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Miso Soup with Tofu and Soba

We have entered soup season. It runs from December to late March —not quite coinciding with winter — and overlaps most of hot tea season, which, as we all know, runs from November until the rainy end of April. Once the sun comes out, so do the ice cubes.

Soup season is a time to slow down and gather your friends, because really, are you going to eat an entire pot of soup alone? You could freeze it for later, but it’s not as fun. One of my favorite soup memories is a miso and tempura party at my friend Allie’s house in late high school (or was it early college?). We got together in her kitchen one afternoon and chopped up mountains of vegetables, mixed up tempura batter, and took turns tossing carrots and mushrooms into a hot wok. Sarah kept an eye on the oil temperature and cooled the tempura batter with ice cubes while someone prepped a big pot of miso soup on the stove. Teamwork.

I didn’t have any extra sets of hands when I made a quick pot of miso soup last weekend, but I did share it with Ramsey when it was done. Before I share the recipe though, let me fess up to something: Continue Reading →

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Sunday Cooking: Roasted Rosemary Chicken and Failed Sweet Potato Gratin

Has a haircut made you consider dropping your career to become a rock star or member of a girl gang? After getting my hair cut on Saturday, I looked like a total badass when I rolled out of bed on Sunday morning. I ran a brush through my updated bob, pulled on a t-shirt with a handgun pattern, and then put on a black jacket and pair of Ray Ban knockoffs for my morning errands. I looked like the kind of woman that would carry a switchblade and know how to use it. And by “know how to use it,” I mean thin slice some sweet potatoes and carve a roast chicken for Sunday dinner.

Truth: Instead of a switchblade, I used a mandolin slicer to cut peeled sweet potatoes for my doomed gratin. It was supposed to be like the quinoa-potato gratin at Juventino, a restaurant down the street from my apartment, but I a) couldn’t get the potatoes sliced thin enough, b) used too much quinoa, and c) didn’t use enough milk and seasonings.

Continue Reading →

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Sunday Cooking: Spiced Pork Chops, Applesauce, and Carrot Soup

It was a perfect Park Slope Sunday. I made my grocery list, went shopping, and had my kitchen stocked for the week by 10:30 AM. Once Ramsey woke up, we picked up pastries and walked to 4th Ave to cheer for the marathon runners. He ate a chocolate crossaint and I ate a pear and caramel turnover as hundreds of people in top physical condition ran by, fueled only by bananas, water, and those unsettling fruit goo packs. We discussed the practicality of marathon costuming after someone wearing a gas mask and Occupy Wall Street signage passed. Kids lined up against the blue police tape and held their hands out for the runners to hit on their way by. Thirtysomethings walking home from mimosa brunches yelled out the names printed on runners’ shirts and each runner responded with a whoop or a subtle thumbs-up. A live band on the corner played “Gigantic” by The Pixies and we all nodded along.

When the packs of runners tapered off, Ramsey and I walked up to the farmers’ market where we spotted our local dog celebrity, The Lazy Dachshund. I bought kale and apples, Ramsey bought a tub of pickled vegetables, and we were back in the apartment by noon. I was ready to cook.

My menu for the day included my favorite carrot soup for lunch, and then kale, applesauce, and spiced pork chops for dinner.

The carrot soup only called for few ingredients: chopped carrots, onion, rice, chicken stock, butter, oil, salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar.

More photos after the jump… Continue Reading →

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Roasted Beet Salad

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Root vegetables are budget conscious cooks’ best friends. They’re cheap, store well, and are (usually) full of flavor. Beets are one of my favorite varieties, so when temperatures dipped into the teens last week, I thought it was the perfect time to roast a few. I combined them with roasted sweet potatoes, dried cranberries, and mixed greens to create salads for lunch at work.

If you’ve never roasted beets before, it’s a simple process. Simply wash, roast, and peel. A beet roasting guide with photos and a recipe for a roasted beet salad can be found after the jump. Continue Reading →

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Polenta Pie

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My mouth is still not fully healed from my surgery, but this weekend was the first time I branched out beyond pasta and I may have gone a bit overboard. Saturday dinner was barbecue from Fette Sau, Sunday morning brunch was vegetarian eggs Benedict at Brooklyn Label, and Valentine’s Day dinner was a chicken taco by Ramsey at my request. The whole weekend was rounded out with a game of Scrabble and an assortment of Italian pastries from Fortunato Brothers in Williamsburg. Oof.

I felt a recipe from The Moosewood Cookbook was in order for dinner tonight, and I chose Polenta Pie. Photos and a short recap after the jump. Continue Reading →

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Recipe Rookie: Carrot Soup

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After a weekend of parties, movies, and a trip to Teddy Roosevelt’s house in Oyster Bay, I spent Monday winding things down and preparing for the week. As I was cleaning items out of the refrigerator in the morning, I discovered that I had a pound of unused carrots on the bottom shelf. I turned to the New York Times’ Recipes for Health, where recipes are broken down by main ingredient and, as the title of the website section suggests, they’re good for you.

A pureed carrot soup looked like a perfect option. I had most of the ingredients on hand, and other than peeling and chopping two pounds of carrots, preparation was simple. You can find the recipe here and some photos from my adventure after the jump. Continue Reading →

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Roasted Beet Wrap

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December was a month of gluttony. Dozens upon dozens of cookies were laid to waste by my holiday appetite, and honestly, I don’t regret a single peanut butter blossom or cornflake wreath cookie. Food and family are what the season is all about for me, and if I can’t spend a few weeks a year consuming all manner of fattening treats without guilt, what’s the point of Christmas?

The only downside to this indulgence is that my clothes are not quite fitting like they should, and I can’t afford to purchase a new wardrobe if I gain a few more pounds. In response, I decided to get back to healthy meals by following the simple rules set forth by Michael Pollan: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” A roasted vegetable wrap featuring beets, turnips, arugula, hummus, and more seemed like the perfect fit—a recreation of a wrap I had a few weeks before at Angelica Kitchen in the East Village—and it kept well for leftovers throughout the week.  Continue Reading →

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Mushroom Ragu

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After a month of limited cooking, it felt good to make my shopping list, grab my reusable canvas bags like a true Park Sloper, and head out to the market for the ingredients for a mushroom ragu. My first recipe of 2010 is not a complicated one, but it is a satisfying, simple dish that reheats well the next day. It can also be doubled (or tripled) to serve as a layer in a vegetarian lasagna.

Before I get to the recipe though, I want to do a quick follow-up on my New Years resolutions. I admit I have not brought my lunch to work this week and I have not written in my journal since Monday. However, I’ve made dinner four nights and I made an appointment to have my wisdom teeth removed. (Can you hear the joy in my prose?) If you have any suggestions for good post-wisdom tooth removal recipes, I’d love to hear them. Now, on to the recipe. Continue Reading →

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Harvest Sandwich

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Can all of the flavors of autumn be captured in one sandwich? I set out to do just that on Sunday, piling as many complementary autumnal items as possible between two slices of bread. Crisp apples, caramelized onions, and butternut squash from the farmers’ market, brie and dijon mustard from the store, and an amazing loaf of bread from the new branch of Almondine Bakery in Park Slope. I mean, come on. Look at this loaf:

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The Almondine Bakery in DUMBO makes the best macarons I’ve had in my life, so coming upon the new storefront during a Sunday walk took my already wonderful weekend to a new level. Having the bakery within a few blocks of my apartment is going to be very dangerous. Ten pounds dangerous.

With all of my ingredients in hand, I went to work putting together the sandwich. I started by peeling and then cutting the squash into 1″ thick slices. I tossed them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a bit of nutmeg, and then roasted them on a baking sheet for 20-30 minutes at 400º.

While the squash was roasting, I sliced two yellow onions into thin strips and slowly caramelized them in a skillet with a splash of oil and a dash of salt. The process can take around 30-40 minutes, stirring the onions every few minutes as needed.

Once the onions and squash were done, I sliced the bread and topped it with brie, and then placed it in the toaster oven for a few minutes to melt. Finally, I spread on the mustard on the top slice and layered the ingredients on the bottom slice: squash, apples, and then the onions.

It doesn’t beat a Thanksgiving leftover sandwich, but when it comes to the flavors of mid-autumn, it does the trick.

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Squash Adventures

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Between Halloween, a trivia night in Greenpoint, and getting my hair cut, I’ve only had time to cook one night over the past week…and that was recapped in my post from Monday. I did manage to roast some acorn squash tonight, but a few weeks ago, I tried sweet dumpling squash (pictured above). It’s a small squash with a flavor similar to pumpkin that I randomly picked up at the farmers’ market. I roasted it at 400° for 45 minutes with butter and brown sugar (inventive, I know), and it was the perfect single serving size.

Coming on Monday: An epic pumpkin pie post. I attempted one a few weeks ago with mixed results, so I’m armed with a modified recipe and another pie pumpkin. My success or failure will be paraded before you on Monday morning with plenty of photo documentation.

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