Sunday, March 1, 2015

Empty the fridge weekend

This has been a tough couple of weeks at work. Exhaustion does not even describe how I have felt. My way of distressing has been feeling like added stress lately. Chop this, peel that, clean this-and not just the dishes. But I had to make something. All my groceries purchased last weekend had to be used or lost. 

Enter Quinoa Mushroom Pot Stickers and Meyer Lemon Pound Cake Trifle.

For the Pot Stickers just cook quinoa according to package directions. While quinoa cooks, saute diced mushrooms and scallions in olive oil, add 1 star of Anise and 1 clove of garlic minced, pinch of red pepper flakes and 1 tbsp of low sodium soy sauce, toss in 2 handfuls of arugula. Use water to seal the wonton skins.    

Heat 2 tbsp frying oil on medium high heat. Fry wontons, as soon as they begin to brown and blister add 1/4 cup of water and cover immediately (to catch all the steam and to not burn yourself from the violently popping oil.

Soy dipping sauce: Simmer 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 tsp oyster sauce, thin slice of ginger for 2 min.

For the trifle:

Preheat oven to 350. Prep a loaf pan with cooking spray and line with parchment. Beat 2 sticks of butter, 1 cup of sugar, 1 tbsp of zest until creamy, add 2 eggs 1 at a time until well mixed, light yellow and fluffy. Scrape down bowl with a spatula. Meanwhile sift together 1 cup of flour, 1 tsp of baking powder 1/4 tsp salt, 3 times.

Mix together 1/2 cup milk, 1 tbsp of sour cream, 1 tbsp of meyer lemon juice, set aside. Add the dry ingredients and the milk mixture to butter, starting with dry and ending with dry i.e, dry, milk, dry, milk, dry. Gently fold in 1 cup blueberries. 

Scrape into prepared pan and level with a spatula. Knock pan on counter to release air bubbles. Bake for 1 hour 30 min or until toothpick comes out clean. Awesome hint from one of my favorite cook book authors, Sherry Yard, blend your zest and sugar in a food processor and soak your pound cake with flavored simple syrup

Dice up pound cake and layer in dish with Vanilla whipped cream. Enjoy. I hope your weekend was a good one.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Juno Hunker Down Stew

The first blizzard of 2015 hit some in the North East with a wallop. Today New York City woke up to 8-12 inches of snow throughout the five boroughs.

Sunday evening found me prepping by getting my Pork, Bean, and Kale soup ready to throw into the slow cooker come Monday. Unfortunately I ran out the door so fast Monday morning, 6:20am-so not normal for me, I forgot to get that going. Oh well, I told myself. At least I was able to get my much needed coffee and lunch in my bag. I went into work early on Monday morning because I knew the impact the storm would have for my department at Cornell. Not to mention the multiple surgeries scheduled for today, which were safely rescheduled-not to toot my own horn-because I had the foresight to start early. 

Once home and divested of my winter gear and fully thawed, because yes, I was forced once again to walk from my train stop all the way home a total for 25 very long streets (MTA bus lines cannot run in snow, ugh) I started in on my soup making.

Fortunately this was not huge pork chunks that needed simmering all day to soften. This was whatever was in the freezer-Sirloin thick cut chops and farmers sausage-and whatever was in the cupboards. An earlier conversation with the bestie reminded me I had red lentils so I swapped out the beans for lentils and there you have it, Juno Hunker Down Stew (Pork and Red Lentil) lol. I was very happy with the turn out, and I can't wait to see pics of the bestie's version. She will be using green lentils and ham hocks. Just wish we lived closer so I could taste. Hey Mel, freeze some for me, please!!

3 thick cut sirloin chops (whichever fatty pork cuts you prefer)
3 quarts of water
4 medium carrots
3 celery stalks
1 large yellow onion
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp dried thyme
½ tbsp. Tomato paste
1 tsp brown mustard
Whole black pepper corns
Allspice berries
Smoked paprika
Curry powder
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. Jasmin rice
¾ cup red lentils, picked clean
2 inch chunk of Salchichon (Farmer's Pork Sausage), diced
  1.  Set the pork chops to boil in 3 quarts of water over high heat with 2 stalks of celery, ½ the onion, 2 carrots, 1 bay leaf, 4 peppercorns and 1 all spice berry. Once it boils lower heat to medium and simmer for 1 hour. Make sure you skim the junk off the top.
  2. Once the broth is done dice up the remaining onion, slice the celery and carrots on a bias. Heat 3tbsp of olive oil in pot over medium heat and sauté the vegetables, thyme and bay leaf, seasoned with ½ tsp salt and ½ pepper. Once the onions look translucent add ¼ tsp each, cumin, turmeric, paprika, and curry powder. Let the spices bloom about 2 minutes, then add tomato paste, mustard, Sriracha, and garlic. Cook stirring for 2 minutes more.
  3. Take the chops out of the broth and remove meat from bone tearing the meat up with your hands. Add to pot with diced salcichon, and stir coating meat. Add 1/2 tsp salt. Strain broth into pot, add bones and rice, simmer covered 10 minutes.
  4. Remove bay leaf and add the lentils. Stir gently, then simmer covered 20 minutes then uncovered for 10. Red Lentils break down so don't be alarmed. You will have a thick chunky stew.
  5. Stir in 1 tbsp chopped cilantro and serve with a lime wedge.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Blood Orange Pound Cake

This past week a trip to Trader Joe's resulted in a big bag of Moro Blood Oranges. Blood oranges hail from the Mediterranean particularly Spain and Sicily, varieties include Sanguinello, Moro and Tarocco. These Moro oranges are small about the size of a hefty tangerine. They are very juicy and fragrant, and I just about fell head over heels with them. I used them in a flan for "Snowy Saturday, Bloody Oranges?" and below you will find my recipe for a Pound cake, which I adapted from Sherry Yard's "The Secrets of Baking" Lemon Pound cake. Try the recipe and let me know what you think. I apologies in advance for the grainy video and pics. It's a work in progress.

10-cup Bundt pan, greased and floured (do not skip this even if you have a nonstick pan)
1 ½ cup of cake flour (I used Swan's Down)
1 ½ cup of All Purpose flour (I used Hecker's unbleached)
2 cups of sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
4 whole large eggs
1 lb. butter, softened but cool
2 tbsp Blood orange zest
¼ cup blood orange juice
½ cup of full fat sour cream
½ cup milk (I used 2% because that is what I keep on hand)

Moistening syrup
½ cup blood orange juice
¼ cup sugar

2 cups confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar, 10x sugar)
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp Almond milk
2 tbsp Amaretto Liquor
½ tsp Almond extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees or 325 if using a dark or coated pan, set rack in center of oven, and prep your pan(s)
  2. Sift together flours, salt and baking powder, three times. Do this on parchment. Parchment makes transferring the dry to the mixing bowl clean and easy.
  3. Mix together sour cream, milk, and juice, set aside
  4. Cream together butter, zest, and sugar until light and fluffy with a hand mixer or paddle attachment if using a stand mixer, on high about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the eggs one at time, making certain each are incorporated fully before adding the next. Scrape down bowl after 2nd and 4th egg. You will find the mixture now looks light and silky.
  6. Turn the mixer down to medium and add the flour (dry) and milk (wet) ingredients in thirds, starting with the dry and ending with the dry. Making certain to scrape down the sides after each addition of wet.
  7. Fill pan, give it a gentle tap on the counter to level out air pockets, level top with offset spatula and bake for approximately 1 hour 20 min. Test with wooden skewer, done when skewer comes out relatively clean. 1 crumb 2 crumb no more than that.
  8. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out unto cooling rack
  9. Meanwhile make moistening syrup. Bring juice and sugar to a boil over medium heat. Boil 2 minutes then set aside.
  10. Poke holes into cake and slowly pour or brush syrup onto hot cake. Let cool on counter completely.
  11. Once cool make glaze. Whisk together glaze ingredients in microwave safe glass bowl. Microwave on high 45 seconds. Pour over cake. Let glaze set, slice and enjoy.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Snowy Saturday, Bloody Oranges?

I've been mentally busy of late. Making life changing decisions has a way of sucking the life blood from one's bones. For years I have been playing with the idea of culinary school. I was so happy back in 2001 when I received my acceptance letter and materials from CIA (Culinary Institute of America) up in Pough (Poughkeepsie) Town, NY. I read through everything slowly and my heart swelled with joy with each paragraph I finished. And then the hammer dropped. The $75,000 tuition hammer, that is. The CIA never happened.

This past Wednesday I attended an open house at The Institute of Culinary Education (ICE), were the attendees were told why they should choose ICE. This was not my first introduction to ICE. I once had a friend who attended Peter Kump's New York Cooking School. I called it "Peter Kump's" years after they changed the name to ICE. For a little while I thought ICE was a completely different school; until I decided to try my hand at a culinary education again, and made an appointment to speak with an admissions counselor at The Institute of Culinary Education, formerly known as Peter Kumps… I did not feel comfortable at that meeting, let's just say, the environment was uncomfortable. Yet here I am again, visiting ICE and planning to change my life drastically and praying to the whisks Gods that I do not end up in a ditch begging for pennies. Why you ask? ICE is moving into a new state of the art facility, and I knew this before I got the mass invitation to the open house. When I found out about the new facility, my heart said, "It's time." The email felt like a good omen, so I said to myself "fuck it, I want my hole in the wall!"

My 1 friend that reads my entries (heart you Mel) understands that last statement. I don't need to be on foodtv. Shit, I don't have the personality to be on TV let alone food TV where everything is grounded in trends and what is hot today is cliché tomorrow. I just want my piece of the American dream, which to me is to make money doing what you love to do. I love food.

So why the hell did I just bother my few readers with all of that? Because I can, and because that is the point of my blog; to share with you the things I create as I let food relax me. But I tell you, since I decided to try and pay more attention to this blog…sheesh, blogging ain't easy!

Anyway back to the food. This week's visit to Trader Joe's was a test of my patience, but I'm glad I went. I picked up these beauties, Moro Blood Oranges


During the open house at ICE Dalia Jurgensen made Pote de Crème and it was delicious. With these Moro Blood Oranges, and learning from a very old Mario Batali PBS show that blood oranges hail from Spain, I decided on Flan. When I made these I made a mistake (forgot the juice, life changing decisions on the brain) however the recipe below is accurate.

Flan de Sanguinello Moro
1c Milk
1c Almond Milk, cold
3 large eggs
1 egg yolk
1/3c sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
¼ c blood orange juice
Zest of 1 blood orange, use a peeler

1 cup sugar
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp water
3 tbsp blood orange juice (juice from 1 Moro orange)

Cook over low-medium heat until thermometer reads 250 degrees. I've been making caramel for flan for years so this is a sight/smell thing for me. But the juice changes the color of the sugar so you have to be very careful. Use a thermometer!

  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees, prep molds with caramel
  2. Heat 1 cup of milk with the zest of 1 blood orange (use a peeler, not a microplane) until it simmers. Turn off heat add salt and 1 cup of cold almond milk

  3. Beat the 3 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk while streaming in 1/3 cup of sugar, add ¼ cup blood orange juice and 1 tsp of vanilla.
  4. Slowly stir the milk mixture into the egg mixture. You want to be very careful and do this a little at a time so you don't cook the eggs. (Adding the cold almond milk to the hot milk helps with this step)
Strain the mixture and slowly pour into prepared molds.

  1. Put molds into a hot water bath and cover with foil. Bake for 40 min or until only a slight jiggle remains in center. Remove from heat and chill at least 5 hours or overnight. 






Saturday, January 17, 2015

Hard week! Simple Saturday

What else can I say, but this week sucked. It was long and hard and cold, and long and hard, oh yeah, and it was cold. I adore the winter, really I do. But when your fingers get frost bitten while you are trying to get your mittens out the purse, it is way too cold. And the cold was the easy part of the week. Work has been frustrating to say the least. Changes in protocol causing added steps to make sure you are doing all you can to make certain the bottom line is above the line is a pain in the assets. So this weekend I don't want to do anything that is going to require too many steps or make me dirty more than one mixing bowl. So this means breakfast is the only meal I'm cooking today, oh yea I made some cupcakes (more on those later), but again, one bowl; and really there're cupcakes, we can always make a mess for cupcakes.

Hash Brown & Chorizo Waffles

Step 1: Heat waffle iron to Medium 
Step 2: Grate two small russet potatoes, using cheesecloth or strong paper towel squeeze grated spuds to remove excess water
Step 3: Mix in 2 tablespoons of flour, ¼ tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt, and a pinch of black pepper

Step 4: Mix in 2 large eggs

Step 5: Butter waffle iron and scoop Hash brown mixture into center, close lid, open when steam subsides

Step 6: Eat!!