Archive for January, 2011
Every once in a while you just need to have a good steak. In the summertime you can always throw a few on the grill, but in the winter the idea doesn’t usually come up as frequently. I have started cooking petite filets in a cast iron skillet, searing them on the outside before finishing them under the broiler. For those of you in New York and CT, Fairway sells them in 2-packs, which is perfect. They come out with a little crust, very juicy and tender, and they cook in less than 10 minutes. Throw in some sauteed brussel sprouts with some cayenne and parmesan, and you’ve got a quick, easy meal that doesn’t have to wait for a special occasion or an outdoor grill.
Ok, you can chalk this one up to “using up the leftover ingredients from my last few dinners”. I find omelets to be the perfect vehicle by which to clean out my refrigerator of odds and ends, and in this case I just happened to have the perfect ingredients to make a lively, atypical breakfast out of what I had lying around. I would go out and buy these ingredients again specifically to make this omelet; it was really that good.
Every once in a while you need to have a meal ready on short notice, and you want something relatively healthy and definitely tasty. Seared tuna is a great way to go in this situation. Almost zero prep time, 5 minutes in a pan, and you have dinner. Throw some sauteed vegetables with miso butter (cribbed from Momofuku, of course) in there and you’ve got a meal that looks like it came from a high-end restaurant right in front of you, in 10 minutes. All you need is a good source for fresh tuna, of course:
There is something about chocolate pudding that brings me back to childhood. My grandmother, making dessert in the kitchen at our house on Cape Cod, and Bill Cosby promoting Jello pudding snacks on TV. Little green bowls on a rack in the refrigerator, covered with wax paper, each one containing a serving of the cool, smooth, delicious dessert.
The other night I suddenly had a flashback to those chocolate pudding days, and I did a quick search to find some pudding recipes. One of the top results was from Smitten Kitchen, a New York blogger with great recipes, and photos that put mine to shame. She really does great stuff. So I decided to give it a shot, and it was great! It also took about 20 minutes to make, which is a plus.
It has been a long time since I have contributed to Food52, and I’ve felt like a total slacker. But this week’s contest was for “Your Best Seafood Pasta”, and anyone who reads this blog with any frequency knows that I cook lots of seafood, and lots of pasta, so I had to work up something great to submit to this contest. What I decided to do was a twist on a traditional recipe that I’ve been cooking for years (the first iteration of this dish was when I was back in High School in Arizona, and my Mom would have leftover salmon, and my favorite dish in the world was fettuccine alfredo).
See, this dish is GOOD FOR YOU, because it has peas and salmon in it! Nevermind the cream, butter, and pasta. It’s totally healthy. Or something…
I’ve been recently bombarded with tweets about the “newly fashionable” Pickleback. For those of you who haven’t heard, the pickleback is a shot of whiskey followed by a chaser of pickle brine. I am surprised to learn that this is newly fashionable, because I have been drinking these at the Fatty Crab for years! They have a drink that they dub “The Recession Special” (dubiously stolen from Grey’s Papaya, I think) which is a PBR tallboy, a shot of whiskey (origin unknown) and a shot of their spicy pickled pepper juice. The first time I ordered one I was a bit nervous, but I have to say that it is absolutely delicious. Their pickle juice is good enough to drink on its own, and the briny shock is enough to take the edge off the rotgut whiskey they are pouring out of the well. Totally worth 8 bucks, because then you have a 16 oz. PBR to drink!
From the Huffington Post:
“A shot of whiskey backed up with a shot of pickle brine tastes good (way better than it sounds), but I feel as if there’s something more to the pickleback: sentimentality, comfort. The pickleback is the macaroni and cheese of the cocktail world.”
Photo by Max Watman, Huffington Post.
The macaroni and cheese of the cocktail world? Only if you grew up doing whiskey shots and drinking pickle juice from the jar! What kind of childhood did this guy have?!
Either way…worth trying sometime if you’ve never had one. At least just to say you’ve done it.
Unrelated, or maybe not, is the Facebook group that was created to see if a pickle could get more fans than Nickelback. The pickle won. Was this the inspiration for the Pickleback? We may never know…
Infused Vodkas and Schnapps: Dill Schnapps, Blackberry Schnapps, Peppermint Schnapps, and Hot Pepper Vodka Recipes
Those of you who don’t know me well may not know that I have a bit of Swedish blood in me. My Grandmother on my Father’s side was 100% Swedish, and I grew up eating pickled herring, Swedish meatballs, and all manner of smörgåsbord delicacies during the holidays. The Swedes love their vodka, aquavit, and schnapps, as well as midnight swims in the North Sea after enjoying said drinks (I know from experience). My Dad, for years, has made lemoncello from the lemons that grow on our family’s tree in Arizona, and though that drink is more Italian than Swedish, the idea is the same.
Today I was at a friend’s house (who is also 1/4 Swedish), and she pulled out a great cookbook that her Mom had given her: A Culinary Tour of Sweden, by Tina Nordstrom. Apparently it is out of print at the moment, but you can get used copies from Amazon.com if you are so inclined. Flipping through the book gave me lots of ideas for food (which will be coming soon!) but when I saw the page on making your own schnapps, I was immediately thinking about heading to Fairway to pick up the ingredients.
Last night I was having drinks with friends at Napa, here in Stamford, and our friend, bartender and musical mixologist Eric Ribeiro shared a link from CT food blog CT Bites where he is quoted, about their new restaurant opening on Spring Street.
From CT Bites:
“The menu will focus on a culinary tour of Italy from Sicily to the Dolomites with robust offerings of reasonable small plates and starters that casually elevate “bar food.” The current menu will include inventive appetizers including Marinated cauliflower, Truffle Polenta, Buttata and olives, Crushed Potatoes, and Whipped chicken livers. In addition the menu will include dry plus homemade pastas with delectable toppings including sausages, lamb, rabbit and shrimp. A selection of heartier meat and fish entrees, many of which will be cooked in the wood burning oven are also in the works. Additionally Chef Kardos will prepare his own mozzarella and in house charcuterie.
Bar Rosso will also offer a 250 bottle Italian wine list and the 25 wines by the glass, the cocktail menu will feature Italian classics that will include one of the five homemade bitters plus lemoncello, orange-cella and grappa. Overseeing the creation of this inventive “Libations” menu is a passionate master mixologist Eric Ribeiro, whose experience as a chef and a passion for drink has created some incredible specialty cocktails. His remarkable cocktail menu is a wonderful complement to the Bar Rosso experience and it mirrors the attention given to the food. For months Eric as been formulating a selection of homemade bitters with flavors like “In Bloom” (blending rose petals, 151 proof rum, lavender, and star anise), “Orange” (with orange peel, spices and roots and caramelized sugar), and “Vanilla & Cherry.” Each bitter combines roots, spices, and alcohol which he marinates for 2 months, strains and then bottles. The result is intoxicating, and a cocktail only requires a few drops of Eric’s bitters for the flavors to reach their intended intensity.”
I’m definitely looking forward to the opening. I’m going to have to pick Eric’s brain to get to the recipes for those home made bitters…
Wintertime is the perfect time for soups. Thick, hearty, hot soups that can make a meal. Every winter for many years I’ve made this soup, which is quick and easy, and the leftovers will last for a week of lunches. Add home made croutons, and you’ve got a quick, satisfying meal with only 6 ingredients.
At one of my favorite restaurants in the city, the Fatty Crab, they have incredible cocktails (read more about the Fatty Crab here). They aren’t cheap ($12/each) but they are tasty. Unfortunately for me, my favorite cocktail there is also the most expensive, at $14 a pop. However, this is no ordinary cocktail. This is a fresh green coconut, opened in front of you at the bar, with dark rum. Served with a spoon and a straw, you can drink the cocktail while you scoop out the fresh, custard-like coconut meat from the inside of the shell. It’s a real treat, to say the least.
The other night I had the inspiration to go find some coconuts and try making this drink at home, utilizing my new favorite dark rum: Kraken. Kraken is a dark spiced rum with heavy vanilla notes, and I think it makes a great Dark ‘N Stormy. You can also enjoy it on the rocks…it’s that smooth.