Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hot and Bubbly

I don't have one bad thing to say about the galette. Whether it is a crepe, king cake, or giant pastry filled with fruit, the galette can't be beat. Why would you not want to fill a light, buttery pastry, crepe, or cake with the season's freshest fruits?! I have to admit, I made a little shout of victory when I saw the piles of giant, ripe plums and pluots in the grocery store. It is my favorite time of year. I mostly enjoy plums by just biting into them and letting the juices flow, but I thought I'd try to liven it up this season with tarts, galettes, and who knows what else.

Plum and Cardamom Galette
serves two +

4 large, ripe black plums, pitted and thinly sliced
2 tblsp butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 C sugar (will vary depending on the sweetness of the fruit)
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry. Roll it out to as large a circle as you'd like to make. I rolled mine about to about 8 inches. Arrange the sliced fruit in a flower shape, starting in the middle and working your way out. Sprinkle the sugar and cardamom over top of the fruit. Place the butter pieces haphazardly. With a small sharp knife, cut a smooth circle out of the pastry. Take the edges and form them into a pleats around the pile of fruit. You can make something decorative out of the scraps or discard them. Bake on a lined baking sheet (it will ooze and bubble) and bake at 350 for about 15-18 minutes or until golden, and bubbling hot. Slice and serve warm with a dollop of ice cream or fresh whipped cream.

This obviously isn't a rocket science recipe. Experiment with different fruits and flavors. Thankfully you can make a tasty galette without making your own puff pastry, so this is a quick enough dessert to try over and over again. If you want to make your own puff pastry, good luck!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I was reading a recent post by Adam over at TAG in the middle of class the other day and nearly lost it. He talks about his meal at Per Se and how wonderful it is when you burp up a meal and it still tastes good. Did MFK Fisher really say that? I'm just glad I'm not the only one who appreciates a tasty burp. Ok, that's pretty gross but really, consider yourself lucky when you have food that good. I was reminded of Adam's silly belching last night when it happened to me. Try this recipe for a similar experience.

Sometimes I think I should just call this blog the flank steak blog. Do I make anything else? Every time I'm picking up groceries, I nab at least 2 flanks for good measure. It's pretty hard to get sick of something that you can do so many different things with. Here is yet another wonderful recipe!

Flank Steak with Mushroom Cream Sauce
serves 2 super hungry folks

1/4 C soy sauce
2 tblsp balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic
1/4 C olive oil
a good amount of pepper

Mix all of the above ingredients in a blender or food processor until emulsified. Pour in a big ziploc and toss the flank steak (1+ lbs) in and let it do it's thing for about 30 minutes or however long you have. Then, line a pan or broiler pan with foil, lightly oiled, and put the steak under the broiler for about 5 mins a side. You know the drill. How many times have I mentioned how easy it is to cook a juicy flank under the broiler?!

2-3 tblsp butter
1 lb crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/4 C beef broth
1/4 C heavy cream
2 tsp dijon mustard and/or grainy mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a skillet with a little olive oil. Add the mushrooms and cook for for about 3 minutes. Add the broth and mustard and bring to a boil. Let this reduce by about 1/2 to 2/3 then lower the heat. Add the cream and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until the sauce thickens and coats a spoon.

Slice the beef and pour the mushroom sauce over top. Salivating yet? I served this with some crispy fingerling potatoes. Burp. Mmm.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Warm Drink

I think some karma is at work after I did that boasting about the warm weather down here. It has been cold! By cold I actually mean in the high 60's... but there's a good chill in the air coming off the ocean. We have been leaving the windows open to let the cool night air come in. On nights like these, we sip a warm cup of chai with ginger vodka. If the warm spices in the chai don't do the trick, the ginger vodka warms you up as it hits the back of your throat. If you can find this impressive bottle of Polish vodka be sure to pick it up. We haven't figured out any other uses for it yet but we're trying to get creative.

Ginger Vodka Chai
1 shot Alchemy ginger vodka
3 parts Tazo Chai concentrate (We've found Tazo has the most spices and is therefore the most flavorful)
2 parts milk

Either froth the milk separately and combine or add to a mug and heat it in the microwave.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Dear blog,
I'm really sorry all of my pictures look sick lately. A certain someone dropped my camera and it hasn't been the same since.



Whether you believe it or not, the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. In all the hours I've spent over a cadaver (far too many!), the heart and stomach aren't really that related. Regardless, yummy food can warm the heart and make for a 'romanitical' evening.

Sometimes I consult this silly little cookbook P bought for me but this Valentine's day I just wanted simple, little tidbits. We munched all evening on bits of French cheeses, crusty bread with fruity olive oil, Florida strawberries I dipped in cinnamon-ancho dark chocolate, miniature crab cakes with aioli, small steaks with cocoa, cumin, and cardamom or espresso and ancho, a yummy artichoke dip, and finished the night with tiramisu. Ok, I guess it doesn't sound like a quick and simple little meal of odds and ends. Somehow I didn't spend the whole night in the kitchen which was the best part.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sometimes we just get really tired of eating out. I think that even if I lived in NYC, with a new place to eat on every corner, I'd still get tired of it. It isn't just the idea of home cooking, but more so the idea of eating something lighter, cleaner, and simpler than typical restaurant fare. I also forget how much cheaper it is to eat at home!

Lately I've really been on the mark in the kitchen which has made us not want to go out. I'm trying some new things and refining some of our favorite standbys. It's all simple "30-minute meal" type food that we'd both take over a restaurant anytime. Blog, be excited.

Spicy Korean Steak Stirfry
adapted from Gourmet

1/4 C soy sauce
2 tblsp rice vinegar (not seasoned)
1 tblsp grated peeled ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp sambal oelek (substitute sirachi if not available)
2 tsp sugar
1.5 tsp sesame oil

1 to 1 1/4 lb flank steak
half of a big red onion, chunked
1 pint sliced crimini mushrooms
1 bell pepper (red, yellow, or orange)

Combine all the ingredients in a small dish, stir and set aside. On the stove top, saute the pepper, red onion, and mushrooms in a bit of oil. I like it charred a bit. Meanwhile cook the steak. I use flank steak for just about everything but you can use another cut of beef for this recipe as well. Just don't overcook it! I did the flank steak under the broiler just with salt and pepper. When it was cooked to medium, I took it out spooned some of the sauce over it and let it sit before slicing. The rest of the sauce add to the skillet. Add the sliced beef to the pan to let it all incorporate for a minute then serve over rice. It's spicy!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Baby it's cold outside... not here

While friends and family are back home enjoying temperatures in the teens, I'm in Florida enjoying the early Spring '70's. I really can't complain about the weather but it does make it hard to cook sometimes. It feels like I should be eating roasts, root vegetables, and potatoes in January and February. I'm not quite ready for lighter, summer-y foods. So I offer this potpie recipe by Martha Stewart. I think it is the best potpie EVER! Plus it's low-fat and simple. Hopefully it warms you up.

Chicken Potpie
adapted from Martha Stewart

a scant 2 cups of cooked chicken (use a rotisserie to save time)
2 tblsp butter
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 C frozen peas
1 onion, chopped fine
2.5 C milk of any fat content
1/4 C flour
4 sprigs of fresh thyme (dried works too)
the juice from half a lemon
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed overnight

On the stove top, melt butter and cook onions and carrots until tender. If you're using dried thyme, add that here. If you're using fresh thyme, add it with the milk so it doesn't burn. Add the flour and stir constantly for 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk and stir well to combine. Make sure you don't have any lumps! Bring to a boil until the mixture thickens. Add the frozen peas and the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Carefully pour the chicken in then add the entire mixture to a large dish such as a 9x9. Set the puff pastry sheet on top and trim the edges. You can even make pretty little flowers or leaves with the pastry scraps like I did. Cook at 400 until golden brown and bubbly, about 20 minutes.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Sushi Bowl

A week doesn't go by without us having sushi at our favorite place in town. Sometimes we go twice a week because Raku is really just that good. When we're not out having sushi, we're home wishing we could make our own sushi. Home sushi making is something I've always thought I'd try one day but have yet to pick up. Sushi chefs make it look pretty easy. All you need is a bamboo mat and a really sharp knife right?

The argument of what 'sushi-grade' fish really means has turned me off of the idea of home sushi making to some extent. However, there are still a lot of things you can do at home to help your sushi cravings. I like this idea of the sushi bowl sometimes called Chirashi or Girashi in restaurants.

Sushi Bowl
for two

1.5-2 C uncooked short grain rice (I like Botan but you can buy expensive sushi rice and add rice wine vinegar and get fancy if you want)
sesame seeds
assorted ingredients:
  • smoked salmon
  • scallions
  • shitake mushrooms
  • sliced avocado
  • julienned cucumbers
  • julienned carrots
  • blanched asparagus
  • seared tuna
  • shrimp
  • Imitation "Krab" meat
  • sliced mango
  • pan-fried tofu
  • kiwi
  • sweetened egg
  • seaweed
  • radish, etc.
Cook the rice per the instructions (hopefully in a rice cooker) and let it cool to room temperature. Assemble whatever hodge-podge of things you want to add over the rice and then make it look pretty like a real sushi chef. Serve it with miso soup and/or a simple salad and some store bought ginger dressing and you've got the full experience. Don't forget the sake!