Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I made ratatouille--spicy, hot herby.

I tried making ratatouille about a year ago, and I wasn't crazy about it. I have realized two things since then: 1. I don't like fennel. Maybe in small doses, but that recipe was very fennely. 2. The kind of ratatouille I have been craving is the more Mediterranean variety I had when I was in Spain, which is more SPICY and less HERBY, which I guess is more French.

ANYWAY, The Moosewood Cookbook has both herby and spicy options, and I chose the latter. SUCCESS! It was everything I've ever wanted ratatouille to be! So delicious! And a great way to use summer veggies!

Moosewood Ratatouille

3 T olive oil
4 medium cloves garlic
2 c chopped onion
1 medium eggplant, cubed
1 1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t basil
1/2 t thyme
1/2 t cumin
2 t chili powder
cayenne to taste
1 c pitted, oil-cured olives (I used Kalamata)
1 medium zucchini, cubed
2 medium bell peppers, in strips
fresh black pepper
1 14oz can tomatoes (I used fire-roasted)
freshly minced parsley
juice of one lemon

1. Heat olive oil in a deep skillet or Dutch oven. (I used two skillets: garlic, onion and eggplant in one, zucchini and pepper in the other. You want there to be enough surface area so all the veggies can saute evenly.) Add garlic and onion and saute over medium heat for about five minutes.

2. Add eggplant, salt, spices and herbs, and stir. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes or until eggplant is soft.

3. Add zucchini, bell pepper, black pepper, and tomatoes. Cover and simmer for about ten more minutes, or until zucchini and bell peppers are tender. (I browned the zucchini and peppers, then combined with the eggplant, then added the tomatoes.)

I recommend serving over couscous!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I made quinoa, corn and edamame salad

Got this recipe from NY Times Recipes for Health. Delicious. Refreshing. Nutritious. Takes about two secs to make. Bring it to a picnic!

Quinoa, Corn and Edamame Salad

For the salad:

1 cup quinoa, cooked

2 ears sweet corn (I used canned. So sue me.)

1 small red onion, finely diced

1 red bell pepper, cut in small dice

1/2 cup thinly sliced celery, from the tender inner stalks

4 or 5 radishes, sliced

1/2 cup fresh or thawed frozen edamame (This is the trick to dealing with frozen edamame: it really only needs to thaw, not cook. No matter what the directions say on the package, put it in boiling water for one, maybe two minutes and that's IT. Otherwise they get mushy. Then salt them separately. They need salt. And lime juice is great if you're eating them by themselves.)

2 ounces feta, cut in small dice, optional (who ever opts out of cheese?)

1 jalapeƱo or serrano chile, minced

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

I added one avocado, cubed

For the dressing:

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 garlic clove (more to taste), finely minced or pureed

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt to taste

1. Cut the corn kernels away from the cobs. Discard the cobs (or use for stock), and place the kernels in a steamer above 1 inch of boiling water. Cover and steam for four minutes. Remove from the heat, rinse with cold water and drain.

2. Soak the onion in cold water to cover for five minutes. Drain, rinse and drain on paper towels.

3. Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and toss with the salad. Serve.

Serves four to six.

I made Summer Borscht in honor of my move to Greenpoint

Sometimes I see recipes on various websites and blogs that sound delicious, so I copy and paste them into an email, and send it to myself. Then I file them in a folder in my email entitled "RECIPES". The problem is, I sometimes forget to click on that folder when I am in the mood to cook something.

That is what happened with this recipe, which I originally saw on the blog Not Eating Out in New York. I emailed it to myself almost a year ago (October 13, 2009 to be exact) and only just thought of it and made it the other week.

As Laura mentioned, it has been HOT in NYC and this is a nice, chilled soup which only requires a tiny bit of stove time to make.

This was also the first real meal that I cooked in my new apartment in Greenpoint, and while I was making it, I realized how funny that my first cooking endeavor there would be borscht, since Greenpoint is a largely Polish neighborhood full of restaurants serving lots and lots of bowls of the famous soup. I think there was something subliminal going on here.

So this is the recipe, with my notes!

Jui Shih’s Summer Borscht
(makes about 6-8 servings)

about 5 medium-sized beets, boiled or roasted until tender, peeled and diced *I boiled the beets, which was nice and easy. You could also do this ahead of time if you want, because it is really the only time consuming element of the dish.
about 2 English cucumbers, diced - I used cucumbers that I bought at the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in Greenpoint too!! A very Greenpoint meal.
about 3-4 medium tomatoes, diced
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth (chilled or room temperature)
2 cups plain yogurt
1/4 cup red wine vinegar (or more to taste)
1 small bunch fresh dill, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
fresh lemon juice and zest to taste (optional) - I went for it.
chopped scallions or chives for garnish (optional) - I omitted.
sour cream to garnish (optional) - Omitted.

Reserve any juices from the beets, tomatoes and cucumbers while chopping and combine them in a large pot or bowl with the broth and yogurt. Add the vinegar, dill, a pinch of salt and pepper, and taste. Sugar can be added to cut the acidity as well, to taste. Add optional lemon juice and anything else to taste. Top each bowl with optional garnishes of chopped scallions or chives, extra dill, and/or a scoop of sour cream.

*I also used the hand blender a bit to make the soup a little thicker. I only blended it until the pieces of vegetable were a bit smaller and some had been pureed. I think the soup benefits from the texture of the crunchy veggies, so don't go overboard if you take this advice!*

Monday, July 26, 2010

I made Beet Carpaccio and Pappardelle with Zucchini Ribbons!

It is hot! If you live in New York, this is not news, but I still can’t get over it. Food-wise this means I’ve been desperately trying to avoid using the stove while still making use of all the beautiful produce that’s around/feeding myself. Here are two recipes, one that doesn’t use the stove at ALL and one which does, but not for a crazy amount of time.

The beet carpaccio recipe is from Epicurious and it actually calls for roasted beets, which I’m sure would be delicious, but which isn’t going to happen in my kitchen until it’s cooler. I ignored the roasted part and used the beets raw and it was delicious! Also, the dressing for this is ridiculously good and could be good on many other things. My notes in bold!

  • 12 2-inch beets, trimmed
  • 1 cup crumbled soft fresh goat cheese (about 5 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup walnut oil or olive oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar (I only used one teaspoon)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place beets on sheet (if using both light- and dark-colored beets, place them on separate sheets to prevent discoloration). Sprinkle beets lightly with water. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until beets are tender when pierced with fork, about 40 minutes. Cool on sheet. Peel beets. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Place in resealable plastic bag; chill.) (I skipped this step and just peeled the beets and used a mandoline on the smallest setting to slice them thinly)
Using cheese slicer or knife, slice beets very thinly. Slightly overlap slices on 6 plates, dividing equally. Sprinkle with cheese, then shallot, salt, and pepper. Whisk vinegar, mint, oil, and sugar in small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over beets. Sprinkle with chives.

The next day, we had leftover dressing and I decided to incorporate it into this other “low-cook” recipe from the blog Cooking Books ( which I ran across on the Serious Eats Photograzing section.

Pappardelle with Zucchini Ribbons

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
Enough olive oil to suit your taste and coat the pasta

Whisk all of these together and set aside. (I skipped this whole above piece and used the leftover dressing from the beets, but I’m sure this is excellent as well!)

For the pasta and zucchini:
1 package pappardelle pasta
1 tomato chopped (I put in cherry tomatoes cause big tomatoes aren’t *quite* in season here)
2 zucchinis, peeled into ribbons using a vegetable peeler (I had one big one -- all good!)
I added some quickly sauteed spinach and garlic, and threw some cubes of fresh mozzarella on top. Goat cheese would also be good, I bet.

Cook the pappardelle pasta according to package directions, and combine with the tomato and the zucchini ribbons. Toss with the vinaigrette while the pasta is still warm. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I made granola and reminisced about Minneapolis

I realize we already have a granola recipe here, but you can never have too many granola recipes, right?

So I visited my friend Leah last week in Minneapolis, and it was a perfect midwest mini-vacation. Leah is an amazing host, and one of the highlights of the trip was eating her homemade granola with yogurt and white nectarines (why can't I find good nectarines here??) every morning.

Another culinary highlight of the trip was the Juicy Lucy (sometimes spelled Jucy Lucy), which is a cheeseburger with the cheese in the middle of the burger. Maybe sometime I will try to make those. (The photo of Leah above was taken in the oddly-oriented restroom of Matt's, the bar in Minneapolis where Jucy Lucys were invented. Or weren't. Check wikipedia, I guess.)

Another culinary highlight of the trip was this drink: Jameson whiskey and R.W. Knundsen's Simply Nutritious Lemon Ginger Echinacea juice.

But back to the granola! I was thinking of calling Leah to ask her how she made it, but I didn't want to wake her up (why am I making granola at midnight?). I think she said she used Smitten Kitchen's recipe? So this is an adaptation of that.


3 cups rolled oats
1 cup coconut chips
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup chopped almonds
2/3 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried figs, chopped (man, I could take pictures of figs all day)


Preheat oven to 375. Line a shallow baking pan with parchment paper. Shoo the cat away from the ingredients.

Mix together all the ingredients except the dried fruit, and spread mixture evenly on the baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes, checking on it and stirring it a couple times. Add dried fruit, and bake for 5 more minutes.

Remove from pan and cool. And, oops, pick out the burnt bits. Next time, readjust oven temperature / baking time.

And this I learned from Leah, as well as from Smitten Kitchen: keep the granola in the freezer! It will stay crispy forever that way.

Hey you want some granola? Sounds good, let's have some when we go back inside.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I made Caesar salad with grilled salmon! (well, Joey grilled the salmon.)

I made this to celebrate Alena's first official night as a resident of my apartment! I looked at a bunch of recipes and eventually improvised based on my research:

First I made some croutons. Cut some peasant bread into cubes and coated in olive oil, garlic powder, salt and paprika. Baked on 350 for 10 minutes.

Then I made the dressing, by putting the following things in a blender.

1 egg. That's right, a raw egg. You can coddle it by cooking for 45 seconds, but I decided coddling is for pansies. Raw eggs don't scare me.
4 anchovies, minced
1/2 cup grated parm
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 garlic clove
1 tsp sherry vinegar
1 generous tsp dijon mustard
1/3 cup olive oil
a little s&p.

Then I blended that shit.

Joey grilled the salmon on a griddle. It seemed pretty simple: just some olive oil, s&p, slapped it on the griddle a few minutes on each side.

Then we threw some chopped romaine in a bowl, along with the grilled salmon, which was cut into chunks and the croutons. Tossed it with the dressing. Garnished with some more parm. Boom.

P.S. Here is a video I made while I was cooking.

JUST KIDDING!!!! I found it on youtube and it made me laugh! Especially the music!!! Hahaha. But that is pretty much how you make a Caesar salad.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I Made Edamame Hummus!

Hey, it's been a while since I've contributed to this blog! I first tried this recipe last fall, when I had a craving for edamame hummus from Teany (90 Rivington St.) but that restaurant (partly owned by Moby) was closed due to a fire or disaster. Also, I didn't want to try the Trader Joe's version, partly because I was too lazy to go downtown and partly because I thought I could do better and cheaper myself. Anyway, I found this recipe from the Food Network. It's pretty good!

Ingredients and Directions
My friend Tina, who is working on a book of vegan baking recipes, introduced me to this format of outlining recipes.
  • 1/2 pound frozen shelled edamame (green soy), about 1 1/2 cups
Boil the beans in salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, or microwave, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes.

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons), juiced
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 3/4 teaspooon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander (Err-- I couldn't find this, so I tried sage. Still good.)

In a food processor, puree the edamame, tahini, water, lemon zest and juice, garlic, salt, cumin, and coriander until smooth.
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
With the motor running, slowly drizzle in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and mix until absorbed.
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (Anyone have tips on what to do with tons of leftover parsley?!)
Transfer to a small bowl, stir in the parsley and drizzle with remaining oil. Serve with the suggested vegetables, or refrigerate, covered, up to 1 day.

Lately, I've been eating tons of hummus spread on sourdough bread and toasted til the hummus is crusty. You can, of course, eat this however you eat "regular" hummus.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I made gazpacho just like the kind I had all the time in Spain!

I spent the summer of 2003 in Granada, Spain, where I became insatiably addicted to two things: olives and gazpacho. It was the summer of that record breaking heat wave in Europe, and I just could not get enough of this simple, nutritious, refreshing soup. Since then, I still eat olives constantly, but I had to go through gazpacho withdrawal--nobody, not even fancy restaurants, makes it like they do in Spain. In the US, it's always more like salsa in a bowl--chunky with lots of other vegetables and heavy on the cilantro and cayenne, which is more Mexican than Spanish. But the real thing is actually a thin, simple, vinagery soup, with a slight salty/sweet bite, sometimes garnished with chopped veggies like cucumber, bell pepper, etc.

A few weeks ago, years after I'd lost hope of ever finding anything resembling the gazpacho I once ate every day for a whole summer, I did a simple search on epicurious and found this recipe for Classic Andalusian Gazpacho, adapted by Gourmet from a famous restaurant in Cadiz, a small city on the Costa del Sol. It looked promising: garlic, soaked bread, tomatoes and SHERRY VINAGER (duh! how could I not have thought of that!) a little cumin (that I would not have guessed), a little sugar, a little salt, a little olive oil.

As soon as I started mixing the ingredients, I knew my gazpacho mania was on its way back, and I think it's here to stay.

Here's the recipe, copied and pasted with comments:

Classic Andalusian Gazpacho


  • 1 (2-inch-long) piece baguette, crust discarded (I used ciabatta)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar (preferably "reserva"), or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
  • 2 1/2 lb ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered
  • 1/2 cup mild extra-virgin olive oil (preferably Andalusian hojiblanca)
  • Garnish: finely chopped red and green bell peppers (as you can see in the photo above, I also garnished with chopped avocado, which isn't exactly traditional but whatareyougonnado.)

Soak bread in 1/2 cup water 1 minute, then squeeze dry, discarding soaking water.

Mash garlic to a paste with salt using a mortar and pestle (or mince and mash with a large knife). Blend garlic paste, bread, 2 tablespoons vinegar, sugar, cumin, and half of tomatoes in a food processor (I threw it all in a bowl and used a hand blender.) until tomatoes are very finely chopped. Add remaining tomatoes with motor running and, when very finely chopped, gradually add oil in a slow stream, blending until as smooth as possible, about 1 minute.

Force soup through a sieve into a bowl, pressing firmly on solids. Discard solids. (This is the only tricky part, but totally worth it--in the epicurious comments, some people wrote that they skipped this step but without it, you will have mushy soup that separates from the liquid, instead of smooth perfect deliciousness. So just be patient. Pour it in a little at a time and swish it around in the strainer. My trick has been to use the back of a large serving spoon to spread it around, let it drip through a little, then gather it up into a pile of mushy tomato stuff and press on it.)

Transfer to a glass container and chill, covered, until cold, about 3 hours. Season with salt and vinegar before serving.

Serves about 4.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

We made Bittman's braised artichokes

It's artichoke season, but lately it seems like they've been flying off the racks at grocery stores. I always notice them when I don't need them, but then when I come back, they're gone. Especially after reading Mark Bittman's article on braising artichokes complete with a witty ("it's artiCHOKE not artiSWALLOW!") instructional video, I was intent on finding some artichokes to braise.

When I finally found them, Martha and I decided to make our own witty instructional video, below, as a Bittman homage:

Here's the recipe, copied and pasted. We followed it pretty exactly.

Bittman's Braised Artichokes


4 medium artichokes

4 tablespoons butter ( 1/2 stick)

1 cup chicken stock, or more as needed

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Zest and juice of 1 lemon.

1. Cut each of the artichokes in half; remove the toughest outer leaves, use a spoon to remove the choke, and trim the bottom.

2. Put 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. When it melts and foam subsides, add artichokes, cut side down. Cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add stock (it should come about halfway up the sides of the artichokes), bring to a boil, and cover; turn heat to medium-low. Cook for about 20 minutes or until tender, checking every 5 or 10 minutes to make sure there is enough liquid in the pan, adding more stock as necessary. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and transfer artichokes to serving platter.

3. Raise heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to a sauce. Stir in lemon zest and juice and remaining tablespoon butter; taste and adjust seasoning. Serve artichokes drizzled with sauce.

Yield: 4 servings.