Monday, December 31, 2007
After browsing for quite some time, we ended up with three items, all of which I needed and two of which were recommended by Cooks Illustrated. Our first purchase was a 6" Forschner Cook's Knife by Victorinox ($21.95). We already have an 8" forged chef's knife that's quite expensive and high-quality that the Boy bought in France. While this is a fantastic knife, I have small hands and, honestly, find it a clunky, heavy knife to wield precisely enough for small dicing or deboning. My new 6" knife is lightweight and small enough for me to feel in control. The Boy, of course, still prefers his French blade.
Our next purchase was recommended by the gentleman in charge of knives at Broadway Panhandler and it is a 6" Chef's Knife Edge Guard ($2.95). This way, since we don't have space for a knife block in our kitchen, we can just store our blade with the rest of our cutlery without fear of being stabbed when I reach for an innocuous fork or spoon.
And, finally, we bought what Mom refers to as a "real kitchen workhorse," a Pyrex Baking Pan (not available from their website). I haven't used it yet, but I'll be sure to tell you when I do!
65 East 8th Street
New York, NY 10003
Friday, December 28, 2007
I based this stir-fry on one I made over two years ago, Uncle Wiggly's Stir-fried Turkey and Scallions. Unfortunately, I had no Turkey Thighs, but I had some frozen Chicken Breasts from Trader Joe's, so I defrosted four of them (two for each of us--we're big eaters) and used those instead. Because I was using Breasts rather than the tastier Thighs, I cooked used Chicken Stock as my liquid rather than Broth; I find Stock thicker and, therefore, more flavorful. I served this over Rice, which I highly recommend. Brown Rice adds a wonderfully nutty taste and texture to the dish and, I believe, improves it greatly. Just make sure you make the rice first and just keep it warm while you stir-fry your ingredients; better that the Rice begin to cool than the stir-fry. Also feel free to substitute any other vegetables for the Green Onions. Enjoy!
Poulet et ciboules sautes
- 4 Chicken Breast Halves, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 1/2 + 1 teaspoons Soy Sauce
- 1 teaspoon Amontillado Sherry
- 1/4 + 1/4 teaspoon Brown Sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon Lemon Pepper
- Smidgen Kosher Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Pepper, freshly ground
- 1 tablespoon Potato Starch
- 1 tablespoon cooked, canned Soybeans
- 3 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Ginger, minced
- 1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
- 4 Green Onions, cut into 1-inch cubes + 1 Green Onion, chopped
- 1/3 cup Chicken Stock
In a small bowl, combine Chicken, 1 1/2 teaspoons Soy Sauce, Sherry, 1/4 teaspoon Brown Sugar, Lemon Pepper, Salt, Pepper and Potato Starch. Mix well with your hands until Chicken feels slightly sticky and evenly marinated. In a separate bowl, mash Soybeans, then add Garlic, Ginger and remaining Soy Sauce and Brown Sugar, mixing well.
Heat wok over high heat until smoking. Swirl in Vegetable Oil, coating as much of the sides of the wok as possible. Add Chicken, spreading evenly over the bottom. Let cook 1 minute, undisturbed, until Chicken is browned. Stir-fry, lifting meat with a spatula, for another minute. Add Soybean mixture, 4 Green Onions and Stock and stir-fry for 1 minute, until Chicken is cooked through and sauce is thickened. Add the chopped Green Onion. Serve over Rice. Enjoy!
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
And now for the recipe portion of our program. Ozzy was sick last week and, being the concerned mother I am, I wasn't much in the mood to do any fancy cooking. That, and I've been performing in Brooklyn on the weekends so I haven't been up for anything too interesting. What I really wanted was something tasty and fun, but still easy and uncomplicated. I also had some Broccolini in the fridge that needed to be used up. If you haven't had Broccolini before, I highly recommend it. It's a cross between Broccoli and Chinese Kale and delightfully tender.
Hoping for inspiration, I trawled the food blogs and came up with a recipe from Chef Yum Yum for her version of Macaroni and Cheese that she calls Food Like a Hug. Unfortunately, I didn't have all the necessary ingredients handy, so I potchked around a bit and came up with my own version. The one thing I kept, though (and my favorite part of the dish) were the oven-roasted tomatoes. I'll definitely be making them again. Try this as either a side or a main and enjoy!
Penne a ricotta salata, brocolini et tomates roties au four
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a baking pan with Olive Oil.
Cut Tomatoes in half lengthwise, then remove core and seeds. Place cut-side up on baking pan, then drizzle with Olive Oil and add Salt, Lemon Pepper and Pepper.
Bake for 50 minutes, until tomatoes are melting. Serve as soon as possible.
Penne with ricotta salata and broccolini
- 1 bunch Broccolini
- 1 pound Penne (We had enough left over for lunch the next day. Feel free to use less if no leftovers are desired.)
- 1 + 3 cloves Garlic, quartered
- Small knob Butter
- 3 tablespoons Panko
- 2 stems Italian Parsley, leaves chopped
- Dash + 1/8 teaspoon Sea Salt, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon + Dash Lemon Pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon + 1/4 teaspoon Pepper, freshly ground
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- Dash Red Pepper Flakes
- 1/2 cup Ricotta Salata, crumbled
Boil a large pot of salted water. While waiting for it to boil, trim ends off of Broccolini. Add to Water and cook 5 minutes, until bright green and crisp-tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Return Water to boil, add Penne and cook according to package directions, until al dente. Melt Butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 clove Garlic and saute 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add Panko, Parsley, 1/4 teaspoon Lemon Pepper, Dash Salt and 1/4 teaspoon Pepper. Lower heat and fry 4 minutes, being careful not to burn Panko.
Heat Olive Oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add 3 cloves Garlic, Red Pepper Flakes and dash Lemon Pepper. Add Broccolini and saute 1 minute, until heated through. Season to taste with remaining Salt and Pepper.
Place Ricotta Salata in serving bowl. Drain Penne and add to Ricotta in bowl, stirring until well combined. Top with Broccolini and Panko. Serve with Tomatoes alongside. Enjoy!
Friday, December 21, 2007
I like Food Magazines a lot. In fact, whenever one is around, I devour it. So why don't I subscribe to any, you ask? Simple--I'm a packrat. It's hard enough to remind myself to use ALL my cookbooks (not just repeating recipes from a few), so to add magazines (a new one of which would arrive every month) is unthinkable. And don't suggest throwing the old ones out--what if there was a great recipe in there that I'm dying to try but don't get around to that month? Believe me, there would be one in every issue. So, instead, I content myself with my cookbooks and the internet.
One wonderful part of using the internet to help decide what to make for dinner is that my favorite magazines have internet sites and their recipes are often published on Epicurious. One such magazine, Food & Wine, has a great search engine and is a constant source of inspiration. My favorite column, Chefs Recipes Made Easy, takes a restaurant chef's recipe and simplifies it for the home cook--perfect for those of us with high aspirations but limited time and resources.
The recipe I'm sharing today, Braised Chicken Legs with Manzanilla Olives, is gently adapted from one in that column. I served it with a bowl of Cheese Avocado Soup to start, though the Chicken could just as easily be its own meal. And while it was delicious the night we had it, it was even better reheated a few days later. Enjoy!
Braised Chicken Leg Quarters with Manzanilla Olives
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 6 Chicken Leg Quarters
- Dash Kosher Salt, or to taste
- Pinch Poultry Seasoning
- Pinch Pepper, freshly ground
- 4 slices Bacon, diced
- 1 Yellow Onion, chopped
- 7 Carrots and their greens, chopped small
- 1 cup Manzanilla Olives, pitted
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 2 cups Chicken Broth
Preheat oven to 350 F. Pour Olive Oil into large, oven-proof pot and heat over a medium-high flame until it slides around easily. Season Chicken with Salt and Pepper. Add three legs to pot (or as many as fit in one layer without overlapping) and cook 5 minutes, until browned. Flip onto uncooked side and repeat. Remove browned Chicken to a plate and repeat process with remaining legs, lowering the heat to medium if pot is well-insulated.
Add Bacon, Onion and Carrots and raise heat again to medium-high and cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until barely soft. Add Olives, Bay Leaf, Broth and Chicken Legs. Submerge legs as much as possible and bring mixture to a boil, raising heat to high. Cover pot and transfer to oven for 45 minutes, until Chicken is cooked through and Carrots are soft.
Remove from oven and replace pot on stove, over high heat. Boil 5 minutes, to reduce liquid. Lower heat and cook another 5 minutes. Enjoy!
Friday, December 14, 2007
- 6 tbsp good-quality Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 tbsp Mustard
- Dash Sea Salt, or to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon Pepper, freshly ground
- 1/4 teaspoon Lemon Pepper
- 1 clove Fresh Garlic, minced
- 3 Russet Potatoes, peeled, boiled and cut into eighths
- 1/2 pound Green Beans, trimmed and boiled
- 1 head Radicchio, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1/2 jar Kalamata Olives, pitted
First, make the Dressing. Combine all ingredients in a jar and mix well.
Next, make the Salad. Combine ingredients in a bowl and toss. Add Dressing to taste. Enjoy!
Friday, December 07, 2007
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
I often find Smoked Salmon very salty; what I loved about this Salad is that the slightly sweet dressing, as well as the presence of the Avocado, provided a perfect balance.
I served this Salad as a side dish, with Fusilli Carbonara. The Pasta was less than memorable, but the Salad was delicious. In a warmer month, I could see serving it with some crusty Bread as a full meal.
Salade de saumon fume, avec avocat
- 3 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
- Zest of 1/2 Orange, grated
- 2 teaspoons Honey
- 2 teaspoons Olive Oil
- 1/8 teaspoon Fleur de Sel, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon Pepper, ground
- 1/2 teaspoon Smoked Paprika, or to taste
- 6 cups Spring Salad Mix (I used a Mache-blend)
- 1 Red Onion, thinly sliced
- 4 oz. Smoked Salmon, sliced
- 1 Avocado, sliced
First, make the Dressing: Whisk together Balsamic Vinegar, Orange Zest and Honey in a small bowl. Slowly add Olive Oil, whisking the whole time, then Fleur de Sel, Pepper and Smoked Paprika to taste. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine Spring Salad Mix, Red Onion, Smoked Salmon and Avocado. Add Dressing and toss well. Enjoy!