eat. shop. love. nyc.


Chocolate-covered strawberry football cupcakes
August 1, 2011, 9:56 am
Filed under: Cook, Eat | Tags: , , , , , ,

In the spirit of the upcoming college football season, I thought I’d share my friend Sera’s football cupcakes from her last Superbowl party. Chocolate-dipped strawberries with icing laces! How festive and football-y is that?

You should see the hamburger cake she made for her bf’s birthday. Uh. Maze. Ing.

If you want her to whip up some custom cupcakes/cakes for your next fete (bdays, bridal showers, baby showers, weddings), leave a comment or tweet me and I’ll send her a note for you. She is one half of the sometimes-on Project Cupcake.

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Jilly’s Chicken Adobo
July 18, 2011, 11:58 pm
Filed under: Cook, Drink | Tags: , , , ,

In 2008, we had a rotating potluck going and it was Jilly’s turn to cook the main. I’d been craving Filipino food so I requested that she make chicken adobo because all Filipinos know how to make amazing chicken adobo, right? Riiight. All Filipinos know how to make amazing chicken adobo just like all Japanese are ninjas. That first stab at chicken adobo? Let’s just say it was… less than successful. Blame it on the fact that she used boneless skinless chicken breasts, or that she used full sodium soy sauce, or that she hadn’t yet learned what brining was. One diner actually asked, “Is this beef?”

Then one day, she posted this picture, and I knew she’d finally figured it out:

Two years, it took, but she finally perfected the recipe and when I begged her to let me try the new and improved version of her chicken adobo, she had me over for dinner. As I walked into the apartment, the aroma of garlic and ginger wafting through the air, the sound of the chicken sizzling in the pan, and the sight of my lovely hostess smiling at me… it all had me a little weak in the knees.

You’ve come a long way, baby.

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs bone-in chicken legs (drumstick/thigh combos), brined overnight in solution of 1/4 cup salt + 1 gallon of water
  • 8 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 3/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • Coconut oil OR canola oil to fry chicken
Preparation (as written by Jilly)
  1. After brining chicken for 24 hours, remove and let sit in a bowl for 1 hour (to let the water soak into the chicken and away from the skin…we want crispy skin!)
  2. Marinate chicken for 1 hour in all of the above ingredients (minus the brine, of course) in a large pot
  3. Begin cooking; let simmer and stir regularly until chicken appears cooked, opaque and white. Turn off heat.
  4. Have a frying pan ready with oil, preheated till oil is shimmering (supa dupa hot)
  5. Begin frying chicken in batches as pan allows–this will be messy, but worth it! If possible, a brave soul with long arms (and long sleeves) should be the one doing this step
    • Fry till crispy, golden, and brown.
    • As each piece is perfectly fried, put it back into the pot with the soy/vinegar/garlic mixture
  6. When done frying, cook the chicken back up in the soy mixture, and simmer until mixture is thick and chicken is cooked through (the poke-with-a-knife test, etc.)
    • Jill likes to add a teaspoon of sugar in there as it simmers at this step to make it a little richer and caramelized-ish
Recommended wine pairing: 2008 Pfaffenheim Pinot Blanc d’Alsace.
Grape: 100% Pinot Blanc
Region: Pfaffenheim (Alsace), France.
Notes: 100 growers created a co-operative called ‘The winegrowers of Pfaffenheim’, whose grapes are never sold outside of the Co-op. Several Grand Cru vineyards. 2010 is the first year these wines are sold in the U.S.Description: Beautiful golden-yellow color with clean aromas of peach and apricots. The palate is surprisingly dry for such intense aromas and richness. Lovely minerality and starfruit character that yields to red plum on the finish.

Serve with mango salad:
  • 3 Jersey tomatoes OR 4-5 plum tomatoes, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 red onion, also diced
  • 1 mango, diced (use a firm mango to avoid smushiness..we like crisp!)
  • as much or as little cilantro as you’d like, finely chopped
  • dash of white vinegar, to taste
  • dash of soy or fish sauce, to taste
  • squeezed 1/2 lime or 1/4 lemon
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
Dice it up and throw it all together.
I like mine extra crispy.
To balance it all out with a starch, I like garlic rice, although any rice will do. For garlic rice, just take a crapload of minced garlic and saute it in a crapload of butter before stirring in cooked white rice (I like it kinda mushy). Nom.


Matryoshka measuring cups
April 6, 2011, 10:00 am
Filed under: Cook, Shop | Tags: , , , , , ,

I’ve been trying to class up my kitchen a bit. Going for the stainless steel finished appliances, getting rid of chipped plates and slowly replacing with clean, intact plates.

And then I spend an afternoon at the MoMA and I end up buying things from the MoMA Design Store that I absolutely do not need. Like these Matroyshka Measuring Cups. So much for a grown-up kitchen.

I paid the full $12.99 for them, but you can order them online through Amazon.com for $9.15 or something ridiculously cheap like that. I mean, that’s not a lot to pay for something that brings a smile to my face every time I go to measure something.



Curried lentils with fried egg
March 15, 2011, 9:45 am
Filed under: Cook | Tags: , , , , ,

I had breakfast at the Breslin one morning last year and decided to go with the curried lentils served with a poached egg, some mesclun, and a toast. The toast was vicious – like they had taken too-stale bread and attempted to revive it – but the combination of curried lentils and egg remains a favorite for me, and it’s so easy to make at home!

Ingredients (makes 4 quarts):

  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes or 2-3 fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 cups water or vegetable broth – I used 5 cups of water plus 5 Maggi veggie bouillon cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups whole lentils
  • 1 tablespoon of soybean or other oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon of cumin – I used a mix of cumin seeds and ground cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon of madras curry powder
  • 1/3 tablespoon of coriander powder
  • 1/3 tablespoon of turmeric powder
  • 1/3 tablespoon of paprika
  • 1/8 tablespoon of garam masala
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a frying pan and add the onions and garlic. Sautee over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, until onions become translucent.
  2. Add all of the spices (cumin, curry, coriander, turmeric, paprika, garam masala) to the sauteed onions and garlic. If you’re missing any of the last three, it’s not a big deal. Just add more cumin, coriander, and curry powder to compensate.
  3. Throw all of the remaining ingredients and sauteed onions and garlic in the slow cooker. Set it on low if you are leaving it all day, high if you are starting it around lunchtime.
  4. The curried lentils should have some soup, but will be very thick. I like to cook it down until most of the water has evaporated and you get a sort of gruel-like texture, but you don’t necessarily need to let it go that long.
  5. Fry an egg, sunny side up, and salt lightly. Serve curried lentils in a bowl, and top with the fried egg. Dust with paprika if desired. If you’re not allergic to carbs, a side of toast is a nice addition.


Le Bernardin-style crispy black bass recipe
January 18, 2011, 11:33 am
Filed under: Cook | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

I have the excellent fortune of being friends with a cook at Chef Eric Ripert‘s three Michelin star and New York Times four star seafood restaurant Le Bernardin, and after some prolonged begging, he finally acquiesced and cooked for me on his day off.

He told me he was going to make “something simple.” Happily, it turns out that we have very different ideas of what constitutes “simple.” He decided that a crispy black bass dish with a port wine, sherry vinegar, and butter sauce served over blanched chanterelle and black trumpet mushrooms with a side of thyme and garlic roasted potatoes was “simple.” At Le Bernardin, they used to serve a similar dish – the Crispy Chinese Spiced Black Bass with Porcini Mushrooms and Port Wine Reduction, which original recipe is listed on the Avec Eric website linked above (from episode 13). Side note: my friend says his favorite time to eat at Le Bernardin is during the winter when the locally-sourced fish have all fattened up to endure the colder weather, so you should get over there now. He walked me through his own version of the black bass recipe step by step, explaining why he was doing what he was doing at each step, so I could eventually cook it on my own. I hope I haven’t forgotten anything. It was super fun to watch him cook and even more fun to eat it afterwards. Thanks, friend!

Crispy black bass with mushrooms and port wine sauce (serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 2 skin-on black bass fillets
  • 1 cup chanterelle mushrooms
  • 1 cup black trumpet mushrooms
  • 4 tablespoons neutral cooking oil like grapeseed or canola – we used soybean oil because that’s what I had on hand
  • 2 tablespoons Wondra quick-mixing flour – this is a low-protein, pregelatinized wheat flour formulated to dissolve quickly and is especially fine and designed not to clump
  • Salt and white pepper to taste
  • 1 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 cup port wine
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Preparation:

  1. Boil a small pot of lightly salted water in which to blanch the mushrooms.

    As the water comes to a boil, wash the mushrooms to get rid of any dirt or pine needles or other undelicious little bits of nature that might have been left behind on the fungi. Blanch the mushrooms quickly until just cooked through – this removes dirt, kills germs, and brings out flavor. Remove mushrooms and pat dry, setting aside on a plate lined with paper towels to dry.
  2. Take the fish fillets out and remove about one inch off the narrow tail end and discard – this part usually has bones. Then wash the fillets and pat dry with a paper towel, and with a paring knife, scrape the skin side to get rid of any leftover scales and excess moisture.

    You can’t get a crispy skin on the fish if there’s too much moisture, so this is a nice little trick. You can wipe the paring knife on the paper towel after each scrape kinda like you’d wipe off the squeegee you used to clean your car’s windshield at a gas station before each new swipe.
  3. Salt both sides of the fillet lightly, and put some white pepper on the flesh side only. White pepper tends to burn if cooked too long, so you should only put it on the side that is barely going to be cooked. Set the fillets on a cutting board to come to room temperature.
  4. Take the sherry vinegar and boil it down until it is reduced by half, then add the port wine and boil it down until the sauce is syrupy, roughly yielding 1/4 of a cup. Careful that the sauce doesn’t burn as the liquid boils down – you’ll need to turn down the heat as the syrup reduces. The vinegar will add tartness and acidity and the port wine will add some sweetness and mellowness of flavor. Once fully reduced, add the butter and swirl vigorously until glossy and melted (don’t whisk or sauce will become could) and reduce heat to low. The fat in the butter balances out the acidity in the reduction.
  5. Heat a skillet over high heat for about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook dry over high heat – if you have some thyme on hand (which we did from the roasted potatoes we made on the side), you may add a couple leaves here. Turn off the heat and divide mushrooms onto two serving plates.
  6. To cook the fish, heat the neutral cooking oil over medium-high heat until it is almost smoking, about 2-3 minutes. Because my skillets aren’t very large, my friend used two skillets side by side so as not to crowd the fish in a single pan for two reasons: (1) since the heat is strongest at the center, it’s best to cook the fish as close to the center of the skillet as possible for even heat distribution, and (2) the fillets release steam as they cook, and the moisture from the steam prevents the fillets from getting truly crispy.
  7. As the oil heats, take the Wondra flour and sprinkle one side of a fillet over the sink, then blow off the excess flour into the sink so that only a very light dusting of the flour remains. Repeat on the other side of the fillet so both the skin and the flesh sides are floured lightly.
  8. Once the oil is hot, lay the fish fillets at the center of each skillet skin side down and turn the heat down to medium. Press the top of the fillets down with a spatula gently so they don’t curl up. You’ll cook most of the fish on this side, shaking the pan to prevent sticking and ensure even distribution of the oil, maybe 4-6 minutes. You can check the skin side from time to time to make sure the skin is getting a nice brown color, but not burning. To check, do not flip the fish over in the pan; flip the fish over into a towel in your hand, and return immediately to the pan skin side down until you achieve the desired golden brown crisp.
  9. Flip the fillets once and finish cooking, about 30 seconds or so. If you’re afraid the fish isn’t fully cooked, don’t worry as the heat will carry through and continue to cook the fish even after you have plated it.

    Check out that lovely brown crust – it’s not thick because the dusting of the Wondra flour was so light.
  10. On each of the serving plates with the mushrooms, lay a fillet down with the skin side up.

    Drizzle some of the port sauce around the plate. Serve immediately for maximum crispiness. Try not to moan with ecstasy too loudly.

Bon appetit!



Best latke post ever
December 7, 2010, 11:59 am
Filed under: Cook, Eat, Laugh | Tags: , , , ,

I was cruising Twitter when I came across this @spork_ethan‘s tweet about a blog post instructing you how to make homemade latkes from The Awl. I love latkes. What’s not to love about crispy fried potato pancakes?

So I read it, and it was hilarious. I’m especially a fan of the cost comparison between buying your latkes from Russ & Daughters vs. making them yourself at home. “And you’re still going to order them from Russ & Daughters? You must not be Jewish.”

The Awl: How to Cook a Latke

I may not be Jewish, but boy, do I love an excuse to eat season- and holiday-specific foods. Happy Hanukkah.



Spicy devil deviled eggs recipe
November 9, 2010, 8:06 am
Filed under: Cook | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Who doesn’t love deviled eggs? The fun thing about deviled eggs is that you can really play around and experiment with different variations on the theme without messing them up too badly. A little mayo, a little mustard, something crunchy for texture, a bit of spice… and voila!

So I was trying to come up with a creative Halloween-appropriate finger food for a mini get-together I was having prior to Halloween barhopping on the LES. I thought why not dress up deviled eggs as little devils?

I decided to use some red food dye for color, a mix of hoisin sauce and sriracha to draw on the faces, and cut and dyed little carrot pieces for the horns (celery would also work). I’d do a couple things differently the next time around, though. For one, I wouldn’t bother to dye the outside of the egg whites – dying the yolk creates enough red for the face, you actually can’t really see the outsides anyway, and it dyes everyone’s fingers red. I’ve omitted the step in my directions below. Secondly, I’d use celery for the horns instead and chop a little bit of it for the yolk mixture to get a bit of crunch and to get that celery taste. If you’re not a celery fan, a tablespoon of finely sliced green onion would probably also do just as well in the yolk mixture and you can use carrots for horns. Recipe and step-by-step photos after the jump! Continue reading