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.