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Archive for the ‘Recipe’ Category

Elote Loco

Corn Cob

August in New York City = so much great stuff at the farmer’s market. I’m particularly excited about corn – bushels and bushels of sweet, snappy, corn!

All you need to make corn delicious is salt, pepper and, if you’re normal and not me, butter, right? Sure. But two summers ago the Red Hook Ball Field vendors opened my eyes/mouth to something even more awesome that permanently changed my puritanical ways.

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100_1889Last August, I posted about ratatouille. Here it is again. Why won’t I shut up about ratatouille? First, because I want to demonstrate that – slowly and unsurely – I am becoming a better photographer. Second, because I tried a new way of cooking ratatouille that I actually like way better.

“There is much debate on how to make a traditional ratatouille.” Some version of this sentence appears on the Wikipedia page of just about every dish known to man, and it brings up one of my least favorite concepts in food: “Authenticity.”

The idea that a dish is somehow invalid for not conforming to some specific standard drives me crazy, at least when it’s not recognized that it’s just a semantic argument, one about terminology, not value. A ratatouille by any other name…

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SNB11156

A Turkish meal is usually cooked by a weathered and wise old grandma deep in the Anatolian heartland who couldn’t write down the recipe for Jacques Pepin himself.  She knows what she’s doing and would fight to the death over one pinch of salt or two.  For the culinary tourist such as yours truly, I’ll have to relate these recipes as best I observed it cooked in front of me.  Like much in Turkey, they’re fairly straightforward, just not very exact.
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Salade Nicoise

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Summer is a tough time for cookery, especially in a hot city of small kitchens. Although there’s great produce to be had, the idea of spending much time in front of the stove is unappealing to say the least.

Which is why summer cooking takes some adjustments: Nothing in the oven unless you’re able to leave the room while it’s in there, nothing that requires constant attention on the stove top, etc. This is why hearty salads – like Salade Nicoise -are such a good summer option.

Salade Nicoise is a classic French composed salad – “composed” is just a fancy work for a salad that has all the ingredients piled on top rather than tossed in – and although it does have cooked ingredients, they can be prepared in under 30 minutes. And it’s a Julia Child favorite, so – in honor of the upcoming movie that I can’t decide whether or not I want to see – here it is:

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squash tart

What to do with all that awesome homemade ricotta from last week (other than boasting about it incessantly)? Here’s a recipe I dreamed of, and the reason I made the ricotta in the first place — the ricotta’s raison d’etre, if you will.

I’ve been seeing ricotta-squash tart everywhere recently, by which I mean at both Buttermilk Channel and Vinegar Hill House, both in Brooklyn, both homey new American style restaurants with a farmhouse decor. Aww.

And both with food that — while delicious — I felt pretty confident that I could duplicate at home. Well, this isn’t either of their tarts exactly, but it was pretty good nonetheless. What did I learn? I learned that if you make a good enough tart crust, and have good enough ricotta for the filling, and have good quality toppings,  you can make just about any kind of savory tart you want. (more…)

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Homemade Ricotta

making ricotta

This is incredible. It’s quick, it’s easy — it’s magic. It’s homemade ricotta cheese, using just whole milk, lemon juice (or vinegar), and a little salt, as well as a few pieces of equipment. It’s homemade ricotta cheese for less than the price of buying commercial ricotta. It’s homemade ricotta cheese that tastes fresh and pure in a way the stuff from the tub never will.

It’s homemade ricotta cheese! (more…)

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100_1866As I’ve said before, you really don’t need any fancy kitchen equipment to cook 99.5% of the things you’re likely to want to make at home, and I think investing in any big, expensive equipment (Antigriddle, anyone?) when you’re first starting out is a poor decision.

There are, however, a few intermediate toys that are nice to acquire along the way. Ones that aren’t too expensive and will get used often enough to make them worth the storage paper. A food processor is one. A mortar and pestle is another.

And a mandoline is one I highly recommend. It looks like a medieval torture device, but it’s much more affordable and it will make perfect thin slices of zucchini for this “pasta” faster than you can say antigriddle.

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