Dad showing me how to handle the fish. We washed, patted dry and sliced into similarly sized pieces, then dredged in flour.Alongside the brodetto I served sauteed fennel and a simple garlic and olive oil thin spaghetti. I trimmed and cored the fennel bulb, sliced, salt and peppered and put in a covered saute pan over medium-high heat for apx 10-12 minutes. The fennel caramelized while remaining crisp. The licorice flavor not only complimented the rest of the meal, but is supposed to relax the intestines and reduce bloating. Fennel is often used in between courses to have a digestive effect, similarly to how jagermeister and sambuca are used as digestifs. All I know is that this dish left me feeling comfortably full without the "I need to nap" feeling. "Pot Filler Faucets" are quite common.
Monday, August 31, 2009
chicken. The original dish was a huge success so I knew this meal couldn't fail! There are a ton of great seafood stores in the area, so we went to our favorite to scope out the selection. I was hoping for monkfish, but ended up with cod. Cod is a white fish (kind of bland) that flakes into big chunks and picks up the flavor of the sauce it's cooked in. I thought it would hold up well to the long cooking process required of this dish. I followed the same exact process as the Lemon, White Wine "Brodetto" with Chicken.
We were going away for the weekend and I had a bunch of half-cans of vegetables and miscellaneous lettuce that needed to be used up. I decided to make a mixed "herb" salad topped with various vegetable salads. Lettuce Mix: Watercress, Romaine Hearts, Spinach, Minced Chives, Minced Parsley Salad Dressing: Red Wine Vinegar, Olive Oil, Cumin, S&P Chick Pea Salad: Combine to taste
- Chick Peas
- Plain Yogurt
- Dried Oregano
- Lemon Juice
- Cherry Tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- Scallions, chopped
- Celery Stalks- leafy portions, minced
- Chile en Adobo
- Lemon Zest
- Lemon Juice
Sunday, August 30, 2009
These ribs were very meaty and we tried to determine the cook time by the amount that the meat shrank back from the bones. Unfortunately the meat didn't really shrink back from the bone as is usual so our ribs were a bit overcooked. There were some pockets of moist, flavorful dark meat, but sadly the white meat was mostly dried out.
The star of the night may have been the grilled potatoes. I think there is a reason that so many people are so nuts about their BBQ: a real charcoal fire can make even the plainest little potato into a rich, smoky, and truly delicious piece of food. I think next time I grill these potatoes I will make a homemade aoli dipping sauce to really gild the lily.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Yo In Yo Out, in East Harlem (Lex bw 101st and 102nd). Since the restaurant opened in February, 2009 it has been getting rave reviews on Yelp! for it's friendly owners, yummy food, casual atmosphere and BYOB status. I was really excited to test out a new restaurant, especially a BYOB. The atmosphere was very relaxed and the staff welcoming. The hostess/waitress greeted and sat us as soon as we walked in. They obliged opening one of the two floor-to-ceiling windows at the front of the restaurant to let in some much needed cool air. The waitress was French and very friendly, indulging the minimal French our table mustered up. The bathroom was also extremely clean, which is a huge THUMBS UP! in my book. To start we ordered Les Fromages- "Artisinal imported cheese served with fresh seasonal fruits and fig coulis" and Les Charcuteries- "Imported cold meats and pates served with selection of mustards and cornichons." The cheese and meat selection were good, but there were no seasonal fruits or pates to be seen! I suppose I can't be too critical though as the menu notes the dishes are made up of "Chef Yo's Weekly Market Selection." R had the Peach Champagne soup to start. It was a cold soup that looked beautiful, but reminded me of canned peaches rather then fresh. I definitely want to try to make a version of this soup, maybe with fresh mint. While there were rave reviews about the crepes I decided to order the Truffle Croque Madame- "Open faced brioche with truffle bechamel, jambon blanc and melted gruyere," served with an egg sunny side up. I absolutely love Croque Madame's- basically is is a ham and gruyere (Swiss like cheese) grilled cheese, but the thick bread is topped with a bechamel sauce and a sunny side up egg (Croque Monsieur is no egg). It is an extremely rich and luscious meal, and I've enjoyed plenty around NYC. This wasn't the best Croque Madame I've ever had, it was decent, but a little uninspired considering the yum ingredients you are working with! Regardless, I definitely ate the whole thing and was satisfied. We also ordered the Gratin Dauphinois (Potato Gratin) and the Gratin de Coquillettes (Mac and Cheese). These were very similar dishes with a heavy cheese/cream sauce that was tasty but masked the contents of the dish. R's sister ordered a shrimp penne in a basil tomato sauce. The pasta was a really overcooked but it the flavors were right. It's paining me to be critical of this restaurant because it I had a really nice time, and the food was definitely not awful. The problem was that my expectations were set so high due to the RAVE reviews online....
"I LOVE THIS PLACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love crepes. I love overly friendly services. I love the decor. So frenchy. So open. Literally, no windows, with the wind blowing gently into this dainty little place. This place makes me feel high. It made me want to bring all my posse here. And then get a new posse and bring THEM here." (Elsie W. Jamaica, NY, Yelp! Review)All in all, Yo In Yo Out has decent food but the real experience is it's extremely pleasant (and don't forget BYOB!) atmosphere.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
While perusing Time.com I stumbled across their 50 Best Websites of 2009. I was pleasantly surprised to find a NEW food website I had never heard of- Supercook.com. There is a search box where you enter the ingredients you already, and a search engine populates recipes based on those ingredients from their 300,000+ database. It is by far the best recipe search engine I've come across. I love foodnetwork.com but it is a pain to find recipes based on specific ingredients- I enter "flank steak" and I get recipes requiring 25 ingredients and filet...um no thank you! I had sweet Italian sausage and zucchini in my fridge. When I entered the ingredients into SuperCook an interesting looking pasta recipe from Epicurious.com popped up- Rotelle with Roasted Zucchini and Italian Sausage. The dish combines roasted zucchini, Italian sausage, yogurt, mint and parsley with rotelle, or wagon wheel pasta. Based on reviewer feedback I added garlic to bump up the flavor, and substituted oregano for mint. I also decided not to use wagon wheel pasta. It is one of those pastas that upsets my sensibilities. I am very particular about noodles and pasta-I don't like noodles in soups and I don't like Chinese noodles (lo mein etc). I've been thinking I need to go to Momofuku to get over my Chinese noodle aversion. Ingredients
- Italian Sausage, removed from the casings
- 2/3 container Plain Yogurt
- 1 Tbs Oregano
- 1/4 cup Flat Leaf Parsley, minced
- 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
- S&P to taste
Please excuse the poor picture quality- the colors didn't translate!On reviewer called this dish as "not the absolute definition of high cuisine," which I can agree with, but I thought the flavors worked surprisingly well together. This would be a great dish to serve cold at a picnic, with a squeeze of lemon. Today I mixed the leftovers with spinach leaves, a dash more yogurt and lemon and brought to lunch with me- very delicious!
Sunflower Sprout and Black Pepper Pappardelle (with a fried egg!)
and Summer Tomato Salad
Tomatoes, Pasta, and our last picnic on the floor! (Sofa arrived this morning.)
Yesterday we went to our first Austin Farmers Market. In Michigan (and Chicago) this time of year is a peak time for produce. Due to the extremely hot, dry summer weather down here, I would guess that this is not peak growing season in Texas. We picked up a bag of fresh Sunflower Sprout and Black Pepper Pappardelle, a crate of beautiful little tomatoes, and a few more surprises for later in the week. I halved the tomatoes and tossed them with a simple vinaigrette (red wine vinegar, olive oil, S&P, lemon zest) and added in some fresh chopped basil, parsley and green onion. I boiled the pasta for approximately 4 minutes, tossed with butter and plenty of olive oil, plated and topped each serving with a gently fried egg yolk, freshly grated Parmigiano, and some toasted pine nuts.
The texture of the pasta was a little grainy and spongy. At home we rarely eat fresh pasta so I guess we forgot what it tastes like! I will definitely go back to the pasta stand. They had some raviolis that looked really delicious. The tomato salad was fresh and bright, and with a glass of Malbec this was an easy and elegant summer meal.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Runner's World Magazine Issue (even though they spelled my name wrong!) Back in April when I was in Boston working the Boston Marathon, a group of coworkers and I went to a dive bar near our hotel, Bukowski's. Bukowski's serves Peanut Butter Bacon Burgers, and after a long week of work, and an even longer night of celebrating the end of work, we indulged in multiple, multiple burgers.
Rudy's (we split 1/2 a chicken and the "extra moist" brisket). So, I made these shrimp for lunch on Tuesday. In my food processor I made the Ginger Lime Basil dressing blending 7-8 large leaves of basil, one clove garlic, one decent sized knob of fresh ginger (peeled and coarsely chopped), some cilantro, rice wine vinegar, 1/2 a jalapeno, and juice of 1/2 a lime while drizzling in some olive oil. I peeled and rinsed the shrimp and let them marinade in my Ginger Lime Basil dressing for approximately 3 hours. At Whole Foods a few weeks ago I purchased 1 lb of brown jasmine rice, which I cooked (reserving 1/2 for dinner later in the week). When it was lunchtime this dish was super easy to toss together. I flash sauteed 1 diced red bell pepper and some chopped green onion and set aside, and in the same pan I sauteed the shrimp (over high heat). I put a scoop of the pre-cooked brown rice on each plate, spooned some of the veggies on top, and then added the shrimp. We drizzled some of the Ginger Lime Basil dressing on top (which I had set aside earlier), and added a spoonful of Thai Chili Garlic Sauce for some additional heat. This dish was simple, healthy, and full of fresh, bright flavors. I love the taste of fresh ginger and think that this dish would work just as well substituting chicken or tofu.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Towards the end of the month when funds are running low, I rely on pantry items to make meals and stretch the minimal dollars I have left. Canned goods such as sardines, oysters, anchovies, capers and artichokes are cheap and have a concentrated flavor, a little goes a long way. Last night I swung by the grocery store and bought canned sardines, anchovies, baby clams and a mix of fresh vegetables, figuring I could mix with the various starches I already had to make meals for the next week or so. On Mondays I typically make comfort food, just to get rid of those Monday blues, so I set out to make pasta with Baby Clams, Smoked Bacon and Tomatoes. This was a very easy one-pot dish that replicated some of the techniques I used for the "brodetto" I loved so much. IngredientsI chose a pasta that would catch the sauce and baby clams. It was a tube-like pasta with one end pinched, a bit like a horn. When the pasta was done cooking, I drained and set aside. At this point I added in the clams, parsley and red pepper flakes. delish! Next time I might substitute orecchiette pasta, as it would hold the sauce better. I also would use canned tomatoes versus fresh, the tomato skins didn't have enough time to soften so you could feel the texture of the skins.
- 1/2 Jar Baby Clams plus Clam Juice
- 1 container Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
- 4 slices Double Smoked Bacon, sliced into 1 inch strips (any bacon will do)
- 1-2 Tbs Tomato Paste
- 2-3 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- 1/4 cup Flat Leaf Parsley, minced
- 4 Stems Fresh Thyme
- Vermouth (or any dry white wine)
Monday, August 24, 2009
On Friday night we were invited to a friends apartment and I challenged myself to create 3 appetizers that would a) travel well, b) require no heating up or cooking on site (too hot!) and c) things I had never made before. I decided to replicate 2 appetizers that a caterer made for my Mom's wedding- Gorgonzola & Arugula wrapped in Prosciutto and BLT Tomatoes. The third appetizer was a Sirloin Steak Mini Pita with Fattoush Salsa, served with homemade tzatziki. Gorgonzola, Bosc Pears and Arugula, Wrapped in Prosciutto This was a very easy appetizer, and definitely the star of the three recipes. When I first had this appetizer the caterer did not include pears and I found the gorgonzola to be a bit overwhelming. The sweet pears helped to balance out the strong cheese and spicy arugula.
I really loved the idea of taking the flavors of a BLT and making them bite sized. When I did a little Googling the most popular recipe online was from Rachel Ray, who incorporated Chiles in Adobo into her mayonnaise, lettuce and bacon mix. I decided to stick with popular opinion and incorporated 1-2 chiles into my mayonnaise mix. Having never worked with chile en adobo, I definitely overdid it on the spice. For my tastes I didn't mind it, but when cooking for a crowd, always better to keep it tame. Ingredients
- 3 boxes Cherry Tomatoes
- Double Smoked Bacon
- Romaine Lettuce Hearts
- Chile en Adobo
When I was ready to stuff my tomatoes I combined all of the ingredients in a bowl and stuffed into a pastry bag. I purchased pastry bags and tips for apx. $5 at my local kitchen store. In the end, I used the bags without the tips as the lettuce and pieces were too big to fit through the small tip. I piped the mayo mix into each tomato and the dish was done!
This was my "out on a limb" dish. As I was cooking for a group of guys, I wanted to make one appetizer with some meat in it. I had sirloin steak tips in my freezer so I thought of making mini pita sandwiches. I had just watched a 30-minute meals episode where she made Lemon Garlic Sirloin Tips, which I thought would be a great "summery" treatment for the steak. The steak was grilled with lemon, garlic and parsley, which I complimented with a Fattoush salad- a combination of chick peas, cucumber, tomato, red onion, scallions, lemon and olive oil. I served a Greek tzatziki on the side. Ingredients Steak:
- 1 Package Sirloin Steak Tips (beef stew)
- Juice of One Lemon, Zest of 1/2 lemon
- 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped
- Chick Peas, chopped
- Cucumber, seeded and chopped
- Tomato, seeded and chopped
- 2 handfuls Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped
- 1-2 tsp Cumin
- 1-2 tbs Red Onion, finely chopped
- 1-2 tbs Scallions, finely chopped
- Lemon Juice, Olive Oil and S&P
Sunday, August 23, 2009
I cooked a box of orzo according to the instructions but tossed in a whole clove of garlic. When the orzo was finished cooking I gave it a quick rinse (I didn't want to rinse off all of the starchy flavor) and added it to a large bowl in which I had put the halved tomatoes and roughly chopped baby spinach. I took the blanched clove of garlic, mashed it, and added it to a simple vinaigrette with about a tablespoon of red wine vinegar, S&P, and a generous amount of olive oil. I added the vinaigrette to the salad, gave it a good toss, and then added my cubed mozzarella. I topped off the salad with about 1/4-1/3 cup of chiffonaded basil, lemon zest, and toasted pine nuts. We sprinkled on some red pepper flakes (Trevor generally likes his food spicier than I do!) and ate dinner on the floor in Crazy Creek chairs (we are temporarily sans furniture). Along with a big glass of cold milk, this orzo salad was a fresh, healthy and easy supper.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Top Left: Texas Caviar, Top Right: Leftover 'Caviar' with Fried Egg
Lower Left: Buffalo Chicken Salad Wrap, Lower Right: Angel Hair with Tuna, Tomatoes, Lemon and Capers
Our new kitchen!
A bounty of groceries.
Hello 2S2S followers! I am back and hopefully better than ever with an awesome new kitchen courtesy of Trevor and my dad. (For those of you who have not been following: Trevor and I just moved from Chicago, IL to Austin, TX.) We have beautiful Frigidaire appliances, a stainless steel prep table which is sure to incite envy, freshly painted white walls, and the challenge of cooking food in a very warm climate.
For our new home Trevor and I also decided to get an old fashioned charcoal grill. We are excited to learn more about authentic Texas barbeque and have been studying up watching episodes of Barbeque University.
Sarah, you have been doing a great job holding down the 2S2S fort during this transitional period and you have made some really amazing looking food. I can't wait to try the Crab Cakes Hollandaise!