Tag Archives: Recipe

New Leaf

Hi there. It’s been a while, but I’m back. I’m not here to scatter handfuls from my bushel of excuses on lack of posting over the past month–that’s so 2005. Instead, I’ve got more posts that involve acutal cooking and pretty pictures of food. About time, right?

I’ve recently partnered with a certain Ian to get into some healthier habits. I haven’t been very interested in cooking lately, and I feel like everthing I eat comes out of a crackly plastic bag. Sloppy nutrition makes me tired and I don’t want to cook when I’m tired, so I end up in a not-too-pleasant cycle. So in order to feel better, and feel better about myself, I’m going to concentrate on cooking healthy foods more often.  I’m a bit of an amateur nutrition buff, so I’ll be writing about the health benefits of the things I cook. Dessert lovers, don’t worry–this isn’t going to become a shame-dispensing health site. I promise only to share the most delicious recipes and ingredients, including plenty of cookies, jam, custard, and ice cream.

That said, I’m turning over a new leaf–literally (you knew that joke was coming). This bundle of joy is Red Russian Kale, one of my favorite leafy greens. It’s much milder than other kales, and one of the prettiest brassicas around. When it’s young like this bunch, you barely need to cook it at all, and it could even serve as a salad green once de-stemmed, or shredded in a delicate slaw. The leaves are so tender I couldn’t stop myself from taking a bite of one on the way home, even though I prefer them sauteed. I cooked this kale the way I cook most leafy greens. Just a quick stir fry with some oil (about 2 Tbs) and a minced clove of garlic, and it’s ready to go. I chop everything up, heat the oil on high, toss in the stems, stir about 2 minutes, add the leaves, stir for 2 minutes, add the garlic, & stir 2 more minutes.

Everyone knows that the dark green leafies contain lots of iron, calcium, manganese and vitamins A, C , and K. But did you know that they fight cancer and aid brain function? Dark brassicas are commonly used as a liver detoxifier; high fiber content means they cleanse the colon as well. That brings to mind their high sulfur content (it’s why they smell a bit like an unlit match as you cook them), a clever inclusion gives them slight antimicrobial properties.

But forget about all that for a minute, and listen when I tell you that they are delicious. Cooked in a little oil, with some garlic and maybe a bit of red pepper, these greens are soft, rich, fresh, and nourishing. I don’t salt them because their mineral content makes them taste salty enough. And you know, for health. These might be just the thing to wean me off of my Peanut m&m habit. So here’s to the new me, the new you, and the new crop of kale. Consider this new leaf flipped.

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Filed under dinner, Recipe, Side Dish, Vegetables

Nectarine Clafoutis

After emerging from a 3 hour meeting on Thursday, I wanted to relax with some baking, but still had lots of work to do. I just needed to do something that made me feel comfortable and competent, and had immediately visible results. Preferably delicious results to buoy the spirits and blood sugar of my exhausted coworkers.

So I tossed together a quick clafoutis with a few things likely to be in the office fridge at any given time: eggs, milk, fancy product samples, and my latest cache of greenmarket fruit. Of course, since there are no measuring cups or spoons in the office kitchen I had to estimate amounts and bake my clafoutis in a skillet instead of a pie plate or souffle dish, but that just attests to the flexibility and forgiving nature of this dessert. And it’s very quick to mix and bake, so I was able to get it in and out of the oven in well under an hour.

Now that I’m sure I can make it at work whenever need be, I feel a little better about all the late nights we’re about to pull in preparation for our biggest event of the year. After that, I’m going to take my nectarines home and bake them into coffee cakes and pies at a leisurely pace.


Nectarine Clafoutis (loosely adapted from a memory of Julia Child’s recipe)

  • 3 nectarines, sliced thinly
  • 1/3 c flour
  • 1/3 c sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • faint grating of nutmeg, about 1/8 tsp
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 2 Tbs hazlenut oil
  • 1 c milk
  • 2 Tbs Saint-Germain elderflower liqueur

Preheat the oven to 375. Put the butter in a 10-inch skillet in the warming oven. Whisk 1/2 c sugar, flour, salt, and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Then whisk in the eggs. Take the skillet out of the oven and pour the butter into the egg mixture and whisk in along with the oil. Use a paper towel to rub the remaining melted butter over the bottom and sides of the skillet. Slowly pour the milk and liqueur into the batter, whisking all the while. Sprinkle a little sugar on the buttered pan. Pour about a quarter of the batter into the pan and bake about 5 minutes, just until set. This creates a base to keep the fruit from adhering to the bottom of the pan. Remove skillet from oven, and arrange the nectarine slices over the batter skin. Gently pour the remaining batter over the slices, re-arranging them if any float out of place. Bake 20 – 30 minutes, until center is set and edges are golden. Remove from oven and sprinkle with just enough sugar to make it sparkle. Serve warm or room temperature.

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Filed under Baked, Fruit, Recipe, Sweets

Getting with the Program

I’ve been more than a little zoned-out lately, and even though I’ve been cooking, I haven’t had the drive to publish photos and recipes. (Like that’s never happened to you.) I spend long hours at work, and by the time I’m home at night (after a yoga class if I’m lucky) I’m totally uninterested in anything else that takes mental or physical energy. (Cry me a river, right?) Most of the food I’ve made in the past few months has been very simple – the kind of thing that I think doesn’t merit measurement or recording – and I’ve been eating more prepared foods, both good and bad (Sabra hummus, Luna bars, street meat and Rainbow falafel) than ever before.

In an effort to slow my simultaneous eventual downswing both into expensive just-ok convenience food and total thoughtlessness about said convenience food, I’m going to start posting some of the things I toss together when I’m home and have 15 minutes free. I’m also going to start a new category, Deskmates, to chronicle the little snacks, goodies, and concoctions that fuel my workday.

So. Here’s the first step back into the weblog program.

Tonight I was craving yogurt-marinated lamb with a pile of yieldingly soft braised nappa cabbage. But the nearest grocery store is almost a block away, so I decided to ignore my craving and make do with my admittedly ample pantry ingredients. It turned out to be much quicker and it allowed me to avoid putting on flip-flops and spending 10 minutes away from home. I know, it’s pretty sad. But at least if this trend continues, I’ll be able to make room  in my cupboards for more homemade jam and pickles.

So I rooted through a cupboard, and behind my spice grinder and a cardboard canister of rolled oats was a lonely can of tuna. I pulled that out, and remembered the shelled edamame in the freezer. Some shredded carrot and ginger, soy sauce and rice vinegar, rounded out the motley crew into a delicious asian-inspired salad. It turned out to be just what I needed, and all that fresh clean protein and vegetable matter gave me the energy to make a quick dessert, too (recipe to come). This is shaping up to be a program I think I can stick to – at least when it involves meals like this.

Tuna, Carrot, and Edamame Salad for a Lazy Sunday

  • 1 can of tuna packed in water, drained
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1/2 c frozen shelled edamame
  • 1/2-inch piece of ginger, grated on a microplane
  • 3 Tbs rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs soy sauce ( I used wheat-free low-sodium tamari)
  • 1 Tbs sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp Korean red pepper flakes

Put a small pot with about 1 quart of water on to boil. Measure 1/2c frozen edamame and set aside. Grate the carrot into a medium bowl. Add the ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, oil and red pepper and stir with a fork. Scrape the tuna on top. When the water boils, add the edamame and cook until bright green and tender, about 4 minutes. Strain and dump into the bowl. Stir everything together and add more vinegar or soy sauce if you like. Eat with a fork while checking your RSS feeds for the first time in a week. Feel stronger.

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Filed under Main Dish, Meat & Fish, Pantry, Recipe, Vegetables

Corn and Basil Chowder

fresh and clean summer soup

This is a variation on a corn, basil, and tomato salad that I made every week in August last year. The tomatoes are not quite worth their $4.50 a pound at the greenmarket, so my sweet corn and basil had to cosy up to some pimentòn de la vera instead. The barest hint of smoke and spice adds a bacon-esque richness to what is otherwise a very lean soup, and a squeeze of lime brightens the flavors. Making a stock from the cobs and basil stems gives the soup a little more depth. I made sure to keep boiling time to a minimum, since the entire point of summer cooking is to stay away from the stove whenever possible. We all know that time is better spent at the beach.

Corn and Basil Chowder

4 ears of sweet corn

4 c water

1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbs butter

2 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp Spanish smoked paprika (I used agridulce, but hot or sweet would also work)

1c basil leaves, lightly packed (reserve the stems)

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/2 lime

Using a sharp knife, slice the kernels of corn from the cob. Reserve corn, and place the cobs and basil stems in a large pot. Cover with the water, bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low and simmer 15 minutes while you prep the other ingredients.

Chiffonade the basil leaves, set aside. Mince the garlic.

In a small skillet, heat the butter on medium-high until it foams. Stir in the garlic and cook 2 minutes or until fragrant.  Remove from heat. Stir in paprika and salt.

Turn off the simmering pot of cobs. Discard the basil stems. Lift the cobs out of the water with tongs and shake excess water into the pot. Transfer to a cutting board and hold with the tongs in one hand while you scrape the last bits of corn off with the back of your knife. Discard cobs, add corn scrapings to the pot.

Add garlic mixture, corn kernels, and basil to the pot of corn stock. Squeeze the lime half over the pot and add a few grinds of black pepper. Stir everything up and taste it. Add more salt or pepper if you like.

Serve warm, room-temperature, or cold. The flavors develop after a day or two in the refrigerator, and the soup keeps up to a week. Makes an excellent breakfast on days you don’t want to cook.

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Filed under Main Dish, Recipe, Side Dish, Vegetables

Caramel Coulant

I haven’t posted in over a week, as I’ve barely been able to cook anything more interesting than oatmeal. Yes, I have so-called reasons: I’m at work most of the day and trying to see my friends in the evening, and there was that appetite-negating heat wave. But it’s all just an elaborate excuse for not sticking to my guns. Oh, for shame!

The worst of it is, I’ve been neglecting this recipe for The Wednesday Chef‘s role-reversal project. I’ve had the Caramel Coulant recipe in hand almost a month without doing so much as buying a half-pint of cream. I finally made it a few days ago and took some pictures, and I’m glad to have at least one recipe checked off the infinite to-do list.

Thanks to Luisa for implementing this Freaky Friday-esque scheme. Swing by her site for full disclosure!

And just for posterity, here’s the recipe.

Caramel Coulant
For the caramel sauce:

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 1 ½ tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup milk

For the coulant:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Pinch of fleur de sel
  • ¼ cup plus 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
  • 2/3 cup cake flour
  • 2 eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the sugar and ¼ cup water in a pot. Do not stir. Cook over medium-high heat to a dark caramel, swirling as it begins to brown to distribute the sugar. Reduce the heat to low and deglaze with the cream, standing back to avoid bubbling caramel. Add the butter and milk. (It will bubble again.) Stir until well incorporated. Let cool. (The sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated.)
2. Spray 5, 4-ounce ramekins with cooking spray; cover the inside of the ramekin with sugar and remove excess. Place on a sheet pan.
3. Make the coulant by warming 1/3 cup caramel sauce in a medium saucepan; then stir in the butter and fleur de sel. Off the heat, stir in the sugar, then flour, then eggs, adding the next just after the prior has been combined. Pour the mixture two-thirds of the way into each ramekin. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, turning the sheet pan halfway through, until the shell is cakelike but the center is flowing. Let cool. When ready to serve, rewarm the cakes in the ramekins for a few minutes. Place a serving plate over the ramekin and flip it to release the coulant. Serve with salted caramel ice cream.

Serves 5. Adapted from Nicole Kaplan at Eleven Madison Park, New York.

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Filed under Baked, Pantry, Recipe, Sweets

Work n Roll

This evening I got out all my sushi-making supplies and made some rolls to get me through the working week. I used brown medium-grain rice (didn’t remember to get more sushi rice when out, didn’t want to go back out), and cooked it pretty much the way I cook sushi rice, but with more water and for a longer time. I filled the rolls with batons of pickled daikon, fresh cucumber, slender blanched asparagus, a sprinkling of sesame seeds and a streak of Sriracha. All my favorite sushi vegetables together in one roll, at long last.

I’ve only made sushi once before, so the first roll of this batch was a little loose. But by the time I got to the last one, I was able to turn out a compact, even roll with all the vegetables nicely centered. I’m already thinking of all the things I’d like to roll up in rice and seaweed: avocado (note to self: buy one tomorrow so it will ripen by next week), kimchi, cooked & drained tatsoi, mango, chives, carrot, all kinds of pickles, pear, mushrooms, and watercress stems. What else should I try?

Though I think these rolls turned out well, there;s one thing I’ll do differently next time. I couldn’t find a recipe for brown sushi-style rice in under two minutes, so I made one up. The top half of the rice was perfect, but the bottom half was a little soggy. So I’ll reduce the water, and I’ve noted that change in the recipe below. I cut two rolls into eight pieces each and tucked them (minus the two slices I ate for quality conrol) into the bottom of my steel lunchbox. The other two I left whole and wrapped in plastic to keep them from drying out until I get to use them.

I’m so looking forward to lunch tomorrow.

Vegetable Sushi

For the rice:

  • 1 cup brown medium grain rice (or short-grain, if you can)
  • 1 1/2 c water, plus more for rinsing
  • 1 Tbs rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Measure the rice into a bowl and cover with water. Stir with your hands, then drain the cloudy water – a fine-mesh strainer makes this foolproof. Repeat the rinsing and draining 3 times, then put the rice and 1 1/2 cup water in a small pot. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer 30 minutes, then remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes. (Don’t uncover the pot during these 40 minutes.) In the meantime, stir vinegar, sugar, and salt in a large bowl until sugar and salt dissolve. When the rice’s time is up, add it to the bowl and gently stir to coat each grain with the vinegar mixture. Spread the rice up the sides of the bowl and let cool to room temperature. Makes about 3 cups.

For the rolls:

  • 4 sheets nori
  • Sushi rice (above)
  • 4 spears asparagus, blanched (boil 1 minute, cool in ice water)
  • 4 batons pickled daikon (about 1/2-inch thick)
  • 4 batons cucumber (about 1/4-inch thich)
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • Sriracha chili sauce, optional

Lay one sheet of nori on your sushi mat, shiny side down. Cover with 1/4 of the cooled sushi rice, leaving 1/2-inch bare at the side of the nori farthest from you. Wet your hands and rice paddle to make spreading easier. Sprinkle the rice with 1/2 tsp sesame seeds. Arrange 1 of each vegetable in the center of the roll, and squeeze a thin stripe of Sriracha alongside. Using your mat, bring the side of the rice-covered nori closest to you up and over the vegetables and press. Pull the mat away from you with one hand, keep the other on the sushi lump inside the mat, and roll all in one go, thinking cylindrical thoughts all the while. Unroll your mat and inspect your sushi log. If it seems a little loose, you can tighten it a bit with your mat. Making a good roll takes practice, and you’ll improve noticeably by your fourth try.

Slice each roll into eighths, and eat with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger (all available at Asian grocery stores). Since they’re just vegetables and rice, these rolls will keep in the refrigerator 2 days when cut, and about a week uncut.

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Filed under Main Dish, Pantry, Recipe, Side Dish, Vegetables

Pink Pink Pink

Hi there. This site is about a month old now, and I think we’re entering a new stage of its development. When I first started writing here, I had a million ideas in my head of things I could cook, photograph, review, taste. I still do, only all those things have taken a backseat to working most of the time and sleeping when I’m done. I’ve been trying to cook and shop and photograph like I usually do, but since I started this new job (a good opportunity, just with so much catch-up work to do), I haven’t had time for cooking. Unless you count the rice and greens I’ve been making in large batches to bring in for lunch, or the oatmeal with leftover rhubarb compote I have for breakfast.

But maybe I’m finally getting the rhythm of my new schedule, or adjusting to the reduced amount of free time, because tonight, I wanted to cook something new and exciting, despite getting in after 8pm. On the way to the office this morning, I walked through the Union Square Greenmarket and practically pounced on the sweet New Jersey strawberries the vendors were just putting out. The little green basket sat on my desk all day, smelling sweet and no doubt ripening further.

It’s always a special treat for me, the first really good strawberry of summer. A few weeks ago I saw the little pale berries at the market, but they weren’t ready. Now we’re only a week away from a mid-season glut of berries. When the time comes, I’ve already decided to buy enough to make a big batch of jam, maybe with a sprinkling of pink peppercorns.

So when I finally arrived home with my basket of berries, I needed some protein and minerals, and I wanted to let the strawberries in on the dinner fun. Luckily, I had some salmon in the refrigerator and pink mustard greens from a previous greenmarket run. I made some of the strawberries into salsa, wilted the greens with olive oil and garlic, and served that with pistachio and pink peppercorn-crusted salmon. The combination of the pink and green tastes is fresh and warm and summery, with the peppercorns picking up the fruity taste of the strawberries and the floral notes in the greens. The salmon’s briny, oily, rich taste complements the fresh berries and greens, and the toasty pistachio crust. I always feel like I should pair ingredients that look alike, have the same shape or color, and in this instance, it works out perfectly. Now that I’ve had this dinner, I’m energized enough to put in a day of work tomorrow, and maybe even cook dinner again.

This trio of pinks is headed off to Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week at Wandering Chopsticks.

Pink Peppercorn and Pistachio-Crusted Salmon with Strawberry Salsa and Pink Mustard Greens

For the salsa:

  • 1/2 c strawberries, rinsed and hulled
  • 1 small red hot pepper
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • pinch of salt
  • Juice of 1/4 lime

Mince the pepper and garlic. Mice the strawberries, mix with pepper, garlic, lime juice, and salt. Transfer to small bowl to macerate.

For the greens:

  • 3 cups pink mustard greens, loosely packed, chopped
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced

Heat the oil on medium, add garlic and cook 1 minute while stirring. Stir in the greens a handful at a time, then cook just until wilted.

For the salmon

  • 2 Tbs pistachios
  • 1 tsp pink peppercorns
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 8-oz salmon fillet
  • Juice of 1/4 lime
  • 1 Tbs olive oil

Rub both sides of the salmon with lime juice. Grind the pistachios and peppercorns in a spice grinder. Mix with salt and sprinkle half on the flatter side of the salmon fillet. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium, then place the salmon in the skillet, crust side down. Sprinkle other side with remaining crust mixture. Cook 4 mintues, then turn and cook 4 minutes more. Cook up to 2 more minutes per side if you like your salmon well-done. Cut in half and serve each on a bed of mustard greens and topped with salsa.

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Filed under Main Dish, Meat & Fish, Recipe, Vegetables