Monday, August 31, 2009

pre cruise blues

I am so glad this went away

Sunday, August 30, 2009

baa baa black sheep

ogan Josh - translates roughly to 'red lamb' because of the use of paprika and chile powder. This dish originates in Kashmir, though mine originates in my memories from twenty plus years of eating and cooking this dish! This style of lamb is my favorite to order at Indian restaurants - more than any other - even more than vindaloo. The secret is in the yogurt. The tart acidic nature of the yogurt helps break down and tenderize the meat with such a nice flavor and I take it one step further and two steps to the side with the addition of coconut milk. I experiment with flavors!

I let this simmer for a couple of hours or more - I like the meat to get soft and I like the gravy to get infused with the fats and oils so that it is so mouthwatering and so delicious you will want to come back for thirds. Years ago I would make this and eat it with tortillas since I could make flour tortillas a lot faster than I could make naan bread, now I eat it with rice and even though I like the breads it is a bit more healthy to skip it sometimes. (as I was typing this the tortilla craving overwhelmed me and I had to give in - nothing beats taking a piece of flat bread and wrapping it around a piece of meat or potato from your plate and popping the little morsel into your eager and waiting mouth).

If you want the recipe -let me know, but I have to tell you I strayed from the original versions.

My son loves to dig in!

I AM afraid to say how this sounds- summer fun everyone!

scored some loot

After much begging and pleading and addresses lost in the 'mail' I finally got some of buffalodickdy's famed beef jerky, and let me tell you - its everything its cracked up to be. I have had jerky from here to Timbuktu and everyone does it different. I am not a huge fan of the fake smoky flavor you find in a lot of Pennsylvania jerky and I cant seem to wrap my taste buds around teriyaki jerky. I grew up in New Mexico eating and making jerky the way it was done for hundreds of years. The jerky I like best is the kind that is sliced thin, salted and peppered and hung to dry, dried so that the fat gets hard and buttery. Buff's jerky is a happy medium of sweet and spicy and not too much of that smoky flavor, its cut with the grain so it gives a good chew also - which is important to achieve and maintain that 'cowboy' feeling. Oh, lest I forget, I got a jar of some Polish deli mustard too - I cant wait to crack out some kielbasa for that bad boy.

It came in a box, the jerky was vacuum sealed but the mustard came in a collectible cup with a 'beer titty' - what do you call those soft neoprene cold drink holders - I always called them a beer titty!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

a day at the museum

'Member when I told you we were going to the museum but we didnt? We finally went. We went the first time too. We went to the very expensive museum with our coveted gift of a free pass for the month. When we got there one Friday afternoon it was 'free' day so our pass was useless, we left after shopping in the Museum Store, or whatever its called - no way were we going to go in with the 'masses' on a 'free' day. We waited two more weeks until it fit back in the schedule and we went today, not a 'free' day but definitely a 'Saturday.' I hate being so jaded. Then I get to thinking - what if one day I pull an Elvis or a Michael Jackson or a whoever - who is that kid from the joker - lief or something , you know a 'dj Am' kind of wake up call. Best to go to the museum when you can because you definitely cant go when you cant.

Its two minutes - have a looky look!

Friday, August 28, 2009

a little nice goes a long way

ho doesnt like breakfast in bed? I dont think anything is more luxurious than having your morning meal in bed and as far as I am concerned the only way to make this better is with perfectly soft boiled eggs in little egg cups.

Soft boiled eggs, cucumber slices, cheddar cheese, andouille sausage, country toast, jalapeno, tomato and in the case of Banana - lime wedges to squeeze on the salted boiled eggs.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

flan by any other name

ustard is one of life's most gracious pleasures. It is creamy, sometimes warm and always sweet. These are banana flans or creme brule de guineo or what ever other language you want to call a banana custard.

Have it like a flan....

or have it like a brule- its up to you. Why would you want the recipe? Are you going to make it? Let me know! Oh ok here's the recipe.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour


1 cup and 1/2 cup sugar
6 large eggs
1 large ripe plantain
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 13 oz cans evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. You will need 6 ramekins or other specialty flan cook ware and a large baking pan to put them in.

Pour 1 cup sugar in warm pan over medium heat. Constantly stir sugar until it browns and becomes caramel. Quickly pour approximately 2-3 tablespoons of caramel in each ramekin, tilting it to swirl the caramel around the sides. Be careful the sugar is violently hot. Reheat caramel if it starts to harden.

In a mixer or with a whisk, blend the eggs together. Mix in the smashed up plantain. Mix in the milks then slowly mix in the 1/2 cup of sugar, then the vanilla. Blend smooth after each ingredient is added.

Pour custard into caramel lined ramekins. Place ramekins in a large glass or ceramic baking dish and fill with about 1-2 inches of hot water. Bake for 45 minutes in the water bath and check with a knife just to the side of the center. If knife comes out clean, it's ready.

Remove and let cool. Let each ramekin cool in refrigerator for 1 hour. Invert each ramekin onto a small plate, the caramel sauce will flow over the custard.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

no rhyme no reason

hodgepodge of delectables. What do you call insalata caprese with cucumber? I made Girlichefs cheese and it took me a couple tries to get it right. The first batch was glorified ricotta - I put it in a press after innoculating it with blue cheese cultures and we shall see what happens in a few weeks. I dont know what went wrong but the second batch came together like clockwork. Nothing beats homemade! Next time, though, I will microwave it one less time - it did come out a little dense.

How about ramen noodle with egg and a chicken wing?

Or how about a totally mangled ensalada de bacalao with sweet plantains, cucumber and cherry tomatoes?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Every now and again I get asked to make the darndest things and when this friend of mine asked If I knew how to make 'shit on a shingle' because he had not had it in a long time and 'boy could he go for some' I was thrown backwards just a bit. Most people dont ask for this kind of thing but comfort for some is an itchy sweater to others. This guy even went so far as to have had some smoky beef he picked up at a 'meat place' in Pennsylvania and thats how it all came to play.

Chipped beef on toast, or SOS (shit on a shingle) as they called it in the army, is nothing more than your basic cream gravy made with dried or semi dried meat poured over toast - I made it a bit more than basic with shallots and butter and green onions....I wont go into detail as to which is the shit and which is the shingle as it seems pretty obvious but besides the name this stuff is pretty OK. I made it. He loved it. End of story.

hi protein

Eggs are the best bang for your buck! I am forever pushing the virtue of the egg. Loaded with omegas and alphas and tri-delts its a virtual sorority of goodness, heck why not throw in kappa kappa gamma just for fun. Load the egg up with summer booty and look out - polypeptides unite!

After getting a little summer garden bounty and some farm fresh eggs from my egg lady in Woodstock I couldnt help but want to have an omelette.

Squash blossoms, avocado, onion and cream cheese omelette with a side of fresh tomato. Lunch in my book, breakfast according to the manual.

Monday, August 24, 2009

beer thirty

Its gotta be five o:clock somewhere! I love that saying. Anyway I have been making beer since December and Ginger beer for an eternity. This last batch of Honey Nut Brown Ale came out great. It must have been, no it has to be, the honey! While it lost its head within a couple of minutes it still retained a nice carbonated fizz and a good hoppy bite and weighing in at 6% alcohol its not bad in the 'kick' department. I have a Ginger Pale Ale coming up and a nice Cinnamon Apple Ale in the hopper as well. I love homemade beer! It gets me all teary eyed and misty just thinking about it. What I like the most is learning to make more and more of the things I love - I am my own little island.

which came first

he chicken or the egg? This same conundrum applies to risotto. How do you photograph a great plate of risotto so it conveys the fact that in its ugliness it is a great plate of risotto? I have tried and I will keep on trying. I am more picky about rice than I am about al-dente pasta. Blown out rice - or 'dog bone' as it has been so affectionately called is nothing more than good rice cooked bad. People will often come up with neat little things to call mistakes to make the mistake more acceptable. Not me. I want my rice to look like rice, not a dog bone or a plate of whatevers just because I am a careless 'chef.' This is where risotto stretches the limits. Risotto looks mushy but its not, risotto looks over cooked but it is not - risotto is the rockstar of rice - it pushes the limits.

Zoom in, have a look. Nice, neat, perfect grains of rice.

Wild mushroom risotto with asparagus broth. Porcini, maitake, and winecap mushrooms give the flavor, asparagus broth gives the secret and wild green onions smack it upside the head. Peace out bunny's. Oh, did I forget to mention that I had found and then dried these mushrooms? Well, I did.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

more new fangled

I made something else with that can of crisps. Pringles chips have a unique sweet and salty flavor that actually works as an ingredient really well.

I crushed up the crisps with a little unsalted butter and put them in the bottom of a pan.

I filled the pan with cheescake mixture.

I served the cheesecakes with a little cantaloupe coulis and a fresh fig garnish.

The Pringles added a nice soft crunch and almost a nutty flavor to the soft and creamy cheesecake.

I also made some in little ramekins

and served them up similarly....

and not so similarly. I dont know who is more versatile - me or Pringles. Stay tuned I still have a couple more ideas tucked way up my sleeve.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

fishy business
It looks like I miscalculated the contest winners and I somehow misread a comment as a guess so it turns out that there is only one winner and that winner is........drum roll please......Tavolini. Thats right Tavolini used the strategy of multiple guessing so at some point the right answer was thrown in there, she guessed all the jellybeans in the jar. I think I have your address around here somewhere so keep an eye out for a little package.

Speaking of little packages thats what surrounded this post. Neat little packages.

Flounder involtini with a corn and asparagus relish.

new discontinueds

We have decided to discontinue the "guess the mystery man contest" and this decision was not reached with a c0nsensus. The decision to terminate the "guess the mystery man contest" was decided upon by me. The committee of me as I like to call it. There's a lot of m's and e's in committee but there's only one me. I put the 'me' in committee. I dont know if I need to own rights to his likeness that I used without his permission. He was at a public event. So with antilitigation in mind I withdraw the contest. So long to all my small town dreams. Two people guessed who it was = those people can step forward and get recognition or a package of some ingredients - your choice -ingredients or recognition, you cant have both.

And while Sadaam Hussien and Richard Nixon led the poles, and even

Dom deLuise got a vote-

It was, after all - Zen Chef. 2010 is a long way away, keeping track is not my forte and I cant trust that the contestants will be reliable. So in order to get your bag of dried mushrooms and popcorn and whatever else I have lying around you gotta tell the world its you. We, meaning me, have come up with another contest and in this contest you will actually win something.

You will win this lovely projector digital clock that runs off battteries - renewableenergy. What do you have to do? You tell me? The best contest idea gets put into a pool of other 'like' ideas and then the 'me' committee starts making decisions. I am so arbitrary you cant even imagine. The only problem here is the deep well of prizes is not so very deep. Good luck.

Friday, August 21, 2009

hot hot hot

Bill is climbing up the coast, the humidity is pushing it to go faster - who is going to win. People forget that Manhattan is an island, a very old island that has pangea'd its way all over the globe.I love living on an island, it really appeals to my existentialist nature. My son has been very busy this summer. He spent a week in the catskills we went on the cruise and now he returned from 7 days in Miami. He is my little pangea just moving all about. School starts September 8th so we still have many days of fun left!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

morning at night

When I saw these lovely asparagus today I knew instantly that breakfast for dinner was on the menu. Any excuse to have hollandaise sauce is a good enough excuse for me.

Poached eggs, bacon wrapped asparagus and potatoes rounded out our meal that was generously served with unlimited hollandaise.

Look how nice that bite looks. Come on now who doesnt like to have breakfast for dinner every now and again?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

tiny bites

Sometimes I feel like I dont say enough and other times I wish I could only shut up. I am gregarious by nature and elusive by choice.

Here are a few avocado appetizers brought to you by buffalo dick. He made me do it.

One two three strikes you're out!

I forgot to mention: these are quasi controversial ingredients, any relation to actual controversial ingredients is purely coincidental.
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