Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Avocado Toast

I feel like I'm moving a million miles an hour these days. Perhaps that's hyperbole, but I am movin', so I'll cut right to the point- A GIRL'S GOTTA EAT and creative cooking and leisurely eating is certainly not in the cards until this here catering season comes to a screeching halt. Until I've got the time, I'll just have to eat fast food. Enter the avocado.

Now this is what I call fast food! It's healthy, tasty, totally satisfying and, well, fast. What you see pictured below is unadorned avocado toast. Go ahead dress her up though... add olive oil and some cayenne pepper for color. Top with a handful of spicy arugula, a spritz of lemon juice and freshly cracked black pepper. Or throw on some diced pickled jalapeno. Yummmy vinegary jalapenos;) Whatever you do, get on the avocado bandwagon. Pick up a couple once a week, give them a day or two to ripen and you'll have a happy breakfast, lunch or dinner at the ready.

Avocado Toast

serves 2

1 ripe avocado
2-4 slices of bread, depending on the size/shape and how hungry you are
  • Cut the avocado in half by rotating a sturdy knife around the pit. Rotate the halves to split and remove the pit. Slice avocado (see below).
  • Toast bread to desired darkness. Spoon avocado onto toast and spread evenly. Sprinkle with salt.
  • Enjoy!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Roasted Carrot Soup

This warm weather is for the birds. It is December after all. It's soup season. Soup season! So, I'm gonna soup and stew and roast and braise and thumb my nose at this weather by mashing my pretty purple carrots into a soothing soup. You heard me. I need to be soothed during this hustlin' and bustlin' time of year.

Roasting the carrots and onions until they are caramelized and slightly blackened brings out their sweet earthiness. The lemon juice brightens and balances. I feel better already.

Roasted Carrot Soup

8 medium carrots (about 1 1/2 lb), cut into 1 inch pieces
2 red onions, quartered
8 garlic cloves
olive oil
salt and pepper
3 1/2 cups water or vegetable stock
juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Preheat the oven to 400.
  • Place carrots on one baking sheet (lined with parchment for easier clean up, if you like) and the onions and garlic on another. Toss vegetables with olive oil, season liberally with salt and pepper and roast until they are soft and slightly blackened, about 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a large pot, boil the water or stock. Add the cooked vegetables and puree with a hand blender until smooth, adding more hot liquid for a thinner soup. Alternatively, puree in batches in a blender or food processor.
  • Stir in the lemon juice, add salt to taste and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bourbon Spiked Cider

Aahh, it's SUNDAY NIGHT. After a holiday weekend, no less! Ease into the work week with a warm bourbon spiked cider. Sip and relax...it's not Monday yet.

Bourbon Spiked Cider

serves 2

1 1/2 cups apple cider
1 cinnamon stick
4-5 whole cloves
orange peel
3-4 oz bourbon
  • In a small saucepan, combine the cider, cinnamon, cloves and orange peel. Bring to a slow bowl, turn heat down to low, and allow to simmer for anywhere from 10 minutes to a few hours (you are simply infusing the cider with the spices, so the longer they steep the more their flavors will shine through).
  • Divide the bourbon between two glasses and pour over hot cider. Garnish glass with a cinnamon stick, if you like.
  • Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Spiced Pepitas

Hello my dear friends. I hope you've been eating well! Add these sassy seeds to soups or salads for great flavor and texture. Mixed greens in an orange vinaigrette with buttery roasted squash, tart pomegranate seeds and sugar & spice pepitas. I'll take it!

Or, serve 'em as a bar snack at a holiday cocktail party. They. are. addictive.

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

makes 2 cups

1 T chili powder
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt, plus more to taste
1/2 t. cayenne
1/4 t. cumin
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg white
2 cups pepitas (hulled and roasted pumpkin seeds)
  • Preheat oven to 350 and grease a nonstick baking sheet.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the first six ingredients.
  • In a medium bowl, beat the egg white until frothy. Add the sugar and spice mixture and combine thoroughly; then stir in the pepitas.
  • Spread mixture onto prepared baking sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, until golden and dry, about 17-18 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle lightly with salt, stir and separate seeds slightly. Cool until room temperature.
  • Enjoy!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Apple Muffins

These muffins are a great fall treat. Eat 'em for breakfast on-the-go, as an after school snack, or serve them drizzled with warm caramel sauce for dessert.

Apple Muffins

makes 12

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 T cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup vanilla yogurt, stirred well (buttermilk is great too)
2 large apples, coarsely chopped
  • Preheat oven to 450 and either grease or line a 12 cup muffin tin.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  • In a mixing bowl, cream the butter until it has lightened in color and become slightly fluffy. Add the sugar, mix until combined, then add the egg. Slowly add the yogurt; mix well.
  • Stir the dry ingredients into the wet and, while there are thick streaks of flour, add the apple. Mixture will be very thick.
  • Using an ice cream scoop, divide the batter into the muffin cups.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, turn the temperature down to 400 and bake for 18-20 minutes.
  • Cool in tin for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Roasted Eggplant Dip

I implore you to double, triple or quadruple this recipe. Seriously, so that no one gets hurt in the rush to scoop up every last bit of dip. It's THAT tasty! The roasted eggplant is silky smooth after a whiz in the food processor. And with loads of parsley and a touch of lemon, it's herbaceous and bright. The perfect antidote for a blustery fall day.

Roasted Eggplant Dip
serves 2

3 small eggplants
2 garlic cloves
juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup parsley, roughly chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • Pierce each eggplant with a fork several times. Roast until tender, 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and remove the pulp from the skin.
  • In the bowl of a food processor, combine the eggplant, garlic, lemon juice and parsley. Pulse until combined.
  • With the processor running, slowly add the oil. Combine until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve with toast, pita, bread sticks, vegetables...
  • Enjoy!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Stuffed Peppers

This is a great way to finish off extra ground beef. When you're cooking for two, a pound o' meat goes a long way. Use half to make a couple of burgers and the rest to make these yummy stuffed peppers. Oh, and the rice from last nights Chinese takeout is an ideal filler. Waste not and eat well!

Stuffed Peppers

4 small bell peppers
1 T oil
3 jalapenos, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup rice, cooked and cooled
3 T parsley
1/2 T Hungarian paprika
3/4 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/8 t. allspice
1 1/4 cup tomato sauce, divided
1/2 lb. ground beef
1 egg
  • Cut the tops off the peppers, scoop out the seeds and stems, and dice the tops.
  • In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil and cook the chopped pepper, onion and garlic, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add the rice, parsley, paprika, salt, pepper and allspice. Stir well and allow to cool, about 10 minutes.
  • When rice mixture has cooled, add 1/4 cup tomato sauce, then the beef and egg. Stir to combine.
  • Fill the peppers with stuffing and set upright in a small sauce pan. Add the tomato sauce and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower flame to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Spoon a liberal amount of sauce over the peppers and continue to simmer until the peppers are tender, 15-20 minutes.
  • Peppers can be prepared 1 day in advance. Chill cooked peppers in sauce and reheat slowly when ready to eat.
  • Enjoy!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Peanut butter and Concord grape tart

Luscious Concord grapes beckon to me at the farmers market. Let their musky magnetism draw you in too! Pick up enough to make this crumbly, cookie-like tart (great for adults and kids alike) AND to munch on some straight-up. Go now, before it's too late!

Just-sweet-enough Concords are amazingly juicy and refreshing, and the super healthy seed adds a nice bitter bite. They make a great palette cleanser. Serve a couple of the gorgeous globes alongside the tart. Top it all off with a nice dollop of whipped cream or serve with a tall glass of ice cold milk. Either way, this is a happy treat!

Peanut butter and Concord grape tart

serves 8

For the crust:
adapted from Martha Stewart

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for fingers and measuring cup
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
  • In the bowl of the food processor, pulse flour, butter, sugar, and salt until moist crumbs form. Alternatively, use your fingers or a pastry cutter to combine.
  • Transfer dough to a 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom. With floured fingers, press evenly into bottom and up side of pan. With a floured dry-measuring cup, press edge of dough firmly against side of pan, pushing down with opposite thumb to level top of crust flush with rim.
  • Freeze until firm, 10 to 15 minutes; prick all over with a fork. Bake at 350 degrees, until golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Half way through cooking time, use the floured measuring cup to press down the puffed up crust. Check the crust again about five minutes before it's finished and press down again, if necessary. Cool crust completely.


2 1/2 cups Concord grapes
1/8 cup sugar
1/2 t. apple cider vinegar
pinch salt
1 T tapioca starch

1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1/8 cup sugar
1/4 t. salt
  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • Using your fingers, pinch the pulp out of grape skins into a small saucepan. Reserve skins.
  • Bring pulp to a boil over medium heat and cook 5-6 minutes, or until grapes have softened. Pour hot pulp through a medium mesh sieve over the reserved skins. Discard seeds. Stir pulp and skins until combined. Add sugar, vinegar, salt and starch; mix well. Set aside
  • Beat together butter, peanut butter, sugar and salt until smooth.
  • Spoon peanut butter mixture into tart shell and spread evenly.
  • Pour grape jelly over peanut butter and spread gently until it barely reaches the edges (I like to be able to see that there's a layer of peanut butter underneath).
  • Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the grape jelly has just set. Allow to cool completely.
  • Enjoy!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

turkey burgers

This is Sara Moulton's recipe. It's one of my staples. Not that I eat turkey burgers every week, or even every month, but I've been making these sliders for upwards of nine years. Holy potato that makes me feel old!

I learned to love food and the joys that come with it from my family. I took my first steps learning to cook watching the Food Network (it's a bit different now, no?). Watch, shop, experiment and repeat.... I also channeled Julia Child's make no apologies mentality. (Admittedly, I still struggle with that.) Emboldened by a few successes, I made my first ever Thanksgiving dinner. It was a full spread for ten hobbled together in a teeny weeny kitchen in London. Luckily, I had done my research, learned to chop an onion from Sara on the hugely educational (and fun!) Cooking Live and had someone who was psyched to grill the second turkey outside on the teeny weeny balcony. Oh, and most of the guests were Brits who had no real connection to Thanksgiving and, thus, had no real expectations. Bring on the Champagne!

Whatever you do, get your bad self into the kitchen and start cookin'! Try these burgers. My guess is that you too will make them for years to come.

turkey burgers
adapted from Sara Moulton Cooks at Home

serves 4

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound ground turkey
Freshly ground black pepper
  • Preheat the oven to 400.
  • Heat 1 T oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and red pepper and cook, until softened, about 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
  • Combine the onion, pepper, salt, and turkey in a large bowl. Season with pepper. Mix well and form into 4 large patties.
  • Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Place the burgers in the skillet and cook until well browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to the oven and cook until firm to the touch, about 6 minutes. Serve with peach jalapeno salsa.
  • Enjoy!
Note: Sara adds 1 T Creole spice mix with the salt and serves the burgers with tomato and corn salsa.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

peach jalapeno "salsa"

This really isn't salsa at all. It's basically sliced peaches, sliced jalapeno and a squeeze of lime. Savor the last-of-the-season peaches with a little bit of bite. (If you don't like it hot, dice the pepper and use sparingly.) Serve alongside turkey burgers or grilled chicken. Dinner is served.

peach jalapeno salsa

2 ripe peaches, sliced
1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds discarded; thinly sliced
juice of 1 lime
pinch sugar
  • Combine all ingredients and allow to rest for 20 minutes-ish so the flavas meld.
  • Enjoy!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

David Lebovitz's Cheesecake Brownies

These disappeared before I had a chance to take a photo of the cut brownies. Visualize rich chocolatey goodness and you'll have a pretty good picture.

Cheesecake Brownies

6 T unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup flour
1 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 t. salt
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk
5 T sugar
1/8 t. vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9-inch square pan with foil or parchment paper, leaving an overhang; grease lightly.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and beat in the 2/3 cup sugar, then the eggs.
  • Mix in the flour, cocoa powder and salt, then the vanilla and chocolate chips. Spread evenly in prepared pan.
  • In a separate bowl, beat together the cream cheese, the yolk, 5 T sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Using a dull knife of spatula, swirl the cream cheese mixture with the chocolate batter.
  • Bake for 35-37 minutes, or until the batter in the center of the pan is just set.
  • Cool brownies completely in pan.
  • Cut into square and Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Chicken Enchiladas

Oh my goodness, I am so lame. I'm gonna cop the "Almost Wordless Wednesday" yet again. More time to cook, right! But your thinking, "I just started school," or, "Catering season is upon us and I have LESS time to cook." All the more reason to use a free hour or two to make these enchiladas; they keep in the fridge or freezer until you're ready to use them. Just make sure to keep the enchiladas and the sauce separate until you bake them. This is great comfort food... perfect for the end-of-summer blues.

Chicken enchiladas with red chili sauce

1 1/2 T canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
3 T chili powder
2 t. cumin
2 t. ground coriander
1/2 t. salt
2 t. sugar
12 oz. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat and cut into 1/4-inch strips
15 oz. plain tomato sauce
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 (4 oz.) can pickled jalapenos, drained and chopped
12 oz. cheddar cheese, grated and divided

10 (6-inch ) corn tortillas, removed from plastic, stacked and wrapped in foil
  • In medium sauce pan over medium-high heat, heat oil until hot and shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Add garlic through sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Add chicken and stir until coated with the spices, 30 seconds.
  • Add tomato sauce and water and stir until combined. Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to medium low. Simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes.
  • Pour mixture through a sieve or a colander into a bowl, pressing on mixture to extract as much sauce as possible. Set aside.
  • Transfer chicken to a medium bowl and freeze for ten minutes to cool, then combine with cilantro, jalapenos and all but 3/4 cup cheese.
  • While chicken is cooling, preheat oven to 400 and place rack in lower-middle position. Place foil wrapped tortillas in oven and warm for 10 minutes, or until soft enough to roll.
  • Assemble enchiladas:
  • Spoon 3/4 cup sauce into a baking dish and spread evenly.
  • A few at a time, place warmed tortillas on counter top or cutting board. Place a heaping 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture closer to an edge of each tortilla.
  • Roll each tortilla tightly and place in baking dish, seam-side down.
  • Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas. Make sure each one is well coated.
  • Sprinkle remaining cheese down the center of the enchiladas.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 20 - 25 minutes. Serve immediately.
  • Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Creamed corn

I've noticed a bunch of food bloggers workin' the "Wordless Wednesday"; I'm adopting the quietude today because this straight-forward and delish side dish requires no introduction. Just eat it!

Creamed corn
serves 12

16 ears corn, shucked and brake in half (I find braking the cobs easier than cutting them)
2 cups water
2 T butter
1 T flour
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • Cut corn from cobs.

  • In a large saucepan, combine corn, water, 1 1/2 t. salt and 1/2 t. pepper. Simmer over medium heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6 to 7 minutes.
  • In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and stir in the flour. Increase the heat to medium and whisk in the cream. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, and continue to whisk 1 minute after thickened mixture boils.
  • Transfer cream and 2 cups cooked corn to a blender or food processor; puree until smooth-ish.
  • Stir cream mixture into corn and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Stir in chives and season with salt and pepper.
  • Enjoy!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Banana chocolate chip muffins

Welcome to the "Big Apple," have a banana muffin.

This past weekend, my boyfriend's family came into town to visit. Even though they were staying at a hotel (eight people crashing in our one bedroom apartment was not an option), I wanted to greet them with something homemade and tasty. I figured these muffins were a good option because they fill the aforementioned criteria and they travel well. They got rave reviews. Coming from four finicky nieces and nephews between the ages of 8 and 12, that's no small feat. File this recipe under "keeper".

These muffins aren't particularly sweet, but they are packed with chocolate chips. Go ahead and increase the amount of sugar or decrease the number of chips. You can also substitute nuts or dried fruit for the chocolate. The recipe can successfully be halved or doubled.

Banana chocolate chip muffins
makes 24

4 cups whole wheat flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
5 or 6 large very ripe bananas, smashed
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 t vanilla
1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
granulated sugar, for sprinkling
  • Preheat oven to 350 and place racks in the upper a lower thirds of the oven. Use muffin cups or lightly grease tins.
  • In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour through cinnamon).
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the rest of the ingredients, except for the chips, until thoroughly combined and smooth.
  • Add the wet mixture to the dry and mix until there are only a few streaks of flour. Add chocolate chips and stir only a couple more times.
  • Using an ice cream scoop, scoop batter into prepared muffin tins. Sprinkle lightly with sugar.
  • Bake for about 25 - 30 minutes, rotating from top to bottom and front to bake halfway through baking time, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Enjoy!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Leek + goat cheese frittata

Supper is served and lunch is in the fridge!! When I'm pinched for time, I often defer to the incredible egg. I always have some in the fridge for moments like these and, because the urge to bake might hit me at any moment and (the idea of) a trip down and back up to my 5th floor walk-up to buy bland eggs from the corner bodega will surely blot out my desire. So, pick up some huevos.... They're an inexpensive (even when you buy them at a farmers market) source of protein and a blank canvas ready for anything that looks good at the market or whatever's past its prime in the fridge.

I like eggs (point taken) and I like to use them to make frittatas. Again, it's that pressed-for-time thing. This omelet, of sorts, comes together in less than 10 minutes. And the leftovers are perfectly flat for a sandwich. For this particular frittata, I used leeks and goat cheese.

Leek + goat cheese frittata
serves 2 with leftovers

2 large leeks, dark green parts discarded; washed and cut into 1/4 inch rounds
6 eggs
splash milk
salt and pepper to taste
4 oz. goat cheese
  • In a medium saute pan, heat enough oil to coat bottom of pan over medium heat. Add leeks and cook until soft, 10 minutes.
  • Combine eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Whisk well.
  • Preheat broiler
  • Add leeks to egg mixture and pour into a nonstick pan over medium-low heat. Cook slowly, without stirring, for about 4 minutes, or until the bottom has set. Scatter teaspoonfuls the cheese around the top of eggs (it should sit on top of the liquid eggs) and continue to cook for another minute.
  • Put the saute pan with eggs under the broiler until the eggs have set and the cheese is warm, 3 minutes. Remove from broiler and top with freshly cracked pepper.
  • Serve with a green salad and potatoes.
Potato "salad"

1 onion
olive oil
jalapeno, minced
2 large potatoes

Monday, August 24, 2009

Plum Torte

According to Florence Fabricant, the editor of The New York Times Dessert Cookbook, "This is the most frequently requested recipe that has been published in the Times." And how! This cake is super super (super) easy to make, and it really showcases the stone fruit of the season. Get thee you a farmers market and MAKE IT using whatever's ripe and raring to go; plums, peaches, nectarines, apricots or pluots... And visions of tortes will dance in your head.

Plum Torte

a Marian Burros recipe

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar, plus more for topping
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
pinch salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
12 Italian prune plums, halved and pitted
1 t. ground cinnamon
  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
  • In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add dry ingredients to creamed butter. Add eggs, and beat well.
  • Spoon the batter into an 8, 9 or 10-inch springform pan and smooth evenly. Place plum halves skin side up on top of batter. Sprinkle lightly with sugar, depending on the sweetness of the fruit. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  • Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool cake in the pan until room temperature. Remove sides of pan and serve. Cake may be refrigerated or frozen at this point. If frozen, defrost and reheat briefly for at 300.
  • Enjoy!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Stove top roasted peppers

These peppers are super versatile. Use them as part of an antipasto platter with meat and cheese, in pasta, on sandwiches or in the DELISH gazpacho below!!

stove top roasted peppers

bell peppers
  • Wash and dry peppers, then rub them thoroughly with oil.
  • Turn front burners to medium-high and place one pepper directly over each flame.
  • Using tongs, turn the peppers occasionally, to ensure even roasting, until peppers are blackened all over.
  • Transfer peppers to a work bowl and cover with plastic. Let steam for about 20 minutes, or until they reach room temperature.
  • Remove the roasted peppers from the bowl and, using your fingers or the back of a pairing knife, rub off all of the black skin.
  • Remove stems, pepper vertically in half and remove the seeds. Slice peppers into strips and season with salt.