Category Archives: Cooking

Malaysian Chicken Over Rice

Please note, this is the least appetizing picture I could've possibly taken of this dish - it was INCREDIBLE and I couldn't wait to stuff it in my face.

It’s always a good-eats weekend when Giuseppe is in town. He is such an incredible cook, and when you ask him for the recipe he almost can’t tell you because it’s all in his brain. I have oodles and oodles of respect for cooks that can just smell and taste when something is right. And oh man… was this right.

*Please note that this is a dish you HAVE to watch over, taste and smell. It takes some intuition! Just trust yourself.

On the menu:
Malaysian chicken over rice

6 chicken breasts
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1/4 cup green onion (scallion or Asian), just the green part
2 cups broccoli, frozen or fresh
1/4 cup unsalted natural peanut butter
1 Tbsp tamarind sauce
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 Tbsp garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp Sriracha
1 cup light coconut milk
1/2 cup snow peas
1/2 cup carrots
2 Tbsp Asian basil
2 Tbsp lemon grass
Salt to taste
3 cups roasted basmati rice [you can buy this already roasted, or roast it yourself in the oven]

Cut raw chicken into strips and pat dry. In a very large pot (you’ll be making everything but the rice in one big pot) heat the sesame oil over medium/high heat and add the chicken. Cook until the chicken is very lightly browned. Lower the heat to medium. Add onions and cook for another 2 minutes. Add broccoli and cook until the broccoli has just turned bright green, around 2 – 3 minutes. Add peanut butter, tamarind sauce, ginger, and garlic and cook until incorporated with other ingredients, around 2 minutes. Add coconut milk. When the chicken is cooked through (test a piece to check for pink inside), add the snow peas, carrots, basil, and lemongrass. Stir well and let simmer until the basil and lemongrass are fragrant.

The rice will take about 45 minutes, so best to start it at the beginning of prep.

Serve the stew over the rice and watch the faces around your table light up with glee.

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My Italian Grandmother

My mother always tells me, “You had the only Italian grandmother who couldn’t cook.” Grandma Mel may have made more imitation-crab salads than meaty lasagnas, but she made one dish that I will never forget. And in this CONSTANT heat and humidity, my craving for it hit me like a Mack truck.

On the menu:
Rosa Marina Pasta Salad

1 lb of Rosa Marina or Orzo (I had to use Orzo because my local grocer doesn’t carry Rosa Marina)
1 small bag of shredded coconut
1 9 oz container of Cool Whip
2 eggs, beaten
2 large cans of crushed pineapple packed in 100% pineapple juice (no syrup!)
2 Tbsp flour
1 cup cherries, chopped (this recipe typically calls for maraschino cherries, but I had just bought fresh so I used them)
1 large can of mandarin oranges*
3/4 cup of sugar*

*I’m not sure if once again this was my local grocery or a trend in canned fruit, but I could only find mandarin oranges packed in light syrup instead of real fruit juice, which I HATE. Because I could only find the sugared oranges, I only added 1/2 cup of sugar. You really don’t need all that extra anyway.

Cook noodles according to package. Drain pineapple and oranges, but save juice.  In juice, cook eggs, sugar and flour until the mixture comes to a boil.  Let cool for 5 minutes and then pour over noodles. Cover and refrigerate over night. Next day, loosen mixture with spatula. Fold in chopped cherries, pineapple, oranges, coconut and Cool Whip. Mix well and chill. Eat in front of a fan with a glass of lemon water with a little Buona Fortuna by The Four Sicilians playing in the background…

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The Incredible, Edible…

You get it. Once again, this weekend was a scorcher. It’s forcing the cook in me to be creative and devise recipes and meals that don’t require my oven but are also innovative and appetizing enough to keep me from calling up Delivery.com. You know the feeling.

I dined on some INCREDIBLE Malaysian stew Sunday night for dinner, and will have that recipe for you tomorrow. In an effort to start your weekend off right (and drooling) this is a quick meal I whipped up sans oven and in two lovely little pans. It’s incredibly basic, and you’ll notice my fridge staples in there: tomatoes, goat cheese, and walnuts. If I have them on hand, I never go hungry.

On the menu:
Scrambled eggs with tomatoes, goat cheese, and walnuts over fried potatoes

There is no magic recipe here, folks. One tip I will share with you is my recipe for the PERFECT scrambled eggs. You start with a clean non-stick frying pan, and spray a little cooking spray in the pan. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs with a little milk and about 2 Tbsp cheddar cheese. Pour the egg mixture in the frying pan, and turn heat to LOW. This is important. Keep the heat at low the entire time, constantly moving the eggs in the pan with a spatula. Once the eggs start to firm up (when almost all the liquid is gone) turn off the heat. NOTE: eggs continue to cook even after you remove them from the heat, so if you want them delicious and creamy, kill the heat just before they’re done.

Et voila! I fried up some potatoes in an adjacent frying pan, plated them, poured the scrambled eggs over top, and added my toppings. It’s attractive, satisfying, and it took me literally 15 minutes to make.

Tomorrow: Malaysian stew! Get ready. It’s gonna be good.

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The Sweet Stuff

This is a strange post. I will warn you straight off the bat. But I am so intrigued and impressed with what I managed to do with this unknown green, that I can’t help but post it ASAP. My boss, who participates in CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and receives more greens than she knows what to do with, brought me a bag of what she said were dandelion greens. I was all set to make a beautiful salad with the dandelion greens, but when I got the bag home and opened it up… I realized something. Those were absolutely not dandelion greens. It was a broad, dark green leaf with a yellow stem that looked and tasted like celery.

WTF, mate?! Does anyone know what this is? I’ve exhausted Google and I can not figure it out. I sampled the leaf, though, and created something beautiful (I am soooo humble, I know) that you should definitely try the next time you’re fed up with gross store-bought salad dressing.

On the menu:
Mystery greens salad with sweet onion dressing and goat cheese

4 cups “mystery greens” (are you totally annoyed with my lack of info on my own recipe? any bitter greens will work with this: arugula, dandelion greens, etc.)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
6 oz. goat cheese (or less… you guys know how I feel about cheese)

Roughly chop lettuce into bite sized pieces.

Heat olive oil over low heat. Add garlic and onion and cook for around 6-7 minutes, until they are fragrant and the liquid in the pan is a light purple color. Add honey and salt and mix well. Remove from heat. Whisk in balsamic vinegar. Plate the greens, pour warm dressing over greens, and crumble goat cheese over the dressing.

My plea to you, dear readers, is to find me the name of this lettuce! It is not dandelion greens. This much I know.

UPDATE: rainbow kale! Thank you to Joelle for filling me in. She also let me know that rainbow kale is not only lovely, but delicious thrown in a hot pan with a little cheese. Cheese, you say? Alright now.

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Right in Your Own Backyard

Living in New York City, the closest most of us come to growing our own food is a box on our fire escape with some basil or tomatoes. However, if you’re like me and you’re luckier than a leprechaun riding a unicorn through a field of four leaf clovers, you have a neighbor and friend who has a fig tree AND a peach tree in her backyard. It’s like Eden over there.

On the menu:
Grilled chicken over corn puree with fig relish
Serves 2

Fig Relish:

1 cup fresh figs*, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
1 shallot, minced
1 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp rosemary, finely chopped
2 tsp honey
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine vinegar, shallot, and rosemary in a small bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. Add figs and honey to vinegar mixture, fold in, set aside.

Corn puree:

1/2 cup corn (thawed frozen corn works, but nothing beats fresh summer corn cut off of the cob)
1 Tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 cup heavy cream

Melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat, add garlic and sautee until garlic is browned. Add corn and sautee for 4-5 minutes. Add heavy cream and increase heat. Stir and cook until the liquid has reduced and the cream coats the corn. Let this mixture cool, and then blend until smooth in a food processor.

Pound 2 chicken breasts flat, season with salt and pepper, and then grill, either on an actual grill or in a frying pan for 6-7 minutes on either side. To plate, pour the corn puree onto a plate, place chicken breast on the corn, and top with the fig relish.

*Note: it is not quite fig season yet (usually end of summer, early fall) but dates would also work in this dish, or red plums. You could use dried figs but you’ll get a very different texture and flavor. Still delicious but… different.

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Melty, Cheesy Goodness: Summer Style

If you read this blog on the regular, you have probably gathered by now that I like cheese. And if you’re especially perceptive, you know that I like melted cheese. It’s like a hidden message I have buried deep within the posts. Subtlety is my forte.

On the menu:
Summer squash and potato with goat cheese gratin
Serves 3 as a side, 2 as a meal

1 medium sized green squash (or yellow)
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 medium sized red potatoes
4 oz. goat cheese
1/4 cup skim milk
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Slice the potatoes and squash VERY thinly, about an 1/8 of an inch thick or thinner if you can manage. [NOTE: if you have a mandolin, use it. If not, a very sharp chef’s knife will work] Toss the potatoes, squash, and onions with the olive oil. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Layer 1/3 of the potatoes, squash, and onions in a large baking dish. Season again with a bit of salt and pepper, and crumble goat cheese over the whole layer. Repeat the “Layer, season, crumble” 2 more times until you’ve used up all the potatoes, squash, and onions. Sprinkle the grated parmesan over the top of the dish. Bake for 30 minutes with the dish covered, and another 15 minutes uncovered until the cheese is browned. Serve. Eat. Pat belly. Smile.

*Note: this recipe was adapted from this recipe at The Kitchn. Their picture is GORGEOUS. It’s worth a click.

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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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