"The people who give you their food give you their heart" - Cesar Chavez

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Indian Pizza

My roommate, Celadon, is a food combination genius. A couple weeks ago she made chicken tikka massala and had the leftovers heated up over pita bread. She told me her idea of a chicken tikka massala pizza and I knew she had a brilliant idea! So with half a jar of her remaining tikka massala sauce, the Indian pizza was born. Much like my Thai Pizza, this one incorporates a yummy Indian dish, chicken tikka massala, and the cheese and dough and style of a traditional pizza. I used the same pizza dough from Apizza as I did for my breakfast pizza and I will say again that this dough really is astoundingly delicious and adds a whole level of flavor and texture to the pizzas. I would like to make this pizza again and make more sauce so that it can have a thicker layer of sauce. I would also like to add julienned hot peppers and maybe some paneer cheese instead of regular cheese.

Indian Pizza
(Makes one baking sheet pie)

1/3 cup Tikka Massala sauce
3 tablespoons vindaloo sauce
Mozzarella shavings
1 carrot, thinly shredded
2 sweet red peppers, thinly shredded
1/3 cup chickpeas
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
Cayenne pepper
Garlic powder
Olive oil

1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Place chicken pieces on skillet and sprinkle with cumin and cayenne pepper. Saute until chicken is completely cooked, set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place baking sheet in the oven to heat up. Roll out dough to the size of the sheet.
3. Sprinkle flour on the sheet and carefully place the rolled out dough on the sheet. Drizzle it with olive oil and using a fork, poke holes all over the dough. Bake for approximately 5 minutes.
4. In a small bowl, mix together the tikka massala sauce and the vindaloo sauce. Spread mixture evenly over the pizza crust. Layer the mozzarella shavings on the sauce, followed by the shredded carrots and peppers and chickpeas. Lastly, put on the cooked chicken pieces. Bake for approximately 8-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Breakfast Pizza

Definitely one of the most fun things to do is make variations of pizza. Just a couple days ago, my friend and I wanted to make some pizzas and I didn't have any dough and Trader Joe's just felt too far away so we went to our local pizza shop to ask if we could buy some of their fresh dough. The first place we went, Muzzarella, said no but I was determined so I made us walk a little further until we came to the pizza shop, Apizza, a newbie to the hood. The guy was happy to give us a huge beautiful round of their fresh dough and a twenty minute conversation about his pizza place in Stanton Island and his Sicilian pies and a coupon for 4 free slices! After making pizzas with this dough from Apizza, I definitely notice the difference in good dough. I love using Trader Joe's whole wheat pizza dough but this dough, pictured below, tasted ten times better. I'm sure it was probably more salt or butter but the dough was chewy ad just straight but tasty. Here is a picture of the dough as it was give to us:
I should mention that it was a Sunday morning and while I do like pizza at any time of the day, I wanted something a little more breakfast-like. Basically my thought process was breakfast = eggs, pizza + eggs = breakfast pizza. My algebra has become really quite simple since high school. This pizza definitely will be repeated and is one of my favorites! It tasted fresh and simple and the egg added a delicious additional flavor and texture. I used two eggs for the top only because it was just my friend and I otherwise use as many eggs as you have people. Also, usually I will grate the cheese for the pizza, but this time I peeled it into long strips, or shavings and I prefer much better for this type of pizza. I will definitely be making this pizza again and changing nothing! Hmmm......okay, maybe I would add a little more za'tar. With a glass of orange juice, this is the best Sunday breakfast pizza!

Breakfast Pizza
(Makes one pie the size of a baking sheet)

1/2 cup tomato garlic marinara
1 cup whole canned tomatoes
Parmesan shavings
Mozzarella shavings
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons za'tar
1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place baking sheet in the oven to heat up. Roll out dough to the size of the sheet.
2. Sprinkle flour on the sheet and carefully place the rolled out dough on the sheet. Drizzle it with olive oil and using a fork, poke holes all over the dough. Bake for approximately 5 minutes.
3. Spread the marinara sauce all over the dough, using more if necessary. Next place the whole tomatoes evenly over the dough. Follow with the parmesan and mozzarella shavings until most the pizza is covered. Finally, sprinkle the za'tar evenly across the cheese, using more if you want.
4. Bake the pizza for 8-9 minutes.
5. Just before pizza is ready, so at about 6 minutes, fry the eggs. Remove pizza from the oven when the cheese is melted and place the fried eggs on each half of the pizza. Sprinkle the parsley evenly over the pizza. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Tangy Potato Salad

A new take on your standard potato salad makes for a slightly tangy, and a little crunchier version. Simple, quick easy and satisfying the leftovers even taste great! Combined with a meal of deviled eggs, flaky cheddar biscuits and tomato soup, this was the perfect fresh dish. I used equal parts mayonnaise and  grainy Dijon mustard which added to the tangy punch. I don't think I have ever used tarragon in a recipe but after doing some potato salad research, I learned that it's a pretty standard herb to use.

Tangy Potato Salad

3/4 lb mini Russet potatoes
3/4 lb mini Yukon potatoes
1 cup heirloom tomatoes, chopped
3 large celery stalks, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 handful fresh parsley
 2 teaspoons dried tarragon
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup grainy Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
Ground pepper

1. Bring water to a boil in a pot. Add potatoes, cover and reduce the heat to bring the water to a simmer for about 20-25 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Drain and run with cold water to prevent potatoes from cooking more.
2. While potatoes are simmering, chop and mix the tomatoes, celery, green onions and parsley. In a separate smaller bowl make the dressing by mixing the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, tarragon and pepper.
3. When potatoes have cooled, chop and mix in with the tomato mixture. Add dressing and lightly toss just until it is evenly incorporated.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Dorito Crusted Chicken Tenders

Nacho Cheese Doritos are a standard party snack. Delicious, salty and who would have thought, they can act as a pretty solid ingredient! I have never known anyone to do anything differently with Doritos other than put them into a bowl until one of my colleagues, blogger of Winna Winna Chicken Dinner, shared his wife's Dorito Surprise! I was inspired - and one munchy craving with friends lead to the Dorito Crusted Chicken Tenders. With some dips of ranch dressing and guacamole, these tenders were the perfect bar food at home. It's very easy to make and makes me think that Doritos don't have to the only chip having all the fun - how about Baked Lays or Pringles! As with most my recipes, I used fake eggs as a batter for the chicken tenders however you can always use real eggs.

Dorito Crusted Chicken Tenders

Chicken tenders
Fake eggs
Doritos, crushed

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Pour some fake eggs onto a shallow plate. Crush the Doritos into a bowl.
2. Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Pat the chicken tenders dry with a paper towel. Soak the tenders on each side in the egg mixture. Then evenly coat the tenders with the crushed Doritos, making sure to try and coat the entire tender.
3. Bake the tenders for 20 minutes, or until the tenders are cooked through.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cheddar Biscuits

I love biscuits. They are versatile, good for any meal, and the perfect comfort food. This batch came out particularly flaky which was nice. I found this recipe on the blog, Laura's Recipe Collection and made some changes to create a slightly healthier version. I cut the butter and used olive oil instead. This makes the biscuit keep it's moistness and it's much better for you. Each layer was like moist biscuit goodness. My good friend, Soma, was visiting and we decided to prepare a Southern comfort feast which included cheddar biscuits, potato salad, deviled eggs, tomato soup and a chocolate mess cake for dessert. In the way that grilled cheese is a lovely accompaniment to tomato soup, these biscuits work the same magic. Any leftovers can be frozen and reheated to provide for the same warm, flaky, fresh taste. I'm sure these would be good with fresh cracked pepper, chili flakes or fresh dill. Happy Biscuiting!

Cheddar Biscuits

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup cold buttermilk, plus a little more
1/4 cup fake eggs
1 heaping cup grated cheddar cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Pour in the butter, olive oil, buttermilk, and fake eggs. Whisk well, until everything is incorporated. Fold in cheddar cheese, adding more if you think necessary just until combined
3. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out into a rectangle that is 2/3" thick.
4. Using a sharp knife that is dusted with flour, cut the dough into triangular wedges. Lightly brush the top of the biscuits with buttermilk. Bake the biscuits for 20-25 or until they are slightly golden brown on top.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Marvelous Monday Meal at Andy's

Baked tilapia, roasted brussel sprouts, sweet potato fries. Healthy, delicious, and I truly appreciate when someone else cooks a good! The tilapia is baked with a little olive oil, pepper and fresh dill and lemon juice. The brussel sprouts are roasted, then sauteed with honey, apple cider vinegar, chopped apple pieces and pecans. The sweet potato fries are sliced and sprinkled with salt and pepper and roasted. Thank you Andy for this delicious meal! Next one is one me :) What's more, his delicious dinner was followed by a divine German Chocolate Cake. Inspired by the Bobby Flay throw down with Harlem institution, Make My Cake, Andy went at it and prepared this magnificent masterpiece. I'm not even a huge fan of German chocolate cake, but this was honestly the best cake I've had since his carrot cake.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Stuffed Chicken Breast, Part II

Earlier this week I posted about a sun dried tomato and artichoke stuffed chicken. Well it turns about my boyfriend loved stuffed chicken so I made it again, slightly varied just to keep it interesting. Served with a side of roasted potatoes, roasted brussel sprouts, and tomato soup; it was the perfect comfort meal. This time I used a soy version of a Monterey Jack Cheese and mixed it with chopped spinach and marinated artichoke hearts. This mixture is actually quite delicious alone or as a dip. I imagine it would taste great over a flat bread or pizza crust. Stuffed chicken breasts are elegant, delicious and fun.

Stuffed Chicken Breast, Part II

Chopped frozen spinach, thawed
Marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
Soy Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Chicken breasts
Ground pepper
Dried thyme

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil.
2. Mix together the spinach, artichoke hearts and cheese until well combined. Set aside.
3. Slice a pocket in the chicken breasts. Stuff them with the spinach mixture until they are almost over flowing. Place breasts on the baking sheet and sprinkle generously with ground pepper and thyme. Bake until cooked through, about 25 minutes. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes

These little cupcakes are incredible moist and a stay that way for a good week! I wasn't sure whether to call these chocolate hazelnut cupcakes or chocolate hazelnut muffins. I'm not really sure what the difference is between a muffin and a cupcake but I think that a muffin is the same thing as a cupcake, but without the frosting and more likely to be consumed in the morning. I had some extra time and decided to make these as they would be the perfect excuse to go and pick up some delicious store bought frosting and use up some of the ridiculous amount of sprinkles I have randomly acquired over the years. In addition, it was my boyfriend's high school friend, Jon's, twenty something birthday and so I decided to decorate a portion of these in the colors of the Italian flag to celebrate his birthday. Jon comes from a massive (10 kids) Italian family so the flag seemed appropriate. I only had pale green sprinkles, instead of dark green unfortunately.
Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes
(Makes 20 cupcakes)

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups cold water
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chopped hazelnuts

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put cupcake liners in a muffin tin.
2. In a medium bowl mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl whisk the butter, water, oil and vanilla extract. Whisk in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Fold in the hazelnuts. Pour the batter evenly into the muffin tins.
3. Bake until a tester comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on a rack for 25 minutes before frosting them. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Artichoke and Sun Dried Tomato Stuffed Chicken

As part of my Monday night meal for sick boyfriend and hurting ankle Andy I made stuffed chicken breasts. This recipe is very easy, requires few ingredients, and tastes delicious. Marinated artichoke and sun dried tomatoes are a basic combination that can't go wrong and I had just enough marinated artichoke hearts to make this work. I haven't made stuffed chicken before and it was so easy so I am looking forward to coming up with more cominations fro stuffing. Fontina cheese would be a great addition to this particular mixture.

Artichoke and Sun Dried Tomato Stuffed Chicken

3 chicken breasts
1/3 cup marinated artichoke hearts
1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes
Freshly ground pepper
Dried thyme
Dried Oregano

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. Finely chop the marinated artichoke hearts and sun dried tomatoes, set aside. Slice the chicken breasts down the side so that they have a deep pocket. Stuff them as much as you can with the artihoke and sun dried tomato mixture.
3. Sprinkle breasts with pepper, thyme and oregano. Bake until cooked through, about 25 minutes.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

My boyfriend wasn't feeling well last Monday and one of my best friends, Andy, hurt his ankle at work so I wanted to make a nice, wholesome, healthy comfort food meal for them both. Nothing like a meal made with love to cheer us up from the usual Monday blues. As a side dish to a stuffed chicken which I will share tomorrow, I made roasted potatoes with rosemary and toasted walnuts. The longer the walnuts were in the oven, the crispier they got and the more flavor came out. I highly recommend letting the walnuts turn dark brown/black for their best flavor. I learned a valuable lesson from this dish: potatoes retain a lot of heat and get really hot. I burned my hand on the pan and my gum, biting into the potato too soon.

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

New potatoes, halved
Olive oil
Walnuts, chopped
Fresh rosemary, removed from its sprigs
Garlic powder
Fresh ground pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. Place all the halved potatoes in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Toss with fresh rosemary and walnuts until incorporated. Sprinkle garlic powder and fresh ground pepper over potato mixture. Place on a pan and roast for 35-45 minutes, until white sides of potatoes have darkened and turned crispy with flavor.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Veracruz Red Snapper

I took a half day at work recently to spend time with my Dad. After taking him to Macy's to get a pair of long over due blue jeans we made our way up to Columbus Circle and spent some time wandering the Williams Sonoma store in the Time Warner center. In the back of the store they were holding a cooking demo and dinner for a small private group of guests. Naturally we stopped and watched the greater part of the dinner being made and when they started serving the meal my Dad said a couple awkward comments to the guests about them giving him a sample and then we left. Anyways, I learned some important things about making tomato based sauces! An important tip is simply timing. When making these tomato based sauces it's important to let the sauce simmer for a very long time, that is how it thickens and gets that superb taste. I wanted to make a main course to go with the stuffed poblano peppers so I decided to make a Veracruz style red snapper. I found this recipe on epicurious.com and adapted it to make a thicker and more flavorful sauce. The sauce that I made for the fish would taste great with chicken or on a pizza with cheese! Shabbat Shalom everyone! Cheers to a Mexican Shabbat! Here is a picture of the sauce:

Veracruz Red Snapper

4 red snapper fillets
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice, well drained, juices reserved
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
5 large garlic cloves, chopped
3 small bay leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons oregano
1/3 cup chopped pitted green olives
1/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons drained capers

1. Place drained tomatoes in medium bowl. Using the bottom of a jar, crush  the tomatoes to a coarse puree. Drain again, reserve all the juices.
2. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and stir 30 seconds. Add garlic and stir 30 seconds. Add tomato puree and cook 1 minute. Add bay leaves, parsley, oregano, and 1/4 cup reserved tomato juices. Simmer until sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Add olives, raisins, capers, and all remaining reserved tomato juices. Simmer until sauce thickens again, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
3. Preheat oven to 425°F. Spread 3 tablespoons sauce in bottom of 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish. Arrange fish atop sauce. Sprinkle fish lightly with pepper. Spoon remaining sauce over. Bake uncovered until fish is just opaque in center, about 18 minutes. Using long spatula, transfer fish with sauce to plates.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Stuffed Poblano Peppers

I have never had a poblano pepper until this meal. I was excited about them because I love the way stuffed vegetables look for dinner. This was part of a Mexican themed Shabbat dinner I was preparing for my Dad and boyfriend. This was the side dish. Filling, healthy, versatile, flavorful and vegetarian. I came across this fantastic recipe on the blog Budget Bytes and adapted it slightly. I can tell you right now that my stuffed poblano peppers do not look as glamorous and picture ready as they do on the blog. Perhaps I over stuffed them? Or the peppers were too soft to hold they shape during their de-seeding and dissection. Regardless of their appearance, the combination is wonderful! I would love to make these again and include chicken or beef, corn or perhaps pineapple pieces. My boyfriend's Mom, Elaine, makes a wonderful salsa that we used in these stuffed poblanos; it has great large chunks of peppers, tomatoes and onions. Because I had leftovers of the stuffing mixture, we just ate it with corn chips. Any leftovers can be used in tortillas, breakfast burritos or quesadillas anyone?

Stuffed Poblano Peppers:
(Makes 4 peppers with extra stuffing)

3/4 cup long grain rice
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
4 medium-large poblano peppers
4 ounces Monterey jack cheese, shredded
3/4 cup salsa
1 can black beans
Olive oil spray

1. Cook the rice with 2 cups of water. Mix in paprika, garlic powder and onion powder with the rice. Set aside when ready. Mix in the black beans to the rice.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and turn the broiler on high. Spray a baking sheet and coat all sides of the poblano peppers with non-stick spray. Place the baking sheet a few inches under the broiler (I use the second rack level) and broil on both sides for 5 minutes.
3. After broiling the peppers, their skin should be blistery and bubbly. Immediately place the peppers in a zip-lock bag and let them steam for about 15 minutes. This will help remove their skin more easily.
4. Cut a slit down each the pepper and carefully remove the seeds and the seed pod.
5. Preheat the oven 350 degrees (bake not broil this time). Gently stuff the peppers with the rice and bean mixture followed by a large dollop of salsa and covered with shredded cheese. Stuff the poblano to the brim and then bake until the cheese is melted, about 20 minutes.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Cherry and Blueberry Crumble

In a constant effort to make room in my freezer, just so I can fill it again, I felt I had to use up the bags of frozen wild blueberries and sweet dark cherries in my freezer. My Dad was just visiting last weekend and I decided to make a crumble for our Shabbat dessert. It was just my boyfriend, Dad, and I and we ended up finishing all the food and too my boyfriend's astonishment, my Dad picked up and drank the remnants of this crumble. His eating capabilities are beyond human. This dessert is very easy to whip up and tastes delicious! No need to wait until the summer time to use these wonderful sweet and healthy berries, the frozen ones work perfectly too! Tastes best with vanilla or soy vanilla ice cream.

Cherry and Blueberry Crumble

16 ounces frozen dark cherries
6 ounces frozen wild blueberries
5 tablespoons sugar plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup flour
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a small sauce pan heat the frozen cherries over a low heat until they are oozing and completely softened. Transfer to a glass baking dish (9x5). Mix in blueberries and toss gently with 2 tablespoons sugar and lemon juice.
3. In a bowl mix together the 5 tablespoons sugar, flour, butter and salt. Using your hands or a whisk, mix until you have a nice crumbly consistency. Drop topping evenly over cherry mix. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
4. Bake until topping has slightly browned, about 15 minutes.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Kale and Butternut Squash Minestrone Soup

I recently learned that for my 20 years of speaking, I have been mispronouncing "Minestrone." While sharing with colleagues what I was planning to cook for dinner I was informed that it is not pronounced "Min-estron-ee," but actually "Minestron." Either not a single friend or family member has ever corrected by Italian mispronunciations, or the entire West coast is with me in acknowledging the silent "e." Regardless, I was a bit embarrassed but still wanting to make the soup regardless of the silent or not "e." I have a lovely recipe from Alice Water's The Art of Simple Food cookbook which I adapted slightly and made for my Dad the first night of his visit. I have read a lot about Alice Water's and I have even been to Chez Panisse, but I have never tried cooking one of her recipes. This soup was delicious, seasonal, and healthy and I served it with my blue corn muffins. I had enough leftovers for two extra lunches and a dinner.

Kale and Butternut Squash Minestrone Soup

2 cans Cannellini beans
1/4 cup olive oil
2 1/2 celery stalk, finely chopped
2 1/2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
3 dried bay leaves
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
3 cups water
2 cups stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
1 large bunch kales, stems removed and roughly chopped
1/2 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 large handful fresh dill, chopped
Fresh ground pepper

1. In a big pot heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
2. Add the bay leaves, rosemary, sage and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes more.
3. Add the chopped kale and tomato (add all the liquid too) and cook for another five minutes.
4. Add the 3 cups of water and simmer for 15 minutes.
5. Add the sundried tomatoes and squash and beans and cook until the squash is tender, about 20-25 minutes, add in the fresh dill just before cooked. Serve with freshly grated cheese and enjoy!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Blue Corn Muffins

On a recent date to Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill, I was inspired to: 1.) cook Southwestern food, 2.) do something with chutneys, and 3.) bake experimental breads. We went for brunch and it all began with a basket of freshly baked muffins. These were not just any kind of muffins; they included jalapeno cornbread muffins, coffee cake, cornbread with raisins, and a blue corn bread muffin. The basket came accompanied by a little tray of a delicious sweet and spicy mango chutney that both my boyfriend and I agreed was one of the best parts of the meal. Did I mention the bread basket was bottomless? Yes, we finished our first basket and they replenished it before our main entrees arrived! So my first Mesa-inspired cooking experiment were these blue corn muffins. I couldn't find blue cornmeal in Whole Foods, our local health food store, or Gristede's! Finally I found it in Kalustyan's, officially making that place my favorite store. I also picked up a small jar of Roland's spicy mango chutney which is not as tasty as Bobby Flay's but it will suffice until I learn how to make that too. Blue cornmeal has a slightly sweeter taste than yellow cornmeal and I felt like the texture was a little softer too, but I could be wrong about that. I tried to research the difference between blue and yellow cornmeal but I couldn't find anything useful so if any of you know, please share!

Blue Corn Muffins
(Makes 12 muffins)

1 cup blue cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
5 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 cup white sugar
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup fake eggs (or two real eggs)
1 cup soy milk
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup corn kernels

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl mix together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Stir in the eggs, milk and olive oil. Add in the corn kernels.
2. Pour batter evenly into muffin baking tray. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let muffins cool for 10 minutes on a rack before serving with mango chutney. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Chunky Guacamole

For a Mexican Shabbat dinner I had to whip up some yummy guacamole for the blue corn tortilla chips and whole wheat challah. This guac was delicious and chunky and the corn kernels add a nice little texture and sweetness to offset the citrus lime juice.

1 large whole avocado
1/4 cup corn kernels, frozen are fine
Juice from 1/2 lime
1/4 cup chopped white onion
1/4 parsley, chopped

1. Place the avocado in a bowl and mash it with a fork. Mix in the onions and corn and parsley and drizzle the lime juice and mix with a fork just until everything is incorporated.

Friday, March 5, 2010

NY Restaurant Review: Muzzarella Pizza; the Perfect Late Night Friend

My boyfriend's favorite pizza in New York city happens to be a place that we stumbled upon, literally, very late one night. I have to say this place is in my top 5 of New York pizza following behind: Lombardi's, Front Street Pizza, and Lazzo. Muzzarella is thin crust, generous sauce and toppings and conveniently close to home. Whether late night, or for the first meal on a weekend morning, this pizza is right on time. This place also has lasagna and a supposedly famous, but yet to be tried, foccacia. Personally, it is difficult to go and order anything other than pizza. Their white pizza, standard margarita and mushroom pizzas are all solid late night slice choices. We went to Muzzarella one recent morning for an early pizza lunch, next time I will try the other items on the menu!

Muzzarella Pizza
221 Avenue A

(between 13th St & 14th St)
New York, NY 10009
(212) 614-0905
Me in red below, to match the place and the tomato pizza.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Katie's Mom's Delicious Oatmeal Pie

After a delightful and comforting home cooked meal of a tomato braised lentil dish, our wonderful hostess Katie brought out the show stopper: a pie that takes the delicious oatmeal cookie to a whole new level. This divine pie is a recipe from Katie's Mom, Debbie. It was perfectly moist and gooey and absolutely delicious! This recipe is very easy too, so you can whip this show stopper up for pretty much any occassion. I can imagine that this same pie would taste great with a scoop of chai ice cream or perhaps some ginger or chocolate mixed throughout or even some apple chunks! My boyfriend, who rarely asks for his own dessert and usually just takes some of mine, against my will, even asked for his own slice of pie and exclaimed it was the best pie he's ever had! Thank you so much Debbie and Katie for sharing this delicious pie with us!

Katie's Mom's Delicious Oatmeal Pie
(Makes 1 whole pie)

3 eggs

2/3 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup quick cooking oats
2/3 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup milk
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 unbaked pie shell

1. Beat eggs well in bowl. Stir in sugars, oats, coconut, milk, butter and vanilla. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees 30-35 minutes.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tomato Braised Lentils over Jasmine Rice

My boyfriend and I went over to our friends', Katie and John's, home for dinner a couple of nights ago. They are also fellow food enthusiasts and frequently cook at home. Katie made this recipe she found on the blog Not Eating Out in New York. Rather than serving this lentil stew over broccoli rabe as done in the recipe, Katie served over fragrant Jasmine rice. This meal landed right on the night of one of the worst snow storms our city has ever seen and it was the perfect warm comforting meal and followed by an equally delightful dessert. This lentil dish had a similar consistency to risotto because it follows a similar process of stirring slowly while adding more stock. Here is a picture of Katie and John taken a little while ago at the Brooklyn Brewery.

Tomato Braised Lentils over Jasmine Rice
 Not Eating Out in New York (Serves 3-4)

1 large tomato, chopped
1 1/2 cups dried lentils
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, sliced
3 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1-2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot and saute onions until they are translucent, about 8 minutes over medium low heat
2. Add the minced garlic and cook another minute. Add the lentils, tomato paste and a splash of the stock. Increase heat to medium and stir occasionally until stock has been absorbed. Continue adding stock and stirring occasionally until the lentils are just tender, about 30 minutes.
3. Add the chopped tomato to the lentils and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the cream and butter, and taste for seasoning when warm. Serve over cooked Jasmine rice and enjoy!
Thank you Katie!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Bakery Review: Green Cafe, Marvelous French Macarons

Every day on my walk home from work I pass this cute little French Cafe called The Green Cafe. The macarons in the window and the menu looks great but it's always empty! I went inside one evening, partly out of sympathy and party out of hungry curiosty and I picked up 4 macarons to share with my cousin. They have traditional flavors like chocolate, rasberry and wedding almond and exotic flavors like passion fruit and Earle Gray and lychee. In the picture above we have (clockwise from top left): lavendar, wedding almond (their most famous), Earle Gray and mango. At $2.50 per macaron choose wisely and eat slowly to make it worth it! These French macarons are made with egg whites, almond paste and are gluten free and they have no resembalance to their American relatives (macaroons). If you find yourself in this part of town, definitely make a trip over and try some of their delightful macarons.

377 First Avenue (Between 22nd & 23rd Streets)
New York, NY 100010