Feb 25, 2013
Fennel Dill Chicken Cutlets
So I know I haven’t posted in quite some time, and I apologize for that. I have been busy at work on a condiment line that I am starting called Big City, Small Batches. The process this far has consisted of all sorts of R&D, recipe testing and tastings and package design and it has been a truly exciting experience.
In the meantime, I have been trying to find time to cook dinners for my boyfriend and myself and make the time to lay out all of the ingredients and shoot things properly for the site. Luckily, a few recipes has made their way through!
One of my favorite quick weeknight recipes is fennel dill chicken cutlets, not only because it is seriously easy to make but because it contains some of my favorite ingredients: fennel, dill, white wine and butter. Mmmmm.
I normally serve this with some simple linguine tossed with mincd parsley, garlic, olive oil and chili flakes.
Fennel Dill Chicken Cutlets
(Recipe adapted from www.sheknows.com)
¾ lb. Chicken cutlets
1 ¼ tsp. coarsely crushed fennel seeds
Sea salt and freshly crushed black pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup dry white wine
½ tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 tbsp. chopped dill
Crush the fennel seeds in a coffee/spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Season both sides of chicken cutlets with fennel seeds and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Place olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook for approximately 2-3 minutes per side, turning twice, or until no longer pink inside.
Remove chicken from pan and place on serving plate.
Deglaze skillet with wine and scrape up browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add lemon juice and remove from heat. Stir in cubed butter and dill and season with salt and pepper.
Pour dill sauce over chicken cutlets and serve immediately.
Jan 3, 2013
FINALLY FIGURED OUT SELF TIMER AND USING MY GORILLA POD ! only took me six months, too! my mother says i'm a damn genius. and she's never wrong.
Jan 2, 2013
Perfect way to start the new year: Eggs Benedict
well, now it's back to grind and the start of the "real" new year. Yesterday's Korean bbq feast was fun and all but now, It's back to staring at a box of granola. But it's still the new year and it's still totally appropriate to treat yo'self.
I am not a fan of egg yolks, really, in any situation, except for a perfectly poached egg. That yolk, I will take, thank you. And I grew up loving Canadian bacon, so once I finally was able to stomach a yolk, eggs Benedict became a decadent favorite. The only tricky part keeping me from executing the dish perfectly?
The hollandaise sauce. Executing the classic technique and coming up with perfect hollandaise reliably, each time, seemed to allude me. There were always conflicting accounts as to what should be mixed in first or second and what should be mixed in hot or cold. It wasn’t until I went to culinary school that I realized how to actually make hollandaise without the blender.
I know there are a dearth of blender hollandaise recipes out there, but, here’s a “blender-less” version which will certainly get your arms in shape! (Seriously, it can be a work out). Just remember, don’t whisk too hard or you may risk transferring the aluminum gray coloring of the whisk or mixing bowl to your lovely yellow sauce!
4 T tarragon vinegar
12 black peppercorns
1 bunch tarragon with stems minced
1 T minced shallots
3 egg yolks
¾ clarified butter or unsalted butter, melted and warmed
s+p to taste
1 T lemon juice
dash Tobasco sauce
1 t white vinegar
2 large eggs
2 whole wheat English Muffins
2 pieces of Canadian Bacon
In a small saucepan, heat vinegar, peppercorns, tarragon and shallots till reduced by half, about two minutes. Strain and reserve.
Simmer water over low heat and place egg yolks and 2 T reserved vinegar into a mixing bowl that fits snugly into the pot of simmering water (but the bottom of the mixing bowl should not touch the water, you only need an inch or two.) whisk eggs till they become light and fluffy and increase in volume. Whisk until eggs become creamy and form ribbons. At this point, slowly drizzle in a bit of the hot butter and whisk to form the emulsion. Slowly whisk in the remaining butter in small batches whisking in between until all the butter in incorporated. This can be done off the heat about halfway through. Sauce should be thick and silky. Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice and Tobasco to taste. Reserve.
Boil a large pot of water and season with salt and 1 tsp. white vinegar. Bring down to gentle boil (there should be some bubbles coming up to the surface or your poached egg will be flat.) Carefully slide in eggs out of half of shell. Once you slide the egg in, leave it alone! It will naturally form an egg like shape and start to float as it poaches. When it floats, remove the egg with a slotted spoon. Place on plate.
While the eggs were poaching you should have been prepping the rest of your breakfast sandwich! Toast the English muffin if desired and fry the Canadian bacon to your likening and have these assembled so that poached eggs can be removed from the poaching liquid onto the sandwich.
Cover each egg with reserved hollandaise sauce.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!
I like to eat Korean New Year (Or duk guk) on new year’s day each year. Started doing this when I wasin college and it has just stuck (mostly I just love the soup and love a day that makes it a compulsory dish!)
According to wikipedia…” Tteokguk is a traditional Korean dish eaten during the celebration of the Korean New Year. The dish consists of the broth/soup (guk) with thinly sliced rice cakes (tteok - it can be called a kind of rice pasta). It is tradition to eattteokguk on New Year's Day because it is believed to grant the consumer luck for the forthcoming year and gain an additional year of life. It is usually garnished with thin julienned cooked eggs, marinated meat, and gim.”
We also got a bunch of other great banchan, some barbequed shitake and foraged mushrooms, and a 26 vegetable bibimbop.
It was the first day of the year and we wanted to eat vegetarian and clean so we tried to keep our menu choices that way. My friend and I were exhausted and not feeling so great from the night before when we walked in, but the food totally saved our asses. We were more happy, less cranky and more functional when we left—and we had had new year’s soup!
We ate at Kam Gan San in midtown, the one with the giant waterfall and the white piano at the top. This restaurant is the best and you always get a seat and food very quickly. I seriously don’t even go to the other joint anymore at all. Check it out.
Dec 31, 2012
Dec 28, 2012
“Japexican” Steak Salad
A couple of weeks ago, we had a surprise 60th birthday party for my mom. Let’s just say, we were pretty crafty with our planning or mom is the most gullible person ever. Either way, it went off (almost) without a hitch. It fell to my dad and I to bring her to the country club where about 100 of her nearest and dearest friends and family members had been hanging out for almost an hour enjoying cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.
Mom thought she was going to a surprise party for another close friend and we kept getting frantic texts from my brother wondering where the hell we were: we were still at home because mom had decided I had nothing suitable to wear to anyone’s party. “Too low cut,” she scowled at my favorite go-to long sleeve basic black dress. “Looks cheap! What is that, polyester??” she lamented when I modeled a navy shift dress with orchid printed panels (in her defense, it was an H&M dress, but I do consider myself the
aq original “maxanista” and I honestly thought I could work that dress and no one would know.) “NO.” was her monosyllabic take down of my favorite outfit, a snow white feathered mini dress with a black silk top. She then started insisting that I drive to the local mall and grab something, anything, from the rack so that she could be seen with me in public. Needless to say, this went on for quite some time until I had to put my foot down and inform the birthday girl that it was the feather mini dress or nothing at all. Your pick, Yogi, I challenged. She sighed, “Well, its better than the others I guess. And we are late, so lets go.”
So far, so good. We made it into the car and were enroute to the party. However, I had failed to pack any jewelry to go with any of the above-mentioned hideous outfits—a big no, no with Indian women. How can you go to a party with not a single piece of jewelry on? And so, a quarter of a mile from the country club, she insisted my father pull over at a store to buy me some jewelry at, wait for, BIG LOTS. Mom and Big Lots have a long-standing love affair and no matter how much money she has made or will ever make won’t break that. It’s true love. We ran in, picked out the first earring and necklace set that could maybe pass for cubic zirconium (or plastic) and finally, we were on our way. So far, the surprise was still in play and I was feeling pretty good about this.
That is, until we got there. Dad dropped us girls at the side door by the coatroom and went to park the car. While we were hanging out coats, some genius rushed into the coatroom to ask if we were with Dr. Kothari’s party (dad). Yes…my mom replied, confused. This was supposed to be a surprise party for somebody else! “Oh, ok, then let me go tell everyone to get in the room and be quiet for the….” I shot him my dirtiest stink eye and hissed, “Will you just shut up! Shut up and go away.” A faint flicker of understanding sparked in his eyes and he quickly walked away. Ugh, I thought, really? This douche is going to ruin the surprise at this point? And I’m sure mom knew what was going on by that point but she gamely played along and was truly touched and brought to tears when everyone jumped out and screamed “Surprise!!!”
After that, the party went off without a hitch. Everyone loved the menu, which I had helped to coordinate with the head chef of the country club, a former Culinary Institute of America Graduate. I’m not going to mince words here, I was not that excited about the menu. It was ethnic food (I hate that word “ethnic” food, but its 6:00 am and I can’t think of anything less offensive. Sorry to my “ethnic” readers, I know how annoying that is.) served in classic, crappy banquet style.
I won’t get into the specifics, but lets just say they turned my poblano stuffed peppers with quinoa and toasted pumpkin seeds into bell peppers stuffed with cous cous and they were serving frozen potstickers “to order”. Oh, fancy. They fried it in a pan in front of us and everything! But the one good thing they did have was sliced flank steaks with a variety of Mexican topping to add on: guacamole, salsa fresco, green sauce, etc. I topped mine with salsa fresca and a drizzle of lime and it was really good.
So, when I drove home a few days later, I was totally craving steak with salsa. What a great combination! I love me a good Thai beef salad and I started thinking about making a little Japanese-Mexican riff on the dish. I had a nice, big dry aged boneless rib eye in the fridge and decided, tonight, it’s just you and me, baby.
I marinated the steak in equal parts of soy sauce and mirin—nothing else, and made my salsa fresco while the steak came up to room temp. It was a pretty thick ribeye so I preheated my oven to finish is off after it seared on the grill pan, but when I inserted my meat probe into the steak before putting it in the oven it was already perfectly medium rare. I sliced the steak very thin across the grain, spooned some salsa fresca over it and drizzled the plate with a quick splash of lime.
It. Was. Crazy. Awesome.
Get on it!
- 2, 4 oz. flank steaks (or any steak you have laying around, I used ribeye and it was delicious)
- 2 TBSP Soy Sauce
- 2 TBSP Mirin
- Salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients (Salsa Fresca)
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- ½ white onion (about ½ cup), diced
- 1 jalapeno minced
- ½ TBSP lime juice
- 1 garlic clove minced
- ¼ loosely packed cilantro leaves roughly chopped
- ¼ TSP cumin powder
- salt and pepper to taste
Dec 25, 2012
This is a go-to tv-snack (or superbowl party offering) that I have been making for years. It is so, so, easy to make, and all you really need are some fresh jalapenos and a jar of peanut butter (you don’t have to make the cheese ones, in fact the peanut ones are my favorite).
I have totally stolen this from El Parador Mexican restaurant in Murray Hill. I lived next door to this restaurant for almost two years before ever setting foot in it, which sounds silly, but it actually is a pretty non-descript place with no windows, no sign, just a red awning out front. From what I understand, El Parador is one of the city’s oldest and best Mexican restaurants, and they really do serve Mexican Mexican food, you know? I have never seen this type of jalapeno relleno anywhere else, and I assume that is because it’s SUPER authentic.
I know the photos may be confusing because my cheese is orange. About that. I looked up El Parador’s menu and they say they are stuffed with anejo cheese. My Mexican grocery store didn’t have anejo cheese, but they had something that was called enchilado cheese. I googled enchilado cheese and found out that another common name for anejo cheese in “anejo enchilado cheese”. Hmmm… so… I figured, this cotija-like looking wheel of cheese rolled in bright red paprika mush be the anejo cheese that the menu speaks of.
I decided after making the rellenos that…I clearly don’t know what anejo cheese or enchilado cheese are. But, I do know that cotija cheese has always been much, much better in the recipe, so, ignore the photos, and use crumbled cotija (or anejo, if you know what that is).
• 12 jalapenos
• ¼ cup crumbled cotija cheese
• ¼ cup all natural chunky peanut butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit.
Slit jalapenos down middle on top side only and make small perpendicular cut at the base. Carefully cleaned out seeds from the cavity using the tip of a paring knife, taking care not to cut the jalapeno in half (the key is you want only one long slit down the top of the pepper so that filling can be stuffed in but not escape from the bottom.)
Blanch jalapenos in boiling water for two minutes. Remove peppers and dry thoroughly. Fill six of the jalapenos with cotija and the remaining six with peanut butter. Arrange on baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes.
Dec 24, 2012
As a person of Indian descent, it’s a bit of a no-brainer that I love the crap out of rice. And, as a tiny adult with not nearly enough insulation, I am often freezing my butt off. I’ve been in India for over a week now, and although it is December, the temperatures during the day are a pleasant 75 to 80 degrees. That having been said, I’ve been wandering around my relatives flat in the morning with two pairs of leggings, a cheetah print fleece robe, a heavy wool overcoat and fox fur earmuffs. My dad told me I look embarrassing, but, I don’t see anything embarrassing in being warm. So, there, dad. The earmuffs stay!
So, naturally risotto is one of my favorite things to eat. It’s a meal made out of rice! Could you make an Asian person happier? And, it’s soupy and warm and hearty which satisfies my biological predisposition to eating as much rice as possible AND feeling warm. In short, risotto is the shit.
It’s also no secret that Indians love saffron. So, Risotto Milanese is my favorite go to when I’m craving some rice. Risotto Milanese is a basic risotto that has been flavored with saffron infused beef broth.
For some reason, risotto has gotten this really bad rap for being a tedious process that is difficult to master. Not so, friend. Risotto usually takes about 20 minutes to make, and the only arduous task involved is babysitting the pot and stirring more broth in frequently to create a nice, creamy texture. Just don’t get up and watch Fashion Police or ESPN while you’re making this and you will be just fine.
The recipe I am going to show you is a very basic risotto, but you can add more herbs, vegetables or even seafood to make it your own. I had a package of shitake mushrooms in the fridge, so I sautéed them on the side and folded them into the risotto before serving.
There is some dispute as to whether white wine is necessary to making a good risotto. Yes, it is. Don’t play yourself, open up a nice bottle of Chardonnay and pour the risotto and yourself a glass. Why? Because you’re worth it.
1 yellow onion very finely minced
6 T unsalted butter
1.2 C Carnolini Rice (Arborio rice will do just as well)
¼ C dry white wine
4 cups of beef of chicken stock (I made a vegetarian version with mushroom broth and it tasted just as good.)
½ t Saffron Threads
¾ finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
In a small saucepot, heat broth and saffron on low temperature until ready for use.
In a heavy based saucepan, add 2 ½ T of butter and finely minced onion and sweat over low heat (about 4-5 minutes) until the onions are translucent and let off a sweet aroma. Increase the heat to medium and add the rice into the saucepan and stir, toasting the grains until they take on a translucent color (about 2-3 minutes)
We are going to add our liquid in three increments and add the wine at the end of cooking. Add one third of the simmering broth into the saucepan and stir constantly until the rice absorbs all of the liquid. Repeat the same steps for the remaining 2/3 of simmering broth, and do not forget to stir.
Once all of the liquid is absorbed, stir in the white wine and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Many recipes add the white wine as the first addition of liquid to the risotto, but while I was at the Culinary Institute of America, we were taught to put it at the end of the cooking process; the final addition of liquid. The difference in taste in phenomenal and even the Pro Chef text uses this approach. Fight any urge to add the wine first and trust me on this one: you will get a much more complex flavor if you add the wine last.
Take saucepot off the heat and stir in remaining butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste and immediately ladle into serving bowls. You can garnish the bowls with shavings of parmesan for a nice presentation.
And that’s all it, folks! Not so daunting, right? I hope I made it a little less intimidating for you. Enjoy!
Dec 23, 2012
King Oyster Mushroom “Scallops” with Truffled Sunchoke Puree and Lemon Herb Sauce
I am still making goodies from my trip to Kam Sen market the other day. I mentioned that I had gotten some killer produce on the cheap, among them a bag of sunchokes and a package of irresistibly cute king oyster mushrooms.
The first time I ever had sunchokes was in a puree on top of which sat the most perfectly seared scallops. Mmmmm. King Oyster mushrooms have a meaty, rubbery texture and closely resembles a scallop when the stem is thickly sliced and seared on both sides. It seemed obvious that I should make king oyster mushroom “scallops” with a sunchoke puree.
Fun Fact: After I peeled and simmered my sunchokes, I noticed that the water had turned a really cool aqua shade, which was interesting since the sunchokes themselves are a light beige underneath the skin. I have absolutely no idea what made the water take on a marine hue, so if anyone knows, please leave me a comment.
King Oyster mushrooms are actually served like mock scallops quite often, because they look scallops when seared and because people say they have a texture that mimics scallops. I agree that they do have a texture that mimics a scallop, but, an overcooked scallop. Do not cook this expecting to get the tenderness of a perfectly cooked scallop. While, I think, the mushrooms have a satisfying meaty and rubbery bite, this is the exact texture of a scallop that has been scorched.
I really, really liked this dish a lot and I think the lemon and fresh, bright tarragon notes at the end really gave it a clean, seafood inspired quality. I was also really feeling the black truffle butter and parmesan cheese in the sunchoke puree which without the addition of the two was very sweet and one-note. All in all, this is a quick, easy and elegant dish that you could easily throw together for a weeknight meal (provided you have access to the ingredients! Those sunchokes can be hard to find in certain regions.)
King Oyster Mushroom “Scallops” with Lemon Herb Sauce
- 12 pieces of king oyster mushroom cut ¾”
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon minced tarragon
- ½ teaspoon lemon thyme
Season each side of the mushroom pieces with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in skillet. When skillet is very hot, add mushrooms and sear two minutes on each side. Remove mushrooms from skillet and throw away excess butter and wipe out skillet.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in skillet, add lemon juice and tarragon and season with salt to taste. Drizzle over mushrooms and serve immediately.
Truffled Sunchoke Puree
½ pound sunchokes, peeled
1/3 cup half and half
1 tablespoon black truffle butter
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
Simmer sunchokes until tender, about 12 minutes. Cut sunchokes into smaller chunks and blend with half and half till smooth.
Transfer puree to pan and simmer for two to three minutes. Remove from heat and fold in butter and parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
I am really obsessed with bean curd stick salad with celery. Like, so obsessed I have calculated just how often I can order the bean curd stick salad from the dumpling joint without drawing attention to myself, and yet still manage to cave and break the rotation (thereby ensuring that I do, in fact, draw attention to myself). Every time I call to order, I feel like Miranda in that episode of Sex and the City when she convinces herself that the lady who always takes order at the Chinese restaurant is picking on her for being single, because, she giggles each time she calls, “I KNOW, same order, every DAY, hahahaha.”
There is the same girl at Palace Dumpling every day, all day, and she takes my order each time, fried pork scallion dumplings and bean curd stick salad, and each time she reminds me that I always get the same thing. This is especially charming when I actually go to eat at the restaurant with friends, because right after I bravely order my usual, she goes and throws me under the bus and informs the whole table that this is what I always order, all the time, as in every other day, like in a way that’s not normal. You would think that she would protect the privacy of her regulars, but nope, it’s full disclosure at the dumpling shop, so don’t do anything you wouldn’t want your mother to know about.
But, at the end of the day, I’m not about to let mild embarrassment and the disapproval of the dumpling lady keep me from my bean curd stick salad. There are more embarrassing things to be obsessed with anyway, like venti frappuccinos (I literally don’t know how people drink those in public without shame), fedoras or gin. Since when am I going to be shamed away from a tofu salad, two of the healthiest words combined? Never! This is America, goddammit.
But, everything ends. The day came when my favorite dish wasn’t quite right. Must be a fluke. The next time, it’s a little too sweet. The time after that, the whole celery to bean curd skin ratio is totally off, and I was starting to get stressed. This is the pitfall of getting unreasonably obsessed with any particular restaurant’s particular something. Inevitably, one of the following things is going to happen: you will move, the restaurant will close, the dish will be discontinued, or the dish will just inexplicably not taste the same anymore.
So, as I have had to do with other things I have fallen in love with eating in the past, I had to figure out how to make this salad, which I figured wouldn’t be hard to do since it is, thankfully, a very, very simple dish. The hardest part, I found, was locating dried bean curd sticks!
I had first tried bean curd sticks in Shanghai. Our guide had ordered dinner for us before a Chinese acrobatic show and one of them was a simple sauté of thinly sliced scallions and celery and carrots with szichuan peppercorns and bean curd stick. The texture was really interesting, meaty and rubbery and oddly satisfying. Before stumbling upon it again at Palace Dumplings in Wappinger Falls, I had actually forgotten about it. I found that the bean curd sticks were a little hard to track down in my local Asian grocery store, so I made the hike out to Kam Sen Asian Market in the White Plains Mall. The market takes up the first floor of the building and is packed with everything Chinese (and an Indian, Mexican and American section as well). You could find almost anything Chinese there, a good selection of Korean foods and some Japanese items. It is really a fun place to just poke around, and I spent two hours there just pouring over the different products and ingredients. They also have an extensive Chinese tea collection and a whole department of Chinese herbs and medicines, which you don’t normally see in these kinds of markets. They also had an extensive selection of fresh seaweeds and hard to find fresh produce like king oyster mushrooms, jackfruit and Chinese string beans. Also, everything is very inexpensive: I walked away with 3 bottles of cooking oil, two vinegars, fresh vegetables, herbs and spices for about $35.
So I tried searching for a recipe for bean curd stick salad that seemed similar to Palace Dumpling’s, and I couldn’t find anything that even resembled it, so I had to figure it out. I soaked my bean curd sticks overnight for about 12-18 hours before using them. I actually soaked them in plain water, so they tasted like rubber bands when I started to make the salad. I had to then soak them in the brine for a couple hours so they could get that nice, salty sweet sesame flavor. In hindsight, the sticks should just be rehydrated in the brine itself to get the best flavor and save time.
I did the same process with the celery and broccoli, just soaked them up in the brine for a little bit so that everything takes on the subtle flavors that makes Palace’s salad so addictive (that, and MSG. But i ain't scared of no MSG; It's fabulous.. The soaking process, I found, was essential to draw the sharp celery and sulfuric broccoli taste out of the vegetables and replace them with the salty sweet water of the brine.
Tossed together, you would have a pretty good knockoff of the original, but I decided to give the salad a little more flavor. I always added chiu chow oil to my salad when I would eat it in the restaurant, and so I decided to make a nice, light chili dressing to drizzle over the salad. Roughly equal parts chiu chow oil, soy sauce and rice vinegar with thinly sliced scallions brought a spicy, savory zing to the dish that it was lacking before. The dressing paired perfectly with the sweet and savory taste of the salad and the smoky flavor of the toasted sesame left a lingering aftertaste. Yum. Yum. Yum.
Spicy Pepper Bean Curd Stick Salad
- 4 cups warm water
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 6 ounces dried bean curd stick
- 2 celery stalks sliced thinly
- 4 ounces broccoli florets
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chili oil
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 scallion thinly sliced
Combine water, salt, sugar and sesame oil to create a brine. Soak bean curd sticks in two cups of the brine for 6-12 hours or overnight and reserve the rest for later.
Blanche celery for one minute and shock in ice bath till cool. Drain celery and dry thoroughly with paper towels and then cover with brine in a small bowl and set aside for 15 minutes. Blanch broccoli florets for 2 minutes, shock, drain and dry and then cover with brine in a small bowl and set aside 15 minutes.
Drain bean curd sticks, celery and broccoli from brine and toss together. Combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili oil, sesame oil and scallion and stir to make a dressing. Drizzle scallion chili dressing over salad and serve.