I’ve gotten pretty good at pulling shots at home, if I do say so myself. The crema never broke, even as I drank.

Espresso crema

Food, Photos

Afternoon espresso

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Delicious poppyseed dressing from Wegmans.

Strawberry and poppyseed salad

Food, Photos

Strawberry and poppyseed salad

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Food, Purchases

Smart purchase: Corningware Mugs

Corningware Mug

It fits a decent (i.e. filling but not fattening) portion of food, vents for the microwave, AND is freezer-, fridge-, microwave-, and oven-safe. We’ve been bringing pasta with cheese on top for lunch and we can get it hot enough to completely melt the cheese while still being able to pick up the mug to eat. Should also be great for stews in the wintertime and even cold foods. I call that a win.

$10 at Amazon, but we found them for $9 at Wegman’s.

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Books, Food, Links

Snow is good for…

Maple Syrup Taffy

I not-so-secretly love children’s books and series, especially ones that describe how things were done in another time or circumstance (Swiss Family Robinson, Little House on the Prairie). I always thought it was so cool that they did things like make balloons out of pig’s bladders or burned whale blubber in lamps. Anyway, thekitchn comes through with the method for maple syrup taffy, a la Little House in the Big Woods. Think it’s loose-diet friendly?

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Food

Bread-in-five-minutes-a-day diet?

I wish. So unfortunate that this recipe/method from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day is pure magic, because it’s almost certainly not going to help me lose weight and get in shape. It’s amazing that with a minimal amount of hands-on work, I can have a freshly baked, artisanal loaf of bread that has complex flavors and a thin crust that snaps. Seriously. It’s worth making it RIGHT NOW.

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Food, Recipes

Conquering food fear: squid (with recipe!)

I have this problem with eating things that still look like the animal. A peeled shrimp without the head? All good. Shrimp with head + antennae + eyes? No, thank you!

Well, we had some delicious calamari fritti last week and I thought, well, that wasn’t so bad… I should learn how to eat it even with the tentacles and the color. Adrian had requested a recipe for roasted squid with garbanzos recently, so I thought we’d give it a try. Turns out… it was delicious!

Prepping the squid

Prepping the squid

Mise en place

Mise en place

Roasted Squid with Garbanzos and Chili Oil

Roasted Squid with Garbanzos and Chili Oil

Close up

Close up

Plated! (with croissants in the background)

Plated! (with croissants in the background)

Roasted Squid with Garbanzo Beans and Chili Oil (adapted from Serious Eats)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound squid, cleaned, bodies cut diagonally into 1/2 inch strips
  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup frisée, chopped (we used an escarole/endive/radicchio mix and it was fine)
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar (we used red wine vinegar because it was on hand)
  • 1 tablespoon chili oil (commonly found in the Asian aisle/supermarket)

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 500°F. Pour olive oil into an oven safe skillet set over medium-high heat. Toss in the squid, and cook for about 1 minute, stirring often.
  • Add the garbanzo beans, lemon juice, garlic, and lemon zest. Stir well, and season with a pinch of salt. Transfer skillet to the oven and cook for 5 minutes, stirring every minute.
  • Remove skillet from the oven, and add the frisée and parsley and stir. Divide the squid and beans between two plates. Drizzle the sherry vinegar and chili oil on top of both and season with salt and black pepper to taste.
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Food, Recipes

Snickerdoodles without cream of tartar

 

Snickerdoodles (Photograph by Adrian)

Snickerdoodles (Photograph by Adrian)

So, the other night we were watching Throwdown with Bobby Flay because he’s the man, and they were doing chocolate chip cookies. It was 9PM, right about the time we start craving a tasty treat, but alas, I had no chocolate chips! Terrible, I know. I should always have a reserve. Of course, I found out later that I actually had semisweet baking chocolate in the back that would have served for chocolate chunk cookies, but I digress. Anyway, I figured that I could make snickerdoodles with what I had on hand – simple fluffy cookies with cinnamon sugar, right? WRONG. (Well, sort of.)

Turns out that your traditional snickerdoodles have cream of tartar. Honestly, I’ve never used the stuff and have no reason to keep it around, so I thought I was doomed. Luckily, Google + Martha Stewart came to the rescue! I made the cookies as directed and they were perfectly fluffy and tasty and held up really well against milk, both in terms of flavor and dunking them (as Adrian always has to do). Here’s the recipe with my additions in italics, from Martha’s Holiday Cookies 2005.

A couple of notes first: baking them on a Silpat made for much better cookies than a nonstick foil-lined sheet pan (I don’t have parchment paper at the moment, either), and beating the butter and sugar for about 3 minutes until pale and fluffy is absolutely crucial.

Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Need some leggings to keep you comfy while you bake and enjoy your cookies? I got you covered there, too.

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside (if you have a stand mixer, you can do the sifting while the butter and sugar are beating). Put butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in eggs. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture.
  • Stir together cinnamon and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl. Shape dough into 20 (1 3/4-inch) balls (really easy to do with an ice cream scoop, was about 3/4 of mine); roll in cinnamon sugar. Space 3 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper (or a Silpat / silicone baking sheet).
  • Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
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Food, Recipes

Sunday Dinner: Risotto Cakes with Fontina and Chives

Risotto Cakes (Photograph by Adrian)

Risotto Cakes (Photograph by Adrian)

I’ve been growing my first herb garden this year and lately it’s really begun to grow in earnest, so I was excited to catch Barefoot Contessa doing a show on herbs. The risotto cakes looked (and sounded) fabulous – I mean, creamy risotto breaded and fried? Yes, please! However, in her recipe, she just boils arborio rice in water and then drains and rinses it. I’m sure that the fontina and chives add flavor, but it seemed questionably tasty to me, so I figured I’d give it a go, but with a little more flavor in the rice part.

Ingredients:

  • 3-3½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 3-4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1½ cups (5 oz.) grated Fontina cheese
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumb)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

Directions:

  • Heat the chicken broth to a simmer and keep it simmering.
  • Heat a bit of olive oil in a pan over medium high heat and toast the rice in it for 30 seconds.
  • Add the chicken broth a ½ cup at a time, letting most of the liquid absorb between rounds.
  • The rice is done when it is creamy but still has just the tiniest bit of bite to it. You may or may not use up all of the chicken broth; you can use water at the very end if you run out of broth.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the butter and Parmesan cheese.
  • Spread the cooked risotto on a plate or baking sheet and let cool until no longer warm to the touch.
  • Once the rice is cool, prepare the next part of the mixture. In a bowl, beat 2 eggs and add in the yogurt, cheese, chives, a large pinch of kosher salt, and about a ½ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Mix well.
  • Mix in the rice and stir well.
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight until the mixture is firmed up.
  • Put the panko in a wide shallow bowl or plate. Form patties of the rice mixture and coat in panko.
  • Heat a layer of olive oil in a pan until it is rippling and just starting to smoke. Fry the coated cakes until browned, about 3 minutes per side.
  • Drain on a paper towel and serve hot. If you have to fry in batches, put them in a 200°F oven to keep warm until serving.
  • Should make 12 cakes, enough for 4-6 servings. We added thin strips of pancetta on top for an extra flavor dimension. Goes well with a spinach/arugula-type salad (perhaps with strawberries and a balsamic glaze) and a crisp white wine.

Note: This recipe was surely originally meant to use up leftover risotto, so by all means, if you have leftover risotto, do it up.

Second note: Clearly I love me some risotto.

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Food, Recipes

Friday night dinner: Risotto with pancetta and peas

Thanks to my three jobs + freelancing and Adrian’s coursework + rehearsals (not to mention the gym for both of us), we only get to cook dinner on the weekends. This Friday, I decided to use the Arborio rice in the cabinet and make a risotto a la carbonara.

Risotto a la carbonara

Risotto a la carbonara

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 oz. pancetta, cubed/diced
  • 1½ cups Arborio rice
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • sweet peas (frozen or fresh) – about the same volume as the pancetta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼-½ cup shredded Parmiggiano Reggiano
  • freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  • Heat the chicken stock to a simmer and keep it simmering
  • Heat some olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat
  • Add the onions and cook until almost translucent
  • Add the pancetta and brown it – don’t make it completely crispy
  • Turn the heat down a bit (about medium)
  • Add the rice and toast it, stirring constantly, for about a minute
  • Add about a cup of the simmering chicken stock and continue stirring until most of the liquid is gone
  • Continue the process, adding chicken stock about ½ cup at a time and stirring constantly
  • When there is a cup or so of chicken stock left to add, add the peas so that they have time to warm through
  • After all the chicken stock has been used (should be about 20 minutes of cooking time), turn off the heat and add the butter and pepper to taste. Stir until the butter has completely melted.
  • Add the shredded Parmiggiano and stir until well combined. Be careful not to break the peas!
  • Serve hot with more shredded Parm on top

I like risotto with a nice bright riesling, but we decided to have a beer instead:

Victory Prima Pils

Victory Prima Pils

Delicious! Oh, and the recipe makes enough to serve four as a main course.

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