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Showing posts from July, 2009

Computer Crisis

My laptop of (5 years) is having a crisis. Its in the shop, and not coming back for a week. All things food will have to be on hold until then. Happy eating!

Coriander-Chili Maduros

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Maduros, cilantro, and pickled onions all that's missing is the
pork from the pig roast. Really I served my maduros out of
Tupperware to the crowd.

Plantains, the easy affordable starch everyone loves. As I see it, 1 plantain feed 2 people as a side. At 3 for $1 you can really fry up some killer maduros for a crowd. A little sweet, and I cheated by making mine a little spicy too. I have no loyalties when it comes to food.

Coriander-Chili Maduros

1 tsp Coriander
1 tsp Ground chili
1/2 tsp black pepper
10 Ripe yellow to black plantains, cut in half length-wise,
and then in 3-4" piece.
Canola oil
Salt

Mix the first 3 spices together, and set aside.

Fill a large skillet (high sides prevent oil from splattering, so choose wisely) with 1/2 inch or less oil. Bring to heat over medium, medium-high until a drop of water sputters, but not violently. Carefully place plantains into the oil until half full. Plantains should have space to bubble. I try to lay them in a pattern, e.g. clock-wise, in a ci…

Not for the Weak - Pig Roast!

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Saturday was Matt Pinto's "Bacon All Night" Pig Roast in Accord, NY. The party gathered at a precious summer home, on a large wooded yard with spots for guests to camp, and room to layout copious Spanish influenced sides. Photos of the pickle mayhem, and other sides are coming in future posts.

The following photos are going to be graphic. But please consider, this is food. This is where hot dogs, bacon, sausage, and many other oinking varieties come from. Its was ordered direct by host of all host's Matt Pinto, from Van Wie Natural Foods, Hudson, NY. Slow cooked with care over coals for 10 hours, and carved on-site to the delight of over 70 people. The pig roast makes packaged meat and grocery stores look obscene.

The pig, was 115 lb butchered (145 lb living), was marinated in sour orange juice, so tells host Matt Pinto and grill master Matt Schaffer. It was slow cooked over charcoals, in a homemade cinder block pit.


Out of the fire pit, and onto the cutting board. Skil…

Lemony Almond Zucchini Bread

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Zucchini hidden in sweet and fragrant loaf.

Lemon, spice, and zucchini in a loaf. Its appealing for breakfast lunch or dessert, and its uses up the surplus of zucchini lurking in my pile of CSA vegetables. This recipe is adapted from a Gourmet Magazine banana bread recipe on epicurious.com.

Lemony Almond Zucchini Bread

3 cups grated zucchini
1/2 tsp salt

4 large eggs, at room temperature for 30 minutes
2 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup yogurt
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tblsp lemon zest, about 4 lemons

2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
(I used 2 cups all purpose flour + 1 1/4 cups whole wheat)
3/4 cup sliced almonds, divided

Grate your zucchini and place in a sieve or strainer. My Cuisinart has a grating disc attachment. This means I can grate 2 giant zucchini in under a minute! I recommend looking into this investment, its the best gadgety thing I have in my kitchen. Mix grated zucchini with 1/2 tsp salt and allow to stand over sink or bow…

Corn Worms!

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A corn worm, or as I call it, extra protein from the farm.

One good reason to buy your vegetables in the store instead of from the farmer's market or a CSA, bugs and worms! Its unsettling. I have prepared myself for corn worms every time I shuck my CSA corn, and I usually find them. I learned last year that you must shuck very early, otherwise those buggers will eat most of your corn. I flicked this one off into the backyard to survive Brooklyn on his lonesome. The corn is still good to eat, nice and sweet.

CSA Week 6

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One of each variety, the whole share does not fit in a a picture.

I am a full share, picking up every other week, hence the even only numbered csa week #'s. This week was good to me. A volume of greens including lettuce, purslane (still my favorite), chard, and basil. Cucumbers, potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, green beans and peppers round out the hard veggies. Oh oh, plus corn, a first of the season. Look for corn guys, its out there!

I am planning a few rounds of food to share so look forward to seeing some zucchini bread, corn cakes, plantain, pickles, sandwiches, sarama, and other baked delights.

Smokey Sriracha Ketchup

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A little darker and redder, ketchup with seriuos flavors.

Veggie burger and salad for dinner most nights, hits the spot. Still I need something flavorific to get it all down. Sometimes its dressing, but often its mustard, ketchup, or mayo for the burger. Last night it had to be something spicy:

Smokey Sriracha Ketchup

3 tblsp ketchup
1/8 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp sriracha
(Sriracha is Thai chili paste, substitute your favorite hot sauce, or 1/8 tsp chili powder)
1 clove of garlic, minced finely
2 drops of liquid smoke.

Mix in a bowl, and its ready.

Smokey sriracha ketchup is an ingredient or two away from being bbq sauce, so use it like either condiment. I had it in the morning on my potatoes, and you bet its awesome on fries. I also like a little on an omelet, but this recipe makes a burger memorable. Be careful with liquid smoke. That stuff is no joke, its smokey, and can take hostage any recipe with its aggressive flavor.

Nip Nip Turnip

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Lots of turnips to dispose of in my diet this summer. Lovely, juicey, pure white, crunchy turnips. Turnips teetter the line between starch and radish, and share qualities with diakon and jicima. A fresh turnip is firm and mellow with a mild bite. Skip those grocery store turnips, they are probably old and bitter. Fresh farm and green market turnips are my model for these turnip to-dos:


1) Plain!
But a little salt is nice. I cut them into spears or slices and pack them with my lunch.

2) With Dip
Hummous, pesto, white bean, salsa etc.

3) As a Base
Crispy turnips can definitely be sliced and cut into shapes. Consider a a little salad atop a square of turnip, or as the bottom layer of an appetizer, maybe supporting some pulled pork, shrimp, or raw tuna. Turnips are the new cracker!

4) Pickled
Very tradional Middle-Eastern side. A quick refridegerator pickle, colored with beet juice, looks great with other foods. Find a recipe here --> http://www.recipezaar.com/Turnip-pickles-Lebanese-style-7…

Coco Loco M&Ms

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Packaging sells you on the idea of getting tropical with the M&M guys.
Oh how they tempt.

I spotted Limited Edition Coconut M&Ms at a corner deli in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. I came in for cough drops, but left with white bag of M&Ms you see above. They taste like suntan lotion coated M&Ms, which may mean they taste like chocolaty summer. I approve of their bulbous shape and green, white, brown palate. Wouldn't it have been great if they were just brown and white? The candy is not half bad, but not half good. The ingredients reveal no coconut products were used to make this candy. Coconut flavored M&MS are out there floating around, so go buy some for the beach. Its like being on a deserted island with a candy coating.

More photos of the new M&Ms on candyblog.com.

Stacked Salad

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Mid-July the vegetables from the farm are so fresh they are almost sweet. Even the green beans are tender, juicy, and candy-like. Its getting warmer. I'm trying not to turn on my stove. Dinner time has turned into 100% salad season, and that's not complicated:

Stacked Summer Salad

1/2 can white beans
a handful of green/yellow beans, chopped
1/2 tomato sliced
4-5 basil leaves, torn
1/4 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper

In a bowl add white beans, chopped beans, tomato slices, basil in that order. Season with salt, pepper, olive oil, and vinegar.

Its wonderful if you don't need to refrigerate your salad. The vegetables in this photo have never known a cold box, and they are tender with amazing textures you would have to taste to believe thanks to Jorge my dedicated farmer. This salad makes a nice mini meal, or would be great next to a burger.

CSA Week 4

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This is barely half of my vegetables. Imagine this is pretty
much what I have to eat in one week. Oh the challenge!

Another triumphant week of vegetables. I honestly think my shoulder is a little sore from hauling the suckers home. I'm motivated to eat more salad! I think I'll be eating bunch of omelets this week. I didn't buy any other kind of protein this week.

What I got:
Beets, 5 small
Red Potatoes, 2 lb
Purslane, a huge bunch
Parsley, a small bunch
Garlic, 1 head
Summer Squash, 1
Zucchini, 1 large, but not as large as the first week
Cucumbers, 3
Lettuce, 1 head
Yellow and Green Beans, 2 lbs
Tomatoes, 7 small/medium
Onions, 2 large with greens
Turnip, 1 big one

Uncle of all Sandwiches

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Inner strata after cutting in half. See how the pesto seeps into the bread.
Thats good!

I don't quite know what the mother or father of all sandwiches would be. Maybe a pb&j, or pastrami on rye? What would the grandfather of all sandwiches be? I guess the Earl of Sandwich would know, but he was not at my 4th of July picnic. The uncle of all sandwiches is a big pan-bagnat style Italian sandwich topped with sopressata, smoked mozzarella, basil, roasted red peppers, artichokes, and pesto on hunky wheat bready. He smells like an Italian deli, is rich (with textures), and is sort of falling apart. Recipe to make it:

1 8-9 inch round loaf of bread
(You want the best! I used Balthazar's Wheat)
1/2 cup pesto
1/4 cup packed with fresh basil leaves
(don't substitute with dried basil, if you must replace use arugula)
1/4 lb sopressata, sliced thinly
1/4 lb smoked mozzarella, sliced medium to thin
1 6-8 0z jar of roasted red peppers
1 6-8 0z jar of oil marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
bla…

Picnic Perfect

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This talented-typography-loving lady decorated
her strawberry mascarpone cream pie with home-made
tempered chocolate letters.

I love to be the guest. Forget dealing with directions, gathering gear, and worrying about enough food and paper plates. Its glorious to show up, and bring a thing-or-two to please. 3 categories of food always go over well on the picnic blanket.

1) Alcohol. Especially a slightly fancier mixed drink. Spiked lemonade, shaken margaritas, sangria. If in doubt a bottle of effervescent champagne or prosecco plus juice always are welcome.

Snacking on gooseberries & strawberries

2) Snacks and nibbles. Nuts, olives, fruit, crudité, mini sandwiches, chips, dip. You can be clever with this category, and a mix of health and slightly decadent please em all.

A little goes a long way in making a group feel full.

3) Dessert. Anything sweet makes everyone feel special. Group gatherings are the best place to test out your newest recipes and ideas. All the better if you recipe is a …

Rosé Sangria for a Park Day

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The apple juice gives it a mellow pink-orange color.
It rained about 2 minutes after I took this pic, can you tell?

Most sangria recipes involve red wine and brandy plus fruit. I thought I would bring an intoxicatingrosé and vodka for a lighter sweeter day on the picnic blanket. This recipe is designed to make 2 large bottles of sangria. Perfectly portable to sweeten any group up with.

5 medium peaches, plums, or nectarines - pitted and sliced
1 small granny smith apple- cored, quartered and sliced
1/2 pt black berries
juice of 1 lime
1-3 tblsp sugar

1 large bottle of rosé or blush wine
(I bought a Beringer zinfandel which conveniently does not label its volume, but rest assured it was the larger looking bottle)
1 gallon of apple juice
1 cup vodka

Macerate the fruit in a medium bowl with the lime juice and sugar. Macerating gives the fruits time to get to know one another and absorb each other's flavors. The less ripe your fruit the more sugar you will need, so add sugar as needed. Forget abo…

Pt 3 Macarons - Fillings

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Berry filling tart and sweet.

Just imagine all of the fillings the delicate macaron cookie could compliment. Really, you do all of the imagining. I already made a list in Pt 1 of the Macaron Series. I went for Lime Curd, based loosely on the Barefoot Contessa's recipe, Berry Jam based on the fact that fresh fruit is cheap in the summer, and Almond Honey Paste based on the fact that I had extra almonds.


Lime Curd

2 limes, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
4 tblsp butter, or half of one stick, room temperature
5 egg yolks, room temperature
1/4 cup honey
pinch of salt
2 tsp corn starch mixed with 2 tsp cool water

Zest and juice the limes, keeping 1/4 cup juice separate. Add the zest and granulated sugar to a food processor, blend for 1 minute. Add butter and pulse until butter and sugar are creamed. Add yolks, one at a time, pulsing until evenly combined. Add lime juice, salt, honey, and corn starch mix to the food processor and pulse again until combined to complete the lime curd base.

Bring lime…

Pt 2 Macarons - Brooklyn Style

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Macarons left to right - mixed berry, almond honey paste, and lime curd.
I made it all from scratch.

I had almost nothing I need on the macaron equipment and ingredient list, and no experience. No fear, I'm a brave Brooklyn home baker spending her weekend tackling the french treat. I spent my weekend preparing and attempting to follow my recipe. I can barely follow a recipe, so I made my own way.

First - Acquiring & Creating ingredients
I spent Friday looking for almond flour after work. Dean and Deluca's has it, $9 for about 2 cups. Whole Foods on Bowery does not have it, though they have hazelnut flour. I looked online, and the flour can be bought for prices around $10-15. No way. I went to the grocery store and bought 1 1/2 lbs of raw almonds. I toasted them in my oven, cooled, and pulsed them in my food processor. Pulse being key. Clumping means you have begun to go too far, so stop. This homemade flour solution is barely acceptable. Commercial almond flour is finer and d…

Pt 1 Macarons - Parisian Style

I got my hands on a real Parisian Macaron recipe based on Christian Godneau instructions. Macarons are the essence of air. Egg whites whipped, folded with a few dry ingredients and baked to until crunchy and a touch chewy. The dainty cloud like cookies are sandwiched with whatever gooey delight your mind can dream up between. The recipe is a simple list of ingredients, that require the utmost skill and technique, a few specific kitchen tools (pastry bag and icing tips, silpat/parchment paper, standing mixer, sifter/sieve)and experience. The recipe is more tips than steps.

French Macarons:

12.5 oz or 3 1/4 confectioner's (powdered sugar)
6.33 oz or 2 cups almond flour
5 egg whites (brought to room temperature)
2 oz or 4 tblsp extra fine granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 350.

Sift the almond flour with the confectioner's sugar, and pick out large almond bits which were not ground finely.

In a standing mixer whip the egg whites on medium speed until soft, or past the foamy stage. Grad…

Almost Fatoosh

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Fatoosh is a Middle Eastern salad normally topped with toasted and crushed pita chips, and signature sumac, a delightfully sour seasoning. I don't have any pita chips, but I still have a ton of vegetables.

1/2 cucumber, diced
1/2 tomato, diced
2 green onions, chopped
5 radishes, diced
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sumac (optional)
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried mint, or 1 tblsp fresh chopped
pepper to taste
1 tblsp olive oil

Mix it all up and eat! Fatoosh tastes better if you let it sit for about 2 hours. Its a pretty and refreshing salad to bring to a cook out and compliments meat exceptionally well.

Originally Posted 6/28/09

Garlic Zucchini & White Beans

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Radicchio: nature's favorite shade of magenta offsets that charred zucchini just so.

Out with reflection and commentary on meals, right back in to recipe writing, starting now:

Garlic Zucchini & White Beans

1 tblsp olive oil
1 large zucchini, sliced into half moons about 1/8 inch thick
salt / pepper / red pepper (to taste)
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
8 cloves garlic
1 tsp white wine
(I use dry vermouth, cheaper & last longer then just white wine in the fridge)
1/2 head radicchio, thinly sliced
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
2 cans white beans
(cannellini, small white, butter beans, navy beans, or chickpeas)
more salt pepper and oil to finish

Heat oil over high heat in a large skillet. Add the zucchini, salt, pepper, red pepper and nutmeg. Stir to coat. Let is sit for about 4-6 minutes, but don't go away. You are looking for a good brown crust on the zucchini. Stir once, and wait another 4-6 minutes, trying to turn over exceptionally uncooked pieces so they get more heat. Add the garlic and…

csa week 1

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Above average amazing tasting csa share, which I laid out on
my floor with care. It was hardly fitting on
my kitchen table to photograph for the blog-o-sphere.

Does a 14-16 inch zucchini seem obscene? How about 2 of them? Today was the first week of my csa (community sponsored agriculture) pickup for 2009. Its my 3rd year and 3rd farmer. The farm van arrived 30 minutes late, but it was jammed with the largest variety and portions of vegetables I've ever received. In previous years I've signed up with farms named something like Garden of Dirt or Shady Root Farms. This year I got Jorge, and I get to say hi to him every time. This is already so much better. Here is the contents:

Lettuce, 1 head
zucchini, 2 obese ones, about 4 pounds total
cucumbers, 2
red beets, 7
sugar snap peas, a big bag
spring onions, 5
garlic, 2 heads
tomatoes, 2 radish, 8 big ones
turnip, 3 very hunky ones
Greens of unknown variety
(I overheard them being described as Mexican green that can be cooked like spinach)
1 doz…

pangs of being black in the stomach - recipes gone bad

No updates for awhile, uuuh, yeah. There haven't been many meals in my life for a while despite my beckoning, stocked fridge. I am recovering from mother hugging food poisoning. Instead of a recipe, here is a some advice.

1) After the first upset instance, do not try to chug water to rehydrate. If you are really sick this will let loose more pain and anguish on your system.

2) Sip water, take 1 advil (cause you are in for some time and space altering cramps), wait 45 minutes.

3) If you can keep that first advil down, take a second advil with another sip of water, and wait another 45 minutes. If not, too bad, try again.

4) Now you have cramp pain under control, sort of. Sleep. You can't lose it if you are sleeping, you can have weird dreams, but much less discomfort for sure.

5) Call in sick to work, they are probably wondering about you. One time I had a friend call in for me because I couldn't speak with out crying, but oh lord that's another story.

6) After your nap, try d…

Bittman's Flatbread

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Sesame seeds make me want to eat everything.

Hot flatbread is a treasure. Its easy with practice, or if you are Mark Bitman, simple right off the block. I experimented with his 4-ingredient (one is water) flatbread from hisNYT's article. I am not a purist, so I added black pepper to the batter and sesame seeds on top.

2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup flour
(good flour counts in a recipe like this. I'm using King Arthur's 12 grain, which is superior)
1 big pinch salt
8 grinds pepper from a mill
1-1 1/4 cup water
sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile in a 10-12 inch skillet, over medium heat, warm up the olive oil. The oil should generously coat the bottom of the skillet. Mix flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl. I mixed mine up in a medium cereal bowl, because this isn't a giant recipe. Whisk in 1 cup of water, mix until mostly combined. Add remaining water until batter resembles thick pancake batter. Add to the skillet, top with sesame seeds, and place entire skil…

Select Grade A Friends and Lamb

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Sarah & I have been eating rare tender cuts for almost 10 years, and I think she's special for it.

I can't share a big hunk of meat on the bone with everyone, only a special breed willing to indulge in clams, stuffed pork chops, standing rib roasts, meatballs, and yes, lamb. These grade a friends (you know who you are) encourage me to experiment with meat-based meals (because lets face it, I can bake a mean fucking vegan cupcake, but really I'd rather eat a steak), and I lovem for it!

Leg-o-lamb, lightly seasoned & roasted, perfectly cooked, and an expression of love.


Orginally Posted 6/2/09

Maraschino Cherries

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Cherry made merry in brandy.

I had a revelation when a friend informed me that she had been fed a real maraschino cherry at her high class restaurant job. A few nights later I dumped half a cup of juicy cherries into a glass jar with some brandy and waited overnight. In the morning they were still just cherries. Bah! So I did some online research and discovered that only one step was keeping me from the ultimate fruit and booze combo. Here is my version:

1/2 cup brandy (I use Mr. Boston Blackberry Brandy)
2 heaping tablespoons of sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 heaping cup of cherries, washed and stems removed

Bring the first six ingredients to a boil, stirring to dissolve. Add the cherries, lower heat to medium and let bubble for 7 minutes. Cool and store in a glass jar for up to 2 weeks.

Its true, the syrup tastes a little like cough syrup, but the cherries are magic. Perfect for the top of a very adult sundae, or other mind-boggling yet…

sun moon stars heavenly spice cookies

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No recipe here just a shot of Mrs. Rampulla's molded, delicious, tender ginger cookies as presented at her daughter's (Andrea Anne Andy Rose Rampulla now Greenlee) bridal shower held this weekend in Kutztown, PA.

Originally Posted 5/17/09

berry crumble from a mumbler

Sweet bursting are coming to the grocery stores. I made this crumble (too lazy to make a crust) based loosely on Bon Appetite's Mixed-Berry pie recipe this month. It was a grand and not-too-heavy ending to a wonderful catfish dinner.

1 quart strawberries
1 pint blueberries
1 pint blackberries
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon blackberry brandy (optional)
Juice of 1 medium lemon

Zest of 1 medium lemon
Zest of 1 orange
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons cold butter
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
1/8 teaspoon almond flavoring

cold water

1/2 cup whole raw almonds, chopped coarsely

Preheat oven to 375. Wash berries and add to a 9x9 baking dish. Mix in next four ingredients, and bake in oven for 25 minutes, and remove from over

Add the next 8 ingredients in a food-processor to make the streusel-like topping. Pulse until ingredisnets form a medium crumb. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time until large loose crumbs form. Stop before the mix becomes sticky…

Somthing Simple for Breakfast

Its easier to get your hands on a single potato then a slice of bread for my one slice of toast morning carb fix. Homefries have a much stronger satisfaction level. An approach to making perfectly cooked brown on the outside creamy on the inside potatoes is better than a recipe, and here goes:

oil/fresh bacon grease (enough to generously fill a skillet)
1 small-medium tater
salt
pepper
red pepper flakes

- cube the potato into 1/2" cubes, smaller is okay, not bigger!
(if you want to cook up some bacon now is a good time to start while soaking)
- fill a pot with cold water and soak the cubes 5-10 min, to remove excess starch
- drain and pat with a towel
- Heat 9" or larger skillet on medium high so oil/bacon fat is talking and spitting
- throw in the cubes, season, turn to coat
- do not touch those tatoes, put a lid on and let steam for 3 minutes
- remove lid, turn, and then don't touch, another 3-4 cooking without the lid, repeat until all sides are brown
- eat, or in my case add hot s…

Roasted Pineapple Salsa

Nothing says its the weekend like having the time to buy, peel, slice, and roast a pineapple. Not like I'm as efficient as this lady, but I have technique.

Roasted Pineapple Salsa

1 big pineapple
(test ripeness by smelling the very bottom looking for a fresh pineapple smell)
1 medium red onion, diced
1 jalapeno, finely diced, keep seeds for extra heat
1 bunch cilantro or curly parsley, chopped
1 juice & zest of 1 lemon
1 juice & zest of 1 lime
salt and pepper
dash of olive oil

Peel and core your pineapple. Slice into 1/4" pieces and scatter onto a broiler pan. Broil for 7-10 minutes, or until beginning to blacken. A grill would be best if you have it. Allow to cool and chop into bite size piece. Add all ingredients into a bowl and let sit for about 10 minutes before eating.

Eat it with chips, or as a side for shrimp, pork or broiled tofu. I put mine with some black eyed peas.

grapefruit and romaine

I pretty much eat the same things every week. Whats fresh and whats on sale are often the same through a month, and contribute to how I pick my food. Grapefruit(first bright red in January and dulled down to the whitish kind now) have been 5 for $2. I eat them right out of the peel like an orange.

This evening called for something different. I wanted to finish off the morning's half grapefruit and get some salad in me before my basketball game. The following simple salad pleased and refreshed in a modern way:

1 grapefruit, quartered, peel sliced off, and roughly chopped
6 big leaves off romaine lettuce
1 tablespoon flax seed meal
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 drizzles of olive oil

Put everything in a bowl and toss! Feeds 2. If you can cut up the grapefruit in you hands over the bowl, your salad will benefit from the juicy drippings.

Originally Posted 4/23/09

Pink and Pickeled

A mini-dinner party this month highlighted a new winning side dish. Pickled onions! Easy, pretty and tasty. I didn't have to even explain to guests how to eatem. They were devoured. I've been topping salads and beans with the leftover pickling juice. Incredible.

Make em this way:

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced into half moons
1 jalapeno pepper, quartered length-wise, use seeds for a super kick, or leave out
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar

Put all the ingredients in a glass jar. Close tightly with lid. Shake vigorously. Place in fridge at least 12 hours before serving. Serve!

The onions should keep for a few weeks. I used them as an accompaniment to kabobs. The pickled gems would be good with anything. Try: on a sandwich or burger, next to pork, on top of steamed veggies, with your rice and beans, garnishing a dip, in some slaw, or 1000s of undiscovered places.

Originally Posted: 4/19/09

Miracle Pork

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Come over, you are invited to eat this!

Last night two miracles happened. I was cooking the pulled pork. It did not take 2-3 hours. I gave it 4 hours, shut the heat, and left it in the oven to cook in the residual heat. I thought I would deal with it after I came back from a tiny bit of celebrating for a friend's birthday. After 3-4 hours I returned to luscious pork smells. Entering my apartment I heard the oven creak! Holy sweet jello! I left the oven on the entire time I was out, and at 450 degrees!! I ran to the oven, pulled the pork out of its foil packet, covered in hot boiling fat. That's when I realized two miracles had happened:

1) It a miracle that the fat did not catch on fire and burn down my home
2) Inside the foil was a perfect deep crusted amazingly tender piece of pulled pork, that slipped gently apart from the bone. It tastes heavenly, and I consider it a good omen.

No really its edible, and tender, and perfect, it only took 7.5 hours.

Originally Posted 12/12/08

Thin Crust Breafast

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Finished breakfast pizzas, and perfectly browned crust. Very excellent.

I'm saving my appetite for red sauced pizzas. Currently I have taste for something different, breakfast pizza. A multi-layered savory meal of breakfast champions. I even got Patrick, the Breakfast Captain, whom I am grateful for and constantly impressed by, to lend his experience:

3 small potatoes, diced
leftover stuffing from Thanksgiving, optional
4 strips of bacon
4 eggs overeasy, or cooked to your liking
1/8th of pizza dough recipe, divided (from previous post)
cheddar cheese
salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Place bacon on a cookie sheet. Bake about 20 minutes until crunchy, flipping half way. Meanwhile, brown potatoes on all sides in a pan, about 15 minutes. Add stuffing and cook another minute or two. Set aside. The smell is good, and everyone is waking up to breakfast aromas, so send em out to get you coffee. Next crack 2 eggs at a time in a hot pan sprayed heavily with pam. A special t…

Pumpkin Prize

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Cookies all wrapped up for hungry vegans. My kitchen table was not styled for this photo. I actually keep fruit and flowers around. They come from my CSA share.

Below 60 degrees on the thermometer my stomach wants to extra helpings. It wants baked goods too. Its no exactly time to start cooking for the dinner party, but I'm excited for pumpkin. I made a big dish of pumpkin pie. Minus the crust and half the sugar, its a pretty healthy breakfast food.

Last weekend I went further into the pumpkin patch. I bought some pre-halved pumpkins from the fruit stand near flatbush. Coated in oil and cinnamon I baked it for about 1 hour at 400 degrees. Let it cool, and stand overnight to strain some water, and pureed. Next up, bake vegan chocolate chip cookies for my favorite vegan. This is my best vegan cookie success story. My pumpkin prize cookies came out crisp on the outside, and light on the inside. I don't know how to make a chewy vegan cookie yet. Alterations include adding 1/2 teaspo…

limoncello for fellows

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I emptied my bourbon (hey hey into another bottle, not into my stomach) to use for the limonello steeping. I didn't have another glass jar large enough.

When I was a kid my brother and I used to get grow-a-frog kits for Christmas. You get a tadpole and a little tank. If you are lucky, it grows into a frog. For my birthday this year my brother sent me a limoncello recipe, and a set of glasses. Its with the same patience for tadpole legs that I wait for lemon peel and heavy duty vodka to turn into sweet sipping limoncello. It should be simple, like nature.

The recipe goes like this: pour 1/5 of 100 proof vodka into a 1 gallon glass jar along with the rinds of 15 fresh lemons (no pith!), and wait 10 - 40 days. Add another 1/5 of 100 proof vodka and simple syrup (4 cups sugar mixed with 5 cups water, boiled 8 minutes) and wait another 10 - 40 days. Strain and drink or bottle. You then have a product vastly, and affordably, superior to regular vodka.

Every now and then I take the bottle o…

Tomato Adventure

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I threaten myself with food adventures and stunts to keep me fresh. Constantly. Plan a BBQ, make jerky, decorate with fondant, churn butter, dehydrate fruit, go on a raw food diet. Mostly I entertain the thoughts. Canning is something I've been curious about. The country mouse inside my head reminds me that winter is coming, and the local tomatoes at the market are huge.

I want to make the accoutriments to this year's party in advance. Bon Appétit's October issue has a great mulit-page illustrated tutorial on canning. It took 2 weeks to pull it together, but here is the a quasi-real time break down of my first canning adventure:

Supplies:
A week in advance I started looking for the supplies: quart mason jars and lids, a basic set of tools (funnel, jar gripper, an unsophisticated but helpful magnet on a stick for grabbing hot lids,) a tall stock pot with a rack for the bottom.

I live in New York City. Canning is not too popular and Broadway Panhandler and Zabar's are out of…

Not Alone

I've been blogging about my recipes for a time and some months on my other blog Pre-Thanksgiving.But thats silly. Pre-thanks is a blog about entertaining and dinner parties. I'm hereby bringing the recipes, meals, tastes, photos, spelling mistakes (oh) and food love here. Expect to see some of my recipes on other blogs being displayed here, not out of laziness, just to give them a second and deserved chance. Much like a smorgasbord

Cantaloupe Alone was born when I asked a guest what he would have for breakfast, somehow stumbling over the sentence that we "cant eat cantaloupe alone." Oh no, never shall I eat cantaloupe alone when I can share it with my dearest blog and readers.