Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
At my local Morton Williams grocery store, Naan flatbread is on sale this week for $1.99. A steal, ladies and gents. So my first recommendation, besides running to the store and grabbing a few packs to freeze, is to make Naan Pizzas. Treat the Naan exactly like a pre-cooked pizza shell and top it with whatever your little (I mean, great, big!) heart desires. Need some direction? Try cranking the oven up to 400 degrees and while it comes to temperature, thinly slice up some zucchini, grate a clove or two of garlic, and slice some fresh (or buy pre-shredded) mozzarella. Then load up the Naan with the zucchini, garlic, and cheese and pop it in the oven just until it all melts. Keep an eye on it, shouldn't be more than 6 minutes or so. Then top it all off with some hand shredded basil and/or mint and relish in the goodness that will be this Indian Flatbread meets Pizza Fantasy.
The toppings are quite obviously endless. And for the meat-lovers that want the above pizza but are desperate for a protein fix, some proscuitto would be a fabulous, albeit luxurious addition. Another idea is a salad pizza. Toss up your favorite salad (arugula, red onion, goat cheese, vinaigrette) while gently heating the Naan in the oven. When the Naan is toasty to your satisfaction, top with the cool, crisp salad and enjoy immediately.
Since I'm looking at a fridge full of fresh herbs that will soon be on their way out, I'm going to whip up some tzatziki sauce to use throughout the week. Naan is very similar to pocketless pita which means you could also turn it into a makeshift gyro. For my veg-head friends, grill up your favorite assortment of veggies, spread 'em out over the Naan and top with a generous dollop of tzatziki. Meatheads: grill up some steak or lamb, slice, and add that to the mix. Absolutely perfect for lunch or dinner.
This is a no-brainer but for some reason, in this crazy hazy heat, I can't get enough of this avocado salad inspired from my favorite Cuban joint. Fresh iceberg lettuce, plenty of creamy avocado, and slivered red onion, lightly dressed with my white balsamic vinaigrette and I'm happier than I ever though a head of iceberg could ever make me. Grilled shrimp would make this even more special.
And lastly, if you can swing it, pick up a piece of salmon, poach it, and throw it in the fridge to cool. Then serve it alongside some of that tzatziki and a little salad and/or steamed asparagus and you'll forget about my little hiatus of missing posts.
Have at it, and as always, let me know how it goes.
1 English Cucumber
Mint (or Basil for pizza but might be smarter to just go mint here)
Veggies to load up Naan Pizza, your choice
Veggies for Naan Gyro, your choice
Naan Bread (2 or 3 packs - utilize freezer!)
Filet of Salmon
Although the slider format didn't do much for the eating experience (I'm a purist and missed my top-split New England hot dog roll), the lobster meat was absolutely tender, light on the mayo, with just some chopped celery. My all-time favorite Summer treat. But since I longed for my typical top-split lobster roll, my Mom and I both agreed that the next time we treated ourselves to this special and luxurious lobster sandwich, we'd straight up order a tub of the lobster salad (sans slider buns) and dig right into the lusciously large chunks all while sipping our Country Time Lemonades.
Butter poached lobster with vanilla bean? No. And quite frankly, no thank you. But the classic, no frills kind of lobster we both grew up on? Yes, please.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Cool, refreshing, endless seasonal possibilities, and a heck of a lot better for you than any other naughty ideas (take out, mac 'n cheese, yada, yada, yada) running through your head. And the best part? No waiting around time here. Chop things up, throw 'em in a bowl, give it a gentle toss and you're ready to munch.
A couple of stand-outs?
12. Combine sliced fennel and prune plums; serve with vinaigrette spiked with minced ginger. Nice pairing.
13. A red salad: Combine tomato wedges with halved strawberries, basil leaves, shaved Parmesan and balsamic vinegar.
14. A classic Moroccan thing: Thinly slice carrots, or grate or shred them (the food processor makes quick work of this). Toss with toasted cumin seeds, olive oil, lemon juice and cilantro. Raisins are good in here, too. There is no better use of raw carrots.
16. Slice fennel and crisp apple about the same thickness (your choice). Combine, then dress with mustardy vinaigrette and chopped parsley. Come fall, this will be even better.
26. Combine mushroom caps and thinly sliced red onions with olive oil; broil gently until tender and browned. Toss with a lot of chopped fresh parsley or basil (or both) and a simple vinaigrette. Some chopped escarole, arugula or watercress is good, too.
31. Roast beets whole (or buy them precooked), then slice or cube and toss with a little chopped garlic (or a lot of roasted garlic), toasted walnuts, orange juice and olive oil.
38. Cube watermelon; combine with roughly chopped mint, crumbled feta, sliced red onion and chopped Kalamata olives. Dress lightly with olive oil and lemon juice. Despite saltiness of feta and olives, this may need salt.
43. Grate raw beets (use the food processor to avoid ruining everything within spattering distance) and toss with watercress or arugula. Top with sherry vinaigrette and a little goat cheese. Especially obvious, perhaps, but also especially popular.
44. Make a crisp grilled cheese sandwich, with good bread and not too much good cheese. Let it cool, then cut into croutons. Put them on anything, but especially tomato and basil salad. This you will do forever.
54. Slice roasted red peppers (if you must use canned, try to find piquillos) and fresh mozzarella. Toss with cooked white beans, olive oil, red wine vinegar, a chopped shallot and fresh rosemary or parsley.
55. Mix watercress with chopped smoked salmon, avocado, red onion and capers. Make a vinaigrette with olive oil, sherry vinegar and mustard powder.
69. Stir-fry small or chopped shrimp in olive or peanut oil with lots of ginger; while still warm, combine with tomato wedges, chopped romaine, cilantro, scallions and lots of lime juice. Good in pita.
81. Soak sliced prune plums or figs in balsamic vinegar for a few minutes, then add olive oil, chopped celery and red onion, shreds of roasted or grilled chicken, chopped fresh marjoram or oregano and chopped almonds. Serve on top of or toss with greens. So good.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Bonsoir mes cheries! Bisous!
Coconut Brown Rice
3/4 cup lite coconut milk
1/4 cup water
1/2 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup brown rice
Add the coconut milk, water, butter, and salt to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the rice, stir, cover and lower the heat drastically. Allow to cook for 15 minutes. Remove lid, stir, and taste. If it's still crunchy, stir in a little more coconut milk, cover and turn the heat off. Allow it to sit for a few minutes.
Stupid Easy Black Beans
1 can black beans
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, grated
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
Fresh Cilantro for garnish
In a medium-sized saucepan, add a drizzle of olive oil over medium high heat. Add in the peppers, red onion, and garlic and allow to gently sweat for about 3 minutes. Open the can of beans and quickly rinse the beans. Add them to the pan along with the chili powder and salt, stir and reduce the heat to medium. Let the beans cook for 7 minutes or longer (just reduce the heat to low if you're going to go longer than 7 minutes). Serve with plenty of fresh cilantro on top.
Monday, July 13, 2009
THE LIST (ya know, if you're following along)
1 red bell pepper
1 large red onion
1 bunch cilantro
box of baby greens (iceberg is crazy cheap, might even go with that since I can double it up as the lettuce on work week sandwiches and it's quite good shredded up with some of the rice and beans as well; cool, crispy, crunchy)
1 can black beans
1 can unsweetened, lite coconut milk
1 lb. thinly sliced (turkey, ham, roast beef, whatevs)
hearty, multigrain bread
Cool, slightly spicy, and spectacularly smooth from the sesame-flavored noodles hiding underneath; tiny cubes of an Asian-style mango salsa brightened up the beautiful dish. The perfect and slightly indulgent yet light bite with an icy cold Tsing Tao beer.
Here we go, work week.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Although the pizza craze is nothing new to New York, given the economic climate of the past year or so, it has become especially popular with city dwellers looking for a night on the town that won't ravage their wallets. And what's better than pizza? I've gotta be honest, a good pizza, arugula salad, and a spicy, fruity red wine, and you'd be hard pressed to make me more content. A simple crust is one of the most ideal palettes a culinary artist could ask for. Endless possibilities.
On a side note, Keste just recently opened up on Bleecker so based on proximity alone, this might be the next one to try. Plus the picture snapped of their pie looks particularly promising.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Soft-boiled eggs, fingerling potato and onion homefries, and well-toasted bread with sliced campari tomatoes, salt, and fresh cracked pepper. Served alongside a gigantic iced coffee, we were feeling chipper and ready for the beach in no time.
And roughly one hour later, said pitcher was empty, and my dinner date and I were chatting away with our fellow communal table diners, urging them (successfully, I might add) to go for the beer sangria too.
Shrimp and Avocado Ceviche
1-1/2 pounds extra-large or jumbo shrimp
3/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
3/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 cup finely diced red onion
3 cloves of garlic, grated
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1 cup cilantro, loosely chopped
3 avocados, cut into chunks
salt for boiling shrimp
Bring a large pot of water to boil for the shrimp and add in a generous handful of salt. Carefully dump the shrimp into the pot and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes, depending on size. Allow them to just become pink and then immediately transfer to an ice bath.
Drain the shrimp, pat dry, and cut into 1-inch sized pieces. Transfer them to a large, shallow bowl or dish and pour over the lime and lemon juice. Cover and allow to refrigerate for a half an hour, stirring occasionally.
Add in the red onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Stir, cover, and refrigerate for another half hour, stirring occasionally.
Before serving, add in the avocado and cilantro and gently stir. Taste for seasoning and serve cold.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Kiira. Must. Attend.
This is the epitome of the ultimate culinary experience. Unplugged.
Give me a second to collect myself.
Ahem. Alright, so this epic event is going down October 23-25 and a "Special Weekend Package" is going for $825. Here's where you all are going to come into play. Donate. Now.
All jokes aside, a number of restaurants are participating and offering dinner specials which makes this all a little bit more accessible. But, for the time being? Some sort of fundraiser will be in the works combined with nightly prayers. All hail.