Saturday, January 22, 2011

A cow to remember

I'm not usually such a grateful, earth-mother type, but I need to take a moment to thank the cow whose rib meats we enjoyed last night.  You were delicious!  Moo-moo to you.

I didn't set out to be this ambitious, but as usual my stomach got a hold of my brain and the meal ended up being pretty epic:

Wonton Shrimp with Basil and Smoked Paprika
 (Thank goodness I had Lily there to help with the laborious deveining of the shrimpies)

Homemade Za'atar Flatbread 

 Braised Beef Short Ribs with Vanilla Glazed Carrots

The Lovely Looney Tunes, Lily & Lia

It really was a fabulous night.  Here's to great food and even better friends!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Woke up, it was a pancake morning...

Sunday morning is a time for sleeping in, staying in the PJ's, drinking too much coffee, and making delicious-beyond-belief-blow-your-mind breakfast!!!

Needless to say, this Sunday was delicious.  The menu: fluffier than air pancakes with maple-cinnamon yogurt topping (thanks go to Lily for this Swedish adaptation of the normal maple syrup topping) and oodles of medium roast Peruvian french press coffee.  The shameless eaters: myself, Dan, and Lily. (Side-note: LILY IS BACK AND WE ARE ALL VERY EXCITED, WOO!)


Now make them:

Light and Fluffy Pancakes ( from Mark Bittman's recipe)
(makes 4 servings)
1 cup buttermilk
4 eggs, separated
1 cup all-purpose flour
Dash salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Butter as needed

Preheat a griddle or large skillet over medium low heat and start the batter: beat together the milk and egg yolks.  Mix the dry ingredients.  Beat the egg whites with a whisk or electric mixer (used my KitchenAid; thank you again, Nanc!!) until stiff but not dry.
Combine the dry ingredients and the buttermilk-yolk mixture, stirring to blend.  Gently fold in the beaten egg whites, only a little, so that they remain distinct within the batter.
Melt a pad of butter in the griddle or skillet and add the batter by the heaping spoonful (I used a small ladle), making sure to include some of the egg white in each spoonful.  Cook until lightly browned on the bottom, then turn and cook until the other side is brown.  Serve or hold in a 200 degree oven for up to 15 minutes.

Maple-Cinnamon Yogurt
(makes about 2 cups, enough for 4 servings of pancakes)

2 cups plain yogurt 
1/4 cup maple syrup, or to taste
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, or to taste
pinch salt

Mix ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk until uniform.  Taste and adjust maple and cinnamon to your liking.  Generously spoon over hot pancakes.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Easy as Applesauce

For those of you who live  in the New York metropolitan area, or who frequent the farmer's market wherever you may dwell, perhaps you can sympathize with the flustered feeling I get when I'm wandering through the apple bins at the Union Square greenmarket and realizing I want to buy them all!  Each different apple variety I find, from the deep purple Winesap to the friendly green Mutzu, promises to pack the sweetest, juiciest, crispest punch.  What is an apple-obsessed girl to do?

Well, make applesauce, of course!  The best applesauce is, obviously, homemade, and is made from a variety of different apples of the sweetest variety (tart just doesn't work here, so steer clear of the Granny Smiths).  Using one kind of apple to make homemade applesauce results in a rather dull condiment, like a song comprised of a single note.  What we're looking for is more of a symphony of varying notes and tones.

So, next time you're faced with a moment of apple indecision, just grab one of each and head to the kitchen!

Simplest Applesauce
(printable recipe)
makes about one quart

Note: If you intend to make your applesauce with a potato masher, you'll need to first peel the apples before cooking them.

8 sweet apples, each a different variety
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup water

To begin, cut each apple into four, through the core, and use a small paring knife to cut out the sliver of core from each slice.  Then cut each apple quarter in half, leaving you with eight pieces per apple.

Put the apple pieces into a large, thick-bottomed saucepan, add the cinnamon and water, and cook on medium-high heat, covered, until it comes to a boil.  Turn the heat down to low, remove the cover, and cook for another 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently, until a chunky sauce already begins to form.  Turn off the flame and proceed with one of the following three steps:

1) In small batches, transfer the apples carefully to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, and process for a few seconds until completely smooth.
2) In small batches, run the apples through a hand-crank food mill into a large bowl underneath.  Discard the strained-out solids as you go.
3) Using a hand blender, blend the apples in the same pot until the sauce is completely smooth.

Enjoy immediately, as a snack, dessert, or alongside a meat entree such as pork chops.  Or, once cooled, store in airtight plastic containers, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or in indefinitely in the freezer.