31 posts tagged food
Fashion week schmashion week. (Is it me or has everything been pretty, uh, blah so far?) I’m always somewhat surprised by how popular my food posts are and how many people email/comment me asking for more… Here’s some food-porn and apartment-porn from the lovely brunch we had over Labor Day weekend at my friend Alana’s. Featuring homemade waffles with stewed apples and candied almonds, a zucchini-dill-ricotta quiche situation, some sort of breakfast drinks involving tequila and orange juice (we didn’t have champagne, and tequila and waffles makes PERFECT sense, no?) and a lot of thrift store plates and decor!
Panzanella, or, um, bread salad, is one of those things that initially sounds bizarre, but just stick with me on this one. (And really, why should the crouton be denigrated to a crappy prepackaged grocery store condiment when it could be the center of a hella delicious and marginally healthy meal?!!?) In generally it’s great in the event that you, like me, tend to get a little overzealous at Pain d’Avignon/Amy’s/Balthazar and buy eight thousand baguettes and brioches while forgetting the two loaves you have at home already, because when two days pass and your appetite was unable to keep up and you’ve got two or three inedible rapidly hardening lumps of gluten and starch, ALL IS NOT LOST. Tossing the bread into a salad makes it soft enough to eat again, but it will keep enough texture to not turn to soggy mush. Letting the salad sit in the fridge for an hour or so before eating is best.
Here I tossed cubes of a stale baguette with cucumbers, diced tomatoes, red onion, smoked mozzarella, and a simple dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh basil, though there’s plenty of room for experimenting with other flavors as well — I’m thinking that stale cornbread, peppers, scallions, tomatoes, and black beans wtih some cilantro and lime juice topped with a bit of sour cream or queso fresco would be delicious as well.
I’m always surprised by how much feedback I get asking about my food posts and cooking — so here’s some more. I’ve gotten really into roasting vegetables lately, because it’s probably the healthiest and easiest damn thing possible — whatever vegetables are fresh at the market (carrots and cauliflower roast particularly well, as do red onions, peppers, and anything squash or zucchini-like), a drizzle of olive oil, and some spices (salt and pepper is fine, though curry, masala, herbs de provence, and italian seasonings also are great for specific flavors), stir that all up in a Pyrex baking dish and pop it in the oven at 375 for an hour… in the last ten minutes or so, you can add in some beans (or something sweet like raisins and nuts for a Moroccan tagine-style dish.) It’s incredibly simple, ridiculous how tasty and awesome it comes out, and it takes about as long as it takes to chop a carrot to prepare.
Sunday night’s dinner: a mix of carrots, cauliflower, zucchini, red onions, and butternut squash, roasted with a bit of curry and served over quinoa.
Cara-Mia asked me about quinoa — it’s a grain, but I find it easier to cook than rice (which I eternally burn and think is bland anyhow), and it has much higher protein + fiber content than other grains, and I like the nuttier flavor and slightly crunchy texture. (Never gets mushy like other grains, unless you seriously overcook it.)
Whenever I make grains I add the oil/salt/etc afterwards to taste rather than cooking with it, because I like to save the leftovers (if there are any) for breakfast the next morning — I reheat them just a bit more with some cinnamon, vanilla, fresh berries, and a bit of heavy cream (okay, seriously, two teaspons of heavy cream is like thirty calories added that make basically anything amazing, you are missing out if you don’t have this in your fridge.)
Any grain works with this really, but I find quinoa (and even couscous) are great oatmeal substitutes and work really well as hot whole-grain cereals as well.
All I did this weekend was eat epic amounts of delicious food and take pictures of how durned pretty it was, so you’re gonna have to bear with me here.
Saturday brunch involved finally venturing up to the Ace Hotel to check out brunch at the Breslin (hella tasty, but somehow more formal than we’d expected) and Opening Ceremony and Project No 8. Sunday involved veggie burgers from scratch (read: oversized lentil falafels with a bunch of other stuff in them) and fresh berries with real whipped (as in with a fork, five minutes before eating) cream. SO MUCH AWESOME.
Assorted pictures of one of my favourite things about the holidays, which is of course all the AMAZING FOOD I GET TO MAKE (as always.) Including:
The strangest and most shameless lie ever in one of the fortune cookies from our eternal xmas eve takeout feast, lemon cornmeal cookies, chocolate hazelnut cookies, orange-dark chocolate biscotti, strawberry jam spice pinwheels, english toffee, gingerbread-pumpkin waffles (yes, from scratch)…. though now I’m kind of disappointed I didn’t have time to make rugalach (2). Alas!
I know I’ve posted about Luxirare before and I’m sure many of you read it already, but seriously, I am eternally SO impressed with the level of creativity in both her food and fashion design. Above — seriously — egg-nog-and-fruit-filled frozen white chocolate eggs. (And here I am all excited about having made another round of complex stuffed french toast — carmelized bananas and blueberry syrup, mmmm.)
Thanksgiving is never particularly interesting to me because I can’t remember a point in my life when I was enthused about giant turkeys and hams, and coming down with strep throat this year made it even less culinarily exciting. (Vegan chicken soup from a can anyone? I couldn’t even make pie.) HOWEVER, french toast is definitely one of those holidays-only breakfasts, and Sunday after Thanksgiving when you’ve got leftover pumpkin challah-type-bread is more than enough of a special occasion.
In my experience, the keys to really great french toast are using an originally very soft and fluffy bread (challah, babka, brioche) that is slightly stale (otherwise it’ll fall to mush the second you get it wet) and cut very thick, using more milk/cream than eggs, a very hot pan, and way more butter than I ever feel comfortable using. (It’s for special occasions. It’s totally fine. And in reality it probably adds up to a tablespoon max, but seems massive.)
Anyhow. Above: pumpkin bread French toast. Continuing my disgusting eternal compulsive obsession with mascarpone, there’s hazelnut butter and mascarpone between the two slices, and of course it’s all covered with cinnamon and maple syrup.
As per Monday usual, last night’s dinner — you can tell I’m still in a fall mood and continuing my obsession with squash, shiitake mushrooms, pecans, and orzo/barley salads. We started out with pumpkin bread crostini (ha, ha, I can give toast a fancy name too) with cherry butter, carmelized onions, and goat brie, and for dinner I made an orange-glazed chilean seabass with mashed butternut squash and a pecan-mushroom-corn whole grain orzo pilaf. Also, you know, half a bottle of a peppery Malbec. A+.
Also in this week’s experiments? Marshmallows, from scratch, which made my whole kitchen a goey, confectioners-sugar-coated mess and yielded some slightly-more-gelatinous-than-expected results, but ultimately was more or less a success. Fun fact: I went into every bodega in a 5 block radius trying to find corn syrup and confectioner’s sugar. Every single one - we’re talking mouse poop beer-and-cigarettes-and-hard-rolls-with-butter bodegas, kids, not like, organic groceires - had agave syrup and stevia, but nobody had good old Karo syrup. Which in theory is kind of awesome — it’s great knowing I can buy spelt flour and organic unbleached tampons downstairs, and I still got all the sugary junk at Tops — but I mean, seriously. Oh, Williamsburg.
Seems like I’m really getting into posting photos of my dinner? Here’s what I made last Sunday, which was the first time I’ve ever even touched fish to cook (I know, I know) and it came out surprisingly awesome, aside from being a bit less rare than I usually like. Just freshly cracked pepper and sea salt, pan-seared in a tiny bit of olive oil, served over a soba and vegetable salad with a peanut-ginger-sesame dressing topped with scallions, peanuts, and black sesame seeds.
Also: let’s take a moment to appreciate the joy of julienne-ing things. OMG I LOVE KNIVES
While I’ll never quite live up to fellow post-Vassar foodie Claire over at For the Taste of It or unbelievable gourmet/couture blog Luxirare, kicking ass in the kitchen (in 4” heels, and because I love it, thank you very much) is something I pride myself on and always have, and between my boyfriend’s new kitchen (and knives I picked out, oh GOD they’re wonderful) and my uncontrolled love for New England/Hudson valley autumn produce (apples! squash! maple everything!), kicking ass in the kitchen to make a great October meal was definitely in order this weekend.
I started cooking in high school largely because my parents are very meat-and-potatoes people, and I am, er, an 85%-fruit-nuts-and-vegetables-15%-fish kind of girl. There’s nothing I hate more than “vegetarian” cooking that goes about being vegetarian by “replacing the meat in a meat meal with something else;” the fact is that plenty of vegetables, nuts, and grains are delicious (and full of protein etc) on their own, and can just as easily be made the focus of a meal. (That said, panchetta or some other smoked/salted meat could probably be added to the below stew for the insatiable carnivore.)
Preparing the stew: butternut squash, shiitake mushrooms, leeks, white beans, and corn, cooked in a bit of oil and vegetable stock, spiced with fresh garlic and plenty of garam masala with extra cinnamon and cloves.
And the salad: farro, pecans, and granny smith apples, garnished with roasted pumpkin seeds. Dressing: OJ, olive oil, a tiny bit of maple syrup, cumin, nutmeg, salt + pepper.
The final result!
Dessert: pears poached in merlot, orange juice, and garam masala, served with a scoop of marscapone and dulce de leche and garnished with the masala/wine syrup and cinnamon. I think this may be the tastiest thing I’ve ever made. I’m not joking.
I’m a little bit unhealthily obsessed with marscapone in general, to be honest — a few tablespoons of it are great on top of any hot cereal (rather than mixing in milk or butter), like my oatmeal this morning with dried cherries, pecans, and plenty of cinnamon.
This is a photo of a tasty brunch I ate in Berlin.
Pie lollipops. Genius. From Luxirare, which is chock-full of other unusual tasty looking things, creative style and her own design, and more giant hi-res hi-quality minimalist closeups of unusual clothes and food than I know what to make of. Also, now I’m hungry.
Aaaand in today’s random internet bullshit link of the day which half a dozen people/blogs have already sent to me or posted, I present you with Insanewiches, which has entered the sandwich blog race along with this spring’s smash hit (and possible unoriginal, evil copycat) Scanwiches. Right.
a few more reasons why i have friends