food

Okay, I know, I have a habit of disappearing.

But (there’s always a but): it was the long weekend, I had tons of work, several projects are coming up due, yadda yadda yadda I’ve got more if you need them.  I had no idea making the transition back to fall (among other things) would be so hard!  But I’m here now.  Isn’t that worth something?

Last night T and I headed around the corner to the Brooklyn Inn (if you’re not from the neighborhood, you might recognize it from its brief role in Gossip Girl, caught betwixt Vanessa, Chuck, and Blair) for our first CSA cook-off.  Well, we didn’t cook anything because I don’t think I’ve been home for more than 5 minutes at a time this week, but we thought that we would offer up our excellent palates and judge.

Well, seems like nobody else had an extra few minutes to cook up a dish either.  The only one that entered the cook-off was a simple (yet delicious) Yellow Tomato sauce pasta dish.  Which I then ate an entire plateful of for dinner.  I don’t recall the woman’s name (she didn’t stay long), but from what I tasted, here’s a quick and easy way to throw together a fresh dish for a last minute dinner.

Onions
Garlic
Yellow Tomatoes
Pasta (spaghetti or angel hair)

Start with your aromatic: saute the onions (chopped) in butter while you’re boiling your pasta in another pot.  Dice the yellow tomatoes and throw those in with the onions once the onions are translucent.  Add the garlic, cook for another minute (you don’t want the tomatoes soggy or the garlic bitter) and remove from heat.  Mix in the pasta (we had angel hair) and top generously with parmesan cheese.

Then say goodbye to summer, because it looks like fall is on its way in…

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Corruption Tactics I Support, part I

Bribes.

Yes, thats right, you heard me correctly.  I am a big fan of the bribe.  I find that it becomes handy in a variety of situations and at all stages of life.  In high school, a small sibling (Z, I’m looking at you) can be convinced to keep a secret with a small offering from your babysitting money; in college, a well-placed bottle of liquor can keep the same sibling quiet when he catches you sneaking into the house at odd hours of the morning.  And now, that I’m a supposedly grown, responsible adult?  Well, lets just say, these things still work.

In fact, as I type, J is transcribing my final interview. As I’ve complained before, while I’m a master at whining, I’m not a master at transcription.  But with a few conveniently poured glasses of wine and the promise of dessert, my favorite roommate of the evening (sorry T, but you’re not home) is sitting behind her interview, listening to my cackling voice over her ipod, putting words to paper.  And I am sitting pretty.  Finishing the rest of that bottle of wine (and making sure not to burn the thus promised dessert).  Which, dear reader, I will taunt you with here:

Blackberry Peach Crisp

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(In all honesty, I’m not sure why this alone doesn’t qualify as dessert: I think chopped butter, oats, sugar and flour tastes delicious on its own.  Is it just me?  Its just me, isn’t it.)

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(Step 2: fruit chopping.  This is probably more acceptable to eat on one’s own.  Less judgement all around.)

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(This picture only reinforces my cooking philosophy: its not cooking if some doesn’t end up on the counter.)

Oh right, and then I put it in the oven, baked it, and me and J devoured them before I remembered the camera.  Oops.  Until next time!

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Starting the Countdown

Hopefully over the course of the next week, I don’t go blind.  Between work and finishing up “Authors in the Kitchen” I’m not sure if there will be any spare moments when I’m not staring at my computer.  Its 11 AM on a Saturday morning and I’m pretty sure I’m the only one that’s been awake for the past several hours transcribing interviews.

Something I’ve learned?  I am the worst transcriber of interviews.  Slow and steady does not win this race.  My issue is apparently not that I’m a slow typer (I’m not) or that I get easily distracted (I don’t) but that I’m a slightly-hard-of-hearing perfectionist.  I’ll “rewind” (not sure if there’s a word for that in the digital realm yet) just to get every “um” “yeah” “you know” that I can, so I have every painstaking syllable on paper (ok, on screen).  So that a half hour interview can take me 3 times that just to get all the words down!  It may or may not be worth it to invest in one of those speech-recognition programs… thoughts?

But the project is slowly coming together and when I’m not exhausted at the prospect of finishing this thing, I do feel hints of excitement.  Its been so much fun chatting with all of these authors about cooking and food memories, that I think I’ll probably need to extend my career a bit further in that direction.  Also, an awesome excuse for cooking up loads of delicious food, which hopefully will be revealed all in good time.

One dish that I did make this past week that had nothing to do with the project and everything to do with the gorgeous artichokes I picked up the other day was homemade hollandaise.  I can’t even begin to explain how many times I have tried and failed to whip up (sans machine!) hollandaise sauce of the right thickness.  I refuse to go the fail-proof blender way (although I think A would have appreciated that much faster method Tuesday night) but I finally whipped myself into a successful frenzy.  And have two enormous blisters on my fingers to prove it.

The sauce was actually thick! Very thick! Almost surprisingly thick! Maybe a bit lemony, but thats completely besides the point.  We then steamed 2 globe artichokes and ate them leaf by leaf.  We were a bit surprised when neither of us stumbled across the hairy choke (god, that makes me feel uncomfortable just typing – couldn’t they call it something else?) but besides that missing feature, the rest was delicious.  So, here you go – I made A take pictures while I whipped (couldn’t stop stirring, hence the blurriness) and then I tried to make him smile while eating so I could photograph the experience (although apparently sucking artichoke leaves while grinning simultaneously is a nearly impossible task).  Also, everything seems to be glowing a bizarre yellow color…

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Oh right, and the whole point of this post: the countdown!  Let’s cross our fingers and hope this thing launches the day after labor day… so 10 days to go!!

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food

Simple Sundays: Swiss Chard Pasta

We had leftover everything in our house: mascarpone from our eggplant lasagne, wilting Swiss chard from last weeks CSA, and half an onion that someone left in the fridge.  We always have pasta, so I concocted a quick dish that would be a little bit healthy, a little bit creamy, and wouldn’t waste what we have in the house.  That’s been one of the best parts about the CSA – its forcing us to be a lot more creative than we usually would be.  And more spontaneous.

This is a great recipe to throw together when you just don’t have time and you just don’t want to be cooking.  Its a quick meal without being processed, packaged, or frozen one.  Plus, Swiss chard really is that good for you.

Swiss Chard and Mascarpone Pasta

ingredients
Swiss chard
chicken broth
Mascarpone cheese
whole wheat pasta (I recommend spaghetti, but I used penne)
a clove of garlic
half an onion

preparation

Cut the stems out of the swiss chard.  Roll the leaves up like a cigar and slice the chard.  This will cut the chard into nice skinny, long pieces to wrap around the pasta.  Mince the garlic and chop the onion as well. Throw the garlic and onion into a saute pan with some butter.  Once the onions are translucent, add about a tablespoon of chicken broth and keep cooking.  After a few minutes, add the chard.  Let wilt.  Then add as much Mascarpone as you have (or as you want!).  It will melt into the other veggies when it hits the pan.  If the sauce is too thick, add more chicken broth (but most likely the melted Mascarpone will be enough).  Pour over the pasta (that you boiled while you were cooking the rest of the meal).

This will take you *at most* 20 minutes.  And you didn’t even have to use anything pre-packaged.  Okay, except for the pasta.  But I’m not going to ask you to make your own pasta…

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Call For Tasters

As I keep saying (probably more out of stress, less out of excitement) the launch of Authors in the Kitchen is just around the corner.  This weekend, as part of an entire month of finishing touches, is food photography weekend.

So many authors passed on delicious recipes to me, that I (naively?) want to include in the articles – as photographs.  Because I have little time, and no natural light in the evenings when I get home, I’ve decided to have a one weekend cooking extravaganza.  This means if you know me and are in the New York City metropolitan area, you are being mandated to come to my house to eat the vast quantities of food that I will be producing (and photographing).

Enticement? Besides my amazing cooking? I’ll definitely be remaking those limey gin & tonics…

See you tomorrow!

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Top Secret Gin & Tonics

Coming this September, as I must have mentioned a million times, is my “Authors in the Kitchen” project.  A friend of mine, who is a writer and also a fabulous bartender (and chef!) gave me her Limey Gin & Tonic recipe for the project. Trust me, you should get excited about it.  I can’t share it just yet, but J and I whipped up a test batch last night, to photograph for the project of course!  And then proceeded to drink the entire pitcher between the two of us… hey, its hot out!  So to tease you just a little bit…

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