Friday, October 29, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
On the plus side of driving all the way to the Bronx to see a bunch of fake pumpkins (see above) was that my fellow and I made a pit-stop at Arthur Avenue for a modest haul of Italian grocerries. For those of you who do not know, Arthur Avenue is a mini-Little Italy in the Bronx, and it's authentic as hell. We left with a chunk of gorgeous Parmesean, a half pound of Bresaola, a box full of fresh ricotta raviolis, a half pound of spinach linguine, three lamb loin chops, two broccoli rabe sausage links, two cannoli in the stomach and another three in a box to go. Although we resisted the call of an early dinner at Rigoletta on Friday, every last bit of that supply of goodies was gone by Sunday night. Gluttons, we are.
We hadn't arrive at Arthur Avenue with any particular recipes in mind, so we did a little digging through our cookbooks when we got home. Gourmet's Gourmet Today cookbook billed this recipe as a "tasty weeknight lamp chop," but after sampling the results, I beg to differ. This marinade coupled with a nice, tender lamb loin chop is nothing short of revolutionary. It was divine, outstanding, delicious, and I regretted that we hadn't bought at least another pair of lamb chops, which would have been totally disgusting, but wonderful.
Make this recipe with the tenderest darn lamb loin chops you can find. Trust me on this one.
Garlic-Rosemary-Marinated Lamb Chops
from the late-great Gourmet
2 garlic cloves
1 t. salt
2 t. finely grated lemon zest
1 T. chopped, fresh rosemary
2 T. olive oil
1/2 t. freshly ground pepper
3 to 4 (1/14-inch thick lamb loin chops (about 1 lb. total)*
1. Mince garlic and mash to a paste with salt, using the side of a heavy knife. Stir together garlic paste, zest, rosemary olive oil and pepper in a bowl. Rub paste onto both side of chops and marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes.
2. Heat grill pan over high heat until hot. Brush with oil and grill chops, turning once, about 10 minutes for medium-rare. Let stand, uncovered, for 5 minutes before serving.
* Note: Gourmet Today says eight 1 1/4-inch thick lamb chops, which would certainly be MUCH more than a pound, I am sure. I am going to assume there was a typo in the cookbook: Our three chops (a little thicker than 1 1/4-inch, but all the better for it) were just under a pound.
** Double Note: The photo above is not a shot of this recipe, it is merely a delicious-looking shot of a lamb chop. I would normally have taken a photo (but I was too covered in lamb juice gnawing at hte bone to snap photos) or pulled photo from Epicurious.com (but somehow, the usually-wise editors of the site have failed to include ONE OF THEIR BEST RECIPES EVER). Hence, the decoy; my sincere apologies.
I'm on the press release list for NYBG, and I'm frequently intrigued by the garden's offerings. The recent press push for the Halloween Hoorah, foretold three of the largest pumpkins in the region -- which were present and impressive -- and over 500 carved pumpkins. Seeking inspiration and playing hooky, we braved the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and journey to the Bronx.
Ladies and gentlemen, your humble author was dismayed to discover that the New York Botanical Garden’s “intricately carved” pumpkins were all fake! (See above.) A jack-o-lantern enthusiast, I had been tempted to view the work of a true pumpkin-carving artist, only to discover display after display of styrofoam Funkins.
A representative from the garden told me, “A majority of the installation are Funkins so that the installation is preserved for families to enjoy throughout October,” which is understandable, but there really wasn’t a single carved, live pumpkin on the premises. I can appreciate the convenience of a Funkin -- I have used them on many occasions for magazine shoots, but in a garden, one expects life, does one not?
Below, are some snapshots of the living things we saw at the Garden: Signs of this glorious northeastern fall weather.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Then, I saw these cute headboard cutouts from Blik (the original hip decal maker) and I fell back in love with the idea. Our bedroom is a typical, small New York City bedroom -- and we can't really spare the extra inches we'd need to have a proper headboard. Yet sometimes I look over at my headboard-less bed and think it looks so naked. Blik's Wrought Iron (above) or Olivia Headboard (below) decals could fix that without taking up an inch of floor space. What do you think, worth a shot?
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
"I almost never make hors d'oeuvres; cocktail food at my house is little silver bowls with salted cashews, ripe cherry tomatoes, vinegary caper berries or salt potato chips. It's elegant, it's delicious, and frankly, no one really wants to fill up on pigs in a blankets when you've worked so hard on the dinner."
I couldn't agree with her advice any more -- and not just for Thanksgiving, but for any meal!
Personally, I always have some nuts, dried fruits and cheese in the house. When presented in a pretty way, these pantry staples can make a deceivingly elegant hors d'oeuvres spread. For example, the other weekend I cut up an apple, sliced some pieces of sharp chedder cheese, quartered some dried figs and arranged them on a cutting board with some almonds -- a seemingly special spread was really just what I had on-hand. Of course, a nice cheese and some crackers or sliced baguette is always a welcome treat.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
While this recipe isn't knock-your-socks-off delicious, it was tasty and very healthy. It's an ideal easy, weeknight vegetarian meal.
Chickpea and Fresh Spinach Curry
From The Wholesome Kitchen
1 white onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 t chopped fresh ginger
1 T light olive oil
2 T mild curry paste
14 oz can chopped tomatoes
1 c cold water
14 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 lb fresh spinach, stalks removed and leaves chopped
A handful of cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1. Put the onion, garlic, and ginger into a food processor and process until finely chopped.
2. Heat the oil in a skillet set over high heat. Add the onion mixture and cook for 4–5 minutes, stirring often, until golden brown.
3. Add the curry paste and stir-fry for 2 minutes, until aromatic.
4. Stir in the tomatoes, water, and chickpeas. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a medium simmer and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook until just wilted.
5. Stir in the cilantro.
6. Serve over basmati rice.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
I have a little booklet of recipes titled Everyday Meals that came with my subscription to Gourmet some years ago. Among the tried-and-true recipes contained in the slender volume is one for Turkey Meatloaf. Something about the arrival of fall made me want to give it a try, and the results were very tasty. I used ground dark turkey meat from the farmers' market, which gave it a nice rich flavor.
As an accompaniment, I mixed a cup of ketchup with a chopped-up chilpotle pepper from a can of chipoltes in adobe, which gave a nice kick to the meatloaf. I have re-named this a Turkey-Vegetable meatloaf because there are actually as many vegetables as turkey in this recipe, making it fairly healthy.
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/8-inch dice
3/4 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and very finely chopped in a food processor
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon ketchup
1 cup fine fresh bread crumbs (from 2 or 3 slices firm white sandwich bread)
1/3 cup 1% milk
1 whole large egg, lightly beaten
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 1/4 pound ground turkey (dark meat)
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Cook onion and garlic in oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until onion is softened, about 2 minutes. Add carrot and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated and they are very tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, parsley, and 3 tablespoons ketchup, then transfer vegetables to a large bowl and cool.
3. Stir together bread crumbs and milk in a small bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in egg and egg white, then add to vegetables. Add turkey and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to vegetable mixture and mix well with your hands. (Mixture will be very moist.)
4. Form into a 9- by 5-inch oval loaf in a lightly oiled 13- by 9- by 2-inch metal baking pan and brush meatloaf evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons ketchup. Bake in middle of oven until thermometer inserted into meatloaf registers 170°F, 50 to 55 minutes.
5. Let meatloaf stand 5 minutes before serving.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Now we just need to figure out what throw pillows work on the new couch. I'm also eager to get a new slipcover made for the barrel chair, which you can see below. The old Laura Ashley cover from my childhood looks a little shabby next to our gleaming new Jasper.
What happened to the old Ikea sofa, you ask? My friends, have you ever used Craigslist's free section? It is amazing. Every time I have posted something there, someone comes to pick up the item I no longer want or need -- I even managed to get rid of a bunch of half-used cans of house paint once. A guy named Tony is now in possession of the broken Lillberg and I wish him luck with keeping it in one piece.
She took inspiration for her portrayal of Victoria not from, say, some old James Bond heroine but from a far unlikelier figure. “I based the character on Martha Stewart,” she said. “She’s very sweet, very gentle, with a twinkle in her eye. But at the same time there’s that steely determination and utter efficiency just underneath it. I had a picture of Martha Stewart in my dressing room and the makeup trailer. Just to get that look in my eye.”
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Sweet Corn, Edamame and Scallions
4 ears of corn
1 1/2 cup frozen shelled edamame/soy beans
2 T. butter
1 bunch scallions
Freshly ground pepper
1. Defrost edamame.
2. Use a sharp knife to cut the corn kernels off of the cob; break up the kernels.
3. Separate the white and light green parts of the scallions from the greens. Finely dice the lighter parts and finely slice about half of the the green tops.
4. Heat a skillet to moderate heat and melt 1 tablespoon of butter with 3 tablespoons of water and sauté white parts of the scallion for a minute or two.
5. Add the corn and about 1/4 cup of water to the pan. Raise the heat and cook until the water cooks off. Add edamame to pan and cook for another minute.
6. Stir in the the second tablespoon of butter and scallion greens to the pan and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Thursday, October 07, 2010
But what I really wanted to share was how useful I finally discovered the Epicurious iPhone app to be! I downloaded both the Epicurious app and the Everyday Food app, but have never really found occasion to use either until the other day. I was at the grocery store and I remembered that my boyfriend and I had talked about making pumpkin pie. Normally, I would consult three cookbooks and choose a recipe, but since I was already at the store, I whipped out my phone, fired up the Epicurious app and found a four fork (aka star) recipe, bought the ingredients and went home to make the pie.
Admittedly, trying to read the recipe off of my phone was a pain, but I was still thrilled to have found a good recipe with such ease while on the go. The pie was easy to make and very yummy, and the app is definitely worth checking out.
What about you, what pumpkin pie recipe do you swear by?
Pumpkin Pie with Spiced Whipped Cream
from Bon Appétit
1 frozen 9-inch deep-dish pie crust, thawed, pierced all over with fork**
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 large eggs
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Reshape crust edge to form high-standing rim. Bake crust until browned, pressing bottom and sides of crust occasionally with back of fork, about 14 minutes. 2. 2. Cool crust on rack. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
3. Whisk pumpkin, condensed milk, sour cream, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, vanilla, and allspice in large bowl to blend. Whisk in eggs. Pour into crust (some filling may be left over).
4. Bake pie until filling is puffed around sides and set in center, about 55 minutes. Cool pie on rack. (Can be made ahead. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours, or cover and chill overnight.)
** Note: I used a brand called Oronoque Orchards that was very tasty.
Also, anyone know what that fantastic wallpaper is in the Kate Spade shot?
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Instead, I have just taken to cutting my sponges in half. The smaller sized sponge fits easier in the hand and you can use it almost as long as a full-sized, meaning you get twice the sponge for the price of one. It's just one of those little things that saves money and cuts back on waste over time -- thought I would share with you.
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
However, the article says the recipe can be made in 30 minutes or less, which is just not true. In fact, the soup needs to simmer for 30 minutes once it's been made, not to mention the time to make the croutons. I'd also note that it would make four very small portions -- we were two and the leftovers look like one lunch serving to me. So, make it because it's yummy, healthy and easy, but not because it cooks in a flash.
Tomato Soup With Mozzarella Croutons
from Whole Living magazine
FOR THE SOUP
1 28-oz. can whole peeled plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced onion
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
FOR THE CROUTONS
1/2 baguette, sliced (about 16 slices)
Olive oil, for drizzling
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
Fresh basil leaves
1. Pulse tomatoes and liquid in a food processor until chopped. Heat oil and red pepper flakes in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion. Cook, stirring, until onions are tender, about 6 minutes. Add tomatoes and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and stir occasionally, until slightly reduced, about 30 minutes. Puree until smooth; season with salt and pepper.
2. Meanwhile, drizzle bread with oil. Toast in 375 degrees oven until it begins to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Top with mozzarella and return to oven. Cook until cheese begins to melt, about 1 minute more.
3. Top with fresh basil, season with salt and pepper, and serve with soup.
Monday, October 04, 2010
1. Buy it with though
2. Cook it with care
3. Use less wheat & meat
4. Buy local foods
5. Serve just enough
6. Use what is left
Don't Waste It.
A quick googling reveals that it's a World War I era poster to raise awareness about food supply issues during the war. I'm struck by how relevant the ideas are today -- the words could have easily been written by Mark Bittman or Alice Waters.
Speaking of food, I have lots of fun recipes to share with you later this week: I was swamped with work the last two weeks and have lots to catch up on!