Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Trip to the South, via India

Here's a delicious Indian recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Indian Food Made Easy.  It's at least as good, if not better, than "real" fried chicken.  To save some money, you can buy the chicken with the skins on, then remove them yourself at home. 

Oven-fried Chili Chicken
Serves 6

1 3/4 pound skinless chicken pieces (I stick to dark meat here)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups breadcrumbs
1 large egg, beaten
lemon wedges, to serve

1 1/4 inch fresh ginger, chopped
9 cloves garlic, peeled
2-4 green chilies, seeds and membranes removed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garam masala (buy it, if you don't have it on your spice rack.  It's amazing in scrambled eggs.)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1) Blend all the marinage ingredients into a paste.  Put the chicken into a non-metallic bowl and cover really well with the marinade.  Let marinade in the fridge at least 2 hours, or overnight.  Even with just two hours, the stuff was super flavorful.

2) Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  While the oven is heating, pour the oil in a roasting pan, and heat it up in the oven for 15 minutes. 

3) In a gallon freezer bag, mix the breadcrumbs and dried spices.  Take the chicken out of the marinade, letting the excess drip off.  Add the pieces one at a time to the freezer bag, shaking between each to make sure they don't stick.  After the first coat, dip each piece into the egg, then give a second breadcrumb coating.  This ensures the chicken is extra deliciously crispy. 

4) Place the chicken in the roasting pan and cook for 20 minutes.  Then lower the temperature to 400, flip the chicken, and cook for another 15-20 minutes, or until done.

I served this with a spicy mac and cheese and collard greens, for a twist on a traditional Southern Sunday dinner.  Oh, and a frosty beer.  Brooklyn Black Ops, to be exact.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Chimichurri, repurposed

I told you that this stuff can be used on pretty much anything.  Case in point: breakfast.

Toast some bread, slather with chimichurri, top with a fried egg.  Sprinkle with chopped red onion.  Voila!  Non-boring breakfast is served.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Fajitas with Chimichurri

It’s summertime! To me, that means grilling. Unfortunately, my apartment does not have room for an outdoor grill. That doesn’t mean I can’t grill, though! A grill pan can make a decent substitute. Whether you’re grilling indoors or out, grilled steak fajitas are a great summer dish. Here, the chimichurri sauce makes them extra special. In fact, I used the leftover sauce on everything. It’s especially good on turkey sandwiches.

So fire up your grill and throw on a steak, chop up your favorite toppings, and mix up this chimichurri from Bobby Flay.

As you can see, I sauted some peppers and onions, made guacamole, sliced some grape tomatoes, and chopped some lettuce in addition to the chimichurri. 

Chimichurri Sauce:

1 cup cilantro leaves
1 cup flat leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup mint leaves
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3/4 to 1 cup olive oil
1/4 to 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste


1) Pulse the herbs and garlic in a food processor until coarsely chopped.
2) Add oil and vinegar a bit at a time and pulse until it reaches a soupy vinaigrette consistency.
3) Salt and pepper to taste.
4) Enjoy!!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Curried Chicken Salad Wraps

I just love Rotisserie chicken. It doesn't cost too much and we always get two meals out of one. We love chicken salad and always look for new ways to prepare it. Here's a pretty tasty version!

P.S.: Our camera gave up on us in the middle of our Florida vacation so no picture of the recipe!


-10 oz Rotisserie chicken breast, skinless (about 2 chicken breasts)
- 1/2 medium Granny Smith Apple, skin removed if too tough, diced
- 1 medium stalk celery, diced
- 1/4 cup toasted, chopped nuts (I took walnuts, but pecans or almonds are very good too)


- 3 Tbsp mayonnaise (I took Spectrum Canola Mayonnaise, but you can substitute low-fat mayo)
- 2 Tbsp Pineapple Juice
- 1 tsp curry powder
- salt and pepper to taste

Romaine Lettuce leafs for serving.

Combine the ingredients for the dressing and mix with the remaining ingredients (except lettuce).

Wash lettuce leafs and top with salad to make wraps.

Number of Servings: 2


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pound Cake with Fruit Compote

So I've been trying to eat somewhat healthier lately.  One of the things I'm doing is making a fresh fruit salad every week.  I go to the store, and just buy a bunch of stuff that looks good and is decently priced.  Then once I get home, I chop it all up, mix it together, and put it in Tupperware, and, voila!  a fresh, healthy snack at a moment's notice.  This week though, I bought a bit too much fruit, and it started to get unpleasantly mushy before I could finish eating it.  I decided to cook it down into a compote of sorts.  And what does that go good with?  Duh, pound cake (which yes, I realize is not exactly low-cal.)  Here goes:

Pound Cake
How did it take me so long to discover The Joy of Baking? Oh my goodness there are some delicious looking morsels on that site.


3 large eggs, room temperature
3 tablespoons milk, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (150 grams) sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
13 tablespoons (185 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1) Optional: Take out the cold stuff and place on the counter while you go for a run.  Gotta do something to offest the calories you're going to consume later.
2) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, a 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and butter the paper.

3) In a medium bowl lightly combine the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract.

4) In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar) and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds or until blended. Add the butter and half of the egg mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about one minute to aerate and develop the cake's structure. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Gradually add the remaining egg mixture, in 2 additions, beating about 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the egg and strengthen the cake's structure.

5) Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake for about 55 to 65 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If you find the cake browning too much as it bakes, cover with a piece of lightly buttered aluminum foil after about 30 minutes.

6) Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and cool completely on a lightly buttered wire rack.

Makes one 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf.

Fruit Compote
4 cups chopped fruit (anything really will do, but make sure there are a decent amount of berries)
about 1 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons either balsamic vinegar or red wine (your choice)

1) Heat fruit in sauce pan over medium heat.
2) Pour orange juice over fruit until not quite covered
3) Add wine or vinegar
4) Cook down until thickened
5) If it needs a little extra sweetness, add a tablespoon of honey

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Eating Seasonally: Clams in White Wine Sauce

I try to eat seasonally as much as possible. It’s hard, because I don’t really know what the seasons actually are for many things! I think this is partly because where I grew up, produce was available in the supermarket year-round. So now I try to do some research about what fruits and vegetables are in season near me, and visit the farmers’ market for fresh produce. Part of the process is also just keeping your eyes open and looking at your surroundings.  If figs are hanging from your neighbor's tree, then figs are in season.  If you see a big weird tent-like thing in the river, ask about it.  You just may discover that people are out catching clams (like hubby and I did) and  end up buying the freshest, yummiest clams you could ever dream of eating.

Clams in White Wine Sauce
2 Servings

2 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed clean
1 large shallot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter (use the anchovy butter if you have it)
1 cup white wine
Zest and juice of half a lemon
.25 teaspoon dried thyme
.25 teaspoon dried oregano
.25 teaspoon dried parsley
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 pound pasta


1) Boil and salt water for pasta. While pasta is cooking, prepare the clams. Reserve ¼ cup pasta water.
2) In a large sauté pan, heat oil and butter on medium-high
3) Add shallot and garlic, sauté for about a minute, then add herbs
4) Add clams, stir to coat with oil mixture
5) Add wine, reserved pasta water, lemon zest and juice. Cover turn to high
6) Steam for about five minutes or until clams open fully. Salt & pepper to taste.
7) Add clam mixture to drained pasta, coating completely

Serve with green salad and garlic bread.

Garlic Bread


1/2 loaf of Italian bread
1 tablespoon softened anchovy butter
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 tablespoon dried parsley
Salt & pepper


1) Preheat oven to 350 F
2) Slice bread open lengthwise. Spread with butter.
3) Sprinkle with garlic, parsley, salt and pepper
4) Bake for about 15 minutes, until lightly golden brown

Monday, June 7, 2010

Anchovy (yes, anchovy) Butter

Okay, so I realize most people aren't fans of anchovies.  I admit, they are a bit much when you eat them whole.  I've nearly choked on one a couple times while eating my grandma's antipasto. However, the flavor of these little guys are off the charts.  I got the idea for flavoring butter with them when a read about this event going on tonight at the Mermaid Oyster Bar in the East Village.  Sounded interesting, but I just don't love oysters enough to spend $55 per person on them for dinner.  I figured I would just take the best sounding part of the night, the anchovy butter, and make some myself.  So that is what I did.

1 anchovy (buy them in the jar so you can reseal and use again later, after I've convinced you they are delicious)
1/2 stick of room temperature butter

1) Heat a small pan/skillet/whatever with a tiny dab of butter.
2) Add anchovy.
3) Stir until anchovy is melted.  That's right.  It will just melt away, discarding its questionable texture and leaving behind all its heavenly flavor.

4) Let cool a bit, then stir into the rest of the butter.

5) Optional: To make butter into a log, plop it onto a piece of parchment paper, then roll into a cylinder shape.  Refrigerate.

I just spread this on some toast and ate as is.  The flavor is not overpowering, but just adds a bit of savory goodness to the butter.  I think next time I would use 2 anchovies for the same amount of butter for a stronger flavor.

Need more convincing?  Check out what to do with anchovies over at My Kind of Food.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Spicy Tangerine Beef

So tonight for dinner the husband decided he wanted to make this asian beef dish.  It can be fun to cook together, so I got on sauce mixing detail while he handled the slicing and chopping.  I like trying recipes from my favorite Food Network chefs like Tyler Florence or Bobby Flay, but I've never made anything by Guy Fieri.  I figured this was as good a time as ever.

A couple of modifications:
*The grocery store didn't have tangerines, so I used half an orange.
*We like things a bit spicy, so I used 1.5 tablespoons Sriracha chile sauce.
*I wanted some vegetables, so I added some nice springtime asparagus tips.
*Flank steak has gotten really expensive in my neighborhood, so I just bought some cheap, grainy meat - I think a think sliced chuck steak.
*Next time, I would cook the sauce separately, then add it to the dish in the amount you want.  This made a LOT of sauce, and took longer than expected to cook down. 

Spicy Tangerine Beef
By Guy Fieri


3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 pound flank steak or tri-tip, cut in thin strips on the bias
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon chili sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup freshly squeezed tangerine juice
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
3 scallions, chopped
1/4 tangerine, zested
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds


1)  In a resealable plastic bag combine the soy sauce and cornstarch and mix well. Add beef, cover, and let marinate for 20 minutes in the refrigerator.

2) Whisk together the sherry, hoisin, honey, chili sauce, soy sauce, and tangerine juice until completely combined.

3) In large pan or wok, heat oil on high. Add the ginger and beef and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add sauce mixture and cook for another 2 minutes on medium heat until sauce thickens. Serve on warm platter, garnish with scallions, tangerine zest and sesame seeds.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Vegetable Breakfast Hash

A few weeks ago, a friend and I went to this great Mexican restaurant in Manhattan, Crema.  I had a chayote cream soup that was out of this world.  Ever since, I've been thinking about chayotes. 
The only other time I could remember eating them was on vacation in Costa Rica, where they were an ingredient in our breakfast "hash browns."  When I saw some in my grocery store on my last shopping trip, I went ahead and picked one up.  I've never cooked with one before, but I figured I'd try to recreate my Costa Rican breakfast, which couldn't be too difficult.

If you're unfamiliar with them, chayotes are a type of squash, with a mild flavor, crisp texture. They're also a good source of vitamin C.

Chayote Vegetable Hash

1/3 cup diced chayote squash
1/4 cup diced potato
1/4 cup diced onion
1-2 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp oil
1 egg

1) Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat.
2) Add vegetables and seasonings, saute for 5-10 minutes
3) Gather vegetables into a mound in the center of the skillet.  Crack the egg onto the vegetable mound.
4) Cover, cook until egg is at desired doneness.

Serves 1

Monday, March 29, 2010

Passover snack

I was invited to my first Passover Seder tonight.  I wanted to bring something, but I  wasn't sure what would be approriate.  I went to, as they are a reliable source of holiday menus.  One caveat: check with your host about kosher requirements.  Even if you use kosher ingredients, if the dish is prepared in a kitchen that isn't kosher, your host and the other guests might not be able to eat it.

Chocolate-Dipped Apricots

1/3 cup sugar
2 strips lemon zest
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
24 dried apricots (about 1/4 pound)
2 ounces kosher for Passover bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped peeled pistachios


1) Line a baking sheet with wax paper and place a wire rack on top.

2) Combine sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon stick and water in a small saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 3 minutes. Add apricots and gently simmer just until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the apricots with a slotted spoon to the rack. Let cool completely.

3) Melt chocolate in a small metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Dip half of a poached apricot in the chocolate, letting excess drip off. Sprinkle some chopped pistachios over the chocolate half and return the apricot to the rack. Repeat with the remaining apricots.

4)Refrigerate until the chocolate has set, about 20 minutes.

Find the recipe here:

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hot Chocolate and Homemade Marshmallows

It’s been a cold winter here in New York. One of my favorite ways to warm up is to snuggle in a blanket on the couch with a mug of hot chocolate. My husband likes hot chocolate, too, but he wants to go all out and have it topped with marshmallows. He asked me about making homemade marshmallows, and I figured I’d give it a try. I had been intrigued by the idea since watching an episode of “Good Eats” a couple years ago. I decided to look up Alton Brown’s recipe and give it a whirl. My notes are in [brackets].  The recipe can also be found here.  If you prefer something a bit less sweet, add a dash or two of chili powder to the hot chocolate.  Delicious!


3 packages unflavored gelatin [the box I bought contained 4 packets. Don’t buy 3 boxes!]
1 cup ice cold water, divided
12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
Nonstick spray


1) Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.

2) In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.

3) Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. [this seems like a long time, but you really need to whip the air into this mixture.] Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows:

4) Combine the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.

5) When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

6) Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners' sugar mixture. [I just used a chef’s knife, as I don’t have a pizza cutter. Make sure you keep the blade dusted, or you’re going to have a sticky mess. Actually, you’ll still probably have a sticky mess.] Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. [An easy way to do this is all the marshmallows, alternating a few at a time with the cornstarch mix, to a large freezer bag. Seal it and shake until they’re covered.]

7) Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.