Monthly Archives: June 2010

One Meal Becomes Another

I’m not gonna lie to you, folks. Sometimes I make dishes that suck. I’m still not incredibly skilled in seasoning, unless it’s a no-brainer like lemon and rosemary, or tomato and basil. So when I threw together the contents of my fridge in the form of pasta, cherry tomatoes, cooked spinach, and olive oil with a little salt and pepper, it was… bland. Real bland. And when I eyed the leftovers the following day, I wondered what to do. And then it hit me: frittata.

Seriously, mixing leftovers with eggs and cheese and baking it in the oven is the answer to all my leftovers. Random veg in the crisper? Eggs, cheese, bake. Bland pasta? Eggs, cheese, bake. Half a roasted chicken breast and some fried potatoes? Eggs, cheese, bake. Chocolate cupcakes with raspberry frosting? Eggs, cheese, bake. SIKE. Who has leftover cupcakes?

On the menu:
Macaroni frittata with tomatoes, spinach, and parmesan

What you’ll need:
Leftovers – really, anything that is already cooked or can be eaten raw (i.e. fruits and veg) will work in this dish. Don’t be throwing raw chicken in there.
Cheese – I used parmesan because to me, tomatoes and spinach says “salty Italian” but maybe you have some cheddar, some swiss, a little block of goat cheese. Throw it in.
Veg – as I mentioned, I had cherry tomatoes and cooked spinach already in the failed pasta dish so I just mixed it in with eggs and a little milk, but maybe you have a chunk of red onion or some slices of yellow pepper, a handful of raw broccoli or half a zucchini. Whatever you need to get rid of.

I also added a little oregano to my concoction, poured it in a skillet, baked it all up for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven, and had a deeeelicious dinner. Try it. You’ll like it!

[In other news, this dish is PERFECT and so easy for a brunch: cut it pie-style into slices and serve with mimosas, donut muffins, and a fruit salad]

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Let the Games Begin, Ja!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the World Cup kicked off this past weekend. While I cheered for the USA because, well… I am an American, I don’t feel a strict allegiance to any team. I find myself pulling for the underdog in every match, despite my heritage, and therefore could NOT root for Germany on Sunday when they played Australia. They’re so mean! And the Aussie team is nicknamed The Socceroos. Can you stand the adorableness?

Despite my disdain for the German team, I am 25% German and therefore showed a tiny bit of support by spending 25% of my Saturday eating German food and drinking a ridiculous amount of Spaten Oktoberfest. Don’t worry, it was ALMOST noon.

The colors got weirdly wonky in this picture, but many, many thanks to Ben for capturing them at all, since I am a terrible blogger and forgot my camera

Heidelberg Restaurant 1648 Second Avenue, between 85th St and 86th St, New York, NY. This place has been around since 1964, in a neighborhood called Yorkville that used to be predominantly German. The food is traditional German fare, and the beer is served in pints, half liters, liters, or 2 liter boots. That’s right. Two. Liter. Boots. And you thought the boot was a mythical figment of Beer Fest‘s imagination. The decor is pure kitsch (the waitstaff wears lederhosen and dirndl…) but so enjoyable.

On the menu:
Potato pancakes
Bratwurst with sauerkraut and potato salad
Sauerbraten with red cabbage (not pictured)

Potato Pancakes

Verdict: Jawhol! As a small aside, I dubbed this the year I will learn to love the foods I have typically shunned. On that list: sausage. I ordered a bratwurst because I felt like ordering potato pancakes was too safe, and I wanted to try a differently prepared type of sausage. Holy, holy mackerel, am I glad I did. This brat was lightly fried and spectacular; like a deep fried hot dog, with tangy sauerkraut and cool potato salad to smooth it all out. I did taste a dining partner’s potato pancake and it was SUBLIME. Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and the size of my face. Did I mention I like pancakes? The sauerbraten was perfectly cooked and unbelievably tender, and I can not wait to go back to Heidelberg and order it for myself.

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I Remember That!

Today I stumbled upon an unbelievable website, and therefore am reduced to posting some incredibly indulgent food-related items. BEHOLD my youth! i.e. a bunch of stuff my mom would never let me have but I snuck at friends’ houses. Sorry, mom.

The minute I saw these ice pops the memories just came flooding back…

ECTO COOLER!!! I was absolutely never allowed to drink this. But I admired from afar.

I nearly yelped aloud in my cubicle when I saw these gummies. I vividly remember the faux-cola taste. Yummm.

And… okay, this is not food. But it was a DOLL that smelled and looked like a cupcake. I’m pretty sure I did not own one, but I remember a friend of mine had one and I probably got a kiddie-high from inhaling the plastic fumes. So magical.

All the other kids at summer camp had Squeeze It and I had a Thermos of milk. THANKS AGAIN MOM.

Thanks for joining me on this trip down memory lane. I blatantly stole these images from I’m Remembering! The site has a ton of other stuff you didn’t know you missed, including Skip It, Starter jackets, Scratch N Sniff stickers, and Super Soakers. Kids today don’t know what they’re missing out on.

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The Sweetest Thing

I’ve heard a lot of diet tricks. Drinking a cup of tea staves off hunger. Chewing a piece of gum can satisfy a post-meal sweets craving (seriously, Biggest Loser?? Gum?). An apple, full of fiber, makes you feel fuller.

I think these tricks are crap. When I want a piece of coconut cake, no stick of gum is going to make me think, “Man, now THAT was a meal-capper!” And when I think these tricks will work and I don’t bring a little sweet treat with me to work for after lunch, I end up at the vending machine gorging on Twix and getting evil glares from my boss, who undoubtedly thinks I am some kind of sugar addict. So I thought, there must be some sort of less-sweet dessert recipe out there that will satisfy my sweets craving and also not have 1,000 calories per bite.

On the menu:
Dark chocolate brownies (Adapted from Ellie Krieger’s Dark Chocolate Brownies)
Disclaimer: these are not your typical Duncan Hines fudgy, oily brownies. If you’re looking for a square of decadence, this is not it. But these are chocolatey, they are cakey, and one little square is enough to make me feel contented and sufficiently sleepy at 3PM. And that’s all I’m asking for.

8 oz. bittersweet chocolate
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp canola oil
6 oz. plain yogurt (one small container)
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler, or in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water, stirring occasionally.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder. In another separate bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar. Add yogurt, applesauce, vanilla, and oil to eggs and sugar. Add the melted chocolate mixture to the other liquid mix. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until the batter is completely moistened.

Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish. Pour batter into baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
*I had to use a slightly smaller baking dish, and ended up baking these for 45 minutes, so do keep an eye on them. If you bake them for too long they will be dry and inedible. Gross.

As I said, these are not your Betty Crocker standbys; but they are sweet and cakey and only my thunder thighs will know the difference.

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I Love ’em All

Pancakes, that is. I. Love. Pancakes. Is it a simple batter? Can it be flipped using a spatula and a griddle? Is it flat and round? I will eat it, sir.

To celebrate the early acquisition of a highly coveted new cookbook, I picked a pancake recipe and hopped to. Amanda Hesser’s upcoming The Essential New York Times Cookbook is everything you could ever want from food in the New York Times. She has pulled recipes from literally every decade of the Times’ recipe section’s existence, tried the recipes out, and offered up her suggestions for making them delicious in the present day. I freaking love this cookbook. And I ESPECIALLY love the hilarious but still tempting recipes from the 1970s and 80s, most of which involve pickling and weird methods of serving eggs. This is the stuff, people. This. Is. The. Stuff.

On the menu:
Fresh corn griddle cakes with parmesan and chives
Serves 4-6
Adapted from Amanda Hesser’s version of Jack Bishop’s “If Corn’s Off the Cob, Use Your Imagination” from The Essential New York Times Cookbook, published by W. W. Norton, available in October 2010

4 medium ears corn, shucked
1 egg
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 Tbsp chives, snipped
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 Tbsp unsalted butter

Working over a large bowl, grate the corn on the large holes of a box grater until the cobs are clean; discard the cobs. Add the egg, flour, cheese, chives, salt, and pepper to the corn. Stir until the batter is smooth. Taste and add more salt and/or pepper as needed.

Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Scoop up 1/4 cup of the thick batter and scrape it into the skillet, smoothing the mound to a flat pancake for cooking. Cook each pancake for 6 minutes on each side for best results (you want each cake crispy on the outside and cooked all the way through, unlike a traditional pancake that is more delicate).

Et voila! Crispy corn cakes that you can serve with virtually any meal. They would be lovely in a bread basket on the table at dinner with roast chicken and mashed potatoes, or warmed in the toaster with a pat of butter and maybe a little mango salsa over top. I was also thinking these would be phenomenal in place of an English muffin in Eggs Benedict. But then again… I am literally always thinking of Eggs Benedict.

Please don’t judge me.

Bon weekend!

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Beet It

I know, I know… I am SO punny. No one has ever made this joke before. Anyway.

Photo c/o BlogHer.com

Beets! They are beautiful in color and phenomenal in texture. If you’ve ever had a bad borsht experience, maybe you’re scared of them. As a kid I vividly remember frozen Tupperware full of hot pink soup and I never, EVER wanted to taste that terrifying liquid. But I have moved on. Grown up. You know.

Most beets are boiled, broiled, sauteed, or roasted and while they are delicious cooked up, they are also phenomenal raw. Just be aware: your hands will turn a lovely shade of magenta if you work with them bare-skinned.

On the menu:
Raw beet salad (Adapted from Mark Bittman’s Raw Beet Salad)

1 pound beets
1/2 pound carrots
1 tsp spicy whole grain mustard
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Peel beets and carrots, and then use a potato peeler to shave them into long strips. Mince the shallot and add to beets and carrots. Toss with mustard, olive oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper. Chill before serving.

*Please note: due to technical difficulties (seriously, the story of my life this week) the picture above is not of the crispy, tangy salad I myself created and enjoyed. Using my recipe above, your salad will be “earthier” looking than the one in the picture. Go with it, friends.

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A Short Story

I’d been working on a couple posts. Nothing fancy. Just some good old fashioned ooey gooey pictures with some witty banter to follow. You know how I do.

They were saved on my work computer. I know, I shouldn’t have been posting at work. Sue me. Sike. Please don’t sue me.

My computer crashed. That’s all there is to it. I almost cried, but I did not. And so, in lieu of my own fancy pictures of gorgeous eats, I give you this:

Food Porn Daily

I just… well… I… yum. Oh… yum.

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