HOT!. Towards the end, my arm was quite fatigued. But the end result was very yummy and well worth the heat and fatigue. I will definitely make this again and what is nice, is that you can just throw anything in at the end. Leftover veggies or maybe some herbs and cheese, lots of things you can do with this basic recipe. You can even use it as an upper arm workout.


1 ½ cups of Arborio rice
4-6 cups of chicken broth
3 TBL of butter
1 med onion, chopped
½ cup of white wine
½ pound of raw shrimp
1 TBL olive oil
Salt and pepper


Place shrimp on a baking sheet and drizzle will olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 400° and set aside.

Heat a Dutch oven to medium heat and add 2 TBL of butter. When melted add onion and sweat until soft, about 4 minutes. Next add rice and stir until rice becomes glossy and is well coated with the butter/ onion mixture. Add ½ cup of white wine and stir until evaporated.

Next, add 1 ladle full of chicken broth and stir constantly or rice will stick to the bottom. Once first ladle is evaporated add another. Continue to do this for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes stat to taste the rice, keep adding ladles of chicken broth until the rice is soft on the outside but still maintains a bit on the inside.

After the rice has been cooking for about 10 minutes, pop the shrimp in the 400° oven for 10 minutes. The shrimp should be pink and have a slight browning to them when done.

When rice reached desired consistency, still in last tablespoon of butter and season with salt and pepper. Finally, add the shrimp to the rice and stir to incorporate. Serve immediately.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Superbowl Sunday Bagels

Awhile ago my mom suggested that I learn to make bagels. I am a carbohydrate addict and absolutely love bagels. Apparently, my mom used to make them all the time but that mysteriously stopped once I was born. Anywhoo, I woke up unexpectedly early on Sunday morning and decided to try and make these bagels. They looked deceivingly simple. Flour, yeast, sugar, vegetable oil, salt and warm water. Creating the dough was a lot like making a pie dough. The ingredients came together nicely and these bagels tasted really good if I do say so myself. Although, they did not turn out perfectly round. I think that is a technique I need to work on. The recipe called for wrapping the dough around your wrist and all this crazy stuff. I just made little balls and stuck my thumb though the center. These only take an hour and are totally worth it.

Homemade bagel recipe

4 cups bread flour
1 Tbls sugar
1 1/2 tsps salt
1 Tbls vegetable oil
2 tsps instant yeast
1-1/4- 1-1/2 cups of warm water.


Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. You don't have to worry about soaking the yeast when you use instant yeast (most yeast sold these days is instant yeast). The dough should feel stiff, but add the extra water if it's really stiff, or you can't get all the dry flour incorporated.

Plop the dough down onto the counter, and knead for about ten minutes, or until the dough is uniform and smooth.

Cut the dough into 8 equal sized balls, and let rest for 10-20 minutes.

Pre heat your oven to 425.

Now, take each of the dough balls and using two hands, roll it into a little snake on the counter. When the snake is longer than the width of your two hands, wrap it around your dominant roiling hand. The dough rope should be wrapped so the overlapping ends are together at your palm, near the start of your fingers. Now take the two overlapping ends, and use your palm to squish/roll these two ends together. Once the dough is fused, you should have a perfectly circular bagel-to-be! This is the only part of the process that can take a little practice before your bagels will look really professional. Don't get discouraged if they don't look perfect, it just takes practice!

Let your bagels rest on the counter for about 20 minutes, and meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil, and grease a large baking tray lightly. You can just rub a splash of vegetable oil and rub it around.

After the 20 minute wait, your bagels will start to look puffy, and it's time to get them boiling! Add them as many at a time as you can to your boiling water without crowding them. Boil for about a minute, turn them over, and boil for another minute. Take them out a let dry for a minute and then place them on your oiled baking tray. Repeat until all the bagels are boiled.

Add the tray to the oven, and after 10 minutes, flip the bagels over, bake for another ten minutes; and they're done!

Let them cool for at least 20 minutes, get the cream cheese ready, and feast on what's got to be one of the best weekend brunch treats possible!

To Tip or Not to Tip?

I never really thought about tipping someone when I ordered takeout. I figure that I am paying for the food and not really receiving any service. It is like ordering McDonalds, you wait in line, give your order to the person behind the counter, pay, and wait until food is ready. That is it. You would never tip a McDonalds employee for “preparing” your food. I am not saying that I am right. I tend to be super awkward are generally do not know when it is appropriate to tip. For instance, I did not know I should tip my super during the Holidays. (Luckily, I was told by my coworkers and this holiday season my super was tipped.) I also think people are a little tip happy in America. We have to tip everyone. From cab drivers to the people you do your nails. Again, I might be a selfish brat who doesn’t think of other people but honestly, I am just trying to make ends meet myself. All and all it is an interesting article that generally agrees that if the person did not perform a service, like cleaning your table or serving your food, they should not receive a tip. Interestingly though, I took the survey and it seems people are almost dead even between tip all the time and no takeout tippers.

What Can I Get You Folks? - Tipping on Takeout

by Hanna Raskin, Posted Feb 3rd 2010 @ 4:00PM

Photo: passiveaggressivenotes, Flickr

"Tipping may be contentious, but it's generally not too complicated. Most diners today are in the habit of adding at least 15 percent to their bills for the luxury of not having to pour their own drinks, fetch their food from the kitchen or clear their table at the end of their meal.

But even practiced tippers continue to struggle with what may very well be the most complex tipping quandary for restaurant-goers: Should one tip on takeout?

Here's why the problem's so advanced: It forces the customer to evaluate what's happening behind the scenes, a tricky proposition even for seasoned industry insiders. Since no server is going to bore you with the details of how your order was taken, placed, boxed and bagged, it's up to you to figure out whether anything tip-worthy transpired.

Tip-haters will be delighted to know I don't think there's generally anything wrong with skipping the tip on a to-go order. My fellow servers and I expect to be tipped on things like knowing the menu, anticipating diners' needs and keeping the dining room spotless – all of which are irrelevant in a take-out situation. While I'm quite sure there isn't a server anywhere who'd turn down a tip, few servers plan to get rich handing bags to customers.

If customers sense that their to-go orders might have chipped away at a server's time (which really does equal money in the restaurant biz), leaving a tip is the right thing to do. An astounding number of take-out customers will call a restaurant during dinner rush and ask whoever answers the phone to read the entire entrée section aloud -- and then check whether there's peanut oil in the salmon.

Most restaurants allow their servers to ring up to-go orders in such a way that they aren't penalized for the sale by having to report it to the IRS or calculate it into their end-of-shift tip-out. If your order's waiting for you at the bar, it's a fairly safe bet that nobody will suffer if you leave the tip line blank.

But if you arrive at a restaurant to find a server hustling off the floor to package your spaghetti, that's probably worth a dollar or two. Similarly, if a server offers to carry your food to your car, there's nothing wrong with expressing your gratitude in cash. Take-out orders don't require tips – but that shouldn't stand in the way of acknowledging good service. "

Do you tip on takeout?

Of course. It's the least I can do for people who don't make much in wages. 1900 (41.6%)

Never. If I haven't been served a drink or had my plate cleared, what's the point? 2112 (46.2%)

I never thought about it, but maybe now I will. 560 (12.2%)

The Jewish French Toast

After the steak incident, I thought I needed to earn some girlfriend points back. It was a restless night and early morning for us. BP II was hungry because he technically had not eaten since breakfast the day before but was still hesitant to eat anything I made. (He stills says that I poisoned him.) BP II thought he could muscle down some French toast and with my guilt; I was more than happy to oblige. I grew up in Pennsylvania and went to Catholic school all my life. I even went to a Catholic College for heaven’s sake. That being said, I never really knew any Jewish people. So when I moved to New York, I really didn’t know how wonderful Jewish breads were. It actually wasn’t until my roommate started to date her boyfriend, who happened to be Jewish, that I was introduced to Challah bread.

Challah bread is used in the Jewish tradition on the Sabbath to represent the manna that fell from the heavens when the Israelites were wandering around the dessert with Moses after their exile from Egypt. Because manna did not fall on the Sabbath, this was God’s day of rest, a double portion would fall the day before. The Challah is a double braided loaf of bread that symbolizes the double portion of manna that God provided for the Israelites. (An interesting note: According to the bible when the Israelites would store extra manna on any other day, it would spoil. God would be displeased and through Moses would scorn the Israelites for not believing that God would provide for them.)

Challah bread is fantastic for French toast. I am not sure why but this bread stands up to the egg mixture and still maintains its soft center. It is actually best to keep the bread out the night before and let it go stale. It helps the absorption of the egg mixture.

4 eggs
1 tsp of vanilla extract
¼ cup of milk
1/8 tsp of cinnamon

Combine the above ingredients in a shallow dish. Cut the Challah loaf into thick slices. Coat the slice in the egg mixture on the first side and then the 2nd side. Place on a skillet heated to med heat with a tablespoon of melted butter. Brown on both sides. Repeat for all slices.

You can keep slices warm in a oven heated to 300° for up to 30 minutes.

This might be difficult to recover from

I have really been neglectful of my blog readers (are there any?) lately. The truth is, there was an incident and I was unsure if I was going to share it with the world. But the point of this blog is to learn and tell my story so here it goes. The night started out normally. I went to Food Emporium with BP II and we were picking out things to eat this weekend. Steaks were on sale so we picked up 2 along with some eggplant as a side. I happened to have some salad at home as well to complete the meal. We went home and everything was normal. I started cooking around 7:30. I started by sautéing the eggplant until soft then adding some cream and walnuts. Now it was time for the steak. It was a thin steak this time around; maybe a top round sirloin without the bone. I patted the meat dry with a paper towel and seasoned with salt and pepper. I heated my pan and added a tablespoon of butter with some olive oil and then added the steaks. I waited about 4 minutes and flipped. There was a nice brown crust and I figured that because the meat was so thin and I like my meat rare, another 4 minutes should be perfect. I still had to make the salad and meat continues to cook while resting. I have the meat on a cutting board and make a very simple pan sauce with some red wine, Worchester sauce and a little bit of butter.

BP II and I sit down to eat and everything looks good. The steaks were a little rarer then I intended but they were tender and quite good. The eggplant was ehh. I probably won’t make that again. We happened to stay in that night and I went to bed early. In the middle of the night I wake to projectile vomiting. The poor kid. I gave my boyfriend food poisoning. He was up half the night vomiting his brains out. I felt terrible. And the weird thing is, I was fine. I am normally the person with the sensitive stomach. I have no idea what happened.

I guess the moral of the story is you have to cook your meat well or risk food poisoning. No if, ands, or buts about it. Needless to say, I think it might be awhile before we have steak again.

**Note: I would like to say that my steak was not any rarer then the picture

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Ina!

Everyone's favorite Hampton Queen turns 62 today. Ina you are the bees knees. Happy Birthday.