Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Fall and Its Associated Starches Are Here.

Not too much going on due to work and band practice. But a few high points.

Eggplant and Green Beans with fish sauce, soy, mint and sesame.

Steamed Pac Choi and Steamed Jasmine Rice

Chocolate and Peach Clafouti

Rye Flour Cut Pasta, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Arugula, Sauteed Shallots, Brown Butter, Olive Oil, Pecorino Romano

Rye Flour Pasta Ravioli with Zucchini-Shallot filling, Cranberry Beans, Roasted Japanese Turnip Chips, Raw Japanese Turnips, Warm Walnut-Oregano Mayonnaise, Oregano.

Apple Cider Soufflé

Roasted Broccoli and Onion Salad with Broccoli Leaf-Walnut-Sherry Vinegar Pesto, Ricotta, Polenta.

Roasted Poblano stuffed with Polenta, Cranberry Beans, Roasted Tomato and Onion. Poached egg, Ricotta. Arugula with Thyme Honey-Tomato Seed Dressing.

Pizza/Foccacia thing. Clockwise from top left: Broccoli, Garlic, Broccoli-Leaf Pesto; Capers, Cured Olives, Oregano, Ricotta; Zucchini, Green Shiso, Ricotta; Tomato, Arugula, Ricotta. Salt, Black Pepper, Olive OIl and Pecorino Romano over all. Crust almost there - recipe soon.

Arugula-Oregano Green Risotto; Japanese Turnip with Spanish Paprika; Sweet and Sour Fried Japanese eggplant.

Bagels. Sesame and Salt. After an earlier half-assed attempt, I took another stab at it with some prompting from a post on Smitten Kitchen. I made some Bialys as well. I have to say, the bagels are pretty great. And I'm not just saying that because of how long they took to make.
Anyway, time to make dinner.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Not Too Much

This week has been busy, and I haven't really kept up on my cooking besides lots of fried egg sandwiches on homemade english muffins, and a couple of quick green vegetable stir fries. I did try(and nearly succeeded) to make couscous with cornmeal, an experiment I will revisit. It went in a salad with beets, mozzarella and mint/caper pesto. I also made a roasted potato and green bean salad with tomatillo puree that was pretty tasty. I apologize for not having pictures of any of these things.
Now for the rundown:

Baked Egg with Cream, Heirloom Tomatoes, Capers and Fried Eggplant; Rye English Muffin; Mustard Green Salad.

Zucchini "Noodles," Golden Tomato Sauce, and Minted Yogurt.

Red Potato and Asian Pear Gratin with lots of Cream and Black Pepper.

Red Potato, White Corn, Red Onion and Sungold Tomato Hash; Poached Egg.

The Best Pizza I Have Yet to Make(and some of the best I have had).
I wanted to cook for my roommate and I(it was recently his birthday) so I decided to make a Sicilian-ish pizza. The four topping divisions are as follows(clockwise from top left): Zucchini, Mozzarella, Mint; Red Onion, Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella; Roasted Yellow Peppers, Red Onion, Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella; Tomato Sauce, Cured Olives, Capers. Everything got Pecorino Romano, Black Pepper, Sea Salt, Olive Oil.
It was ridiculously good, and I was of the belief that you couldn't make pizza at home good enough to compare to what comes out of pizza ovens. But it worked. Preheat the oven to 550˚F for about an hour. My oven tiles got nice and hot - the pizza baked in 10 minutes or so(maybe less). The crust was airy, chewy and all of those other things you want the crust on a square pie to be(not including the sometimes thinner grandma-style pies). I was a proud father. I will do it again and post the dough recipe, but it was pretty close to my basic bread recipe, though with more gluten, more salt and a bit more barley malt.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Hits Just Keep on Coming

This past two weeks have been pretty crazy with work, although it didn't keep me out of the kitchen. I may include some recipes below, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Grilled Zucchini, Red Onion, Red Pepper and Ricotta Sandwich on Weird Bagel Bread.

Cornmeal Pancakes with Peaches and Maple Syrup.

Fried Yardlong Beans with Jalepeno, Shallots, Arugula, Jasmine Rice, Fried Egg, Tarragon.

Fried Egg, Fried Onion, and Womanchego on Homemade English Muffin.

Cut pasta with Basil-Tarragon Pesto and Cured Olives; Homemade Bread.

Greenbean, Yellow Tomato, and Jalepeno Salad with Sherry Vinegar.

Homemade "Supermarket-Style" Italian Bread.

Unhealthily-Rich French Toast with Greengage Plum Butter.

Grilled Womanchego and Tomato on Homemade Bread.

Sauteed Okra with Shallots, Tomatoes, Jalepenos, Ground Peanuts, Jasmine Rice.

Whole Wheat Pancakes with Maple Syrup.

Spicy Panzanella with Grilled Tomatoes, Jalepenos, Yellow Bell Pepper, Garlic.

Almond Flour-Sour Milk Oven Pancake with Greengage Plum Butter.

Fried Okra Tacos with Grilled Tomato/Tomatillo Salsa, Homemade Corn Tortillas.

Beetroot and Mustard Greens with Sesame Seeds and Black Pepper

Red Flannel Hash with Mustard Greens, Pecorino Romano, Poached Egg.

Incredibly Spicy Greenbean-Tomato-Roasted Bell Pepper Tagine with Mustard Seeds; Couscous; Greek Yogurt.

Potato-Zucchini Hash; Crispy Fried Egg; Lemon Cucumber; Homemade Rye English Muffin.


To celebrate my mother's 60th birthday, I cooked a 4-course meal for 11. It was by far the most consistent and cohesive meal I have ever made. I have a tendency to fall off at the main course, but this time it worked out beautifully. The curse is lifted!

Cold Smoked Red Bell Pepper-Charentais Cantaloupe Soup, Homemade Ricotta(this was not served in a demitasse at the meal but in a teacup - this photo is a recreation).

Duck Confit, Wilted Leek and Sprout Creek Ouray Cheese Tart with Almond-Whole Wheat Crust(made with the Amish Pat-in-the-Pan method); Burnt Greengage Plum Butter.

Summer Squash Terrine with Gelled Sherry Vinaigrette; Roasted Eggplant-Pine Nut Crostini; Confit Tomato and Baby Arugula Salad with Greek Thyme Honey Vinaigrette.

Crisp-Skinned Arctic Char with Cretan Olive Oil and Pink Salt; Lavender-Scented Gnocchi(made from a few of the 60 red potatoes my mom received from our farmer friends) with Basil Pesto; Steamed Waxbeans; Sweet and Sour Radishes.

This is an unbelievably beautiful and delicious Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Toasted Hazelnuts made by my sister-in-law(there was also a delicious Black Magic Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze made by my brother) which we had for dessert, along with a bottle of Chateau Frank Celebre Cremant from the Finger Lakes(which was very very good).

After all this I was exhausted, and swore to take a day off of cooking the next day.
It was not to be.

My aunt and uncle are moving, and brought to the dinner some things they are geting rid of that they thought we might be interested in. One was an old Mirro Cookie Press from WWII that belonged to my grandmother, which included in the box a lovely little aluminum donut/biscuit cutter. So my brother and I thought we had to make donuts, considering we had a donut cutter. I mean, you might as well, right? Right.

The night before we threw together a dough after not recieving much guidance from any of the recipes we could find. Here is the recipe, but be aware it makes around 32 donuts, give or take. And donut holes, which are hard to cook.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 envelope Rapid-Rise yeast
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup apple cider, warm
2/3 cup milk, warm
2 eggs, beaten
a little nutmeg

Mix this all together in a large bowl. It will be very wet. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in refrigerator over night.

In the morning, knead on a liberally floured board, adding just enough flour so the dough can be handled without being too sticky. Roll it out to be around 1/2" thick, give or take. With a donut or biscuit cutter(or any sort of round cutter, although you could make square donuts if you wanted) cut as many donuts as you can, gently re-rolling and cutting the scraps until you have used up all the dough. Transfer cut pieces to floured sheet pans and allow to rise until doubled in size(we did this rise in a warm oven, considering the dough was still cold from the overnight refrigeration).
Heat canola(or rice bran or your favorite frying oil) in a heavy pot, 1"+ deep to 365°. When the oil is hot, fry donuts one or two at a time, depending on the size of the pot, without crowding them. Keep an eye on the oil temperature and pause your frying to allow it to come back up to the correct temperature. If you do this right, these donuts will be light as air and not greasy at all. when you take them out of the oil, give them a second on a piece of paper towel, and then roll them in sugar, cinnamon, or whatever else you want. We made a couple with shredded coconut stuffed in the hole, which were pretty tasty.

As you can see, it makes a lot of donuts. But I think you could halve the recipe pretty easily.

And thanks to all of my readers who have told me they are actually readers. I am trying to come up with a way to reward you.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Heat Wave Denial food, Pt. 2

Another heat wave? Yes. Did I seem to care? Not so much. But I am posting a recipe that I think is pretty damn good(and easy, and you can wait until cooler weather to make it). I also used fresh ricotta in more things than I have in my entire life. It is delicious.
First, the rundown:

Lima Bean and Tomato Risotto
White wine, butter, olive oil, shallots, basil

Sauteed Mustard Greens, Jalapenos, Capers, Salt

Cream of Zucchini Soup with Parsley

Black Pepper Popovers

Fried Eggplant and Ricotta thing(someone would probably call it a napoleon) with Spicy Tomato Sauce, Pecorino Romano, Fresh Basil
Mustard Green & Wild Concord Grape Salad with Sesame Oil

Not really cooking, but delicious: White Peach, Portuguese Sweet Bread, Fresh Ricotta, Honey

Black Pepper Popovers stuffed with Poached Eggs, Cherry Tomatoes, Fresh Ricotta, Green Chile Jam(made at the Taos Food Center and ridiculously good), Pecorino Romano, and this strange, soapy herb from the Prospect Park/15th St Greenmarket that I have yet to identify.

Portuguese Sweet Bread French Toast, Sour Cherry Syrup, Fresh Ricotta, Cantaloupe

Baked Egg with Spicy Tomato Sauce and Fresh Ricotta; Red Potato, Zucchini, Jalepeno Hash.

Roasted Eggplant, Pistachio and Beef Meatballs with a light Tomato-Wine Sauce; Lemon Cucumber and Tomato Sambal; Crazy Soapy Herb, Basil and Almond Pesto; Fresh Ricotta

And here is the recipe:

English Muffins
After some fiddling with a basic bread recipe, and consulting whatever data I have collected in my brain every time I bake anything, I devised this recipe.
3 cups of flour(2-1 all-purpose to whole wheat is what I did, but feel free to experiment)
2.5 tsp wheat gluten
2 tsp salt
1 .5 tsp sugar
2 tsp instant yeast
150 ml warm water
150 ml milk
1 Tbsp Barley Malt(dissolve it in the water and milk)

Combine the dry ingredients well in a large bowl. Add the water/milk/malt mixture and stir with a wooden spoon or your hand until a soft, smooth dough forms, adjusting with additional water or flour if necessary. You con't really want to knead it very much, and if the dough feels right you can simply leave it in the bowl and cover it with plastic wrap or a damp towel until the dough has doubled in size.
Seperate the dough into 12 pieces and roll into balls, then flatten until 3/4" thick and transfer to a lightly floured board. Cover with a cloth(or reuse that same piece of plastic wrap) and let rise until doubled in size.
Heat a heavy pan(preferably cast iron) until very hot and cook the muffins a few at a time until brown(but not burnt) on both sides(approx. 3 minutes per side).
You can fork-split and toast them further if you want. Or simply split them and eat them like this:

Cato Corner Womanchego Cheeseburger on Homemade English Muffin with Arugula and Dijon Mustard; Lima Bean, Corn, Cherry Tomato, and Yard Long Bean Succotash.

Red Pepper and Arugula Homefries; Poached Egg; Fresh Ricotta; Pecorino Romano; Weird Bagel Bread(made with english muffin dough which was boiled and baked - a respectable attempt and a delicious bread)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Holiday, sort of.

So last week I went to Martha's Vineyard with my family to stay in part of our friend's rambling ramshackle house. It was wonderful as always. The Vineyard is probably my favorite place out of everywhere I've been because I can go there and not think about anything. It's like riding a bicycle(which I also do more there than normal) - as soon as I get there it's as if I never left.
But of course I had to cook. I brought some ingredients with me(everything there is REALLY expensive), including 10 or 11 lbs of the tomatoes shown above(picked at previously mentioned Starlight Gardens in Durham, CT). I didn't take many photos, so I may struggle to remember everything. Here we go...

Cornmeal-Fresh Corn-White Nectarine Pancakes with Homemade Butter.

Some grapes growing behind the house. I made a proto-verjus.

A brandade-ish codfish spread. Fresh cod smoked with pecan wood, white onion, heirloom tomatoes, mayonnaise, smoked paprika.

Green Beans with Sweet Onion, Pink Salt, roasted Green Peppers, Sungold Tomatoes, Protoverjus.

Summer Squash Terrine with Basil Paste, Basil Oil, Balsamic Vinegar.

Crispy Potato-bottomed Tomato-Cheddar Frittata with Fresh Herbs.

Homemade Fettucine(to use up the eggs in my fridge before I left town) with Fresh Tomato Sauce(very basic - a mix of tomatoes through the foodmill, salt, olive oil, parmesan rind) and turkey Meatballs(with golden raisins)

Cucumber Salad(mayonnaise, protoverjus and cream dressing)

Beer and Milk Fried Chicken with Halaby Pepper

Layered Baked Ratatouille with Basil Oil and Garlic.

Chowchowish condiment - tomato, cucumber, green pepper, plum, onion, protoverjus, salt, sugar

Whole wheat-Cornmeal-Banana-Whipped Egg White Pancakes

Cornmeal Fried Cod and Pan-Grilled Steak Tacos with Homemade Whole-Wheat Tortillas(thanks Maggie for the perfect rolling with that plastic coke cup!), Tomato-Sweet Onion Salsa, Cucumber-Green Pepper Salsa

Five Star Bakery of New Bedford Portuguese Sweet Bread french Toast with Blueberry-Peach Salad, Bacon

Mustard Seed Grilled Swordfish

Smoked Paprika Grilled Squid

Cold Corn Soup

Grilled Summer Squash, Green Peppers, Onions with Balsamic

Bok Choy and Strangely Oversized Green Bean Salad.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Rumors of My Death Were Mildly Exaggerated

Hello everyone. I am happy to report(for my sake at least) that I have not died and gone wherever it is one goes when that happens. I have just been a jerk and ignored this thing. Not that I haven't been eating or cooking, I just haven't been doing as much of it as usual, as people seemed to want to visit with me, and when people visit I don't have a lot of time to cook. AND NOT that I don't appreciate a good visit now and then, but I can only eat at restaurants so many times before I start to go a bit mad. And though there were some highlights of these meals cooked by others(Shopsin's milkshake, Noodle House in Flushing for soup dumplings, Dumont burger, some pretty good barbecued brisket given a pastrami treatment at Fette Sau, etc) sometimes I'm just not that impressed with or interested in restaurant meals.
So to keep this short I am sticking to highlights of my own cooking since the last post, plus maybe a few photos I thought were nice(for example, the wild apples above which were picked in a graveyard(OOOOoooooOOOOOOoooooOOOOOO) and are now sauce in the back of my fridge).
Here we go...

This flour and egg became the dough for zucchini ravioli. I can hardly remember what it was served with - three-corner-field farm sheepmilk ricotta and something else... This was part of a meal I cooked at my parents' house for the first family dinner in a while. There was also a cold corn soup with dill and a cold tomato soup with dill flowers.

And a salad of Lollo Rossa lettuce, Upland Cress, duck confit and a poached quail egg.

And then Sugarplum Sorbet and Sugarplum Shortbread(abstracted from a super-classic scottish recipe from a Scottish hospice nurse, with help from my baking brother).

And then exceptional wheat flour/corn meal pancakes with the whipped egg white method, plus massachusetts blueberries, ny apricots, and raspberries and blackberries from the back yard.

My variation on Keller's crazy ratatouille(actually a vegetable bayaldi) from the amazing film "Ratatouille." I guess "Vegetable Bayaldi" isn't a terribly catchy name for a film, and also does not contain the word "rat." Turkish eggplant, two kinds of heirloom tomato, a delicious kind of zucchini(all from Yuno's farm, my favorite) with a roasted red pepper puree, olive oil and Halaby pepper, a Lebanese crushed sweet-hot pepper. Served atop some whole wheat couscous with whipped middle eastern yogurt.

Vegetable Biyaldi filled crepes.

Zucchini, roasted red pepper and shishito pepper sauté with crispy fried egg and the incredibly dense whole wheat bread(with raisin and apricot puree as a yeast feeder)

Two okras two ways(purple okra sauteed, green okra rolled in cornmeal and fried) with charred tomatillos, heirloom tomato and green shiso

Blueberry-Almond Flour pancakes

Spaghetti alla Chitarra with fried Turkish eggplant, tomato, escarole, pecorino romano and egg yolk.

Roasted red pepper, garlic and almond puree; roasted eggplant and labneh puree; whole wheat couscous and shishito pepper.

Potato cake cooked in duckfat, green heirloom tomato, escarole, pink salt

Arborio rice dumplings, okra, padron peppers, yogurt, olive oil

Braised short ribs in green pumpkin seed sauce; charred corn and tomato salsa; mizuna and fresh cheese(I made cheese!) and homemade flour tortillas(thanks to HomesickTexan for posting the great recipe - it is so ridiculously simple that everyone should make them).

Sweet corn soup with basil puree, fresh cheese, and pink salt. Thank goodness for foodmills.

My take on Imam Bayaldi("The Imam Fainted"). I call it "Aşçı Bayaldi" or "The Cook Fainted" because it took so much work. Zucchini, smoked onion and bulghur-stuffed Japanese eggplant with smoked tomato sauce and mizuna salad.
I figured out how to use my wok as a smoker. I am very excited.

Chocolate ice cream with ground sumac, nutmeg, and orange flower water. My ice cream maker is working again. I am very happy about that.

Green bean, grilled yellow zucchini and white onion salad with sesame oil.

Adirondack All-red potato gnocchi with basil pesto and fresh cheese. I am almost getting the hang of gnocchi. These were almost light and pillowy.

Sweet corn, avocado squash an red onion hash with poached eggs

Mizuna, heirloom tomato and salt salad

Orange Watermelon

Coconut Peanut ice cream

Avocado squash, yellow zucchini and tomato casserole with Halaby pepper.

Green bean, red onion, and Adirondack All-red shoestring fried potatoes with basil pesto.

Mizuna, fried red onion, and crisp braised short rib.

Next week I am on Martha's Vineyard, and plan on cooking some updated and/or deconstructed versions of dishes from the Martha's vineyard cookbook, and also doing some squid jigging, otherwise known as fishing for squid. I promise I will post more often from now on. Probably.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

heat wave denial food

Yes it has been hot. I'm not sure if I have any readers, but if I do they are probably in the Northeast, so they know we are having a heatwave. Although I don't have air conditioning, or even much in the way of air circulation; and despite my tendency for developing heat and dehydration-related migraines; I seemed to ignore the heat as far as cooking was concerned. Some would call it stupid. I call it stupid. But the food was pretty good.
After breaking a toe last week I kept it simple for a few days, only eating things with some pesto I had made on the first day, ATB(Anno Toe Breaking). It was good pesto, a real trooper, especially in the potato and wax bean salad I dressed with it.
But then I realized I was out of ingredients so I limped up to the greenmarket at Grand Army Plaza on Saturday, which led to these things:

Saturday Dinner: P'ajon Party

Squid and Garlic Scape P'ajon with Cucumber Salad and Sweet Soy Dipping Sauce.
As you know, I love pancakes, and probably eat too many of them. But you may not know that I love pretty much every international pancake variation(and not just Rooty-Tooty Fresh and Fruity) especially savory Asian pancakes. I had been wanting p'ajon, the vegetable and sometimes seafood rice flour pancakes of Korean cuisine. I have never attempted to make them, but they seemed easy enough, and Bittman's take on them in The Best Recipes in the World is a good jumping off point. Plus I had some squid, and I thought that the garlic scapes I had might be a good thing to throw in too(I also added a few minced broccoli leaves).
They were good, but because I didn't have any glutinous rice flour, I used Browned(not brown) Rice Flour, a Vietnamese product which is exactly what it says it is. It was a little too strongly browned, and made the pancakes slightly burnt tasting. I should have used more all-purpose flour-to-BRF. Next time. I ate it with a lightly-dressed vinegar and cucumber salad and sweetened soy sauce.

Sunday Breakfast: BEC, ATB

Bacon, Egg and Cheese with Fried Tomato.
Wicklow bacon, Tello's eggs, Cato Corner Dutch Farmstead cheese, and somebody's tomato on the last two July 4th hamburger rolls. Yum.

Sunday Dinner: Surprisingly Un-Mucilaginous Salad

Warm Okra Salad with Tomatoes, Shallots, Marjoram
Okra cooked in an almost dry cast-iron pan until browned in places, golden cherry tomatoes and sauteed shallots; with fresh marjoram and apple cider vinegar. Local okra is really good. This came from Maxwell's at the GAP Greenmarket.

Monday Dinner: First-time Artichokes

Cut Egg Pasta with Artichokes and Basil
This is the best pasta I have made yet. Perfect texture. Cut into large-ish diamonds. With a sauce of chopped baby artichokes, shallots, butter and olive oil; plus some pecorino romano and African Blue Basil on top. I had never cooked an artichoke before, much less eaten a locally grown one. If you have the opportunity, please take it.

Tuesday Breakfast: Pancake Heaven

Yellow Cornmeal Pancakes with Fresh Peaches and the Last of the Homemade Butter
Just good. I will put up a recipe once I figure out the proportions I used. Cornmeal, Unbleached Pastry Flour, Evaporated Cane Juice, Salt, Egg, Baking Soda. With a peach sliced and sprinkled with a little sugar then left to sit for 15 minutes or so. Great peach.

Tuesday Process: Dumbest Idea Yet.

Duck Confit

Tuesday was the high point of the heat wave. Heat Index around 105. Watermelon? Pasta Salad? No. Duck Confit. Late Monday night I trimmed the two ducklegs I had in the freezer and rubbed them with a mix of salt, long pepper, bay leaves, and marjoram. I rendered down the trimmed fat and threw it into the fridge.
Tuesday around 3 I preheated the oven and put the ducklegs(cleaned of most of the salt mixture) and some shallots in a ceramic baking dish, and poured the duck fat and a little lard over the duck, making up the difference to cover with grapeseed oil. Four hours later I had duck confit, easily one of the most delicious things in all existence. I removed the legs and wrapped them up in tin foil, and poured the fat/oil in to a jar to save for the next confiting(or for some intense sauteing). Yow.

Then I made...

Tuesday Dinner: No Idea Whatsoever

Broccoli with Lardons, Shallots, Shishito Pepper, Agrodolce and a Poached Egg
I don't know where this came from. Sauteed broccoli, shallots, crisp bacon chunks, with an agrodolce(Italian style vinegar-based sweet and sour sauce) made in the pan. With a poached egg and some pink salt on top.

Wednesday Breakfast: Patience is Rewarded

Crepes with Duck Confit, Dutch Farmstead Cheese and Yellow Tomato Sauce
Excellent. Traditional crepe batter, shredded duck confit, cheese. Threw some yellow cherry tomatoes into boiling water for a few minutes, then zipped them, plus a shallot and marjoram, with the immersion blender. Recipe to come soon.
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