Archive for April, 2012

From Dish Jodi:

Are you guys sick of seeing the top of my clothes dryer in all my Saucy pics? I am. Are you tired of pitying me and my 22 inch stove top and oven? I know I am tired of not being able to have more than two things bubbling on the stove at once, or an oven that JUST FITS a half sheet pan. It’s the end of an era. We’re moving this weekend.

The next time you see me, I will have a new kitchen – brand new – even all the appliances. Well actually, you will probably see me mid-reno – just using the bathroom sink and the grill outside – but THEN I will have a brand new kitchen!

But this week it’s all about packing our house, supervising the workers putting in new lights, floor, paint and getting the RENTAL UNIT ready to go. Yes, we are crazy and bought a duplex. We’ll live in the back and rent out the three bedroom front unit to help cover our mortgage. (I am starting to document this adventure here: http://soweboughtaduplex.blogspot.com/.  EEPS!

My amazing parents came this week to help us out and it’s been wonderful to have them finishing tasks, being around for deliveries and helping us pack. Last night, my mom and I did a big Fridge Clean Out Dinner – We made a mushroom, onion and broccoli fritatta, Neal made a crisp arugula salad and we decided to use up as much of the random crap in our cupboards for dessert. This turned into a quick bread packed with yummy things that may not have had a home in our new place. This was the combo we used – you can put in any stuff you want – chocolate chips? craisins? Other nuts? Use the dry ingredients, eggs and bananas as your base.

We also found a 4-year-old can of Four Loko we bought to try and have been too scared. It’s probably a collectors item. It’s from before they deemed the mix of caffeeine, alcohol, energy drink and what must be liquid plumber illegal. Why not throw that in too?


2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Three old bananas that have been in your freezer for months
2 eggs
4 T butter, melted
One can of contraband Four Loko
One bloop of almond oil because it was in your cupboard and why not
1/2 C of chopped pecans so you can wash that cute glass jar and pack it
1/2 C of toasted coconut from Oliver’s 2nd Birthday Dinosaur cake you made last September
1 C of chopped strawberries that are almost bad after you bought 2 pounds of them on sale this weekend

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan. Take a swig of Four Loko. Combine all the dry ingredients in a big bowl. Mash up the banana in a smaller bowl and mix with eggs, butter and oil. Combine wet and dry and mix until just combined.

Rinse that effort down with a big drink of Four Loko. The fold in the nuts, coconut and berries until evenly distributed.

Put in loaf pan and bake for an hour while you pack 10 boxes or until a toothpick poked in the middle comes out dry or your can of Four Loko is more than halfway gone.

Let cool for 15 minutes or so, then turn out and let cool the rest of the way. Keep snagging slices between trips lugging boxes out to the garage. Probably don’t sleep well because you are so hopped up on Four Loko.

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From Dish Nicole:

About 7 years ago I moved to New York City and my first apartment was in Astoria, Queens. While it wasn’t exactly the west village brownstone I’d envisioned, it was still a good starting point. One of the great things about living in Astoria was/is the diversity in restaurants and cuisine. Astoria is typically known for its Greek population but there are other hidden gems. One of my favorite restaurants I found almost a year after moving to the neighborhood, and I could have kicked myself for not getting to Mundo sooner. This place was just my style: small, great music, a super friendly staff and a killer menu (tapas style with a mix of Mediterranean and South American flavor). My favorite item on the menu was and still is their ever-popular Red Sonja. Red Sonja is a Turkish dish made from red lentil and bulgur wheat served on lettuce with fresh lemon. It might not sound appetizing but I assure you it is. It was recommended on my first visit and now I get it every time I go back. With the weather warming up, healthy and light meals are on the brain so I thought I would try to make these babies at home. I perused some recipes online and put together what I think is similar to Mundo’s version. Here is what you need:

1 cups red lentils
2.5 cups water (2 for cooking lentils and additional ½ c reserved for when you add in the bulgur wheat)
1 cup bulgur (cracked wheat)
3 scallions thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
Lemon wedges to garnish
red or green leaf lettuce to wrap up the patties

To start, place the lentils in a saucepan and add the hot water. Bring it to boil, half covered. Then lower the heat and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Turn the heat off. Add the bulgur, tomato paste, salt and cumin, mix well. Let the mixture sit and absorb the water for about 15 minutes until all the moisture is absorbed and the mixture is dry, stirring occasionally.

Next you will want to combine the lentil and bulgur mixture with the parsley and scallions in a large bowl. Let the mixture cool for an additional 10 minutes. Mix in the olive oil and take about a walnut size of the mixture into your hands and with wet hands, shape it as patties.

You can either serve it warm or chilled.

Serve the patties on the lettuce, squeeze on a little lemon juice and eat ‘um up taco style. Deeeeelish.

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From Dish Rachelle:

I have a complicated relationship with Caesar salad. When it’s great, I love it – but that means it’s not too mayonaisse-y, or fishy, or garlicky, which immediately rules out about ¾ of the restaurant versions I’ve tasted. I’ve never made Caesar salad at home, mostly because I’ve had too many disappointing experiences with it to find myself craving those flavors. But then two things happened: I stumbled upon Thomas Keller’s recipe for anchovy dressing in The French Laundry Cookbook, which looked promising. Then, I had a great kale Caesar at the new neighborhood Mexican-French fusion restaurant Santos Anne, and it was totally delicious, in part because they garnished the salad with chorizo.

So, I made it. And it was awesome. Given that this is the first time I’ve used Keller’s recipe, I would do two things differently: I might add an extra anchovy filet, because the flavor here was very, very subtle, and I might cut down on the canola oil just a touch, because I tend to like dressings that are a bit more tangy. That said: I DO NOT THINK I CAN IMPROVE ON THOMAS KELLER! Only that I can improve his recipe for my own particular tastebuds, which is why I am quoting his version as written.

I made fresh croutons from the stale baguette that was sitting on my counter. Clearly I am a person who always has stale bread in the house, because I am convinced that every meal – with the exception of Chinese food – could be improved by the addition of a fresh loaf. But, if you aren’t that kind of person, you could always buy bagged croutons, no biggie.

For the anchovy dressing:
(I halved this because there’s no way the two of us will consume 2 cups of dressing in the next 3 days, which how long Keller says it’ll keep in the fridge. Yes, this meant that I cut a raw egg yolk with a knife.)

1 ½ tblsp. chopped garlic
1 ½ tblsp. chopped shallot
¼ balsamic vinegar (we have two kinds in the house: the good kind and the cheap kind. I used the cheap kind since it was getting mixed with other things)
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 salt-packed anchovy fillets, deboned, soaked in milk to cover for 30 minutes, drained and patted dry (My elegant deboning method involved pulling any obvious bones out with my fingernails.)
1 large egg yolk
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup canola oil
Freshly ground (white) pepper (OK, I used black)

Puree the garlic, shallots, vinegar, mustard, lemon juice and anchovies in a blender until smooth. (I used a hand-blender, which worked pretty well, and I didn’t transfer the mixture to “a mixer with a paddle attachment” afterwards because I was being lazy, and didn’t want to do that many dishes, and the hand blender continued to do the trick.) Beat in the egg yolk and slowly drizzle in the oils. Season with pepper, cover and refrigerate.

Chop your lettuce – I used romaine but kale would be good, too. Toss with croutons, dressing, and a fistful of finely grated, good quality parmesan.

I’m glad I have more dressing leftover. I know where I’m getting my Caesars from now on!

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From Dish Paige!:

Here’s a conversation that happens in my house all the time:

P!: What should we have for dinner?
J: Something with vegetables!!
P!: Meatballs?
J: Something with vegetables!!!!
P!: So, not meatballs?
J: That’s not vegetables.
P: So you say…


For the Meatless Meatballs
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
4 oz. mushrooms, finely chopped
2 small zucchini, finely chopped
1/2 small eggplant, finely chopped
3 small carrots, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
1/2 cup textured vegetable protein, reconstituted with 3/4 cup hot water
3/4 cup Italian style bread crumbs
salt & pepper to taste

For the sauce
2 cans chopped plum tomatoes
1/3 cup olive oil
a handful of fresh basil
a dash of red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
2 sprigs fresh oregano
salt & pepper to taste

Directions: Chop all of the veggies (or if you’re not insane, use a food processor) and then saute in olive oil until the veggies are soft. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, mash a little with a potato masher and then let cool. Mix in the reconstituted textured vegetable protein and bread crumbs. Heat a skillet with a little olive oil and then using a small ice cream scoop, place “meat”balls in the pan and cook, turning over once.

For the sauce, place the basil leaves and olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat and steep for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning and oregano in pot, cover and bring to a simmer for about 20 minutes. Add in the basil-infused olive oil and stir to combine.

Serve with spaghetti!

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From Dish Amelia:

My first solid food was a pickle. I am told that while stopping for lunch on a driving trip with my godmother, my mother went to the bathroom and I reached out for and obtained a pickle. She returned and to her horror I was gnawing on it, toothless wonder that I was, and my godmother shrugged. I’ll be 30 in few days and have been doing the kind of stock-taking (not stock making) that I tend to do around the birthdays. I also found out just this week that my great-great-great grandfather was born in Warsaw and is buried in Greenwood cemetery right here in Brooklyn. And coincidentally, perhaps, I’ve made this pickle soup. Pickle soup sounds weird and gross, but its not. This one is kind of based on a recipe from a beautiful Polish cookbook called Rose Petal Jam and they call it cucumber soup. Really, its a brothy soup with lots of vegetables and some salt brined (not vinegar-brined) half sour pickled cucumbers grated into it, for a subtly sour, satisfying and refreshing soup. It’s called Zupa Ogorkowa. (Pr. “Oh-gor-koh-vuh”). I’ve made it twice, but I think it might have already been in my DNA.

1-2 qts chicken stock, (box or homemade)
2 parsnips, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
4 potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
a few stalks of celery, chopped
a 6 inch piece of smoked kielbasa, chopped (optional)
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
4 (brine pickled not vinegar pickled) pickles, half sour or sour, grated
1/3 cup or more of sour cream
1 bunch dill
s&p to taste
chopped green chile (optional)

If you are using kielbasa, fry it for a long time in olive oil with the onion and bay leaf. Add the parsnip and the carrot and cover with stock and water. When it comes to a boil add the celery and potatoes. When the potatoes are tender, take out some of the stock in a pyrex measuring cup and whisk in the sour cream, then add it all back to the soup. Add the ogorki (pickles) and a bit of green chile, if you like. Makes about four quarts.

Sprinkle fresh dill on top to serve.

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From Dish Jodi:

I’m not Jewish. I’m not anything really. But I married a Jew and feel it is my duty to take on the culinary duties of a Jewish Wife. I mean, most Jewish holidays revolve around food, what is not to like? We are assigned the Matzo Ball Soup for our friends’ seder every year. But that’s not a very exciting recipe – chicken stock, lots of herbs and veggies, and balls made theperfectsize using Manischewitz Matzo Mix.
What’s exciting is transforming Matzo into crunchy sweet candy. Oh yeah.

1 C Butter
1 C Packed Brown Sugar
A Big Pinch of Sea Salt
A Small Bloop of Vanilla
Enough Matzo to cover an 11×17 rimmed baking sheet in a single layer
1 C Chocolate Chips
Foil (you will hate yourself if you don’t use foil)
Preheat oven to 350. Cover Bottom and sides of baking sheet with foil. Fill the sheet with Matzo in a single layer, you may have to break some pieces up.

Bring butter and sugar to boil in a heavy sauce pan. Boil for about 3 minutes, then remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt.

Immediately pour over the pan of matzo and spread with a spatula if needed until it’s all covered in a thin layer.

Place pan in oven for about 15 minutes, rotating often and turning down heat a little (or removing for a few secs) if it starts to burn.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let the chips sit on the hot candy for 5 minutes, then using an offset spatula, spread them over the whole shebang.

Let it cool completely then break into finger-friendly pieces. Store in an airtight container.

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From Dish Danielle:

Living in a loft building such as the one I’ve inhabited for the last 6+ years, you kind of get used to having people over…a lot. And with this, you begin to aquire an ever-expanding repertoire of crowd-pleasing recipes that are easy to whip up in moments. I had the pleasure of collaborating on a few spontaneous soirees with my neighbor Yoni in the last few weeks, and man, my kick-ass go-to recipe list grew exponentially. This guy knows how to host family style dinner parties like nobody’s business.

After watching Yoni make this delicious side dish a few weeks back, I decided I’d include it in our most recent Whisk & Ladle dinner menu. I needed to score the recipe deets from him, and quickly learned that he cooks most things by sight or taste memory, as he left me with a list of otherwise unknown Japanese ingredients to pick up, with the ratio of said ingredients to be figured out on my own. ‘A drizzle of this, a squeeze of that…’

Off I went to the Sunrise Market in Manhattan, where I was able to score all the Japanese condiments that make this dish sing.

Ingredients: this should be enough for 10 people as a side dish

2 ½ lbs brussels sprouts, rinsed and trimmed
4 sheets of nori (dried Japanese seaweed)
¼c veggie oil
¼c sesame oil
¼c seasoned soy sauce (I used Ninben brand)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp yuzu paste
1 lime, zested & juiced
agave nectar (honey will also do)
sesame seeds (I used a shaker of white & black found at Sunrise)

You want your oven hot, so preheat to 425 or so.

Slice the brussels sprouts in half and toss into large bowl. With your hands, crumble nori over the sprouts. Drizzle a splash or two of veggie oil and toss contents of bowl to coat sprouts evenly. In a medium bowl mix the oils, soy sauce, minced garlic, yuzu paste, zest & juice of the lime, a small squeeze of agave and a pinch of salt thoroughly with a fork or small whisk. Taste and tweak as you like. This is the most important step! Perhaps a bit more sesame oil or a little more garlic. Your taste buds will let you know.

Pour dressing over the sprouts and mix/massage it in by hand. Finish off with a few liberal shakes of sesame seeds and you’re ready to roast. Now you can let the sprouts do their thing and tend to the rest of your menu, or better yet, your guests!

After 10 minutes give the pan a good shake and let them bake for another 10 minutes. Let them cool only slightly before serving.

Ahem, I think I will be hanging out in the kitchen above mine more often…

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