halloween treat

Pumpkin-chocolate whoopie pie
(recipe from the Nov. 2011 Everyday Food magazine)

The cookies
2 c. flour
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
3/4 c. pumpkin purée
1 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. melted butter
1/4 c. heavy cream

Whisk together the wet ingredients, then add the dry ingredients & whisk until just combined. Drop dough in 1-TBSP mounds onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for about 14 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. They're done when the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Let cool completely before filling.

The filling
1/4 c. butter at room temperature
1/2 c. heavy cream
1-3/4 c. confectioners' sugar
2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

Mix with an electric mixer until fluffy. Spread on the flat side of a cookie, then press another cookie on the other side to make a sandwich.


chilly today. chili tonight.

3 strips thick-cut bacon, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced (set some aside for garnish)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBSP chili powder
1 generous tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp paprika
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 cup(ish) beer (I didn't measure)
1 can red kidney beans
1 large can crushed tomatoes
(grated cheddar & diced onion for garnish)

In a heavy dutch oven pot on medium heat, cook the bacon until starting to crisp.

Add pepper, onion & garlic and cook until they start to soften. Mix in spices and cook for a few minutes.

Add ground beef. Break it up and cook until browned. Season with salt.

Stir in beer & beans. Then stir in the crushed tomatoes. Add more salt.

Cover pot, turn heat to low, and simmer for an hour. Stir occasionally.

Garnish with cheddar & some raw onion.

I made cornbread to go with the chili (not pictured). Click here for a simple & quick recipe. (note: I used turbinado sugar instead of white, and substituted 1/3 c. melted butter for the veg. oil)


baked sweet potato

-Wash the potato, poke all over with a fork, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with coarse salt.
-Bake in a 400-degree oven for 50-60 min.
-Slice open, stuff with crumbled feta, and return to the oven, until the cheese gets a little melty.
-Top with greek yogurt, scallions, and fresh thyme leaves. Season with salt & pepper.


heirloom tomato tart

Heirloom tomatoes really DO taste better than their genetically-modified counterparts.

To make the tart: Heat oven to 400. Roll out puff pastry dough to 12"x12", and fold the edges in to make a border. Brush with a very light coating of sour cream, and chill. Then top with a layer of thin tomato slices (about 1/8" thick). Season with salt & pepper. Bake for 20-30 minutes (sprinkle feta on about halfway through), until the dough is done and golden brown. When it's done, top with basil leaves.


taste of summer

Spicy cucumber salad (cucumber with thinly-sliced onion and fresh parsley, splash of rice vinegar and red pepper flakes:
Thanks to my coworker Bob for bringing in cucumbers from his garden to share with the office!

Sweet corn with butter, chili powder, salt & squeeze of lime 
(photo dedicated to Kelly):
New Jersey peaches over French vanilla ice cream, with candied ginger and basil (credit to Bob's garden for the basil):


fun with hurricane rations

Since hurricane Irene has passed without my losing electricity (and because I watched a bunch of episodes of "Chopped" while I was cooped up indoors for 2 days), I decided tonight to challenge myself to come up with a dinner featuring something from my now unnecessary non-perishable hurricane food supply: things like nuts/trail mix, bread, bananas... and beef jerky.

I made queso blanco arepas topped with beef jerky & grape tomatoes:

The arepas: combine 3/4 c masa harina (fine corn flour), 3/4 c water, 1/8 tsp coarse salt, and crumbled queso blanco. Let sit for 5-10 min. Form dough into 4 small "pancakes". Heat oil on medium (dough should sizzle when you put it in the pan). Cook about 5 minutes/side.

The topping: heat a splash of oil in a pan, add 1 clove minced garlic. Before it begins to brown, add sliced beef jerky, to just warm through. Then add sliced grape tomatoes, chopped fresh parsley, and some black pepper and cook for a minute or so. Top arepas with the mixture and squeeze a piece of lime on top.

With the exception of the cheese (which could be left out), none of the ingredients in this meal needs refrigeration. Not a bad meal if you do find yourself without power.

It was quite tasty. The jerky was a bit tough, but actually not too bad.
I would definitely make this dish again, using chorizo or skirt steak instead of the jerky.



I was inspired by this recipe, and adapted it using the ingredients I had on hand.

Heat some olive oil in a pan, and add a smashed garlic glove—just to infuse the oil with the garlic flavor. Before it gets any color, fish the garlic out and add yellow squash (peeled and sliced lengthwise into 1/4"-thick slices and seasoned with salt & pepper). When the squash is nicely browned on both sides, remove from the pan and set aside. Add to the pan a minced garlic clove and some chopped roasted red peppers, and heat through. Then mix in cooked red quinoa, a few chopped pieces of the yellow squash, and cilantro. Serve over yellow squash slices and garnish with a squeeze of lime and crumbled feta.


blueberry-ginger jam

At first glance these two photos look a lot alike... 
but they have different personalities.

The first is savory: ciabatta drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with salt, and lightly toasted. Topped with ricotta (seasoned with salt & pepper), and blueberry jam.

The second is sweet: anise-flavored pizzelle (waffle cookie), scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, spoonful of jam, and bits of candied ginger.

I found the basic blueberry jam recipe in Real Simple magazine, then embellished it a little with the ginger and Cointreau.

2 cups blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
juice from half a lemon
1/8 tsp kosher salt
splash of Cointreau 
handful of chopped candied ginger

Put everything except the ginger in a pot and mash it up. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer for about 20 minutes (until it gets thick). I added the ginger in about halfway through. Let cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge (it'll keep for a few weeks, but my supply only lasted about 2 days).


that's a wrap

My new favorite sandwich: Spinach wrap, slathered with spicy hummus, and layered with lettuce leaves, a bed of pickled carrots & daikon (made using this recipe), and pile of thinly-sliced roast beef.


the farmers' market

My bounty from the Union Square farmer's market (I also got a large potted basil plant):
And what I made with it:

Sliced very thin, with basil, balsamic, olive oil, salt & pepper.

Peel, slice, dust with flour & coarse salt, dip in egg wash, dredge in panko & garlic herb bread crumbs, and fry in olive oil.

With paper-thin onion, basil, capers, drizzle of olive oil, salt & pepper.


pickled beets & goat cheese

Another happy food accident... I had some herb & garlic goat cheese, but lacked a cheese vehicle (like bread or crackers). Luckily, pickled beet slices stepped in and saved the day. Delicious!


blueberry custard pie with candied ginger

Grandma's recipe. (the candied ginger garnish is my own modern twist)

Sorry I'm not posting the recipe. It's not that it's a family secret, it's just that the recipe contains some approximations that I'm still figuring out how to master... my first few attempts at making this pie were kind of a disaster (this one came out pretty damn good, if I do say so myself).

At first, I was confused as to why this pie was giving me so much trouble. I remembered helping make this pie many times as a child.
But then, I realized that I "helped" in the way that kids "help" in the kitchen... by standing around and watching Grandma do it (though I'm sure I did pick the berries from my grandparents' blueberry bushes).

If I fine-tune this pie enough that I can write a concise recipe,
I'll update this post at a later time.
...then again, maybe grandma-recipes should stay sacred.


kielbasa eggs benedict

They say that necessity is the mother of invention... I wanted eggs benedict this morning, but didn't have Canadian bacon or the desire to figure out how to make hollandaise sauce. Damn.

But then I realized that I had a chunk of kielbasa leftover from dinner the other night and Kerrygold garlic & herb butter, and I got an idea...

-toasted multi-grain English muffin, lightly buttered
-3 slices of kielbasa, seared in a pan on the stove until browned
-poached egg
-pat of herbed butter on top, which melts to provide the sauce element

oh yeah... I will definitely be making this again.


thai coconut soup

This soup is well worth the effort to go out and get the ingredients. 
I was able to quickly find everything in my local Asian market. 
(p.s. "glangal" = ginger)

The only ingredient that eluded me was the kaffir lime leaves. When I asked a store clerk if they had them, I got a puzzling answer: They don't sell them because they're illegal. I thought there must have been a misunderstanding, so I looked it up when I got home. Seems it is illegal to import kaffir lime leaves to the U.S. (because of some sort of pest that they can harbor, that we don't want to introduce here). However, they're ok when grown domestically. So they're possible to get, it just may not be easy. I just omitted them, and the soup was delicious anyway :-)


dijon pork tenderloin

Recipe from Simply Recipes. I used pork tenderloin, cut into medallions. On the side is brussels sprouts that have been roasted with olive oil, salt & pepper. Then finished with lemon zest, a squeeze of lemon juice, and topped with toasted almond slivers.


happy valentine's day

Mini mint chocolate pudding cake (recipe from Simply Recipes), topped with a scoop of dark chocolate-mint Häagen-Dazs ice cream.


sunday feast

This afternoon, I went over to my friend Julia's for a movie day. 
For such an occasion, most people would make popcorn. 
Julia cooked a duck.

It was stuffed with an obscene amount of garlic and sage, and coated in mustard (and more sage). And it was utterly amazing.

My contribution was rosemary cornbread. I used this recipe, but as one of the commenters suggested, used a combination of 1/3 c. white sugar + 1/3 c. brown sugar for the sugar, and used melted butter instead of vegetable oil. Also, I added 1 TBSP chopped fresh rosemary.

For dessert, Julia made cranberry pie. Yummm!


dear food porn...

I received the following e-mail yesterday:

Dear Food Porn,

I miss you. You make my lunch time even better. I wish you would come back soon.

Bored at Lunch

Thank you, concerned food porn viewer!
It's true. I've been slacking on the new posts lately. But never fear! I have plans for some delicious food this weekend. Stay tuned...


shrimp & andouille sausage with cheesy grits

Thanks to Kristen Jones for this fantastic recipe!

1.5 lbs shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails off
Cajun seasoning
1 link andouille sausage, diced
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3-4 green onions, chopped (reserve green parts for garnish)
1/2 jar roasted red peppers, chopped
2 TBSP tomato paste
1 TBSP flour
1 cup chicken broth
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 cups milk
2 cups water
1.5 cups quick grits
1 TBSP butter
1 1/2 cups (or more) grated white cheddar

Sprinkle shrimp with Cajun seasoning & set aside while you chop other ingredients.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a little olive oil & saute shrimp briefly. Remove shrimp to a plate.

Cook sausage in same skillet until brown. Add onion, garlic & white parts of green onion; saute until tender. Add roasted red peppers, a little more Cajun seasoning, and tomato paste.

Add about a tablespoon of flour (may need to add some additional butter/oil if sausage doesn't render much fat) and cook 1 minute. Add chicken broth & lemon juice; bring to a boil & simmer over medium heat til thickened.

Meanwhile, bring milk & water to a slow boil, add some salt. Slowly whisk in grits & cook 5-7 mins until thickened.

Add cream to vegetable mixture, then put shrimp back in pan.

Add butter & cheese to grits, taste for salt & add some black pepper. Serve shrimp over grits; garnish with green onions & hot sauce if you like.