Archive for June, 2011

From Dish Danielle:

It’s summer in New York and the greenmarket is brimming with bright poppy produce: scapes, snap peas, squash blossoms, strawberries, edible flowers, and bushels of zesty herbs like whoa. Each seasonal item has a bold personality all its own– so bring them home and into your kitchen and let the fun begin. It’s time to start PLAYING with your food.

A dozen squash blossoms, rinsed clean
1 c ricotta cheese
2 tbsp grated parm
1 scape, diced fine
2 poblano chili’s
1 tsp lemon zest
1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste
½ c flour
¾ seltzer

Squash blossoms are just beautiful. They’re hearty and structured yet soft & delicate. I wanted to wear them in my hair. I wanted to wear them as earrings. They didn’t seem to mind my attempts to create wacky accessories rather than fabulous hors d’oeuvres, but once I started to get hungry, I refocused and created some delicious dinner party snacks:

Start by roasting the heck out of the poblanos. Literally place them over a flame on your stovetop and let them blacken. Using tongs, turn them every 90 seconds or so until their completely charred. Place them into a bowl with a cover to allow their skin to ‘sweat’ off. Once they’ve cooled, rinse their skin off by placing them under the faucet and using your hands to remove the stubborn pieces of skin. Dice them fine and set aside.

Now take your scapes and saute them off briefly in some olive oil. Their flavor is super strong so this will mellow their bite just a touch.

Now compose the filling: In a bowl, mix the ricotta, parm, saute’d scapes, ¾ of the poblano’s, lemon juice, lemon zest, and s&p. Taste. Add the remaining poblano’s if needed, and balance with add’l s&p and/or lemon juice.

If you have a pastry bag, I recommend using one to pipe the filling into the flowers. If not, carefully spoon the filling into the blossoms and twist the ends of the flowers to seal them shut.

The batter: Mix the flour, seltzer and a pinch of salt. Heat a ½ inch of veggie oil in a skillet over med-high heat. While the oil is warming carefully dredge the blossoms through the batter. Place a paper towel covered plate beside the skillet so you can drain a bit of the oil off once they’ve been fried.

Once the oil is hot, fry your blossoms off in batches to finish. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice and a pinch of salt a top the hot fritters. Arrange on a pretty platter and serve immediately.

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From Dish Gwen:

Making soup in June is not generally a good idea, but when your boyfriend’s got a cold and there’s a quart of chicken stock in the freezer I say go for it. This is a salty, lemony and healthy soup that can be wholesome and refreshing on even a hot summer day. Plus it only takes about 15 minutes on the stove so you don’t have to turn your kitchen into a sweltering inferno.

1 Quart chicken stock
1 quart water
1 lb Asian noodles, cooked al dente (I used lo mein but you can use Ramen)
3-6 large kale leaves, chopped to 1 inch wide strips
1 lemon, sliced
4-6 sprigs fresh thyme


Boil the broth and water with the thyme and lemon slices for about 5 minutes, and add salt to taste. Use tongs to pull out all the lemons and thyme and add the kale and noodles to the pot, boiling it all together for just a couple of minutes until the kale is wilted. Turn off the stove and eat! Serves 2-3.

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From Dish Erin:

I used to suck on lemons as a kid. Now scurvy-free and severely depleted in tooth enamel, my love of lemons has not faltered. Some people put a lemon in their water; I add water to my lemon juice. And I find them especially refreshing this time of year, when it’s a billion degrees in NYC.

So hot in fact that for every minute any heat-producing appliance in my kitchen is on, the temperature in my apartment rises roughly 37 degrees. Consequently, this is one of my favorite go-to warm weather dishes. The chicken only needs to cook for about 10 minutes, mitigating the amount of time my stove top needs be fired up, and the lemony salad cools you down when your NYC apartment is approximately the temperature of a sauna.

This is pretty much just my version of the classic chicken Milanese dish. Instead of traditional breadcrumbs, I used panko, which are just lighter, crispier, Japanese style bread crumbs. Panko tends to hold its “crunch” better throughout the cooking process–which is great when you need to pan fry a large chicken breast and you want to avoid soggy bread coating.

For the salad:

2 cups arugula
½ tomato, sliced
½ red onion, thinly sliced

For the chicken:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast
¼ cup flour
1 egg, beaten
½ cup panko bread crumbs
Parmesan cheese
Lemon zest
Salt & pepper
Olive oil for frying

For the vinaigrette:

4-5 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon
1 clove garlic, finely minced or crushed
Salt & pepper

1.) Make the salad first. Combine arugula, tomatoes and onions in a medium bowl. Set aside.

2.) Place chicken between plastic or parchment paper and beat with a meat tenderizer or whatever tool you can find, until they flatten out into about ½ inch thickness. Preheat a cast iron or metal skillet over medium high heat and liberally coat the pan with olive oil.

3.) Assemble a ‘breading station’ of flour, egg, and panko in small bowls or plates. Add a sprinkle of lemon zest, Parmesan cheese, salt & freshly ground pepper to the panko dish. Mix to incorporate.

4.) Begin by dipping the 1st chicken breast in the flour, then the egg, then into the panko and make sure the chicken is fully coated in breadcrumbs and place into the heated pan. Repeat with 2nd chicken breast.

5.) Allow chicken to cook on one side until golden brown at the edges, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook another 5 minutes on the other side until golden brown. Remove from pan and place on paper towels to cool while you make the vinaigrette.

6.) Combine olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, garlic and a tiny squeeze of honey in a small bowl. Whisk to combine and then add salt & pepper to taste. Drizzle over the salad and toss to combine.

*Adding raw garlic to the dressing gives it a ‘spicy’ bite, which I love. Omit it if you don’t like strong garlic flavor, but then I’d also forgo the honey, I use that to balance the garlic.

7.) Plate and put the chicken atop the salad. Serve with a lemon wedge and toasted baguette to mop up the dressing.

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From Dish Nicole:

Calling all vegetarians: this meal is for you. Now that the summer weather and heat have really taken hold, let’s just say I am ready for a lighter alternative to all the grilled meats. Don’t get me wrong, I have been enjoying the burgers and kebabs of late, but every now and then a meat-free meal is in order. I have always enjoyed a good veggie burger and have never tried to make them myself. I am happy to say that I have now tried and succeeded. This past weekend I planned on hitting the beach and coming home to BBQ but the weather had other plans for me. So yesterday I decided to take my skills to the skillet rather than the grill to make my black bean cakes (or burgers, whichever name you prefer).

To start, I suggest making the pico in advance and allowing it to chill in the refrigerator. You can make it as far in advance as you like. I think the longer the ingredients sit and marinate together, the better. What you need for the pico:

1 small onion diced
2 cloves garlic- finely diced or pressed
1 lime
2 plum tomatoes – gutted (seeds and pulp removed) and diced
¼ cup diced fresh cilantro
1 cup corn (frozen or off the cob)
Optional: diced jalapeño pepper or ½ teaspoon chipotle powder
Salt and pepper to taste

I Started by heating 1 teaspoon of olive oil in my cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the frozen corn (carefully) and let cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want to let the corn get a slightly charred look before taking it off the heat. Set the corn aside to cool. *If you happen to have leftover corn on the cob you can slice it off the cob and use instead of frozen corn. Next up- dice all of the rest of the ingredients and mix in a large bowl and squeeze in all of the juice from the lime. I chose to forgo the jalapeño and added chipotle powder for a spicy kick. Once the corn has cooled off, mix it in with the rest of the ingredients and let cool in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

Now on to the main course:
(1) 15oz can of black beans- drained and rinsed
2-3 slices of whole wheat bread- torn into large pieces
2 cloves of garlic
½ cup diced cilantro
(1) 7oz can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 egg
2-3 teaspoons olive oil or vegetable oil

In a food processor or blender add the bread and pulse until the bread resembles coarse bread crumbs. Remove these and set aside in a large mixing bowl.

Next add the cilantro and garlic to the food processor and blend until finely chopped. Add the beans and 1 chipotle pepper from the can and 2-3 teaspoons of the adobo sauce (more or less for your desired heat level) and the cumin. Pulse the food processor (do not blend) until the ingredients are mixed and you are left with a – for lack of a better word -chunky mixture.

You are now going to add the bean mixture to the bread crumbs and crack the egg into the bowl and mix well.

Form patties to desired size.

Heat the skillet over medium heat and coat with 1 teaspoon of olive oil or vegetable oil. Add the bean cakes and brown on both sides before removing from the skillet. Continue the process adding more oil as needed.

Now time to serve! Since cooking and gardening are 2 of my labors of love, I decided to try out some of the butter lettuce I have been growing. So I placed the bean cakes on a bed of lettuce topped with the pico and garnished with sour cream, lime and a side of tortilla chips. Man oh man- were these black bean burger/cakes delicious. Invite over some of your vegetarian friends and wow them.

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From Dish Jodi:

When I took my now-husband home to Illinois for the first time, waiting for us was a batch of my Mom’s grandmother’s oatmeal “ice box” cookies. These are the cookies of my life – I can still feel the joy that raced through me when my dad would pull out the giant bowl, the the tall bin of oatmeal. He would make them with no recipe, and mix in the oatmeal and chocolate chips with his giant hands…it’s the only real way to make sure it’s all mixed. Though the recipe was from my mom’s side of the family – my dad had mastered it.

After his first bite, Neal declared, “These are the best cookies I’ve ever had, the best kind of cookies.” It may not be exaggeration to say that I knew he was the one at that moment. Though these are my family’s cookies, they aren’t for everyone – especially those people who like a little chew. These are crisp, crackly, melty and even a little savory in a strange way. The big bubbly crevices soak up cold milk, and the whole bite falls apart in your mouth.

**Speaking of cookies, a special heads up for LA readers. This coming Sunday, June 19th is our 5th Annual NO COOKIE LEFT BEHIND Bake Sale, benefiting Share Our Strength. If you’re in LA, please swing by Scoops Ice Cream (712 N. Heliotrope) between 2 and 5. And if you aren’t and want to donate to help us fight child hunger in the US, you can donate at http://nocookieleftbehind.com/donate.

1 Cup Crisco (oh yeah!)
1 Cup White Sugar
1 Cup packed Brown Sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 Cups Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla
3 Cups Oatmeal
12 oz Chocolate Chips
Nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat crisco and sugars together until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

Meanwhile, whisk or sift together flour, soda and salt.

Slowly beat in dry ingredients and, once combined, remove bowl from mixer. With washed hands, mix in oatmeal and chocolate chips until evenly distributed.

Put messy 1 1/2 inch balls a couple inches apart on a cookie sheet and bake for about 15 minutes or until the bottoms are toast and the tops are browned.

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From Dish Rachelle:

So, I know what you’re thinking. First I post a roast during a heat wave, and then I follow-up with a stew during another one? No, saucy Italian food doesn’t seem like the most intuitive choice for this sweltering spring, but I promise: chicken cacciatore is not your average stew. Thanks to the bell peppers and herbs, it tastes fresh, bright and healthy, and it’s missing the richest elements of Italian food – think cheese, cheese and more cheese – that make other dishes feel so heavy. Served over rice, this meal is a treat. You could even think about substituting fresh tomatoes for canned ones once TOMATO SEASON is in full swing (yes, you’re right, I’m totally obsessed).

Olive oil
4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (skin-on bone-in breasts and/or thighs with legs attached)
1 red pepper, sliced
½ green pepper, sliced
½ large onion, sliced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 large can diced tomatoes
¾ tbsp. oregano
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. capers
¼ cup fresh basil
¼ cup fresh parsley

Heat 1-2 tbsp. of olive oil over medium heat, and place chicken parts in the pan skin-side down. Cook about five minutes, until skin is golden brown. Remove chicken to a plate.

Lower the heat if needed, and add the sliced peppers, onions and garlic to the pan. Saute 3-4 minutes, or until onions have softened. Add white wine, chicken stock and tomatoes and stir to combine. Replace chicken to the pan and nestle it under the sauce. Season the whole stew with oregano, cayenne, capers and S&P, and bring it up to a boil. Then reduce the heat and let simmer, mostly covered, for 30 minutes.

Remove the lid and with the heat still medium-low to low, let cook uncovered for another 20 minutes.

Just before serving, remove the chicken from the stew and crank up the heat, so that the sauce reduces just a little bit more and thickens. Serve over white rice or pasta!

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From Dish Paige!:

I was going to go on a little journey with you, fellow readers – one in which I described my humble beginnings cooking, and how for the 8 years since college I’ve broadened my horizons, perfected a few things, and maybe even had a few transcendent moments of culinary bliss. I was going to reminisce about the incredible times I’ve had cooking and sharing food with my friends, dinner parties and potlucks and evenings of leftovers. And then I was going to cleverly mention that there’s this one thing I’ve been dreaming about making ever since I moved to the greater Bushwick/Ridgewood area all those many years ago, how the special ingredient was impossible to find, how I felt my life wasn’t complete without it (yes that’s a little hyperbolic, but WHATEVS), how I dreamed of a store in my neighborhood that would carry it and refused to go to another neighborhood to find it and how, now that I’m packing up and leaving my beloved city, there exists such a place.

But I’m going to let you all fill in the blanks on that story because it was really just a round-about way of saying two things:
1) I finally got my hands on some cardamom
2) I’m moving and I love my friends and family and I will miss them all and it’s not really that far away at all and it’s not for that long and I’ll visit and you’ll visit and I love you all.

So, I’ll just let the Byrds say it:

1 cup Jasmine rice
3 cups milk
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Combine 2 1/2 cups of the milk, the coconut milk, cardamom, vanilla, sugar and salt in a large sauce pan and bring to a boil. Stir in the Jasmine rice, reduce the heat to low and cook until the rice is done, about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch and the remaining 1/2 cup milk. Whisk the egg mixture into the rice and keep whisking for about a minute or until the whole thing turns creamy.

Pour into individual containers, cover and let chill in the fridge for at least two hours.

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