Thursday, April 30, 2009

A bush grows in Chelsea

Yesterday I spent the morning in the prep kitchen at God's Love and then to Trader Joe's. On the way home, I stopped in the Union Square Green Market and took a look at some fresh herbs.

I made the mistake of buying the first ones I came across. If I had been a little more patient and a little less tired from carrying my groceries, I would have stumbled upon some great herb gardens for window sills. They had window sill gardens in pretty pots with 4-6 herbs for $20-$30. Instead I came home with these two small potted plants ($6 for both, good deal just not as pretty)- rosemary and English thyme. The rosemary I have used twice since purchasing yesterday afternoon, the thyme will come in handy when I make chicken parm tonight. I have been debating growing herbs on my window sill for some time now. Primarily b/c I always waste about 90% of the fresh herbs I buy- they are sold in bulk. Herbs really don't keep that long in the fridge. One great way to make them last, aside from growing them of course :), is to mince them, measure them into teaspoon servings, and place them into an ice tray with a little bit of water. So the next time you need a little rosemary or oregano, all you have to do is drop the allotted amount of ice cubes needed into the pot and voilĂ  fresh herbs. (Don't forget to account for the additional water being added to the recipe from the ice melting).

I also have some tomato seeds I would like to plant, so I think I might go to a hardware store and buy a larger pot so I can expand my NYC "garden."


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Turkey Burger Heaven

Yesterday I decided to make dinner for Eug. Ali and I went to Trader Joe's on Tuesday afternoon for a shop and I picked up a whole lot of goods including ground turkey, spawning the idea for turkey burgers. I did some research on recipes. I actually liked Off the Broiler the most, though I didnt really follow the recipe from this site I did like the inclusion of onions, garlic and mustard into the patty itself. Plus the pictures were a nice guide. So my burgers turned out to be one of a kind- they almost tasted like beef! For the meal, I made spiced turkey burgers topped with pickled onions, home fries and a big green salad with lemon and olive oil dressing. The salad was not eaten, but I enjoyed it today for lunch!

For the potatoes I used small red potatoes and thanks to my birthday present I didn't have to to slice or dice anything- thank you Cuisinart Pro! You have made my life oh so much easier. I threw in the potatoes, garlic and onion into the food processor and then they went straight into the pan.
  • 1lb of small red potatoes
  • 1 small/medium red onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • lots of salt and pepper
  • 2 dashes of red chili flakes
  • 1/2-3/4 cups of olive oil (maybe more, you just need to lightly glaze all of the potatoes)
  • a few dashes of cayenne, old bay or any spice you like
How to:
  1. If you are lucky enough to have a food processor, use it to slice the potatoes, garlic and onion. If not, slice the potatoes into 1/4 inch slices and finely dice the garlic and onions.
  2. Place the mix in a bowl and add the seasoning
  3. Put the frying pan on mid-to-high heat and fry away. Just keep an eye on them
  4. I like them very crispy and a little burned, so I cook them for about 30 minutes while I work on the rest of the meal
  5. Serve with breakfast, lunch or dinner. Ketchup is a nice side, but great alone too!
Pickled Onions:
  • 1 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (optional)
  • 1 small red onion, halved and very thinly sliced
How to:
  1. Whisk vinegar, brown sugar, salt and allspice in a medium glass bowl.
  2. Alternatively, bring the mixture to a boil in a small saucepan on the stove. Add onions and toss to coat.
  3. Put them in the fridge to chill
The Burger:

  • 1 pound 93%-lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 red onion (minced)
  • 1 tsp of lemon zest
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1-to-2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 dallop of mustard
How to:
  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and combine.
  2. Refrigerate for 20 minutes
  3. Make into 3-4 patties
  4. Spray the pan and fry each side for about 6 minutes
  5. Make sure to cook all of the way through, turkey, just like any poultry, shouldn't be eaten under cooked
Burger toppings:
  • Bun (lightly toasted)
  • Swiss cheese (or Eug did a cheese combo)
  • Pickles
  • Pickled onions
  • Honey mustard (preferably mustard cup)
  • Ketchup
  • Tomato (on a side note, below are pictures of the weirdest tomato ever! I have never seen anything like this and think it must be a mutant, so obviously Eug and I both had to try it. If I die today, at least I was well fed)

The burger almost looks like beef. The trick is you need to add oil and maybe egg whites to keep the turkey moist. Always a tricky feat.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Cuban Surf and Turf

For Eug's birthday I signed us up for a course at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE). It was a Cuban Surf 'N' Turf class. Aside from there being a few too many people in the class we really had a blast. The number of people factored in because they divided up the cooking, which prevented us from having our hands in too many pots, so to speak. At the end of course we all sat down to a family style dinner enjoying the food and the cocktails, as well as some wine.

The menu included:
Ceviche de Camarones y Vieira de Bahia
Ropa Vieja
Pescado Enchilado
Picadillo a la Habanera
Frijoles Negros
Arroz Amarillo
Yucca al Mojo
Ensalada de Aguacate y Pimento
Flan de Leche

I will give you the highlights:
  • 1 lb of small shrimp, deveined
  • 1 lb of bay scallops
  • Juice of 6 to 8 limes
  • 6 to 8 stems of fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup finlet chopped red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • Fresh cilantro sprigs for garnish
  1. Cut shrimp, if necessary, into pieces the same size as the scallops. Place shrimp and scallops in glass bowl
  2. Combine the lime juice, thyme, red onion, garlic, and bell pepered. Add to the shrimp and scallops. Stir to combine well. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours (or no more than over night)**
  3. Turn the ceviche a few times during the marination period
  4. To serve, add parsley, olive oil, and diced tomatoes and mix to combine. Transfer to a serving dish with a slotted spoon and garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs
** If you cannot let the shrimp/scallops marinate overnight flash cook them for 30-45seconds and remove into ice water.Above is the red snapper we didnt get to contribute too, but the recipe is relatively easy. Contact me if you want it... And now onto the most fun creation of the evening... The Mojito!

Mojito- my version (makes 1):
  • Splenda (or brown sugar)
  • 3 ounces white rum
  • 1 lime cut into chunks for muddling
  • 6-8 mint leaves
  • Club soda
  • additional mint for garnish
  1. Add mint, lime, and sugar into a glass
  2. Add rum and muddle
  3. Add club soda and mint sprigs