Monday, January 31, 2011

What's for Lunch?

I'm in a major lunch rut. I eat at the same 4 places every week for the past 3 years and I'm tired of it. I've been trying to make my lunch and was inspired this tuna pasta salad recipe by Joy the Baker. My version below has canned tuna, elbow macaroni, cilantro, mayo, mustard, cherry tomatoes, and radishes.
I never really tried radishes but at 99 cents a bunch, I thought I'd give it a whirl. They're crunchy and mostly tasteless except for a slight bitter but fresh taste. I will add it to my repertoire. 

What's your favorite brown bag lunch? 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snow Buddy

TGIAFA! Thank goodness it's almost Friday already.

New York had 12 inches of snow last night! Or at least it felt that way on the walk to work. Our awesome dog walker took this shot of Buddy in his raincoat / gear yesterday during the snow fall:
Buddy gets all jazzed up about snow. I took him out last night and he romped his ass off in the dog park.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Step By Step Ooh, Baby: Ice Cream Sandwiches

I've always been a fan of frozen treats. Exhibit A:
Strawberry Fruit Bar, circa 1983
I must be too hot from the SOCKS with my SANDALS. WTH, Mom and Dad? W. T. H. But that's off topic.

Last night when I saw myself with a large leftover batch of Nestle Tollhouse cookies (Ok, it wasn't that many because I could only make 4 ice cream sammies. The ice cream sammie lightbulb went off only after I scarfed down 3 cookies), I thought, why not marry two of my favorite things:

Cookies? Meet Ice Cream. Ice Cream, meet Cookies.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Baked "Fried" Chicken

Let's get one thing straight. This recipe is not a substitute for fried chicken. Because fried chicken is heavenly and FATTY. Fatty as in all the way to your thighs, butt, and heart. We do not approve.
That's why I wanted to try this so-called "healthy" fried chicken recipe. Instead of frying, it's baked (duh, it's in the title). That said, this chicken is DELISH. The seasoning is just right, the chicken stays moist (even the white meat), flavorful, and the crunchy outside gives you the same satisfaction as fried chicken without the regret and tummy ache from the grease.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Weeknight Dinner: Egg in a Basket, Prosciutto, Tomato Salad

It's a weeknight. Most weeknights, I cook for one since the hubs works late. Ai eeees ung-greeeees. So, I made me a sando with egg and prosciutto (I got mad rhymes). I haven't made egg in a basket since I learned about it in 7th grade Home Economics class.
But it's so easy and cute. Check it:

Egg in Basket with Prosciutto

Monday, January 17, 2011

Braised Short Ribs with Mashed Potatoes

What's better inspiration to make short ribs than being on sale at the supermarket? Other than a desire to have an excuse to stay in my apartment all Saturday afternoon pretending to slave over the stove and get mondo credit for making yummy food. Nothing! That's what.

Here's a recipe that tastes difficult but is actually not so. You can make it for a small dinner party and not have to worry about timing the meal too much.
There are many short rib recipes out there but the gist of it is:
1 - sear meats
2 - add veggies for flavor
3 - deglaze pan with liquids makes the sauce
4 - pop it in the oven to cook meat until super tender

Boom. Done.

Ok, maybe not that simple. So I adapted a recipe & techniques from The Pioneer Woman:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Garlic Butter Roasted Mushrooms

Previously, I posted about Hasselback Potatoes as one of the sides of our last winter break meal. I also made a dish of buttery and lemony mushrooms. These were so easy to make and well worth it. They were meaty little bites with fresh cilantro and lemon. You can vary the indulgence of the dish by adjusting the amount of butter. I tried to not get too crazy (and yet just crazy enough).

Garlic Butter Roasted Mushrooms
adapted from Smitten Kitchen (originally from Gourmet.com)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hasselback Potatoes

As our last winter break meal, I steamed some frozen snow crab legs and made a couple of hearty sides - potatoes and mushrooms. They added substance to the meal and the flavors contrasted the sweet sea saltiness of the crab.

Just because I'd feel silly not writing about crab since I already mentioned it:
The crab was simply steamed in a large soup pot with 2" of water and steam rack for 10-15 minutes, just until the crab is warmed through since it is precooked. Try not to let the crab steep in the water otherwise some of the crabby flavor will seep out.

Onto the sides, first the taters:


Hasselback Potatoes 
adapted from Food Network


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Fleur de Sel Caramels

If you like salted caramel, you must try this recipe. The caramels are chewy, creamy, sweet, and with a salty crunch from the fleur de sel. Reading the reviews, I knew it would be a tricky one. If I overcooked it or timed it wrong, I'd end up with brittle or caramel sauce (ok, both of these are not "bad" results, just different).

Boiling sugar boggles me. Once 10 years ago, I tried to make caramel sauce for flan and it was a disaster. I haven't boiled sugar since (or made egg custard).

I bought a candy thermometer for $9.  I'm not sure if it's any different than any other cooking thermometer but I invested in it just in case. If you don't have fleur de sel (since it's $15 for a small pot of salt basically), check out the other sea salts at your supermarket. I bought a container of mild coarse gray sea salt for $6 (at Whole Foods, so I'm sure you can find cheaper).

Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa's

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Weeknight Vegetarian

On most weeknights, I end up eating vegetarian, partly by choice and partly because it's easier when cooking for one. There's more flexibility when cooking vegetables and I pretend to be healthy (healthy like a bowl of ice cream following a bowl of veggies). Nothing fancy tonight, just some braised string beans, a portobello mushroom, and cilantro rice.

The cilantro rice was inspired by a Chipotle craving which would have decidedly NOT been healthy at 1,000 calories per "serving." Instead of butter, I cooked the rice in chicken broth. The string beans and mushrooms were quickly cooked in my giant Twin Piggies wok (really, that's the brand) in a bit of oil, salt, and a dash of oyster sauce.

What is your weeknight go to meal? I need ideas.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year To My Belly

My favorite neighborhood restaurant is owned by the newest Iron Chef! Marc Forgione is the chef and genius behind Forgione in TriBeCa, NYC. He opened his restaurant in 2008 just after the hubs and I moved into the neighborhood. It's the perfect blend between foodie heaven (contemporary American cuisine) and a warm neighborhood restaurant, or as the Michelin Guide (yes, I said Michelin) calls it "farmhouse chic."
When I found out Marc Forgione was on The Next Iron Chef, I had mixed emotions. On one hand, it was really cool. On the other hand, I was selfish and feared I wouldn't be able to randomly drop by for a meal anymore (it is slightly harder now to get a reservation). I'm always looking for excuses to go to Forgione, after work drinks, brunch or dinner in the 'hood, etc. I've even spotted Bobby Flay and Michael Keaton there (on separate occasions).

This year they offered a six course meal for New Year's Eve. The dinner was everything you'd expect of an Iron Chef...fresh ingredients, simple, flavorful, and unexpected delightfulness. Let's just jump right into the menu!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Whaa?

It's January 1st and I am experimenting with blogger colors. Live with it.
Rough night?